Khalsa Dharam Shastar

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Khalsa Dharam Shastar

A Sikh manual of conduct enunciating Sikhs' social and religious duties which was prepared under the patronage of Sodhi Ram Narain Singh, a scion of the Sodhi family of Sri Anandpur Sahib. It was published at Sri Gurmat Press, Amritsar, in the year Nanakshahl 445 (AD 1914). The name of the author given in abbreviation may be deciphered as Aviar Singh Vahiria. The book contains 430 pages, excluding the introduction, the table of contents, the Anandpur genealogical table and a corrigendum. It is a manual of Sikh ceremonies and tenets; hence the name Plirab Mimarisa (after Purva Minarisa describing the Vedic ritual).

The Tenents of the Sikh Faith Feared Adrift

The book, according to the author, was written to preserve Sikhism in its pure form which appeared to him to be becoming garbled. The manuscript was sent to various Sikh authorities with some amendments being made in the light of suggestions received. The author claims to have given a true interpretation of the Sikh way of life as communicated by Sikhs who were contemporaries of the Gurus and as supported by the Janam Sdkhis, the Sri Gur Praldp Suraj Granth, and handwritten pothis or books available in various gurudwaras. He supports his argument by quotations from the Guru Granth Sahib, the Dasam Granth, Bhai Gurdas's Varan and the Rahilndmds or books on the Sikh code of conduct.

The book stresses the uniqueness of the Sikh faith. It is argued that Sikhism has its own individual philosophy, code of conduct, symbols and its own scripture. The author states that the Sikhs have respect for the Vedas, Shastras and older religious books, but they do not accept them as part of their scripture; that status belongs to the Guru Granth Sahib only. At the same time the author contends that Sikhisiri is part and parcel of Hinduism; a branch of Hinduism purified by removing evils that had crept into this ancient religion.

The contents are divided into nine parts, each with a separate heading.

  • The first part is devoted to establishing the superiority of Sikh faith.
  • The second deals with the rituals connected with the the Guru Granth Sahib.
  • The third is concerned with the initiation ceremony of the Khalsa.
  • The fourth describes the Khalsa code of conduct.

The succeeding parts deal with Sikh shrines and institutions, punishments to be meted out for violation of the code, social ceremonies and rites. The author has set down exhaustively the traditional rituals and ceremonies of Sikhism, classifying and elaborating practices, injunctions and penalties.

Assertions contrary to Sikh Belief and Norms

Yet there are assertions contrary to Sikh belief and norms. For instance, omitting the abolition by Guru Gobind Singh of the living guruship and accepting the apotheosization of the Guru Granth Sahib, the author suggests that there should be seats set apart in the gurudwaras for the descendants of the Gurus. Also, he favours a different form of initiation for Sikh women suggesting that they need not keep the kirpan as required of men.