Difference between revisions of "Akal Takhat Quotes"

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== Quotes about the Akal Tahkat ==
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= Quotes about the Akal Tahkat =
  
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== Quote from www.allaboutsikhs.com ==
  
 
* From: [http://allaboutsikhs.com/gurudwaras/gurud_02.htm www.allaboutsikhs.com]
 
* From: [http://allaboutsikhs.com/gurudwaras/gurud_02.htm www.allaboutsikhs.com]
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* Above from: [http://allaboutsikhs.com/gurudwaras/gurud_02.htm www.allaboutsikhs.com]
 
* Above from: [http://allaboutsikhs.com/gurudwaras/gurud_02.htm www.allaboutsikhs.com]
  
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== Quote from www.allaboutsikhs.com ==
  
 
* From: [http://www.gurmat.info/sms/smssikhism/takhts/sriakaltakhtsahib/ www.gurmat.info]
 
* From: [http://www.gurmat.info/sms/smssikhism/takhts/sriakaltakhtsahib/ www.gurmat.info]
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==Quote from www.sikhlionz.com ==
  
 
* From [http://www.sikhlionz.com/recogniseyetheakaltakht.htm www.sikhlionz.com]
 
* From [http://www.sikhlionz.com/recogniseyetheakaltakht.htm www.sikhlionz.com]
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* Avove from [http://www.sikhlionz.com/recogniseyetheakaltakht.htm www.sikhlionz.com]
 
* Avove from [http://www.sikhlionz.com/recogniseyetheakaltakht.htm www.sikhlionz.com]
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== Quote from www.sikh-history.com ==
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* From [http://www.sikh-history.com/sikhhist/events/akaltakht.html www.sikh-history.com]
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AKAL TAKHT is the primary seat of Sikh religious authority and central altar for Sikh political assembly. Through hukamnamas edicts or writs, it may issue decretals providing guidance or clarification on any point of Sikh doctrine or practice referred to it, may lay under penance personages charged with violation of religious discipline or with activity prejudicial to Sikh interests or solidarity and may place on record its appreciation of outstanding services rendered or acrifices made by individuals espousing the cause of Sikhism or of the Sikhs. The edifice stands in the Darbar sahib precincts in Amritsar facing Harimandar, now famous as the Golden Temple. The word Akal, a negative of kal(time), is the equivalent of timeless, beyond time, everlasting, and takht, in Persian, that of royal throne or chair of state. Akal Takht would thus mean "timeless or everlasting throne" or throne of the Timeless One, i.e. God." In the Sikh system, God is postulated as Formless (Nirankar), yet to proclaim His sovereignty over His creation, He is sometimes referred to as sultan, patshah, sacha Patshah, or the True King; His seat is referred to as sachcha Takht. the True Throne, sitting on which he dispenses sachcha niao, true justice (cc 84, 1087). it also became common for Sikhs, at least by the time of Guru Arjan (1563-1606), to refer to the Guru as sachcha patshah and to his gaddi or spiritual seat as Takht and the congregation he led as darbar or court. Panegyrizing the Gurus, The bards, Nalya and Mathura, in their verses included in the Guru Granth Sahib, use the word takht in this very sense. Formally, to proclaim Sikh faith's common concern for the spiritual and the worldly, synthesis of miri and piri, Guru Hargobind (1595-1644), son and successor of Guru Arjan adopted royal style. For the ceremonies of succession, he had a platform constructed opposite the Harimandar, naming it Akal Takht. According to Gurbilas Chhevan Patshah, a detailed versified and, going by the year of composition recorded in the text/colophon, the oldest account of Guru Hargobind's life, the structure was raised on 5, 1663 sk/I5 June 1606. The Guru laid the cornerstone and Bhai Buddha and Bhai Gurdas completed the construction, no third person being allowed to lend a helping hand. Guru Hargobind used the takht for the accession ceremonies which, according to the source quoted, took place on 26 Har suds 10, 1663 sk/24 June 1606. From here, he conducted the secular affairs of the community. From here he is said to have issued the first hukamnama (q.v.) to far flung sangats or Sikh centers announcing the creation of Akal Takht and asking them to include in their offerings thenceforth gifts of weapons and horses. Bhai Gurdas was named of officiant in charge of the Akal Takht. A building subsequently raised over the Takht was called Akal Bunga (house) so that the Takht is now officially known as Takht Sri Akal Bunga although its popular name Akal Takht is more in common use.
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The Sikhs recognize four other holy places as takhts, namely Takht Sri Kesgarh Sahib, Anandpur; Takht Sri Harimandar Sahib, Patna; Takht Sachkhand Hazur Sahib, Abchalnagar, Nanded; and Takht Sri Damdama Sahib, Talvandi Sabo. All four are connected with the life of Guru Gobind Singh (1666 - 1708). All five Takhts are equally venerated, but the Akal Takht at Amritsar enjoys a special status. Historically, this is the oldest of the takhts and along with Harimandar, across the yard, constitutes the capital of Sikhism. Meetings of the Sarbatt Khalsa or general assembly represent native of the entire Panth are traditionally summoned at Akal Takht and it is only there that cases connected with serious religious offenses committed by prominent Sikhs are heard and decided. Hukamnamas or decrees issued by the Akal Takht are universally applicable to all Sikhs and all institutions.
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After Guru Hargobind's migration to Kiratpur early in 1635, the shrines at Amritsar, including the Akal Takht fell in the hands of the descendants of Prithi Chand, elder brother of Guru Arjan, his grandson, Hariji (d. 1696), remaining in charge for over fifty-five years. Soon after the creation of the Khalsa in March 1699, Guru Gobind Singh sent Bhai Mani Singh to Amritsar to assume control of the Harimandar and the Akal Takht. Later, After Guru Gobind Singh's death, his wife Mata Sundari ji, sent Bhai Mani Singh again to Amritsar on behalf of the Khalsa panth During the troublous period following the martyrdom of Banda Singh Bahadur. The sacred samovars or holy tank, at Amritsar, the Harimandar and the Akal Takht continued a source of inspiration and Spirit and veneration for the Sikhs when circumstances permitted, and usually on Baisakhi and Divali, their scattered bands defying all hazards converged upon Akal Takht to hold sarbatt khalsa assemblies and discuss matters of policy and strategy, For instance, through a gurmata, sarbatt Khalsa at the Akal Takht resolved on 14 October 1745 to reorganize their scattered fighting force into 25 jathas or bands of about 100 warriors each. By another gurmata on Baisakhi, 29 March 1748 the sarbatt khalsa meeting, again, at Akal Takht, formed the Dal Khalsa or the army of the Khalsa consisting of 11 mists or divisions. On Divali, 7 November 1760, the sarbatt khalsa resolved to attack and occupy Lahore (till then Sikhs had not occupied any territory, their only possession being the small fortress of Ram Rauni or Ramgarh they had built at Amritsar in 1746). Akal Takht was again the venue of the sarbatt khalsa on Baisakhi day, 10 April 1763, when through gurmata it was decided to go out to the help of a Brahman who had brought the complaint that his wife had been forcibly abducted by the Afghan chief of Kasur.
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Even after the Punjab had been parceled into Several Sikh independencies or kingdoms. Amritsar remained the common capital where all sardars or chiefs had built their bungas and stationed their vamps or agents. But as the need for a common strategy and action decreased and rivalries among the mist chiefs raised their head, sarbatt khalsa and correspondingly the Akal Takht lost their political pre-eminence. Maharaja Ranjit Singh felt little need for sarbatt khalsa assemblies after 1805 when it was summoned to consider the question whether or not the fugitive Maratha prince Jasvant Rao Holkar be assisted against the British. The religious authority of the Akal Takht, however, remained intact and the State never challenged it in any manner.
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There are in fact instances of the State showing subservience as in the case of Maharaja Ranjit Singh himself responding to the summons from the Akal Takht and accepting for a moral misdemeanor penalty imposed by its custodian, Akal Phula Singh, who had fought as a loyal soldier in several of the Maharaja's military campaigns. In spite of its supremacy in the matter of enforcing religious discipline, Akal Takht discharges no divine dispensation. It remits no sins, nor does it invoke God's wrath upon anyone.
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On several occasions during the eighteenth century, Akal Takht shared with the Harimandar desecration and destruction at the hands of Mughal satraps and Afghan invaders. Ahmad Shah Durrani, who had razed the Harimandar in 1762, again attacked Amritsar in December 1764. On this occasion a small band of 30 Sikhs under their leader, Nihang Gurbakhsh Singh stationed there to serve and protect the Akal Takht, came out to dare the invading horde and fell fighting to the last man. Ahmad Shah had the Akal Bunga completely demolished. Sikhs, however, continued to hold the sarbatt khalsa in front of the ruins and decided at one such gathering on Baisakhi, 10 April 1765, to rebuild the Akal Bunga as well as the Harimandar. Funds for this purpose had already been set apart from the pillage of Sirhind in January 1764. The work was entrusted to Bhai Des Raj, who was also furnished with Guru ki Mohar or the Guru's seal to enable him to raise more funds. The construction of the ground floor of the Akal Bunga was completed by 1774. The rest of the five - storeyed domed edifice was completed during the reign of Maharaja Ranjit Singh. The gilded dome atop the building was built by Hari Singh Nalva at his own expense. The facade of the first four storeys including the basement (originally ground floor but rendered partly below ground level because of the raising of the level of the circumambulatory terrace in front) had a semi-circular orientation. The ground door was a large hall With an attached pillared marble portico. The facades of the next two floors had projected eaves supported on decorative brackets. The facade of the third floor, a large hall with galleries on the sides, had cupped arched openings, nine in number. The exterior of the fourth floor, covering the central hall of the lower floor, was decorated with projected ornamental eaves and a domed kiosk at each corner. The Guru Granth Sahib was seated on the first floor, where the jathedar of the Akal Takht also took his seat. The second floor was used for important meetings and also for amrit prachar, administration of the initiation of the Khalsa. The hall on the third floor was used especially for the meetings of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee until a separate office block, called Teja Singh Samundari Hall, was constructed for the purpose during the 1930's.
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The beautiful and sacred edifice was destroyed in the army action, called Operation Blue Star, in early June 1984. The Government of India got the building reconstructed in order to assuage the injured feelings of the Sikhs, but this was not acceptable to them. The reconstructed building was demolished in early 1986 to be replaced by one raised through kar-seva, voluntary free service of the Panth and by money accruing from voluntary donations.
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After the death of Guru Gobind Singh with whom ceased the line of living Gurus, hukamnamas were issued in the name of the Khalsa Panth from the different takhts, especially Akal Takht at Amritsar. Any Sikh transgressing the religious code could be summoned, asked to explain his conduct and punished. Disobedience amounted to social ostracism of an individual or the group concerned. Maharaja Ranjit Singh, 19th century ruler of the Punjab, was summoned by Akali Phula Singh, the then jathedar of Akal Takht, for violating established norms of Sikh behavior. Among instances from recent history a striking one is that of Teja Singh of Bhasaur who was censured for the liberties, he was taking with the Sikh canon. A hukamnama issued from the Akal Takht on 26 Savan 1985 sk/9 August 1928 read: "The Panch Khalsa Diwan (Panch Khand. ), Bhasaur, has published books called Gurmukhi courses in which the bani of Sri Guru Granth Sahib has been garbled and its order changed, changes have been made in gurmantra, the ardas and the ceremonies for administering amrit. These are anti-Sikh proceedings. Hence Babu Teja Singh and Bibi Niranjan Kaur [his wife] are hereby excommunicated from the Panth. Other members of the panth Khalsa Diwan are debarred from having ardas offered on their behalf at Sri Akal Takht Sahib or at any other Gurdwara. No Sikh should purchase Gurmukhi courses published by the Panch Khalsa Diwan, nor keep them in his possession. The Panch khalsa Diwan or whoever else has copies of these should send them to Sri Akal Takht Sahib."
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An example of an individual penalized for disobeying the Akal Takht edict was that of Bhai Santa Singh, the Nihang, who for the charge brought against him was excommunicated from the Panth (Hukamnama, 8 Savan 515 Nanak Shahl/22 July 1984). Hukamnamas have also been issued to settle points of religious and political disputation; also for commending the services to the Panth of individuals and for adding passages to Sikh ardas, the daily prayer of supplication, as a particular historical situation might demand. On 26 Jeth 1984 sk/8June 1927, the Akal Takht eulogized in a hukamnama Bhai Sahib Sardar Kharak Singh for his qualities of determination and steadfastness and for his sacrifices in the cause of the Panth; likewise, on 30 Bhadon 1988 sk/15 September 1931, Bhai Sahib Randhir Singh was honoured for his outstanding services to the Panth. On 20 Asuj 1970 sk/4 October 1913, Takht Sachkhand Sri Hazur Sahib promulgated a hukamnama fixing the length of kirpan or sword a Sikh will carry slung from across his shoulder at a minimum of one foot. On 12 Magh 483 Nanak Shahi/25 January 1952, Akal Takht enjoined upon the entire Khalsa and all Gurdwara ministers" to add these lines to the ardas: " O Timeless Lord, the Benevolent One, ever the succourer of Thy Panth, we pray grant the Khalsa ji the privilege of unhindered access to and control and maintenance of Sri Nankana Sahib and other holy shrines and sites from which the Panth has been parted " [after the partition of the Punjab in 1947]."
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Such writs promulgated under the seal of a Takht carry sanction for the entire Sikh people.
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* Above from [http://www.sikh-history.com/sikhhist/events/akaltakht.html www.sikh-history.com]

