Sikhism is a monotheistic religion, or a religion that believes in one god. The followers are called "Sikhs", and their holy book is the Guru Granth Sahib. 27 million people are followers of Sikhism, that makes it the fifth largest religion in the world. It is most popular in Asia. Sikhs are usually identified by the Turban that they wear, but not all wear turbans.
Sikhism was started around 1500 by Guru Nanak Dev, the first of the "Ten Gurus". It took on a distinct identity in 1699, celebrated by Vaisakhi. This is when Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth guru, started the baptism with Khande di Pahul, and the Sikhs were required to keep the 5 Ks. This is also called the birth of the Khalsa.
Some basic beliefs
- There is only one God. Implying that there is nothing that is beyond or outside the one God. So, therefore there is nothing being created, destroyed, as the creation and destruction are still only part of the one.
- The goal of life is to focus on being at one with God. This is attainable by meditation, prayer, and being in the company of others who share a similar goal.
Sikhism teaches that God lasts forever, cannot be seen, and has no body. It is taught that he created the universe, can destroy it, and keeps it running. He is considered to be infinite, or he always existed and always will. Sikhs worship him, and meditate on his name through intense (passionate) repetition. They believe everything is a part of God and God is a part of everything. Good, bad, neutral are not applicable to God and for human beings, as Sikh philosophy indicates that human beings are born innately good.
Followers are all trying to reach salvation, meaning they are trying to break the process of rebirth and become one with God. The thing that is keeping people from reaching union is bad karma. Bad karma is taught to be caused by pride, anger, greed, attachment and lust. Sikhs try to stay away from these things. Sikhs also believe that a piece of god resides within everything in the world. Once an individual discovers the god within and stops searching else then can he reach salvation.
A Sikh temple is called a Gurdwara (meaning "the house of Guru"). It is the place of worship in the Sikh religion. Birth, death, baptism and marriage ceremonies are held in the temple. There are four doors which are called the door of peace, the door of livelihood, the door of learning and the door of grace. When a person enters the temple, their head must be covered. There are no chairs in the temple so people sit on the floor.
The temple is also a communal kitchen. The kitchen is where festival food is donated, prepared and cooked by two Sikh families. All the food that has been made there is shared with all the community who visit the temple on that day. The meal is vegetarian and is called the Langar.
Vaisakhi is an important festival celebrated by Sikhs and Hindus. Vaisakhi is also known as Basaki. It is the harvest festival in the Punjab region. Vaisakhi is celebrated on the first day of the Basak month, in the Sikh calendar.
The term guru comes from the Sanskrit gurū, which means teacher, guide, or mentor. The traditions and philosophy of Sikhism were made by ten gurus from 1469 to 1708. Each guru added to and reinforced the message taught by the previous one. This resulted in the creation of the Sikh religion.
|#||Name||Date of Birth||Guruship on||Date of Death||Age|
|1||Nanak Dev||April 15 1469||August 20 1507||September 22 1539||69|
|2||Angad Dev||March 31 1504||September 7 1539||March 29 1552||48|
|3||Amar Das||May 5 1479||March 26 1552||September 1 1574||95|
|4||Ram Das||September 24 1534||September 1 1574||September 1 1581||46|
|5||Arjun Dev||April 15 1563||September 1 1581||May 30 1606||43|
|6||Har Gobind||June 19 1595||May 25 1606||February 28 1644||48|
|7||Har Rai||January 16 1630||March 3 1644||October 6 1661||31|
|8||Har Krishan||July 7 1656||October 6 1661||March 30 1664||7|
|9||Teg Bahadur||April 1 1621||March 20 1665||November 11 1675||54|
|10||Gobind Singh||December 22 1666||November 11 1675||October 7 1708||41|
And the eternal Guru is the Sri Guru Granth Sahib, which is a not just a book but contains the writings of each Guru.
In addition to the above, Sikhs also believe in fifteen bhagats or saints, including ones from other creeds, whose words and deeds have been adopted into Sikhism by the great ten Gurus. Most notable of these bhagats is the Punjabi Sufi saint, Hazrat Baba Farid.
The 5 Ks are the things Sikhs wear at all times. They are:
- Having unshorn/uncut hair. This is called a Kesh. Whether male or female, a person is required to keep their Kesh covered. People usually cover their Kesh with a turban, or a scarf (Chunni).
- A wooden comb in their hair. This is called a Kanga. This symbolizes cleanliness which is an important part of Sikhism.
- A steel bracelet. This is for protection and physical reminder that a one is bound to the Guru. This is called a Kara.
- Cotton underwear that does not always have to be used as underwear. This is called a Kachera. It is a reminder to stay away from lust and attachment.
- A small sword. This is worn to defend one's faith and protect the weak. This is called Kirpan. It is only to be used in self-defense. Many of these are now welded shut.
The Harimandir Sahib, known popularly as the Golden Temple, is a sacred shrine for Sikhs.
An Akali-Nihung Sikh Warrior at Harmandir Sahib, also called the Golden Temple
The Darbar Sahib of a Gurdwara.
Some bodyguard of Maharaja Ranjit Singh at the Sikh capital, Lahore, Punjab.
Sikh Light Infantry personnel march past during the Republic day parade in New Delhi, India
Nagar Kirtan in Bangalore
Sikhism Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.