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  1. 1. SIKHISM East meets West:
  2. 2. Origins of Sikhism ●Born in the Punjab which now falls into the present day states of India and Pakistan. ●The main religions of the area at the time were Hinduism and Islam. ●The Sikh faith began around 1500 CE, when Guru Nanak began teaching a faith that was quite distinct from Hinduism and Islam. ●Nine Gurus followed Nanak and developed the Sikh faith and community over the next centuries.
  3. 3. Quick Bio: Guru Nanak ●Founder (1469 – 1539) ●Born to a Hindu family of the Kshatriya (Warrior) caste – although they were not very wealthy ●Began to reject Hindu ways at a very young age – searching instead for a religious outlook that asserted the oneness of God. ●He would often spend days in solitude and spend his time in meditation. ●Sikh tradition states that he was a gifted guru (teacher) even at a very young age. ●He would rise before dawn, bathe in the river, meditate, and then lead others in singing hymns of praise.
  4. 4. Quick Bio: Guru Nanak ●At age 30 Nanak went through a profound spiritual experience (disappears for three days): ●On his return he claimed: “I shall follow God’s path. God is neither Hindu nor Muslim and the path which I follow is God’s” ●At this point considered a Guru (source of spiritual guidance from ignorance to a state of enlightenment) ●Composed hymns to share his insights with those around him. ●Traveled and taught around India, Sri Lanka and Tibet ●1521 settles in Kartapur, sets up a communal farm and builds a place of worship (1st Sikh community), establishing the lifestyle that characterizes Sikhism today.
  5. 5. Origins of Sikhism ●Sikhism was well established by the time of Guru Arjan, the fifth Guru. ●Guru Arjan completed the establishment of Amritsar as the capital of the Sikh world, and compiled the first authorized book of Sikh scripture, the Adi Granth. ●During Arjan's time Sikhism was seen as a threat by the state and Guru Arjan was eventually executed for his faith in 1606. ●The sixth Guru, Hargobind, started to militarize the community so that they would be able to resist oppression. The Sikhs fought a number of battles to preserve their faith. ●The Sikhs then lived in relative peace with the political rulers until the time of the Moghal Emperor, Aurangzeb, who used force to make his subjects accept Islam. ●Aurangzeb had the ninth Guru, Tegh Bahadur, arrested and executed in 1675.
  6. 6. Quick Bio: The Gurus ●Although Guru Nanak has remained the most prominent and revered Guru, there have been 9 successors. ●Sikh’s believe that the gurus were ordinary human beings but were blessed with divine grace. ●Each of the 10 Gurus have contributed to their religion in their own way, although the contribution of Guru Arjan (Guru from 1581 to 1606), the fifth successor, deserve special recognition ●Guru Arjan complied the Adi Granth, giving Sikhism its holy scripture and also constructed the great Temple of God (“Golden Temple”) at Amristar ●The temple is contructed with four doors, representing Sikhism’s openness to people of all four castes.(and Untouchables) ●The 10th Guru, Guru Gobind Singh (Guru from 1675 to 1708) is considered to be the greatest Guru after Nanak ●Gobind Singh was the last human Guru. Sikhs now treat their scriptures (revealed truth from the Gurus personal experiences) as their Guru. ●10 Gurus - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1pJjRz-hZtM
  7. 7. Key Concept: The Khalsa ●Guru Gobind Singh brought about two innovations that would forever change Sikhsim ●First he instituted the Khalsa – a special dedicated group within the Sikh community, Sikh’s are not required to join this group but many do. ●This group was originally created to defend the faith at a time when Sikh’s faced persecution for not converting to Islam. ●Alongside the Khalsa Gobind Singh established the Sikh rite of initiation and the 5 Ks which give Sikhs their unique appearance.
  8. 8. Key Concept: The Guru Granth Sahib●A.K.A. the Adi Granth or the living guru ●Collection of 3000 hymns written by the gurus ●Also includes writings by non-sikhs (Hindus and Muslims) ●Embodies the authority of God and the 10 gurus ●All Sikhs are encouraged to study the scriptures first by learning to read and write gurmukhi script and then by studying the lives and teachings of the gurus. ●Every copy needs its own room – just for the book ●Must cleanse hands, cover head and remove shoes before entering the room where it is kept. ●When not in use it is covered with a cloth, when open it rests on cushions, if being moved it is covered and carried above the head.
