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Introducing Sikh Religious Philosophy

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Jun 1, 2004
Sikh Religious Philosophy :: An Overview

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The Sikh Religious Philosophy can be divided into 5 Sections:

Primary Beliefs & Principles:
  1. One God: There is only one God, who has infinite qualities and names; She or he* is the same for all religions.
  2. Remember God: Love God, but have fear of her or him* as well.
  3. "Humanhood" (Brotherhood/Sisterhood*): All human beings are equal. We are sons and daughters of Waheguru, the Almighty.
  4. Uphold Moral Values: Defend, safeguard, and fight for the rights of all creatures, and in particular your fellow beings.
  5. Personal Sacrifice: Be prepared to give your life for all supreme principles – see the life of Guru Teg Bahadur.
  6. Many Paths lead to God: The Sikhs believe that Salvation can be obtained by non-Sikhs.
  7. Positive Attitude to Life: “Chardi Kala” – Always have a positive, optimistic, buoyant view of life.
  8. Disciplined Life: Upon baptism, Sikhs must wear the 5Ks, strictly recite the 5 prayers (Banis), etc.
  9. No Special Worship Days: Sikhs do not believe that any particular day is holier than any other.
  10. Conquer the 5 Thieves: It is every Sikh's duty to defeat these 5 thieves: pride, anger, greed, attachment, and lust.
  11. Attack with 5 Weapons: Contentment, charity, kindness, positive attitude, humility.

Underlying Values:

The Sikhs must believe in the following Values:
  1. Equality: All humans are equal before God.
  2. God’s Spirit: All Creatures have God’s spirits and must be properly respected.
  3. Personal Right: Every person has a right to life but this right is restricted.
  4. Actions Count: Salvation is obtained by one’s actions – Good deeds, remembrance of God, etc.
  5. Living a Family Life: Must live as a family unit (householder) to provide and nurture children.
  6. Sharing: It is encouraged to share and give to charity 10 percent of one’s net earnings.
  7. Accept God’s Will: Develop your personality so that you recognise happy events and miserable events as one.
  8. The 4 Fruits of Life: Truth, Contentment, Contemplation and Naam, (in the Name of God).

Prohibited Behaviour:
  1. Non-Logical Behaviour: Superstitions and rituals not meaningful to Sikhs (pilgrimages, fasting and bathing in rivers; circumcision; worship of graves, idols, pictures; compulsory wearing of the veil for women; etc;)
  2. Material Obsession: (“Maya”) Accumulation of materials have no meaning in Sikhism. Wealth, Gold, Portfolio, Stocks, Commodities, properties will all be left here on Earth when you depart. Do not get attached to them.
  3. Sacrifice of Creatures: Sati – widows throwing themselves in the funeral pyre of their husbands; lamb and calf slaughter to celebrate holy occasions; etc
  4. Non-Family Oriented Living: A Sikh is not allowed to live as a recluse, beggar, yogi, monk, nun, or celibate.
  5. Worthless Talk: Bragging, gossip, lying, etc are not permitted.
  6. Intoxication: Drinking alcohol, using drugs, smoking tobacco, and consumption of other intoxicants are not permitted.
  7. No Priestly Class: Sikhs do not have to depend on a priest for performing any religious functions.

Technique and Methods:
  1. Naam Japo: – Meditation & Prayer, Free Service Sewa, Simran, Sacred Music Kirtan
  2. Kirat Karni: - Honest, Earnings, labour, etc while remembering the Lord
  3. Wand kay Shako: - Share with Others who are deserving, Free Food langar, 10% Donation Daasvand, etc

Other Observations:
  1. Not Son of God: The Gurus were not in the Christian sense “Sons of God”. Sikhism says we are all the children of God and S/He* is our Father/Mother.
  2. All Welcome: Members of all religions can visit Sikh temples (Gurdwaras) but please observe the local rules – cover your head, remove shoes, no smoking or drinking intoxicants.
  3. Multi-Level Approach: Sikhism recognises the concept of a multi-level approach to achieving your target as a disciple of the faith. For example, “Sahajdhari” (slow adopters) are Sikhs who have not donned the full 5Ks but are still Sikhs nevertheless.

‘*’ = the Punjabi language does not have a gender for God. Unfortunately, when translating, the proper meaning cannot be correctly conveyed without using Him/His/He/Brotherhood, S/He etc., but this distorts the meaning by giving the impression that God is masculine, which is not the message in the original script. The reader must correct for this every time these words are used.
Jul 13, 2004
Nice to see this simple and concise information about sikhi way of life.

Two points:
1. Remember God: Love God, but have fear of her or him* as well.
I think, it is - Love God, and follow the Hukam.
I am not sure, if the part regarding fear is valid or not.

2. Personal Sacrifice: Be prepared to give your life for all supreme principles – see the life of Guru Teg Bahadur.
Sikhs have countless martyrs, whose martyrdom quotient (if any) compete with each other so much, that IMHO not to mention Guru ji alone.

Pamphlets like this for distribution are good for spreading awareness.

Best Regards.
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