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Sikhs Have No Pope

The Jathedar of the Akaal Takht is NOT the Sikh "Pope". What should be the true role of the Akaal Takht today?
Read on:

Authority for the Sikh Panth has always been with the Guru, not buildings or the caretakers of them.

Spiritual “Authority”


The Akaal Takht is often portrayed as a be-all-end-all institution with unquestionable authority over all Sikhs. The position of “Jathedar” of the Akaal Takht is often elevated and equated to the “Pope” for Sikhs. This is a critical error many in the Panth are making and stems from the ignorance that the Guru is still here!
First we must recognise that “spiritual authority” for Sikhs has always been with the Guru. The Akaal Takht is just a building. It is the presence of the Guru that gave it any legitimacy. If the Guru was not there, then the Akaal Takht itself had no authority. Authority was wherever the Guru was. Simple.
There are two major examples of this.
Guru Tegh Bhadur was denied entry to the whole complex during his travels by the Masands under the direction of Mina (Prithi Chand).
Guru Gobind Singh never even once visited Amritsar, let alone the Akaal Takht!
Yet, in both cases, no one would argue the leadership of Sikhs and the Khalsa was with whoever resided in the Akaal Takht. By this logic, Massa Rangar would have had authority. Leadership was always with the Guru! And it still is to this day...

Guru Granth & Guru Panth


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Second we must recognise that the Guru is still present in two forms: the Guru Granth Sahib (mind) and Guru Khalsa Panth (body). So many forget about the latter, and the previous post stressed the importance of this fact (recommend reading that before moving on — ).
Again, the Akaal Takht has NO authority when the Guru is not present there. Similarly today, there is no indication that any serious presence of the Guru Khalsa is there either.
Especially not when traditional Guru Khalsa Maryada like Jhatka or Shikaar is not conducted, Nitnem Baniyan are shortened, and the Peherdaars look like Disneyland guards parodying as Nihangs. They wear no Kamarkasse so their chole flow like women’s dresses, they wield spears rather than firearms and would be useless in any actual altercation.
If the SGPC appointed puppets are going to pretend to be Popes and Bishops like the Vatican, then at least have these “guards” match the quality of the Swiss Papal guards! How completely embarrassing, and yet so many Sikhs give legitimacy to this circus and open Beadbi of our shared heritage.


Status Today


So what status should the Akaal Takht have today? The Akaal Takht should only ever be a meeting place for the Guru Khalsa (who in my opinion should be organised as Misls - with a few Azadist tweaks) to coordinate activity, set bi-annual targets, and review successes and failures of the last 6 months - i.e. Sarbat Khalsa gathering places.
It should NOT be a Sikh version of a Disney land attraction. It should not be plastered in marble to burn Sangat’s feet. It should not be a highly crowded place either, and should instead have ample room to accommodate the Guru Khalsa forces.
One day I hope the Khalsa can do military parades/Nagar Kirtans passing in front of it, just like how they do in Russia when passing St. Basil’s Cathedral or the Kremlin in Moscow. Even North Korea does a better job at this than us right now! Where are our Hathis (tanks) and Baaz (Fighter jets)??

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Jathedar is a caretaker, not a pope.


The Jathedar should only be maintaining the building and facilities in service of the Guru Khalsa when it wishes to organise there - that is it. They are:

NOT Political Decision makers for the whole Panth.
Each Khalsa makes his/her own decisions as they are sovereign individuals with a personal relationship with Akaal, and so follow Akaal’s Hukam as a first priority. Any political strategy others may suggest is just that — a suggestion, nothing more. They have no right to give orders, and it is up to each individual Khalsa to assess (using Gurbani as a “measuring stick”) and make up their own minds. This is true Khalsa Singh mentality, as opposed to the sheep mentality of so many today.
NOT the “spiritual leader” / pope of the Panth.
If a Sikh or a Khalsa requires spiritual guidance they use the Shabad Guru (“Jo Prabh Ko Milbo Chahe Khoj Sabad Mein Leh”). Any (Brahm)Gyaani, Kathavachak, Sant Baba etc are only guidance — not gospel. They may only help inform the positions of each free-thinking Khalsa, not set a unquestionable standard.
NOT even a position to be that highly sought after.
It is an administrative role, that should hold next no political power, nor even any spiritual authority. Sure the people hired to do that role may need to be at a certain level (could even get a team to do it, or perhaps an AI!), but in all honesty, it shouldn’t matter that much because the Guru Khalsa shouldn’t be dependent on it. The Khalsa itself is a roaming Takht that could/should establish itself anywhere. We just have to detach from our psychological reliance on the corrupted institutions of today and recognise the status of our Gurgaddi as the Guru Khalsa Panth.


ਹਮ ਪਤਿਸ਼ਾਹੀ ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਦਈ ਹੰਨੈ ਹੰਨੈ ਲਾਇ। ਜਹਿਂ ਜਹਿਂ ਬਹੈਂ ਜਮੀਨ ਮਲ ਤਹਿਂ ਤਹਿਂ ਤਖਤ ਬਨਾਇਂ
Satguru had conferred sovereignty on the Khalsa Panth, As well as on each individual Singh of that fraternity. Wherever a Singh sets his foot and settles on earth, He establishes his own self-reliant/autonomous sovereignty (Takht).
Sri Prachin Panth Prakash, Epidode 90

Notice, the word used in the Gurmukhi is “Takht”.
The Akaal Takht was originally the building where human manifestation of Akaal themselves stood in the form of Guru Hargobind Sahib. But now, the Akaal Takht is wherever the army of Akaal stands in the form of the Guru Khalsa Panth.

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Anyone today, be they an individual or a so-called “Panthic” institution, who draws from Akaal Takht authority to justify their positions or push their mandates as incontestable is either deeply misinformed on the status of the Guru Khalsa Panth as independent, sovereign and decentralised Takht or is a deceitful snake aiming to keep you subservient and forget your own Guru-given status.

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Bunga Azaadi — Institute for Azadist Studies

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