Living Sikhism

The Most Comprehensive Multimedia Guide to Sikhism

Holy Book


The Sikh Holy Book (The Guru Granth Sahib or Adi Granth) is unusual in that it was written by the founders of Sikhism and has not altered substantially from the original of 1604 AD. It contains 1430 pages and contains the works of Sikhs and non-Sikhs. There are 6 main translations of the Granth Sahib in English and provides a universal message of personal liberation and salvation.

Core Beliefs

It surprises many people (and even some Sikhs) that Sikhs do not believe in God in any traditional sense of the word. Their main thrust is in seeking that which is True. Given the environment that Sikhs live in and the environment of their diaspora, many confuse the search for truth with someone else's definition of God and truth. The main ethical principles and beliefs are:

Ik Onkaar (There is One God)
Nam Japo (Devoutly repeat the divine name and seek the inner sound)
Kirat Karo (Live Honestly and Justly)
Vand Chakko (Share your possessions with all humankind)
Raj Kare Ga Khalsa (The righteous will prevail in the end)


Places of Worship

Gurdwara (The abode of the Holy Book). Sikhs were instructed to treat their Holy Book as their living Guru. There are about 500 Gurdwaras in the UK and a similar number in the US and Canada.

Culture
Sikh culture is almost independent of their place of residence. This is because they have a common background, share the same ancestral past, speak a common language (Punjabi), identify with a common set of core vales and beliefs, wear the same symbols, live in similar family structure, and have a similar psyche. Sikh culture and Identity is very strong and many Sikhs believe that one day all the people of the world will see the logic and rationale for their way of belief and life.

Founder

Sikhism was, in essence, founded by Guru Nanak Dev. The concept of a living teacher was to become an important cornorstone of Sikhism.

History

The Punjab is the melting pot of many races, religions and cultures. It housed some of the earliest civilisations on earth, and has seen many invasions, battles and wars. These include: the Aryan invasions which started around 1500 BCE; invasion by the Persian King Darius and the occupation in 516 BCE by the Persians under King Gustasp; the conquering of the Persians by Alexander the Great and his entry into the Punjab in 321 BCE; and around 711 CE, the Muslims attacked and occupied much of the Punjab.

Festivals

The main festivals and special times of Sikhism relate to the following: Gurpurb, Basiakhi, Diwali, Hola Mohalla, Maghi, Births, Deaths, Baptism and Tying of the Turban

Etiquette

Welcome to Gurdwara (the name given to the Sikh's place of worship). The term Gurdwara literally means "the door" or "the gateway to the Guru". It is a place where the Guru Granth Sahib (the Sikh holy Scripture) is present. It is open to every one regardless of age, sex, caste, or creed and is the centre for congregational worship in Sikhism. It also plays a socioeconomic role in the Sikh community; attached to every Gurdwara is a free kitchen where the Langar is prepared and served.

Women

The place of women in Sikhism (the Religion) is a subject of very little discussion. This is because women have, without any condition or reservation (related to either form or function), exactly the same rights as men. The Guru Granth Sahib provides the blueprint for women's rights - it makes clear that equal rights of women are a fundamental part of Sikh doctrine.

Music

A glimpse into the lives and culture of the people of Punjab can be got through the folk idiom of Punjab. There is a great repertoire of music, right from the time of birth to death. Culturally Punjab can be divided into three regions, Malwa, Majha and Doaba. Today Malwa represents the true spirit of Punjabi folk traditions. The Punjabi fold idiom is so rich, so varied and so very versatile. It is a culture of generous, vast, big-hearted people which is devoid of any fanaticism and religious narrow mindedness of ideology.

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