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Transcript of Sikhism
Salvation can only be attained by meditating on God.
All human races are equal.
Women have equal status and equal rights.
Keep diet simple and vegetarian.
Not to cut hair.
Not to believe in superstitions. Sikhism By Amanjeet Braich Equality One of the major principles of Sikhism is equality of all humanity regardless of caste, colour, class, culture, gender, wealth, and religion. In the fourteenth century, the Hindu caste system was at its peak in India. Many Hindu priests (Brahmins) believed in the caste system. They segregated individuals of lower castes and labeling them as untouchables. People in India, who considered themselves of a high-class society wouldn’t even touch a person who they considered as being part of any lower caste. If touched accidentally, they would take a shower to clean themselves. They also would serve food to their servants and workers on the floor and would themselves eat while sitting higher on some sort of chair or table. Sewa It is an important aspect of Sikhism to provide a service to the community, including the Sikh community (Khalsa) and others. All Sikhs should be prepared to give up some of their time, talents and energy to help others. Sikhism requires service to Waheguru (God), to the Khalsa and to all of humanity.
Sikhism teaches that people should try to become less self-centred and more God-centred and should live their lives in the selfless service of others (sewa).
There are three different parts of sewa:
Tan: physical service, eg, working in the langar and helping to look after the gurdwara.
Man: mental service, eg, studying the Guru Granth Sahib Ji and teaching it to others.
Dhan: material service to other people, eg, giving money to charities or giving time to help people who are in need.
All of these must be done because a Sikh wants to serve Waheguru and not for personal gain. So by performing sewa Sikhs serve God and the world. Guru Granth Sahib The Guru Granth Sahib has 1430 pages. The same words are on the same page of every copy. It is written in a sacred script called Gurmukhi. The 'Guru Granth Sahib' is the living Guru of the Sikhs (The tenth Guru, Guru Gobind Singh declared that there would be no other living Gurus but instead Sikhs could look to their holy scriptures for guidance.)
The Guru Granth Sahib teaches through divine poetry that is set to a
formal system of Sikh classical music.
The Guru Granth Sahib is kept under a special canopy in the Gurdwara.
Sikhs take off their shoes in the presence of the holy scriptures and also never turn their back on them.
At every festival, the scriptures are read continuously from beginning to end, which takes about 48 hours.
As the scriptures are being read, the reader or an attendant will periodically wave a chauri over the scriptures. This is a sign of respect for the authority of the Guru Granth Sahib which is treated like a living Guru or teacher.
The chauriis a ceremonial whisk which is made from the tail hair of a white horse or yak set in a wooden or silver handle. It is a traditional Indian symbol of authority. Gurdwara Sikhs worship at home and in the Sikh temple called the Gurdwara ('Gateway to the Guru'). All Gurdwaras across the globe have:
The Sikh scripture- Guru Granth Sahib
Community Kitchen- langar - Food is cooked by the members of the community and served by members of the community, to all people at the Gurdwara. The idea is to demonstrate equality of all people, irrespective of caste, creed, religion, race or sex.
Four DoorsThe gurdwara usually has four doors to show that it is open to all.
The"Nishan Sahib," a yellow (saffron) triangular flag bearing the Sikh symbol of "Khanda" flies from every Gurdwara. The term 'nisan' means 'flag' and 'sahib' is a term of respect.
Visitors irrespective of their religion can expect shelter, comfort and food at all Gurdwaras.
Everyone who enters a gurdwara must cover their head and take their shoes off. Hands are washed and in some Gurdwaras there are feet washes. There are no chairs, everyone sits on the floor.
Three main functions are carried out in all public Gurdwaras:
Kirtan- the singing of hymns from the Guru Granth Sahib
Katha- the reading of the Guru Granth Sahib and explanations.
The Langar- free community kitchen for all visitors of all religions.
