About Sikhism Religion
About 500 years ago in South Asian Region (India) Punjab.
Siri Guru Nanak (1469 – 1539 CE)
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 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.
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
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.
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 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 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
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
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
• 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
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.
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
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.
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