KANHAIYĀ, BHĀĪ (1648-1718), founder of the Sevāpanthī or Aḍḍaṇshāhī sect of the Sikhs, was born in a Dhamman Khatrī family of Sodharā near Wazīrābād in Siālkoṭ district (now in Pakistan). His father was a wealthy trader, but he himself being of a religious bent of mind left home when still very young and roamed about with sādhūs and ascetics in search of spiritual peace. His quest ended as he met Gurū Tegh Bahādur (1621-75) and accepted initiation at his hands. Kanhaiyā established a dharamsāl at Kavhā village in the present Aṭṭock district of Pakistan which he turned into a preaching centre. His special mission was selfless service of humanity with no distinction of nationality, caste or creed. In 1705, he was on a visit to Anandpur when Anandpur was invested by a combination of hill troops and the imperial army. During the frequent sallies and skirmishes, Bhāī Kanhaiyā used to roam around serving water to the wounded and the dying without distinction of friend and foe. Some Sikhs complained to Gurū Gobind Siṅgh that Kanhaiyā had been resuscitating the fallen enemy soldiers. As Gurū Gobind Siṅgh summoned Bhāī Kanhaiyā and told him what the Sikhs had said, he spoke, "Yes, my Lord, what they said is true in a sense, but I saw no Mughals or Sikhs in the battlefield; I only saw the Gurū's face in everyone." The Gurū, pleased with the reply, blessed him and told his Sikhs that Kanhaiyā had understood his teaching correctly.

         After the evacuation of Anandpur, Bhāī Kanhaiyā retired to Sodharā where he died in 1718.


  1. Lāl Chand, Srī Sant Mālā. Patiala, 1955
  2. Gurmukh Siṅgh, Sevāpanthīāṅ dī Pañjabī Sāhit nūṅ Deṇ. Patiala, 1986

Piārā Siṅgh Padam