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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, "SatNam".
Guru Nanak's followers were Sikhs (seekers of truth). 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, injustice, 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 "Sri Guru Granth Sahib".
Guru Nanak taught his way of life:
- 1. Nam Japana - 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.
- 2. 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.
- 3. 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.
- 4. Kill the Five Thieves: The Sikh Gurus tell the Sikh the mind and spirit are constantly being attacked by the Five Evils within the person – Kam (Lust), Krodh (Rage), Lobh (Greed), Moh (Attachment) and Ahankar (Ego). A Sikh needs to constantly subdue and overcome these five vices; be always vigilant and on guard to tackle these five thieves all the time!
- 5. Positive Human Qualities: The Sikh Gurus taught the Sikhs to develop and harness positive human qualities which lead the soul closer to God and away from evil. These are: Sat (Truth); Daya (Compassion); Santokh (Contenment); Nimrata (Humility); and Pyare (Love).
Way of Life
- a daily routine of meditation & prayer, called Simran and selfless service, called Seva ("Center your awareness on seva and focus your consciousness on the Shabad SGGS page 110)
- be in positive and rising spirits (Chardikala) and accept God's will at all times
- Live a life of honesty and truthful living (Sachi) through hard work (Kirat) and dedicated perseverance.
- Be humble (Nimrata), self-disciplined, self-restraint, focused on the Almighty and remove doubt and duality from your mind.
- avoid superstitious non-logical behaviour, pilgrimages, fasts and statues.
- Sikhs think religion should be practised by living in the world and coping with life's everyday problems. They don't approve of retreating from the world to be a monk or a hermit.
- Sikh way of life is that of a Saint-Solider.
- Sikhism is a religion with only one God (i.e. it's monotheistic)
- It emphasises social and sexual equality
- Sikhism stresses the importance of doing good actions rather than merely carrying out rituals
Sikhs believe that the way to lead a good life is to:
- Keep God in heart and mind at all times
- Live honestly and work hard
- Have a humble approach to life and be generous to others
- Treat everyone equally and be generous to the less fortunate
- Serve others especially ones who may be worse off
The Golden Chain
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:
- 1.Shri Guru Nanak Dev Ji- Humility
- 2.Shri Guru Angad Dev Ji - Obedience
- 3.Shri Guru Amar Das Ji- Equality
- 4.Shri Guru Ram Das Ji- Service
- 5.Shri Guru Arjan Dev Ji- Self-Sacrifice
- 6.Shri Guru Har Gobind Ji - Justice
- 7.Shri Guru Har Rai Ji- Mercy
- 8.Shri Guru Har Krishan Ji- Purity
- 9.Shri Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji- Tranquility
- 10.Shri Guru Gobind Singh Ji- Royal Courage
- Guru Granth Sahib Ji (eternal final Guru)
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. Every Sikh baptized as Khalsa vows to wear the Five "K's":
- 1. Kesh - uncut hair and beard (in the case of a male), as given by God, to sustain him or her in higher consciousness; and a turban, the crown of spirituality.
- 2. Kangha - a wooden comb to properly groom the hair as a symbol of cleanliness.
- 3. Kachera - specially made cotton underwear as a reminder of the commitment to purity.
- 4. Kara - a steel circle, worn on the wrist, signifying bondage to Truth and freedom from every other entanglement.
- 5. Kirpan - the sword, with which the Khalsa is committed to righteously defend the fine line of the Truth.
Khalsa also vows to refrain from any sexual relationships outside of marriage, and to refrain from taking meat, tobacco, alcohol, and all other intoxicants.
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 "Sri Guru Granth Sahib", a compilation of sacred writings by those who have experienced Truth. For Sikhs, "Sri 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 "Sri Guru Granth Sahib" as their living Guru, as the source of spiritual instruction and guidance.
Above based on article by User:Njohal