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The sacred text of the Pranami sect, the Tartam Sagar

Pranami (lit.'Those who bow down') is a sect that worships Krishna as the Supreme God. Adherents follow the teachings of Mahamati Prannath and Devchandra and their holy book, the Tartam Sagar.[1][2][3][4][5][6]


Mahamati Prannath on a 2019 stamp of India.

The Pranami Sampradaya emerged in the 17th century in Western India, based on the teachings of Bhakti saints, Devchandra, and his foremost disciple, Mehraj Thakur (also known as Mahamati Prannath or Prananath, which gives this tradition the name). The Pranami Sampradaya is also known as the Nijananda Sampradaya, literally, 'nij' meaning, oneself or own and 'ananda' meaning bliss or joy. [3] The Pranami Sampradaya's teachings tries to bridge the gap between the Eastern religions and Western religions together stating that both the Eastern and Western religions talk about the same one almighty god.[7]

The traditions grew after Mughal Empire declined, in the wake of Aurangzeb's religious persecution of non-Muslims, when Hindu rebellion led to new kingdoms. King Chhatrasal of one such kingdom of Bundelkhand patronized Mahamati Prannath. The Pranami tradition welcomed all castes and religions to join their tradition and engage in the worship of Krishna. During the initiation of new converts, Prannath would invite them to dine together regardless of their background. He would also explain the Pranami ideas by citing Hindu and Islamic texts to make his teachings connect with the background of the converts.[6]

Krishna Pranami Mandir, in Madhya Pradesh and Buddhashanti, Nepal.

The religious center of the Pranami tradition has been in northeast Madhya Pradesh, in the town of Panna.[5] In the contemporary era, other major Pranami religious centers (gaddi) are in Jamnagar (Gujarat), Surat (Gujarat) and Phuguwa (south of Kathmandu, Nepal).[4] Every year, there is a anniversary celebration of their founder, Prannath. This happens around the time in January and the whole town of Panna attracts devotees from around the world including those from the US. Almost an entire month is dedicated to devotional songs and sacred activities. Around this time local tourism also gets boosted, as this area located in Bundelkhand is one of the most economically underdeveloped regions. The Pranami pilgrimage brings much-needed economic relief, although this place also has other very popular Hindu temples, the most famous being the Juggal Kishore.

The Pranami worship Krishna as the Supreme God, and they believe in one and only god.[3][4][8] Its Hindu includes just the texts. Its theology is contained in 14 religious texts attributed to Prannath, which is known as the Tartam Sagar.[3][9] The 14 compositions contain 18,758 chaupai (verses).[10] It is, like in other Bhakti movement saint traditions, an eclectic mix of vernacular languages found in central, west and north India: Hindi, Gujarati, Sindhi, and Sanskrit.[5][4] The Pranami devotees believe that Prannath taught with his text, the essence of all major religious texts of the world, including the Vedas, the Bhagavad Gita, Quran and the Bible. Most devotees believe in no religion but one god and some of them call themselves Hindu but willingly accept teachings found in other sources and texts.


Images and devotees at Shri Krishna Pranami temples.

The tradition is strictly vegetarian (ahimsa, non-violence to animals), non-caste tradition dedicated to Supreme Lord whom they also call as "Rajji".[3][4] Dedicated Pranami temples exist such as in Kathiawar and Gulf of Kutch region, but followers of Pranami traditions substitute it by praying and spiritual pursuits in any nearby convenient temples.[3][6] There are an estimated 5-10 million Pranamis found primarily throughout North India, particularly the states of Gujarat, Rajasthan, Punjab, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal (Darjeeling , Kalimpong and Sikkim), and Assam, as well as the eastern half of Nepal.[3]

Mahatma Gandhi's mother was a pious Pranami Hindu.[6] In this religion there is no such absolute statue of the god, as they don't believe in Idol Worship, only Shri Tartam Sagar, the divine knowledge is worshiped. Gandhi in his book My Experiments With Truth mentions about this sampradaya: "Pranami is a sect deriving the best of both Quran and Gita, in search of one goal, and one god — Supreme Lord Shri Krishna."[11]

See also


  1. ^ "Pranami Faith".
  2. ^ Dalal, Roshen (2010). "Pranami Panth". Hinduism: An Alphabetical Guide. New Delhi: Penguin Books India. ISBN 978-0-14-341421-6.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Toffin, Gérard (2011). The Politics of Belonging in the Himalayas: Local Attachments and Boundary Dynamics. SAGE Publishers. pp. 144–152. ISBN 978-81-321-0524-4.
  4. ^ a b c d e Toffin, Gérard (2012). "The Power of Boundaries: Transnational Links among Krishna Pranamis of India and Nepal". In John Zavos; et al. (eds.). Public Hinduisms. SAGE Publ. India. pp. 249–254. ISBN 978-81-321-1696-7.
  5. ^ a b c Shiri Ram Bakshi; S.R. Bakshi And O.P. Ralhan (2008). Madhya Pradesh Through the Ages. Sarup & Sons. pp. 205–206. ISBN 978-81-7625-806-7.
  6. ^ a b c d Arvind Sharma (2013). Gandhi: A Spiritual Biography. Yale University Press. pp. 10–12. ISBN 978-0-300-18738-0.
  7. ^ Archana Sharma | TNN (19 November 2006). "Where Krishna meets Mohammed". The Times of India.
  8. ^ "12 Commandments for a Pranami". Shri Krishna Pranami Sampraday.
  9. ^ "Tartam Sagar". Shri Krishna Pranami Sampraday. Retrieved 28 September 2015.
  10. ^ "Shri Tartam Sagar".
  11. ^ Sanghvi, Nagindas (2006). The Agony of Arrival: Gandhi, the South Africa Years. Rupa & Company. p. 38. ISBN 978-81-291-0835-7.

Further reading