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Sikhism. By: Adrian Aguilar, Justin Klyczek, Judy Laway, & Natalie Lewis. Fundamental Questions. 1. What is the human condition? •All living beings were created by God.

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By: Adrian Aguilar, Justin Klyczek, Judy Laway, & Natalie Lewis

Fundamental questions

Fundamental Questions

1. What is the human condition?

•All living beings were created by God.

•Through maya (illusion) and haumai (ego-centeredness), jot (the divine spark) is not realized and therefore human beings remain focused on their “man” or baser emotions summarized in the five vices of kam (lust), lobh (covetousness), moh (attachment), krodh (anger) and ahankar(pride)

•The condition is known as manmukh (the follower of the ego), as opposed to gurmukh (one who is focused on God and lives by the teachings of the gurus)

2. Where are we going?

•Born into a favourable or unfavourable rebirth after death based upon the karma of the previous life

•To be taken into the sach khand (realm of truth) where God is

3. How do we get there?

•living beings becoming gurmukh (God-centred) through God’s grace and living by the teachings of the gurus

•practising nam japna (continual meditation on God’s name)

•following the teachings of the Guru Granth Sahib

•earning a living honestly and giving a proportion of what we earn to those in need

•sewa (altruistic service) to God and humanity, regardless of birth or gender.

A brief history

A Brief History

Sikhism was born in the Punjab area of South Asia (India and Pakistan).

Hinduism and Islam were main religions.

Began around 1500 CE when Guru Nanak began teaching a faith different from Hinduism and Islam.

Nine Gurus followed Nanak

Guru Arjan, the fifth Guru- Completed the establishment of Amritsar (capital of the Sikh world) and compiled the first authorised book of Sikh scripture, the Adi Granth. Was eventually executed for his faith in 1606.

The sixth Guru, Hargobind, started to militarise the community so that they would be able to resist any oppression. After a series o battles and a short time of peace, the Moghal Emperor, Aurangzeb, used force to make his subjects accept Islam. Aurangzeb had the ninth Guru, Tegh Bahadur, arrested and executed in 1675.

The tenth Guru, Gobind Singh, recreated the Sikhs as a military group of men and women called the Khalsa in 1699, with the intention that the Sikhs should for ever be able to defend their faith. Gobind Singh established the Sikh rite of initiation (called khandey di pahul) and the 5 Ks which give Sikhs their unique appearance. Gobind Singh was the last human Guru. Sikhs now treat their scriptures as their Guru.



Baptism- initiation into the religion is called Amrit. Partake in this to show the dedication and commitment one has when they are ready to be in the religion. Done in the presence of Guru Granth Sahib. 5 Panj Pyare conduct the baptism. After proper preparation of Holy Water, it is drunk and sprinkled on their eyes and hair.

Marriage- Called Anand Karaj and means “blissful union”. Also take place in the presence of Guru Granth Sahib. The couple circles around the Guru four times as the marriage hymns (Lavan) are recited. Monogamy is practiced. Widows may remarry. Child marriage is forbidden.

Naming of Children- The Guru Granth Sahib is opened at random and the first letter of the first word is the letter that the name will start with. For a girl, the word Kaur is added at the end of her name, meaning princess. For a boy, the word Singh is added, meaning lion.

Festivals- Though all Sikh festivals are important in their own individual way, the largest is Vaisakhi. It celebrates the establishment of the Khasa. (also practiced by Hindus and Buddhists)

Sacred text

Sacred Text

Shri Guru Granth Sahib- Central text of sikhism. Compiled by Guru Gobind Singh and has writings of six other gurus. Hymns are written in Persian, Medieval Prakrit, Hindi, Marathi, Old Panjabi, Multani, and local dialects. Other portions of it written in Sanskrit and Arabic. Makes it hard to translate. Advised that one covers their hair whilst in the presence of the book out of respect, with a turban or another cloth.

Doctrines beliefs


The central doctrine of Sikhism, the Adi Granth, derived from the fifth guru, Arjan Dev, during his leadership from 1581-1606. The Granth is a compilation of hymns collected from Nanak,Kabir and other gurus. There are 3,384 hymns within the Granth, this scripture becoming increasingly important within Sikhism since its initiation.

Sikhs, much like other Indian religions, endorse the belief of reincarnation. There is no supposed end of the world, rather just a doomed cycle of repeating births and deaths. One can relieve themselves of this cycle through dedication to God, only to be removed by God’s eventual grace and not by personal merit. However, Sikhs also believe in “Kal Jugh” which is considered “bad times” in which only the pure people will remain. There is no definitive heaven or hell, and prophecies are to be denied within Sikhism.

In Sikhism there is no beginning or ending of creation, the creation of worlds can be limitless, all depending on God’s will. It is thought that before the earth was created there was darkness for billions of years, until God created air, then air created water and from then water produced the three worlds-sky,ocean and land. Creation in Sikhism is known as Pasao, Akar, Rachana or Kudrat. This cosmological belief is comparable to the Big Bang theory.

Doctrines beliefs cont

Doctrines/Beliefs cont.

Divisions within Sikhism

Udasis, Sahajdharis, and Singhs

The Singhs: Warrior Class (Lions)

A corps of warriors started by Gobind Singh

Arjan is recognized for giving the Sikhs the Granth but also a militant aspect in conflict with Nanak’s pacifism

The last Sikh guru was Gobind Singh, who organized and prepared the Sikhs for self-defense and war

He developed an elite fighting force, the Singhs (or lions) for that purpose

Doctrines beliefs cont1

Doctrines/Beliefs cont.

