History of Sikhism- Also Known as World’s Simplest religion

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What is Sikhism?

Sikhism is faith and philosophy which believes in honest and truthful living. It is a very progressive religion strictly disbelieving in superstitions and rituals which are followed blindly. 

Who founded Sikhism?

Sikhism was founded by Guru Nanak, in present-day Punjab. It is the fifth-largest religion in the world. It was coined around 500 years ago and today there are over 20 million Sikhs living all around the world.

What are the major beliefs of Sikhs?

The word Sikh means disciple in Punjabi. Sikhs refer themselves as disciples of God and lead a life according to the teachings of ten Sikh gurus. The first guru of Sikhs is Guru Nanak while the last being Guru Govind Singh. 

All the gurus preached harmony and honest living and concur in their teachings and lifestyle. Shortly before his death, Guru Govind Singh put an end to the line of human gurus and made the holy scripture Guru Granth Sahib as their final guru. 

  • They believe in one god, who is the same irrespective of religion a person follows.
  • The main aim of a Sikh’s life is to live a truthful life by maintaining a balance between spiritual and material constraints.
  • Sikhs do not engage themselves in blind rituals, superstitions, fasting in order please god.
  • Sikhs believe in equality; equality of men and women; equality among all the religions etc.
  • Sikhs practise Simran (remembering god in everything they do), believing God to be present with them at all times.
  • They respect and follow ideals like honesty, satisfaction and humanity at all times and believe in reducing and suppressing greed, rage and other ungodly features of a man.
  • They have faith in doing selfless service and also defending and protecting the weak when needed to do so.
  • Sikhs do not believe in pilgrimage. Every gurudwara where Guru Granth Sahib is enthroned are given equal importance by the Sikhs.

Why is Guru Granth Sahib given utmost importance in Sikhism? 

Guru Granth Sahib is the holy scripture of Sikhism. It was declared to be the eleventh and the ultimate guru of Sikhs by the last living Guru, Guru Govind Singh. Hence, it is given the highest regard by the Sikhs. 

Guru Granth Sahib is the only scripture in the world which not only contains the religious philosophies preached by Sikh gurus but also writings of other Hindu and Muslim leaders and gurus whose ideas were similar to those of Sikh gurus. 

What are the five Ks in Sikhism?

Sikh community called the Khalsa should wear or keep the five Ks with them as a symbol of spirituality. Guru Govind Singh instructed the practising Sikhs who are initiated to Khalsa to keep five Ks as spiritual guidance which shows them the right path whenever they deviate.

The five Ks are:

  • Kesh- it means having uncut hair. It symbolizes simple living and acceptance.
  • Kanga- it refers to a wooden comb. It is a symbol of keeping the mind and body clean.
  • Kara- it means a steel bracelet. It symbolizes that the Khalsa has no beginning and no end, one always stays as a member once initiated.
  • Kirpan- it is a ceremonial sword. It is carried as a symbol of strength and one shall protect and defend the truth.
  • Kacha- cotton shorts which lengths up to the knee worn as a symbol of chastity.

What is Khalsa?

Khalsa is a community of Sikh men and women started by Guru Govind Singh. Khalsa means the pure community and is also known as soldier-saints. These men and women strictly follow the Sikh code of conduct and represent a group of highly dedicated and selfless people. They completely surrender themselves to god and are ready to sacrifice everything for the upliftment of mankind.

How is gurdwara different from a temple?

Sikh temple is known as Gurdwara, it is the holy worship place of the Sikhs. It is different from a temple as it does not have any idol to worship. Sikhs worship their spiritual guru, the Guru Granth Sahib in gurudwara.

 The Holy Scripture is placed at the centre of the gurdwara on a raised platform covered with a beautiful cloth. People visiting the gurdwara cover their heads and walk barefoot. 

With gurdwara, there is attached langar (a shared meal), which is a community kitchen. Everyone who visits gurdwara can engage themselves in selfless service by serving food; cleaning shoes etc. any person irrespective of their religion is served in the langar.

Why is Sikhism the world’s simplest religion?

Sikhism does not have a complex belief system and neither does it follow any blind rituals or superstitions. It believes in following a very simple and austere living in a way which engages in harmony with mankind. The practices of Sikhs are easy to understand and follow which makes Sikhism the simplest religion in the world.

What is the contribution of Sikhism in temple art and architecture?

Sikh architecture is mesmerizing and captures the attention of visitors even today. At secret temples, you will find amazing insights about architecture and mysteries of gurdwaras which have passed the tests of time and stand great and grand even today.

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