Every society has a belief in a superhuman being that has powers over the people, this belief is referred to as religion and the beliefs vary in different societies. Religion unites people who have one common belief and provides social guidance on religious and spiritual issues .Sikhism also referred to as the Sikh religion forms one of the many global religions. During the late 15thcentury, Guru Nanak founded the Sikh tradition in the Punjab region current day India and Pakistan (Singh,2011).
Guru Nanak preached against religious rituals that had no significance to any religion, he did not oppose any religion and his followers who were Muslims, Hindus and other religions did not abandon their religion. Guru Nanak’s followers who were known as the disciples of Guru or Sikhs refereed to him as the guru while others called him the teachers due to his religious teachings. He always emphasized on the importance of true religion and not religious practices that had no connection to the true human religion. He taught his followers on the need for social religion that unites the rich and the poor, a religion where there were all people were equal and not divided by their leadership position. Between 1469-1708, the ten Gurus developed the Sikhism religion, the Gurus were not considered divine but they were teachers who GOD used to reveal His will to the world. Guru Nanak Dev is the first guru is also the Sikhism founder. The other Gurus were Guru Andad Dev who developed the Gurmukhi, Guru Amar Das who was the first Guru to set a pilgrimage site located to Goindval Sahib, he also introduced the rituals for birth and death. The fourth was Guru Ram Das who founded Amristar, which is the holy city for Sikhism religion, Guru Gobind Singh was the last and tenth human Guru. Guru Adjan Dev who was the fifth Guru built the Golden Temple and made a collection of all hymn done by the previous gurus (Penney, 2001).
Figure 1 Representation of the 10 Gurus
Figure 2Guru Nanak
There are various beliefs that are held in the Sikhism religion, the Adi Granth, which is the religion’s sacred book, is the overall source of authority provides the guiding doctrines. The council meets at the Akal Takht where disputes are settled following the guidelines provided in the Adi Granth.Any decision that is made by the council has its own spiritual sanction and is considered to be a holy decision which no one is supposed to rebel against. Sikhism is based on monotheistic belief, the believe in one true GOD who is the Supreme Being is highly emphasized in their teachings.Om, which is mystic syllable used by the Hindu was used by Guru Nanak to symbolize GOD as the Supreme Being. GOD is believed to be the creator GOD and owner of all creation, in the Sikhism religion GOD cannot be represented in symbols neither is the worship of idols allowed. There is also a reincarnation believe in Sikhism, in this believe it is only through birth that one can attain salvation, heaven and hell are real and how one lives determines whether he/she will end up in heaven or hell after death In order for one to achieve salvation, he/she has to meditate on GOD and show his/her love for GOD as the creator and controller of the universe. All men and women are considered equal without any discrimination based on gender or social position. On matters related to the purpose of human life, Sikhism holds the belief that every human being has a purpose and a goal to fulfill in this life. In every action that man does, he carries the responsibility of any results that might arise from the action; every human being should strive to have a divine relationship with GOD, which can be achieved through meditation
Lifestyle in Sikhism is described with various features that include, Naam Japna, which means meditation. Through meditation, Sikhs are able to have a divine relationship with GOD and remain focused on GOD’S teachings, having a moment every day to chant the name of GOD is considered a form of meditation practiced by the Sikhs. Living an honest lifestyle Kirat Karni acts as a guide to daily life of a Sikh. Sikhism teaches on the importance of living an honest life earning through personal efforts rather than making a living out of dishonest practices. Sharing known as Vand Chakna is highly encouraged in Sikhism, Sikhs are supposed to share what they have with other members of the community .Selfless service to the community is also an essential lifestyle attribute that should be practiced by Seikhs; this promotes community growth and also a sign of humility. There are also five vices that a Sikh should avoid in life, these are greed, anger, lust, ego and attachments based on emotions. There are five qualities that every Sikh should strive to have and they are; compassion, humility, love, being truthful and contentment. One should also read at least five verses of the Sikh scripture daily to remain focused on GOD’s teachings. There are also the five Ks that guide the lifestyle of a Sikh, these are referred as the five articles of faith, they are; bracelet, sacred knife, keeping uncut hair, comb and having shorts which are considered to be sacred. One should not indulge in drug use since it is considered to be an obstruction from GOD. Eating should be simple and based on vegetarian food.
Gurpurbs are festivals which are held to mark the birthday or celebrate the martyrdom of a guru, there are mainly four main gurpurbs, Guru Nanak’s birthday is celebrated in April or November, Guru Gobind Singh’s birthday celebrated in January, the celebration of Guru Arjan martyrdom which is held in June and that of Guru Tegh Bahadur held in November and December. The celebration and festivals are characterized by reading the Sikh scriptures, which is known as the akhand path. The reading of the scriptures takes duration of two days and it ends on the day of the festival. During the celebration of these festivals, the teachings of the Sikhism religion are highly emphasized and puts into practice. Food is in plenty and it is shared among the members of the community, this is a moment where the wealth assists the poor by offering them food and other items .There is no discrimination during the festivals and people eat a common meal together with all people being considered equal
There are Gudwaras where free meals are offered to the public, these food is mainly donated by those who can be able to do while others offer various services such as cooking. Unity is highly symbolized in the festivals since there is no religious discrimination in the sharing of food and other items. The reading of the holy scriptures emphasizes the need for the people to read the scripture since they get to know GOD better and how the lives of the Gurus is reflected in the scriptures. Those who cannot be able to go to the Gurudwaras carry the celebration while at home through reading the scriptures and singing hymns (Singh, 2008).
The celebrations take place in all nations where the Sikhism religion is practices, however the main event is held in Pakistan .Sikhs from different countries attend the festivals, which unite members of the Sikhism religion. The among the leading global religions, which still upholds its traditional teachings. It does not insist on religious conversion and that is in line with its principle of equality since all religions are equal. Members of the religion do not have to struggle with so many rituals associated with religion yet they do not symbolize any relationship with religion, it is a region that has been able to appreciate traditional and modern way of human life. Understanding the rituals and ceremonies of the religion in reference to the scriptures gives people a form of attachment to their religion and life, one does not have to wait for a priest to pray or lead the scriptures since, and all people are considered equal. Sikhism is a religion that has remain united, its people understand the scriptures and have their own hymns, which were composed by the first ten Gurus. As human beings migrate, they have contributed to the spread of religious values and this is a key factor, which has seen the spread of Sikhism from Indian and Pakistan to other nation.
Penney, S. (2001). Sikhism. Chicago, Ill.: Heinemann Library.
Singh, N. K. (2008). Re-Imagining the Divine in Sikhism. Feminist Theology, 16(3), 332-349.
Singh, N. (2011). Sikhism an introduction. London: I.B. Tauris ;.