Pranami Sampradaya / Shree Krisha Pranami Dharma / Nijanand Sampradaya is a community which has the followers of Supreme God "Raj Ji" (Satcitananda). Lord Krishna in his age of 11 years and 52 days is worshiped in their Sampradaya.
The founder of the sect, Shri Devchandra Maharaj (1581–1655), was born in Sindh province in Umarkot village. From early childhood he showed saintly tendencies. At the age of 16, he renounced the world and left in search of Brahma-gyana (divine knowledge) to Bhuj in Kutch and later to Jamnagar. Devchandraji undertook the work of giving concrete shape and form to find a new stream of religion called Nijanand Sampradaya. He settled down in Jamnagar, where form he explained Vedas, Vedantic knowledge and Bhagwatam in simple language intelligible to lay persons irrespective of social class and religious differences, and taught them "Tartam". His followers later came to be known as Sunder Sath or Pranami.
The credit of spreading the Pranami religion further, goes to his able disciple and successor, Mahamati Prannathji (Mehraj Thakur) (1618–1694), who was son of Keshav Thakur, Diwan of Jamnagar State. He traveled throughout India to spread the religion. He also composed a work called Kuljam Swarop that has writings in six languages - Gujarati, Sindhi, Arabic, Persian, Urdu, Hindi and also words of many other prevalent languages. His work called Kuljam Swarup a.k.a. Qulzam Swarup and Mehar Sagar, which is now the main text of religion. He also attended Kumbh Mela at Haridwar during his lifetime and met several saints and religious leaders of his time, who were impressed by his knowledge and power.
Maharaja Chhatrasal (1649–1731) of Bundelkhand, was an ardent disciple of Mahamati Prannathji and a follower of Pranami Dharma. Their meeting took place in Mau in 1683, a place near Panna. His nephew Dev Karanji who had met Swami Prannathji, earlier in Ramnagar, was instrumental for this meeting. Chhatrasal was highly impressed of Prannathji and became his disciple. When Maharaja Chhatrasal came to meet him, he was going for a battle against Mughals. Swami Prannathji gave him his own sword and covered his head with a scarf, saying, "You will always be victorious. Diamond mines will be discovered in your land and you will become a great emperor." His prophecy came true and even today Panna region is famous for their diamond mines. Swami Prannathji was not only the religious Guru of Chhatrasal; but he guided him too in political, social, and economic matters. It was by being granted the boon of finding diamonds in Panna by Swami Prannathji that Maharaja Chhatrasal became prosperous.
Among other notables - Mahatma Gandhi's mother, Putlibai, belonged to Pranami sect.Gandhi in his book My Experiments With Truth mentions about this sect - "Pranami is a sect deriving the best of both the Quran and Gita, in search of one goal - God."
There are three main texts of the religion:-
- Tartam Sagar
- Mehar Sagar
- Kuljam Swarup or Qulzam Swarup
Rites and rituals
The followers of pranami are not allowed to take alcohol, non-veg and any product which contains tobacco.
Pranami Dharma refrains from idol worship. They recite hymns and verses from their holy book Kuljam Swarup a.k.a. Kulzam Swarup, to whom they worship and even the usual partaking of consecrated water (amiras), together with food offering or prasad, is not considered an essential part of ritual worship in the tradition.
In their, temples, which are dedicated to ShreeRajshyamaji but do not have his idols, ladies and gents sit in separately to listen to the recitation of fragments of their holy scripture and singing devotional songs to the accompaniment of harmonium, drums (tabla and dholak) and small brass cymbals (manjiras). The walls of temple are covered by scripts from their books - which are inscribed both in Sanskrit and Arabic. The dress of the priests as well rituals resemble those of Islam religion.
Pranami Sampraday followers though a minority sect of an off-shoot Hinduism can be found in States of Gujarat, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Hariyana, Assam, West Bengal and Sikkim in India chiefly. There are followers and temples of Pranami in Nepal, USA and Canada as well.
- Pranami Faith : Saints of Pranami Dharma : Texts
- Nijanad Sampradaya
- The Pranami Faith: Beyond `Hindu’ and `Muslim’- Dominique-Sila Khan
- Vishava Pranami Dharma
- Identity and religion: foundations of anti-Islamism in India By Amalendu Misra. 2004. p. 67.
- Mohandas: A True Story of a Man, His People, and an Empire By Gandhi. 2006. p. 5.
- The Agony of Arrival: Gandhi, the South Africa Years by Nagindas Sanghavi. 2006.