INTRODUCTION TO SIKHISM


Sikhism, the youngest of the world religions, is barely five hundred years old. Its founder, Guru Nanak, was born in 1469. Guru Nanak spread a simple message of "Ek Ong Kar": we are all one, created by the One Creator of all Creation. This was at a time when India was being torn apart by castes, sectarianism, religious factions, and fanaticism. He aligned with no religion, and respected all religions. He expressed the reality that there is one God and many paths, and the Name of God is Truth, "Sat Nam".
World Religions
Christianity
2 b
Islam
1.3 b
Hinduism
900 m
Buddhism
360 m
Chinese Trad.
225 m
Primal-indig.
190 m
Sikhism
23 m
Yoruba
20 m
Juche
19 m
Spiritism
14 m
Judaism
14 m
Bahi
6 m
Guru Nanak's Hindu and Muslim followers began to be called Sikhs (learners). He taught them to bow only before God, and to link themselves to the Guru, the Light of Truth, who lives always in direct consciousness of God, experiencing no separation. Through words and example, the Guru demonstrates to followers how to experience God within themselves, bringing them from darkness into light. Guru Nanak was a humble bearer of this Light of Truth. He opposed superstition, rituals, social inequality and injustice, renunciation and hypocrisy and inspired seekers by singing divine songs which touched the hearts of the most callous listeners. These songs were recorded, and formed the beginnings of the Sikhs' sacred writings, later to become the "Siri Guru Granth Sahib".

Guru Nanak taught his way of life:
Nam Japa - To get up each day before sunrise, to clean the body, meditate on God’s Name and recite the Guru’s hymns to clean the mind. Throughout the day, continuously remember God’s Name with every breath.
Dharam di Kirat Karni - To work and earn by the sweat of the brow, to live a family way of life, and practice truthfulness and honesty in all dealings.
Vand Ke Chakna - To share the fruits of one’s labor with others before considering oneself. Thus, to live as an inspiration and a support to the entire community.


The 10 Sikh Gurus
The foundation of Sikhism was laid down by Guru Nanak. Guru Nanak infused his own consciousness into a disciple, who then became Guru, subsequently passing the light on to the next, and so on. The word "Guru" is derived from the root words "Gu", which means darkness or ignorance, and "Ru", which means light or knowledge The Guru is the experience of Truth (God).

Each one of the ten Gurus represents a divine attribute:
    Guru Nanak - Humility
    Guru Angad - Obedience
    Guru Amar Das Equality
    Guru Ram Das - Service
    Guru Arjan - Self-Sacrifice
    Guru Hargobind - Justice
    Guru Har Rai - Mercy
    Guru Harkrishan - Purity
    Guru Tegh Bahadur - Tranquility
    Guru Gobind Singh - Royal Courage
    (see more on the 10 Sikh Gurus)
Guru Gobind Singh, the Tenth Guru, exemplified the Sikh ideal of the Soldier-Saint. He was also an inspired and prolific writer, courageous warrior, and a source of Divine Wisdom to his Sikhs. "When all other means have failed," he said, "only then is it righteous to take up the sword." He was the defender of the poor, the meek, and the oppressed masses of India.

The Making of the Khalsa
Guru Gobind Singh was the last Guru of the Sikhs in human form. He created the Khalsa, a spiritual brotherhood and sisterhood devoted to purity of thought and action. He gave the Khalsa a distinctive external form to remind them of their commitment, and to help them maintain an elevated state of consciousness. Fore more information on Baisakhi click here. Every Sikh baptized as Khalsa vows to wear the Five "K's": more about 5 k's...

Kesh - uncut hair and beard, as given by God, to sustain him or her in higher consciousness; and a turban, the crown of spirituality.

Kangha
- a wooden comb to properly groom the hair as a symbol of cleanliness.

Katchera - specially made cotton underwear as a reminder of the commitment to purity.

Kara - a steel circle, worn on the wrist, signifying bondage to Truth and freedom from every other entanglement.

Kirpan - the sword, with which the Khalsa is committed to righteously defend the fine line of the Truth.


Khalsa vowed to have a daily spiritual practice of reading 5 banis (scriptures) more... Khalsa vowed to follow the basic tenants of Bana (uniform), Bani (scripture), Simran (meditative recitation), Seva(service). more... Khalsa also vows to refrain from any sexual relationships outside of marriage, and to refrain from taking meat, tobacco, alcohol, and all other intoxicants. For more information see Rehit Mariyada (Code of Conduct).

Then Guru Gobind Singh infused his own being into the Khalsa, declaring that the Khalsa was now the Guru in all temporal matters. For spiritual matters, the Guruship was given to the "Siri Guru Granth Sahib", a compilation of sacred writings by those who have experienced Truth. For Sikhs, "Siri Guru Granth Sahib" is the living embodiment of the Guru, and is regarded with the utmost reverence and respect wherever it is found. Sikhs all over the world took to the "Siri Guru Granth Sahib" as their living Guru, as the source of spiritual instruction and guidance. More info about Siri Guru Granth Sahib. Read the Siri Guru Granth Sahib

For additional information on the Sikh way of life you can browse through Sikhnet or do a search through the all of the SikhNet content. You can also view the following recommended resources:

Understanding Sikhism
InfoAboutSikhs.com - The best website for basic information/introduction about Sikhism
SikhiWiki.org - The Encyclomedia of the Sikhs - a universally editable wiki site.
Understanding the Turban
Who Are The Sikhs? (pdf)- Great flyer that can be printed out
Who are the Sikhs? - A Slide Show Presentation
BBC Guide to World Religions - Web guide to Sikhism and other religions
Glossary of Sikh Terms
The Heritage of the Turban - To Sikhs, their turban is sacred. Their Gurus instructed them to wear it, and they have sacrificed their lives to protect its honor. The following collection of how the turban has been regarded throughout history has been put together for your information.
BBC Video on Sikhism - A great video documentary done about the Sikh religion to celebrate the 300th anniversary of "Khalsa".
A Saint and a Soldier - The Story of the Sikhs. A video documentary for people who are wanting to learn more about the basics of the Sikh faith. It will give you a better understanding of who the Sikhs are and what they are about.
Sharing Our Faith - The Legacy of Guru Nanak Dev Ji - A video documentary about Sikhs.
Welcome to our Gurdwara (pdf)
True Face of The Sikhs (pdf)- Sikhs in WW I and II
Photo Gallery of Sikhs - See what Sikhs look like. Here is a photo gallery of the Sikh People.
Sikhism Home Page - A great resource for learning about the various aspects of the Sikh faith.
Sikh-Seek Website Directory - This is the most comprehensive directory of Sikh websites on the internet.

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