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Epilogue - The Multicultural Society
 
In conclusion, Sanatan meaning 'traditionalist' Sikhs, the Udasis, Nirmala, Seva Panthi and Akali Nihangs believe their Dharma (spiritual path) to be eternal and universal.


The Sanatan Sikhs
from left to right: the Udhasi (missionary), the Nirmala (intellectual), the
Seva Panthi/Addan Shahi (philanthropist) and the Akali Nihang Singh Khalsa
(warriors). All these orders were blessed by the Sanatan Sikh Gurus themselves

The true Dharma underlies all sincere faiths and philosophies of the world. In its tolerant philosophy of life, there is no room for religious or political bigots or fanatics or fundamentalism.

The tolerant nature of Sanatan Sikhism is such that it is very difficult for many modern Tat Khalsa British Raj-era Victorian-Sikh mentality so-called Sikhs to appreciate. Hew McLeod spoke of the Sanatan Sikhs and Sanatan Sikh world view of late 19th century thus:

‘The Sikhism preached by the people such as Khem Singh Bedi and Avatar Singh Vahiria is difficult to envisage today, so comprehensive has been their defeat by the Tat Khalsa. For them Sikhism tolerated variety and upheld the right of Sikhs to participate in folk religion. Caste was maintained and idol worship was tolerated. There were different forms of marriage for different castes and, different rituals could be practised by various members of the Panth. All manners of customs, such as those involving astrology, horoscopes and incantation, were acceptable. Visits to the sacred shrines of Hindus and Muslim as well as those of the Guru’s were entirely approved. Sanatan leaders might not follow these customs themselves, but certainly they were prepared to tolerate them in others. They were part of the immense variety which characterised the world they had known and the world they hoped would continue. All this was anathema to the Tat Khalsa. Sikhism could not possibly be as broad and as tolerant as Sanatan Sikhs believed.
(‘Sikhism’, H. McLeod, 1997, Pa.77)

Although Sanatan Sikhism is tolerant, it does not mean that it in any way cowers or surrenders to any bigot or fanatic. The Faith of Guru Nanak is of oneness of Nirankar God and all mankind. As Akali Nihang Guru Gobind Singh said:

‘Some are Bragis, some Synasis, some are Yogis, some are Brahmchari and some are Jatis [All aforementioned are Hindu sects].
Some Hindus, some Shia Muslim, some Suni Muslim but recognise the race of all man as one. The creator, blesser, feeder of all, the compassionate One is but one. There is no second, all these apparent distinctions [of race and religion] arise out of false perception. All should serve the one for the Guru of all is one, all are of one form consider in all is but one light [of Va-eh Guru]. The Hindu temple and Muslim Mosque is but He, Hindu worship and Muslim worship is but He. All mankind are but one misunderstandings are of many types.
(‘Dasam Guru Durbar, Akal Ustat)


Das Guru
An old painting of depicting the ten Sanatan Sikh Gurus who all wished to
promote humanity and Dharam (righteousness) regardless of creed, colour of socio-economic status

The relevance of the tolerant Sanatan Sikh philosophy of life to the great multicultural society we live in is profound if we are to build and co-exist in a strong, free, peace full society.

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