The Holy Book of Pranami, Shri Tartam Sagar
The Holy Book of Pranami, Shri Tartam Sagar

Pranami Sampradaya, also known as Pranami (lit.'Those who bow down') or Pranami Panth is a Hindu sect which worships the god Krishna as the Supreme God. It is based on teachings of Mahamati Prannathji and Shri Devchandraji with their holy scripture as Shri Tartam Sagar.[1][2][3][4][5][6]

The Pranami sampradaya emerged in the 17th century in Western India, based on the teachings of Bhakti saints, Sri Devchandraji Maharaj and his foremost disciple Sri Mehraj Thakur (also known as Mahamati Prannathji or Prananathji, 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 founder of the sect, Shri Devchandra Ji Maharaj (1581–1655), was born in Amarkot in the Sindh province of India (present-day Pakistan). From early childhood, he showed saintly tendencies. At the age of 16, he renounced the world and left in search of Brahma-gyana (divine knowledge) to Bhuj in Kutch and later to Jamnagar. Devchandraji undertook the work of giving concrete shape and form to find a new stream of religion called Nijanand Sampradaya. He settled down in Jamnagar, where form he explained Vedas, Vedantic knowledge and Bhagwatam in simple language intelligible to lay persons irrespective of social class and religious differences, and awaken them to their real Self with the help of divine knowledge called "Tartam". His followers later came to be known as Sundarsaths or Pranami.[8][9][10]

Mahamati Shri Prannathji on a 2019 stamp of India
Mahamati Shri Prannathji on a 2019 stamp of India

The credit of spreading the Pranami sampraday goes to his dearest disciple and successor, Mahamati Shri Prannathji (Mehraj Thakur) (1618–1694), who was the son of Keshav Thakur, Diwan of Jamnagar State. He traveled throughout the Indian subcontinent and the Arabian world including Oman, Iraq and Iran to spread the ideals of religious harmony and interfaith understanding the vision of Tartam professes. Through him was revealed the divine knowledge later compiled as the holy "Kuljam Swaroop" in six languages – Gujarati, Sindhi, Arabic, Persian, Urdu, Hindi and also words of many other prevalent languages. His work called Kuljam Swarup a.k.a. Tartam Sagar is worshipped similar to the Murtis of Shree Krishna Pranami temples worldwide. He also attended Kumbh Mela at Haridwar in 1735 BS (1678 AD) and was engaged in religious debates in which he became victorious and was conferred the title of "Niskalanka Bijayaabhinand Buddha Avatar" by the saints of various sects and creeds.[8][11][10]

Maharaja Chhatrasal (1649–1731) (1649–1731) of Bundelkhand, was an ardent disciple of Mahamati Prannathji and a follower of Pranami Dharma. Their meeting took place in Mau in 1683, a place near Panna. His nephew Dev Karanji who had met Swami Prannathji, earlier in Ramnagar, was instrumental for this meeting. Chhatrasal was highly impressed of Prannathji and became his disciple. When Maharaja Chhatrasal came to meet him, he was going for a battle against Mughals. Swami Prannathji gave him his own sword and covered his head with a scarf, saying, "You will always be victorious. Diamond mines will be discovered in your land and you will become a great emperor." His prophecy came true and even today Panna region is famous for their diamond mines. Swami Prannathji was not only the religious Guru of Chhatrasal; but he guided him too in political, social, and economic matters. It was by being granted the boon of finding diamonds in Panna by Swami Prannathji that Maharaja Chhatrasal became prosperous.[8][11][12][10]

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 Prannathji. The Pranami tradition welcomed all castes and religions to join the Supreme Truth Shri Krishna worship tradition. At conversion initiation, Prannathji would invite the new members to dine together regardless of whether they came from any Sanatan 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, Prannathji. 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.

Among other notables – The parents of Mahatma Gandhi's mother, Putlibai, are said to have belonged to Pranami sect.[13][14][6] Gandhi in his book My Experiments With Truth mentions about this sect - "Pranami is a sect deriving the best of Gita and Quran, in search of one goal – Shri Krishna."[15]


The Pranami worship Shri Krishna as the Supreme Truth God, and they believe in one and only god.[3][4][16] Its Hindu includes just the texts. Its theology is contained in 14 religious texts attributed to Prannathji, which is known as Shri Tartam Sagar.[3][17] The 14 compositions contain 18,758 chaupai (verses),[18] and is called Tartam Sagar. 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 Prannathji taught with his text, the essence of all major religious texts of the world, including the Vedas, the Bhagawat Geeta, Quran and the Bible. Most of the 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.


Kuljam Swaroop Vaani

The Kuljam Swaroop Vaani[19] is a compilation of 14 books consists the revelation of the Vedic Scriptures, as well as the description of the Supreme Abode Paramdham or Goloka Vrindavan. Due to this compilation having divine knowledge, the followers of Shree Krishna Pranami Faith worship this Holy book as the Lord himself. Tartam Sagar include 18,758 verses.

