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Sikhism preaches a message of devotion and remembrance of God at all times, truthful living, equality of mankind, social justice and denounces superstitions and blind rituals. Sikhism is open to all through the teachings of its 10 Gurus enshrined in the Sikh Holy Book and Living Guru, Sri Guru Granth Sahib. [...]
- There is only One God. He is the same God for all people of all religions.
- The soul goes through cycles of births and deaths before it reaches the human form. The goal of our life is to lead an exemplary existence so that one may merge with God. Sikhs should remember God at all times and practice living a virtuous and truthful life while maintaining a balance between their spiritual obligations and temporal obligations.
- The true path to achieving salvation and merging with God does not require renunciation of the world or celibacy, but living the life of a householder, earning a honest living and avoiding worldly temptations and sins.
- Sikhism condemns blind rituals such as fasting, visiting places of pilgrimage, superstitions, worship of the dead, idol worship etc.
- Sikhism preaches that people of different races, religions, or sex are all equal in the eyes of God. It teaches the full equality of men and women. Women can participate in any religious function or perform any Sikh ceremony or lead the congregation in prayer.
Before his death in 1708 Guru Gobind Singh declared that the Sikhs no longer needed a living and appointed his spiritual successor as Sri Guru Granth Sahib, his physical successor as the Khalsa. Guru Gobind Singh felt that all the wisdom needed by Sikhs for spiritual guidance in their daily lives could be found in Sri Guru Granth Sahib, the Eternal Guru of the Sikhs. Sri Guru Granth Sahib is unique in the world of religious scriptures because not only is it accorded the status of being the spiritual head of the Sikh religion, but besides the poetry of the Gurus, it also contains the writings of saints of other faiths whose thoughts were consistent with those of the Sikh Gurus.
Sikhism does not have priests, which were abolished by Guru Gobind Singh. The Guru felt that they had become corrupt and full of ego. Sikhs only have custodians of the Guru Granth Sahib (granthi), and any Sikh is free to read the Guru Granth Sahib in the Gurdwara (a Sikh temple) or in their home. All people of all religions are welcome to the Gurdwara. A free community kitchen can be found at every Gurdwara which serves meals to all people of all faiths. Guru Nanak first started this institution which outline the basic Sikh principles of service, humility and equality.
- Source: Introduction to Sikhism, Sikhs.org
Sikhism rejects idolatry, the caste system, ritualism, and asceticism. It recognizes the equality between both genders and all religions, prohibits the intake of any intoxicants, and encourages an honest, truthful living. Sikhs have their own holy scripture, Guru Granth Sahib. Written, composed, and compiled by the Sikh Gurus themselves, the Guru Granth Sahib serves as the ultimate source of spiritual guidance for Sikhs. While the Sikhs hold their Gurus in high reverence, they are not to be worshipped; Sikhs may only worship God.
- Source: Gateway to Sikhism
Nanak (1469-1538 A.D.) was the son of a Hindu from the Kshatriya (ruler, warrior) caste in northern India. As a boy, he was greatly influenced by itinerant holy men, some of whom represented the Bhakti school of Hinduism and others the Sufi form of Islam.
Nanak believed in a supreme being, but concluded that all religions were using different names for the one true God whom he called "Sat Nam" (True Name).
As he grew into adulthood, Nanak attempted to harmonize Hinduism together with Islam, thus producing a new religion known as Sikhism. The word Sikh is Hindu for "disciple."
Nanak wanted to rid religion of rituals, ceremonies and pilgrimages. He denounced the Hindu practices of idol worship, caste, sacrifices and infanticide yet adhered to the Hindu ideas of karma and transmigration.
Nanak taught that the means to salvation was acquired both by grace of Sat Nam, and by works (righteous living is required).
After attaining salvation, an individual is believed to be absorbed into God. The Sikh concept of God is monotheistic in form, but it is so mystical and abstract that it is ultimately pantheistic.
- Source: Sikhism, Watchman Fellowship
Sikhism arose, historically, as an attempt to harmonize Islam and Hinduism. But such harmonization, while historically accurate, does not capture the theological and cultural uniqueness of Sikhism. To call Sikhism a compromise between the two would be taken as an insult akin to calling a Christian a heretical Jew. Sikhism is not a cult or a hybrid but a distinct religious entity. [...]
Sikhism has historical and theological traces of both Hinduism and Islam but cannot be properly understood as a mere hybrid of these two. It has evolved into a distinct religious entity. The Christian can find common ground at some points with the Sikh, but ultimately the two faiths of Christianity and Sikhism cannot be reconciled.
For all who want to understand the religious faiths of their neighbors and coworkers, Winfried Corduan offers this helpful introduction to the religions of the world. His survey covers major and minor religions including Judaism, Islam, Zoroastrianism, African and Native American traditional religions, Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism, Baha'i, Chinese popular religion, Shinto and the Japanese synthesis. Unlike many similar books, Neighboring Faiths emphasizes not just formal religious teachings but also how each religion is practiced in daily life.
- Source: Book description at Amazon.com
Since the attacks on the twin towers on Sept. 11, 2011, Sikhs living in the U.S. have reported a rise in attacks, verbal as well physical. Many Sikhs say that one of the reason they’ve been targeted is that attackers mistake them for Muslims, a community that saw a spike in hate crimes in the wake of 9/11.
Around 700 cases of violence and discrimination against Sikhs have been reported since 9/11, according to the Sikh Coalition, which promotes the rights of Sikhs in the U.S.
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