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Sikhism ( or ) is a religion founded during the 15th century in the Punjab region, on the teachings of Guru Nanak and ten successive Sikh Gurus (the last teaching being the sacred text Guru Granth Sahib). It is the fifth-largest organized religion in the world and one of the fastest-growing. This system of religious philosophy and expression has been traditionally known as the Gurmat (literally 'of the gurus').
The principal beliefs of Sikhism are faith and justice, in Waheguru—represented by the phrase ik ōaṅkār, meaning one God. Sikhism advocates the pursuit of salvation through disciplined, personal meditation on the name and message of God. The followers of Sikhism are ordained to follow the teachings of the ten Sikh gurus, or enlightened leaders, as well as the holy scripture entitled the Guru Granth Sahib, which, along with the writings of six of the ten Sikh Gurus, includes selected works of many devotees from diverse socio-economic and religious backgrounds. The text was decreed by Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth guru, as the final guru of the Sikh religion. Sikhism's traditions and teachings are associated with the history, society and culture of Punjab. Adherents of Sikhism are known as Sikhs (students or disciples) and number over 23 million across the world. However, most Sikhs live in the state of Punjab in India; prior to partition, millions of Sikhs lived in what is now the Punjab province of Pakistan.
The Sikh Confederacy
(from 1716-1799) was a collection of small to medium sized political Sikh
states, which were governed by barons
, in Punjab
. They were loosely politically linked but strongly bound in the cultural and religious spheres. Guru Gobind Singh
before leaving for Nanded had divided responsibility of Punjab into separate regions (with borders). The records for these were kept at Amritsar
. As the Sikh Army (Dal Khalsa) grew new regions where administered and new Sikh barons came to the fore and the number of large misls
. The period from 1716 to 1799 in Punjab
was a highly turbulent time politically and militarily. This was caused by the overall decline of the Mughal Empire
, particularly in Punjab
caused by Sikh
military action against it. This left a power vacuum that was eventually filled by the Sikh Confederacy. The Sikh Confederacy would eventually be superseded by the Sikh Empire
but its influence would still remain strong throughout the empire's history. All the Sikh barons who were affiliated with the Sikh Confederacy were nobility with usually long and prestigious family histories in the Sikh religion and Punjab's history in general. Their military exploits outside their kingdoms were legendary and famous in Sikh history. The barons in the early stages of the Sikh Confederacy were very cordial and hospitable with each other. However, during the later stages of the Sikh Confederacy, they had lost most of idealism and great rivalry and friendships emerged between the later barons. This is one of the reasons given by scholars why such a powerful military force never conquered and governed large parts of India outside Punjab. Constant warfare between the later barons meant time, energy and resources were spent on feuds rather than large expansion.
||Date of birth
||Date of death
||Age at death
||Major Life highlights
||15 April 1469
||22 September 1539
||* Founded Sikhism * Spiritual revelations registered as 974 hymns in Guru Granth Sahib * Rejected the authority of the Vedas * Preached the new idea of God as (Supreme, Universal, All-powerful and truthful, Formless, Fearless, Without Hate, Self-existent, Ever-lasting creator of all things, The eternal and absolute truth) * Attacked the citadel of the Hindu caste system, promoting equality of all * Emphasized the equality of women *Rejected the path of renunciation; emphasized leading a householder's life * Condemned the theocracy of Mughal emperor Babar * Started the institution of Guru ka Langar * Undertook 4 major journeys, travelling far and wide (including visits to Haridwar, Varanasi, Tibet, Srinagar, Lahore, Mecca, Medina, Baghdad, Syria, Turkey, Kabul, Kandhar, etc.) * Died of natural causes
||31 March 1504
||7 September 1539
||29 March 1552
||* Spiritual revelations registered as 63 Saloks (stanzas) in Guru Granth Sahib * Established new religious institutions to strengthen the base of Sikhism * Standardized and popularized the Gurumukhi Script* Opened many new schools * Started the tradition of Mall Akhara for physical as well as spiritual development * Popularized and expanded the institution of Guru ka Langar * Died of natural causes
