5). The Akalis (the worshippers of the AKAL or Timeless Being). This body is said to have been instituted by Guru Govind Singh himself. They were the zealots among the Sikhs, who watched over the purity of their religion and withstood firmly the innovations, which the Bairagi Bandi, who after the death of Govind Singh assumed the leadership among tlie Sikhs in the Panjab, endeavored to introduce into Sikhism. They wear blue chequered clothes and bangles or bracelets of steel round their wrists and frequently also a discus of steel on their turban. They established themselves in great numbers at Amritsar, where they assumed the direction of the religious ceremonies and acted the parts of defenders of the faith in the days of Sikh independency, as they assumed the right of convoking a Gur-mata (a national council, literally : the Guru's advice) and directing its consultations. Thus they became a formidable body, which was dreaded even by the Sikh chiefs, as they were always ripe for a fanatical outbreak. They lived on the offerings of the people, which they often extorted by force. As they were in fact more a political than a religious body, their influence ceased with the destruction of the Sikh community, and now-a-days they are hardly taken notice of; they are gradually dwindling away like Sikhism itself, in whose bosom of late even an atheistic or materialistic sect has sprung up, that of the Gulab-dasis, who deny every creation and the existence of any Supreme Being. The old tough Hinduism has therefore every prospect of outliving also this reformatory movement, which was impeded in its course and eventually rendered baneful by being made subservient to political interests. Trumpp 1877.