TAPĀ (lit. a practitioner of physical austerities) is the name given by Sikh chroniclers to an ascetic who once came to Gurū Rām Dās and, proud of the penances he had undergone, said, "Thy Sikhs are very proud; they acknowledge not the Vedas and the Purāṇas; they make no pilgrimages; nor do they fast or observe the varnāśrama dharma or distinctions of caste. Thy Sikhs only reverence thee and recognize thy compositions. Their adoration is confined to the utterance of Vāhigurū. I see no religious disposition in them whatsoever. However will they attain the comfort of heaven ?" Gurū Rām Dās, says the Mahimā Prakāsh, said, "Thou dost not know the comfort of sādh saṅgat, fellowship of the holy. Pious fellowship is what Sikhs seek. They desire not heaven. You are proud of your penances and pilgrimages. Sikhs derive comfort from serving others with humility:" The Tapā fell at the Gurū's feet and took his precept.


  1. Bhallā, Sarūp Dās, Mahimā Prakāsh. Patiala,1971
  2. Santokh Siṅgh, Bhāī, Srī Gur Pratāp Sūraj Granth. Amritsar, 1927-35
  3. Macauliffe, Max Arthur, The Sikh Religion : Its Gurus, Sacred Writings and Authors. Oxford, 1909

Gurdev Siṅgh