Revision as of 08:46, 6 June 2005

Quotes about the Akal Tahkat

Quote from www.allaboutsikhs.com

Adjacent to the Golden Temple, is the marble paved square facing the Darshni­ Deorhi. On the opposite side of the marble square stands the Akal Takht, which is regarded as the supreme seat of Sikh religious authority. It was constructed by the sixth Guru Sri Hargobind in 1609. It is also called as Akal Bunga, the house of the Lord. The place is repository of the various weapons used by Sikh Gurus and heroes. These weapons are ceremoniously displayed every. evening to the congregation of devotees. The Akal Takht being the holiest of holy seats of the Sikhs, was used for a special purpose which considerably changed the Sikh character and organization. The sixth Guru himself sat here and held a court of justice. Many Sikhs gathered here for the redressal of their grievances. Offerings were made to the Guru.

At the place where Akal Takht is situated was a playground, and the Guru used to play here during his childhood. Here he was ceremoniously installed as the Guru in 1606 after the death of his father Guru Arjun Dev. The sixth Guru Hargobind watched the Sikhs performing exercises in the art of warfare. He was imparting them training for the coming struggle against the Mughal authoritarianism.

The Akal Takht is a massive five story building standing on a marble paved platform. The ground floor was ready in 1774 and four stores were added later by Maharaja Ran] it Singh. The Golden dome was constructed by famous Sikh General Han Singh Nalwa.

The Hukamnama issued by Jathedar of Akal Takht is binding on all Sikhs. Even Maharaja Ranjit Singh had to bow before the orders of the Jathedar of the Akal Takht. During the Misal period after the death of Guru Gobind Singh and before the rise of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, Gurmata used to be passed by Sarbat Khalsa at Akal Takht for the protection of the country from the invaders. During British period, volunteers took vow of non-violence at Akal Takht before participating in the mochas launched by the Sikhs for the improvement of management of their holy shrines. A Saropa (robe of honor) conferred at Akal Takht is a distinction of a high order. It is given for extraordinary service rendered to the Sikh community.

Guru Hargobind, the only son of Guru Arjun Dev, was born in 1595. His path was beset with difficulties and hazards from the very outset. At the age of eleven his father was martyred on the altar of deep religious bigotry of the Mughal Emperor Jahangir and his most fanatic advisers. Guru Arjun had not done or said anything either against the Government or against Islam. In continuation of the development projects of Sikhism by his predecessors, Guru Arjun had chalked out wide programmes for the progress of Guru Nanak's religion and the Sikh community. But the steps taken were not at all with a view to humbling any other religion or community. The excavations of the tanks of Amritsar and Santokhsar were completed to provide the much-wanted places of pilgrimage for the Sikhs. By founding Tarn Taran in the heart of the Majha and Kartarpur in the Doaba, the Guru only wanted to provide the people with some rallying centres for religious purposes in their respective areas. The Masand system was organised and placed on a strong footing to finance the various projects undertaken by the Guru. Guru Arjun encouraged the Sikhs to foster trade and industry and adopt lucrative professions to be economically well-off. The compilation of the Adi Granth was undertaken to meet the long-standing need of the Sikh community for the Holy Scriptures. All these measures gave a fillip to the Sikh movement in the Punjab. The non-Sikhs were not seeing all this with a kindly eye.

The opposition of the detractors of the Guru ultimately led to Guru Arjun's martyrdom in 1606. And in the words of Mohammad Latif: "The death of Guru Arjun was a great turning point in the history of the Sikh nation, for it inflamed the religious passions of the Sikhs and it was at this time that those seeds of hatred of the Musalman power were sown which took such deep root in the minds of all the faithful followers ofNanak." With this execution the whole Sikh community was stunned. It aroused very serious resentment in the minds of the Sikhs but they were yet not in a position to register their protest by raising arms against the Government.

Sikhism was a socio-religious movement aiming at peaceful emancipation of the people from invidious distinctions and prejudices. It wanted to divert them to the path of godliness, honest living and goodwill towards all. The Sikhs did not interfere with the current politics of the country. They were law-abiding citizens without any means to protect themselves against the mighty Mughal empire. The only alternative now left to the new Guru and his followers, if the church of Guru Nanak was to be kept alive, was to so mould their outlook as to give due attention to the development of their physical strength along with spiritual attainments. Thus, he planned to transform his people into new warrior-type saints capable of defending themselves against aggression without being aggressive themselves. The followers of the Guru would not accept things lying down.

