PANTH, from Sanskrit patha, pathin, or pantham, means literally a way, passage or path and, figuratively, away of life, religious creed or cult. In Sikh terminology, the word panth stands for the Sikh faith as well as for the Sikh people as a whole. It represents the invisible mystic body comprising all those who profess Sikhism as their faith and encompassing lesser bodies, religious as well as political, claiming to represent the whole of the Sikh population or any section of it.
Panth for the Sikhs is the supreme earthly body having full claim on their allegiance. It transcends any of its components and functional agencies. The use of the term panth as a system of religious belief and practice, synonymous with mdrga or religious path, is quite old. Several medieval cults used it as a suffix to the names of their preceptors, such as Gorkhpanth and Kabirpanth, their followers being called Gorakh panthis and Kabirpanthis. Even the Sikhs were earlier known as Nanak panthis. In the Guru Granth Sahib, panth is used both in its literal as well as in its figurative sense. In the former sense it frequently occurs in poetical images of a lovelorn soul with her gaze fixed on the path(/Â»an
1. Sabadarth Sri Guru Granth Sahib. Amritsar, 1964
2. Gurdas, Bhai, Varan.
3. Guru Gobind Singh, Bachitra Ndtak.
4. Gian Singh, Giani, Panth Prakash. Patiala, 1970
5. Bharigu, Ratan Singh, Prachin Panth Prakash. Amritsar, 1962
6. Teja Singh, Sikhism: Its Ideals and Institutions. Lahore, 1928