Along with these main functions Gurdwaras around the world also serve the Sikh community in many other ways including, libraries of Sikh literature and schools to teach children Gurmukhi and the Sikh scriptures The Langar Hall Langar is the term used in the Sikh religion of in Punjab in general for common kitchen or canteen where food is served in a Gurdwara to all the visitors (whatever their background) for free. At the Langar, only vegetarian food is served, so that everybody can eat the food (regardless of dietary restrictions) can eat the food. Langar is open to Sikhs and non-Sikhs alike. The institution of the Sikh langar, or free kitchen, was started by the first Sikh Guru,Guru Nanak. It was designed to uphold the principle of equality between all people regardless of religion, caste, colour, creed, age or gender, a revolutionary concept in the caste-ordered society of 16th-century Indiawhere Sikhism began. The institution of Langar has served the community in many ways. It has ensured the participation of Sikhs in a task of service for mankind. Even Sikh children help in serving food to the people (Sangat). Langar also teaches the etiquette of eating in a community situation. People from all classes of society are welcome at the Gurudwara. Food is normally served twice a day, on every day of the year. Recent reports say some of the largest Sikh community dining halls in Delhi prepare between 50,000 and 70,000 meals per day. At the Golden temple nearly 100,000 people dine everyday and the kitchen works almost 20 hours daily. Each week one or more families volunteer to provide and prepare the langar. Volunteers are known as Sewadars. The 10 Gurus Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism , was born in 1469 A.D. at Talwandi, since called Nankana Sahib (now in Pakistan). He got married and had two childern. His father was Mehta Kalu and mother was Tripta. He had an older sister, Nanaki. Nanak was a very intelligent boy who thought a lot about God and people. He was always ready to help the poor and he kept his mother very busy cooking and serving meals to poor hungry people, whom, he regularly invited to his house.
Nanak's father was an officer in the local revenue department but he wanted Nanak to become a good business man. He gave Nanak twenty Indian Rupees to start his business with but Nanak spent the money on feeding a large number of hungry people. According to him, the most profitable business was to look after God's people. Guru Nanak worked as a storekeeper for many years. he used to spend a large part of his wages on feeding the poor and hungry.
When Guru Nanak was 30, God's message was revealed to him and he decided to travel all around to preach God's message of love and peace to people. Guru Nanak taught us that there is one God, who is the true and Ultimate Reality. God is the Creator of this Universe and is everywhere. God is not born and does not die, is without form or visible shape. All humans are equal. All humans must remember God and sing his glories. All humans must give a part of their earnings in charity. All humans must live a truthful and honest life. Guru Nanak travelled up to China in the North, Sri Lanka in the South, Mecca in the West and Decca in the East. People loved him wherever he went. Guru Nanak after 20 years of travels settled down at Kartarpur and worked as a farmer. At the age of 70 he passed away. 1) Guru Nanak Dev Ji 2) Guru Angad Dev Ji Guru Angad Dev was Sikh of Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji and was anointed by him as the second Guru at the age of 35. He was born at Mata ki Serai, got married to Mata Khivi Ji and had two sons. He improved the script for writing Punjabi and all Gurbani(Guru's writing) was written in Panjabi. Scripture was available to common people so they began to call it Gurumukhi. 3) Guru Amar Das Ji Guru Amar das, the third Guru, believed in an preached equality of humanity. Guru Amardas was a Sikh of the house of Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji and was anointed as the third Guru of the Sikhs by Guru Angad Dev Ji. He was born at Baserke in 1479. He got married to Mata Sulakhani Ji and had four children, two sons and two daughters. He served Sri Guru Angad Dev Ji for 12 years, from 1540 to 1552 and was made Guru at the age of 73. He spread the message of Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji and Sri Guru Angad Dev Ji. The Guru also constructed a well (called BAOLI) at Goindwal and invited all the people to come and fetch water from there irrespective of their religion and caste. (in those days, the lower caste people had separate wells and were not allowed from the wells of the upper caste) 5) Guru Arjun Dev Guru Arjan Dev Ji was the youngest son of Sri Guru Ramdas Ji. He was born at Goindwal and became Guru at the young age of 18 in 1581. He married and had one son. He wrote more hymns than any other Guru. his most well known Banni is Sukhmani. He collected the hymns of all the previous Guru's and those of many hindu and muslim saints and compiled them into one large volume called Adi Granth. He also built the Hari Mandir, now known as the Golden Temple in the middle of the pool of immortality. Like all the Guru's his contribution to the Sikhs faith is exemplary.1.He compiled the first version of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, then called Pothi Sahib.2.He constructed Sri Harimandir Sahib which is known as the Golden Temple.3.He laid the foundation of the city of Taran Taran. 4.He founded the city of Kartarpur (in Jallandhar) 5.He became the first Sikh Martyr. 6) Guru Har Gobind Guru Hargobind Sahib Ji was born at Wadali, the only son of Sri Guru Arjan Dev Ji and became the next Guru. He combined Spiritual and temporal powers into one authority. The Guru trained his followers in military arts and encouraged them to use the sword only to protect the weak and the poor. He opened missionary centres and spread the message of the previous Gurus. In addition He gave to the Sikh faith:
1. The concept of Miri (royalty) and Piri (sainthood ) He wore two swords and injected the spirit of bravery amongest his followers.