The Udasis: Sect of Sikh Holy Men

This is basically an order of holy men who follow principles similar to the Hindu, Jain, and Buddhist ascetics

Practice celibacy

Wear coarse yellow garments like Buddhists or go naked like Jain monks

Shave heads and beards

Often active missionaries

The Sahajdharis: Conservative, Slow-Going

Stopped developing prior to the rule of Gobind Singh

Reject military characteristics of much of Sikhism

Shave beards

Religious experience

Religious Experience

To become a Sikh no familial ties are required. Instead, a ritual of baptism-when one is mature enough to understand the procedure- is required. This ritual consists of a bowl sweet water being stirred by a dagger, the water is then sprinkled on the initiate. As the water is sprinkled the initiate is instructed the truths and prohibitions of the Sikh faith.

Sikhs live a simple life, due to distrust of elaborate ceremonies. The daily religious life of a Sikh includes an early-morning bath followed by the recitation of hymns and prayers. Night time involves hymns and prayers as well, much like the morning ritual. During congregational worship, Sikhs meet in temples known as gurdwaras. In gurdwaras focus on the Adi Granth is emphasized, various hymns, sermons and communion meals also implemented within group worship. No Sikh priests are upheld, there are also no caste or gender differentiations in Sikh worship.

Religious experience cont

Religious Experience cont.

One object of special attention within Sikhism is the Takht or “throne”. There are four thrones within the Sikh world, but the golden temple Takht at Amritsar in India is central to Sikh religious practice. Nanak denied pilgrimages, but Sikhs still travel to Amritsar, as do Sikh authorities.

As outlined in the Sikh scriptures, women in Sikhism have the same souls as men and deserve the same right as men to grow spiritually. Women are allowed to lead religious congregations, take part in the Akhand Path (constant recitation of Sikh of the Holy Scriptures), perform Kirtan (singing of hymns in congregation) and participate in all other social, political and economic Sikh scenes. According to Sikhism, men can not live a complete life without a woman. Gender discrimination is prohibited.

The 5 k s

The 5 K’s

The Five Ks are five Articles of Faith that Khalsa Sikhs wear at all times as commanded by the tenth Sikh Guru, Guru Gobind Singh who so ordered it at the VaisakhiAmritSanskar in 1699. The Five Ks are not just symbols, but articles of faith that collectively form the external identity and the Khalsa devotee's commitment to the Sikh rehni "Sikh way of life".

Kesh: uncut hair- A Sikh never cuts or trims any hair to indicate the perfection of God's creation.

Kangha: a wooden comb-  use twice a day. It is supposed to be kept with the hair and at all times. Combs help to clean and remove tangles from the hair, and is a symbol of cleanliness. Combing their hair reminds Sikhs that their lives should be tidy and organized.

Kara: a metal bracelet- a constant reminder to always remember that whatever a person does with their hands has to be in keeping with the advice given by the Guru. The Kara is a iron/steel circle to symbolize life as never ending. A symbol of permanent bonding to the community-being a link in the chain of Khalsa Sikhs

Kachera: a specific style of cotton undergarments-  The Kacherasymbolises self-respect, and always reminds the wearer of mental control over lust, one of the Five Evils in Sikh philosophy.

Kirpan: a strapped curved dagger- symbolizes a Sikh's duty to come to the defence of those in peril. All baptised Sikhs should wear a short form of Kirpan on their body at all times as a defensive side-arm, just as a police officer is expected to wear a public-defensive weapon when on duty. Its use is only allowed in the act of self-defense and the protection of others. It stands for bravery and protecting the weak and innocent.

Case study

Case Study

Sikh Holocaust of 1746 in Punjabi

The Chhōṭā Ghallūghārā (Punjabi: ਛੋਟਾ ਘੱਲੂਘਾਰਾ [tʃʰoʈɑ kə̀lːuɡɑ̀ɾɑ]) was a massacre of a significant proportion of the Sikh population by Muslims during the waning years of the Mughal Empire. Chhotaa Ghallooghaaraa is Punjabi for the "lesser massacre". As such, it is distinguished from the Wadda Ghallooghaaraa ("the great massacre") of 1762. An estimated 7,000 Sikhs died in these attacks.

The Ghallooghaaraa were not pogroms in the sense of the killing of masses of defenseless people. Since the martyrdom of the fifth Sikh Master, Guru Arjun in 1606, Sikhs have known the use of arms and the need of self-defence. They are called Ghallooghaaraa because of the wholesale slaughter of the innocent, with the intention of genocide. The first Chhotaa Ghallooghaaraa was a dramatic and bloody massacre during the campaign of Afghanistan's (Durrani Empire) provincial government based at Lahore to wipe out the Sikhs, an offensive that had begun with the Mughals and lasted several decades.

Case study cont

Case Study cont.

Zakaria Khan, the Governor of Lahore, offered lucrative rewards for the discovery and killing of Sikhs. A blanket was offered to anyone who managed to cut off the distinctive mane of a Sikh or Khalsa. A substantial monetary reward was offered for information on the whereabouts of a Sikh, and a larger sum for the delivery of a Sikh scalp. The plunder of Sikh homes was made lawful and anyone giving shelter to or withholding information about the movements of the Sikhs was liable to themselves being executed. Zakaria Khan's police scoured the countryside and brought back hundreds of Sikhs in chains. They were publicly executed at the horse market of Lahore, since renamed “Shahidganj” (place of the martyred).

This period pitted the might of the intolerant Islamic state against the plucky and fiercely independent Sikhs. Aligned with the Mughal, then Afghan, rulers were the members of the Hindu ruling caste who maintained their privileges by cooperating with the government. The Sikhs, for their part, often enjoyed a good deal of support from the rural Hindu population.

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