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Sacha Sauda Cult

As many of our readers are already aware, there is a cult located in Sirsa, Haryana known by the name ‘Sacha Sauda’. Currently, this cult is surrounded by many controversies and criminal cases as well as being a den of unholy and immoral practices. The name ‘Sacha Sauda’ is copied from a very famous story related to the early life of Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji in which Guru Sahib spent all the money entrusted to him by his father Mehta Kalu to feed some hungry saints instead of spending it in a business transaction. For Guru Sahib, the real business or the real deal is the one in which the hungry and poor are fed, clothed, and attended to. Hence, the name of this story is being used by the cult to misguide gullible people into thinking that the cult is a part of Sikhi. The stark reality is that it is an off-shoot of the Radha Swami cult head-quartered in Beas, Punjab. Many of the teachings of this cult are directly copied from the Sikh principles and after being adultered are repackaged and sold off under the cult’s own brand name. The cult’s current leader, Gurmeet Raam Rahim is notorious for his criminal and immoral activities. With the Indian government’s backing, this particular cult has attacked Sikh ideals, insulted the Sikh Gurus, and engaged in numerous violent clashes with the Sikh nation in the last 10 years.

Background and History

Shah Mastana
This cult was started by a person named Mastana aka Shah Mastana on the 29th of April 1948 in Sirsa (currently Haryana). Mastana was originally from Balochistan, and emigrated as a refugee following independence in 1947. For this reason he was called Mastana Balochistani.

At the age of 14 years, Mastana left home in search of a perfect spiritual teacher to quench his spiritual thirst. At last, after searching for nine years, he reached Beas and met Sawan Singh, the head of the Radha Swami cult at the time. Mastana learned a fake method of meditation from Sawan Singh and remained in his company for some years until he was entrusted with the task of conducting spiritual discourses and teaching meditation to the people in the provinces of Balochistan, Sindh, and Punjab. Later Sawan Singh assigned him the duty in the vicinity of Bagarh a (region of northern Rajasthan and western Haryana). This led Mastana to set up his own cult in 1948 in Sirsa. He laid down three basic principles which were directly copied from the Sikh teachings.

  1. Only eating vegetarian food is an acceptable diet
  2. Drinking of liquor is forbidden
  3. Illicit sex is prohibited

Shah Satnam
Gurmeet Ram Rahim
Mastana chose his disciple Harbans Singh as his successor and renamed him to Shah Satnam in 1960. The cult believes that Harbans Singh was rigorously tested for his merit and transformed into Shah Satnam before being appointed as the successor. This fallacy of the cult is also counterfeited from the episode of Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji putting his foremost disciple Bhai Lehna Ji through many difficult tests and upon his successful passing and selection, renaming him to Guru Angad Dev Ji.  

It is claimed by the cult that Satnam appointed Gurmeet Ram Rahim (henceforth referred as GRR) as his successor on 23 September 1990. However, at one point GRR had a criminal case filed against him charging him for being involved in the murder of Satnam. GRR claims himself to be a “messenger of God” who has come back as an incarnate of Mastana to deliver emancipation to humanity. During the Sikh freedom movement, this cult remained stagnant and worked covertly. However, as soon as the government became convinced that the Sikh freedom fighters were no more, this cult was brought forward to attack Sikhi and disturb Punjab’s atmosphere which was very similar to the events of the 1970s when the government used the Narakdharis to hurt the Sikh sentiments.

Simulation and Distortion of Sikh Teachings

A cursory look at the core teachings of the cult reveals that it has nothing unique to offer to any human being. The cult itself claims to be a “confluence of all religions” which is not only a contradictory and an absurd statement but simply put, ridiculous. What then is the need to keep a human (GRR in this case) to serve as a middleman to reach God. The fundamental beliefs of Hinduism, Islam, or Christianity are wholly missing from this cult’s teachings. Nonetheless, the cult remains adamant about its falsehood and absurd claims. The cult has taken popular symbols and teachings of other faiths and combined them into one to form its own contrasting viewpoint.