The Jats of Majha who formed the bulk of the Guru's followers were characteristically so disposed as not to choose to bow before aggression. Rather they would face the tyrant manfully.

Guru Hargobind's followers told him clearly as to what action they would propose in the event of the repetition of such a situation as had resulted in the martyrdom of their beloved spiritual leader. According to Macauliffe, a little before his death, Guru Arjan sent a message to his son through his followers, saying "Let him sit fully armed on his throne and maintain an army to the best of his ability." This message seems to be a later concoction as it does not agree with the tenor of Guru Arjun's life. He is known to history and tradition to be an apostle of peace and a staunch and unstinted follower of non-violence. Under no circumstances he could change his faith in the peaceful demeanour. And also Guru Arjun would not recommend such a hazardous course to his young son of eleven. There can be no doubt about the fact that the decision to arm the community was taken by Guru Hargobind and his followers collectively after Guru Arjun Dcv had been martyred. This decision sowed the seeds of a revolution which transformed the character of the Sikhs from mere saints to saint soldiers. Guru Hargobind gave a martial trend to his followers who besides keeping rosary buckled on the sword in order to defend their faith and their persons.

Since Guru Hargobind took over the office of the Guru under the shadow of a changed situation, he was obliged to bring about a change in the ceremony of the installation of the Guru. Guru ifargobind told Bhai Budha that the Seli a woollen cord worn as a necklace or twisted round the head by the former Gurus was not to be used in future and his Seli would be the sword-belt, and he would wear his turban with an emblem of royalty. The young Guru took the seat of his father with two swords girded round his waist, one to symbolise temporal power and the other, spiritual power i.e., Miri and Pin. The Guru had to play the dual role of a Mir (an army leader) and a Fir (a Guru). The combining of Miri and Pin in his person introduced a new development in the Sikh movement by Guru Hargobind and it was fraught with great possibilities for the future.

The Guru desired the Sikhs to bring arms and horses as part of their offerings. This was readily done and some of them personallyjoined the Guru's retinue. According to Dabistan : "The Guru had seven hundred horses in his stables, three hundred cavaliers and sixty artillery men were always in his service."2 This was the first corps of Sikh volunteers raised by the Guru at Amritsar. The first five hundred enlisted by the Guru were divided into five troops of one hundred each. These troops were captained by Bidhi Chand, Pirana, Jetha, Piara and Langaha.3 The establishment of the Guru increased gradually and the number of volunteers rose to 2,500. They were always ready to lay down their lives for the Guru's cause. The Guru had also a regiment of Pathans under the command of Painde Khan. It may be correct that the bulk Of the personnel of the Guru's Pathan regiment consisted of those people who had deserted the Mughal army for not getting their salaries regularly. But it is incorrect to say that the Guru had recruited the worst criminals and high-waymen, 'and the free booters and dacoits had entered freely into his ranks and made him the centre of a turbulent and dangerous crowd.4 Indubhusan Banerjee and Gokal Chand Narang wrongly believe that the prospects of booty and plunder had attracted the roughs of the society to join Guru Hargobind's forces, Excepting Bidhi Chand no other man is known to history with questionable antecedents. But Bidhi Chand too had come into the fold of Sikhism during the period of Guru Arjun. He had completely renounced his old practices and under the teachings of the Gurus had become a very responsible citizen and ended his days as a devout and saintly follower of the Guru.

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Two Masands of Kabul; Bakht Ma! and Tara Chand, were bringing two horses of surprassing beauty and fleetness' for the Guru. But they were seized by the Mughal officials at Lahore and sent to the Emperor's stable there. Bidhi Chand was able to deliver the horses to their rightful owner to whose stable they were being brought. If this action ofBidhi Chand has led some writers to remark that the Guru had recruited robbers in his army, the very approach of such writers is not historical and they suffer from some prejudiced outlook.

In order to give a martial disposition to his followers Guru Hargobind, accompanied by a large number of forest beaters, hounds and tamed leopards spent quite some time in the chase of the game. The Sikhs of the old school had in the beginning some misgivings about the Guru's new programmes and practices. But later when the Guru enlightened them about the usefulness of such exercises for inspiring the Sikhs with courage and intrepidity, they submitted to$he Guru's way of thinking. Some writers wrongly believe that the Guru recommended animal diet to his followers. Had it been so, meat would have been introduced in the langar, the free community mess of the Sikhs. It has never been there right from Guru Nanak's time to the present day. The Guru started hunting wild animals not with a view to procuring meat for eating purposes but exclusively with a view to instilling and provoking the fighting spirit in them.

The Guru is said to have constructed a wall around the city of Amritsar. A fort named Lohgarh was built in the town as a measure of security in the event of an attack on the Sikhs. The Guru also built the Akal Bunga (Akal Takht) where he used to discuss secular matters with his Sikhs. The detailed account of the Akal Takht would follow in the following pages.

All these measures of Guru Hargobind found disfavour with the Government. The Guru was not exclusively a militarist. He was primarily a man of God, a Guru, a teacher and a missionary of his faith. For adopting new practices the Guru gave a very convincing explanation to the Maratha saint Samrath Ram Das at Srinagar in Garhwal. Guru Hargobind was on his way to Nanakmata when the saint Ram Das met him at Srinagar in Garhwal during his pilgrimage rambles towards Badri Narayan, etc. Ram Das was surprised to see Guru Hargobind armed and riding a horse accompanied by a large number of followers. The old traditionalist Sadhu could not reconcile the two seemingly opposite aspects of Guru Hargobind's life-a saint and a soldier. He asked the Guru : "I had heard that you occupy the Gaddi of Guru Nanak. Nanak was a tyagi Sadhu-a saint who had renounced the world. You are wearing arms and keeping an army and horses. You allow yourself to be called Sacha Pads hah-a True King. What sort of a Sadhu are you?" Guru Hargobind replied: "(I am) internally a hermit and exiernally a prince. Arms mean protection for the poor and the helpless and destruction for the tyrant. Guru Nanak had not renounced the world but had renounced maya, the self and ego." Samrath Ram Das was pleased to hear this and said : "This appeals to my mind."5 It is said that Saint Ram Das told Guru Hargobind in his parting words that the Guru already had got the right type of instruction and advice from the great master Nanak and that he needed none from him. In fact Saint Ram Das himself seems to have been inspired by what he saw in the Sikh camp of Guru Hargobind and this was helpful in initiating the great Maratha leader Shiva Ji into a life of national upliftment. On his departure Ram Das presented to the Guru a piece of ochre-coloured cloth and a rosary as parting gifts.

The earlier practice of charan-pahul (touching the baptismal water with the toe of the Guru's foot) continued up to Guru Arjun's time. The Masands had also been authorised to prepare charan-pahul and administer the same to the Sikhs. Thus the Masands continued enjoying the privilege of baptising the new Sikhs. Through this privilege the Masands established their authority and superiority over other Sikhs. Guru Hargobirid made an improvement on this practice by authorising a body of five Sikhs to preparepahul (baptism) by touching the water with their right hand thumbs and sanctifiing the same by recitation of the scriptures. This new practice continued up to AD. 1699 when the baptism of the double-edged sword was prepared by Guru Gobind Singh and administered to the Sikhs.6 This improvement introduced by Guru Hargobind weakened, to a certain extent, the Masand's authority which they were liable to misuse.

According to Maubid (Mohsin Fani) the Sikhs called the Guru Sacha Padshah, the True King,7 as against the temporal king who ruled only by the force of arms and concerned himself with the worldly actions of the people. The use of the term Sacha Padshah for the Guru was exploited by the detractors of the Guru. They conveyed to the Emperor that the title of Padshah was the exclusive privilege of the Mughal King and by allowing the Sikhs to use the same for him Guru Hargobind had assumed the royal title. But actually the Guru was not undertaking any imperial authority or royal powers and was not at all interfering with the state affairs. The Guru never asked the Sikhs to withdraw their allegiance from the state or to show disregard to the authority and the law of the Mughal Government.

According to Cunningham Sacha Padshah or True King is the spiritual king or the Guru "who rules the eternal soul or guides it to salvation, while a temporal monarch controls our finite faculties only or puts restraints upon the play of our passions and the enjoyment of our senses. The Muhammadans have the same idea and a corresponding term viz. Malik Hakiki."8

Guru Hargobind introduced congregational prayers which added fervour in the minds of the Sikhs and strengthened feelings of unity and cooperation among them. "Under him was also established the custom, which still continues, of choirs moving nightly round the Golden Temple and, with the blare of trumpets and flare of torches, singing hymns in stirring tunes. All these programmes put a new life into the drooping hearts of the Sikhs."9

The Sikh Sangats took upon themselves the financial and defence requirements of the Guru. Undoubtedly the Guru had no political objectives to achieve and the militant character added to the Sikh movements was purely a measure of self-defence.

