The Sikh Encyclopedia The Sikh Encyclopedia Encyclopedia of Sikhism

Social Institutions & Movements

Search Now!

MAHANT, originally the superior of a math or any other similar religious establishment. In the Punjab of early Sikhism, its characteristic usage referred to the leaders of Nath deras. The term acquired a distinctive Sikh application during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, period during which many Sikh gurdwaras passed into the, hands of hereditary controllers. These men, who became virtual owners of their gurdwaras, were known as mahants. Many of them were not initiated Sikhs and as a class they incurred considerable odium as self-seekers who exploited popular devotion for personal gain.

They became the prime target of the Gurdwara Reform movement during the early decades of the twentieth century and were eventually expropriated by the Sikh Gurdwaras Act of 1925. As a result of the misdemeanours of the mahants, the term was sullied beyond redemption in Sikh eyes. The word is still used to designate the superiors of Udasi akharas, but its expulsion from orthodox Sikh usage seems plainly to be permanent.

More in this category: « MELI JAGIASI »


Leave a comment

Joomla SEF URLs by Artio

All About Sikhs

AllAboutSikhs is a comprehensive web site on sikhism, sikh history and philosophy, customs and rituals,sikh way of life, social and religious movements, art and architecture, sikh scriptures,sikh gurudwaras. Based on the belief in One God, the Sikh religion recognizes the equality of all human beings, and is marked by rejection of idolatry, ritualism, caste and asceticism. This website serves to heighten the awareness of Sikhism and hopefully can be of some use to seekers of knowledge.


Search Gurbani

SearchGurbani brings to you a unique and comprehensive approach to explore and experience the word of God. It has the Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Amrit Kirtan Gutka, Bhai Gurdaas Vaaran, Sri Dasam Granth Sahib and Kabit Bhai Gurdas. You can explore these scriptures page by page, by chapter index or search for a keyword. The Reference section includes Mahankosh, Guru Granth Kosh,and exegesis like Faridkot Teeka, Guru Granth Darpan and lot more.


World Gurudwaras

World Gurudwaras will strive to be most comprehensive directory of Historical Gurudwaras and Non Historical Gurudwaras around the world.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.



Get Latest Updates