Sauda Cult Logo
For example, the ‘Om’ from Hinduism, the cross symbol from Christianity, and the half-moon and star from Islam are copied and assembled together to be read as “Ik Oankar”.  Such methods are implemented to attract large following from different religions to extract more money and fund the cult’s activities. The fools who follow them do not even think for moment that ‘Om’ refers to the Hindu trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva whereas the Gurmat doctrine of ‘Ik Oankar’ refutes this concept and advocates the worship of the One Supreme God exclusively. While Christians hold Jesus as the savior and his sacrifice as the penalty paid by humankind to God for the sake of everyone’s forgiveness, Islam advocates five pillars for salvation. Sikhi teaches worshipping God through practicing the Naam doctrine. Hence, all religions that the cult attempts to combine vastly differ in their core understanding of way of life and salvation. Thus, all religions are irreconcilable and cannot be combined. Only a cult that is set up to misguide people and ruin their lives would even attempt such a thing.

The fact remains that almost all of what is preached by this cult is directly copied from Sikhi to lure the gullible masses into thinking that they are not deviating from the Sikh path while serving a human. Let us take a brief look at some of its mission statements taken from their official website:

  • To freely propagate true meditation throughout the world to attain inner self confidence and see God
  • To educate people that God can be found only by true meditation learnt from a selfless true master and not with money
  • To see the world as one, and believe in the same ONE God
  • To promote love and tolerance amongst people of all religions, castes, color and regions without any discrimination
  • To promote adoption of drug and alcohol free, meat/egg/fish free diet and restore correct values and character
  • To promote morality and convince people about the harms of immorality, promiscuity and high risk behavior

All of the above points can be easily found in the Gurbani of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji. The Sikh Gurus taught that God’s light is everywhere, all of humanity is equal, God’s vision is obtained through Naam meditation and Naam is obtained from the Satguru. In order to lead a pure life, Sikhs are instructed to abstain from intoxicants, meat, tobacco and all other foods that are detrimental to spiritual life. Gurbani emphasizes to rise early in the morning (most commonly 2-6am) called ‘Amrit Vela’ to practice Naam . This concept is copied by this cult and a new term is coined. They call it Braham Moohrat and fixed its time between 2-5am. Terms and concepts like Naam, Satguru, and Seva are copied without making any modifications. The only difference is that GRR declares himself to be a Guru who gives Naam. Naam is usually a one word but this cult leader gives multiple words for meditation. Cult followers used to be given five words namely Satpurakh, Nirankar, Akal Moorat, Abinashi and Shabad Saroopi Raam for meditation but now GRR has eliminated Nirankar and Abinashi while retaining the remaining three words. It is worth mentioning that all of these words are copied from the Sikh Scriptures. Islam and Christianity do not use these words in their respective scriptures. Such shameless plagiarism and vitiation is done only to break Sikhs from the core teachings of Gurbani thereby reducing the numerical strength of the Sikhs.

Antics of GRR
In 2007, this cult reached the height of absurdity when GRR decided to mimic Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji by copying the famous Sikh event that took place in 1699 i.e. establishing the Khalsa. This event marked the culmination of the mission started by the first Guru. All Sikhs were given Amrit (holy water prepared by reciting divine compositions while stirring it with double edged sword). All Sikh males were given the last name of ‘Singh’ and all females ‘Kaur’ to eliminate all distinctions of caste and propagate equality among all.

GRR not only dressed himself to give the resemblance of Guru Sahib depicted in a painting but also prepared sweet water ‘Jaam-i-Insa’ (Drink of the humanitarianism) and distributed it among his moronic followers. He allegedly gave them the following four principles to adhere to:

  1. Use ‘Insan’ after your surname (Sharma, Verma, Arora, Sandhu etc.) or preferably use only ‘Insan’ as your surname.
  2. Do not consume alcohol.
  3. Do not consume non-vegetarian food.
  4. Look at other men and women, depending on their ages, if they are older, as your father or mother, if they are of your own age, as your brother or sister, and if they are younger than you, as your son or daughter.