||Guru Amar Das
||5 May 1479
||26 March 1552
||1 September 1574
||* 869 verses including Anand Sahib in the Guru Granth Sahib * Established Manji & Piri system of religious missions for men and women respectively * Strengthened the Langar community kitchen system * Preached against the Hindu society's Sati system (burning alive of a wife at the pyre of her deceased husband), advocated widow-remarriage; Asked the women to discard "Purdah" (veil worn by Muslim women). * Asked Akbar to remove the toll-tax (pilgrim's tax) for non-Muslims while crossing Yamuna and Ganges Rivers * Died of natural causes
||Tej Bhan Bhalla
||Guru Ram Das
||24 September 1534
||1 September 1574
||1 September 1581
||* 638 hymns in 30 ragas in the Guru Granth Sahib, which include 246 Padei, 138 Saloks, 31 Ashtpadis and 8 Vars * Composed the four Lawans (stanzas) of the Anand Karaj, a distinct marriage code for Sikhs separate from the orthodox and traditional Hindu Vedi system* Laid the foundation stone of Chak Ramdas or Ramdas Pur, now called Amritsar * Strongly decried superstitions, caste system and pilgrimages *Died of natural causes
||Baba Hari Das
||Mata Daya Vati
||15 April 1563
||1 September 1581
||30 May 1606
||* Compiled the Guru Granth Sahib, and installed it at Sri Harmandir Sahib on Bhadon Sudi 1st Samvat 1661 (August/September 1604), A landmark event in Sikh history* Contributed about 2000 verses to the Guru Granth Sahib * Founded the town of Tarn Taran Sahib near Goindwal Sahib * Built a house for Lepers. * Was tortured and executed on the orders of the Mughal Emperor Jahangir * Hailed as the first martyr of Sikh religion, and as Shaheedan-de-Sartaj (The crown of martyrs)
||Guru Har Gobind
||19 June 1595
||25 May 1606
||28 February 1644
||* Instituted the practice of maintaining armed legion of Sikh warrior-saints * Waged wars against rulers Jahangir and Shah Jahan * Died of natural causes
||Guru Har Rai
||16 January 1630
||3 March 1644
||6 October 1661
||* Sheltered Dara Shikoh; persecuted by Aurangzeb who framed charges of anti-Islamic blasphemy against Guru Ji and Sikh verses of Guru Granth Sahib * Died of natural causes
||Mata Nihal Kaur
||Guru Har Krishan
||7 July 1656
||6 October 1661
||30 March 1664
||* Forcibly summoned to Delhi (the imperial capital of Aurangzeb) under framed charges * Died of the age of 8 due to smallpox, which he contracted while healing the sick people during an epidemic.
||Mata Krishan Kaur
||Guru Tegh Bahadur
||1 April 1621
||20 March 1665
||11 November 1675
||* Opposed the forced conversions of the Hindu Kashmiri Pandits by Muslims * Was consequently persecuted, imprisoned, tortured and executed under the orders of the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb. Contributed many hymns (Shlokas) to Guru Granth Sahib * Spread Sikhism far and wide to Bihar and Assam *
||Guru Gobind Singh
||22 December 1666
||11 November 1675
||7 October 1708
||* Founded Khalsa in 1699 * Last Sikh Guru in human form * Passed the Guruship of the Sikhs to the Guru Granth Sahib * Died of complications from stab wounds inflicted by Pashtun assassins sent by Mughal governor Wazir Khan
||Guru Granth Sahib
||7 October 1708
||Final and last, eternal living guru
|Golden Temple (Amritsar, Punjab - India).
|Free food is served in Golden Temple 24/7 throughout the year without any religious discrimination
Quotes from Guru Granth Sahib on various topics
- How life was created on Earth
ਸਾਚੇ ਤੇ ਪਵਨਾ ਭਇਆ ਪਵਨੈ ਤੇ ਜਲੁ ਹੋਇ ॥ ਜਲ ਤੇ ਤ੍ਰਿਭਵਣੁ ਸਾਜਿਆ ਘਟਿ ਘਟਿ ਜੋਤਿ ਸਮੋਇ ॥
From the True Lord came the air, and from the air came water. From water, He created the three worlds; in each and every heart He has infused His Light.
ਪਹਿਲਾ ਪਾਣੀ ਜੀਉ ਹੈ ਜਿਤੁ ਹਰਿਆ ਸਭੁ ਕੋਇ ॥ (472)
First, there is life in the water, by which everything else comes into existence.
- On vastness of cosmos
ਪਾਤਾਲਾ ਪਾਤਾਲ ਲਖ ਆਗਾਸਾ ਆਗਾਸ ॥ ਓੜਕ ਓੜਕ ਭਾਲਿ ਥਕੇ ਵੇਦ ਕਹਨਿ ਇਕ ਵਾਤ ॥ ਸਹਸ ਅਠਾਰਹ ਕਹਨਿ ਕਤੇਬਾ ਅਸੁਲੂ ਇਕੁ ਧਾਤੁ ॥ ਲੇਖਾ ਹੋਇ ਤ ਲਿਖੀਐ ਲੇਖੈ ਹੋਇ ਵਿਣਾਸੁ ॥
After an immense and tiring search the authors of Vedas concluded that there are hundreds of thousands netherworlds under nether worlds and skies above skies. The Semitic texts say there are eighteen thousand worlds, but their Creator is One. However, the cosmos is so vast that it is beyond the scope of counting/measurement (i.e. beyond human comprehension)one would run out of numbers if one were to undertake the counting. Nanak salutes the Great One, as It alone knows the vastness Its creation.
