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Satnami

satnam, prohibited and people

SATNAMI, a monotheistic sect in the Central Provinces, who worship the Creator under the designation of Satnam, the pure name. The sect arose among the Chamars of the Ch'hattis garb, Bilaspur districts, by the influence of Ghasi Das, one of their own number, who disappeared for six months, and on returning he explained to them how he had been miraculously sustained in the wilderness, bow be had held communion with a higher power, and how he had been empowered to deliver a special message to the members of his own community. This message absolutely prohibited the adoration of idols, and enjoined the worship of the Maker of the universe without any visible sign or representation, at the same time proclaiming a code of social equality.

The movement occurred between the years 1820 and 1830, and nearly the whole Chamar com munity of Ch'hattisgarb now call themselves Sat narni.

He died in the year 1850, at the rge of eighty, and lie was succeeded in the office of high-priest by his eldest sou, Balak Das. They ignore Hindu festivals. As a rule, they are monogamists, though

polygamy is not specially prohibited. Some forms of prayer collated from Hindu authors are said to exist among the teachers, but these are quite un known to the people, and the only act of devotion which a Satnanii practises is to fall prostrate before the sun at morn and eve, and exclaim, Sat nam, Satnam, Satnam ' They will not even drink water except from one of their own caste, and liquor is prohibited. They are divided into two grand sections, the smokers ' and non smokers.' There is no class more loyal and satisfied with British rule than this community. This movement had ita origin at Girod, a small hamlet in the Bilaspnr district, on the south bank of the NIaliatindi, and on the borders of the Sonakhan estate. This class of deistical Chamars now numbers at least a quarter of a million. They are a thriving and industrious people, occupying a very important position as cultivators and village headmen in the 13ilaspur district.