Sikhism at a Glance
Sikhism is a monotheistic religion with the belief that the humans can raise to the higher spiritual level to realize Waheguru (God), following the Gurmat (Guru's way) way of life and the grace of the Guru. With over 25 million followers worldwide, it is one of the youngest major world religions.
Sikhism was founded by Guru Nanak Dev Ji over 500 years ago in the Punjab, India. Sikhism preaches the devotion and remembrance of Waheguru at all times, truthful living, equality of all human beings, including men and women, social justice, and emphatically denouncing the superstitions, blind rituals and idol worship.
The Sikh Gurus
The word “Guru” in Sikh parlance means an enlightener or a Spiritual Teacher. In Sikhism there are Ten Gurus. The first, Guru Nanak Dev Ji (1469 to 1539), rejected the ritualistic practices of the dominant religions in South Asia and he based his message strictly on divine revelation. Nine other living Gurus followed Guru Nanak.
The last living Guru, Guru Gobind Singh Ji (1666 to 1708) crystallized the practices and beliefs of the faith and created the Khalsa Panth and gave the Guruship to Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji (the Sikh Scripture). Sikhism is guided by the joint sovereignty of Guru Granth and Guru Panth. Guru Granth is the Sikh scripture, as the spiritual manifestation of the Guru, while the Guru Panth is the collectivity of all initiated Sikhs worldwide, as the physical manifestation of the Guru.
Articles of Faith
Sikhs wear the five Kakkars (articles of faith) to remind them of their commitment to the Guru at all times. The initiated Sikhs must wear the mandatory five Kakkars all the times.
- Kesh (uncut hair), the symbol of Spirituality, which is kept covered by a distinctive turban.
- Kirpan (religious sword), the symbol of Waheguru's protective power to reminds the Sikh to stand up for the human rights, self-defense and fight Tyranny, Injustice and Intolerance.
- Kara (iron bracelet), reminds the Sikhs, the commitment to the Guru and not to commit bad deeds or sign false statements.
- Kanga (comb), is kept in the Hair to comb and keep the hair clean.
- Kaccha (under-shorts), reminds the Sikh to keep high moral character and remain firmly committed to the wedded relationship.
They all have deep religious meanings for Sikhs who wear them to honor the Sikh Gurus while being ambassadors for their faith.
- Being a monotheistic faith, Sikhism recognizes Waheguru (God) as the only Creator, Operator and Destroyer of the whole creation.
- Worship the Creator not the Creation.
- Everyone has equal status in the eyes of God. No discrimination in status or ceremonies is made based on gender, race, color, caste, culture or social status.
- Stresses the importance of leading a good moral life.
- Naam, Daan, Ishnaan are the three pillar of Gurmat way of life
- Naam (literally meaning "name") - remembering and reciting Waheguru's name all the times.
- Daan - (literally meaning "donation") - sharing the blessings, skills and the gifts of Waheguru with the poor and the needy.
- Ishnaan - (literally meaning "bath") - maintaining the purity of Mind and Body and high moral character.
- Encourages domestic virtues, such as loyalty, gratitude for all favors received, philanthropy, justice, truth and honesty.
- Moral qualities and the practice of virtue in everyday life are vital steps towards spiritual development. Qualities like honesty, compassion, generosity, patience, humility etc. can be built up only by effort and perseverance.
- A modern, logical, and practical religion, Sikhism believes that normal family-life is no barrier to salvation and merging with the Waheguru.
- Life has a purpose and a goal. Human beings cannot claim immunity from the results of their actions and must be very vigilant in what they do.
- The individual has a right to develop his or her personality to the maximum extent possible. The Sikh is essentially a person of action, with an overwhelming sense of self-reliance.
- The individual must make a contribution to the social welfare as a sacred duty. The gulf between the more fortunate and the less fortunate has to be bridged.
References and Resources
To learn more about Sikhism you can visit the following resources