Over 500 years ago the preaching and philosophy of the religion Sikhismwere established. At about the fifteenth century the religion began in the region ofPunjab. Today the Sikh religion is the fifth largest in the world and as a following ofover 20 million individuals worldwide. Compared to religions like Hinduism,Buddhism, Christianity and Judaism, Sikhism is one of the younger faiths to bepreached. This faith believers in one God therefore it is considered to me amonotheistic faith. The core teachings and beliefs of the Sikh religions are: honesty,humility, compassion and its most sacred teaching of tolerance for other religions.The remembrance and devotion to God at all times is a messages that is highlypreached in the Sikh community. To be Sikh it to embrace a way of life, manybelievers live by social justice, truthful living, and equality of mankind andcondemning of all superstitions.Sikhism follows the teaching of the Ten Gurus, the first Guru being the starterof the religion and the tenth setting the most standards and rules to abide by. In thefifteenth century Sikhism came to fruition. During that time the Indian communitywas divided into two groups: the Hindus and the Muslims. For years the twocommunities tried to get along, reform and combine beliefs, but the differences weretoo vast and they were never able to agree. The ignorance between the societiesprevailed leaving a gap of hatred between the two. This is when Shri Guru NanakDev Ji, the first Guru, seen the opportunity to bring on a new religious faith.The history of Guru Nanak Dev Ji starts in A.D. 1469 where he was born inTalwandi, India. Nanak Dev Ji was born to a father that was a merchant and he tookon a lot of knowledge from the trade. Because of the trade business his family was is,Nanak showed a much interest in worldly affairs. As he grew older he startedspending more time with ascetic and sadhus. When Nanak started Sikhism, he beganpreaching the words of God and the way to enlightment. His vision was based onequality and just for all. As the religion grew, so did the number of teachersotherwise known as Guru’s. In total there were ten Guru’s, nine came after the deathof Nanak. The nine Gurus that followed were believed to have been reincarnationsof Guru Nanak Dev Ji.The tenth Guru or Master was named Guru Gobind Singh Ji. Guru Gobind wasresponsible for the protection of having the right to freedom of religion. He createdthe tradition of the baptism ceremony for Sikhism called Amrit. Guru Gobind is alsothe creator of the Five Articles Of Faith, also know as the Five k’s: Kesh, Kachera,Kara, Kangha and Kirpan. He is most notably remembered for declaring the GuruGranth Sahib as the superior and eternal scripture for Sikhs. The scriptures arecomplied of writings and hymns from all ten Gurus along with other Muslim andHindu beliefs, text and Saints that went along with the Sikh faith. The holy writingswas are considered to be the 11 th Guru of the faith, hence given the name GuruGranth Sahib.It is believed that the Holy Scriptures that is complied from the ten humanGurus and their disciples talks only of one God. The religion has come to anunderstanding that there are many names for God, but essentially it is all one. Alongwith acceptance Sikhs are also taught to respect all other religions and peoplesbeliefs.The Guru Granth Sahid lays out many laws and rules to follow, purity beingone of them. Sikhs do not believe in intoxication of any sort, this includes alcohol,tobacco and any other drug or food consumption that alter your conscious state ofmind. They reject all mortifications of the body, so no tattoos or extreme bodypiercings. No self-torcher, or body mortification is allowed. In order to attainsalvation, Sikhism discards all rituals and fasts. They do not believe in the worshipor idolization of anything other than God. Worshiping Gods or goddesses, idols,statues or any object is frown upon and outlawed. Along with the Holy Scriptures,Sikhs wear a necklace with God’s name on it. The necklace is for them to rememberand practice Dan, Nam and Ishnan that translates to charity, the remembrance ofGod and purity.The Five Articles Of Faith know as the Five K’s are: Kesh, Kachera, Kara,Kangha and Kirpan. These are five articles of clothing, jewelry or accessories thatare work or carried by the faith goers but hold significant meaning. The first item isthe Kesh, this is the uncut hair. Sikhs do not cut their hair to demonstrate their loveand faith for God, it also goes back to the belief of purity. The Kachera is a long boxerundergarment. The article of clothing represents a person’s commitment tomonogamy and sexual restraints. The Kara is a steel bracelet that is usually worn onthe right hand and is symbolic of life and the commitment to God. The Kangha is asmall comb that helps to keep their long uncut hair neat an tidy. And the Kirpan is aceremonial knife that represents freedom, liberty and justice.Sikhs are know to pray many times throughout the day. Karma, samsara andreincarnation are some of the few beliefs that come with the Sikh faith. They areforbidden to worship any idol, icons or shrines. Through meditation, Sikhs canconnect with God. One strict code of the religion is called the Sikh Rahit Marayada.This code prohibits any alliance with other religions. It also states that Sikh’s mustaccepts the teachings of the Gurus and the Holy Scriptures. The final instruction isthat anyone who does not follow the requirements of Sikhism is not a Sikh and canbe excommunicated from the Sikh faith.The history for women in the Indian culture has not always been fair to saythe least. Women were considered to be low in society and were often treated likeservants. Many religious men considered women to be temptress and distractions tothe faithful path. In marriage, women were second, they were not allowed toremarry because they were lower rank and did not derserve another man. One ofthe biggest concern of the faith for women was that they were not allowed to carrythe family name, so often fathers would throw girls out to fend for themselves. Thisall changed when the first guru, Nanak came along with new religious laws thatdeclared women as equals. Indian men were appalled and opposed this notion ofwomen being equal until Guru Nanak Dev Ji recited these word in a hymn that Iquote:”From woman, man is born; within woman, man is conceived; to womanhe is engaged and married. Woman becomes his friend; through woman,the future generations come. When his woman dies, he seeks anotherwoman; to woman he is bound. So why call her bad? From her, kings areborn. From woman, woman is born; without woman, there would be noone at all. O Nanak, only the True Lord is without a woman. That mouthwhich praises the Lord continually is blessed and beautiful. O Nanak,those faces shall be radiant in the Court of the True Lord.”(UKeassay.com)Because of the respect for the Guru his word helped shed light on women and givethem the respect and love they deserved. He spoke rational and fair, preaching thatwe’re all created equal. It was only after he passed away when his words were takeninto consideration.The teachings of the Gurus are simple and they preach in a language that thecommon person can understand. The Gurus wants the teachings to be understoodby ordinary people. The key principles of Sikhism are contained in they HollyScriptures and they are :1. Faith in one God.2. Worship of Satnam or True name. The True name is nothing else butGod Himself.3. Nanak attached great importance to a guru or teacher. He felt thatwithout the guidance of a spiritual guru one could not realize God ortrue knowledge.4. Emphasis on good actions.5. Condemnation of caste system ad faith in universal brotherhood.6. Organizing of langars or community kitchen.7. No faith in idol worship. (Introduction to Sikhism, 2017)Nanak had a vision that he wanted to appeal to the common man and women.Through his vision and teachings he was later considered a prophet. Nanak and thenine other Gurus only wanted to make changes for the better and have the Indiancommunity have a faith that was less radical and more about purity.Today Sikhs are found worldwide, with India being the homeland. Outside ofIndia there are over 5 million Sikhs that live in the UK, Canada and the United States.They consider Khalistan as their community, which means land of the pure, and arecurrently under the Indian government. In 1984, to get independence from theIndian government, the Sikhs rebelled in an attempt to free themselves from thegovernment and separate themselves from the country. This posed a threat to theIndian government so they mobilized an army in order to attack back. Thismovement between the two parties is called “Operation Blue Star,” and is still activetoday.
September 17, 2019 0 Comments