Thursday, December 08, 2016
Gateway to Sikhism

Mul Singh, Mahant

Held High Positions in Nirmala Sect and SGPC (1753)

 

Who commuted freely between the main body of the Sikhs and their Nirmala sect, held high positions in both. As a member of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee, he played an important role in Sikh religious affairs, though his affiliation to the Nirmala order was unambiguous.

Born around AD 1885 at Goindval in the family of Tara Chand, a Marvaha Khatri, Mul Singh spent the first four years of his childhood at Goindval. Thereafter he was taken to Bathinda where he completed his preliminary education returning to Goindval to study under Svami Bhagat Singh of Pindi Gheb. Mul Singh familiarized himself with the Sikh texts. He then travelled to Amritsar where he formally accepted the discipleship of Sant Ram Singh of Bunga Nirmalian, the oldest among the Nirmala deras or monasteries in the city.

Mul Singh, learned in religious lore and of a charitable disposition, was appointed mahant of the Nirmala Bunga on 21 March 1921 as successor to his teacher, Mahant Ram Singh. This was the time when the Akali movement for the reformation of the Sikh religious administration was at its peak. Mul Singh plunged into the agitation. He courted arrest, along with several other Nirmala sants, at Guru ka Bagh. He served as a member of Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee for 13 years. His chief responsibility in Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee was conducting of akhand paths. He also acted as the Jathedar, i.e. head, of the Langar Committee. He was appointed Head Granthi or chief officiant of the Golden Temple which office he retained for fifteen years in an honorary capacity. In his own sect also Mahant Mul Singh occupied a position of honour. He also held offices in the Nirmal Panchayati Akhara, Kankhal, and in the Nirmal Mahan Mandal.

Mahant Mul Singh died on 11 June 1982.

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The etymology of the term 'gurdwara' is from the words 'Gur (ਗੁਰ)' (a reference to the Sikh Gurus) and 'Dwara (ਦੁਆਰਾ)' (gateway in Gurmukhi), together meaning 'the gateway through which the Guru could be reached'. Thereafter, all Sikh places of worship came to be known as gurdwaras.
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