Evidently the Mughal Emperor was a little alarmed at these measures of the Guru and summoned him to his ppesence. The Guru went and he was made a state prisoner ai~d sent to Gwalior. For the detention of the Guru different re~asons have been advanced by the writers. According to Dab istan, after Guru Hargobind sat on the Gurugaddi in place of his father, he was confronted with many hardships, '4One of them is this that he adopted the form of a soldier, against the practice of his father, kept servants and took to hunting. The late Emperor (Jahangir) sent Hargobind to the fort of Gwalior on account of the balance of the dues of the fine that he had imposed on Arjun Mal. He remained for twelve years in that place, where they did not allow that he might eat salty food. During this time the Masands and the Sikhs used to go and bow down before the walls of the fort. At last the Emperor, by way of kindness, gave freedom to the Guru."° No doubt the author of Dabistan was contemporaneous with Guru Hargobind and he also claims to have been in correspondence with the Guru, but he has committed many mistakes in this small paragraph, may be unintentionally and due to the inconect~ and inadequate source of information on which he based his writing. The Guru is said to have been detained in Gwalior because he failed to pay the fine imposed on his father. It is not acceptable on the ground that no such fine was ever imposed on Guru Arjun. Even if we accept that Guru Arjun suffered death because he could not pay the fine, there can be no legal justification for transferring to the son the father's punishment that the latter had already undergone and had cost him his life.

The period of the Guru's stay at Gwalior in the prison is stated by Dabistan to be twelve years which is impossible on the very face of it as during these years several children of the Guru were born. The Guru could not have been in jail for more than two years. It is said that on the intercession of a renowned Muslim Saint, Mian Mir and a prominent courtier, Wazir Khan the Guru was released from the jail with 52 other detenues as the Guru refused to come along out of the jail until they were also released. For this, the Guru is remembered as Bandichhor or Deliverer. The very fact that the Guru was released from thejail shows that the Mughal Emperor and his government were convinced that the Guru had no territorial ambitions or aggressive designs against the Mughal Government. The Guru might have been in detention from 1610 to 1612. So Jahangir, who died in 1627, had nothing to complain against Guru Hargobind between 1612 and 1627 and the Guru and the Emperor remained on very cordial terms during this period. It is absurd to say that the Guru accepted an office under Jahangir.

The Guru then busied himself in the work of preaching. He went as far as Kashmir in the north and Nanakmata near Pilibhit, in the east. He converted many people to his faith from among Hindus as well as Muslims. The Guru met Shah Daula at Gujrat, who asked the Guru, "How can a Hindu be a faqir? How can you be a religious man, when you have a wife and children and possess worldly wealth?" The Guru replied, "A wife is her man's conscience, his children continue his memoi5' and wealth gives him his sustenance. As for a faqir, he is neither a Hindu nor a Mussalman."4

After Jahangir's death in 1627, Shah Jehan succeeded him. The new Emperor of Delhi changed his policy towards the non-Muslims and under his orders many temples were pulled down. He also prohibited conversions. The Baoli at Lahore got dug up by Guru Arjun was filled up. The relations between the Sikhs and the government got strained and only a slight cause could spark off a clash.

In 1628 just over a hawk a clash took place between the Sikhs and the royal contingent. Some believe that the hawk affair was a mere pretext. The point of self-respect and the new surging spirit were involved in it. Then a detachment of troops under Mukhlis Khan came from Lahore to take action against the Guru. Mukhlis Khan was killed and his troops were beaten back by the Sikhs. The Guru thought it proper to leave Amritsar and he came to Lahira in the Malwa region. A battle was fought at Lahira in 1631 between the Government forces and the Guru's followers because of a couple of horses. The Guru's men emerged victorious. Another skirmish was fought between the rival parties at Kartarpur in 1634. The imperial contingent was led against the Guru by Painde Khan, an old protege of the Guru. Painde Khan was killed at the hands of the Guru and his followers went back to Lahore without achieving anything against the Guru. According to Teja Singh and Gand~ Singh Guru Hargobind had won four battles, but as his purpose had always been only defensive, he did not acquire even an inch of territory as a result of these. There was something for greater involved in this warfare than a mere dispute over hawk or a horse. "A new heroism was rising in the land, of which the object, then dimly seen, was to create the will to resist the mighty power of the foreign aggressors called the 'Toorks')'

To keep fighting against the Mughal government was not of the Guru's liking. Shortly after the battle of Kartarpur he retired to Kiratpur. He spent the last ten years of his life in peace there and completely devoted himself to the work of his religious ministry.

Besides Gurdwaras and temples, Guru Hargobind also built a mosque for the Muslims at Kiratpur. Many Muslims were very close to the Guru. They included Mian Mir, a Muslim Fir and Wazir Khan, a Muslim noble. Wazir Khan was a strong advocate of the Guru's cause. According to Macauliffe, Emperor Shah Jehan was astonished and inquired why the Guru had constructed a mosque. Wazir Khan promptly answered, "Sire, Gurus and Pirs are all men's property. They feel neither love nor hate. The Guru sitteth on Guru Nanak's throne. His is the abode of miracles. He looketh on Hindu and Muhammadans with an equal eye."2

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Guru Hargobind's death on March 3, 1644 was considered to be a great national calamity. The love of his followers could be judged from the fact that many of them offered to burn themselves on his pyre. Two of them flung themselves on the flames and died at the Guru's feet. Others who were ready to follow the example were forbidden by Guru Har Rai.'3

Before Guru Hargobind's accession to the gaddi, the Harimandir at Amritsar was the place where the Guru used to sit and give spiritual guidance to the Sikhs. At Harimandir, the Sikhs sang hymns in praise of God and.the True Name was worshipped there. But with Guru Arjun's martyrdom and under the changed circumstances the dire need of such a place was felt where the Sikhs should assemble in the presence of the Guru and discuss their secular affairs. Since they were faced with an intolerant and oppressive government they required a place where they should be able to hold deliberations for their self-preservation. The Harimandir could not be used for that purpose. So, the Guru ordered, in AD. 1609, the construction of a place at a distance of about one hundred yards from the Harimandir. The place was named Akal Bunga (the House of the Lord). According to Gun Bilas Padshahi Chhevin the foundation laying~ceremony of Akal Takht was performed by Bhai Budha and Bhai Gurdas, two most revered Sikhs at the Guru's Durbar.

It seems that at the time of the excavation ofHarimandir a big heap of earth had piled on one side. That earth was levelled from above and a pacca floor was laid. A big raised plateform of bricks was constructed to serve as a seat for the Guru. And later a big hall was constructed on that site.

In the 18th century, the Sikh Sardars gave it a better shape. And Ranjit Singh contributed largely to its present edifice.

There Guru Hargobind used to discuss the social and military problems of the Sikh community. Sitting on this 'throne', he would watch the wrestling bouts and military feats of his disciples performed in the open courtyard in front of the Akal Takht. It was here that the Guru also used to receive the presents and offerings of weapons and horses from his followers and particularly from Masands who brought the same from their respective San gats for the Guru. It was also here that the Sikhs presented their personal disputes before the Guru and got them settled. Thus the Sifts were encouraged to have their disputes decided among themselves.

At Akal Takht the Guru held symposiums of martial music and the heroic deeds of historical personalities were narrated and the same were also sung to the people assembled there.

According to Teja Singh and Ganda Singh, Jahangir paid a visit to Arnritsar and offered to complete the building of Akal Takht at his own expense. The Guru however, declined the offer, saying, "Let me and my Sifts raise this Throne of God with the labour of our own little resources. I wish to make it a symbol of my Sift's service and sacrifice and not a monument to a King's generosity."4

Some people believe that "there is great significance in Akal Takht being constructed a few paces away from Harimandir. Akal Takht symbolised Sikh politics while Harimandir signified religion. Each of the two is visible from the other end so that people sitting in Harimandir would remember their involvement in politics and vice versa. Religion and politics were thus blended into one by Guru Hargobind. They were considered limbs of the same body."5 It is also said that the Guru told his Sikhs that as long as he was in Harimandir, he should be treated as a saint, and when in the Akal Takht he should be looked upon as a temporal leader of the community.

The Muslim forces of the foreign invaders and of the Mughal Government ruined Akal Takht many a time as in the case of Harimandir Sahib. The first storey of the present building was constructed in A.D. 1774 during the period of the Sikh Misals. The three upper storeys were constructed by Maharaja Ranjit Singh and the domes covered with gilded plates were also built by Ranjit Singh.

During the 18th century, particularly during the difficult days of the Sikhs, Akal Takht continued to be the venue of the meetings of the Sarbat Khalsa. Ordinarily they proposed to meet at Akal Takht twice a year during the Baisakhi and Diwali festivals which were the opportune times for such meetings when the agriculturists were free to come to the Akal Takht. On the occasions of fairs and festivals at Harimandir and Akal Takht, there assembled big congregations that availed themselves of their pilgrimages to discuss the problems that confronted the community. On other occasions also, they would meet as and when some urgent matter of political importance had to be discussed or some imminent danger threatened the country or any larger expedition was to be undertaken. When Tara Singh Van was killed in 1726 along with his companions, the Sifts met at Akal Takht and decided to assert themselves to make the government machinery inactive and inoperative.

