GULĀBDĀSĪĀS, a sect subscribing to epicurean ethics, were the followers of one Prītam Dās, originally an Udāsī sādhū. Prītam Dās's principal disciple was Gulāb Dās after whom the members of the sect came to be known as Gulābdāsīās. Gulāb Dās, son of Hamīrā, was born in 1809 at the village of Raṭaul, near Tarn Tāran, in Amritsar district. He had served as a trooper in the army of Mahārājā Sher Siṅgh. On the abrogation of the Sikh rule, he became a follower of Prītam Dās, succeeding him on his death as the head of the sect. He gave the sect its peculiar character and philosophy. Among his several Punjabi compositions Updes Bilās and Pothī Gulāb Chaman Dī contain his principal tenets. According to Gulāb Dās, man is essentially of the same substance as the Deity, into whom he will eventually be absorbed. He discountenanced the veneration of saints and prophets and forbade all religious customs and ceremonies, claiming pleasure and gratification of the senses the only desirable ends. His followers wore costly dresses and freely indulged in all kinds of excesses, though they are said to have great abhorrence for lying. They dressed themselves in several different styles. Some wore white, others preserved the Udāsī garb; some clad themselves like Nirmalās, while some went shaven. The sect had only a very small following and this also began dwindling when their entry into Paṭiālā state was banned by the Sikh Mahārājā owing to their licentious ways. According to the 1891 census figures, they numbered 763 (464 Hindus and 299 Sikhs). Before the partition of the Punjab in 1947, the sect had its headquarters at the village of Chaṭṭhe, near Kasūr, now in Pakistan.


  1. Crooke, W., The Tribes and Castes of the North Western India. Delhi, 1974
  2. Ibbetson, Denzil, A Glossary of the Tribes and Castes of the Punjab and North-West Frontier Province. Patiala, 1970

Jagjīt Siṅgh