Sikhism

Follow the Sikhs

How it started

Sikhism ( pronounced seekism) started when guru Nanak went missing for three days and came back and said there was no Hindu and no Muslim. He then began spreading the word of Sikhism around 1500. It started in the Punjab region which is present day Pakistan and northern India.

How they worship

There are two distinct components of a worship in Sikhism: selfless service and studying the divine. Worship services are held in the main hall of the gurdwara. Free food prepared in gurdwara kitchen is served along with every worship service, and involves both selfless service and studying the devine. Everyone regardless of faith or race is welcome to visit for worship and eat free food in the dining hall of the gurdwara at anytime during the worship service. Volunteers prepare food in the kitchen and serve in the dining hall while the main worship service is being held. Other Sikhs may clean and neatly arrange the shoes of worshipers or perform other voluntary tasks to maintain the gurdwara while worship is happening. Sikh worshipers read the Grand Guru Sahib in the worship service.

Gurus

Guru Nanak travelled far distances teaching people the message of one God who is in every one of God's creations. He set up a unique spiritual, social, and political platform based on equality, love, goodness, and virtue. After disappearing for three days he came back and said he had been to gods court and that he will follow gods path. He later began teaching and spreading the word and he made five long journeys all over the Middle East. Guru Angad was the second of the ten Sikh Gurus. He was born in the village of Sarae Naga in 1504. In 1538 Guru Nanak chose Lehna to be his successor as Sikhism's Guru rather than one of his sons. Lehna was then given the name Angad and designated as Guru Angad. He became the second guru of the Sikhs. He continued on the work started by the first Sikh Guru. Guru Angad popularized the present form of the Gurmukhi script. It became the center for writing the Punjabi language in which the hymns of the Gurus are expressed. Guru Amar Das who was born in 1479 was the third of the Ten Gurus of Sikhism. He thus established social equality amongst the people. Guru Amar Das introduced the Anand Karaj marriage ceremony for the Sikhs, replacing the Hindu form. He also completely abolished amongst the Sikhs, the custom of Sati in which a married woman was forced to burn herself to death in the funeral bed of her husband. The custom of Paradah, in which a woman was required to cover her face with a veil was also abolished. Guru Ram Das, born in 1534, was the fourth of the Ten Gurus of Sikhism and was given the title of Sikh Guru. He was the author of Laava, the four hymns of the Sikh Marriage Rites. He was the creator of the town of Ramdaspur which became the Sikh holy city of Amritsar. Guru Arjan born in 1563 was the fifth of the ten Sikh Gurus. He considered putting the teachings of Sikhism into one book, now the holy scripture: the Guru Granth Sahib. Guru Arjan organized the Masand system, a group of representatives who taught and spread the teachings of the Gurus. He was tortured by the Muslim empire and walked into a river and was never seen again. Guru Hargobind was born in 1595. He was the sixth of the Sikh gurus. During the era of Guru Hargobind, the Sikhs increased greatly in number. Guru Har RaiSahib was born in 1630 and was the seventh of the ten Sikh Gurus. The Guru also established an Ayurvedic hospital and a research center at Kiratpur Sahib where he also maintained a zoo. Guru Har Krishan Sahib was born in 1656 and was the eighth of the ten Sikh Gurus. He helped many sick people with small pox at the age of five and did not want treatment and ended up dying at the age of seven. Guru Tegh Bahadur Sahib born in 1621 became the 9th Guru of Sikhs. He was tortured intel he believed in Islam but he would now so he was beheaded.
Guru Gobind Singh born in 1666 was the tenth of the ten Sikh Gurus. He was a Warrior, Poet and Philosopher. He succeeded his father Guru Tegh Bahadur as the Leader of Sikhs at the young age of nine. He contributed much to Sikhism he created the eleventh guru, Guru Granth Sahib. He was the one who put the book together and made it the eleventh and last guru of the Sikh.
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Where they worship

In a gurdwara you may not bring drugs or alcohol. You may not wear shoes and you must cover your hair. Sikhs do not have ordained priests, and any Sikh can lead the prayers, and recite the scriptures to the congregation. It's a place to learn spiritual wisdom, a place for religious ceremonies ,and a place where children learn the Sikh faith, ethics, customs, traditions and texts. A gurdwara offers food, shelter, and companionship to those who need it.

