About Sikhism Religion

Religion

About Sikhism Religion

Sikhism

Founded

About 500 years ago in South Asian Region (India) Punjab.

Founder

Siri Guru Nanak (1469 – 1539 CE)

Major Scriptures

The main scripture is “Ädi Granth” (Guru Granth Sahib). It is

regarded as the word of God and is revered as the living Guru of

the faith.

Sects

The main sect is Khälsä. The other sects are the Ram Raiyäs, the

Mandhäris, and Nirankaris. The Khälsä sect has no living Guru but

the Mandhäris and Nirankaris sects have living Gurus.

Adherents

The population of the Sikh community is about 25 million and the

majority live in India. Small communities of Sikhs also exist in the

United Kingdom, Canada, the United States, Malaysia, and East

Africa.

Goals

The goal of Sikhism lies in Moksha or salvation which is a union

with God and release into God’s love, described as that of a lover

with the beloved and resulting in self transcendence, egolessness,

and enduring bliss. It is the fulfillment of individuality in which

man, freed of all limitations, becomes coextensive and cooperant

and copresent with God. In Sikhism, Moksha means release into

God’s love. Man is not God but fulfilled in unitary, mystical

consciousness with Him. God is the personal Lord and Creator.

Path of Attainment

To lead humans to the goal of Moksha, Sikhism follows a path of

Jäpa and hymns. Through the chanting of the holy names or Sat

Näm, the soul is cleansed of its impurity, the five vices – lust,

anger, greed, attachment, and ego are conquered, and the

wandering mind is stilled. This leads to a super conscious

stillness. From here the soul enters the divine light and thus

attains a state of divine bliss.

Once this highest goal is attained, the devotee must devote his

awareness to the good of others. The highest goal can be realized

only by God’s grace, and this is attained exclusively by following

the true teacher (Sat Guru), and by repeating the holy names of

the Lord guided by the Ädi Granth, the scripture and sole

repository of spiritual authority. For Sikhs there is no deity worship

and no symbol of divinity.

Synopsis

The word Sikhism is derived from Sikka meaning disciple in

Punjabi language. The movement was founded in the state of

Punjab, India by Guru Nanak (1469 -1539), who sought

reconciliation of the Hindu and Muslim faiths in a middle path that

embraced both. It united Hindu devotion (Bhakti) and Sufi (Islam)

mysticism most successfully. He taught the unity of God,

brotherhood of man, rejection of caste, and the futility of idol

worship. He was followed by nine masters, the last of whom was

Guru Gobind Singh (1666 - 1708; Guru 1675 - 1708).

The holiest place for Sikhs is the Golden Temple at Amritsar,

Punjab, India. The fourth Guru, Rämdäs (Guru 1574 - 1581),

founded it. The fifth guru Arjundev (Guru 1581 - 1606) gave

Sikhism its holy book, the Granth Sahib or Ädi Granth, which

contains hymns and writings of the first five Sikh gurus as well as

those of Hindu and Muslim saints such as Kabir, Ravidäs, Surdäs,

Farid, and Rämänand. Like Islam, Sikhs object to the worship of

images. The sacred image is replaced by a large copy of the

scripture – Guru Granth Sahib or Ädi Granth.

Sikhism began as a peaceful religion and patiently bore much

persecution from the Muslim rulers, but with Guru Gobind Singh,

self-preservation forced a strong military aimed at protecting the

faith and way of life against severe opposition.

Sikhism stresses the brotherhood of all men, rejection of caste

differences, opposition to the worship of idols, the importance of

devotion, intense faith in the Guru, getting rid of the five vices –

lust, anger, greed, attachment, and ego, and the repetition of

God’s Name (Näm) as a means of salvation.

There have been no Gurus in the Sikh tradition since Guru Gobind

Singh, whose last instructions to his followers were to honor and

cherish the teachings of the ten Gurus as embodied in the

scripture, “Ädi Granth” also known as “Guru Granth Sahib”. Since

then Guru Granth has been the object of ultimate sanctity and the

source of sacred inspiration; it is the highest authority for the

Sikhs.

Sikhs are readily identifiable by their turbans. They take a vow not

to cut their hair as well as not to smoke or drink alcoholic

beverages. When Gobind Singh founded (1699) the martial

fraternity Khälsä (pure), his followers vowed to keep the five K’s

(see Belief section). The ideal Sikh is a saint-soldier committed to

standing up for the weak and oppressed. The noble mission of life

is to serve one’s family, to serve mankind, and finally to serve

God.

Beliefs

God is the sovereign one, the omnipotent, immortal and personal

creator. He is a being beyond time, who is called Sat Näm for His

name is truth.

Sikhs consider human form as the most superior form all life as it

provides a unique opportunity to break the cycle of life and death

to merge eternally with God. In this life one can follow the

teachings of the true Guru, prepare oneself to understand and love

God, and salvage oneself from the influence of the five vices.

Man grows spiritually by living truthfully, serving selflessly, and by

repetition of the holy name and Guru Nanak’s prayer, Japaji.

Salvation lies in understanding the divine truth and that man’s

surest path to salvation lies in faith, love, purity, and devotion.

The scriptural and ethical authority of the Ädi Granth is God’s

revelation.

To know God, the Guru is essential as a guide, who is absorbed in

love of the Real and is able to awaken the soul to its true and

divine nature.

The world is Mayä, a vain and transitory illusion. Only God is true

as all else passes away.

The ten Sikh Gurus are all true teachers which are: Guru Nanak,

Guru Angad, Guru Amardäs, Guru Rämdäs, Guru Arjundev, Guru

Har Govind, Guru Har Räi, Guru Har Kishan, Guru Tegh Bahädur,

and Guru Govind Singh.

Adopt the last name Singh, which means Lion, signifying courage.

Adopt the five symbols (five K’s):

• Wear white soldier’s short uniform (Kachha): signifies

Purity

• Keep Sword (Kirpan): signifies Bravery

• Wear Iron Bracelet (Karä): signifies Morality

• Never cut hair and beard (Kesha): signifies Renunciation

• Keep Comb (Kangha) in hair: signifies Cleanliness

Symbols

The Sikh symbol called Khandaa consists of two side swords, a

circular shield, and a double edge sword in the middle. The two

swords on the side represent Miri (worldly power) and Piri (spiritual

power). The circular shield indicates that God has no beginning or

end. The double edged sword in the middle emphasizes that a

Sikh is committed to peace with justice and that when all peaceful

means are exhausted and the tyranny over the weak and

oppressed continues, it is rightful for a Sikh to become a soldier

striving for justice in pursuit of peace.

Holidays

Sikhs follow a lunar calendar. All holidays follow a similar pattern

of celebration such as worship and langar (Sikh community meal).

The dates for commemorating the birth-day of each of the ten

gurus are distributed throughout the year. Those of the founder

(Guru Nanak) and of the tenth guru (Guru Gobind Singh), and the

martyrdom anniversaries of the fifth and ninth Gurus are the most

prominent ones.

In April, Baisäki is an important commemoration of the formation of

the Khälsä sect in 1699.

Guru Granth Sahib Day celebrates the proclamation that the Sikh

scripture is the perpetual living Guru.

Humanity

Much advance publicity was made for the address the Master

would deliver on “The Destruction of the World” and a large crowd

gathered at the monastery grounds to hear him. The address was

over in less than a minute. All he said was:

These things will destroy the human race:

• Politics without Principle

• Progress without Compassion

• Wealth without Work

• Learning without Silence

• Religion without Fearlessness

• Worship without Awareness

 

 

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