Sikhism

sikh symbol

Sikhism, a religion founded over 500 years ago by Sri Guru Nanak Dev is based on the philosophy that there is only one God for all people of all religions. There are more than 20 million disciples of this religion all across the world and believe that one must live as a role model for others to merge with the God at the end of the human life cycle.

This religious philosophy is traditionally known by the name Gurmat (i.e. the teachings of Guru) or Sikh Dharma. The name “Sikhism” comes from the word Sikh, which is derived from the Sanskrit śiṣya root meaning “disciple” or “learner” or śikṣa which means “instruction.” Followers of Sikhism are known as Sikhs.

Teachings

The main tenet of Sikhism is faith in Vāhigurū (God). Sikhism requires search of salvation through discipline, personal meditation, in the name and the message of God. Ego, attachment, greed, anger and lust are known as “The Five Thieves”, which bring separation from God and can be cured only by intense and unremitting devotion to him. Followers of Sikhism should follow the teachings of the ten gurus (enlightened leaders), as well as their sacred writing, Gurū Granth Sāhib.

Gurū Granth Sāhib is the main religious scriptures of Sikhism, is a voluminous text consisting of 1430 pages that were created during the period of Sikh gurus in 1469-1708, and is a collection of hymns (Shabad) or Baani describing the attributes of God and the necessity for meditation of God’s nām (holy name).

The text is the Bible of Sikhs, and is regarded as the teachings of the Ten Gurus. The presence of the Guru Granth Sahib Ji, as guidance/source of prayer is vital in Sikh worship.

Composed by Guru Nanak Dev, Japji Sahib is a Sikh prayer that appears as the opening verse in the Guru Granth Sahib and describes brotherhood and remembrance of God as the key to protecting one’s soul from sin and its consequences; thus leading to salvation.

Japji Sahib; A hymn that is chanted by the Sikh disciples is considered as the most comprehensive set of verses with an emphasis on true form of worship connecting the God and its highest form of creation, the human form. Japji hymn consists of the Mool-mantra (the fundamental prayer) that describes the God as a Supreme power and the Creator of the Universe. He is the only one without fear and hatred, without any visible form, beyond the cycle of birth and death, self-illuminated and can be realised by the human being only by the kindness of the Guru.

The followers of the Sikhism are encouraged to rise early, pray to God, chant and meditate every day and visit Gurudwara (meaning door-to-God) as often as possible. Gurudwara is a place of worship for people from Sikhs community and other faith groups believing in Sikh religion.

After daily recitation of ‘Paaths’ or scriptures in the Gurudwara, free Langar (communal meal) is served to everyone irrespective of their religion, caste, colour and community.

The Langar was initiated by Guru Nanak Dev ji, to teach the ideology that everyone is equal and must selflessly take part in the kitchen services like preparation of food, serving and cleaning. A rich variety of free vegetarian food and non-alcoholic beverages are served during Langar that follows various Sikh events like Gurudwara worship services, festivals and ceremonies thus promoting the principle of equality among people.