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The Multifarious Faces of Sikhism throughout Sikh History
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Introduction

Like all the religious/spiritual traditions the world over that possess numerous sects and orders, so too exist within Sikhism a myriad of orders that represent the faith according to their particular perspective and beliefs. These various orders have adopted the message of Dharma (universal law of divine righteousness) that Akali Guru Nanak Devji spoke of, and propagated this wisdom to the masses in their own unique way.

Within the pluralistic era of pre-British Raj Sanatan (traditional) Sikhism, four distinct orders existed amongst these numerous Sikh sects, and were considered orthodox. Today, these same four orders, the ‘Akali Nihangs’ (warriors), ‘Udasis’ (missionaries), ‘Nirmalas’ (intellectuals) and ‘Sewa Panthis’ (philanthropists), are considered heterodox since the emergence of Tat Khalsa Singh Sabhias in the 1880s.

In time, the glory of Sanatan Sikhism began to decline sharply as the British Raj-educated Sikhs began to form their own Sikh sects, committees, and denominations.

(click on Timeline below or proceed to Prologue)

Time of origin: 1969 Time of origin: 1969 (however 'Santhia' tradition can be traced back to 1704 at Dam Dama Sahib - it is one of the many sampardas of 'Dam Dama' origin) Time of origin: approximately 1930 Time of origin: mid 1930s Time of origin: informally 1920, but 1925, formally (with passing of Gurdwara Act 1st Jan 1925) Time of origin: 1918 Time of origin: 1918 (however 'Santhia' tradition can be traced back to 1704 at Dam Dama Sahib) Time of origin: 1893 Time of origin: 1887 Time of origin: approximately 1879 Time of origin: 2nd October 1879 Time of origin: 1873 Time of origin: mid 1800s Time of origin: mid 1800s Time of origin: early 1800s Time of origin: early 1800s Time of origin: early 1800s Time of origin: early 1800s Time of origin: circa 1730 Time of origin: early 1700s Time of origin: circa 1730s Time of origin: early 1600s Time of origin: circa 1712 Time of origin: 1708 Time of origin: early 1700s Time of origin: late 1500s/ early 1600s Time of origin: can be traced to Vishnu through Nirmala mythology. Historical origins date to 1699 Time of origin: late 1600s Time of origin: early 1600s Time of origin: During the times of Akali Guru Hargobind (early 1600s, as he gradually militarized Sikhism in the early 1600s) Time of origin: Mythological beginnings (via 'Chandi di Vaar') can be traced to 'Sat Yuga' (Age of Truth) as soldiers of Chandi.Known informally as 'Baba Budha Budha Dal' during the establishment of the Akal Takht (circa 1606) Time of origin: mid 1500s Time of origin: early 1500s (with establishment of Sodhi clans in Punjab Time of origin: 1494 (birth of Baba Siri Chand Maharaj), established as an institution in early 1600s Time of origin: 1494 (birth of Baba Siri Chand Maharaj), established as an institution in early 1600s

 
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