believe in the efficacy of kirtan (devotional singing) and regularly hold overnight
sessions (rain sabai). This group also attaches particular importance to the meditation
and repetition of the Sikh mantra 'Vahiguru' ('wonderful guru'). The group observes
strict vegetarianism and will only cook with, and eat out of, iron utensils. All
references to caste distinctions are strictly forbidden. They reject the list
of musical modes at the end of the Adi Granth (rag-mala) and do not repeat it
when there is a complete reading of the scripture. However, believing that the
words of the Guru Granth are literally the words of the Guru, they can be called
fundamentalists. Furthermore there is no interpretative explanation (katha) given
of scriptural passages, since the meaning is assumed to be clear and transparent.
The group replaces the original uncut hair (kesh) with a small under-turban (keshki),
which both women and men wear.
In such beliefs the group reject the general
code of conduct known as the Sikh Rahit Marayada of the S.G.P.C., and produced
their own called rahit-bibek (bibek means discrimination, discernment, insight).
also believe in a different Khalsa initiation ceremony, wherein the five beloved
ones, or five Gursikhs place their right hand on the neophyte's head and meditatively
repeat the mantra "Vahiguru", revolving around the initiate for five
or so minutes.
Bhai Randhir Singh (1878-1961) (above), initiated the movement from
his long periods in prison - since he vehemently opposed British rule. He caused
considerable consternation with his vehement demands that he abide by his Khalsa's
rahit (code of conduct) whilst in prison. His rigorous interpretation did not
allow him to eat out of anything not made in an all-iron vessel (Sarob Loh, echoing
Guru Gobind Singh's term for God). He was associated with Teja Singh of Bhasaur
and his Panch Khalsa Divan. However, he cut all ties with him when Teja Singh
His followers are known as the Bhai Randhir Singh da Jatha,
which is used interchangeably with the Akhand Kirtani Jatha. There was an extremist
off-shoot of the Akhand Kirtani Jatha in the form of the Babbar Khalsa who claimed
responsibility for killing many Sant Nirankaris in the 1980s.
The women are
expected to wear the turban (Keski) as well as the usual kesh (uncut hair). The
importance of the keski is justified by the fact that all the other five K's are
external and additional to the natural human form, except for the uncut hair (kesh).
Therefore it requires special external treatment.