The Akalis (later known as Nihangs) believed in asceticism and celibacy. They also believed in the use of bhang (hashish) also called Sukha or Sukh Nidhan (treasure of bliss) for meditative purposes. They believe in three Granths: The Adi Granth (Primal/First Book), the Dasam Granth (Book of the Tenth Guru) and the Sarob Loh Granth (Book of the All-Steel). They believe that all have equal status and supplement each other; in the Akali/Nihang perspective it is not possible to fully comprehend the Adi Granth without the other two Granths. The Akalis also believe in the itinerant idea of chakravorty, that is to be always on the move. They believe that they are the fifth and only moving Takht (throne of authority) that keeps a check on the four stationary Takhts - which have become institutionalised. However this is not recognised by orthodox Sikhs. The Nihangs believe in the oral tradition of giving kathas (oral discourses on the scripture), and do not write down their history. Today not all Nihangs are celibate, some marry and some till the land. Nihangs believe that they are the real Khalsa who practice martial arts and live their lives as Guru Gobind Singh outlined. The Nihangs therefore strongly believe and rigidly adhere to the rahit (code of conduct).

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The Akalis (Immortals, or Followers of the Timeless One), or as they are now known Nihangs (meaning 'free from worldly cares'), were at their most numerous and impressive in the 18th and early 19th centuries. At this time they were called Akalis and were known to be fearless, skilled and resolute warriors. They saw themselves as forming the elite corpus of the Khalsa. Their origins cannot be substantiated by written sources; however, from their oral tradition, they believe themselves to have originated from the times of Guru Gobind Singh. The Akalis earned a reputation for being valiant soldiers during the ...

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