The Multifarious Faces of Sikhism
throughout Sikh History
Page 1 of 1
Time of origin: 1887
In 1863, a child named Vishnu
took birth in the village of Thana, Ludhiana.
Born to a ‘Tarkhan’
(carpenter) named Kan Chand
and his wife Sukhi, at the
age of 11 he became a disciple of an Udasi,
Sant Mehtab Das. He later changed his
name to Vishnu Das.
In 1880, he joined the ‘Vada
Akhara’ of Udasis (orthodox Udasis)
and became itinerant. Then, in 1887, on becoming
disillusioned with the multifarious forms of
Sikhism, he started to propagate his own philosophy
of ‘Gehr Ganbeehr Naam’
meaning ‘deep contemplation of Naam’.
He settled in Ropar, in the district of Ambala.
Photograph of the Udasis belonging to the 'Vada
Akhara', circa early 20th century
Vishnu Das believed that due to the fact there
are so many distinct Sikh sects centered around
individuals, there could never be true love
of Sikhism. He taught that by transcending all
outward religious forms, when one absorbs oneself
in God’s name in state of deep meditation
(a term which he substantiated by quoting Adi
Guru Durbar), then there can be true love of
Adi Guru Durbar
Folio from Adi Guru Durbar done in the Kashmiri
Vishnu (top), Brahma (middle), and Indra Lok
(bottom), circa 1839
On meeting each other, the Gehr Ganbeehri Sikhs
saluted each other with, ‘Gehr
Ganbeehr’, and the response would
be ‘Sat Gehr Ganbeehr’
(true Guru God is). These Sikhs believed in
Adi Guru Durbar, and in general followed Udasi
traditions. In time, they merged back with Udasis.