Sikhism, it is stressed that without strict ethical purity of
conduct, there is no possibility of any advance in the religious
experience. A religious life not strictly grounded in ethical
conduct, or a religious discipline which ignores the ethical requirements,
is considered a great error in Sikhism. Sikh
spirituality is centred around a need to understand and experience
God, and eventually become one with Waheguru (God). That
is, to attain mukti (liberation from birth, death and rebirth)
"through the grace of God".
that humans relate to God through meditation. They believe the
human soul is in essence divine, and inherently good. According
to Sikhs, a spark of the Divine Light resides in each
human soul, but it is covered by layers of human weaknesses and
left: Golden temple, Amritsar; Inner Sanctum of the Golden Temple;
Gurdwara Hemkunt Sahib, Uttaranchal Pradesh, India.
put to Sikhs is to follow the Gurus teachings and peel back
the layers to reveal their light. This is done through living
by pure love, or Bhakti. By loving humans purely, Sikhs
can look at themselves less and reveal their light more, thereby
growing into a more intense love for the Divine.
is derived from the word sikh, meaning a disciple adhering
to Guru Nanaks call. Sikhism claims that it is not a syncretic
religion (i.e. created by the merger of Hinduism and Islam), but
that it is a direct revelation from Waheguru (God). This
issue was actually addressed during the first moments of Sikhisms
life, in Guru Nanaks words, There is no Hindu, there
is no Muslim.
some common concepts like the law of karma and strict monotheism,
Sikhism does contain many unique postulates and principles that
are quite different from both Hinduism and Islam, respectively.
It also has the rare distinction of the revealed Word (Shabad)
being recorded by the hand of the Master.
of Sikhism, Guru Nanak Dev, was born in Punjab in 1469. He was
succeeded by nine Masters, ending with Guru Gobind Singh, who
gave a distinct identity to the Sikhs and revealed the order of
the Khalsa (Pure Ones) in 1699, exactly 200 years after Nanak
started his mission. Gobind Singh prepared the final compilation
of the teachings of the Gurus and numerous saints into the Granth
Sahib. Just before his death in 1708, he decreed the Guru Granth
Sahib as the eternal spiritual Guide and vested the Guruship in
the congregation of the Khalsa for temporal matters.
about 23 million Sikh adherents around the world; 80 percent of
whom live in India. Uncut hair is a distinguishing feature of
left: Gurdwara Baba Nanak, Baghdad; A Sikh wearing his articles
of faith; Community service at the Langar (free kitchen).