Sikhism is a monotheistic religion, or a religion that believes in one god. The followers are called “Sikhs”, and their holy book is the Guru Granth Sahib. 20 million people are followers of Sikhism, that makes it the fifth largest religion in the world. It is most popular in Asia. Sikhs are usually identified by the Turban that they wear, but not all wear turbans.
Sikhism was started around 1500 by Guru Nanak Dev, the first of the “Ten Gurus”. It took on a distinct identity in 1699, celebrated by Vaisakhi. This is when Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth guru, started the baptism with Khande di Pahul, and the Sikhs were required to keep the 5 Ks. This is also called the birth of the Khalsa.
Some basic beliefs
There is only one God. Implying that there is nothing that is beyond or outside the one God. So, therefore there is nothing being created, destroyed, as the creation and destruction are still only part of the one.
The goal of life is to focus on being at one with God. This is attainable by meditating, and being in the company of others who share a similar goal.
Sikhism teaches that God lasts forever, can not be seen, and has no body. It is taught that he created the universe, can destroy it, and keeps it running. He is considered to be infinite, or he always existed and always will. Sikh’s worship him, and meditate on his name. They believe everything is a part of God.
Followers are all trying to reach salvation, meaning they are trying to break the process of rebirth and become one with God. The thing that is keeping people from reaching union is bad karma. Bad karma is taught to be caused by pride, anger, greed, attachment and lust. Sikhs try to stay away from these things.
The ten gurus and religious authority
The term guru comes from the Sanskrit gurū, which means teacher, guide, or mentor. The traditions and philosophy of Sikhism were established by ten specific gurus from 1469 to 1708. Each guru added to and reinforced the message taught by the previous, and this resulted in the creation of the Sikh religion.
And the eternal Guru is the Sri Guru Granth Sahib, which is a not just a book but contains the writings of each Guru.
The 5 Ks are the things Sikhs wear at all times. They are:
Having unshorn/cut hair. This is called a Kesh. One must, whether male or female, is required to keep their Kesh covered, whether it be in the form of a turban, bandana, or a scarf (Chunni)
Having a wooden comb in their hair. This is called Kanga. This symbolizes cleanliness which is an important part of Sikhism.
Having a steel bracelet. This is for protection and physical reminder that a one is bound to the Guru. This is called Kara.
Wearing cotton underwear that does not always have to be used as underwear. This is called Kachera. It is a reminder to stay away from lust and attachment.
Carrying a small sword with oneself. This is worn to defend one’s faith and protect the weak. This is called Kirpan. It is only to be used in self-defense. Many of these are now welded shut.
Last updated: September 2, 2014 at 10:13 am
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