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About Sikhism

What is Sikhism ?

Sikhism is a panentheistic religion founded during the 15th century in the Punjab region, by Guru Nanak Dev and continued to progress with ten successive Sikh gurus (the last teaching being the holy scripture Gurū Granth Sāhib Ji). It is the fifth-largest organized religion in the world, with over 30 million Sikhs and one of the most steadily growing. This system of religious philosophy and expression has been traditionally known as the Gurmat (literally 'wisdom of the Gurū'). Punjab of India is the only region in the world with a majority Sikh population.

Sikhs are expected to embody the qualities of a "Sant-Sipāhī"—a saint-soldier. One must have control over one's internal vices and be able to be constantly immersed in virtues clarified in the Guru Granth Sahib. A Sikh must also have the courage to defend the rights of all who are wrongfully oppressed or persecuted irrespective of religion, colour, caste or creed.

The principal beliefs of Sikhi are faith in Waheguru—represented by the phrase ik ōaṅkār, meaning one God, along with a praxis in which the Sikh is enjoined to engage in social reform through the pursuit of justice for all human beings. Sikhi advocates the pursuit of salvation in a social context through the congregational practice meditation on the name and message of God.

The followers of Sikhi are ordained to follow the teachings of the ten Sikh gurus, or enlightened leaders, as well as the holy scripture entitled the Gurū Granth Sāhib Ji, which, along with the writings of six of the ten Sikh Gurus, includes selected works of many devotees from diverse socio-economic and religious backgrounds. Guru Gobind Singh Ji, the tenth guru, conferred the leadership of the Sikh community to the Gurū Granth Sāhib and the corporate body of the Khālsā Panth (the Granth and the Panth).

Sikhi's traditions and teachings are associated with the history, society and culture of Punjab. Adherents of Sikhī are known as Sikhs (students or disciples) and number over 30 million across the world. Most Sikhs live in Punjab, India, although there is a significant Sikh diaspora. Until the Partition of India with the division of Panjab and the subsequent independence of Pakistan and later India, millions of Sikhs lived in what is now Pakistani Punjab. The origins of Sikhi lie in the teachings of Guru Nanak and his successors.

The essence of Sikh teaching is summed up by Nanak in these words: "Realization of Truth is higher than all else. Higher still is truthful living". Sikh teaching emphasizes the principle of equality of all humans and rejects discrimination on the basis of caste, creed, and gender. Sikh principles encourage living life as a householder.

Sikh is a monotheistic and a revealed religion. In Sikhi, God—termed Vāhigurū—is shapeless, timeless, and sightless: niraṅkār, akaal, and alakh. The beginning of the first composition of Sikh scripture is the figure "1"—signifying the universality of God. It states that God is omnipresent and infinite with power over everything, and is signified by the term ēk ōaṅkār. Sikhs believe that before creation, all that existed was God and God's hukam (will or order). When God willed, the entire cosmos was created.

From these beginnings, God nurtured "enticement and attachment" to māyā, 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 (sarav viāpak) 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. God has no gender in Sikhi, (though translations may incorrectly present a male God); indeed Sikhi teaches that God is "Akaal Purkh" with characteristic of "Nirankar" [Niran meaning "without" and kar meaning "form", hence "without form"]. In addition, Nanak wrote that there are many worlds on which God has created life.

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