Sikhism primary beliefs and principles

Sikhism primary beliefs and principles

Ek On Kar

Sikhs believe there is only one God, who has infinite qualities and names. He is the same for all religions, God is the Creator, Sustainer and Destroyer. All that you see around you is God's creation. He is everywhere, in everything. He is fearless and without enmity. His form is indestructible. He doesn't need to revolve into any 'Juni/Yoni'(a living form). Only God is without birth or death. He is enlightened with his own light. He has and will exist forever.

The following are quotations from the Guru Granth Sahib:

a). There is but one God (from page 45):

*"There is only the one Supreme Lord God; there is no other."
*"Soul and body are all Yours. Whatever pleases You shall happen."
*"Through the Perfect Guru, one becomes perfect. O Nanak, meditate on the True One. ||4||9||79||"

The original verses are:
*"Paarbarahm prabh ayk hai doojaa naahee ko-ay."
*"Jee-o pind sabh tis kaa jo tis bhaavai so ho-ay."
*"Gur poorai pooraa bha-i-aa jap naanak sachaa so-ay. ||4||9||79||"

For the original text, see [] and enter the page number.

b). God the Creator (page 1036):

*"He formed the planets, solar systems and nether regions, and brought what was hidden to manifestation."
*"When He so willed, He created the world."
*"Without any supporting power, He sustained the universe."

Reincarnation, karma, and salvation

According to Sikhism, every creature has a soul. In death, the soul passes from one body to another until final liberation. The journey of the soul is governed by the deeds and actions we perform during our lives. A pure existence of 'good deeds' (i.e., working honestly to earn our living, remembering the Creator, helping those who are less fortunate, being kind) is rewarded with happiness and joy in the next life, while wrongful actions and sinful deeds lead only to incarceration and fitting consequences in the next life. As the spirit of God is found in all life and matter, a soul can be passed onto other life forms, such as plants and insects - not just human bodies. A person who has evolved to achieve spiritual perfection in his lifetimes attains salvation – union with God and liberation from rebirth in the material world.

The following lines from Guru Granth Sahib explain how our deeds and actions (or Karma) impact on the soul and its reincarnation:

* [ On page 4 – text highlighted in red]

*“Virtue and vice do not come by mere words; actions repeated, over and over again, are engraved on the soul. You shall harvest what you plant. O Nanak, by the Hukam of God’s Command, we come and go in reincarnation.”

* [ On page 31 – text highlighted in red]

*“The soul-bride in love with duality goes around the wheel of reincarnation, through 8.4 million incarnations. Without the Guru, she finds no sleep, and she passes her life-night in pain. Without the Shabad, she does not find her Husband Lord, and her life wastes away in vain.”

* [ On page 19 – text highlighted in red]

*“The blind have forgotten the Naam, the name of the Lord. The self-willed manmukhs (ego centred person) are in utter darkness. Their comings and goings in reincarnation do not end; through death and rebirth, they are wasting away. ||3||”

* [ On page 13 – text highlighted in red]

*“Purchase only that for which you have come into the world, and through the Guru, the Lord shall dwell within your mind. Within the home of your own inner being, you shall obtain the Mansion of the Lord’s Presence with intuitive ease. You shall not be consigned again to the wheel of reincarnation. ||3||.”

Remember God

Only by keeping the Creator in your mind at all times, will you make progress in your spiritual evolution. The Sikh Guru ask the devotees to meditate with single mindedness, dispel doubt, remain focused, subdue their ego. Thus glory will be obtained.

The following lines from Guru Granth Sahib elaborate on the importance of remembering the Almighty Lord:
* [ On page 18 – see text in red from line 761]
*Those contented souls who meditate on the Lord with single-minded love, meet the True Lord.

* [ On page 23 – see text in red at line 945]
*Those who are imbued with the love of the name of the Lord are not loaded down by doubt.

* [ On page 128– see text in red at line 5239]
*The pure swans, with love and affection, dwell in the ocean of the Lord, and subdue their ego.

* [ On page 130 – see text in red at line 5297]
*The Gurmukh remains forever imbued with the Lord’s love. Meeting the True Lord, glory is obtained. ||6|

Humanity (brotherhood)

Sikhs believe that all humans are equal. "We are sons and daughters of Waheguru, the Almighty." Sikhs are taught to treat all people of the world the same. No gender, racial, social or other discrimination is allowed. This is the message of Guru Nanak as taught by the 10 Sikh Masters during the period 1469 to 1708.

