Who is a Sikh?

The word “Sikh” in the Punjabi language means “Disciple”, Sikhs are the disciples of God who follow the writings and teachings of the Ten Sikh Gurus. The wisdom of these teachings in Sri Guru Granth Sahib (Sikh Holy book), are practical and universal in their appeal to all mankind. Sikhism was formed about 500 years ago and is the youngest religion of all. Sikhism is the 5th largest religion in the world. There are currently about 20 million people worldwide who are followers of Sikhism.

The main philosophy and beliefs of Sikhism is

  • There is only One God. He is the same God for all people of all religions.
  • Human form is the most precious form of life, and is gained after the soul goes through several birth and death cycles. Sikhs should remember God at all times.
  • The true path to achieving salvation and merging with God does not require renunciation of the world or celibacy, but living the life of a householder, earning a honest living and avoiding worldly temptations and sins.
  • Sikhism condemns blind rituals such as fasting, visiting places of pilgrimage, superstitions, worship of the dead, idol worship etc.
  • Sikhism preaches equality among all, regardless of race, religion, sex, age etc. In the eyes of God all are equal.

Principles of Sikhism

There are 3 basic principles of Sikhism as per Guru Nanak Dev Ji (Sikh's First Guru)

  1. "Kirat Karo" - Earn an Honest living.
  2. "Vand Chako" - Share the fruits of one’s labor with others.
  3. "Naam Japo" - Always remember God.

About Sikhism

Sikhism is a monotheistic religion based on a definitive revelation. With over 25 million followers worldwide, it is one of the youngest major world religions. Sikhism was revealed to Guru Nanak over 500 years ago in the Punjab, the Sikh Homeland in South Asia. Sikhism preaches a message of devotion, remembrance of God at all times, truthful living, equality between all human beings, social justice, while emphatically denouncing superstitions and blind rituals.

 

Core Beliefs

  • Everyone has equal status in the eyes of God. No differentiation in status or ceremonies is made between men and women.
  • Stresses the importance of leading a good moral life.
  • Encourages moral and domestic virtues, such as loyalty, gratitude for all favors received, philanthropy, justice, truth and honesty.
  • A monotheistic faith, Sikhism recognizes God as the only God who is Creator of all people and all faiths.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Articles Of Faith

Sikhs wear an external uniform to unify and bind them to the beliefs of the religion and to remind them of their commitment to the Sikh Gurus at all times. Unlike some other faiths where only the clergy are in uniform, all Sikhs are enjoined to wear the uniform of their beliefs. These five articles of faith, along with a turban, distinguish a Sikh and are essential for preserving the life of the community. Naturally, for Sikhs these religious articles have deep spiritual significance; and some practical as well. The five articles of faith start with the “ka” character in Punjabi, and are thereby referred to as the 5 K’s in English.

  • Kes (unshorn hair) Guru Nanak, the founder of the Sikh faith, started the practice of keeping hair unshorn because keeping it in a natural state is regarded as living in harmony with the will of God. The turban is part of the uniform because it has immense spiritual and temporal significance. Wearing a turban declares sovereignty, dedication, self-respect, courage and piety. All practicing Sikhs wear the turban out of love and as a mark of commitment to the faith.
  • Kangha (comb) Sikhs wear a small comb called the Kangha in their hair. The social context in which Sikhism arose, matted hair were worn by Hindu ascetics who had renounced the world. The Kangha in the Sikh’s hair serves as a constant reminder that the Sikh must remain socially committed and never practice asceticism.
  • Kara (steel bracelet) The bracelet is generally made out of steel. It is worn to remind a Sikh that he or she is a servant of the Guru and should not do anything that may bring shame or disgrace.
  • Kirpan (sword) The Kirpan is a religious sword that encapsulates an initiated Sikh’s solemn obligation of courage and self-defense. It denotes dignity and self-reliance, the capacity and readiness to always defend the weak and the oppressed. It helps sustain one’s martial spirit and the determination to sacrifice oneself in order to defend truth, oppression and Sikh moral values. All Initiated Sikhs are mandated to wear a Kirpan on their body.
  • Kachhehra (soldier’s shorts) A special, slightly longer type of shorts, the Kachhehra is linked to a high moral character and must be worn at all times. It reminds the Sikh of the need for self-restrain over passions and desires.