Sikhism Sikhism is one of the youngest world religions in the Eastern world. It was established in 16th century India. At that time, the dominant religion of the country, Hinduism, was in conflict with one of the newest religions from the West, Islam. it was founded by guru Nanak and is based on his teachings and those of the 9 sikh gurus who followed him.
Guru Nanak Dev, who was born in 1469 to a Hindu family, his most famous saying is "There is no Hindu, there is no Muslim, so whose path I follow? I shall follow the path of god.
Sikhism is monotheistic, strongly emphasizing belief in one true God. Guru Nanak used the Hindu mystic syllable om as a symbol of God. He added the qualifications of God as one and creator, resulting in the ik onkar symbol. Sikhism forbids the representation of God in images and the worship of idols.
Karma and Reincarnation
Sikhism retains the general Hindu conception of the universe and the doctrine of samsara, or rebirth, based on karma. Human birth is the only chance to escape samsara and attain salvation.
Khalsa and State
Especially after conflict with the Mughal empire in Sikh history, religion and politics have been closely associated in Sikhism. Establishment of a Sikh state is a matter of religious doctrine, and all services end with the chant, "Raj karey Ga Khalsa" (the Khalsa shall rule).
The 5 K's
The 5 Ks taken together symbolise that the Sikh who wears them has dedicated themselves to a life of devotion and submission to the Guru.
- The five Ks are:
- Kesh (uncut hair)
- Kara (a steel bracelet)
- Kanga (a wooden comb)
- Kaccha - also spelt, Kachh, Kachera (cotton underwear)
- Kirpan (steel sword)
Various reasons and symbolisms have been put forward for the Sikh practice of keeping hair uncut.
- Throughout history hair (kesh) has been regarded as a symbol both of holiness and strength.
- One's hair is part of God's creation. Keeping hair uncut indicates that one is willing to accept God's gift as God intended it.
- Uncut hair symbolizes adoption of a simple life, and denial of pride in one's appearance.
- A symbol of restraint and gentility.
- A symbol that a Sikh is linked to the Guru.
- It acts as a reminder that a Sikh should not do anything of which the Guru would not approve.
- A symbol of God having no beginning or end.
- This symbolises a clean mind and body; since it keeps the uncut hair neat and tidy.
- It symbolises the importance of looking after the body which God has created. This does not conflict with the Sikh's aim to move beyond bodily concerns; since the body is one's vehicle for enlightenment one should care for it appropriately.
- This is a pair of breeches that must not come below the knee. It was a particularly useful garment for Sikh warriors of the 18th and 19th centuries, being very suitable for warfare when riding a horse.
- It's a symbol of chastity.
- The soldier part of the Soldier-Saints
- Defence of good
- Defence of the weak
- The struggle against injustice
- A metaphor for God
The ultimate source of authority and doctrine in Sikhism is the sacred book, the Adi Granth. It's a collection of nearly 6,000 hymns of the Sikh Gurus (religious leaders) and various early and medieval saints of different religions and castes.
The Sikh Gurus had an extraordinary influence on the various strata of society. They provided vital leadership to the down-trodden and suppressed people. Their contribution in spiritual, moral, social, economic, cultural and political fields was striking and remarkable. They placed simple but high ideals before the people at a time when superstition, fanaticism and despair reigned supreme everywhere. They removed false beliefs and fear from the minds of men and women and held out before them the prospects of hope, confidence, peace and salvation.
The Khanda was introduced by the 17th century Sikh guru, Hargobind Ji. The circle shape in the upper center of the symbol represents the cauldron in which food was prepared. The vertically-positioned sword that divides the caldron in half was used by the 17th century guru, Gobind Singh.
The two-sided blade has symbolic meaning as well. One side is the Bhagti, representing spiritual power, and the other side is the Shakti, representing a kind of cosmic energy. The two swords wrapping the caldron and double-bladed sword represent the Bhagti and Shakti doctrine of Sikhism.