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Main Section => Inter Faith Interactions => Guru Ki Vani - गुरू की वाणी => Topic started by: rajiv uppal on September 20, 2007, 05:04:50 AM

Title: Sikhism
Post by: rajiv uppal on September 20, 2007, 05:04:50 AM
The founder of Sikhism was Shri Guru Nanak Dev Ji, (1469-1538) who was born in the Punjab area of what is now Pakistan. At Sultanpur, he received a vision to preach the way to enlightenment and God. He is responsible for the saying "There is no Hindu, there is no Muslim" which has since become one of the pillars of Sikhism. He taught a strict monotheism, the brotherhood of humanity. He rejected idol worship, and the Hindu concept of caste. Guru Nanak and Panth (his followers) later built the first Sikh temple at Katarpur.

A succession of nine Gurus (regarded as reincarnations of Guru Nanak) led the movement during the period from Guru Nanak's death until 1708. At that time, the functions of the Guru passed to the Panth and to the holy text, considered the 11th Guru.

Mogul emperors ruled a large area of South Asia from the 16th century until the end of the 18th century. They attempted to convert the Sikhs to Islam, but were unsuccessful. It has been said of one of the Sikh Gurus (considered by many Sikhs to have been the last guru) that "Had there been no Guru Gobind Singh, the entire country would have gotten circumcised" i.e. been converted to Islam.

In 1801, the Sikh state of Punjab was founded in Northern India by Maharaja Ranjit Singh. According to a historian Vincent Smith, "The Punjab State was neither a traditional Indian territorial State and monarchy, nor merely a dictatorship of one community over another. There was an element of partnership with other communities."

An invasion by Great Britain triggered the Sikh Wars (1845-1849). The British successfully gained control over all of India. After independence in 1947, occupied India was partitioned on religious grounds into a mostly Muslim Pakistan and mostly Hindu India. A mass migration of Sikhs and Hindus from Pakistan to India and a reverse migration of Muslims resulted, with immense loss of life. Some Sikhs have been seeking an independent homeland since the late 1940's.

Sikh Holy Texts:
The holy granth, the Shri Guru Granth, was initially compiled by the fifth guru, Shri Arjan Dev Ji. Subsequently, it was updated to include the writings of the sixth to ninth gurus. The tenth guru, Gobind Singh Ji assembled his writings separately into a number of books, including "Dasam Granth" 

The holy granth consists of hymns and writings by the first nine Gurus, along with religious text from different Muslim and Hindu saints like: Kabir Ji, Baba Sheik Farid Ji, Bhagat Namdev, Bhagat Rav Dass Ji, etc. The Shri Guru Granth itself is considered the 11th and final Guru, and the Sikh's holiest religious text. It was made so by Shri Guru Gobind Singh Ji.
Title: Re: Sikhism
Post by: rajiv uppal on September 20, 2007, 05:12:35 AM
Sikh Beliefs:

 Goal: The goal of Sikhs is to build a close, loving relationship with God.

 Deity: Sikhs believe in a single, Formless God, with many names, who can be known through meditation. his concept is similar to Islam whose followers believe in a single God who has 99 names. The Mool Mantar, the first hymn composed by Guru Nanak, is recited daily by many Sikhs. It contains a description of many of the attributes of God: There is only one God; His Name is Truth; He is the Creator; He is without fear; He is without hate; He is beyond time (i.e. is immortal); He is beyond birth and death; He is self-existent. 1 Only he can be worshiped. Rahras, a Sikh evening prayer states: "[O God] since I have fallen at your feet, I do not care for anybody else. I do not follow the religious ways preached by various religions believing in Ram, Mohammed, Puran or Qur'an. The Simritis, Shastras and the Vedas lay down different doctrines. But I do not recognize any of these. O God, I have written these hymns with your grace and kindness. All that has been said is in fact spoken by you."

Reincarnation: They believe in samsara (the repetitive cycle of birth, life and death), karma (the accumulated sum of one's good and bad deeds, and reincarnation the belief of a rebirth following death. These beliefs are similar to Hinduism. "Each individual has many reincarnations, but being born a human means the soul is nearing the end of rebirth. God judges each soul at death and may either reincarnate the soul or, if pure enough, allow it to rest with him." 1

Caste system: Sikhs have rejected the caste system of the Hindu religion. They believe that everyone has equal status in the eyes of God. This is a very important principle that permeates all Sikh beliefs, behaviors, and rituals.
Code of Conduct: During the 18th century, there were a number of attempts to prepare an accurate portrayal of Sikh customs. None received the support of most Sikhs. Sikh scholars and theologians started in 1931 to prepare the Reht Maryada -- the Sikh code of conduct and conventions. It is "the only version authorized by the Akal Takht, the seat of supreme temporal authority for Sikhs. It's implementation has successfully achieved a high level of uniformity in the religious and social practices of Sikhism" 3 throughout the world. It contains 27 articles. Article 1 defines who is a Sikh:
"Any human being who faithfully believes in
(i) One Immortal Being,
(ii) Ten Gurus, from Guru Nanak Dev to Guru Gobind Singh,
(iii) The Guru Granth Sahib,
(iv) The utterances and teachings of the ten Gurus and
(v) the baptism bequeathed by the tenth Guru, and who does not owe allegiance to any other religion, is a Sikh."
There are a number of traditions within Sikhism. Thousands of Sikhs, both in India and worldwide, follow living gurus who have lineages traceable back to Guru Gobind Singh. In Canada and elsewhere, major strains are becoming evident between liberal and conservative wings of the religion, as some Sikhs accommodate to the surrounding culture.

Title: Re: Sikhism
Post by: rajiv uppal on September 20, 2007, 05:19:11 AM
Sikh Practices:
Prayers: repeated multiple times each day.

Worship: Sikhs are prohibited from worshipping idols, images, or icons. 
Temples: There are over 200 Gurdwaras (temples, shrines or holy places) in India alone. The most sacred is Harmandir Sahib, the Golden Temple, at Amritsar. However, all places where the Sri Guru Granth Sahib is installed are equally holy.

The Five K's: These are clothing practices followed by stricter Sikhs, called Khalsa saints:

1:Kesa (long hair, which is never cut). This term is sometimes used to refer to the turban that is used to cover the hair.
2:Kangah (comb)
3:Kacha (short pants)
4:Kara (metal bracelet)
5:Kirpan (a ceremonial dagger)
 Drinking of alcoholic beverages is forbidden.
 Smoking is forbidden.