The Meaning of Sant in Sikhism

Learn about the Sikh word for saint

Pilgrims bow to the Guru Granth Sahib

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Sant is a word meaning a devotee, a good person, one who is humble, holy, or pious, a saint.

In Sikhism, Sant refers to a very pious person having saintly qualities. Some Sikhs believe that the term Sant should be reserved for use only in reference to the Guru, or Enlightener, as no other is deserving of such respect.

Qualities of a Sant

A Sikh Sant may be married, or unmarried, and is an ordinary person with extraordinary merits:

  • Devotion - A Sikh Sant adheres to the Sikhism code of conduct, is a devoted disciple of Guru Granth Sahib.
  • Influence - A Sant has a mystical presence and an influence which is capable of igniting spiritual devotion in others. A Sant stresses faith in Gurbani scripture, and Gurmat principles.
  • Humility - A Sant is humble and may never be considered as exalted above Guru Granth Sahib. A Sant may be recognized as an individual with miraculous powers, but always acts in humility, and never for show, or personal gain.
  • Service - A Sant may have a following, and be associated with a worship place maintained by devotees who consider the Sant to spiritually superior, however, the true Sant maintains a selfless attitude and remains ever in the service of the Sangat.

Sant may also be a spiritual name, given by parents at birth, taken upon conversion, or initiation into Sikhism.

Variations of Sant

  • Santani: Female form of sant.
  • Sant Sipahi: Sikh warrior having the qualities of a saintly soldier, who maintains humility and compassion while in the midst of battle.
  • Pronunciation: Sant has a short a sound with a nasal n, which together are pronounced like the word sun, and rhymes with shunt, or punt.
  • Also Known As: Santan
  • Common Misspellings: Shant, saant.

Examples From Scripture

In Gurbani, the scripture of Guru Granth Sahib, there are many references to saints and the associates of saints and variations of phonetic spellings:

  • "Sabh sukh har ras bhogannae sant sabhaa mil giaan ||
    All peaceful comforts of the Lord's essence are enjoyed in the Saint's association acquiring knowledge of the Divine." SGGS||21
  • "Dar sevan sant jan kharrae paa-in gunee nidhaan ||1||
    At the Lord's Door, the humble Saints stand in service and find the treasure of virtue." ||1|| SGGS||32
  • "Pao sant saranee laag charnee mittai dookh andhaar ||2||
    Do seek the Saint's sanctuary and fall at his feet to remove the misery of your mental darkness." ||2|| SGGS||51
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Your Citation
Khalsa, Sukhmandir. "The Meaning of Sant in Sikhism." Learn Religions, Aug. 28, 2020, Khalsa, Sukhmandir. (2020, August 28). The Meaning of Sant in Sikhism. Retrieved from Khalsa, Sukhmandir. "The Meaning of Sant in Sikhism." Learn Religions. (accessed June 5, 2023).