BASIC BELIEFS OF SIKHISM
“Truth is higher than everything, but higher still is truthful living”
(Guru Nanak)MOOL MANTAR
This verse, the first hymn composed by Guru Nanak is the foundation of Sikh belief systems. This, the first hymn in the Guru Granth Sahib is expected to be recited by all Sikhs. It is as follows:
“Ik Onkar” = There is only one God “Sat Naam” = His Name is the Truth“Karta Purkh” = He is the Creator“Nir Bhau” = He is without fear“Nir Vair” = He is without hate“Akaal Moorat”= He is beyond time (Immortal)“Anjooni” = He is beyond birth and death“Saibhang” = He is self-existentFrom the above, it must be obvious that Sikhs believe in one Supreme God, and the purpose behind the creation of humans is for the realization of His true purpose. In fact, everything that human beings do, the Sikhs believe, originates, from the will of God. Guru Nanak expands on this theme thus:
“O my mind, thou art the embodiment of Light; know thy Essence”“O my mind, the Lord is ever with thee; through the Guru’s Word enjoy His Love”“Knowing thy essence thou knowest thy Lord; and knowest thou the mystery of birth and death”Sikhism does not promote a caste system or asceticism. It is firmly rooted in service to humanity and living an honest living and leading a normal family life. It also encourages sharing the fruits of hard labor.
“He alone, O Nanak, knoweth the Way, who earneth with the sweat of his brow, and thenShareth it with the others” (Guru Granth, P 1245)Another departure from other Indian Religions and Christianity is that Sikhism does not celebrate passivity. While they do not promote mindless violence, they do draw the line when it comes to tolerance:
“When an affair is past every other remedy, it is righteous, indeed, to unsheathe the sword”. (Guru Gobind Singh)
PURPOSE OF LIFE:
Sikhism believes in reincarnation. Sikhs consider human form as the last step before realizing God. And all actions in one’s life will go towards determining if one attains union with God. Guru Arjan, the fifth Sikh guru, sang thus: “Having gained a body this time, a rare opportunity you have got; This is your chance to meet God.
Your other pursuits will be of no avail at the end.
Seek the company of holy men, and learn to meditate on God.
Set your mind on crossing the sea of life;
Life is being wasted away in pursuits of sensual pleasures”.Surrendering to the will of God also means abandoning the human ego. Here is what Guru Nanak had to say about this proposition:
“Where ego is, Thou are not;When thou art within me,
Then I am not”.SIKH IDEALS:
In order to attain God, Sikhs are required to rise above five basic vices: lust, anger, greed, pride and ego. If one can avoid these vices, one is considered to live a truthful living and that person is thought to be God-conscious.
TEACHINGS OF SIKH GURUS:
THE THREE TRUTHS:
Guru Nanak taught the following three truths:
- Meditation (Nam Japna): All Sikhs must recite or listen to God’s praises and offer prayers.
- Truthful living (Kirt Karna): All must lead a truthful life. The actions must be true and noble.
- Sharing (Wand ke chheako): All must share wealth, knowledge and services with others who are less fortunate. All Sikhs must give 1/10 of his or her disposable income to charity.
THE COMMANDMENTS OF THE TEN SIKH GURUS:
- Worship only one Almighty God.
- Make worship a part of your daily life.
- Do not make images of God.
- Treat all humans to be equal.
- All the Gurus had the same spirit.
- Guru Granth Sahib is the living Guru of the Sikhs.
- The authority of the Five Takhats is supreme.
- Do not take alcohol, tobacco or drugs.
- Do not eat halal meat.
- Do not eat any food which inflames passions.
- Do not commit theft or gamble.
- Do not hurt others (Do not lie, do not be envious, do not back bite.)
THE LAW OF KARMA (ACTIONS):
This means that good actions of a person have good results and bad actions have bad effects. This is the law of karma. All persons live a series of lives and the kind of life one lives in this life is determined by good or bad actions in the previous life or lives. In this respect Sikhism is identical to Hinduism.
The soul is considered to be immortal and the body just a vessel for transporting the soul. After numerous incarnations, the soul eventually merges with God, if the karma is satisfied through repeated lives and sufferings. This is the state of Mukti.
The most important Sikh Scripture is, of course, Sri Guru Granth Sahib. It was started by Guru Nanak and originally called Adi Granth. The present version was compiled by Guru Gobind Singh, the fifth Guru, and contain contributions of all the Sikh gurus, as well as many persons of faith from other religions; this is considered the living Guru for all Sikhs. The second most important Scripture of the Sikhs is called “Dasam Granth.” This is the book of the tenth Guru; it was compiled three years after the death of the Guru.BIBLIOGRAPHY:
1. The Great Glory, Sikhism by Sandeep Goswami, Rupa & Co. Publishers, 2006
For further reading, check the following websites:
For more info. on Shri Guru Granth Sahib: www.Sacred-texts.com/skh/granth/index.htm
For a Glossary of Sikh terms: www.sikhnet.com/s/SikhTermsGlossary