2. The concept of morning choirs :The Sikhs got together early in the morning and went around places singing the praises of God . Later these choirs became a part of religious ceremonies and processions specially at the birth of Gurus.
3. In the complex of Sri Harimandir Sahib constructed Sri Akal Takhat Sahib. 7) Guru Har Rai Guru Har Rai Ji was a grand son of Sri Guru Hargobind Sahib Ji . He was born ar Kiratpur. he was very gentle and kind hearted. He opened a hospital where medicines and treatment was given free. He spread the message of the previous Gurus. He is particularly known for love towards animals .He made special hospitals for animals. He also made Zoo and all species of animals and birds and gave them his utmost love 8) Guru Har Krishan Guru Harkrishen Dev Ji was the youngest son of Sri Guru Har rai Ji. He was born at Kiratpur and became Guru at the age of 5. He stayed on Gur Gadhi for 3 years.
He displayed great spiritual; leadership and courage. Before his own death at the age of eight, he nominated Tegh Bhadur as his successor. 9) Guru Teg Bahadar 4) Guru Ram Das Guru Ramdas Ji was the son-in-law of Sri Guru Amardas Ji. He was a Sikh and a true devotee of the house of Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji. He was chosen to be the fourth Guru of the Sikhs. He was born at Choona Mandi in Lahore. He got married when he was 19 and had three sons. Sri G uru Ramdas Ji laid foundation of the city of Amritsar and therein dug two sacred pools of immortality which were later called as sarovar of Harimandir (Golden Temple) and sarovar of Santokhsar around which he founded the present city of Amritsar. Guru Teg bahadur Ji was the youngest son of Sri Guru Hargobind Ji and grand uncle of Sri Guru Harkrishen Dev Ji. He was born at Amritsar . Guru Tegh Bahadur spent many year meditation and reached sublime heights therefore was appointed the ninth guru. He became Guru at the age of 43. Like Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji, he travelled and spread the message of one God and also the teachings of the Sikh Gurus. He challenged the atrocities and persecution of Hindus by the Muslim emperors through passive resistence and sacrificed his own life in doing so,therby saving the Hindus from compulsory conversion into Muslims . 10) Guru Gobind Singh Guru Tegh Bahadur's son, Guru Gobind Singh created a community of people called Khalsa. he first baptized the five sikhs who offered to give their lives for their guru and faith. then he asked them in return to initiate him. Thus Gobind Rai became Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji .
Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji was the only son of Sri Guru TegBahadur Ji. He became Guru at the age of 9. He was married and had four sons .His bravery is unchallenged and sacrifice unlimited. The Khalsa How was it created?
The Khalsa was started in 1699 by Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji. At a time of turmoil when the Mughals were killing innocent civilians for refusing to convert to Islam Guru Gobind Singh Ji created a new race which would stand up for people of all races, colours, class etc. on Vaisakhi 1699 Guru Gobind Singh called his fellow Sikhs to Anandpur. Where he addressed the thousands of people. With a unsheathed sword he called for a head. he called 3 times before one person came forward and said that he was willing to die for his faith. The school book description is that Guru Gobind Singh took him into a tent and everyone heard a bang then Guru Gobind Singh Came out of the tent with a sword dripping with blood. He called for 4 more heads. 4 more devotees came foarth and went into the tent. Their names were:
Bhai Dharam Singh
Bhai Himmat Singh
Bhai Daya Singh
Bhai Mohokam Singh
Bhai Sahib Singh The Khalsa Continued... After the guru came out of the tent for the final time the 5 Sikhs followed him out. Dressed in blue attire and Guru Gobind told the crowds of people that this was the uniform of the Sikh's and everyone would be able to dstinguish a Sikh just by looking at his appearance. that is where the guru gave the Sikhs the 5k's. from that day he called every initiated Sikh a khalsa. the khalsa is the army of god and is as of yet undefeated.
