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Summary of Question:How much has Sikhism adopted from Hinduism?
Category:General Sikhism
Date Posted:Sunday, 5/02/1999 6:58 AM MDT

How much of Sikhism is derived from Hinduism. It is a well known fact that we have descended from Hindus, can't deny that, but how much of our religion have we adopted from Hinduism? When our ancestors became Sikhs we renounced all the superstitions and dogmas,casteism etc. etc. yet we still practice some of these?

We share many similarities with Hindus such as dharma,re-incarnaton, karma, self-realization, but just because of that Hindus cannot see us something independent.Cannot something coming from India not being exactly a Hindu? Why do Hindus seem to think that Sikhism is another facet of Hinduism? Look what they have done to Buddhism, the Lord Buddha has been made into the next incarnaton of Vishnu,yet he did said nothing of the sort. What are the main differences between the Vedas and our Guru Granth Sahib, as some Hindus are lead to believe the GGS is the sixth Vedas.


ANSWER
First recognize that there is Truth in all religions and spiritual paths that is common to all. Second, understand that Sikhism is not an "ism" or a religion, but is a dharma. That is a radical departure from Hinduism as it is practiced. Sikh dharma came from the Bhakti movement which was composed of both Hindu and Muslim saints. In fact, the Sufis came from the Bhaktis. The Bhaktis emphasized that remembering God's name and living a life of devotion was the highest path, that caste was irrevelant, that each person can have a direct and personal relationship with God. Guru Nanak took it further and taught us that inspiring others to recite the Nam was higher still. Guru Nanak lived that spirit and dedicated his life to breaking the superstitions and social restrictions that corrupted life and kept people from growing spiritually. As the Sikhs evolved they became distinct and respected and they suffered considerably for it.

Because the persecution of the Sikhs became so brutal many Sikhs married their daughters into Hindu families to protect them from the Mughals. The children of those daughters, though affiliated with Sikh families were brought up as Hindus. Further, there were two great massacres that literally wiped out hundreds of thousands of women and children and teens. So, the progeny of many solid Sikhs of that time never matured, leaving the children of the Sikh daughters married to Hindus.

In this way, many of the superstitions and observances of the Hindus began to find their way into the daily lives of the Sikh families because it later became the tradition for the first son of Punjabi families to become Sikhs. That was because they were descendants of Sikh grandfathers anyway. Though they kept their hair and tied their turbans, they were inflluenced by their Hindu relatives and when they grew up and raised their own children, those Hindu practices had already taken root.

The reality, though, is that Sikh Dharma evolved on its own and is unique to itself. The Gurus were aware of this and that is why Guru Gobind Singh wanted his Sikhs to have a distinct appearance, because internally they were distinct. The practices and disciplines of the Sikhs are unique and at that time had not been corrupted by other influences. The problem now is that many people try to separate the teachings of Guru Nanak from those of Guru Gobind Singh, when it is simply the same flame on a different candle.

The only commandment for a Sikh is Jap. The reason is in that way we identify ourselves with the Akal Purkh. This cannot be hidden, so Guru Gobind Singh also told us to identify ourselves not only to the world, but to the Guru. By identifying with the Guru, our confusion and frustration leaves us. Guru Gobind Singh was specific about this when he said "Jab lag Khalsa rahe niara tab tej dio mei sara", "As long as the Khalsa maintains its distinct identity, I will give them all my support and power." But, Guru said, if they take up the ways of Brahmins, I will not recognise them.

A Sikh belongs to the Guru. We live to serve the mission of the Guru and in so doing we bless the Earth and those who walk upon it. In that we find our fulfillment.



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