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Love and Light

Region 3 - Sikhism

Sikhism was founded in the 16th century in Punjab in India. Despite being so young, it has 20 million followers and it is the 5th largest religion in the world. It was founded by Guru Nanak and the religion is based on his teachings and the 9 gurus who followed him. Sikhs believe that the way to lead a good life is to: keep God in the heart and the mind at all times, live honestly and work hard, treat everyone equally, be generous to the less fortunate and serve others. The Guru Granth Sahib is a book which the Sikhs consider as the living guru. The tenth guru said that after his death. the Sikhs should look to the Guru Granth Sahib for spiritual teachings. The Gurdwara is the Sikh place of worship and there is a Guru Granth Sahib in every Gurdwara.

The symbol of Sikhism is the insignia of Khalsa, which is one of the most important symbols in Sikhism. In the centre of the symbol is a double edged sword which symbolises the creative power of God. One edge of the sword symbolises divine justice and punishes the wicked oppressors. The other edge of the sword symbolises Freedom. On the outside is two swords, the left is the sword of spiritual sovereignty and the right is the sword of political sovereignty. Since there has to be a balance between the two there is a circle to emphasise this point. The circle is called Chakra. Together it is the symbol of oneness, Unity of Justice, Humanity and Immortality.

Three Principles of Sikhism

Guru Nanak Dev, the first Sikh Guru, taught three fundamental principles:
• Kirat Karo - Work hard and honestly
• Wand Ke Chhako - Share what you have with the needy
• Naam Jappo - Always remember God throughout the day

Khalsa are Sikhs who have undergone the Amrit ceremony. Guru Gobind Singh introduced the 5 Ks for many reasons- adopting the symbols would clearly identify those in the Khalsa, each K had a particular significance and the community would be more bound together if everyone wore the 5 Ks. The 5 Ks are 5 physical symbols worn by Sikhs when they are initiated into the Khalsa. They are Kesh, Kara, Kanga, Kaccha and Kirpan. Kesh is uncut hair, which means that because hair is God’s creation, one is willing to accept God’s creation as he intended it. Kara is a steel bracelet which means that God has no beginning or end and it reminds a Sikh not to do anything that God wouldn’t approve of. It is not made out of Gold or Silver as it is not an ornament. Kanga is a wooden comb which symbolises being clean and pure. It means that we should look after the body because it is a vehicle for enlightenment. Kaccha is a special underwear and it symbolises chastity. It was a useful garment for the Sikh soldiers in the 18th and 19th centuries as it was suitable for warfare and when riding a horse. Kirpan is a ceremonial sword which symbolises many things such as a defence of the good and weak, the struggle against injustice, spirituality and many more.

The Golden temple is also known as the Harmandir Sahib. It is a Sikh Gurdwara located in Amritsar, Punjab, India. It is surrounded by calm waters which is known as the Sarovar. It was built by the Fifth Sikh Guru, Guru Arjan Dev in the 16th century. Over 100,000 people come from all over the world to visit and worship this holy shrine daily. The present day Gurdwara was rebuilt in 1764 by Jassa Singh Ahluwalia.

Sikhs are encouraged to aim at avoiding the 5 vices which are self-centred and turn people against God. These are Lust, Greed, Attachment, Pride and Anger. If a person can overcome these 5 vices then they are on the road to liberation. Sikhs believe that there is only one God but he is without form and gender, everyone is equal in front of God and everyone has access to God. Sikhs focus their lives around the relationship with God and being part of the Sikh community. They believe that to live a good life, a person must do good deeds and meditate on God. Sikhs believe that there is a cycle of birth death and rebirth. They share this belief with other religions such as Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. They also think that God is inside everyone of us no matter how wicked they have been. Sikhism doesn’t ask to turn away ordinary life but to use ordinary life to get closer to God.

If the mind is polluted, then the body is polluted, and the tongue is polluted as well.
- Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji

While you are alive, conquer death, and you shall have no regrets in the end.
- Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji

Ms. Thirukesh Sreeganesh
SSE Coordinator, R3