TAPA (lit. a practidoner of physical austerities) is the name given by Sikh chroniclers to an ascetic who once came to Guru Ram Das and, proud of the penances he had undergone, said, “Thy Sikhs are very proud ; they acknowledge not the Vedas and the Puranas ; they make no pilgrimages ; nor do they fast or observe the varnasrama. dharma or distinctions of caste. Thy Sikhs only reverence thee and recognize thy compositions. Their adoration is confined to the utterance of Vahiguru.

I see no religious disposition in them whatsoever. However will they attain the comfort of heaven ?” Guru Ram Das, says the Mahima Pra.ka.sh, said, “Thou dost not know the comfort of sadh sangat, fellowship of the holy. Pious fellowship is what Sikhs seek. They desire not heaven. You are proud of your penances and pilgrimages. Sikhs derive comfort from serving odiers with humility.” The Tapa fell at the Guru`s feet and took his precept.

References :

1. Bhalla, Sarup Das, Mahima Prakash. Patiala, 1971
2. Santokh Singh, Bhai, Sri Gur Pratap Suraj Granth. Amritsar, 1927-35
3. Macauliffe, Max Arthur, The Sikh Religion : Its Gurus, Sacred Writings and Authors. Oxford, 1909