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The Multifarious Faces of Sikhism throughout Sikh History
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Sat Kartaria

Time of origin: early 1600s

Sat Kartaria’ means believers of ‘Sat’ (true eternal) ‘Kartar’ (creator). It is said that in 1593, an inhabitant of Lahore named Sangatia came and served the fifth Sikh Guru, Akali Guru Arjan Dev Ji assiduously. The Guru blessed him saying that he would be the master of Yogic occult powers ‘Ridhia’ and ‘Sidhia’. On being honored so, Sangatia gained great respect in the Sikh community.

Akali Guru Arjan Dev Ji Maharaj

A Pahari painting of the fifth Sikh Guru with an Udasi Sadhu, circa 1800

Sangatia becoming a mendicant and largely kept to himself, during which he contemplated God’s name. It is said that such was his power, that anything he spoke would become true. In time, he took one Sangat Das of Khatri caste as a disciple, and made him his successor by giving him his ‘Seli Topi’ (cap).

Sangat Das was even a more recluse than his Guru. He hid away in a room and spent many lonely hours meditating on God’s Name. He also had great miraculous powers, but he chose to keep them concealed. From his mouth Sangat Das, like his Guru before him uttered, “Sat Kartar” (True is eternal creator God). Hence Sangat Das and his Sikhs (disciples) came to be known as ‘Sat Kartaria’.

Sangat Das was succeeded by his son, Hazaari Das, who later built a fine shrine in Hargobindpur. This would become the headquarters of the Sat Kartarias.

'Guru ki Maseet', based at Hargobindpur was built by Akali Guru Hargobind Sahib Ji

Hazari Das was succeeded by his son, Harlal Das. He too was a great holy man. At some juncture of Sikh history, the Sat Kartaria’s merged with the Udasi Sikhs.

Baba Sri Chand Ji Maharaj

Eldest son of Akali Guru Nanak Dev Ji, and founder of the Udasi order

With regards to the dress and beliefs of Sat Kartarias, Nirmala Pundit Ganesha Singh wrote:

‘The Sadhus wore deep red colored or white clothes but the turban they always kept colored [red]. All their other traditions were of Udasis. But they did not keep matted hair or smeared body with ash. They paid reverence to Guru Granth Sahib and taught the Mantras “Satnam” and “Sat Kartar”. On meeting they say “Sat Kartar” and salute each other. Outside of Punjab one can not see this sect.’
‘Bharat Mat Darpan’, by Pundit Ganesha Singh Nirmala, 1926, Pa. 69-70
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