How do you join the Khalsa nowadays?
To become a Khalsa a person must take Amrit and by doing that he/she should follow the rules of the Guru Granth SahibJi. The Khalsa Continued... What was the aim/purpose of the Khalsa?
The purpose of the Khalsa was to give Sikhs and people following the Guru an identity. By Guru Gobind Singh Ji’s time, the religion Sikhism had already been created but Sikhs had no identity to show their religion.
What do those that join the Khalsa receive to identify them as Khalsa Sikhs?
Sikhs who have made a public commitment to the faith by going through a special baptism, known as the Amrit Ceremony, are called members of the Khalsa (the community of baptised Sikhs). They adopt five symbols. These symbols (the Five K’s) are not only a means of showing the Sikh identity, but they also have spiritual meanings and are powerful symbols of the faith. Most Sikhs, through custom and culture, follow the traditions of the Khalsa. Sikh Calender The Sikh calendar is called the Nanakshahi Calendar, taken from Guru Nanak. The Calendar was created in 2003 by a Canadian Sikh, Pal Singh Purwal. Before that, they used the Hindu Calendar. It is a solar calendar and year one is the birth of Guru Nanak. The Calendar is the same length as the Western Calendar and is broken up into 5 months of 31 days and 7 months of 30 days. There is also a leap year every four years where they add a day onto the last month, Phagan. Months Chet March 14
Vaisakh April 14
Jeth May 15
Harh June 15
Sawan July 16
Bhadon August 16
Asu September 15
Katik October 15
Maghar November 14
Poh December 14
Magh January 13
Phagan Febuary 12 The 5K's Kara
Item: Steel bracelet
Symbol of restraint and gentility
Symbol of God having no end
Acts as a reminder that one should not do anything of which the Guru would not approve of Kacchera
Item: Cotton Breeches
Symbol of chastity and modesty Kanga
Item: Wooden Comb
symbolizes clan mind and body
symbolizes importance of looking after the body which God created The five Ks, are five different objects that a Sikh should have on themselves at all times. Each has a different meaning and symbolize something about the past of Sikhism The Five Ks were introduced in 1655 by Guru Gobind Singh. Kesh
Item: Uncut hair
symbol of holiness and strength
Hair is a part of God's creation and cutting it off would be a rejection of God's gift
Men are not allowed to cut their beards and wear their hair in turbans. (Women are not allowed to cut any hair as well.) Kirpan
Item: ceremonial sword
defense of the good weak
the struggle against injuandstice
a metaphor for God
Can be in any style of length Festivals Diwali Gurpurbs Vaisakhi Diwali is the festival of lights, celebrated at the end of October or early November. It is called the festival of lights as many people will decorate their homes, public places and shops with lanterns and electric lights. Diwali is a time to exchange gifts and celebrate a successful harvest. In Sikhism, Diwali celebrates the release of Guru Har Gobind Ji from prison when he helped 52 princes be released from Jahangirs prison. The Sikh tradition holds that the Emperor Jahangir had imprisoned Guru Hargobind and 52 princes. The Emperor was asked to release Guru Hargobind which he agreed to do. However, Guru Hargobind asked that the princes be released also. The Emperor agreed, but said only those who could hold onto his cloak tail would be allowed to leave the prison. This was in order to limit the number of prisoners who could leave.
However, Guru Hargobind had a cloak made with 52 pieces of string and so each prince was able to hold onto one string and leave prison.
Sikhs celebrated the return of Guru Hargobind by lighting the Golden Temple and this tradition continues today. Holla Mahalla Hola Mahalla is a Sikh Olympic day and begins on the first day of Chet. People will camp out in the city centers and watch various displays of martial arts. Gurpurbs are holidays celebrating the lives of the Gurus. They are happy occasions which are celebrated most enthusiastically by Sikhs. The most important Gurpurbs are:The birthday of Guru Nanak, founder of Sikhism (April or November)
The birthday of Guru Gobind Singh, founder of the Khalsa (January)
The martyrdom of Guru Arjan (June)
The martyrdom of Guru Tegh Bahadur (November/December)
Sikhs celebrate Gurpurbs with an akhand path. This is a complete and continuous reading of Sikh scripture, the Guru Granth Sahib, that takes 48 hours and finishes on the day of the festival. This is also performed in times of ceremony such as birth, death, marriage and moving into a new home. The reading is done by a team of readers, who may be professionals or family members (in the case of family rites). Each reads for two to three hours.