The following lines from Guru Granth Sahib explain the importance of treating every person as an equal:

* [ On page 446 – Look for text highlighted in red]

*“They look upon all with equality, and recognize the Supreme Soul, the Lord, pervading among all. Those who sing the praises of the Lord, Har, Har, obtain the supreme status; they are the most exalted and acclaimed people. ||2||”

* [ On page 599 – Look for text highlighted in red]

*“He is within - see Him outside as well. There is no one other than Him. As Gurmukh, look upon all with the single eye of equality. In each and every heart, the Divine Light is contained. ||2||”

* [ On page 96 – Look for text highlighted in red]

*“There is only one breath. All are made of the same clay. The light within all is the same. The One Light pervades all the many and various beings. This light intermingles with them, but it is not diluted or obscured. By Guru’s Grace, I have come to see the One. I am a sacrifice to the True Guru. ||3||”They consider male and female equally strong.That's why they keep same name for both just differentiating them by singh and kaur respectively.

Uphold moral values

Defend, safeguard and fight for the rights of all creatures and especially your fellow man.

Personal sacrifice

Be prepared to give your life for all supreme principles. Follow the example of Guru Teg Bahadur.

Many paths lead to God

The Sikh Gurus tell us that salvation can be obtained by following various spiritual paths. Therefore, Sikhs do not have a monopoly on salvation: "Many spiritual paths lead to God." Sikhs do not consider they have an "exclusive" right to salvation. They do not consider themselves the "chosen people of God". In fact, the Sikh scripture advances the message of "equality" of humanity (despite religious differences) and offers the advice that Muslims should be better Muslims and Hindus be better Hindus. Christian, Hindus, Muslim, Jews and others all have the same right to liberty as Sikhs. However, Sikhism does teach that unlike other faiths, it is a more direct and a simpler path to salvation (union with God). Sikhs believe that Pandits, Qazis, Mullahs, Priests, etc. do not hold the key to salvation, but rather that God has given every person the right to hear and obey God's word.

The following lines from Guru Granth Sahib explain the importance of treating every spiritual path as a valid path to God and salvation:

* [ On page 142 – Look for text highlighted in red]

*“One who recognizes that all spiritual paths lead to the One shall be emancipated. One who speaks lies shall fall into hell and burn. In all the world, the most blessed and sanctified are those who remain absorbed in truth. One who eliminates selfishness and conceit is redeemed in the court of the Lord. ||9||”

* [ On page 885 – Look for text highlighted in red]

*“Some read the Vedas, and some the Koran. Some wear blue robes, and some wear white. ||3|| Some call themselves Muslim, and some call themselves Hindu. Some yearn for paradise, and others long for heaven. ||4|| Says Nanak, one who realizes the Hukam of God’s will, knows the secrets of his Lord and Master. ||5||9||”

* [ On page 1083 – Look for text highlighted in red]

*“Practice within your heart the teachings of the Koran and the Bible. Restrain the ten sensory organs from straying into evil. Tie up the five demons of desire with faith, charity and contentment, and you shall be acceptable. ||4||”

* [ On page 1350 – Look for text highlighted in red]

*“Do not say that the Vedas, the Bible and the Koran are false. Those who do not contemplate them are false. You say that the One Lord is in all, so why do you kill chickens? ||1||”

* [ On page 464 – Look for text highlighted in red]

*“By His power the Vedas and the Puraanas exist, and the Holy Scriptures of the Jewish, Christian and Islamic religions. By His power all deliberations exist.”

Positive attitude toward life

transl|gu|ISO|Caṛdī kalā: Always have a positive, optimistic and buoyant view of life, but not at the expense of others

Disciplined life

Upon baptism, a Sikh must wear the Sikhs Five Ks (5Ks), perform strict recital of the five prayers, Banis, etc. Sikh baptism is not generally performed at birth, but is a decision made by individuals who choose to dedicate themselves completely to the mandates of the Sikh religion. The majority of Sikhs are not baptised, though many wear some of the Five K's. As a part of a disciplined life, Sikhs are expected to obey certain prohibitions.

