Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji, the Aad Guru, Jagat Guru was the incarnation of God in Kalyug (the present era). HE was born equipped with the supernatural powers by the intangible God. HE, with the highly exalted spiritual preaching, guided humanity to come out from the darkness of materialistic world to the everlasting light of ‘absolute truth and knowledge.’ With the emergence of Guru Nanak, the mist of ignorance cleared and the world was lit with divine knowledge.
Satgur Nanak Pragatia Miti Dhund Jag Chaanan Hoaa
(Bhai Gurdas Ji, Vaar:1 Pauri: 27)
Sri Guru Nanak Dev ji came into this world with a noble mission of spreading peace and harmony in the society which was deeply engrossed in the pursuit of materialism. His concept of Nirmal Panth (pure path) was guided and enlightened by the divine theory of ONENESS and TRUTH. He made humanity understand and realize that soul is the minute manifestation of omnipresent GOD and one should feel HIS presence everywhere. His aim was to bestow humanity with a spiritual purification and liberate it from the vicious cycle of life and death. He defined an ideal religion which does not advocate blind dogmatic rituals, caste system or idolatry rather it engages man to constantly remember God & make him complete & one with Him. His teachings always had a universal appeal for Hindus, Muslims & Sikhs alike. There is only ‘One God’ is the foundation of His teachings. He also gave three guiding principles of spiritual life –
- First ‘Kirat karo’ that is to earn an honest, pure living by exercising one’s God given skills & abilities & practicing hard labour for the benefit of individual & society at large,
- Second principle was ‘Naam Japna’ i.e. to always remember God & chant His name, empowering the inner self with the light of Naam.
- Third ‘Vand Chhako’ which professes to share with others whatever one has & help the needy.
With this foresight, Guru Nanak Dev ji founded the unique Nirmal Panth (pure path), the emergence of which has been described by Bhai Gurdas in the following verse:
Maaria Sikka Jagat Vich Nanak Nirmal Panth Chalaaya
(Bhai Gurdas Ji, Vaar:1 Pauri: 45)
Guru Nanak Dev ji felt the need for a new path for Kalyug – the age of vice & falsehood and also ensured its continuity through his successors. With the passage of time, Sri Guru Gobind Singh ji (The Tenth Guru of the Sikhs), gave an organized form to ‘Nirmal Panth’ in the year 1686 A.D. at His camp at Sri Paonta Sahib. This holy place is situated at the banks of river Yamuna, now located in Distt. Sirmaur of Himachal Pradesh. During His stay of four years and three months here, this place was developed into a pilgrimage by Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji. Among the many activities concluded by Him, was the formation of ‘Nirmaley Saints’. He showered His blessings upon His five promising Sikh disciples, invested them with saffron robes and declared “Now you are my Nirmaley Saints”. These five saints named Bhai Karam Singh Ji, Bhai Ram Singh Ji, Bhai Ganda Singh Ji, Bhai Vir Singh Ji and Bhai Saina Singh Ji were then sent to Kashi (Banaras) to gain divine knowledge. With the blessings of ‘The Guru’ they acquired vast and deep knowledge from Vedas and shastras in all the six philosophies. They then became great scholars and reached at the Holy feet of Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji at Sri Anandpur Sahib in 1699 A.D. Here, Guru Gobind Singh Ji had already initiated the Khalsa tradition by bestowing the ‘Panj Piaras’ – the five beloved ones (Bhai Daya Singh Ji, Bhai Dharam Singh Ji, Bhai Sahib Singh Ji, Bhai Himmat Singh Ji & Bhai Mohkam Singh Ji). The ‘Nirmaley Sanits’ offered obeisance at the holy feet of the Guru, received innumerable blessings and prayed for ‘Amrit Paan’. Bhai Daya Singh Ji & Bhai Dharam Singh Ji became the preachers of these five saints. In this way, temporal lineage emerged from these two piaras which culminated in the form of ‘Nirmal Cult’. To preach the basic principles of the mission of Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji Maharaj, Guru Ji blessed and ordered the five ‘Nirmaley Saints’ to spread the message of the Guru (Gurmat) throughout India and abroad.
During the difficult period of Sikh history, the ‘Nirmaley Saints’ at times, offered many sacrifices in defence of religion. Besides preaching and spreading the message of Guru they kept the torch of Gurmat alive through their pure and spotless conduct. From amongst the Panj Piaras bestowed by Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji, the Nirmal Sant tradition that flowed from Piare Bhai Dharam Singh ji, gave birth to one great ascetic and accomplished personality, Sriman Sant Thakur Dayal Singh Ji. It is because of His saintly excellence that Nirmal Sect acquired a subname ‘Sampardaye Thakuran’. His abode (Dera) lies at Chowk Monni in Amritsar. Among his disciples was a great holy soul known as Sant Dharam Singh Ji ‘Samadhi Wale’. Physical, spiritual and academic growth of Sant Buddha Singh Ji in his childhood took place under his care, who later on laid the foundation of Nirmal Ashram, Rishikesh in 1900.