A sant (Sanskrit: सन्त्; IAST: Sant; [sɐn̪t̪]) is a human being revered as a "truth-exemplar" for their knowledge of "self, truth, [and] reality" in Indic religions, particularly Hinduism, Jainism, Sikhism, and Buddhism.[1][2] In Sikhism it is used to describe a being who has attained spiritual enlightenment and divine knowledge and power through union with God.[3]


"Sant" is sometimes translated as "saint", but this is a false cognate (there is no etymological commonality) as "sant" is derived from the Sanskrit root sat,[4] which can mean "truth, reality, essence", while "saint" is derived from the Latin word sanctus, which means "holy, sacred",[1] derived from Indo-European root sak-, "to sanctify".[5]

Schomer and McLeod explain sant as preceptor of Sat or "truth, reality", in the sense of "'one who knows the truth' or 'one who has experienced Ultimate Reality', that is a person who has achieved a state of spiritual enlightenment or mystical self-realisation".[6][7] William Pinch suggests the best translation of sant is "truth-exemplar".[1]


Sant differs from saint not merely in the etymological sense but also in usage. The word is used in various contexts:[2][6][8]



In Hinduism, a saint has an important place in the life of a devotee. Hindu scriptures also tell the importance of a saint.[10] According to the Hindu scriptures, worshipers are freed from the disease of birth and death by taking refuge in a true saint and doing devotion according to the scriptures. The identity of the true saint is also stated in the holy scriptures of Hinduism that one who is a true saint will have complete knowledge of all the holy books and will initiate three types of mantras (names) thrice.[11]

See also


  1. ^ a b c William Pinch (1996), Peasants and Monks in British India, University of California Press, ISBN 978-0520200616, page 181 footnote 3
  2. ^ a b Schomer & McLeod (1987), pp. 1–17
  3. ^ a b Khalsa, Sant Singh (2007). Sri Guru Granth Sahib: English Translation of Sri Guru Granth Sahib. Arizona: Hand Made Books (Mandeep Singh). pp. 12–263.
  4. ^ Schomer & McLeod (1987), p. 3
  5. ^ Watkins, Calvert. "American Heritage Dictionary Indo-European Roots Appendix". Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Retrieved 2017-12-04.
  6. ^ a b Hawley (1987), p. 57
  7. ^ Schomer & McLeod (1987), p. 2
  8. ^ John Hawley and Mark Juergensmeyer (2008), Songs of the Saints of India, Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0195694208, pages 2-8
  9. ^ Schomer & McLeod (1987), pp. 251–267
  10. ^ "saint | Britannica". www.britannica.com. Retrieved 2022-05-02.
  11. ^ "Identification of a True Saint or Satguru in the World - Jagat Guru Rampal Ji". www.jagatgururampalji.org. Retrieved 2022-05-02.