All four points are directly copied from the Sikh teachings. First principle is the same but the names ‘Singh’ and ‘Kaur’ are changed to “Insan”.  The remaining three points are copied verbatim.

This was not only a mockery of the sacred Sikh principles but insult to Guru Sahib. This controversial move of the cult leader developed into a serious law-and-order problem in various parts of Northern India, as riots broke out between the cult followers and the Sikhs. At least one Sikh, Kamaljit Singh, was killed, and over a hundred injured in the ensuing six days of sectarian violence.

While the cult claims to be a “confluence of all religions”, it ironically possesses no teachings that are borrowed from other religions such as Islam, Judaism and Christianity. The cult leaders have also taken Gurbani verses and misinterpreted them to justify the validity of their own cult. Some Gurbani verses are distorted and altered. The following is just one example:

ਨਾ ਹਮ ਕੀਆ ਨਾ ਕਰ ਸਕੇ, ਨਾ ਹੀ ਹਮ ਕਛ ਜਾਨਤ ।

ਜੋ ਕੀਆ ਕਰੇਂਗੇ ਸ਼ਾਹ ਸਤਿਨਾਮ ਜੀ, ਭਇਓ ਸੰਤ ਹੀ ਸੰਤ ।

Neither have I done anything nor can I ever do anything nor do I know anything. It is Shah Satnam Ji who does everything and who will do whatever is done in the future.

The above lines are distorted from the following original verses of Gurbani:

ਕਬੀਰ ਨਾ ਹਮ ਕੀਆ ਨ ਕਰਹਿਗੇ ਨਾ ਕਰਿ ਸਕੈ ਸਰੀਰੁ ॥

ਕਿਆ ਜਾਨਉ ਕਿਛੁ ਹਰਿ ਕੀਆ ਭਇਓ ਕਬੀਰੁ ਕਬੀਰੁ ॥੬੨॥ (੧੩੬੭)

Kabeer, I have not done anything; I shall not do anything; my body cannot do anything.

I do not know what the Lord has done, but the call has gone out: "Kabeer, Kabeer."||62|| (1367)

The comparison shows that while Gurbani praises One Supreme God as the sole doer of all great things, the cult attributes it to Mastana and raises him to the status of God. Such viewpoints are blasphemous and an insult to God. 

In light of this, it is crystal clear that this cult was deliberately set up to misguide the Sikhs and attack the Sikh religion.

The Crimes and Immorality of GRR

Gurmeet Ram Rahim as a Clown
GRR is known to be a controversial figure. While his followers blindly consider him to be a “godman”, rational and sane human beings clearly see a vicious, morally degenerated, and corrupt man hiding behind various garbs and flashy dresses that give him an uncanny resemblance to a circus clown. According to one online news report[1], GRR is one of the top ten controversial self-styled gurus. He is charged with property confiscation, murder, fraud, possession of illegal arms, rape, and exploitation. Here, we present few facts about his criminal activities.

Prior to GRR’s takeover, the cult confined its activities to humanitarian work and spiritual progress. For this reason, the cult enjoyed support from various political parties and had a large local following. With the takeover of the cult by GRR, a new era began in the history of the cult and all sorts of immoral and unethical charges started to be levied against the new leader.

To begin with, a personal accountant named Fakir Chand was tortured in one of the dens by the followers at the command of GRR forcing him to divulge all the information about the property and bank accounts of the cult. Fakir Chand was tortured to death. All those who refused to acknowledge the authority of GRR were murdered. Lakshman Das, a personal cook of Satnam is just one example.