It is a collection of Mahamati Prannath's Vaani's or teaching. It was published in 1965 for the first time. The collection of fourteen books are: Raas, Prakash, Shatritu, Kalash, Sanandh, Kirantan, Khulasa, Khilwat, Parikrama, Sagar, Singaar, Sindhi Bani, Marfat Sagar, and Kayamatnama (chhota and Bada).[20]


It offers a stratified knowledge from the Hell (Purgatory) all the way to the Supreme Abode of the Lord Supreme Paramdham and enumerates everything in between. This holy text explains the history and reason behind the creation of this relative world among many facets of creation. It also gives the history of Adinarayana, who is considered by many as the Lord Supreme as well as Trinity (Brahma, Vishnu, Mahesh) and many other details of the divine intention behind Creation.


The detailed enumeration of the Abode of the Lord Supreme Shri Krishna as indicated in scriptures.

"Chidadityam Kishorangam Paredhamni Viraajitam Swaroopam Satchindanandam Nirbikaram Sanaatanam"

Brahmabaibart Purana

"The Lord Supreme resides in his effulgent Abode (Paramdham) in his ever radiating youth form. Devoid of all the natural impurities, he is engrossed with Existence-Knowledge-Bliss features and is eternal."

Beetak Saheb (history)

It is the history of the advent of this great philosophy called Tartam that is to remove the darkness of spiritual misunderstanding and the biography of the founders of this faith Satguru Devchandra Jee and Mahamati Prannath Jee whose lives serve as inspiration for those who aspire to realize divinity and eternal bliss. The account of their lives recorded by the awakened soul Swami Lal Das Jee, the consort of the Lord Supreme and many other awakened souls outline the ways for enlightenment and Salvation.

Many other books written by the leaders of the Pranami Faith and other religious scholars are available for readers to reflect on in many libraries and Pranami Temples and institutions worldwide.


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]

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."[21]


The "Nijanam Mantra" is used by followers and it is said to be the powerful mantra to get rid of this infinite loop of birth and death. This is the same mantra which is given when someone wants to enter in this sampardaye. This mantra is the summarized version of Tartam Sagar.[citation needed]

Rites and rituals

The followers of Nijanand Sampardaye are barred from alcohol intake, non-veg diets, tobacco products, etc. The followers recite hymns and verses from their holy book Kuljam Swarup a.k.a. Tartam Sagar, worship the Holy book as the Lord Himself.[citation needed]

In Nijanand temples, which are dedicated to Shree Rajshyamaji (the Lord Supreme and his bliss part), ladies and gentlemen sit in separately to listen to the recitation of fragments of their holy scripture and sing devotional songs to the accompaniment of harmonium, drums (tabla and dholak) and small brass cymbals (manjiras).[8][11][12][10] The walls of temple are covered by scripts from their books – which are inscribed both in Hindi and Sanskrit.[citation needed]


Nijanand Sampraday followers though a minority sect of an offshoot Hinduism can be found in States of Gujarat, Rajasthan, New Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Assam, West Bengal, Sikkim in India chiefly. The followers of Shree Krishna Pranami Faith are spread worldwide in recent times including the countries like Nepal, United States, Australia, Japan, United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates and Canada among others.[citation needed]

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. ^ a b c d Pranami Faith : Saints of Pranami Dharma : Texts. Nijanad Sampradaya Archived 2016-03-05 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved on 2019-02-01.
  9. ^ Khan, Dominique-Sila (2002). The Pranami Faith: Beyond "Hindu" and "Muslim". Yoginder Sikand.
  10. ^ a b c d Vishava Pranami Dharma[permanent dead link]
  11. ^ a b c Nijanad Sampradaya Archived 2016-03-05 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved on 2019-02-01.
  12. ^ a b The Pranami Faith: Beyond "Hindu" and "Muslim". Yoginder Sikand. 2002.
  13. ^ Amalendu Misra (2004). Identity and Religion: Foundations of Anti-Islamism in India. Sage Publications. p. 67. ISBN 978-0-7619-3227-7.
  14. ^ Rajmohan Gandhi (2007). Mohandas: A True Story of a Man, His People, and an Empire. Penguin Books India. p. 5. ISBN 978-0-14-310411-7.
  15. ^ Nagindas Sanghvi (2006). The Agony of Arrival: Gandhi, the South Africa Years. Rupa & Company. p. 38. ISBN 978-81-291-0835-7.
  16. ^ "12 Commandments for a Pranami". Shri Krishna Pranami Sampraday.
  17. ^ "Tartam Sagar". Shri Krishna Pranami Sampraday. Retrieved 28 September 2015.
  18. ^ "Shri Tartam Sagar".
  19. ^ Shri Nijanand Samparday. Retrieved on 2019-02-01.
  20. ^ A. A. Abbasi (2001). Dimensions of Human Cultures in Central India: Professor S.K. Tiwari Felicitation Volume. Sarup & Sons. p. 191. ISBN 978-81-7625-186-0.
  21. ^ Sanghvi, Nagindas (2006). The Agony of Arrival: Gandhi, the South Africa Years. Rupa & Company. p. 38. ISBN 978-81-291-0835-7.

Further reading