Going Independent Sect Annouces Creation of Separate ‘Religion’ With Own Scripture, No mention Of Sikh Gurus; ‘Will Respect All Religions, Love Mankind’
JALAHDHAR: Severing age-old ties with Sikhism by creating a separate “Ravidassia Dharam“, Dera Sachkhand Ballan, situated on the outskirts of Jalandhar, released a brief code of conduct for the followers of Guru Ravidas on Monday.
The dera, where the mass of Guru Ravidas devotees come together, had on Saturday set its religious agenda rolling by announcing the founding of their distinct faith on the 633rd birth anniversary of their patron saint.
According to sources, the Sikh Holy Scripture, Guru Granth Sahib – which thus far had a distinct place of honour at Guru Ravidas shrines – is now likely to be replaced with a newly released Ravidassia text -Amritbani Satguru Ravidas Maharaj-ji, though in a phased manner.
The new code lays down objectives of the Ravidassia Dharam -primarily, propagation of the hymns and teachings of Guru Ravidas. Besides, teachings of Maharshi Bhagwan Balmik, Guru Narridev, Kabir, Satguru Tirlochan, Satguru Sain and Satguru Sadna would also be propagated.
“We will respect all religions, 100’e mankind and lead a virtuous life,” the code declares, adding that the followers will recite texts from the new holy book of the faith.
There is no mention of any Sikh gurus in the code. Ravidassias had been following Guru Granth Sahib since centuries, but relations between the two communities came under severe strain following the assassination of Dera Sachkhand Ballan deputy chief Sant Ramanand at Vienna in Austria last year. Dera chief Sant Niranjan Dass survived bullet injuries.
The attack was suspected to have been carried out by Sikh hardliners, who were offended by sect leaders allowing their followers to bow before them in the presence of Guru Granth Sahib at Ravidas gurdwaras.
A leaflet bearing pictures of Guru Ravidas and his birth place of Seer Goverdhanpur in Varanasi was also distributed among hundreds of followers at the dera as soon as Sant Niranjan Dass and his deputy Sant Surinder Dass Bawa returned from Varanasi on Monday.
While the religious symbol of the “dharm” prominently bears the word ‘Har’, the leaflet states that the followers would greet one another “Jai Gurudev”.
Sources said the decision to create a separate religion had been taken unanimously in the presence of followers gathered for the Ravidas Jayanti celebrations at Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh. Nearly 300 copies of “Amritbani Satguru Ravidas Maharaj-ji” – which contains 240 hymns of Guru Ravidas – have been distributed among followers thus far.
Earlier in the day, Sant Niranjan Dass, his deputy and over 1,500 devotees, who arrived at Jalandhar City railway station in the Begampura Express from Varanasi, were welcomed by hundreds of followers. Leaders of the dera, however, refused to interact with the media.