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Punjab is a State in the Northern India where Sikh religion is dominant. It is here in this State where there follows there is a young woman called Ananda who is a follower of the Sikh religion. She is the one who was helpful in the giving of information that enabled the understanding of the viewed religion. Before meeting Ananda, there was a misconception that Schism did not allow their followers religious freedom and that it was just a religious reform movement. This woman explains that Sikhism is a progressive religion founded 500 years ago. The analyzed ideology believes that there is only one God who is of all religions. A Sikh is a disciple of God and should be someone who follows the teachings and writings of the Ten Sikh Gurus.
From a brief history from Ananda, we learn about Sikhism and who was the founder. This was Guru Nanak who created it in 1496. He passed on his enlightened leadership to nine other Gurus; until the last of them – Guru Gobind Singh – died in 1708. During the lifetime of Guru Gobind Singh, A Khalsa Order was established and it meant pureness. The Khalsa upheld the highest Sikhism virtues of social conscience, commitment and dedication. The order requires male and female Sikh baptism ceremony’s undergoing, and they are to follow strictly the Sikh Code of Conduct. Ananda herself is already a Sikh and is proud of her religion. The physical articles of the Sikh religion are the uncut hair of men which should be covered with a turban and the ceremonial sword (Singh, 1993).
Before the death of Guru Gobind Singh, the Guru said that the Sikhs did not require a physical successor after him. The Guru felt that, all the wisdom and spiritual guidance that was necessary to the Sikhs were to be found in the religious book. Sri Guru Granth Sahib is a religious scripture that has writings of even other faiths that had similar thoughts as to those of the Sikh Gurus.
From what Ananda is explaining Sikhism religion does not have priests since the posts were abolished by Guru Gobind Singh. The last Guru felt that his successors had become corruptible and had ego. As a result, Sikhs have only the Guru Granth Sahib custodians. The Holy Book is found in the Sikh temple also known as the Gurdwara. Sikhs are allowed to read the treatise from their homes or in the Gurdwara. The last one is usually open to all people of all faiths. In her house, Ananda has a Guru Granth Sahib which she reads at least three times a day when she is in the indoor for the entire day.
In every Gurdwara, there is a community kitchen that serves meals to all people regardless of their religion. Guru Nanak is the one who initiated the idea of such a creating as a sign of humility, service and equality. A visit to the Gurdwara with Ananda it is proved to be that there is a truly community kitchen and anyone regardless of their religion can share a meal with the Sikhs.
People are to remove shoes before entering the temple, and if the feet are dirty, they are washed. Every visitor entering the Gurdwara should cover their heads and once inside, people usually sit on the floor facing Guru Granth Sahib.
According to the Sikhism teachings, every place that has the Sri Guru Granth is considered holy for the Sikhs. There is one most famous historical center of religion for the pointed ideology which is the Harmiandir Sahib or The Golden Temple. The Golden Temple is at Amristar in Punjab state North of India. It is considered as a historical and inspiration center by the Sikhs.
Ananda says that she learnt that Guru Nanak preached love and understanding and criticized the blind rituals. Today, the Sikhism is ranked as the fifth most populous religion in the world. It has over twenty million followers all over the world. Sikhism is open to all people through the teaching of the ten Gurus which are enshrined in the Sikh Holy Book and Living Guru, Sri Granth Sahib. The teachings in Sri Guru Granth Sahib are universal and practical to all human beings.
The woman of this faith tells that according to Rehat Maryada, Sikh Code of Conduct, any person who believes in an immortal being, believes in baptism by the tenth Guru, believes in teachings and utterances of the ten Gurus and owes no allegiance to any other religion, is a Sikh. Ananda continues to explain that Sikhism religion denounces superstitions and blind rituals, and it preaches that people should live truthfully, observe equality to all mankind and remember God all the times.(McLeod, 1997)
Blind rituals include things like fasting, worshiping idol gods, worship of the dead and visiting places of pilgrimage. Sikhism teaches on equality between men and women. Women just like men can perform any Sikh ceremony or lead in a prayer. They believe that way through which one can make salvation is by living an honest life and avoiding worldly sins and temptations. Ananda says that on several occasions, she has led the temple in prayers and that she is never discriminated.
Sikhism is not discriminatory, and it teaches that people of all races are equal before the eyes of God. They also believe that souls go through cycle which involves births and death before they meet the human form.
Beliefs of Sikhism
Ananda claims that people usually have a misconception about Sikhism. After understanding its principles, many people usually convert to this religion. She explains that she has seen many people converting to Sikhism. Sikhs believe in God choosing to embody Divine power in Guru Nanak and the other nine Gurus. They believe that none among the Gurus is to be worshiped as God. They also believe that God can manifest and reveal Himself through anything in the world, but none of these things is to be worshipped as God (Cole, 1994).
Read also about the Taoism & Daoism religion
The Sikhs believe that it is the only God who is aware of when the universe was created. They also have faith in that a human being soul is on a continuous basis reborn until a time when it is liberated by God through His Grace. Sikhism religion does not believe in the existence of Satan, and that sin has no origin. Evil in the world is believed to be a test for the character of faithfulness and humanity. They believe god created human beings and gave them free will and that humans are prone to temptations.
According to Ananda, Sikhs salvation is enlightenment that is granted through God’s Grace. Sikhism advocates for frequent prayers by the Sikhs obeying God’s laws and morality. The religion also claims that suffering is inflicted by God directly to people as a test of courage and faith. Contemporary issues are addressed in the Guru Granth Sahib where abortion is considered as a sin. Gender equality is addressed, and it is stressed. The remarrying of widows is allowed in Sikhism religion.
Basic beliefs of Sikhism religion
Ananda explains about the Sikhism’s basic beliefs. The Sikhs believe in one God who is the same for all the religions in the world. This faith teaches on equality of religion, sex and race, and it states that all human beings are equal before God. The woman reminds that it is required that the Sikhs remember God all the times. Ananda says that many people are not aware that Sikhism allows religious freedom. The last thing is where every person has the right to choose their religion without coercion or discrimination. A Sikh should lead a life that is ethical and morally straight.
Sikhism is against all forms of rituals such as fasting, superstition and idol worship. The primary role of a Sikh is to offer useful services to other people. A Sikh should help the poor, the needy and the oppressed. A Sikh is a saint and a soldier who should fight for the defenseless and speak out against the injustice acts that exist in the society.
Principles of Sikhism
From some literature that Ananda had in her house principle guiding Sikhism religion are drawn. The first Guru who was Guru Nanak taught about three fundamental principles that were meant to guide Sikhs. The first one is on hard work and honesty; the second – requires that Sikhs share what they have with the needy while the third principle is that Sikhs should always and consistently remember God.
Differences between Sikhism and Hinduism
Because Sikhism and Hinduism are the two common religions in India, many people tend to confuse these two. It is good that people know their difference where it is easier to identify a Sikh man because of the turban on their heads. Sikhs practice monotheism unlike the Hindus who are polytheist. In Sikhism there are no priests as it is in Hinduism religion. Hinduism allows the worship of idol images and gods which is not the case in Sikhism (Penney, 2001).
Singh, N.-G. K. (1993). The feminine principle in the Sikh vission of the transcendent. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
McLeod, W. H. (1997). Sikhism. London: Penguin Books.
Cole, W. O. (1994). Teach yourself Sikhism. London: Hodder & Stoughton.
Penney, S. (2001). Sikhism. Chicago, Ill: Heinemann Library.
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