Generally the assemblage at Akal Takht was in proportion to the magnitude of the danger facing the Sikhs. The assembly sessions of the Sarbat Khalsa were convened by the leaders of the community to pass Gurmatas. According to John Malcolm, "When the chiefs meet upon this solemn occasion, it is concluded that all private animosities cease and that every man sacrifices his personal feelings at the shrine of general good and actuated by the principles of pure patriotism thinks of nothing but the interests of the religion and commonwealth to which he belongs."16

Thus sitting in front of the Guru Granth Sahib at Akal Takht, they proceeded to consider the danger with which they were threatened. They settled their plans and strategy for averting the danger and chose the generals who were to lead their armies against the enemy.

As the Sikh Sardars held Akal Takht in high esteem the decisions taken there had a moral and religious binding on them. The Sardars could not, therefore, afford to go against the decisions taken at Akal Takht, and run the risk of losing their popularity with the community. Though the Sardars, at times, quarrelled among themselves, all was peace and friendship when they met at Akal Takht.

At the time of their meeting, they assembled in the open space in front of Akal Takht. Each Sardar had his companions sitting behind him and he participated in the deliberations on behalf of his men. If the followers had any point to make, they did it through their Sardar or they could do it direct. It was not Sardars' assembly nor where the deliberations of the national problems the monopoly of the chiefs. But it was a gathering of the community. According to Fauja Singh, in the assembly at Akal Takht the basic ideas kept before them by its members were those of equality, unanimity and responsibility. The idea of equality entitled every member of the community, including women, to attend and participate in the discussions. The right of participation in discussions had to be exercised personally and directly and not through elected or nominated representatives. The principle of unanimity was based on the belief that the Khalsa was the embodiment of the Holy Guru and that all their assemblies were made Sanctimonious by the Guru's presence in them. Therefore, all collective deliberations were conducted in a detached manner. Different view-points could be expressed but as they were bound by a solemn pledge of being united in the presence of the Guru, the resolutions were passed unanimously.'7

The councils of the Sarbat Khalsa meeting at Akal Takht had a variety of problems for their deliberations. It was there that the Sarbat Khalsa elected the Jathedar or the chief leader of the Dal Khalsa. They also chose agents who were entrusted with powers to negotiate with others on behalf of the Sikh community. By the Gunmata the Sikh Sardars also decided the foreign policy to be pursued by them. It was in the meetings at Akal Takht that the Sikhs drew up plans of military operations against the enemies of the community. They also took up the private feuds of the Sift chiefs at Akal Takht. Sometimes cases of disputed successions were brought up before the Diet for its verdict as ajudicial body. They also took measures for the spread of the Sikh faith and the management of the Gurdwaras. Throughout the 18th century, Akal Takht was the hub of the Sikh politics and it gave direction to the activities of the community through of Gurmatas passed there.

The assembly of the Sikh chiefs at Akal Takht could not be called the Central Government of the Sikh Misals. This assembly had no political jurisdiction or military sanction over the individual chiefs, nor was it necessary. Their attendance as not compulsory but the chiefs considered it obligatory to attend specially with a view to promoting their own interests. Although there existed no means to enforce an obedience to the Gurmata passed at Akal Takht yet there was never an occasion known to history when such a decision was flouted. The decisions taken in the presence of Guru Granth Sahib had behind them religious sanction which was greater in force than that of a military dictator. The Sifts obeyed the decisions of Akal Takht even at the cost of their lives. They believed that the decisions taken there had the spiritual sanction of the Guru.'8 The simple practice and moral authority of the Akal Takht were sufficient to preserve the Khalsa in the troublous times in the 18th century.

When the situation on all fronts eased, the Sikh chiefs became a little indifferent to attend the meetings of the Sarbat Khalsa at Akal Takht. Now their meetings were attended only by a few chiefs. But the absentees never meant any opposition to such meetings or any resistance to decisions taken there. Being busy in their internal affairs, the Sardars, sometimes,just could not attend. There were absolutely no such thing as intentional breaking away of the Sardars from Akal Takht with a calculated design to weaken this seat of authority. The real fact was that with the rise of Ranjit Singh as a sovereign ruler, the Punjab came to be consolidated and the foreign invaders ceased to endanger the country and the community. So during Ranjit Singh's period the rule of Akal Takht fell into disuse so far as political affairs were concerned. No body could be above the decisions taken at this place, not even the great Maharaja. Was the authority of Akal Takht so strong as to dictate terms to the Maharaja and subdue him whenever they felt like doing so or he just accepted the verdict of Akal Takht out of grace and humility ? The predominant opinion about it is that Ranjit Singh paid his homage to Akal Takht not simply as a force which he dould not afford to ignore of control but as the ultimate source of strength and stability to the state he was engaged to build.

Almost all the Muslim and English historians have failed to note the distinction between the respective functions of Harimandir and Akal Takht. They have always taken Akal Takht as a part of Harimandir or its annexe. Khushwaqat Rai has noticed the difference while writing about Jaswant Rao Holkar's visit to Amritsar. According to him, Holkar made an offering of a sum of rupees five hundred each to Harimandir and Akal Takht. He was given a saropa (robe of honour) at Harimandir and a sword at Akal Takht. This clearly indicates the characters of the two places lying opposite to each other. Harmandir had been set up exclusively for spiritual matters and Akal Takht primarily for secular matters.

In one of the rooms of the Akal Takht are preserved some of the weapons of the Gurus and their prominent warriors. The arms include the Mini and Pin swords of Guru Hargobind, a sword of Guru Gobind Singh, daggers of Sahibzada Ajit Singh and Sahibzada Jhujhar Singh, Bachittar Singh's sword (weighing ten kilos), the double­edged swords of Baba Deep Singh and Gurbakhsh Singh and Guru Gobind Singh's two gold-tipped arrows. The holy relics of Guru Gobind Singh brought from England-two spears, one sword and one shield-are also kept at Akal Takht and displayed on a beautifully decorated mount.

As in the past; so even today, Akal Takht is used as a venue for political and secular deliberations of the Sikh community. The sacrosanct character of the decisions taken there has remained unchanged over the centuries ever since its establishment by Guru Hargobind.


Quote from www.allaboutsikhs.com


Sri Akal Takht Sahib Amritsar, 'the throne of the immortal is the supreme seat of religious and temporal authority of its kind for the Sikhs in the world. It is an institution to which every Sikh bows with honor and dignity. Since its inception, Akal Takht Sahib has been shaping the religio-socio-political destiny of the Sikhs. It has been influencing the history and life of the Sikhs. It is the most secular yet deeply religious institution of its kind in the world where spiritual and temporal power blossom together. It is a symbol of continuing faith in unifying doctrine of the Sikh religion and its non-violent politics. It is a place where divinity and dignity go together. It is a source which gives inspiration that righteousness must be defended with rosary in one hand and sword in the other. It is a supreme power to guide the future of the Sikh nation. Sri Akal Takht has played a significant role in establishing a distinctive Sikh identity of Miri and Piri.

According to H.S. Dilgeer,

“Sri Akal Takht, the Throne Of Immortal is the only institution of its kind in the world, which has been influencing the course of the history and life of a community that is essentially non-violent, yet so self respecting, most secular but deeply religious, dedicated to self-sacrifice, yet pledged to self-preservation too.

This in sense, constitutes the elan vital of the Sikh community.”

According to Bhai Kahan Singh Nabha, it is a “Raj Sanghasan” (Royal Throne) of the Sikhs.

The principle place of worship in the name of Sri Harmandar Sahib was built at Amritsar (Punjab) by Guru Arjan Dev Ji (the fifth Guru of Sikhs). In close proximity of Sri Harmandar Sahib, Sri Akal Takht, the highest seat of religious and temporal authority of the Sikhs was revealed and built by Guru Hargobind Sahib which stands for protection of righteousness and human rights.

Although all the five Takhts are equal in sanctity, yet the foremost significant of the Takhts is Sri Akal Takht Sahib. This Takht is the central authority and nerve center of the Sikhs. The national and international socio-religio-political issues concerning the Sikhs are discussed and debated at the Takht. The edicts in the best interest of the Sikh nation are issued to the Sikh Sangat. The Gurmatas and Hukamnamas (Decrees) issued from Sri Akal Takht Sahib are binding on all the Sikhs, all over the world.

Background of Sri Akal Takht Sahib

Mughal Oppression During the time when Akal Takht was built, Mughals were ruling India. Emperor Jehangir became the successor to the moderate Emperor Akbar. He asked Guru Arjan Dev to renounce Sikhism and become a Muslim. Guru Arjan Dev refused and said that nothing could get him to renounce his faith. The Emperor took it as a disgrace and ordered the Guru to be seated on red hot Iron plates. Burning sand was poured on his head. He was boiled in the hot caldrons. The Guru did not budge an inch and gave his life for righteousness on May 30, 1606. A need was felt to defend righteousness, not with rosary alone but with sword also.