ਕਵਣੁ ਸੁ ਵੇਲਾ ਵਖਤੁ ਕਵਣੁ ਕਵਣ ਥਿਤਿ ਕਵਣੁ ਵਾਰੁ ॥ ਕਵਣਿ ਸਿ ਰੁਤੀ ਮਾਹੁ ਕਵਣੁ ਜਿਤੁ ਹੋਆ ਆਕਾਰੁ ॥ ਵੇਲ ਨ ਪਾਈਆ ਪੰਡਤੀ ਜਿ ਹੋਵੈ ਲੇਖੁ ਪੁਰਾਣੁ ॥ ਵਖਤੁ ਨ ਪਾਇਓ ਕਾਦੀਆ ਜਿ ਲਿਖਨਿ ਲੇਖੁ ਕੁਰਾਣੁ ॥ ਥਿਤਿ ਵਾਰੁ ਨਾ ਜੋਗੀ ਜਾਣੈ ਰੁਤਿ ਮਾਹੁ ਨਾ ਕੋਈ ॥ ਜਾ ਕਰਤਾ ਸਿਰਠੀ ਕਉ ਸਾਜੇ ਆਪੇ ਜਾਣੈ ਸੋਈ ॥
What was the moment or time or date or day or season or month when the cosmos was created? Had the authors of Hindu scriptures or Quran known it, they would have mentioned it. Neither did the yogi know the date or day or month or season. It is only the Creator, Who knows when the cosmos was created.
- On birth of Cosmos
ਅਰਬਦ ਨਰਬਦ ਧੁੰਧੂਕਾਰਾ ॥ ਧਰਣਿ ਨ ਗਗਨਾ ਹੁਕਮੁ ਅਪਾਰਾ ॥ ਨਾ ਦਿਨੁ ਰੈਨਿ ਨ ਚੰਦੁ ਨ ਸੂਰਜੁ ਸੁੰਨ ਸਮਾਧਿ ਲਗਾਇਦਾ ॥੧॥ …
For immeasurable length of time there was darkness. Neither there was Earth or sky nor day or night nor moon or sun, except the One Entity (Reality) and Its Hukam. It was in a transcendent mode filling the void like fog fills space. The cosmos was brought into being according to the Hukam without any visible support upholding the vast expanse.AGGS, M 1, p 1035.
ਕੀਤਾ ਪਸਾਉ ਏਕੋ ਕਵਾਉ ॥ ਤਿਸ ਤੇ ਹੋਏ ਲਖ ਦਰੀਆਉ ॥
The cosmos sprang from a single act of Hukam generating innumerable currents of creation. M 1, Jap 16, p 3.
- On birth
ਮਾ ਕੀ ਰਕਤੁ ਪਿਤਾ ਬਿਦੁ ਧਾਰਾ ॥ ਮੂਰਤਿ ਸੂਰਤਿ ਕਰਿ ਆਪਾਰਾ ॥ ਜੋਤਿ ਦਾਤਿ ਜੇਤੀ ਸਭ ਤੇਰੀ ਤੂ ਕਰਤਾ ਸਭ ਠਾਈ ਹੇ ॥੪॥ (1022)
From the union of the mother's egg and the father's sperm, the form of infinite beauty has been created. The blessings of light all come from You; You are the Creator Lord, pervading everywhere. ||4||
- On Death
ਦੇਹੀ ਮਾਟੀ ਬੋਲੈ ਪਉਣੁ ॥ ਬੁਝੁ ਰੇ ਗਿਆਨੀ ਮੂਆ ਹੈ ਕਉਣੁ ॥
The body is dust; the wind speaks through it. Understand, O wise one, who has died.
ਪਵਨੈ ਮਹਿ ਪਵਨੁ ਸਮਾਇਆ ॥ ਜੋਤੀ ਮਹਿ ਜੋਤਿ ਰਲਿ ਜਾਇਆ ॥ ਮਾਟੀ ਮਾਟੀ ਹੋਈ ਏਕ ॥ ਰੋਵਨਹਾਰੇ ਕੀ ਕਵਨ ਟੇਕ ॥੧॥ ਕਉਨੁ ਮੂਆ ਰੇ ਕਉਨੁ ਮੂਆ ॥ ….
