Sikh philosophy

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The philosophy of Sikhism is covered in great detail in the Guru Granth Sahib, the Sikh holy text. Detailed guidance is given to followers on how to conduct their lives so that peace and salvation can be obtained. The holy text outlines the positive actions that one must take to make progress in the evolution of the person. One must remember the Creator at all times – it reminds the follower that the "soul is, but a part of the whole that is God, who is ever merciful", and that the follower must dedicate their life to all good causes - to help make this life more worthwhile.

The sections below give more details of the underlying message of this faith. It is easiest to discuss the topic if the details are divided into the following sections:

Underlying values[edit]

The Sikhs must believe in the following values:

  1. Equality: All humans are equal before God – no discrimination is allowed on the basis of caste, race, gender, creed, origin, color, education, status, wealth, et cetera. The principles of universal equality and brotherhood are important pillars of Sikhism.
  2. Personal right: Every person has a right to life but this right is restricted and has certain duties attached to it – simple living is essential. A Sikh is expected to rise early, meditate and pray, consume simple food, perform an honest day's work, carry out duties for his or her family, enjoy life and always be positive, be charitable and support the needy, et cetera.
  3. Actions count: Salvation is obtained by one’s actions – good deeds, remembrance of God – Naam Simran, Kirtan.
  4. Living a family life: A Sikh is encouraged to live as part of a family unit to provide and nurture children for the perpetual benefit of creation (as opposed to living as a wild hermit, which was, and remains, a common spiritual practice in India).
  5. Sharing: It is encouraged to share and give to charity 10 percent of one’s net earnings.
  6. Accept God’s will: One should develop one’s personality so as to recognise the unity behind happy events and miserable events – the will of God causes them.
  7. The four fruits of life: Truth, contentment, contemplation and Naam (in the name of God).

Prohibited behavior[edit]

  1. Non-logical behavior: Superstitions, or rituals which have no meaning, such as pilgrimages, fasting and bathing in rivers, gambling, worship of graves, idols or pictures, and compulsory wearing of the veil for women, are prohibited.
  2. Material obsession: ("Maya") Accumulation of materials has no meaning in Sikhism. Wealth such as gold, portfolio, stocks, commodities, properties, et cetera, will all be left here on Earth when you depart. Do not get attached to them.
  3. Sacrifice of creatures: Sati – Widows throwing themselves in the funeral pyre of their husbands, the act of slaughtering lambs and calves to celebrate holy occasions
  4. Non-family oriented living: A sikh is encouraged not to live as a recluse, beggar, monk, nun, celibate, or in any similar vein.
  5. Worthless talk: Bragging, gossip and lying are not permitted.
  6. Intoxication: The consumption of alcohol, drugs, tobacco, or other intoxicants is prohibited.
  7. No priestly class: Sikhs do not have to depend on a priest for any of the functions that need to be performed.
  8. Eating meat killed in a ritualistic manner (Kutha meat): Sikhs are strictly prohibited from eating meat killed in a ritualistic manner (such as halal or kosher, known as Kutha meat[1] ), or any meat where langar is served.[2] In some small Sikh Sects, i.e. Akhand Kirtani Jatha and Damdami Taksal eating any meat is believed to be forbidden, but this is not a universally held belief.[3] The meat eaten by Sikhs is known as Jhatka meat.
  9. Having premarital or extramarital sexual relations[4][5][6][7]

Technique and method[edit]

  1. Naam: Meditate upon God’s name (Waheguru in the Sikh religion) through verba the mind is stilled and cleansed in order to become one with God. The technique taught by the Guru Granth Sahib is "Urd Uhrd". This means to inhale with the "Wahe" syllable and exhale on the "Guru" syllable.
  2. Kirat Karni: - Earning an honest living while remembering the Lord.
  3. Vand Chakna: - Share with others who are deserving, as during langar

Other observations[edit]

