When the British annexed the Punjab in 1849, they would usually incorrectly classify the Sikhs as a sect of Hinduism. During these times, a Sikh reform movement know as Tat Khalsa came into existence. In their efforts to present the Sikh faith as a distinct religion, they disassociated themselves with many of the practices that they viewed as having a Hindu influence on the Sikhs. It was during these times that Yoga along many other important practices were discouraged in the Sikh community.
What many Sikhs don’t know is that prior to this, the five older Sikh Traditions known as Puratan Sikh Sampardas* had always considered Yogic Practices as part of Sikhi. To date most Udasi Sikhs and Nirmala Sikhs still practice Yoga. Many Yogic texts have been written on Yogic Techniques and Philosophies by this great sages of the Udasi and Nirmala Sikhs.
The Udasi tradition was founded by Baba Sri Chand, the elder son of Guru Nanak. He was a Baal Jogiswar, who lived to 151 years but looked like he was 12 years old in his appearance. He was one of the world’s greatest acknowledged Yogis. He was always in his subtle body. Very few people met him in physical terminology, but everywhere he appeared in his radiant body, in perfect form and shape.
When Guru Nanak Dev Ji returned from his 4th and the last Udasi (Travels), he presented his Udasi robe to Baba Sri Chand. Baba Sri Chand continued the tradition of Udasis (Travels) and went as far as Afghanistan, Tibet, Nepal, Assam, Bhutan and all over India to continue spreading the message of his father.
Yogi ji in his lecture dated 7/5/82 states; “Guru Nanak was heard, followed, listened to by thousands, hundreds of thousands and there was only one who could succeed him, Lehna. Guru Nanak’s own sons, Baba Sri Chand and Baba Lakshmi Chand, were perfect. Don’t think that there was anything less in them. But Guru Nanak wanted to give grace to the householder. One Gadee or throne of spirituality was given to Baba Sri Chand for the Udasi Panth, the unattached sect of that time. Therefore the other throne was to be given to a disciple, and that was Lehna who became Guru Angad.”
Guru Nanak himself crowned Baba Sri Chand as a Yogi, to take care of the Yogis, who were bothering the householders with their occult powers. While Gurgadee was passed to Guru Angad Dev, Udasigadee was bestowed upon Baba Sri Chand. He accepted the responsibility given to him by his father and Guru to unite the various Yogic schools of India. He was revered by Muslims, Sufis, Lamas, Hindus, ascetics and householders alike.
When it came to Guru Ram Das the 4th Guru, Baba Sri Chand came to visit Guru Ram Das. This meeting is beautifully recorded in the Gurpratap Suraj Granth as follows:
When the first hour of the day passed
The rebabis came to perform kirtan.
The Guru gave Sri Chand the higher throne.
In his humility he himself sat below.76
Sri Chand the kind one questioned the guru
with an intention of testing him.
“Why have you grown the beard so long?”
Hearing this guru looked at the ground.77
The Guru held the feet of Baba Sri Chand with topmost devotion
And began to sweep it again and again with his long beard.
“This is the reason for growing it so long
Hear oh, the great son of my Guru”.78
Seeing the humility of the guru,
Baba Sri Chand was totally pleased
And remarked, “Guru Angad earned the Gur-gaddhi through service,
and you got it through devotion.”79
Your glory is higher then the high
What more can I say
Who ever shall came into your fold,
Even the greatest sinners shall be saved.80
Baba Sri Chand in return bowed at the feet of Guru Ram Das. Under Baba Sri Chand’s guidance, the heads of all the schools of yoga (which he had united under the instructions of Guru Nanak) also came and bowed to Guru Ram Das. This sealed the future. From that moment forward, the lineage of the royal throne of Raj Yoga would come through the subtle and radiant bodies of Guru Ram Das’s. Thus Kundalini Yoga as Raj Yoga was brought through the House of Guru Ram Das, and got ‘coloured’ with the Sikh consciousness.
Raaj Jog Takhat Dee-an Gur Raamdaas.