According to Macauliffe, Guru Arjan Dev said in his last message to Hargobind trough his followers,

“I have succeeded in effecting the object of my life. Go to my son, the holy Hargobind and give him from me ample consolation. Bid him not mourn or indulge in unmanly lamentations but sing God’s praises.

Let him also restrain from grief the other members of my family. Let him sit fully armed on his throne and maintain an army to the best of his ability.” (p-99; Volume 111).

According to Dr. Bhagat Singh,

“this message seems to be a later concoction as it does not agree with the tenor of Guru Arjan’s life. He is known to history and tradition to be an apostle of peace and a staunch and unstinted follower of non-violence. Under no circumstances he could change his faith in the peaceful demeaner. There can be no doubt about the fact that the decision to arm the community was taken by Guru Hargobind and his followers collectively after Guru Arjan Dev had been martyred.” (p-53; The City Of Amritsar)

Blue Star Ghallughara against the Sikhs

Akal Takht Sahib after Blue StarLately, the building of Akal Takht was smashed by the Indian Army during Blue Star Operation in June 1984 when Indian Prime Minister Indra Gandhi ordered the troops to storm the holiest shrine of the Sikhs. Sri Harmandar Sahib was badly damaged. The most precious Sikh Reference Library was burnt and thousands of innocent pilgrims were killed in this operation. The Sikhs around the world were outraged. No doubt, the Government could smash the building but it could not smash the irresistible spirit of the Sikhs. This unfortunate incidence upset the Sikhs throughout the world.

Sant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwala and thousands of others who led the human rights movement of Khalistan laid down their lives during this Ghallughara.

The government says, it was Blue Star Operation but the Sikhs say, it was the third Ghallughara. Whatever it was, it bruised the Sikh psyche. The entire Sikh community felt shaken, humiliated and grievously hurt as a result of this sacrilege.

Wounds can heal but the damage done to the nerve centre of the Sikhs would continue to agonize the bleeding history of the Sikhs. This operation added one more fissure into the Sikh minds which could have been avoided


Quote from www.sikhlionz.com

AKAL TAKHT is the primary seat of Sikh religious authority and central Temporal altar for Sikh political assembly. Any person, peasant or Maharaja, worldwide, that calls himself a Sikh MUST submit to the will (Hukkham) of the Akal Takht. Laws set by regional & national governments pale in comparison to the Hukkham of Sri Akal Takht. Through hukamnamas edicts or writs, it may issue decretals providing guidance or clarification on any point of Sikh doctrine or practice referred to it, may lay under penance personages charged with violation of religious discipline or with activity prejudicial to Sikh interests or solidarity and may place on record its appreciation of outstanding services rendered or acrifices made by individuals espousing the cause of Sikhism or of the Sikhs. The edifice stands in the Darbar sahib precincts in Amritsar facing Harimandar, now famous as the Golden Temple. The word Akal, a negative of kal(time), is the equivalent of timeless, beyond time, everlasting, and takht, in Persian, that of royal throne or chair of state. Akal Takht would thus mean "timeless or everlasting throne" or throne of the Timeless One, i.e. God." In the Sikh system, God is postulated as Formless (Nirankar), yet to proclaim His sovereignty over His creation, He is sometimes referred to as sultan, patshah, sacha Patshah, or the True King; His seat is referred to as sachcha Takht. the True Throne, sitting on which he dispenses sachcha niao, true justice (cc 84, 1087). it also became common for Sikhs, at least by the time of Guru Arjan (1563-1606), to refer to the Guru as sachcha patshah and to his gaddi or spiritual seat as Takht and the congregation he led as darbar or court. Panegyrizing the Gurus, The bards, Nalya and Mathura, in their verses included in the Guru Granth Sahib, use the word takht in this very sense. Formally, to proclaim Sikh faith's common concern for the spiritual and the worldly, synthesis of miri and piri, Guru Hargobind (1595-1644), son and successor of Guru Arjan adopted royal style. For the ceremonies of succession, he had a platform constructed opposite the Harimandar, naming it Akal Takht. According to Gurbilas Chhevan Patshah, a detailed versified and, going by the year of composition recorded in the text/colophon, the oldest account of Guru Hargobind's life, the structure was raised on 5, 1663 sk/I5 June 1606. The Guru laid the cornerstone and Bhai Buddha and Bhai Gurdas completed the construction, no third person being allowed to lend a helping hand. Guru Hargobind used the takht for the accession ceremonies which, according to the source quoted, took place on 26 Har suds 10, 1663 sk/24 June 1606. From here, he conducted the secular affairs of the community. From here he is said to have issued the first hukamnama (q.v.) to far flung sangats or Sikh centers announcing the creation of Akal Takht and asking them to include in their offerings thenceforth gifts of weapons and horses. Bhai Gurdas was named of officiant in charge of the Akal Takht. A building subsequently raised over the Takht was called Akal Bunga (house) so that the Takht is now officially known as Takht Sri Akal Bunga although its popular name Akal Takht is more in common use. The Sikhs recognize four other holy places as takhts, namely Takht Sri Kesgarh Sahib, Anandpur; Takht Sri Harimandar Sahib, Patna; Takht Sachkhand Hazur Sahib, Abchalnagar, Nanded; and Takht Sri Damdama Sahib, Talvandi Sabo. All four are connected with the life of Guru Gobind Singh (1666 - 1708). All five Takhts are equally venerated, but the Akal Takht at Amritsar enjoys a special status. Historically, this is the oldest of the takhts and along with Harimandar, across the yard, constitutes the capital of Sikhism. Meetings of the Sarbatt Khalsa or general assembly represent native of the entire Panth are traditionally summoned at Akal Takht and it is only there that cases connected with serious religious offenses committed by prominent Sikhs are heard and decided. Hukamnamas or decrees issued by the Akal Takht are universally applicable to all Sikhs and all institutions. After Guru Hargobind's migration to Kiratpur early in 1635, the shrines at Amritsar, including the Akal Takht fell in the hands of the descendants of Prithi Chand, elder brother of Guru Arjan, his grandson, Hariji (d. 1696), remaining in charge for over fifty-five years. Soon after the creation of the Khalsa in March 1699, Guru Gobind Singh sent Bhai Mani Singh to Amritsar to assume control of the Harimandar and the Akal Takht. Later, After Guru Gobind Singh's death, his wife Mata Sundari ji, sent Bhai Mani Singh again to Amritsar on behalf of the Khalsa panth During the troublous period following the martyrdom of Banda Singh Bahadur. The sacred samovars or holy tank, at Amritsar, the Harimandar and the Akal Takht continued a source of inspiration and Spirit and veneration for the Sikhs when circumstances permitted, and usually on Baisakhi and Divali, their scattered bands defying all hazards converged upon Akal Takht to hold sarbatt khalsa assemblies and discuss matters of policy and strategy, For instance, through a gurmata, sarbatt Khalsa at the Akal Takht resolved on 14 October 1745 to reorganize their scattered fighting force into 25 jathas or bands of about 100 warriors each. By another gurmata on Baisakhi, 29 March 1748 the sarbatt khalsa meeting, again, at Akal Takht, formed the Dal Khalsa or the army of the Khalsa consisting of 11 mists or divisions. On Divali, 7 November 1760, the sarbatt khalsa resolved to attack and occupy Lahore (till then Sikhs had not occupied any territory, their only possession being the small fortress of Ram Rauni or Ramgarh they had built at Amritsar in 1746). Akal Takht was again the venue of the sarbatt khalsa on Baisakhi day, 10 April 1763, when through gurmata it was decided to go out to the help of a Brahman who had brought the complaint that his wife had been forcibly abducted by the Afghan chief of Kasur. Even after the Punjab had been parceled into Several Sikh independencies or kingdoms. Amritsar remained the common capital where all sardars or chiefs had built their bungas and stationed their vamps or agents. But as the need for a common strategy and action decreased and rivalries among the mist chiefs raised their head, sarbatt khalsa and correspondingly the Akal Takht lost their political pre-eminence. Maharaja Ranjit Singh felt little need for sarbatt khalsa assemblies after 1805 when it was summoned to consider the question whether or not the fugitive Maratha prince Jasvant Rao Holkar be assisted against the British. The religious authority of the Akal Takht, however, remained intact and the State never challenged it in any manner. There are in fact instances of the State showing subservience as in the case of Maharaja Ranjit Singh himself responding to the summons from the Akal Takht and accepting for a moral misdemeanor penalty imposed by its custodian, Akal Phula Singh, who had fought as a loyal soldier in several of the Maharaja's military campaigns. In spite of its supremacy in the matter of enforcing religious discipline, Akal Takht discharges no divine dispensation. It remits no sins, nor does it invoke God's wrath upon anyone. On several occasions during the eighteenth century, Akal Takht shared with the Harimandar desecration and destruction at the hands of Mughal satraps and Afghan invaders. Ahmad Shah Durrani, who had razed the Harimandar in 1762, again attacked Amritsar in December 1764. On this occasion a small band of 30 Sikhs under their leader, Nihang Gurbakhsh Singh stationed there to serve and protect the Akal Takht, came out to dare the invading horde and fell fighting to the last man. Ahmad Shah had the Akal Bunga completely demolished. Sikhs, however, continued to hold the sarbatt khalsa in front of the ruins and decided at one such gathering on Baisakhi, 10 April 1765, to rebuild the Akal Bunga as well as the Harimandar. Funds for this purpose had already been set apart from the pillage of Sirhind in January 1764. The work was entrusted to Bhai Des Raj, who was also furnished with Guru ki Mohar or the Guru's seal to enable him to raise more funds. The construction of the ground floor of the Akal Bunga was completed by 1774. The rest of the five - storeyed domed edifice was completed during the reign of Maharaja Ranjit Singh. The gilded dome atop the building was built by Hari Singh Nalva at his own expense. The facade of the first four storeys including the basement (originally ground floor but rendered partly below ground level because of the raising of the level of the circumambulatory terrace in front) had a semi-circular orientation. The ground door was a large hall With an attached pillared marble portico. The facades of the next two floors had projected eaves supported on decorative brackets. The facade of the third floor, a large hall with galleries on the sides, had cupped arched openings, nine in number. The exterior of the fourth floor, covering the central hall of the lower floor, was decorated with projected ornamental eaves and a domed kiosk at each corner. The Guru Granth Sahib was seated on the first floor, where the jathedar of the Akal Takht also took his seat. The second floor was used for important meetings and also for amrit prachar, administration of the initiation of the Khalsa. The hall on the third floor was used especially for the meetings of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee until a separate office block, called Teja Singh Samundari Hall, was constructed for the purpose during the 1930's. The beautiful and sacred edifice was destroyed in the army action, called Operation Blue Star, in early June 1984. The Government of India got the building reconstructed in order to assuage the injured feelings of the Sikhs, but this was not acceptable to them. The reconstructed building was demolished in early 1986 to be replaced by one raised through kar-seva, voluntary free service of the Panth and by money accruing from voluntary donations. After the death of Guru Gobind Singh with whom ceased the line of living Gurus, hukamnamas were issued in the name of the Khalsa Panth from the different takhts, especially Akal Takht at Amritsar. Any Sikh transgressing the religious code could be summoned, asked to explain his conduct and punished. Disobedience amounted to social ostracism of an individual or the group concerned. Maharaja Ranjit Singh, 19th century ruler of the Punjab, was summoned by Akali Phula Singh, the then jathedar of Akal Takht, for violating established norms of Sikh behavior. Among instances from recent history a striking one is that of Teja Singh of Bhasaur who was censured for the liberties, he was taking with the Sikh canon. A hukamnama issued from the Akal Takht on 26 Savan 1985 sk/9 August 1928 read: "The Panch Khalsa Diwan (Panch Khand. ), Bhasaur, has published books called Gurmukhi courses in which the bani of Sri Guru Granth Sahib has been garbled and its order changed, changes have been made in gurmantra, the ardas and the ceremonies for administering amrit. These are anti-Sikh proceedings. Hence Babu Teja Singh and Bibi Niranjan Kaur [his wife] are hereby excommunicated from the Panth. Other members of the panth Khalsa Diwan are debarred from having ardas offered on their behalf at Sri Akal Takht Sahib or at any other Gurdwara. No Sikh should purchase Gurmukhi courses published by the Panch Khalsa Diwan, nor keep them in his possession. The Panch khalsa Diwan or whoever else has copies of these should send them to Sri Akal Takht Sahib." An example of an individual penalized for disobeying the Akal Takht edict was that of Bhai Santa Singh, the Nihang, who for the charge brought against him was excommunicated from the Panth (Hukamnama, 8 Savan 515 Nanak Shahl/22 July 1984). Hukamnamas have also been issued to settle points of religious and political disputation; also for commending the services to the Panth of individuals and for adding passages to Sikh ardas, the daily prayer of supplication, as a particular historical situation might demand. On 26 Jeth 1984 sk/8June 1927, the Akal Takht eulogized in a hukamnama Bhai Sahib Sardar Kharak Singh for his qualities of determination and steadfastness and for his sacrifices in the cause of the Panth; likewise, on 30 Bhadon 1988 sk/15 September 1931, Bhai Sahib Randhir Singh was honoured for his outstanding services to the Panth. On 20 Asuj 1970 sk/4 October 1913, Takht Sachkhand Sri Hazur Sahib promulgated a hukamnama fixing the length of kirpan or sword a Sikh will carry slung from across his shoulder at a minimum of one foot. On 12 Magh 483 Nanak Shahi/25 January 1952, Akal Takht enjoined upon the entire Khalsa and all Gurdwara ministers" to add these lines to the ardas: " " O Timeless Lord, the Benevolent One, ever the succourer of Thy Panth, we pray grant the Khalsa ji the privilege of unhindered access to and control and maintenance of Sri Nankana Sahib and other holy shrines and sites from which the Panth has been parted " [after the partition of the Punjab in 1947]." Such writs promulgated under the seal of a Takht carry sanction for the entire Sikh people.

