Can Sikhs become hermits?

Discussions on various aspects of Sikhi
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AS Khalsa
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Can Sikhs become hermits?

Post by AS Khalsa »

Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa, Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh,

Every Sikh knows that Guru Nanak was quite vocal in his condemnation of the ascetic life, and explicit in his support for Grishti Jeevan, the householders' life. But one thing I've never been sure of is whether Guru Sahib simply believed a domestic life was better than an ascetic one, or whether he prohibited the latter altogether. After all haven't several Gursikhs throughout history spent very long periods of time alone [for instance, Sant Baba Nand Singh Ji who lived in a Bohra in the jungle for months at a time]? . Guru Tegh Bahadur Sahib was also said to possess a very solitary nature, spending most of his days at Baba Bakala in an underground room where he would meditate.

I personally have always been of a very solitary bent, something which my friends and family have never been able to really understand about me. I am thoroughly allergic to other peoples drama, which swells up around me constantly. On top of that, I've no real desire to ever get married or to have children, and I have nobody depending on me right now. I am happiest when I'm camping alone in the woods, which I've started doing more and more as the years have gone by for longer and longer stretches of time [two months at most]. Would it be so bad if I were to just stay there? I'm pretty competent in bushcraft and I have little trouble adhering to the rehat even in the forest. There's no horrifying alarm clock to terrify me into consciousness before Amrit Vela or irritating text messages, or worries about making money in order to buy things I don't really need to survive. I get up naturally, with the singing birds. Its a beautiful and natural way to live. Why should I forego it to subject myself to the stress and nuisance of modern life?

Am I going against Gurmat by thinking this way? What do you think the Guru Sahibaan would have to say if I just packed it all in and became a hermit?
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Re: Can Sikhs become hermits?

Post by Bundha »

I do not think you are going against gurmat. Grist jeevan was given great prominence by the Gurus who saw large numbers of people wondering off into the wilderness to find God, but they said that God can be obtained right here within the family. You do not have to renounce everything to find God, raise your children be a householder and within the confines of the family there is liberation as well.
But a householder is not for everyone, Bhai Gurdas Ji who was so close to the Gurus and his Vars are given special status in Sikhi never married. Guru Ji could have instructed him to wed but they did not. Just in the same way not all are cut out to be warriors. When Bhai Nand Lal Ji came into Guru Ji’s court carrying a siri sahib Guru Ji smiled and told him that the sword was not for him, he had the pen and he should wield that instead.
You are blessed if you can keep your own company and shun the nindhya and chuggli that goes on in normal life. Within nature we can truly feel close to the almighty. The gentle breeze, the songs of the birds busy going about their affairs , the gentle rustle of the bushes and trees, if you can pull it off go for it!
Guru Nanak Dev Ji Guru Gobind Singh Ji Guru Granth Sahib Ji Dasam Granth Sahib Ji.
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Re: Can Sikhs become hermits?

Post by Gaganjeet »

Guru Sahab didnt condemn any of this. Guruji condemned drama.

The GGS says - Kabir je grah kare ta dharam kar nahi ta kar bairag, bairagi bandhan kare ta ko bade abhaag.

Both are correct according to GGS. If You want to be a bairagi get away from BANDHAN- attachment and if you are a householder earn an honest living and follow the truthful path in your daily chores.

Baba Isher Singh ji used to say - FAKIR has 3 alphabets - "faffa"- F, "KAKKA" - K and "Rara"- R. These mean-
F- FAKA RAKH (whatever God sends your way be satisfied with it. Whether it is a small morsel of food or a big one.
K - KINARA KAR (Do KINARA (stay away from worldly attachments and focus your energies on self realisation)
R - REHAM KAR (Help the needy. If people come to you asking for help of any kind, be Kind and help them out).

These three qualities should be there in a Fakir or an Ascetic.

So both the paths are correct.
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Re: Can Sikhs become hermits?

Post by Romesh Kumar »

Can sikhs become hermits?

In my opinion when someone becomes a hermit, he does not remain Sikh, Hindu, Christian, Muslim or someone else but hermit.
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Re: Can Sikhs become hermits?

Post by Biriabc »


I am not a scholar or have an extensive knowledge of Gurbani but my views are as follows:

People become hermits/ascetics/celibates/penitents because they feel that they have to “cut themselves off from all temptations of the world” in order to “find God”. Gurus’ said this was wrong and that one could attain spiritual emancipation even as a householder.

If one wants to live a self-contained life and opt out of the “rat race” that modern life is; then in my opinion that is fine. However if the reason for doing so is the same as that of penitents, celibates, ascetics etc. then I think that is wrong.

