Spreading the Message – Sikhism
A few days ago, the blog Humans of New York posted images of Sikh people. Therefore, a small (but not inadequate enough to explain the real depth and love of this teaching) is explained in this post.
Sikh People have:
- Kesh – uncut hair and beard, as given by God, to sustain him or her in higher consciousness; and a turban, the crown of spirituality.
- Kangha – a wooden comb to properly groom the hair as a symbol of cleanliness.
- Katchera – specially made cotton underwear as a reminder of the commitment to purity.
- Kara – a steel circle, worn on the wrist, signifying bondage to Truth and freedom from every other entanglement.
- Kirpan – the sword, with which the Khalsa is committed to righteously defend the fine line of the Truth.
Below Sikhism is described in a very interesting way.
The Sikh faith is a monotheistic religion originating from the area of northern India/Pakistan. It was founded by the first Guru, Guru Nanak. The Sikh faith is the fifth largest religion in the world with around 26 million adherents across the globe. The central belief for Sikhs is that there is one God for all of creation, a loving Creator attainable through meditation upon and remembrance of God’s Name.
In addition, Sikhs are to lead moral lives, earn their living through hard work and honest means, and to share with others through charitable contributions and work.
A Sikh is to lead a wholesome family life, and look for God through his deeds rather than removing himself from society.
Know what it means to be a Sikh. Sikhs have an obligation to pray daily, work hard, and share with those in need
The word Sikh means disciple or student, and the Sikhs are the students of their ten prophet-teachers who compiled their teachings into a unique collection of divine scriptures, called the Siri Guru Granth Sahib.
Six Gurus wrote the Siri Guru Granth Sahib which is also considered a Living Guru
There are however writings by followers to the Sikh path from past and present that are worth while reading.
If you live in India it will be easy for you to attend a Gurdwara or Sikh temple.However outside India attending a Gurdwara might be more difficult, if you live in a large city. If you live near a Gurdwara visit the local Granthi/Sikh priest who can provide more information on the Sikh path.
Become a vegetarian. Vegetarianism has long been embraced by Sikhs who have a great respect for animals. When Sikhs attend a Gurdwara only vegetarian food is served.
Observe that there is only one God who is formless and timeless, he is also almost difficult to know but not impossible. God is only knowable through self and your inner being, Sikhs therefore place emphasis on meditation to understand God. Sikhs aim to become one with God in order to end the cycle of birth and death, while not escaping the reality of the life being lived.
Meditate. Sikhs also meditate for the purpose of realizing truth, as God is truth and truth is God and as Sikhs know God through meditation so they know truth through meditation, Guru Nanak said truth is only attainable through one’s own heart. Meditation thus leads to enlightenment and ends the cycle of birth, death and rebirth.
Understand the Five distractions which are ego, anger, greed, lust and attachment. Sikhs believe these five distractions prevent one from achieving union with God which is the ultimate goal. If you are to lead a good life free from suffering you must avoid the five distractions.
Guru Nanak taught that one can only achieve union through devotion to God. He stated that rite, pilgrimages and asceticism and fasting are meaningless, devotion should come throughout the heart. Sikhs therefore should try to balance work,charity and worship. Devout Sikhs have an optimistic view of life, a spirit of cherdi kala. They also believe that they should defend and protect the rights of others. Namely, one should never endorse a class system, sexism, racism, or other stereotypes that support inequality
Embrace charity. Charity is very important to Sikhs who balance charity along with work and worship. Charity is part of the Sikh belief in defending others and that can also mean defending others from poverty.
Sikhs often recite parts of the Siri Guru Granth Sahib daily and for before/after certain activities. The part of the Guru Granth Sahib depends on the activity and is supposed to strengthen faith.
Sikhs have a number of festivals, as a Sikh you attend these festivals as a sign of faith and to strengthen faith. Here are some Sikh festivals taken from Wikipedia, though there are more.
- Gurpurabs are celebrations or commemorations based on the lives of the Sikh Gurus. They tend to be either birthdays or celebrations of Sikh martyrdom. All ten Gurus have Gurpurabs on the Nanakshahi calendar, but it is Guru Nanak Dev and Guru Gobind Singh who have a gurpurab that is widely celebrated in Gurdwaras and Sikh homes. The martyrdoms are also known as a shaheedi Gurpurab, which mark the martyrdom anniversary of Guru Arjan Dev and Guru Tegh Bahadur.
- Vaisakhi or Baisakhi normally occurs on 13 April and marks rebirth, the beginning of the new spring year and the end of the harvest. Sikhs celebrate it because on Vaisakhi in 1699, the tenth guru, Gobind Singh, laid down the Foundation of the Khalsa an Independent Sikh Identity.
- Bandi Chhor Divas or Diwali celebrates Guru Hargobind’s release from the Gwalior Fort, with 52 innocent Hindu kings who were also imprisoned by Jahangir, on 26 October 1619.
- Hola Mohalla occurs the day after Holi and is when the Khalsa Panth gather at Anandpur Sahib and display their warrior skills, including fighting and riding.
Sikhs pray once in the morning and twice in the evening consecutively, sometimes done in the Gurudwara and sometimes done at home. Names of the morning and evening prayers are below.
- Morning prayers include: Japji Sahib, Jaap Sahib, Tav Prasaad Svaiye, Choapaee Sahib, Anand Sahib
- Evening prayer:Rehiras Sahib
- Bedtime prayer:Kirtan Sohilaa
- Here is a link to recordings of prayers: http://www.rajkaregakhalsa.net/sound.htm
Take Sikh baptism. When a Sikh takes Amrit he/she becomes pure or Khalsa. Khalsa members adhere to the five K’s.A