Sikhism is founded on the teachings of Guru Nanak Dev and nine successive gurus in fifteenth century Northern India, is the fifth-largest religion in the world.
This system of religious philosophy and expression has been traditionally known as the Gurmat (literally the counsel of the gurus) or the Sikh Dharma. Sikhism originated from the word Sikh, which in turn comes from the Sanskrit.
Guru Nanak Dev Ji
Philosophy And Teachings
Sikh religious philosophy has roots in the religious traditions of northern India. The Sant Mat traditions are fundamental to the teachings of Sikhism's founder, Nanak.
Especially important to the connection with Sikhism were the teachings of some of the saints such as Ravidas and Kabir.
Sikhism is also inspired by the emphasis on devotion to God in the traditions of Vaishnavism, especially through the Bhakti movement, as well as influences of Sufism.
However, Nanak's teachings diverge significantly from Vaishnavism in their rejection of idol worship, the doctrine of divine incarnations and a strict emphasis on inward devotion; Sikhism is professed to be a more difficult personal pursuit than Bhakti.
The ten gurus and religious authority
Political Growth Of Sikhism
Guru Har Gobind, became the sixth guru of the Sikhs. He carried two swords—one for spiritual and the other for temporal reasons (known as mīrī and pīrī in Sikhism). Sikhs grew as an organised community and always had a trained fighting force to defend their independence. In 1644, Guru Har Rai became guru followed by Guru Har Krishan, the boy guru, in 1661. No hymns composed by these three gurus are included in the Sikh holy book.
Guru Teg Bahadur became guru in 1665 and led the Sikhs until 1675. Teg Bahadur was executed by Aurangzeb for helping to protect Hindus, after a delegation of Kashmiri Pandits came to him for help when the Emperor condemned them to death for failing to convert to Islam. He was succeeded by his son, Gobind Rai who was just nine years old at the time of his father's death.
Ceremonies and customs
Baptism and the Khalsa
Khalsa (meaning pure) is the name given by Gobind Singh to all Sikhs who have been baptised or initiated by taking ammrit in a ceremony called ammrit sańcār.
Baptised Sikhs are bound to wear the Five Ks (in Punjabi known as pańj kakkē or pańj kakār), or articles of faith, at all times. The tenth guru, Gobind Singh, ordered these Five Ks to be worn so that a Sikh could actively use them to make a difference to their own and to others' spirituality.
A Sikh marriage
The term guru comes from the Sanskrit gurū, meaning teacher, guide or mentor. The traditions and philosophy of Sikhism were established by ten specific gurus from 1507 to 1708. Each guru added to and reinforced the message taught by the previous, resulting in the creation of the Sikh religion. Guru Nanak Dev was the first guru and appointed a disciple as successor. Guru Gobind Singh was the final guru in human form. Before his death, Gobind Singh decreed that the Gurū Granth Sāhib would be the final and perpetual guru of the Sikhs.