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Sikhism Emphasizes Truth, Believes In Omnipresent God


1947-2014 (Archived)
From the blog of Pawandeep Sooch

The age of religion can go as far back in history as the age of humanity. But one of the most recent and most organized religions of the world is Sikhism — a faith founded in Punjab, a northern state of India next to the foothills of the great Himalayas mountain range.

The origins of Sikhism lie in the teachings of its founder, Guru Nanak, and his 10 successors. The word guru means a teacher who is a link between God and humans.

The essence of Sikh teaching is summed up by Guru Nanak: "Realization of truth is higher than everything else. Higher still is truthful living."

Sikh teaching emphasizes the principle of equality of all humans and rejects discrimination on the basis of caste, creed and gender. Sikh principles do not attach any importance to asceticism as a means to attain salvation, but stress the need to lead life as a householder.

Sikhism is a monotheistic religion. In Sikhism, God (termed "waheguru") is shapeless, timeless and cannot be seen/is formless. The beginning of the first composition of Sikh scripture is the figure 1 — signifying the universality of God. It states that God is omnipresent and infinite. Sikhs believe that before creation all that existed was God and its hukam (will or order). When God willed, the entire cosmos was created. From these beginnings, God nurtured "enticement and attachment" to the human perception of reality.

Guru Nanak, the founder of the religion, was born April 15, 1469, and became a guru in 1507. The 10th successor, Guru Gobind Singh, lived until Oct. 7, 1708.

Most of the incidents associated with the religion are documented. The teachings of the first five gurus, in the form of hymns, were compiled by fifth Guru Arjunin into the Adi Granth (which literally means first scriptures). The Adi Granth was conferred the title of Guru of the Sikhs by Guru Gobind Singh, and since then the Sikhs give the Granth Sahib respect equal to the other gurus. The Supreme Court of India holds that the Guru Granth Sahib should be, for historic and legal reasons, considered a juristic person.

The followers of this faith do not cut their hair and beards, and they tie a turban on their heads. Because they wear turbans (although different from Middle Eastern turbans), there have been incidents of Sikhs in Western countries being mistaken for Middle Eastern Muslim men.

Sikhs are represented in Indian politics, including the current Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who is the de facto head of the government and wields the supreme authority. The late Giani Zail Singh, who hailed from the same faith, served as president of India

Worldwide, there are 25.8 million Sikhs and approximately 75 percent of Sikhs live in the Indian state of Punjab, where they constitute about 60 percent of the state's population. Even though there are a large number of Sikhs in the world, certain countries have not recognized Sikhism as a major religion.

Large communities of Sikhs live in the neighboring states. Sikhs make up about 2 percent of the Indian population.

Sikh migration, beginning in the 19th century, led to the creation of significant communities in Canada, the United States, Europe, East Africa, the Middle East, Southeast Asia, the United Kingdom and, more recently, Australia, Greece and New Zealand. Smaller populations of Sikhs live in Mauritius, Malaysia, Fiji, Singapore, Mexico and many other countries.

Compiled by
Pawandeep Sooch

Adi Granth (or Aad Granth, literally "the first scripture") is the early compilation of the Sikh Scriptures by Sri Guru Arjan Dev Ji, the fifth Sikh Guru, in 1604. This Granth ("book") is the Holy Scripture of the Sikhs. The tenth Sikh Guru, Guru Gobind Singh added further holy Shabads to this Granth during the period 1704 to 1706. Then in 1708, before his death, Guru Gobind Singh affirmed the Adi Granth as the perpetual Guru of the Sikhs and the Granth then became known as the Sri Guru Granth Sahib

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1947-2014 (Archived)
Bhaghat Singh ji

This was posted as part of my normal round of posting articles that might be of interest to readers. My confession -- I did not read it as carefully as you did before posting. I think the author, Pawandeep Sooch, meant "cannot be seen" or formless, not "sightless." Sometimes when English is not your dominant language the choice of the right word can be a problem. I will fix it in the text. This is a vexatious problem for many speakers shifting from one language to the other. Thanks for your observation.