  9. 9. History of Sikhism ●The first military leader of the Sikhs to follow the Gurus was Banda Singh Bahadur. ●He led a successful campaign against the Moghals until he was captured and executed in 1716. ●In the middle of the century the Sikhs rose up again, and over the next 50 years took over more and more territory. ●In 1799 Ranjit Singh captured Lahore, and in 1801 established the Punjab as an independent state, with himself as Maharaja. He proved an adept ruler of a state in which Sikhs were still in a minority. ●Although a devout Sikh, he took part in religious acts with Muslims and Hindus as well.
  10. 10. History of Sikhism ●When India gained its independence in 1947; it was divided between India (Hindu) and Pakistan (Islamic). The Sikhs felt badly treated and reluctantly chose to join India. ●The Sikhs were unable to demand their own state (Khalistan), because there were too few of them to resist Pakistan’s claim to the Punjab. ●Only by siding with India were they able to keep part of the Punjab, although not before appalling loss of life in communal massacres. ●Sikhs lost many of their privileges, much of their land, many of their holy places and were deeply unhappy.
  11. 11. History of Sikhism ●In 1966, after years of Sikh demands, India divided the Punjab into three, recreating the Punjab as a state with a Sikh majority. ●This was not enough to stop Sikh anger at what they saw as continuing oppression and the unfair way in which they thought India had set the boundaries of the new state. They continued to demand various concessions from the Indian government. ●As Sikh discontent grew, the conflict morphed into a confrontation between Hindus and Sikhs.
  12. 12. History of Sikhism ●A Sikh preacher called Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale became the leader of the most disaffected of the Sikhs. In 1983 Bhindranwale and his closest followers took refuge in the Golden Temple Complex at Amritsar, the most revered place in the Sikh world. ●The Indian government believed that the Temple was being used as a militant command post, a sanctuary for wanted criminals and as a warehouse for weapons, and resolved to take action. ●In June 1984 Indian troops launched 'Operation Blue Star'. They attacked the Golden Temple Complex, killing many of those inside, and seriously damaging the buildings
  13. 13. Amristar Most important city for Sikhs Hosts the golden temple complex (built by 5th Guru
  14. 14. History of Sikhism ●This invasion of the holiest place of the Sikhs infuriated many Sikhs. They saw the Indian Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi, who had ordered the invasion, as a deliberate persecutor of the Sikh faith and community. ●In October 1984, Indira Gandhi was assassinated by two of her Sikh bodyguards. ●Four days of anti-Sikh rioting followed. The government said 2,700 people, mostly Sikhs, were killed, while newspapers put the death toll between 10,000 and 17,000. ●Sikhs are still resentful that action has not been taken against all those who were responsible. ●For several years militant Sikhs responded by killing members of the Hindu community and Sikh political leaders who opposed them.
  15. 15. Canadian Connection: Air India Tragedy ●June 23rd , 1985 Air India Flight 192 exploded in flight, killing 329 people. ●278 of the victims were Indian Canadians. ●Act of terrorism linked to the struggle for Khalistan and the invasion of the Golden Temple in 1984. ●Impact downplayed because victims were immigrants (highlights a double standard). ●Impacts the Sikh community because the perpetrators were identified as Sikh terrorists (forever linking the two terms).
  16. 16. History of Sikhism ●The anger and frustration dominated Sikh politics until the mid-1990s. ●The 300th anniversary of the Sikh Khalsa in 1999 changed the Sikh community. It was covered positively and approvingly in the Indian (and world) press, which did much to restore Sikh confidence that they were appreciated for their true worth. ●The Punjab is presently peaceful, although in the last two or three years the rise of Hindu nationalism, and renewed claims that Sikhism is nothing more than a Hindu sect, have given Sikhs cause for alarm. ●Today, Sikhism is the 5th largest religion in the world, with more than 20 million followers worldwide. ●Sikhs have been in the North America for more than 100 years
  17. 17. Monotheism (Sikh Creed) ●One eternal God = Waheguru (Wonderful Lord) ●God has no form or gender. ●Center/creator of the universe and sovereign ruler. ●God’s name should be remembered, repeated and meditated upon continually. ●God is present everywhere, therefore prayers can be said anywhere, at any time (everyone has direct access).
  18. 18. Nam (Sikh Creed) ●God lives within each human heart (word for this indwelling of God = Nam). ●Central duty for Sikhs is to come to a better relationship with Nam. ●Strive to keep this God within in mind at all times; by cultivating this Sikhs become more loving, truthful, humble and content.
  19. 19. Equality (Sikh Creed) ●Equality = fundamental belief. ●All humans are created equal and anything that emphasizes inequality is a creation of human beings not of God (reject the caste system, sati, veiling etc.). ●Women are encouraged to participate fully in services and can become GRANTHIS (reader of the holy book, teacher and priest).
