RELIGION

 

RELIGION_Sikhism  
(A handbook of religion was published by the Foundation for Pluralism in August 2004. All the groups were given the same set of questions, and some are really silly like denominations in Atheism.  Here is the production of such writings from Atheism to Zoroastrianism and every one in between; it is in two parts, essence of the faith and general information about it. We invite you to send your suggestions to suggestions@foundationforpluralism.com  for updates and new information.- Please send us the preferred websites to be linked at the bottom - THE INFORMATION IS IN TWO PARTS)

PROFILE & ESSENCE

Compiled by: Nirmal Nilvi

Origin:  Punjab, India

Originator:  Guru Nank Dev

People who shaped the religion: 9 living Gurus who followed Guru Nanak and the Sikh Scriptures embodied in Guru Granth Sahib which guides the Sikhs in the form of Guru
                                                                                   
People who wrote the books:   Fifth Guru Arjan Dev composed the Granth, updated by the 10thGuru.

Who is worshiped?  The Words in the Guru Granth, which are considered revealed by Him

Holy Books (Original Language): Guru Granth written in Gurmukhi

Holy Places of Worship:  Gurdwara or any place where Guru Granth is set up. Amritsar, Punjab is considered a holy place in the Historic sense.

Key Tenets:  To believe in One God who is creator, protector. To earn by an honest work, to share with other, to read and recite hymns, to pray for every bodies well being.

Prayer Rituals:    To recite hymns, to sing hymns with congregation, to say prayer, to offer or  participate in common meal (called langar)
Current Leadership:  Sikh Scriptures

Decision Makers:      Congregation of each Gurdwara

Interpretations:          Individual Scholars, Congregation

Myths:                       Donít believe in myths

Denominations:         None

Major Festivals:         Birthday of Guru Nanak and other Gurus, Baisakhi (in April)

Dietary Laws:             Whatever is bad for your mind and body ( alcohol, tobacco, meat etc)

Sensitivities:               Love for mankind

What is not polite?      Not to enter a Sikh shrine with shoes and without covering your head.

Customs from birth to death:  Respect for woman, treat everybody nicely, generosity

Textual support for Pluralism:   Pluralism is inherent in the Sikh Scriptures

World Population:      23 million scattered on all five continents

US population:            600,000 approximately

North Texas Population:  6,000 approx.

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SikhNet - http://www.SikhNet.com
 

ESSENCE

Compiled by: Nirmal Nilvi and Dr. Harbanslal

Sikh religion originated in the Indian Sub-Continent after the birth of its founder Guru Nanak Dev in 1469. It is one of the younger religions with nearly 23 million followers spread over all five continents with primary concentration in the State of Punjab in northern India. The followers of the faith are called Sikhs meaning disciples.

Sikhism is a monotheistic faith believing only in One God who is a Creator, Sustainer

and Destroyer of the Universe. He is omnipotent, omnipresent and omniscient. The Sikhs call God as Waheguru, meaning the God is great. He is beyond birth, death, fear and enmity, is merciful and compassionate and self illuminated. All worldly possessions are a result of His grace.

The teachings of the faith emanated from the ten living Gurus. They preached by composing their thoughts in a poetic format called Gurbani considered being His commandments. The Scriptures are contained in a Holy Book called Sri Guru Granth Sahib and is looked upon as a perpetual Guru. This is a unique aspect of the religion where a Holy Book has the status of a religious preceptor. While the Sikhs hold their Gurus in high reverence, they are not be worshiped. Sikhs only worship God.

The Sikh tenets expound that life has a purpose. It offers us an opportunity for self and God realization. A person is responsible for his actions and therefore be vigilant. He is expected to lead an honest truthful life under the concept of fatherhood of God and brotherhood of mankind. Sikhism rejects idolatry, caste system, ritualism, asceticism, concept of chosen people, celibacy, superstitions, austerities etc. In Sikhism the true religion is purposeful and requires conscientious living instead of grinds of rituals. The Sikh doctrines revolve around the spiritual, ethical and cultural aspects with a common

Objective of welfare of mankind.

Besides the absolute value of the Divine itself; the other Sikh value systems include; spiritual values under which a Sikh treats his body as a sacred abode of the Spirit of God and emancipation in life through Divine Grace; intellectual values where knowledge and wisdom are key concepts, reason plays a pivotal role and truth is the highest value to be cherished and practiced; aesthetic values reflected through loving devotion to the Lord thereby generating a blissful state of mind capable of enjoying the grandeur and beauty of His creation and ethical values demonstrated by purity of conduct, service to mankind and virtue of valor.

A Sikh is expected to practices these values by; 1) meditation of God, 2) Earning with hard labor, 3) sharing oneís earning with the needy, 4) understanding and reciting Gurbani, 5) wishing for the well of all humanity, 6) maintaining ethical behavior (no lying cheating, stealing, sexual relation outside marriage etc), 7) accepting the will of God, and 8) singing the hymns in the company of others.

Religious values are democratic. Every body is equal and important. The women have the same rights as men. The Guru is teacher as well as a disciple.  The congregation is vested with all the authority. .

In Sikh faith the place of worship is called Gurdwara, meaning Lordís place where Sri Guru Granth Sahib is kept on higher platform. Religious service is simple. The congregation shows its reverence to Sri Guru Granth by bowing the head, Gurbani is recited, Kirtan (singing hymns) is practiced,  prayer is said by all and food (langar) prepared in a common kitchen is served and enjoyed together.

Some of the Sikh festivals include the birthdays of all the Gurus, the installation day of the Guru Granth Sahib as Guru, Baisakhi (April 14) day, Diwali festival and Hoola Muhalla day. Important ceremonies performed include, the Naming Ceremony (of a child), the Turban tying, Baptism, the Marriage Ceremony and the Death Ceremony.

In D/FW area, four Gurdwaras are available for the Sikhs to worship their faith.

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