Thus, you now know the MEANING of Sri Akal Takht Sahib to Sikhs worldwide and why it's sanctity should be protected with the lives of those who believe in it. Sri Akal Takht Sahib is currently under the contol of the Indian Government vis-a-vis the Punjab Sarkar (Akali Dal) Chief Minister Parkash Badal. Badal makes Important decisions such as whom the Jathedar should be. This is in violation of Sikh beliefs that are centuries old. We must fight to remove any Government interventions and violations of Sikh rights due to Sri Akal Takht Sahib being a Takht of religious reverence, temporal authority and intervention being in breach of Sikh human rights to express themselves and their beliefs as they choose.



Quote from www.sikh-history.com


AKAL TAKHT is the primary seat of Sikh religious authority and central altar for Sikh political assembly. Through hukamnamas edicts or writs, it may issue decretals providing guidance or clarification on any point of Sikh doctrine or practice referred to it, may lay under penance personages charged with violation of religious discipline or with activity prejudicial to Sikh interests or solidarity and may place on record its appreciation of outstanding services rendered or acrifices made by individuals espousing the cause of Sikhism or of the Sikhs. The edifice stands in the Darbar sahib precincts in Amritsar facing Harimandar, now famous as the Golden Temple. The word Akal, a negative of kal(time), is the equivalent of timeless, beyond time, everlasting, and takht, in Persian, that of royal throne or chair of state. Akal Takht would thus mean "timeless or everlasting throne" or throne of the Timeless One, i.e. God." In the Sikh system, God is postulated as Formless (Nirankar), yet to proclaim His sovereignty over His creation, He is sometimes referred to as sultan, patshah, sacha Patshah, or the True King; His seat is referred to as sachcha Takht. the True Throne, sitting on which he dispenses sachcha niao, true justice (cc 84, 1087). it also became common for Sikhs, at least by the time of Guru Arjan (1563-1606), to refer to the Guru as sachcha patshah and to his gaddi or spiritual seat as Takht and the congregation he led as darbar or court. Panegyrizing the Gurus, The bards, Nalya and Mathura, in their verses included in the Guru Granth Sahib, use the word takht in this very sense. Formally, to proclaim Sikh faith's common concern for the spiritual and the worldly, synthesis of miri and piri, Guru Hargobind (1595-1644), son and successor of Guru Arjan adopted royal style. For the ceremonies of succession, he had a platform constructed opposite the Harimandar, naming it Akal Takht. According to Gurbilas Chhevan Patshah, a detailed versified and, going by the year of composition recorded in the text/colophon, the oldest account of Guru Hargobind's life, the structure was raised on 5, 1663 sk/I5 June 1606. The Guru laid the cornerstone and Bhai Buddha and Bhai Gurdas completed the construction, no third person being allowed to lend a helping hand. Guru Hargobind used the takht for the accession ceremonies which, according to the source quoted, took place on 26 Har suds 10, 1663 sk/24 June 1606. From here, he conducted the secular affairs of the community. From here he is said to have issued the first hukamnama (q.v.) to far flung sangats or Sikh centers announcing the creation of Akal Takht and asking them to include in their offerings thenceforth gifts of weapons and horses. Bhai Gurdas was named of officiant in charge of the Akal Takht. A building subsequently raised over the Takht was called Akal Bunga (house) so that the Takht is now officially known as Takht Sri Akal Bunga although its popular name Akal Takht is more in common use.

