Many people are not familiar with the Sikh religion. The following is a brief introduction. Those interested in learning more should check out our literature and multimedia, which go into much greater detail.
Some core philosophies
Sikhs understand that there is a goal in life.
bhae prapath manukh di huriya, gobind milan ki eh teri bariya
(SGGS, page 12)
“With the gift of human incarnation granted to thee, now is thy opportunity to have union with Lord God.”
That’s our goal, but how can we get there? Our gurus, in our scripture, gave us the following guidance:
gurmukh naam daan ishnaan
A gurmukh is a God-inspired person (i.e. one who follows the way of life prescribed by the Guru). The gurmukh is told Gur Satgur Ka Jo sikh akayi so palke utth har naam dhiavai. This means that he who calls himself a Sikh of the true guru should wake up early and meditate on naam. Naam is not easily understood or defined. One definition for naam is simply “God’s name.” After taking amrit (i.e. being baptized in our religion), and getting the gurmantar (i.e. Waheguru), Sikhs are commanded to repeat it as outlined above.
Daan means that we should live for others, not for ourselves. Ishnaan means that our thinking and life should be pure.
In attempting to live up to the model of a gurmukh, it is important to control your mind. This is very difficult. The following line in Jap Ji Sahib (the first prayer in our scripture) tells us Man jiteh jag jeet. That is, “Conquer your own mind, and conquer the world.”
Origin of Sikhism
Sikhism started with Guru Nanak Dev Ji, who was born in 1469. He came into the world in a time of upheaval. India was totally tormented by the continuous attacks of foreign armies. Aside from these attacks from outside its borders, India was being torn apart by castes, sectarianism, religious factions, and fanaticism. Guru Nanak Dev Ji had a simple message: Ek Onkar. This phrase, the first in the Sri Guru Granth Sahib, is a reference to the existence of one God. It should be noted that this is not to say that God is separate from humanity. On the contrary, Sant Waryam Singh Ji of Ratwara Sahib has said that the correct lesson in Sikhism is “all is God.”
A couple of definitions
• Sikh = student or disciple
• Guru = teacher
• Sri Guru Granth Sahib = our scripture and living guru
• Amrit = being baptized in our religion
• Gurmantar = A mantra is a sound, syllable, word, or group of words that is considered capable of creating spiritual transformation. The gurmantar is a mantar given to Sikhs when they take Amrit.
• Waheguru = a name of God; this is our gurmantar