Sikh Festivals

Gurupurabs are anniversaries associated with the lives of the Sikh Gurus. Sikhs celebrate 10 Gurpurabs in a year, each one honoring the ten gurus of the Khalsa Pantha. Of these the important ones are the birthdays of Guru Nanak and Guru Govind Singh and the martyrdom days of Guru Arjan Dev and Guru Teg Bahadur.

Guru Nanak's jayanti falls in the month of Kartik (October / November). Sikhs believe that Guru Nanak brought enlightenment to the world. Thus the festival is also called Prakash Utsav, the festival of light. The Tenth Guru, Gobind Singh, was born on 2 December 1666 in Patna. The martyrdom day of the fifth Guru, Arjan Dev falls in the months of May and June and that of the ninth Guru, Tegh Bahadur, in November.

The Prabhat Pheris, early morning religious processions that goes around localities singing shabads (hymns), start three weeks before the festival. Devotees offer sweets and tea when the procession passes their homes. Gurpurabs also mark the culmination of Prabhat Pheris. The Guru Granth Sahib (the holy book of the Sikhs) is read continuously from beginning to end without a break for three days. This is known as akhand path. It is concluded on the day of the festival. The Granth Sahib is also carried in procession on a float decorated with flowers. Five armed guards, who represent the Panj Pyares, head the procession carrying Nishan Sahibs (the Sikh flag). Local bands play religious music and marching schoolchildren form a special part of the procession.

Sweets and community lunches are offered to everyone irrespective of religious faith. They are given with a spirit of seva (service) and bhakti (devotion). Sikhs visit gurdwaras, where special programmes are arranged and (religious songs) sung. Houses and gurudwaras are lit up for the festivities. On the anniversary of the martyrdom of Guru Arjan Dev, sweetened milk is offered to the thirsty passers-by to commemorate the death of the Guru.

Guru Nanak, the founder of the Sikh faith, was born in 1469 in a Punjabi village now located in Pakistan. Always secular in his outlook, he even organized a canteen where Muslims and Hindus of all castes could come and eat together. It is believed that in Sultanpur he had a vision from God, directing him to preach to mankind.

Guru Gobind Singh forged the distinctive identity of the Sikhs, called them Khalsa (the pure) and made it mandatory for them to have the five "K"s: Kesh (hair), Kripan (dagger), Kada (bracelet), Kangha (comb) and Kachcha (underwear). Guru Arjan Dev was burned at the stake in the hot months of May and June, and Guru Teg Bahadur was beheaded in Delhi.

Gurpurbs are part and parcel of Sikhism. Historically, Sikhs have had to sacrifice their lives just to celebrate the Gurpurbs. Whether it is DEWALI (Bandi Chhor Diwas), VAISAKHI (Khalsa Sajna Diwas), or Martyrdom day of Guru Arjan Sahib (Sahidi Diwas), Sikhs gather and remember their Gurus and pay homage to the great Martyrs. All the Gurpurbs are celebrated with great fervor and enthusiasm by the Sikhs throughout the world. We are giving the account of the main and widely celebrated Gurpurbs.

The birthday celebrations and Gurpurbs of Guru Sahibs usually last for three days. Generally before the birthday-date Akhand Path is held in the Gurdwara. A large procession (Nagarkirtan) is organised one day before the birthday. This is led by the Panj Piyaras (Five beloved ones) and the Palki (Palanquin) of Shri Guru Granth Sahib and followed by groups of kirtani Jatha, Various School bands and students, eminent Citizens, Gatka Parties (displaying mock-battle with the traditional weapons), and devotees singing hymns from Guru Granth Sahib in chorus. The passage of the nagarkirtan is decorated with flags, flowers, religious posters decorated gates and banners depicting various aspects of Sikhism. On the Gurpurab day, the Divan begins in early morning about 4 or 5 a.m. with the singing of Asa-di-var and hymns from Guru Granth Sahib. Sometimes it is followed by katha (discourse), religious and Sikh Historical lectures and recitation of poems in praise of the Guru. Kirtan-Darbars and Amrit Sanchar ceremonies are also held in the Gurdwara hall. After Ardas and distribution of Karah Parshad (sweet pudding) the Langar (food) is served to one and all and there is kirtan till late in the night, the distribution of langar continues to the end of the programme.

