An introduction to Sikhism
Sikhism is one of the younger faiths of the world, as compared with religions like Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity or Islam. It is a monotheistic faith, preaching the existence of only one God, and teaching ideals that may be universally accepted today and in the future: honesty, compassion, humility, piety, social commitment, and most of all tolerance for other religions. The word ‘Sikh’, derived from the Sanskrit word ‘shishya’, means a disciple, a learner, a seeker of truth.
A Sikh believes in One God and the teachings of the Ten Gurus, embodied in the Sikh Holy Scripture, Guru Granth Sahib. Additionally, he or she must take Amrit, the Sikh Baptism. Sikhism was founded by Guru Nanak Dev Ji at the beginning of the sixteenth century. The succeeding nine Gurus nurtured and developed his ideas and teachings. Guru Gobind Singh Ji, the tenth Guru, brought to an end to the line of human Gurus and in 1708, installed the Guru Granth Sahib, as the permanent Guru of the Sikhs.
The Sikh Gurus provided guidance for about 240 years. They taught the basic values of freedom, brotherhood, charity, obedience, understanding, sympathy, patience, humility, simplicity, and piety, and outlined the path to spirituality in life. The Gurus themselves said that they were not to be worshipped as Sikhs would have gotten attached to the bodies. Instead, Gurus connected Sikhs with the “word” or God . Guru Gobind Singh said:
“See me only as the slave of God.
Let this be known beyond the shadow of doubt.”
This shows how much humility Gurus have in them even though there is no difference between Guru and God. Compared to other prophets who did not show much humility and taught their followers to follow them not God.
The Basic Belief of the Sikhs
The Mool Mantar (literally, the root verse; the first hymn composed by Guru Nanak Dev Ji) sums up the basic belief of the Sikhs. The Guru Granth Sahib begins with the Mool Mantar. Every Sikh is expected to recite it daily. The English translation is given below:
There is only one God
His name is truth
He is the creator
He is without fear
He is without hate
He is beyond time (immortal)
He is beyond birth and death
He is self-existent
He is realised by the Guru’s grace
Chant and meditate:
True in the primal beginning
True throughout the ages
Hai Bhee Sach
True here and now
Hosee Bhee Sach
Forever and ever true
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