The Akhand Path originated in India in the mid 18th century, when there were few copies of the Guru Granth Sahib. Sikhs were at war and hid in the jungles. They gathered round to hear readings from the sacred text before the text was moved on to be read to other groups of Sikhs.
Gurdwaras are decorated with flowers, flags and lights, and Sikhs dress up in new or smart clothes and join together for special services. Hymns are sung from the Guru Granth Sahib, poems are recited in praise of the Gurus and there are lectures on Sikhism. In India and parts of Britain, there are processions where the Sikh Scripture is paraded around. Five people representing the first five members of the Khalsa (the Panj Piaras or Five Beloved Ones) head the procession carrying the Sikh flag. Musicians, singers and martial artists follow. Outside some Gudwaras, free sweets are offered to the general public, regardless of their faith.
Food is important in this festival. Sikhs come together to eat special food such as Karah Parasaad, a sweet-tasting food which has been blessed and is served warm. Free meals (langars) are served at the Gudwaras. Vaisakhi is an important historic holiday of Sikhism which occurs in mid April on the first day of the month of Vaisakh according to the scripture based Nanakshahi calendar. Vaisakhi day commemorates the first Sikh baptism ceremony and the creation of the Khalsa by Tenth Guru, Gobind Singh. On the first Vaisakhi of 1699, Tenth Guru Gobind Singh asked for volunteers willing to give their head and created the Panj Pyare, a team of five Sikhs, to administer initiation rites of the Amrit baptismal ceremony. Amrit was prepared from water and sugar stirred with a sword by the Panj Pyare while contemplating the divine. Guru Gobind Singh was the first to receive initiation from the hands of the Panj Pyare. Tens of thousands of Sikhs followed his example. Having established a method of baptism, Guru Gobind Singh created the warrior order of the Khalsa brotherhood. The Mool Mantar This is the Mool Mantra in Punjabi Translation The Mool Mantar means 'basic teaching' and is found at the beginning of every section of the Guru Granth Sahib (Sikh Scriptures). It is repeated each day during early morning prayer. The first words of the Mool Mantar are 'Ik Onkar' meaning 'there is one God.
The symbol for Ik Onkar is seen in many places such as badges, on the walls of a gurdwara (place of worship) and in the home. Important
Ceremony's Death Ceremony Wedding Ceremony Naming Ceremony As soon as the mother and child are able to travel, the family visits the Gurdwara. There they recite joyful hymns from the Guru Granth Sahib to celebrate the birth of the new child. Karah Prashad (sacred pudding) is prepared by the family. Amrit (sweet water) is also prepared and given to the infant as well as the mother. The name is chosen by taking the Hukam, the granthi randomly opens Sri Guru Granth Sahib to any page and reads the hymn on that page. The first letter of the first word of the hymn is chosen. The child's name is than chosen beginning with that letter and is announced to the congregation. This ceremony takes place in the presence of relatives and friends and prayers are offered to seek special
blessing of good health and long life. A Sikh Wedding Ceremony is called Anand Karaj and translated it means the Ceremony of Bliss or a Union of two souls. The ceremony takes place in front of the holy book, the Sri Guru Granth Sahib. The customs involved in preparing for the wedding differ depending on the families. For the groom, his friends and family, a party is held a day before the wedding including food, entertainment and lots of dancing. For the bride, her family and friends, it is a similar event. The brides’ hands and feet are decorated with intricate henna designs. Other females are invited to have their hands and feet decorated with henna also. There is a lot of singing and dancing to celebrate the occasion.A ritual of applying paste of turmeric, sandal, cream and rosewater by both the bride as well as the groom is also conducted a day before the wedding. The bride and groom is scrubbed clean under the shade of a cloth fully embroidered on the hand made cotton fabric, dyed at home. The brides’ uncles present her with the chura, which are bangles of red and white. Kaliras, which are tinsel wedding ornaments tied to bangles by sisters and friends of the bride, are also presented. The Sikh ceremony can be performed in any Gurdwara or venue where Sri Guru Granth Sahib is in place. The ceremony is usually performed in the morning.
