Sikhism

Sikhism (/ˈsɪkɪzəm/) or Sikhi (Punjabi: ਸਿੱਖੀ Sikkhī, [ˈsɪkhiː], from ਸਿੱਖ, Sikh, 'disciple', 'seeker', or 'learner')[lower-roman 1] is an Indian religion that originated in the Punjab region of the Indian subcontinent[lower-roman 2] around the end of the 15th century CE.[1][2][3][4][5][6] It is among the most recently founded major organized faiths, and stands at fifth-largest worldwide[7] with about 25–30 million adherents (known as Sikhs) as of the early 21st century.[8][9]

Symbol of Sikhism

Sikhism developed from the spiritual teachings of Guru Nanak (1469–1539), the faith's first guru,[10]of the nine Sikh gurus who succeeded him. The tenth guru, Gobind Singh (1666–1708), named the Sikh scripture Guru Granth Sahib as his successor, bringing to a close the line of human gurus and establishing the scripture as the 11th and last eternally living guru, a religious spiritual/life guide for Sikhs.[11][12][13] Guru Nanak taught that living an "active, creative, and practical life" of "truthfulness, fidelity, self-control and purity" is above metaphysical truth, and that the ideal man "establishes union with God, knows His Will, and carries out that Will".[14] Guru Hargobind, the sixth Sikh Guru (1606–1644), established the concept of mutual co-existence of the miri ('political'/'temporal') and piri ('spiritual') realms.[15]

The Sikh scripture opens with the Mul Mantar (ਮੂਲ ਮੰਤਰ), fundamental prayer about ik onkar (, 'One God').[16][17] The core beliefs of Sikhism, articulated in the Guru Granth Sahib, include faith and meditation in the name of the one creator; divine unity and equality of all humankind; engaging in seva ('selfless service'); striving for justice for the benefit and prosperity of all; and honest conduct and livelihood while living a householder's life.[18][19][20] Following this standard, Sikhism rejects claims that any particular religious tradition has a monopoly on Absolute Truth.[lower-roman 3][21]

Sikhism emphasizes simran (ਸਿਮਰਨ, meditation and remembrance of the teachings of Gurus),[22] which can be expressed musically through kirtan, or internally through naam japna ('meditation on His name') as a means to feel God's presence. It teaches followers to transform the "Five Thieves" (i.e. lust, rage, greed, attachment, and ego).[23]

The religion developed and evolved in times of religious persecution, gaining converts from both Hinduism and Islam.[24] Mughal rulers of India tortured and executed two of the Sikh gurus—Guru Arjan (1563–1605) and Guru Tegh Bahadur (1621–1675)—after they refused to convert to Islam.[25][26][27][28][29] The persecution of Sikhs triggered the founding of the Khalsa by Guru Gobind Singh in 1699 as an order to protect the freedom of conscience and religion,[25][30] with members expressing the qualities of a Sant-Sipāhī ('saint-soldier').[31][32]


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