After the decline of the Sikh freedom movement, the Indian government was on the lookout for a new corrupt man to be used against the Sikhs in a similar fashion to Gurbachna in the 1970s. At that time, GRR had about 52 criminal cases charged against him in court for rape, murder, coercion, forced confiscation of property, and looting. The government offered to suspend all the cases in exchange for his anti-Sikh activities which he readily agreed to.[2] It was due to this alliance that GRR put up a show of mocking Guru Sahib and mimicking the Amrit Sanchaar ceremony.  It was also due to the same alliance that the cult has engaged in various violent clashes against the Sikhs in order to show off its numerical strength and power. This helped the government agencies ascertain whether Sikhs still have the seeds of bravery, sacrifice, and martial spirit in them which would enable them to eventually unite and take a stand against the tyrant Indian government. The government arrested many Sikh youth participating in the clashes under the charge of “potential terrorists”. All the while, cult followers were neither arrested nor tried in courts for their illegal and criminal behaviors. Instead, GRR was provided the highest Z level security which is only given to some 36 people in the entire country.

Ram Chandra Chatrapati
In 2002, an anonymous letter by a ‘sadhvi’ (female follower) of GRR was written to the Indian Prime Minister, Atal Behari Vajpayee, accusing GRR of sexual abuse and rape charges. The letter was published by Tehelka magazine in its June 2, 2007 issue (produced in the appendix on this article). According to this letter, GRR has made a ‘gufa’ (den) where many vices are practiced.[3] The victim accused that GRR sexually abuses his female followers on a regular basis and is addicted to watching pornography. This letter greatly exposed the heinous crimes of the cult and its leader. In order to hush everyone and stop key witnesses from speaking against GRR, the cult followers resorted to death threats and murder. Ranjit Singh, the brother of a rape victim, was murdered. Ram Chandra Chatrapati, a journalist and an editor of ‘Poora Sach’ (Complete Truth) was shot dead at point blank range by cult followers for publishing information exposing GRR and his criminal activities.[4]

GRR is also being investigated for forcibly castrating more than 400 of his male followers.[5] GRR wishes to make them celibate whilst personally having a wife and many concubines for his own depraved sexual pleasures.

The list of criminal, immoral and corrupt activities of GRR and his cult is a long one. What is certain is that the cult is growing only due to the State’s financial and political backing. It is now serving as a new puppet of the government to attack the Sikh beliefs and hurt Sikh sentiments. Every Sikh needs to realize the fact that the fate of every anti-Sikh cult needs to be handled in the same way Sikhs handled Narakdharis in late 70s and early 80s. Until then, the cult will continue to harm the Sikh nation unabatedly.

Appendix - A Sadhvi's Letter to Prime Minister of India

Taken from Sikh Bulletin May-June 2007

Shri Atal Behari Vajpayee, Prime Minister New Delhi

I am a girl hailing from Punjab State. I have been serving as a 'Sadhwi' in 'Dera Sacha Sauda', Sirsa (Haryana) for the last five years. Beside me, there are hundreds of other girls here, who serve for 18 hours daily. But we are sexually exploited here. The 'Dera Maharaj' Gurmit Singh rapes the girls in the 'dera'. I am a graduate. My family has blind faith in the 'Maharaj' (Gurmit Singh). It was at my family's bidding that I became a 'Sadhwi'. Two years after I became a 'Sadhwi', a special woman-disciple of Maharaj Gurmit Singh came to me one night at 10 o' clock and said that the Maharaj had summoned me to his room. I felt elated that Maharaj himself sent for me. I was going to him for the first time. After climbing the stairs, when I went into his room, I saw that he was holding a remote in his hand and was watching a blue film on the TV. Beside his pillow on the bed, lay a revolver. Seeing all this, I was frightened and became nervous. I had never imagined that Maharaj was a man of this type. Maharaj switched off the TV and seated me beside him. He offered me water and said that he had called me because he considered me very close to him. This was my first experience. Maharaj took me in his embrace and said that he loved me from the core of his heart. He also said that he wanted to make love with me. He told me that at the time of becoming his disciple, I had dedicated my wealth, body and soul to him and he had accepted my offering. When I objected he said, "There is no doubt that I am God." When I asked if God also indulges in such acts, he shot back:

1. Sri Krishna too was God and he had 360 'gopis' (milkmaids) with whom he enacted 'Prem lila' (love drama). Even then people regarded him as God. So there is nothing to be surprised at it.

