Portal:Sikhism

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Sikhism (/ˈsɪkɪzəm/; Punjabi: ਸਿੱਖੀ), or Sikhi Sikkhī, pronounced [ˈsɪkːʰiː], from Sikh, meaning a "disciple", or a "learner"), is a monotheistic religion that originated in the Punjab region of the Indian subcontinent about the end of the 15th century. It is one of the youngest of the major world religions, and the world's fifth-largest organized religion. The fundamental beliefs of Sikhism, articulated in the sacred scripture Guru Granth Sahib, include faith and meditation on the name of the one creator, divine unity and equality of all humankind, engaging in selfless service, striving for justice for the benefit and prosperity of all, and honest conduct and livelihood while living a householder's life. In the early 21st century there were nearly 25 million Sikhs worldwide, the great majority of them living in Punjab.

Sikhism is based on the spiritual teachings of Guru Nanak, the first Guru (1469–1539), and the nine Sikh gurus that succeeded him. The Tenth Guru, Guru Gobind Singh, named the Sikh scripture Guru Granth Sahib as his successor, terminating the line of human Gurus and making the scripture the eternal, religious spiritual guide for Sikhs. Sikhism rejects claims that any particular religious tradition has a monopoly on Absolute Truth.


Selected article

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 The Sikh Confederacy would eventually be superseded by the Sikh Empire but its influence would still remain strong throughout the empire's history.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.

The Eleven Gurus

Guru Amar Das - Goindwal
Guru Amar Das - Goindwal

Guru Amar Das ([ɡʊru əməɾ dɑs]; 5 May 1479 – 1 September 1574) was the third of the Ten Gurus of Sikhism and became Sikh Guru on 26 March 1552 at age 73.

Before becoming a Sikh, Amar Das had adhered to the Vaishnavism tradition of Hinduism for much of his life. One day he heard his nephew's wife, Bibi Amro, reciting a hymn by Guru Nanak, and was deeply moved by it. Bibi Amro was the daughter of Guru Angad, the second and then current Guru of the Sikhs. Amar Das persuaded Bibi Amro to introduce him to her father and in 1539, Amar Das, at the age of sixty, met Guru Angad and became a Sikh, devoting himself to the Guru. In 1552, before his death, Guru Angad appointed Amar Das as Guru Amar Das, the third Guru of Sikhism.

Guru Amar Das was an important innovator in Sikhism, who introduced a religious organization called the Manji system by appointing trained clergy, a system that expanded and survives into the contemporary era. He wrote and compiled hymns into a Pothi (book) that ultimately helped create the Adi Granth. Guru Amar Das helped establish the Sikh rituals relating to baby naming, wedding (Anand Karaj), and funeral, as well as the practice of congregation and celebrations of festivals such as Diwali, Maghi and Vaisakhi. He founded centres of Sikh pilgrimage, and picked the site for the Golden Temple.

Guru Amar Das remained the leader of the Sikhs till age 95, and named his son-in-law Bhai Jetha later remembered by the name Guru Ram Das as his successor. Read more...

Selected image

Golden-Temple-Jan-07.jpg
Credit: Nicholas

Golden Temple (Amritsar, Punjab - India).
Free food is served in Golden Temple 24/7 throughout the year without any religious discrimination

 

Selected scripture

Quotes from Guru Granth Sahib on various topics

  1. How life was created on Earth
    1. 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.
    2. ਪਹਿਲਾ ਪਾਣੀ ਜੀਉ ਹੈ ਜਿਤੁ ਹਰਿਆ ਸਭੁ ਕੋਇ ॥ (472)

      First, there is life in the water, by which everything else comes into existence.
  2. On vastness of cosmos
    1. 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.
    2. 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.
  3. On birth of Cosmos
    1. 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.
    2. 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.
  4. On birth
    1. 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||
  5. On Death
    1. 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.
    2. 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?
  6. On Nature and Environment
    1. 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.
    2. 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.
  7. On the cycles life goes through to reach Human form
    1. 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 universethe 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.
  8. On other planets and existence of life on other planets
    1. 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.
    2. 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.

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