Birthday of Guru Nanak Sahib

Guru Nanak Sahib (the First Nanak, the founder of Sikhism) was born on 15 April, 1469 at Rai-Bhoi-di Talwandi in the present district of Shekhupura (Pakistan), now Nanakana Sahib. The birthday of Guru Nanak Sahib falls on Kartik Puranmashi i.e. full moon day of the month Kartik. On this day the birthday is celebrated every year. The Shrine (Gurdwara) repsesenting the home of Baba Kalu (Father) and Mata Tripta (Mother) is called Gurdwara Janam Asthan, situated at Rai-Bhoi-di-Talwandi in the present district of Shekhupura (now Nanakana Sahib in Pakistan). The Sikhs from all over the world gather here and celebrate the Gurupurab every year with great devotion and enthusiasm.

Birthday of Guru Gobind Singh Sahib

Guru Gobind Singh Sahib, the tenth Nanak was born at Patna Sahib on December 22, 1666, (Poh Sudi Saptmi). His birthday generally falls in December or January or sometimes twice within a year as it is calculated according to Hindu Bikrami Calendar based on moon-year. S. Pal Singh Purewal of Canada prepared a new calendar which is called the "Nanakshahi Calendar" based on the solar year. According to this calendar the birthday of Guru Gobind Singh Sahib falls only once in a year i.e. on 5th January. But the implementation of the Nanakshahi Calendar has been postponed.Actually The Nanakshahi Calendar has been in effect now for three years. SGPC- Shromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee- [Main Sikh Religious/Political Body] has sanctioned the calendar with exceptions to the dates of Guru Nanak Sahib Ji's birthday and Diwali due to both events also loved by Hindus and Guru Nank Sahib Ji's birthday is major movement from Novemebr to April.

Guru Arjan's martyrdom day

Guru Arjan's martyrdom day falls towards the close of May or beginning of June. In Lahore before partition almost every Hindu and Sikh was out to visit the Guru's samadhi or tomb. At short intervals there were sabils where sweetened and iced milk-water was served to every passer-by. The number of visitors was in lakhs, not in thousands. Arrangements were so perfect that the parents of a lost child could be traced in no time. At numerous places there were parties of singers singing hymns, lectures, sermons and kathas or naration of stories from sacred scriptures. Nowadays this day is celebrated everywhere in gurdwaras and by leading processions and serving cold drinks free.

Guru Tegh Bahadur's martyrdom day

Guru Tegh Bahadur's martyrdom day falls in November/December. The day is celebrated by organising processions, singing hymns in gurdwaras, and by organising lectures, sermons, kirtans, etc.

Conquer the five thieves

It is every Sikh's duty to defeat these "five thieves": Lust (Kaam), Anger (Kr'odh), Greed (Lob'H), Attachment (Mo'H), and Pride (a'Hankar). The five thieves live within every person and it is the duty of each Sikh to subdue and control the behavior of these emotions.

The following lines from Guru Granth Sahib explain the dangers of these negative energies and how they lead to pain and suffering:

* [ On page 182 – Look for text highlighted in red]

*“All of my companions are intoxicated with their sensory pleasures; they do not know how to guard their own home. The five thieves have plundered them; the thugs descend upon the unguarded village.||2||.”

* [ On page 600 – Look for text highlighted in red]

*“Within this body dwell the five thieves: sexual lust, anger, greed, emotional attachment and egotism. They plunder the Nectar, but the self-willed manmukh (ego-minded person) does not realize it; no one hears his complaint. The world is blind, and its dealings are blind as well. Without the Guru, there is only pitch darkness. ||2||”

* [ On page 1201 – Look for text highlighted in red]

*“All the sins of that humble being are taken away, all the pains are taken away, all diseases are taken away. Sexual lust, anger, greed, attachment and egotistical pride are taken away. The Lord drives the five thieves out of such a person of the Lord. ||1|| Chant the name of the Lord, O Holy Saints of the Lord. Meditate on the Lord of the Universe, O Holy people of the Lord. Meditate in thought, word and deed on the Lord, Har, Har. Worship and adore the Lord, O Holy people of the Lord.”

Attack with five weapons

These are Contentment (Santokh), Charity (Daan), Kindness (Daya), Positive Energy (Chardi Kala), Humility (Nimarta).

ee also
*Islam and Sikhism
*Hinduism and Sikhism

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