Doctrine of Double Sovereignty

Gurmukh Singh continues his discussion on 'Vaisakhi 1699: The High Point of Guru Nanak Jote-Jugat Mission'. In Part V, he talks about the essential link between Gurbani and the lives of the Ten Gurus



Vaisakhi 1699: The High Point of Guru Nanak Jote-Jugat Mission (Part V). See earlier parts here
By Gurmukh Singh OBE | PANJAB TIMES |

The central theme of this discussion is the essential link between Gurbani and the lives of the Ten Gurus. That was the Sikhi tuition period from Guru Nanak Sahib to Guru Gobind Singh. Without due regard to this vital reference between Shabd (Word) Guru and the lived Sikhi of the Ten Guru-persons (Gur-Ithas), claims to following some sort of self-interpreted universal teachings of Sri Guru Granth Sahib would mislead and cause divisions. Gurbani interpretation must be holistic and in the context the progress of Sikhi mission from Guru Nanak Sahib to Guru Gobind Singh.

The martyrdom of Guru Arjan Dev ji in 1606 marked the completion of the first phase of Sikh institutions and organisation (through network of Sangats) in accordance with the Jote-Jugat mission. The next phase stressed the doctrine of double sovereignty, or temporal-spiritual freedom, derived from the teachings of Guru Nanak Sahib and the successor Guru-persons. Guru Hargobind, wore two swords asserting dominion over the two worlds, temporal and spiritual. For the Sikhs the Guru was the Sacha Patshah, the True King, who was ‘Do jahan da waali’, the Ruler of the seen and unseen worlds. Seated on the Timeless Throne, the Akal Takht, thus responded the Guru to those who would attempt to rule over the bodies and minds of men.

So manifested the Khalsa doctrine of Double Sovereignty described by Sirdar Kapur Singh as follows: The essence of this doctrine is that a man of religion must always owe his primary allegiance to Truth and morality, and he must never submit to the exclusive claim of the secular state to govern the bodies and minds of men and the whole of subsequent Sikh history must be seen as an unfoldment of this Sikh attitude. The main substance of this doctrine is that any sovereign state which includes Sikh population and groups as citizens, must never make the paranoia pretensions of almighty absolutism entailing the concept of total power, entitled to rule over the bodies and minds of men, in utter exclusiveness. Any state which lays such claims qua the Sikhs, shall automatically forfeit its moral right to demand allegiance of the Sikhs, represented by the order of the Khalsa. (The Golden Temple: Its theo-political status, SGPC 1998, p 3.)

Guru Har Rai (1630-1661) continued teaching compassion from a position of armed strength while promoting sewa: the Sikh institution of non-discriminatory social activism. Under His direction the Sikhs promoted social welfare and provided medical services. This tradition was followed during peacetime, and also in battle e.g. by Sikhs like Bhai Ghanaiya during the battles of Anandpur.

Guru Harkishan (Guruship 1661-1664), the child Guru, was the embodiment of purity and wisdom. The strategic significance of the Guru period of Guru Har Rai and Guru Harkrishan, while Baba (and later Guru), Tegh Bahadur carried out long missionary tours of Northern India for several years, has been discussed in my book, Guru Tegh Bahadur: The True Story. (Available from the Sikh Missionary Society UK).

To be continued.


Gurmukh Singh OBE, a retired UK senior civil servant, chairs the Advisory Board of The Sikh Missionary Society UK. Email: The article first appeared at The Panjab Times, UK

* This is the opinion of the writer, organisation or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of Asia Samachar.



Vaisakhi 1699: The High Point of Guru Nanak Jote-Jugat Mission – Parts I to IV (Asia Samachar, 22 March 2019)

Antam Sanskar (Last Rites) in Sikhi – Sikh Reht Maryada guidance (Asia Samachar, 24 Jan 2019)

Khalsa Panth: A Sovereign Nation (Asia Samachar, 7 Jan 2019)


ASIA SAMACHAR is an online newspaper for Sikhs / Punjabis in Southeast Asia and beyond. Facebook | WhatsApp +6017-335-1399 | Email: | Twitter | Instagram | Obituary announcements, click here