At the end of the day it is your personal choice. May be this is what your pre-ordained destiny is!!!

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Re: Can Sikhs become hermits?

Post by drake »

tbh i wish i was more like you, seems like i need other people/modern technology to survive lll.

anyway, based off my understanding of gurbani, our Gurus said that the life of a hermit isn't necessary to achieving enlightenment;they were trying to say that one could get married and have kids, and also attain salvation and freedom from worldy desires at the same time. However, you don't need to get married and have kids.
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Re: Can Sikhs become hermits?

Post by IJJSingh »

Bhai AS Khalsa ji,

In gurmat, gristhi (househlder’s) life is optimal for a Sikh but I do not believe that hermit lifestyle is prohibited.

To achieve any objective we have to adopt a correct method (gyan or gur). Doing even a useful thing but for wrong reasons does not get us anything. For example, aspirin is very useful to cure a headache but for many other ailments it is useless or even detrimental. God, pilgrimage, universe, maya, pool of nectar they are all inside us; our mind is the portal to all of these. Guru ji debunked the myth that God is in a holy place, in woods or on a special mountain. Our spiritual achievement is dependent on going into our mind, going to any other place is entirely irrelevant.

As long as you are making an informed decision, and are using Guru’s gyan for the correct purpose, you are OK. Peaceful environment is helpful for us to go into our mind [to contemplate on God]. if you are being alone or going into woods to seek sufficient peace so that you can do simran, then you are OK. The main thing to understand is that it’s simran which will take us to God not woods or seclusion.

Any choice we make has advantages and disadvantages. Adopting a hermit’s lifestyle is no different. As a hermit, it would become easier to find peace and quiet, but you will lose out on two invaluable things for a Sikh namely: sewa (service) and sangat (congregation of gurmukhs).

Sikhism is a community not a cult, there is healthy diversity in Sikhism (one only needs to look at lifestyles of the ten Gurus). Guru wants us to make informed decisions, and not become mindless clones. If in your case, you believe that adopting a hermit lifestyle will benefit you, please feel free to do so. You are absolutely correct that there are many examples in Sikhism of solitary lifestyle e.g. Guru Teg Bahadur ji, Baba Nand Singh ji, Sant Attar Singh ji. One thing to keep in mind is that these gurmukhs adopted seclusion only until they achieved what they were seeking; afterwards they were all hyper-involved in community.

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Re: Can Sikhs become hermits?

Post by singhbj »

Waheguru ji ka khalsa
Waheguru ji ki fateh

Today while reading Amrit Keertan I came across Guru Gobind Singh Sahib ji's Shabad -

ਰੇ ਮਨ ਐਸੋ ਕਰਿ ਸੰਨਿਆਸਾ ॥

Re Mana Aaiso Kari Saanniaasa ॥

रे मन ऐसो करि संनिआसा ॥

O mind ! the asceticism be practised in this way :

1 ਦਸਮ ਗਰੰਥ ਸਾਹਿਬ : ਪੰਨਾ ੧੩੪੪ ਪੰ. ੧

ਬਨ ਸੇ ਸਦਨ ਸਭੈ ਕਰਿ ਸਮਝਹੁ ਮਨ ਹੀ ਮਾਹਿ ਉਦਾਸਾ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥

Bana Se Sadana Sabhai Kari Samajhahu Mana Hee Maahi Audaasa ॥1॥ Rahaau ॥

बन से सदन सभै करि समझहु मन ही माहि उदासा ॥१॥ रहाउ ॥

Consider your house as the forest and remain unattached within yourself…..Pause.

2 ਦਸਮ ਗਰੰਥ ਸਾਹਿਬ : ਪੰਨਾ ੧੩੪੪ ਪੰ. ੨

ਜਤ ਕੀ ਜਟਾ ਜੋਗ ਕੋ ਮੱਜਨੁ ਨੇਮ ਕੇ ਨਖਨ ਬਢਾਓ ॥

Jata Kee Jattaa Joga Ko Majjanu Nema Ke Nakhana Badhaaoa ॥

जत की जटा जोग को मजनु नेम के नखन बढाओ ॥

Consider continence as the matted hair, Yoga as the ablution and daily observances as your nails,

3 ਦਸਮ ਗਰੰਥ ਸਾਹਿਬ : ਪੰਨਾ ੧੩੪੪ ਪੰ. ੩

ਗਯਾਨ ਗੁਰੂ ਆਤਮ ਉਪਦੇਸ਼ਹੁ ਨਾਮ ਬਿਭੂਤ ਲਗਾਓ ॥੧॥

Gayaana Guroo Aatama Aupadeshahu Naam Bibhoota Lagaaoa ॥1॥

गयान गुरू आतम उपदेशहु नाम बिभूत लगाओ ॥१॥

Consider the knowledge as the preceptor giving lessons to you and apply the Name of the Lord as ashes.1.

