24. The origin of Nirmala Sadhus Shelter to Rajput rebels

Guru Govind Singh was a great patrou of learning. He had great love for the study of Sanskrit and was anxious that his people should know all that was good in the Shastras. Pundits, famous for their learning, were employed to render important Sanskrit works into vernacular and one Raghu Nath Pundit was engaged to teach Sanskrit to the Sikhs. When this Pundit came to know that among the pupils many were carpenters, Jats, washermen and barbers he refused to teach them. According to the Shastras, said he, the Sudras who read and the men who taught them Sanskrit were both guilty of a crime which required pouring of molten lead into their ears and though the Brahmans had long since lost political ascendancy and such punishment could not, therefore, be inflicted he was sure if he carried out the Guru's orders he would incur mortal hatred of his caste people. The Guru dismissed the Brahman immediately and sent five promising youths Karm Singh, Ganda Singh, Vir Singh, Saina Singh, and Ram Singh to Benares where assuming Gairic dress and adopting the life of Brahmacharis they acquired competency in Sanskrit lore. After a few years they returned and under the honoured title of Nirmalas (pure ones) they did great service in illumining men's minds.