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Sikhism And The Sikh Gurus

Last Updated : 02 Sep, 2022
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The founders of Sikhism, known as the Sikh Gurus, began their work in 1469 and continued for around two and a half centuries. Sikhism’s founder, Guru Nanak, was born in the year 1469. He was followed by nine more gurus till the Guruship was eventually transferred in 1708 by the tenth guru to the revered Guru Granth Sahib, which is currently regarded as the living Guru by Sikh believers. The Sanskrit word Shishya, which means student or pupil, is from where the word Sikh originated. Approximately 24 million Sikhs live in the world today. The majority of them reside in Punjab, an Indian state. 

The establishment of the Singh Sabha in 1873 was crucial in the purification of Sikhism. In response to reforms in the gurudwara administration, the British enacted the Sikh Gurudwara Act 1925 to govern gurudwara management. Power politics is a problem for Punjab’s gurudwara administration today. The Sikh community was defined by the Haryana High Court as the persons who adhere to all five tenets of the Sikhism faith.

History of Sikhism:

  • In the latter half of the 15th century, the Sikh religion was established in the Indian subcontinent.
  • The two dominant religious traditions in India at the time—Hinduism and Islam—were becoming more at odds with one another, which led to the birth of Sikhism.
  • It was founded by Guru Nanak, and nine additional Gurus served as its leaders afterward. 
  • In Sultanpur, Guru Nanak got enlightenment in 1496 at the age of 30.
  • He traveled widely after attaining enlightenment to share the message of love and fraternity. 
  • Guru Nanak’s followers grew throughout the sixteenth century. 
  • They belonged to several castes, but the majority were traders, farmers, artists, and craftspeople. They were also expected to contribute to the group of followers’ general funds. 
  • The town of Ramdaspur (Amritsar) had grown up around the great Gurdwara known as Harmandir Sahib (Golden Temple) by the start of the seventeenth century.
  • Modern historians describe the early seventeenth-century Sikh community as “a state within the state” since it was essentially self-governing. 

About Sikhism:

  • Sikhs worship God in his Nirgun form. The females go by the surname Kaur, which means princess, and the men go by the surname Singh, which means Lion. 
  • God is viewed by Sikhs as being omnipotent. Sikh philosophy was essentially opposed to idolatry.
  • Sikhism refers to God as Waheguru, and asceticism is not encouraged among adherents.
  • The Sikhs live their life in service to humanity and to God. 
  • Sikhism forbids prejudice on the grounds of any caste or religion.
  • It should be emphasized that the Guru Granth Sahib also contains the teachings of other Bhakti saints like Farid, Namdev, Surdas, and others are included.
  • Guru Nanak Dev built the first Gurudwara in Kartarpur (now in Pakistan). 

The Ten Sikh Gurus:

Guru Nanak (1469-1539)
  • He was the founder of Sikhism.
  • He established the Guru Ka Langar institution. In the Sikh religion, the term “langar” refers to the shared kitchen where food is offered to all without discrimination.
  • He promoted women’s equality, disapproved of the path of renunciation, and disregarded the validity of the Vedas.
Guru Angad Dev (1504-1552)
  • He is the second Sikh Guru.
  • The songs of Guru Nanak were collected by Guru Angad, who also contributed his own songs in a unique script known as Gurmukhi.
  • The Sikhs’ sacred text, Guru Granth Sahib, is written in Gurmukhi script. 
Guru Amar Das (1479-1574)
  • He is the third Sikh Guru.
  • He established the Manjis and Piris institutions, which boosted the Sikh movement. 
Guru Ram Das (1534-1581)
  • He is the fourth Sikh Guru.
  • He lay the foundation for Amritsar, which would later become the spiritual center of the Sikh religion.
Guru Arjan Dev (1563-1606)
  • He created and placed the Holy Book, the Guru Granth, inside the Harmandir, also referred to as the Golden Temple.
  • He is the fifth Sikh Guru.
Guru Hargovind (1595-1644)
  • He is the sixth Sikh Guru.
  • As the seat of Sikh temporal authority, he constructed Akal Takhat, the Throne of the Immortal. 
Guru Har Rai (1630-1661)
  • The seventh Sikh Guru and carried out his predecessors’ mission. 
Guru Har Krishan (1656-1664)
  • The eighth Sikh Guru.
  • He treated smallpox patients in Delhi, and the daily Sikh prayer honors him as the person whose presence banishes all suffering.
Guru Tegh Bahadur (1621 – 1675)
  • He is the ninth Sikh Guru.
  • Guru Tegh Bahadur build multiple Sikh temples in Mahali. He composed 116 shabads, 15 ragas, and his bhagats are credited with 782 works that are included in the Sikhism category of bani. 
  • He was persecuted because he objected to Mughal king Aurangazeb’s forceful conversion of the Hindu Kashmiri Pandits. 
Guru Gobind Singh (1666 – 1708)
  • Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth Sikh Guru, founded the Khalsa, a mixed-gender military organization.
    The year 1699 saw the establishment of this.
  • He introduce the 5Ks to Sikhism: Kesh (uncut hair), Kara (a steel bracelet), Kanga (a wooden comb), Kaccha – also spelt, Kachh, Kachera (cotton underwear), Kirpan (steel sword).

Eleventh Sikh Guru:

  • Guru Nanak was followed by nine other gurus; however, the Guru Granth Sahib, the Sikh sacred book, is regarded as the 11th and only immortal Sikh Guru.
  • The Guru Granth Sahib also includes Muslim and Hindu saints’ compositions, some of them belonged to the so-called lower caste of Hindu society, in addition to the hymns of the Sikh Gurus.
  • As a result, the Sikh Holy Book can be seen as a special illustration of the Sikh faith’s ecumenical ethos.

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