4 ਦਸਮ ਗਰੰਥ ਸਾਹਿਬ : ਪੰਨਾ ੧੩੪੪ ਪੰ. ੪

ਅਲਪ ਅਹਾਰ ਸੁਲਾਪ ਸੀ ਨਿੰਦ੍ਰਾ ਦਯਾ ਛਿਮਾ ਤਨ ਪ੍ਰੀਤਿ ॥

Alapa Ahaar Sulaapa See Niandaraa Dayaa Chhimaa Tana Pareeti ॥

अलप अहार सुलाप सी निंद्रा दया छिमा तन प्रीति ॥

Eat less and sleep less, cherish mercy and forgiveness;

5 ਦਸਮ ਗਰੰਥ ਸਾਹਿਬ : ਪੰਨਾ ੧੩੪੪ ਪੰ. ੫

ਸੀਲ ਸੰਤੋਖ ਸਦਾ ਨਿਰਬਾਹਿਬੋ ਹ੍ਵੈਬੋ ਤ੍ਰਿਗੁਣ ਅਤੀਤਿ ॥੨॥

Seela Saantokha Sadaa Nirabaahibo Havaibo Tariguna Ateeti ॥2॥

सील संतोख सदा निरबाहिबो ह्वैबो त्रिगुण अतीति ॥२॥

Practise gentleness and contentment and remain free from three modes.2.

6 ਦਸਮ ਗਰੰਥ ਸਾਹਿਬ : ਪੰਨਾ ੧੩੪੪ ਪੰ. ੬

ਕਾਮ ਕ੍ਰੋਧ ਹੰਕਾਰ ਲੋਭ ਹਠ ਮੋਹ ਨ ਮਨ ਸੋ ਲਯਾਵੈ ॥

Kaam Karodha Haankaar Lobha Hattha Moha Na Mana So Layaavi ॥

काम क्रोध हंकार लोभ हठ मोह न मन सो लयावै ॥

Keep your mind unattached from lust, anger, greed, insistence and infatuation,

7 ਦਸਮ ਗਰੰਥ ਸਾਹਿਬ : ਪੰਨਾ ੧੩੪੪ ਪੰ. ੭

ਤਬ ਹੀ ਆਤਮ ਤਤ ਕੋ ਦਰਸੇ ਪਰਮ ਪੁਰਖ ਕਹ ਪਾਵੈ ॥੩॥੧॥

Taba Hee Aatama Tata Ko Darase Param Purakha Kaha Paavi ॥3॥1॥

तब ही आतम तत को दरसे परम पुरख कह पावै ॥३॥१॥

Then you will visualize the supreme essence and realise the supreme Purusha.3.1.

8 ਦਸਮ ਗਰੰਥ ਸਾਹਿਬ : ਪੰਨਾ ੧੩੪੪ ਪੰ. ੮

Source -

Waheguru ji ka khalsa
Waheguru ji ki fateh
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AS Khalsa
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Re: Can Sikhs become hermits?

Post by AS Khalsa »

Thank you all so much for posting and allaying my worries.

I'm going to try and give this thing a shot.
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Re: Can Sikhs become hermits?

Post by Truth1 »

Hi AS Khalsa

What I have learned is that alone, we don't really learn anything amazing. We are Spiritual Beings having a Human Experience. We are Born To Live.

We all know the spiritual realm/2nd energy is out there, discovering it is not our aim. Our aim is to see God in everything.

In selfishness, the 5 thieves rise. Guru Nanak taught the Siddas who lived in the mountains that it is selfish that they had knowledge and yet kept it all for themselves and did not teach the world, for there was work to be done.

There is Soo much to be learned living on this earth, a gurmukh learns to be as the Lotus in the water, detached while living in the immaculate waters in which also exists the Slimy scum and mud.

Practice Gurbani, apply it to your every day life, work, be happy n enjoy life while remaining detached from the Bulls*t for it does not exist. Truly read and apply Gurbani, do not waste this Precious Priceless Jewel of your blessed life by becoming a hermit, instead spread your light through the filth of maya and help this earth achieve Satyug again- for it will surely happen as it has in all previous cycles.

Be Fearless and detached and pure like the lotus and don't take life seriously, for it is just a game- an illusion and everyone n everyrhing is just His Darshan.
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