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Founded in the 15th century by Guru Nanak (1469-1539 in northern India, in the Punjab... he tried to unite Hindus and Muslims.
- "Sikh" means "disciple", and they are the disciples of 10 gurus (religious teachers, little less than God).

- Guru Nanak started his revelations saying, "there is no Hindu and no Musulman (Muslim), and the path I shall follow is God's"...

- Like the "Muslims", he revealed God as the only One, the Truth, the Creator, immortal, and omnipresent... and forbade images in the temples, only the Book "Adi Granth" is the object of ceremonial reverence in the temples and the only repository of spiritual authority... because God never incarnated into a human beeing.

- Like the "Hindus", he believes in Reincarnation, the Law of Karma, celebrates the same Hindu festivals, but strongly opposes the caste system, and no Hindu gods.

The "Khalsa"

It started as religion of "love" and "peace"... but both the Hindus and Muslims fought them, and after 2 gurus were killed, they took to arms, and the religion developed from a pacifist to a new militant brotherhood called "Khalsa".

The "Amrit Pahul"

The initiation into Khalsa is the most important step of a Sikh and it is called "Amrit Pahul".

- There are 19 million Sikhs, 300,000 of them in the United States... well recognized by their long-coiled "turban" and the heavy beard. In India many of them are taxi drivers, with a fierce appearance, like a dangerous person, but all that I had treated were most friendly and good drivers. This turban is symbol of the unity of the brotherhood.

The "5-Ks"

Besides the turban they use the 5-Ks to provide protection of the persons body:
... 1- Hair and beard uncut, remind them not do any injury to any part of the body.
... 2- A wooden "comb"symbolizes cleanliness.
... 3- Short pants underwear, remind men that sex is confined to the marriage bed.
... 4- A small sword, to protect the poor and weak
... 5- Iron bracelet on the right arm, for devotion to the truth.
... Besides, boys add Sigh (lion) to their surname, and girls Kaur (princess).

The"symbol" shows in the center un upright double-edge sword to remind them they should be saint-soldiers. The 2 outside swords, for spiritual power and temporal authority. The round circle is a symbol of the oneness of God, and the unity of humanity, with the rejection of caste, racial, and gender divisions.

"Religious Traditions":

They are very devoted, dedicating 10% of the time in religious devotions, and 10% of their earning for charity... No alcohol, no tobacco, no meat...
- The "Nama", is the constat repetition of the name of God, and it is their main prayer and meditation, that usually starts and ends with "There is One God, great is his name"... so, Sikhism has been described as "Nammarga" (the "way of Nama")... and they have many names for God: "Om Kar" (creator), "Sat-Nam (the true name), "Wah-guru" (Hail Guru). - The "after-death":

The aim "after death" is to obtain the union with God, by doing good works... but if they disobey the Book, the Granth Sahib, they will be doomed to an endless series of reincarnations, or denied for ever any reunion with God.

- At home they read the Granth Sahib, and the services at the temple may last for 3 hours, followed by a meal.

- They have beautiful temples (gurdwaras), the most prominent is the Golden Temple at Amritsar, and Nankana, the birth place of Nanac, comes second (now in Pakistan). The Golden one in New Delhi is beautiful, and every day they serve free meal for anyone who wants it... I took it!.

- In the 19th century the Sikhs became the free state of the Punjab under Guru Singh, but it was taken away by the British... now the long-delayed hope for national independence keeps a state of continual violence with the Indian government... a Sikh killed Gandhi.

The main problem of Sikhism is to keep the Hindu doctrine of Reincarnation and the Law of Karma, which makes their God impotent to help them to erase their bad karma... all the devotion and hard work of a good Sikh can not erase a sin!

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Last update: Wednesday, June 14, 2000

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