What is Sikhism
If we get into the contextual meaning of Sikhism, it is derived from the word “Sikh” which basically means disciple or learner. The followers are also called Sikhs through which the meaning is pretty understandable and obvious.
The religion was founded by Guru Nanak Dev Ji in the 14th century in Northern India. Sikh religion is basically a cusp of Islam and Hinduism. Its basic teachings are such that they embody equality of all men and women. The teachings also suggest to earn a living with by honest means and also share the fruit of your labour amongst others. The beliefs also suggest meditating in the name of God and it emphasizes greatly on the service of humanity as Sikhism rejects class systems and caste. These are the three principles on which this religion is based. This religion is monotheistic so all its believed are surrounded around this.
Sikhs are most commonly recognized by their turbans which are worn by them as a respect to God which basically cover their long hair. Sikhs have beards, moustaches and hair which are unshorn. The Sikh religions basic faith and beliefs are followed by the basic humanitarian principles which comprise of freedom, equality and justice which is also the same principle on which this great democracy is founded on.
The population of Sikhs worldwide is about 25 million. Sikhism embodies the recognization of all universal truths which basically underlie human endeavours, belief systems and religions. The religion also deeply encourages and stresses upon working beyond all the differences which might cause confliction between all human so that the entire world can run in peace and harmony. Which is why it reaches out to all people without their cultures, religions or backgrounds coming in the way and this basically is the universal nature of Sikhism.
History and Beliefs
The Sikh faith is 500 years old and the 25 million population worldwide makes this religion the 5th largest religion in the world. The founder of Sikhism which was Guru Nanak basically taught the message of love due to which you can see that the principles of this religion surround the concept of love and harmony. What he spoke of was a common superior entity which was for all of the human kind, one God with no restrictions to creed, race, religion, nation, color or gender. Sikhism, as we can see, is purely monotheistic whose beliefs lie in one single entity with no concern on race or religion, which is all-pervading, absolute and eternal. The views of Sikhism about life are not falling from grace but actually as an opportunity and chance to develop and discover the divinity in each of us which encourages growth and purity. Sikhism is surrounded by the concept of justice and humanity due to which in its history, there are countless examples of Sikh gurus making tremendous efforts and sacrifices in the name of religion, justice and freedom. Most recently you can see that Sikhs have been a part of the brave British armed soldiers in World Wars as justice is something embedded deeply in their beliefs. This example can also be seen in the fight for the independence of India from the British where two-thirds of the Indians sentenced to death and life imprisoned were Sikhs. An important thing to keep in mind regarding this is that Sikhs form only 2 percent of India's population but still formed two-thirds of the people.
The Sikh Identity
The Sikhs unique identity includes five articles of faith which are:
- A small comb for their hair
- Their hair is unshorn as they believe it’s a gift from God and Guru as a mark of the Sikh identity
- They wear a steel bracelet which basically signifies reality with no beginning and no end, and it is also symbolic as it shows the Sikhs commitment to the ideals of his faith
- A sword which symbolizes commitment to justice
- Knee length breeches signifying the disciplined life-style of a Sikh