What they celebrate

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Gurpurb is a Sikh holiday that marks the anniversary of a gurus birth or death. During the celebration the Guru Granth Sahib is read continuously for 2 days and with out interruption. They will go into the streets and sing hymns from the Guru Granth Sahib. Nanak's gurpurb is celebrated by singing in the streets and celebrations are held till 2 o'clock AM. Gobind Singh's gurpurb is similar to Nanak's. The other gurus gurpurbs aren't as special as Nanak's but they are still celebrated. Gurpurbs in the hot seasons are celebrated with a drink called chhabeel. Hola Mahalla is a Sikh festival which begins on the first day of the lunar month of Chett that often falls in March and sometimes fall within the Sikh New Year.The event lasts for a week and during this time the people camping out and enjoying various displays of fighting skills and bravery followed by readings, music, and poetry. For meals they eat vegetarian food. The event is concluded with a long military like march near Takht Sri Keshgarh Sahib. Guru Gobind Singh started a this holiday with a day of mock battles and poetry contests.

The holy book of Sikhism

The Guru Granth Sahib is the 1,430 page holy book of Sikhism. They call it the eleventh guru and treat it like a living guru. It is respected and cared by the people. The Guru Granth Sahib was made by Gobind Singh the tenth and last guru in 1708. The Sikhs find it to be a sacred source of wisdom and guidance. The book contains words spoken from the ten gurus and even includes words from saints that were Hindu and Islamic. It was written in Gurmukhi script which is a form of the ancient Sanskrit language. When the book was done it had words and teachings of all ten gurus and saints from other religions. It is full of hymns that describe what God is like and the right way to live and why they should meditate in God's name.

Beliefs

Women have equal rights with men at religious services and ceremonies. Human Life Precious Above Other Life is the belief that the human life is supreme and it is through this life that we can achieve oneness with God's will. Finding God in this life and living by his commands helps us to attain God's mercy. If you live by his rules he will give you mercy. Defending Against Injustice because Sikhs are a peace loving people and stand for Truth and Justice. Guru Gobind Singh said, "It is right to use force as a last resort when all other peaceful means fail."

Sikhism in the world

Some conflicts the Sikhs have are that they are hated my some religions. Especially Islam and Hinduism because the starter of the religion said there was no Hindu and no Muslim. The Indian government attacked the golden temple because they thought they were plotting against the government. They killed a lot of Sikh. After that the Sikh killed the leader of the attack. This lead to a widespread hate against the Sikh. When Great Britain divided up the land to Hindu India and Muslim Pakistan the Sikh hoped that they could have a Sikh country. Sikh also have conflict in America. There was a shooting at a Sikh temple. The Sikh religion faces discrimination in a lot of places. India has about 19250000 Sikhs in the country and the United Kingdom about 750000 Sikhs. The United States comes in third with 500000 Sikhs.

The Khanda

The Sikhism Khanda is the Sikh's symbol. Khanda refers to a double edged sword in the center of the emblem. The emblem of the Sikhism Khanda appears on the Nishan the Sikh flag. Some people consider the components of the Sikhism Khanda to have special significance. The two swords signify the spiritual and non spiritual forces influencing the soul. A double edged sword symbolizes the ability of truth to cut through the duality of illusion. A circlet represents unity and a sense of being at one with infinity. Guru Nanak made the Khanda and it symbolizes sikhism because it represents the parts of the soul and the great creators supreme knowledge and power.
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After Word

In the end we learned a lot about Sikhism. We found that they treat the Grand Guru Sahib as a living person. Which we found very interesting. What we found odd was that there are eleven gurus. Ten are people and one is a book. We thought that it is unique that they have a celebration for every Guru. We learned many things, but the one thing that stood out most was that America has over 500,000 People who worship sikhism. We didn't think there was that much in are country.

Sikhism in the USA

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More on Sikhism

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Citations

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BBC. (2009, April 12). Around the world in 80 faiths [Video file]. Retrieved from http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=3_5Awe01MqI

CNN. (2012, August 6). Sikhism in the USA [Video file]. Retrieved from http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=hGqYF9eSIyc

The golden temple [Photograph]. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.writespirit.net/religious-traditions/sikhism/

Guru Granth Sabib [Photograph]. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://religion.answers.wikia.com/wiki/What_is_sikhs_holy_book_called

Khanda [Photograph]. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.indif.com/nri/sikhism/sikh_symbols.asp

Sikhism world map [Photograph]. (2004). Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sikhism_by_country

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