sikhism is the youngest of the religions originating from india and founded in the 15th century by the most revered saint and philosopher sri guru nanakdevji. This coincided with the establishment of mogul rule. Born on 15thapril 1469 in talwandi village of district nankana of west punjab (now in pakistan), sri guru nanakdevji is the first guru of the ten gurus of sikhs. In punjab “sikh” literally means to learn. A sikh is always a pupil who pursues the search for truth.
ੴ ਸਤਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਕਰਤਾ ਪੁਰਖੁ ਨਿਰਭਉ ਨਿਰਵੈਰੁ ਅਕਾਲ ਮੂਰਤਿ ਅਜੂਨੀ ਸੈਭੰ ਗੁਰ ਪ੍ਰਸਾਦਿ ॥
It is the mool (basic) mantra of sikh faith. God, the creator, waheguru, for the sikhs is truth. Such a god, sri guru nanakdevji insisted was not accessible through deities or rituals but through three simple commandments: kirtkaro (hardwork), naamjapo (adoration of the divine name) and vandchhako (sharing the fruits of your labour). The essence of sri gurunanakdevji’s teachings are the virtues of hardwork and intefrity. There is a clear emphasis on the signity of labour but this has to go hand in hand with the purity of though and action, if you are to obtain the guru’s grace. Sri gurunanakdevji’s revolutionary message attracted considerable attention. He was succeeded by nine other gurus who guided the development of the sikh community.
The sikhism is the way if life. The sikh gurus did not advocate renunciation or asceticism. A true sikh is to attain self-realization, attain the state of anad or bliss while performing all the duties for family and society. The sikh gurus laid the foundation of institutions of sangat (mixed congregations where disciples saying the parise o lord, derive inspiration for remoulding their lives) and also pangat( a free community kitchen where all sit and eat in the same row regardless of caste, creed or status in life). Gurudwaras are the places for such congregations and pangat( also called guru kalangar ). The concept of service is central to sikh faith.
Golden temple, the darbarsaheb, in amritsar is a symbol of the culture and conduct of sikhs. It has four doors opening out in all the four directions offering welcome to all people without any discrimination of class or creed. The fifth guru, guru arjindevji was a saint and a scholar of a rare piety and literary attainments. His compositions bespeak of great depth of his mind and subliming of his thoughts, full of divine love and human sympathy. Guru arjundev’s unique contribution to sikhism is the compilation of hymns of not only sikh gurus but also a number of hindu, muslim and so called untouchable saints and sages of india, in sri guru granth sahib. Each hymn in sri gurugranth sahib is cast in the highest level of poetry and is assigned a musical measure from the indian classical music system.
Sri gurugobind sings ji, the tenth guru, ordered the sikhs, that after him the sikhs to have faith on holy sri guru granth sahib as their living guru and take directions from it. The sikhstratsri gurugranth sahib with utmost reverence as befits a true living guru. The simplicity and clarity of sri gurugranth sahib made its influence reach beyond sikhs. Hundreds of ,illions of hindus and others read sri guru granth sahib to seek the path of blisss and to face life’s struggle.
Comlete surrender to the altruistic will of the lord is the pivotal point of the philosophy of sri gurugranth sahib. The universe was created as per his will. All the births and deaths take place as ordained by him. Only the bare physical needs cannot satisfy man. Sikhism believes in attainment of the supreme being by way of making this body the abode of him.
Gobindmilanki eh teribaria
" man has got this human life
This is man's opportunity to meet god"
Rectiting of gurbani in appropriate ragas has got a special place in sikh way of life. God dwells where gurbani is sung in ragas and satan is banished from the place where kirtan is recited. Man’s mental and physical faculties are guided to the right path and he feels ane with lord.
Nucleus of sikh philosophy is "naam" , guru nanakdevjisaya, "if l utter naam, l live and if forget to do so, i die ". The tenth guru, guru gobindsinghji introduced two major innovations, which were to lay the foundations of modern sikhidentity . On baisakhi , in 1699, the guru baptized the first members of the khalsa( the pure), who were to undertake a fearless defence of the community . The khalsa were to aborn the mselves with five k’s :kesh (unshorn hair), kachha (short drawers), kirpan ( the sword), kara ( the iron bangle), and kangha ( the comb) and all were to adopt the name singh and were called panjpiaras. The khalsa were created by guru gobindsinghji out of the humblest of artisans and peasants- a body of brave patriots and martyrs ever ready to sacrifice their all to defend the community. The sikh code of discipline prescribes the duties the duties of an adherent and sikh are reduired to follow the teachings of the gurus ‘ and study the scriptures regularly. The influence of the gurus; words and of the scriptures is best experienced in the gurudwara, which is the main place of worship. Sikhs are therefore required to join a daily congregation, listen to scriptures and undertake/ perform sewa (service). To mark ceremonies such as births, marriages and other special occasions ,sikh often hold an akhand path, an uninterrupted reading of sri guru granth sahib which lasts 48 hours.
Today most of the sikh population is based in the state of punjab where there are approx. . 13 millioonsikhs out of a total population of 20 million.
Since late 19th century, they have been migrating from india to various countries of the world including east africa , the far east, middle east, australia , north america, united kingdom , canada and usa .
A believer of god should strive for the union with him by working hard, by adoring the divine name and by sharing the fruits of labour with others.