Sikhism is the world’s fifth-largest religion. 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 ideas that may be universally accepted today and in the future: honesty, compassion, humility, piety, social commitment, and most of all tolerance for other religions.
Sikhism is free from any claims and dogmas. To attain salvation, Sikhism rejects all rites, rituals, and fasts. It rejects the claims of mortification of body, self-torture, penance or renunciation. It does not believe in the worship of gods and goddesses, stones, statues, idols, pictures, tombs or crematoriums. Devotees are supposed to desist from working miracles, uttering blessings and curses, and believing in omens. They wear God’s name as a necklace and try to practice Nam (remembrance of God’s name), Dan (charity) and Ishnan (purity), truthfulness and openness, self-restraint in temper, labour for the purpose of mutual benefit, profitable and edifying speech, humility and forbearance.
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Shri Guru Nanak Dev Ji in the Punjab area, now Pakistan, founded the Sikh faith. He began preaching the way to enlightenment and God after receiving a vision. After his death, a series of nine Gurus (regarded as reincarnations of Guru Nanak) led the movement until 1708. At this time these functions passed to the Panth and the holy text. The tenth Guru, Gobind Singh, compiled this text, the Shri Guru Granth Sahib. It consists of hymns and writings of the first 10 Gurus, along with texts from different Muslim and Hindu saints. The holy text is considered the 11th and final Guru.
Sikhs believe in a single formless God with many names, who can be known through meditation. Sikhs pray many times each day and are prohibited from worshipping idols or icons. They believe in samsara, karma, and reincarnation as Hindus do but reject the caste system. They believe that everyone has equal status in the eyes of God. Sikhs follow a strict code of conduct called the Sikh Rahit Maryada. Some of the requirements are: A Sikh is not permitted to have any allegiances to other religions. Sikhs must accept the teachings of the Gurus in their entirety. A person who does not follow all the requirements of Sikhism is not considered a Sikh and may be excommunicated from Sikh society.
I was going through some articles about the teaching of Sikhism and found something called “Spiritual Evolution”. There are four stages of it, which you have to accomplish before reaching the final stage, which is stage four. Stage 1: Manmukh, is when a person is self-centred and only thinks about himself and the material world around him and is totally oblivious to God. Stage 2: A Sikh is anyone who sets out on the path of learning and meets the specific definition of a Sikh as appears in the Reht Maryada (Official Code of Conduct). Stage 3: Khalsa, is totally dedicated to Sikhism. One who has shed his ego and personality and truly honours the memory of Guru Gobind Singh through his actions and deeds. Stage 4: Gurmukh, is one who has achieved mukhti (salvation) and is totally God-centered.
According to the Guru’s teachings, during the present span of life, one’s goal is to seek God, to attain realization and to merge with the almighty God in death. As all waters sooner or later go back to the ocean where they came from, so does life go back to the Supreme Reality (God) from where it originated. If this chance were lost, one would fall into the cycle of transmigration (cycle of births and deaths).
Attires that distinguish the Sikhs from the rest of the population are that they wear turbans. They say that it provides Sikhs a unique identity. Basically, the importance of the turban is something I researched specifically about this religion and I came to learn that it is a custom, which you can’t explain. Sikhs wear turban because of old traditions. Turban is and has been an inseparable part of a Sikh’s life. Since Guru Nanak Dev, the founder of Sikhism, all Sikhs have been wearing a turban. The Turban has indeed become synonymous with Sikhism. Yet, other religions such as Hinduism, Islam and even Christianity have similar tenets.
After the tragedy on September 11 occurred, many of our fellow citizens decided to retaliate on their own, and go after anyone that looked or resembled a person from the Middle East. The reason why they would probably pick on a person, who is a follower of the Sikh religion, is because the turban that they wear resembles an outfit that may be a Muslim/Middle Eastern person would wear. A Muslim/Middle Eastern person covers his/her head while praying and the attires seem to be very similar. Sikhism is not as strict as Islam but the men do have to grow hair and wear turbans. This is probably why people would attack a person whose religion is Sikhism. Nevertheless, I got to find out how beautiful other religions were. Sikhism is a very fascinating religion filled with many interesting views and morals.
www.sikhs.org- Details this Indian philosophy’s teachings, emblems and ceremonies and festivals. Includes translated scriptures and contemporary articles.
www.omsakthi.org-Descriptions of the major world religions in chronological order with links to books on each religion.
www.sikhseek.com – Find answers to some basic questions about Sikhism, or browse job listings, classifieds and matrimonial.
members.home.net – Locus of resources for this Indian religion and philosophy features QuickTime movies of important events in Sikh culture.
www.demon.co.uk – Photos relating to aspects of Sikhism.
www.cnn.com- Found many articles September 11th tragic event.
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