  1. One God: - There is only one God who has infinite qualities and names. God is Creator and Sustainer - all that you see around you is His creation. He is everywhere, in everything. He is without birth or death, and has existed before Creation and will exist forever. Sikhism does not acknowledge an anthropomorphic God. This is true to the extent than one can interpret Him as the Universe Itself. Sikhism also does not acknowledge the belief of a Personal God, as does Christianity. Instead, God is usually interpreted as being unfathomable, yet not unknowable.
  2. Reincarnation, karma and salvation: – Every creature has a soul. Upon death, the soul is passed from one body to another until liberation[citation needed]. The journey of the soul is governed by the deeds and actions that we perform during our lives.
  3. Remember God: Love God. Only by keeping the Creator in your mind at all times will you make progress in your spiritual evolution.
  4. Humanity (brotherhood): All human beings are equal. We are sons and daughters of Waheguru, the Almighty.
  5. Uphold moral values: Defend, protect and fight for the rights of all creatures, in particular your fellow human beings.
  6. Personal sacrifice: Be prepared to give your life for all supreme principles. See the life of Guru Teg Bahadur.
  7. Many paths lead to God: – Sikhs are not special; they are not the chosen people of God. Simply calling yourself a Sikh does not bring you salvation. Members of all religions have the same right to liberty as Sikhs.
  8. Positive attitude toward life: "Chardi Kala" – Always have a positive, optimistic and buoyant view of life. God is there – He will be your help.
  9. Disciplined life: Upon baptism, a Sikh must wear the 5Ks and perform strict recital of the five prayers Banis.[citation needed]
  10. No special worship days: Sikhs do not believe that any particular day is holier than any other.
  11. Conquer the five thieves: It is every Sikh's duty to defeat these five thieves: Pride (a’Hankar), Anger (Kr’odh), Greed (Lob’H), Attachment (Mo’H), and Lust (K’haam). Known collectively as P.A.G.A.L.
  12. Attack with Five Weapons: Contentment (Santokh), Charity (Dan), Kindness (Daya ), Positive Energy (Chardi Kala), Humility (Nimarta).
  13. Having premarital sexual or extramarital relations: Sikhs are encouraged to be faithful to their spouse. All forms of adultery are discouraged.[7]
  14. Not son of God: The Gurus were not, in the Christian sense, “Sons of God”[dubious ]. Sikhism says we are all God's children.
  15. All are welcome: Members of all religions can visit Sikh temples (“Gurdwaras”), while observing local rules: cover head, no shoes, no smoking in the main hall.
  16. Multi-level approach: Sikhism recognizes the concept of a multi-level approach to achieving your target as a disciple of the faith. For example, "Sahajdhari" (slow adopters) are Sikhs who have not donned the full 5Ks but are still Sikhs regardless.

Note: The Punjabi language does not have a gender for God. Unfortunately, when translating, the real meaning cannot be properly conveyed without using "Him," "His," "He," "Brotherhood," "Him or Her," et cetera; furthermore, this distorts the meaning by giving the impression that God is masculine, which is not the message in the original script. The reader must allow for this every time these words are used. It is often the case that rather than taking a gender definition, God is simply conveyed as "Omnipotent Being" rather than God, thus converying the correct perceptual image.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Sikhs and Sikhism, Dr. I.J.Singh, Manohar Publishers.ISBN 978-8173040580
  2. ^ "Sikhism, A Complete Introduction" by Dr. H.S. Singha & Satwant Kaur Hemkunt, Hemkunt Press, New Delhi, 1994, ISBN 81-7010-245-6
  3. ^ "Sikh Identity: An Exploration of Groups Among Sikhs" by Opinderjit Kaur Takhar, pg. 51, Ashgate Publishing, Ltd, 2005, ISBN 0-7546-5202-5
  4. ^ Sikh Reht Maryada, The Definition of Sikh, Sikh Conduct & Conventions, Sikh Religion Living, India
  5. ^ Sikh Reht Maryada, The Definition of Sikh, Sikh Conduct & Conventions, Sikh Religion Living, India
  6. ^ The Sikh Rehat Maryada :Section Four | Gateway to Sikhism-Gateway to Sikhism
  7. ^ a b Doris R. Jakobsh. Relocating Gender In Sikh History: Transformation, Meaning and Identity. New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2003, pp.39-40

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