If the ceremony is performed in the Gurdwara, it commences with Milni, this is where the two families greet each other, exchanging well wishes and garlands. Kirtan, which is a simple ceremony and hymns from the Sri Guru Granth Sahib, is performed as people enter the Gurdwara. The men and women sit on separate sides from each other. They stand for the Ardas, which is the common Sikh prayer.
The groom is seated first. Shortly after, the bride is led to her seat by her mother and best friend, and is seated on the groom's left. The couple sit facing the one who officiates the marriage, known as the pathi.
The singing of the Asa di Var, the Gurus' morning hymn, opens the ceremony. Other hymns may also be sung at this time. The couple and their parents are asked to stand while the Pathi prays before being seated. The Pathi continues to go on to make a speech explaining the significance of Sikh marriage. The Sikh Gurus have a very high regard for the state of marriage.
The Pathi then asks the bride and groom to signify their approval to their marriage and if they agree to accept their duties. They bow before Sri Guru Granth Sahib to acknowledge their consent. The bride's father places a garland of flowers on the holy book, and on the bride and groom. He also places one end of the scarf in the groom's hand, over the groom's shoulder and into the bride's hand, to signify that she is now leaving his care to join her husbands.
The officiate goes on to read the Lavan hymn of Guru Ram Das, which is composed of four verses. The groom, followed by the bride, walk around Sri Guru Granth Sahib in a clockwise direction at the completion of each of the four verses, which symbolise the four stages of love. After each time around, the bride and groom kneel and bow towards Sri Guru Granth Sahib. Once they have walked around the Sri Guru Granth Sahib four times, they are a married couple. Both sets of parents are first to congratulate the married couple. Friends and family follow to present the couple with cash offerings in their lap. Everyone then leaves for the dining hall to sit on the floor in langer, the community kitchen, and enjoy a traditional langer meal. However, nowadays instead of having Langar, they hold a party with a DJ, wedding cake and lots of food. Sikhs cremate people when they die. In the Sikh homeland of the Punjab this often happens on the day of death but in other places it may take longer so that relatives can travel to the funeral.
When someone seems about to die their family will come to their bedside and say Sukhmani (the Hymn of Peace). The dying person tries to reply Waheguru. The dead body is washed and then dressed in traditional Sikh clothing.The coffin is taken to the gurdwara (Sikh place of worship) and placed in front of the Guru Granth Sahib. The coffin is then carried to the cremation ground. In India it is placed on a funeral pyre which is lit by a close relative. As
the coffin burns the evening prayer – the Kirtan Sohila
– is said. How Sikhs Dress The traditional attire of Sikhs dates back centuries. Sixth Guru Har Gobind initiated the warrior the tradition of wearing two swords which are depicted in the khanda, or Sikh crest. His grandson, Seventh Guru Har Rai, wore a chola when training at arms and riding horseback. Tenth Guru Gobind Singh, established the tradition of wearing kakar, five required articles of faith, for the initiated Sikh. The Sikh code of conduct specifies the wearing of kachhera and a turban for all Sikh males, giving Sikh females the option of wearing a head scarf to cover hair. The name for such traditional spiritual attire is bana. When Sikhs take Amrit they must all, regardless of gender, keep the same 5 k's. Guru Nanak has stated that one should only wear those clothes which do not distress the mind or the body. 'Friend, all other wear ruins bliss, That which to the limbs is torment, and with foul thinking fills the mind.- Guru Granth Sahib, Pg. 16.
Here are pictures of traditional indian suits for girls Sikhs believe in reincarnation. This means that a person’s soul may be reborn many times as a human or an animal. Therefore, for Sikhs, death is not the end. The Sikh sacred text, the Guru Granth Sahib, says that the body is just clothing for the soul and is discarded at death.
Sikhs believe that everything that happens is Hukam – the will of Waheguru (God).
