About Sikhism

Sikhism /ˈsɪkɪzəm/; Punjabi: ਸਿੱਖੀ), or Sikhi (Sikkhī, pronounced [ˈsɪkːʰiː], from Sikh, meaning a “disciple”, “seeker,” or “learner”), is a monotheistic religion that originated in the Punjab region of the Indian subcontinent around the end of the 15th century. It is one of the youngest of the major world religions and the world’s fifth largest organized religion, as well as being the world’s ninth-largest overall religion. The fundamental beliefs of Sikhism, articulated in the sacred scripture Guru Granth Sahib, include faith and meditation on the name of the one creator, divine unity and equality of all humankind, engaging in selfless service, striving for justice for the benefit and prosperity of all and honest conduct and livelihood while living a householder’s life. In the early 21st century, there were nearly 30 million Sikhs worldwide, the great majority of them living in Punjab.
Sikhism is based on the spiritual teachings of Guru Nanak, the first Guru (1469–1539), and the nine Sikh gurus that succeeded him. The Tenth Guru, Guru Gobind Singh, named the Sikh scripture Guru Granth Sahib as his successor, terminating the line of human Gurus and making the scripture the eternal, religious spiritual guide for Sikhs. Sikhism rejects claims that any particular religious tradition has a monopoly on Absolute Truth.

The Sikh scripture opens with Ik Onkar (ੴ), its Mul Mantar and fundamental prayer about One Supreme Being (God). Sikhism emphasizes simran (meditation on the words of the Guru Granth Sahib), that can be expressed musically through kirtan or internally through Nam Japo (repeat God’s name) as a means to feel God’s presence. It teaches followers to transform the “Five Thieves” (lust, rage, greed, attachment, and ego). Guru Nanak taught that living an “active, creative, and practical life” of “truthfulness, fidelity, self-control and purity” is above the metaphysical truth, and that the ideal man is one who “establishes union with God, knows His Will, and carries out that Will”.Guru Hargobind, the sixth Sikh Guru, established the political/temporal (Miri) and spiritual (Piri) realms to be mutually coexistent.

Sikhism evolved in times of religious persecution. Two of the Sikh gurus – Guru Arjan (1563–1605) and Guru Tegh Bahadur (1621–1675) – were tortured and executed by the Mughal rulers after they refused to convert to Islam. The persecution of Sikhs triggered the founding of the Khalsa as an order to protect the freedom of conscience and religion, with qualities of a “Sant-Sipāhī” – a saint-soldier. The Khalsa was founded by the last Sikh Guru, Guru Gobind Singh.