The wind merges into the wind. The light blends into the light. The dust becomes one with the dust. What support is there for the one who is lamenting? ||1|| Who has died? O, who has died?
- On Nature and Environment
ਧਰਤੀ ਦੇਗ ਮਿਲੈ ਇਕ ਵੇਰਾ ਭਾਗੁ ਤੇਰਾ ਭੰਡਾਰੀ ॥੨॥ ਨਾ ਸਾਬੂਰੁ ਹੋਵੈ ਫਿਰਿ ਮੰਗੈ ਨਾਰਦੁ ਕਰੇ ਖੁਆਰੀ ॥ (1190)
You have made this Earth like a great dish of yours which the living beings get only once in their life. It is the great source of all the materials needed by mortals. But the mortal becomes unsatisfied, and begs for more; his fickle mind brings him disgrace.
ਪਾਣੀ ਪ੍ਰਾਣ ਪਵਣਿ ਬੰਧਿ ਰਾਖੇ ਚੰਦੁ ਸੂਰਜੁ ਮੁਖਿ ਦੀਏ ॥ ਮਰਣ ਜੀਵਣ ਕਉ ਧਰਤੀ ਦੀਨੀ ਏਤੇ ਗੁਣ ਵਿਸਰੇ ॥੨॥ (877)
Binding together water and air, the Almighty infused the breath of life into the body, and made the lamps like the sun and the moon. The almighty has given us Earth to live and die on, but we have forgotten these blessings.
- On the cycles life goes through to reach Human form
ਕਈ ਜਨਮ ਭਏ ਕੀਟ ਪਤੰਗਾ ॥ ਕਈ ਜਨਮ ਗਜ ਮੀਨ ਕੁਰੰਗਾ ॥ ਕਈ ਜਨਮ ਪੰਖੀ ਸਰਪ ਹੋਇਓ ॥ ਕਈ ਜਨਮ ਹੈਵਰ ਬ੍ਰਿਖ ਜੋਇਓ ॥੧॥ ਮਿਲੁ ਜਗਦੀਸ ਮਿਲਨ ਕੀ ਬਰੀਆ ॥ ਚਿਰੰਕਾਲ ਇਹ ਦੇਹ ਸੰਜਰੀਆ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥ ਕਈ ਜਨਮ ਸੈਲ ਗਿਰਿ ਕਰਿਆ ॥ ਕਈ ਜਨਮ ਗਰਭ ਹਿਰਿ ਖਰਿਆ ॥ ਕਈ ਜਨਮ ਸਾਖ ਕਰਿ ਉਪਾਇਆ ॥ ਲਖ ਚਉਰਾਸੀਹ ਜੋਨਿ ਭ੍ਰਮਾਇਆ ॥੨॥
Many births (different evolutionary stages of life) created worm and insect. Many births created elephant, fish and deer. Many births created bird and snake. Many births created ox and horse, which are yoked. O human being, now is your time to meet the Lord of the universethe Creator, since it took a very log time for the human body to evolve through many evolutionary stages of life. Pause. The matter constituting the human body was recycled many times as rocks and mountains. Many births resulted in abortion (defective mutations resulting in death of the species). Many births produced plant life. It took innumerable births to produced human body. AGGS, M 5, p 176.
- On other planets and existence of life on other planets
ਕੀਮਤਿ ਕਿਨੈ ਨ ਪਾਈਆ ਕਹਣਿ ਨ ਵਡਾ ਹੋਇ ॥ ਸਾਚਾ ਸਾਹਬੁ ਏਕੁ ਤੂ ਹੋਰਿ ਜੀਆ ਕੇਤੇ ਲੋਅ ॥੩॥
God’s worth (greatness) is beyond measure, nor it can be overestimated. You alone are the True Lord of mine and of other beings of countless worlds. AGGS, M 1, p 15.
ਜਲਿ ਥਲਿ ਜੀਆ ਪੁਰੀਆ ਲੋਆ ਆਕਾਰਾ ਆਕਾਰ ॥ ਓਇ ਜਿ ਆਖਹਿ ਸੁ ਤੂੰਹੈ ਜਾਣਹਿ ਤਿਨਾ ਭਿ ਤੇਰੀ ਸਾਰ ॥
There are living beings in water, on land and in the cosmos. O Creator, You know their needs as You take care of them. AGGS, M 1, p 466.