What was the Nirankari Movement?

By Ritesh|Updated : December 27th, 2022

Baba Dayal Das founded the Nirankari movement between 1783 and 1855, a movement for purification and withdrawal. Dayal Das, clearly dissatisfied with the current religion, concluded that Sikhism was decadent and full of lies, superstitions, and errors. He built a Dharamshala known as Nirankari Darbar on the outskirts of Rawalpindi.

Nirankari Movement by Baba Dayal Das

In 1840, he advocated that Sikhism must return to its roots and emphasized the worship of God as Nirankari, meaning formless. This approach meant rejecting idols, idolatrous rituals, and the Brahmin priests who performed these rituals.

  • Dayal Das urged his followers to congregate at the Dharamsala every morning for daily worship.
  • His followers were told to "worship the formless God and listen to the Shabad of Guru, clean the congregation's shoes and feet, serve their parents, shun bad habits, and earn their living through labour."
  • Dayal Das imparted a religious code for a householder—someone who upheld family and social relationships and, in keeping with Sikh tradition, did not descend to the level of a beggar.
  • It was against the law to consume meat, consume wine, commit fraud, lie, and use falsified weights.
  • The Nirankaris helped obfuscate the distinctions between Sikhs and Hindus and developed into a permanent subgroup of the Sikh religion.

Summary:

What was the Nirankari Movement?

The Nirankari movement was a social reform movement associated with Sikhism. It was established by Baba Dyal Das in the year 1851. The main goal of the movement was to reinstate Sikh rituals and beliefs that were common at the time of Guru Nanak and emphasise the worship of a formless God.

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