Sikhism is a religion that found its genesis in sixteenth century Northern India with the teachings of Nānak and nine successive Gurus. This system of religious philosophy and expression has been traditionally known as the Gurmat (literally the teachings of the Gurus) or the Sikh Dharma. Sikhism comes from the word Sikh, which in turn comes from the Punjabi word sikkh. Sikkh comes from its Sanskrit root śiṣya meaning "disciple" or "learner", or śikṣa meaning "instruction", via the equivalent Pāli word sikkhā.
The principal belief in Sikhism is faith in one God — Vahigurū — represented using the sacred symbol of ik ōaṅkār. The followers of Sikhism are ordained to follow the teachings of the Ten Sikh Gurus and the select works of fifteen earlier bhagats as scripted in the Gurū Granth Sahib. The text was decreed by Gōbind Siṅgh as the final guru of the Ḵẖālsā Panth. A dharmic religion, Sikhism advocates the pursual of salvation through disciplined, personal meditation on the name and message of God. The religion shares its philosophy with that of the Bhakti movement and Sūfīsm. Some consider Sikhism to be a syncretic religion, although this is not a widespread belief held by Sikhs; the Sikh gurus maintained that their message had been revealed directly by God. Sikhism's traditions and teachings are distinctly associated with the history, society and culture of the Punjab. Adherents of Sikhism are known as Sikhs (Students or Disciples) and number over 23 million across the world. Sikh scriptures are written in the Punjabi language, and the most sacred institutions are located in the Punjab region now divided between India and Pakistan. (more...)