Sikhism is a monotheistic religion, meaning it believes in one God. It was founded in the 15th century in the Punjab region of South Asia (now India and Pakistan) by Guru Nanak Dev Ji and subsequently developed through the teachings of ten successive Sikh Gurus.

Who are Sikhs?

People who follow Sikhism are called Sikhs. The word ‘Sikh’ comes from the Sanskrit word ‘shishya’, meaning ‘disciple’ or ‘student’. Sikhs are known for their distinct identity, including uncut hair (kept under a turban), and a commitment to equality and service.

Key Beliefs of Sikhism

  1. Belief in One God: Sikhism emphasizes the belief in one, formless God, who is the same for all of humanity.
  2. The Ten Sikh Gurus: Starting from Guru Nanak Dev Ji to Guru Gobind Singh Ji, these ten leaders shaped the beliefs and practices of Sikhism. The teachings of the Gurus are compiled in Sikhism’s holy scripture.
  3. The Guru Granth Sahib: This is the holy book of Sikhism, considered the final and eternal Guru. It contains hymns and writings by the Sikh Gurus and other saints from different faiths and backgrounds.
  4. Equality and Justice: Sikhism strongly believes in the equality of all people regardless of race, gender, or religion. It advocates for justice and fairness for all.
  5. Service (Seva): Serving others is a key aspect of Sikhism. This includes voluntary service to the community, especially in Gurdwaras (Sikh places of worship), like helping in the community kitchen (Langar).
  6. Living an Honest Life: Sikhs are encouraged to live honestly, work hard, and focus on God.

Sikh Practices and Traditions

  1. The Five Ks: These are five physical symbols worn by Sikhs who have taken Amrit (a baptism-like ceremony). They are Kesh (uncut hair), Kara (a steel bracelet), Kanga (a wooden comb), Kachera (cotton undergarments), and Kirpan (a ceremonial sword).
  2. Langar: The community kitchen found in every Gurdwara, where free meals are served to anyone regardless of their background.
  3. Daily Prayers and Meditation: Sikhs pray and meditate on God’s name (Naam Japna) as a means to feel closer to God.
  4. Gurdwara: The Sikh place of worship. It’s a community center where Sikhs gather for prayer, reflection, and service.

Sikh Festivals and Celebrations

  • Guru Nanak Jayanti: The birth anniversary of Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism.
  • Baisakhi: Celebrates the foundation of the Khalsa (the community of baptized Sikhs) by Guru Gobind Singh Ji.

Sikhism is a religion that teaches love, peace, and the importance of doing good deeds. It encourages its followers to lead a life of balance, morality, and devotion to God while serving and respecting the community.