2. I can kill you with this revolver and bury you here. The members of your family are my devoted followers and they have blind faith in me. You know it very well that members of your family cannot go against me.

3. I have considerable influence with governments also. Chief Ministers of Punjab and Haryana and central Ministers come to pay obeisance to me. Politicians take help from us. They cannot take any action against me. We will get the members of your family dismissed from govt. jobs and I will get them killed by my 'Sewadars' (servants). We will leave no evidence of their murder. You know that earlier also we got the 'dera' Manager Fakir Chand killed by goondas. His murder remains untraced till this day. The 'dera' has a daily income of one crore rupees with which we can buy leaders, police and the judges.

After this, the Maharaj raped me. The Maharaj has been doing this with me for the last three years. My turn comes after every 25-30 days. Now I have learnt that before me too, the Maharaj had been raping the girls he had summoned. Most of these women are now 35 to 40 years old and they are past the age of marriage. They have no other option but to remain in the 'dera'. Most of the girls are educated --- B.A., M.A., B.Ed, etc. But they are living a life of hell in the 'dera', simply because the members of their families have blind faith in the Maharaj. We wear white clothes, tie a scarf on the head, cannot even look at men and as per Maharaj's commands, talk with men from a distance of 5-10 feet. To the people we look like 'devis' (goddesses), but we are living like harlots. This time I tried to tell my family that all was not well at the 'dera'. But they rebuked me saying that there was no better place than the 'dera' for here they were in the company of God (Maharaj). They said that I had formed a bad notion about the 'dera' and that I should recite the name of 'Satguru'. I am helpless here because I have to obey every command of the Maharaj. No girl is permitted to talk with another. According to the commands of the Maharaj, girls are not permitted to talk to their families even on the telephone. If any girl talks about the reality of the 'dera', she is punished according to Maharaj's commands. Sometimes ago, a Bhatinda girl revealed the wrong doings of the Maharaj. At this, all the women disciples gave her a sound thrashing. Because of a fracture in the backbone, she is now bed-ridden. Her father gave up the service in the 'dera' and went home. For fear of the Maharaj and his own disgrace, he is not revealing anything.

Similarly, a Kurukshetra girl has also left the 'dera' and has gone home. When she narrated the events in the 'dera' to her family, her brother who worked in the 'dera' gave up his job. When a Sangrur girl left the 'dera', went home and narrated the wrong-doings in the 'dera' to the people, the dera's armed Sewadars/hooligans reached the girl's house and threatened to kill her and warned her not to leak anything about the 'dera'.

Similarly girls from Mansa, Ferozepur, Patiala and Ludhiana districts are afraid of revealing anything about the 'dera'. Although they have left the 'dera', yet they do not say anything for fear of losing their lives. Similarly, girls from Sirsa, Hissar, Fatehabad, Hanuman Garh and Meerut disclose as to what happened to them in the 'dera'.

If I reveal my name, I and my family will be killed. I want to reveal this truth for the benefit of the common man, because I cannot bear all this tension and harassment. My life is in danger. If a probe is conducted by the press or some govt. agency, 40 to 50 girls living in the 'dera' will come forward to reveal the truth. We can also be medically examined to find out whether we are still celibate disciples or not. If we are no longer virgins, the matter should be gone into to find out who has violated our chastity. The truth will then come out that Maharaj Gurmit Ram Rahim Singh of 'Sacha Sauda' has ruined our lives.