Guru Ram Das was blessed with the Throne of Raja Yoga.
Sri Guru Granth Sahib, pg 1399
The Nirmala Sikh tradition was founded by Guru Gobind Singh. He sent 5 Sikhs to Kashi, which was the centre of learning in those days to learn all the ancient technologies of Yoga, Astrology, Ayurveda, Numerology, Vedanta, Viakaran, Khat Darshan etc. When these Sikhs returned, Guru Gobind Singh bestowed the title of Nirmalas upon them which means the pure ones. They began to impart the Yogic knowledge along with the other technologies they had mastered to the Sikhs by setting up different schools throughout India. It is recorded in Sikh history that great Sikhs like Baba Deep Singh and Bhai Mani Singh who were the jewels of the 10th Guru’s court were their students. To date there still exist yogic writings written by these Nirmala Saints that are being preserved in their ashrams in the different states of India.
Yoga traditionally has been part and parcel of the Sikh Dharma until the coming of the British. In the Sri Guru Granth Sahib, the Gurus along with the Bhagats and Bhatts have made many references to Yogic technology.
Sudarshan Chakra Kriya about which Yogi Ji says,“Of all the 20 types of Yoga, including Kundalini Yoga, this is the highest Kriya” is recorded on Page 1106 of Sri Guru Granth Sahib.
rwgu mwrU bwxI jYdyau jIau kI
raag maaroo banee jaiday-o jee-o kee
Raag Maaroo, The Word Of Jai Dayv Jee:
<> siqgur pRswid ]
ik-oNkaar satgur parsaad.
One Universal Creator God. By The Grace Of The True Guru:
cMd sq ByidAw nwd sq pUirAw sUr sq KoVsw dqu kIAw ]
chand sat bhaydi-aa naad sat poori-aa soor sat khorhsaa dat kee-aa.
The breath is drawn in through the left nostril; it is held in the central channel of the Sushmanaa, and exhaled through the right nostril, repeating the Lord’s Name sixteen times.
Abl blu qoiVAw Acl clu QipAw AGVu GiVAw qhw Aipau pIAw ]1]
abal bal torhi-aa achal chal thapi-aa agharh gharhi-aa tahaa api-o pee-aa. ||1||
I am powerless; my power has been broken. My unstable mind has been stabliized, and my unadorned soul has been adorned. I drink in the Ambrosial Nectar. ||1||
mn Awid gux Awid vKwixAw ]
man aad gun aad vakhaani-aa.
Within my mind, I chant the Name of the Primal Lord God, the Source of virtue.
qyrI duibDw idRsit sMmwinAw ]1] rhwau ]
tayree dubiDhaa darisat sammaani-aa. ||1|| rahaa-o.
My vision, that You are I are separate, has melted away. ||1||Pause||
AriD kau AriDAw sriD kau sriDAw sll kau slil sMmwin AwieAw ]
araDh ka-o arDhi-aa saraDh ka-o sarDhi-aa salal ka-o salal sammaan aa-i-aa.
I worship the One who is worthy of being worshipped. I trust the One who is worthy of being trusted. Like water merging in water, I merge in the Lord.
bdiq jYdyau jYdyv kau rMimAw bRhmu inrbwxu ilv lIxu pwieAw ]2]1
badat jaiday-o jaidayv ka-o rammi-aa barahm nirbaan liv leen paa-i-aa. ||2||1||
Says Jai Dayv, I meditate and contemplate the Luminous, Triumphant Lord. I am lovingly absorbed in the Nirvaanaa of God. ||2||1||
*Puratan Sikh Sampardas:
Udasis – Founded by Baba Sri Chand (on the orders of Guru Nanak Dev)
Nirmalas – Founded by Guru Gobind Singh
Nihangs – Founded by Baba Fateh Singh (10th Guru’s son)
Seva Panthis – Founded by Bhai Kanhaiya Ji (use to serve water in the battlefields)
Taksal – Bhai Mani Singh/ Baba Deep Singh