SADHNĀ, one of the fifteen saints and sūfīs whose hymns are incorporated in the Gurū Granth Sāhib, was a qasāi or butcher by profession who, by his piety and devotion, had gained spiritual eminence. He is believed to have been born at the village of Sehvān, in Sindh. He was cremated at Sirhind, in the Punjab, where even today a tomb stands in his memory. He is considered to be a contemporary of Nām Dev, another medieval saint Sadhnā lived by selling meat, though, as it is asserted, he never butchered the animals himself. His only śabda (hymn) in the measure Bilāval, in the Gurū Granth Sāhib, indicates his belief that all evil deeds of a man could be washed away by devoted meditation on the Name --- and so the deeds of a butcher:

        What merit have you, Enlightener of the world, if our ill deeds are not effaced?

        What avails it to enter the asylum of the lion, if a mere jackal will be allowed to devour one?

        I am nothing, nor is anything mine

        Save my honour, O lord, I am your slave after all. (GG, 858)

        Sadhnā worshipped the idol of sāligrām, the ammonite stone, symbolising god Viṣṇu of the Hindu Trinity. His spiritual quest led him to renounce the household. He left Sehvān and roamed about the country preaching the love of God. None of his holy songs have survived except the solitary hymn preserved in the Gurū Granth Sāhib, which keeps his memory alive.


  1. Śabadārth Srī Gurū Granth Sāhib. Amritsar,1975
  2. Gurdit Siṅgh, Giānī, Itihās Srī Gurū Granth Sāhib (Bhagat Bāṇī Bhāg). Chandigarh, 1990
  3. Sāhib Siṅgh, Bhagat Bāṇī Saṭīk. Amritsar, 1959-60
  4. Chaturvedī, Parshū Rām. Uttarī Bhārat kī Sant Pramprā. Allahabad,1964
  5. Macauliffe, Max Arthur, The Sikh Religion: Its Sacred Writings and Authors. Oxford, 1909

Tāran Siṅgh