The Sikhs recognize four other holy places as takhts, namely Takht Sri Kesgarh Sahib, Anandpur; Takht Sri Harimandar Sahib, Patna; Takht Sachkhand Hazur Sahib, Abchalnagar, Nanded; and Takht Sri Damdama Sahib, Talvandi Sabo. All four are connected with the life of Guru Gobind Singh (1666 - 1708). All five Takhts are equally venerated, but the Akal Takht at Amritsar enjoys a special status. Historically, this is the oldest of the takhts and along with Harimandar, across the yard, constitutes the capital of Sikhism. Meetings of the Sarbatt Khalsa or general assembly represent native of the entire Panth are traditionally summoned at Akal Takht and it is only there that cases connected with serious religious offenses committed by prominent Sikhs are heard and decided. Hukamnamas or decrees issued by the Akal Takht are universally applicable to all Sikhs and all institutions.

After Guru Hargobind's migration to Kiratpur early in 1635, the shrines at Amritsar, including the Akal Takht fell in the hands of the descendants of Prithi Chand, elder brother of Guru Arjan, his grandson, Hariji (d. 1696), remaining in charge for over fifty-five years. Soon after the creation of the Khalsa in March 1699, Guru Gobind Singh sent Bhai Mani Singh to Amritsar to assume control of the Harimandar and the Akal Takht. Later, After Guru Gobind Singh's death, his wife Mata Sundari ji, sent Bhai Mani Singh again to Amritsar on behalf of the Khalsa panth During the troublous period following the martyrdom of Banda Singh Bahadur. The sacred samovars or holy tank, at Amritsar, the Harimandar and the Akal Takht continued a source of inspiration and Spirit and veneration for the Sikhs when circumstances permitted, and usually on Baisakhi and Divali, their scattered bands defying all hazards converged upon Akal Takht to hold sarbatt khalsa assemblies and discuss matters of policy and strategy, For instance, through a gurmata, sarbatt Khalsa at the Akal Takht resolved on 14 October 1745 to reorganize their scattered fighting force into 25 jathas or bands of about 100 warriors each. By another gurmata on Baisakhi, 29 March 1748 the sarbatt khalsa meeting, again, at Akal Takht, formed the Dal Khalsa or the army of the Khalsa consisting of 11 mists or divisions. On Divali, 7 November 1760, the sarbatt khalsa resolved to attack and occupy Lahore (till then Sikhs had not occupied any territory, their only possession being the small fortress of Ram Rauni or Ramgarh they had built at Amritsar in 1746). Akal Takht was again the venue of the sarbatt khalsa on Baisakhi day, 10 April 1763, when through gurmata it was decided to go out to the help of a Brahman who had brought the complaint that his wife had been forcibly abducted by the Afghan chief of Kasur.

Even after the Punjab had been parceled into Several Sikh independencies or kingdoms. Amritsar remained the common capital where all sardars or chiefs had built their bungas and stationed their vamps or agents. But as the need for a common strategy and action decreased and rivalries among the mist chiefs raised their head, sarbatt khalsa and correspondingly the Akal Takht lost their political pre-eminence. Maharaja Ranjit Singh felt little need for sarbatt khalsa assemblies after 1805 when it was summoned to consider the question whether or not the fugitive Maratha prince Jasvant Rao Holkar be assisted against the British. The religious authority of the Akal Takht, however, remained intact and the State never challenged it in any manner.

There are in fact instances of the State showing subservience as in the case of Maharaja Ranjit Singh himself responding to the summons from the Akal Takht and accepting for a moral misdemeanor penalty imposed by its custodian, Akal Phula Singh, who had fought as a loyal soldier in several of the Maharaja's military campaigns. In spite of its supremacy in the matter of enforcing religious discipline, Akal Takht discharges no divine dispensation. It remits no sins, nor does it invoke God's wrath upon anyone.

On several occasions during the eighteenth century, Akal Takht shared with the Harimandar desecration and destruction at the hands of Mughal satraps and Afghan invaders. Ahmad Shah Durrani, who had razed the Harimandar in 1762, again attacked Amritsar in December 1764. On this occasion a small band of 30 Sikhs under their leader, Nihang Gurbakhsh Singh stationed there to serve and protect the Akal Takht, came out to dare the invading horde and fell fighting to the last man. Ahmad Shah had the Akal Bunga completely demolished. Sikhs, however, continued to hold the sarbatt khalsa in front of the ruins and decided at one such gathering on Baisakhi, 10 April 1765, to rebuild the Akal Bunga as well as the Harimandar. Funds for this purpose had already been set apart from the pillage of Sirhind in January 1764. The work was entrusted to Bhai Des Raj, who was also furnished with Guru ki Mohar or the Guru's seal to enable him to raise more funds. The construction of the ground floor of the Akal Bunga was completed by 1774. The rest of the five - storeyed domed edifice was completed during the reign of Maharaja Ranjit Singh. The gilded dome atop the building was built by Hari Singh Nalva at his own expense. The facade of the first four storeys including the basement (originally ground floor but rendered partly below ground level because of the raising of the level of the circumambulatory terrace in front) had a semi-circular orientation. The ground door was a large hall With an attached pillared marble portico. The facades of the next two floors had projected eaves supported on decorative brackets. The facade of the third floor, a large hall with galleries on the sides, had cupped arched openings, nine in number. The exterior of the fourth floor, covering the central hall of the lower floor, was decorated with projected ornamental eaves and a domed kiosk at each corner. The Guru Granth Sahib was seated on the first floor, where the jathedar of the Akal Takht also took his seat. The second floor was used for important meetings and also for amrit prachar, administration of the initiation of the Khalsa. The hall on the third floor was used especially for the meetings of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee until a separate office block, called Teja Singh Samundari Hall, was constructed for the purpose during the 1930's.

The beautiful and sacred edifice was destroyed in the army action, called Operation Blue Star, in early June 1984. The Government of India got the building reconstructed in order to assuage the injured feelings of the Sikhs, but this was not acceptable to them. The reconstructed building was demolished in early 1986 to be replaced by one raised through kar-seva, voluntary free service of the Panth and by money accruing from voluntary donations.

After the death of Guru Gobind Singh with whom ceased the line of living Gurus, hukamnamas were issued in the name of the Khalsa Panth from the different takhts, especially Akal Takht at Amritsar. Any Sikh transgressing the religious code could be summoned, asked to explain his conduct and punished. Disobedience amounted to social ostracism of an individual or the group concerned. Maharaja Ranjit Singh, 19th century ruler of the Punjab, was summoned by Akali Phula Singh, the then jathedar of Akal Takht, for violating established norms of Sikh behavior. Among instances from recent history a striking one is that of Teja Singh of Bhasaur who was censured for the liberties, he was taking with the Sikh canon. A hukamnama issued from the Akal Takht on 26 Savan 1985 sk/9 August 1928 read: "The Panch Khalsa Diwan (Panch Khand. ), Bhasaur, has published books called Gurmukhi courses in which the bani of Sri Guru Granth Sahib has been garbled and its order changed, changes have been made in gurmantra, the ardas and the ceremonies for administering amrit. These are anti-Sikh proceedings. Hence Babu Teja Singh and Bibi Niranjan Kaur [his wife] are hereby excommunicated from the Panth. Other members of the panth Khalsa Diwan are debarred from having ardas offered on their behalf at Sri Akal Takht Sahib or at any other Gurdwara. No Sikh should purchase Gurmukhi courses published by the Panch Khalsa Diwan, nor keep them in his possession. The Panch khalsa Diwan or whoever else has copies of these should send them to Sri Akal Takht Sahib."

An example of an individual penalized for disobeying the Akal Takht edict was that of Bhai Santa Singh, the Nihang, who for the charge brought against him was excommunicated from the Panth (Hukamnama, 8 Savan 515 Nanak Shahl/22 July 1984). Hukamnamas have also been issued to settle points of religious and political disputation; also for commending the services to the Panth of individuals and for adding passages to Sikh ardas, the daily prayer of supplication, as a particular historical situation might demand. On 26 Jeth 1984 sk/8June 1927, the Akal Takht eulogized in a hukamnama Bhai Sahib Sardar Kharak Singh for his qualities of determination and steadfastness and for his sacrifices in the cause of the Panth; likewise, on 30 Bhadon 1988 sk/15 September 1931, Bhai Sahib Randhir Singh was honoured for his outstanding services to the Panth. On 20 Asuj 1970 sk/4 October 1913, Takht Sachkhand Sri Hazur Sahib promulgated a hukamnama fixing the length of kirpan or sword a Sikh will carry slung from across his shoulder at a minimum of one foot. On 12 Magh 483 Nanak Shahi/25 January 1952, Akal Takht enjoined upon the entire Khalsa and all Gurdwara ministers" to add these lines to the ardas: " O Timeless Lord, the Benevolent One, ever the succourer of Thy Panth, we pray grant the Khalsa ji the privilege of unhindered access to and control and maintenance of Sri Nankana Sahib and other holy shrines and sites from which the Panth has been parted " [after the partition of the Punjab in 1947]."

Such writs promulgated under the seal of a Takht carry sanction for the entire Sikh people.