There is a divine spark which is part of Waheguru in each person and this spark or soul is taken back to join Waheguru when a person is finally released from the cycle of rebirth. Sikhs believe that there are 8,400,000 forms of life and that many souls have to travel though a number of these before they can reach Waheguru. When something dies their soul is reborn. Only humans know the difference between right and wrong and so it is only when the soul is in a human being that there is a chance of the cycle being broken.
Sikhs believe in karma. This belief says that actions and the consequences of these actions decide whether a soul can be set loose from the cycle. Freedom from the cycle of rebirth is called mukti. The Sikh Way of Life The Sikh way of life is laid down by the Sikh Code of Conduct and is known as "Sikh Rehat Maryada". It is based upon the teachings of Guru Granth Sahib, the Sikh traditions and conventions.
These rules are meant for carrying out the religious ceremonies and enforcing the discipline of the Faith in a uniform manner throughout the world. No individual or organization is to amend these rules or to frame new ones. This power rests only with the Akal Takhat, the seat of supreme temporal authority for the Sikhs. According to the Guru Granth Sahib, every Sikh is expected to get up in the morning before dawn. After taking bath he/she should mediate on the Name of Waheguru. Doing so would remove all sorrows and sufferings in ones life.
The following five compositions are recited every day:
Morning: Japji Sahib, Jaap Sahib and Ten Swiyyas
Night: Sohila (Before going to bed) A Sikh is required to attend Gurdwara - the Sikh Temple - as a part of routine work.
Apart from living in agreement with the Guru's beliefs, every Sikh should also do the following: 1) Meditate in God's Name:
Sikhs mediatate on Waheguru's Name as it is the source of life for him. He keeps Waheguru's Name in his heart while engaged in the day-to-day worldly pursuits. Sikhs get the Divine blessing while praying on Waheguru's love. He always cherishes to accumulate the treasure of Waheguru's Name. 2) Fair Earning of Livelihood:
A Sikh is to earn his livelihood by fair means. He is neither to exploit nor allow to be exploited. He is to prove his constructive and positive role for the society with his fair dealings. He is to get a respectable position with the Guru's blessings. He is to keep his mind in Waheguru's Name while earning the livelihood. 3) Fighting for Justice: A Sikh always lives by the Will of Waheguru and cherishes the welfare of the whole humanity while living peaceful life. But if the gross injustice is done and no other remedy is possible, it is Dharma of the Sikh to fight directly and even sacrifice his life for the cause. Women in the Sikh Society A woman is regarded as a significant part of the Sikh community. She receives the utmost reverence for her role in the family and society. The birth of a daughter is not considered inauspicious. In addition there does not exist any custom like Sati - the burning of the widow with her husband's dead body on the funeral pyre. Rather a widow, in Sikhism, has a right to remarry if she so desires.
A woman is considered to have the same soul as man and she has an equal right to grow spiritually and to attend religious congregations and recite divine hymns in the Sikh Temple. She is also eligible to participate and perform all ceremonies including Baptism. There are differences in the
lifestyles of Sikhs. Amrit Dhari are Sikhs those who have baptised themselves and now would not cut their hair, would not eat meat killed in a ritualistic manner (halal, kosher, etc.), would wake up early in the morning and read and contemplate on God's Prayer and put their efforts toward living life as instructed by the Sikh Gurus. Nihangs are Sikhs who live their life much more like Sikh used to live during the times of Guru Gobind Singh Ji. Kesh Dhari are Sikhs who keep their hair, don't cut them at all. Sikh men who are Kesh Dhari have turban and beard as they don't cut them but their lifestyle can be same as Sahaj Dhari. Sahaj Dhari are Sikhs who are clean shaved and have cut their hair.Sahaj Dhari have no restrictions on their lifestyle. The word "Sikh" means a disciple. A Sikh is a person who believes in Waheguru and teachings of the Ten Gurus enshrined in the Guru Granth Sahib, the Sikh Holy Book.
In short, a Sikh is a person who faithfully believes in the following:
- One Immortal Being.
- Ten Gurus from Guru Nanak Dev Ji to Guru Gobind Singh Ji.
- The Guru Granth Sahib.
- The beliefs and teachings of the ten Guru
- The baptism bequeathed by the tenth Guru, and not owe allegiance to any other religion. By Amanjeet Braich