Sikhism Religion

SikhismSikhism is founded on the teachings of Guru Nanak and nine successive Sikh Gurus in fifteenth century Punjab. It is the fifth-largest organized religion in the world. This system of religious philosophy and expression has been traditionally known as the Gurmat (the direction of the gurus) or the Sikh Dharma. Sikhism originated from the word Sikh, meaning "disciple" or "learner".
Sikhism advocates the pursuit of salvation through disciplined, personal meditation on the name and message of God. A key distinctive feature of Sikhism is that one can interpret God as the Universe itself. 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. This holy book of Sikhs 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 Gobind Singh, the tenth guru, as the final guru of the Khalsa Panth. Sikhism's traditions and teachings are distinctively associated with the history, society and culture of the Punjab. Believers of Sikhism are known as Sikhs meaning students or disciples. Most Sikhs live in the Punjab in India and, prior to the India's partition, millions of Sikhs lived in what is now Pakistani Punjab.

Philosophy and teachings
The Harimandir Sahib, known popularly as the Golden Temple, is a sacred shrine for Sikhs.The origins of Sikhism lie in the teachings of Nanak and his successors. Nanak disapproved of many religious beliefs and practices of his time.
The essence of Sikh teaching is summed up by Nanak in these words: "Realisation of Truth is higher than all else. Higher still is truthful living". Sikhism believes in equality of all humans and rejects discrimination on the basis of caste, creed and gender. Sikhism also does not attach any importance to attainment of salvation, but stresses on the need of leading life as a householder.
Sikhism is a monotheistic religion. In Sikhism, God is called ‘Vaheguru’ meaning to be a formless, eternal, and unobserved. The beginning of the first composition of Sikh scripture is the figure Ek (1) signifying the universality of God. It states that God is omnipresent and infinite, and is signified by the term Ek Omkar. Sikhs believe that prior to creation, all that existed was God and his order. When God willed, the entire cosmos was created. From these beginnings, God nurtured "enticement and attachment"or the human perception of reality.
While a full understanding of God is beyond human beings, Nanak described God as not wholly unknowable. God is omnipresent in all creation and visible everywhere to the spiritually awakened. Nanak stressed that God must be seen from "the inward eye", or the "heart", of a human being: devotees must meditate to progress towards enlightenment. Guru Nanak Dev emphasized the revelation through meditation, as its rigorous application permits the existence of communication between God and human beings.

Pursuing salvation
Nanak's teachings are founded not on a final destination of heaven or hell, but on a spiritual union with God which results in salvation. The chief obstacles to the attainment of salvation are social conflicts and an attachment to worldly pursuits, which commit men and women to an endless cycle of birth — a concept known as reincarnation.
People are distracted from devotion by worldly attractions which give only illusive satisfaction. In Sikhism, the influences of ego, anger, greed, attachment and lust—known as the Five Evils—are believed to be particularly pernicious. The fate of people vulnerable to the Five Evils is separation from God, and the situation may be remedied only after intensive and relentless devotion.
Guru Nanak Dev Ji described God's revelation—the path to salvation—with terms such as Nam (the divine Name) and Shabad (the divine Word) to emphasise the totality of the revelation. Nanak designated the word guru as the voice of God and the source and guide for knowledge and salvation. Salvation can be reached only through rigorous and disciplined devotion to God. Nanak distinctly emphasised the irrelevance of outwardly observations such as rites, pilgrimages or asceticism. He stressed that devotion must take place through the heart, with the spirit and the soul.
Nanak's ideal is the total exposure of one's being to the divine Name and a total conforming to Dharma or the "Divine Order". Nanak described the result of the disciplined application of Nam Simran as a "growing towards and into God" through a gradual process of five stages. He also stressed upon Sach Khand (the Realm of Truth) i.e. the final union of the spirit with God.
Nanak stressed ‘Kirat Karo’ that a Sikh should balance work, worship, and charity, and should defend the rights of all creatures, and in particular, fellow human beings. They are encouraged to have an optimistic view of life. Sikh teachings also stress the concept of sharing i.e. Vand Chako through the distribution of free food at Sikh gurdwaras (Langar), giving charitable donations, and working for the good of the community and others.

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