  20. 20. Reality (Sikh Creed) ●The world is not illusion, nor is it the source of suffering (the world is good). ●The world exists for us to practice good and virtuous action. ●Human life is the opportunity to gain full spiritual achievement and become one with God. ●The highest achievement is to become a Gurmukh (a God-man), who is completely in touch with the will of God; a man who acts selflessly in all things, wishing to carry out God’s will and set all people free.
  21. 21. Levels of Spirituality (Sikh Creed) ●There are five levels of spiritual reality (lowest to highest): ●The level of seeking moral duty. ●The level of wisdom and knowledge. ●The level of effort. ●The level of fulfillment. ●The level of truth...union with God.
  22. 22. The Afterlife (Sikh Creed) ●Belief in an afterlife ●People are accountable to God for their actions – judgment after death. ●After judgment the soul experiences either pleasure or pain depending on past actions (Karma); something similar to the experience of heaven and hell. ●Cycle ends with God determining the soul’s next form of life. ●Birth and rebirth are caused because humans base their lives on desire.
  23. 23. Escape from Suffering (Sikh Creed) ●To escape the suffering caused by reincarnation people need to switch the focus of their attention from themselves to God. ●By continually being reborn, humans get caught up in the illusions of this world. ●Humans can turn to God in two ways: ●Listen to the gurbani (special hymns from the sacred scriptures) ●Meditate on the name of God and worship God in the hope of achieving MUKTI ●MUKTI = release from the cycle/union with God.
  24. 24. Additional Beliefs (Sikh Creed) Sikhs believe: ●In Universal Brotherhood and respect for ALL religions. ●The basic creed, which may be called Sikhi, consists of honesty, compassion, empathy, humility, social commitment, peaceful living and tolerance. ●Sikhs don't actively seek converts but they do reserve the right to actively oppose a credo that comes into direct conflict with the Will of God. And in exercising this right, they are prepared even to lay down their lives.
  25. 25. The Five Vices (Sikh Code) The five vices ● Sikhs try to avoid the five vices that make people self- centered, and build barriers against God in their lives. If a person can overcome these vices they are on the road to liberation. ●Lust ●Covetousness and greed ●Attachment to things of this world ●Anger ●Pride
  26. 26. Three Fold Service (Sikh Code) The three duties ●The three duties that a Sikh must carry out can be summed up in three words: ●Pray: Nam japna or Man ●Keeping God in mind at all times, study the holy book and share their knowledge with others. ●Work: Kirt Karna or Tan ●Earning an honest living. This doesn't just mean avoiding crime; Sikhs avoid gambling, begging, or working in the alcohol or tobacco industries. ●Give: Vand Chhakna or Dhan ●Giving to charity and caring for others (1 10th of earnings). ●Should take part in langar through donations of money or food or by donating ones time.
  27. 27. The Rehat Maryada (Sikh Code) ●The Code of Sikhism is known as the Rehat Marvada ●It contains numerous rules and general instructions for the Sikh way of life ●Included here are but a few of these guidelines: ●No sex outside of marriage (adultery is forbidden). ●Keep good company, act with modesty and humility. ●Worship should be rendered only to the One Timeless Being and to no god or goddess ●No magic: antidote for evil is to remember God (recite His name) ●No rituals, No superstitions, No special numbers, No astrology, No special times reserved for prayer, No statues or idol worship, No worship of prophets or saints or avatars ●A Sikh should pray to God before launching off any task
  28. 28. The Rehat Maryada (Sikh Code) ●It is a Sikh’s duty to get his children educated in Sikhism ●A Sikh must not take hemp (cannabis), opium, liquor, tobacco, in short any intoxicant. His only routine intake should be food. ●Piercing of the nose or ears for wearing ornaments is forbidden for Sikh men and women ●A Sikh should not kill his daughter, nor should he maintain any relationship with a killer of daughter ●A Sikh shall regard a poor person’s mouth as the Guru’s cash offerings box ●A Sikh should not steal, form dubious associations or engage in gambling ●Show respect for all living things (will not eat meat if the animal was killed in a cruel way)
  29. 29. Forms of Worship (Sikh Cult) ●“Truth is high, higher still is truthful living” ● Sikhs don't think it pleases God if people pay no attention to others and simply devote themselves slavishly to religion. ●Best way to worship God is to live honestly and care for others (which gets rid of ego and pride). ●Empty religious rituals and superstitions have no value. ●Can serve others intellectually, manually and materially. ●It is through good deeds that Sikhs will be judged.
  30. 30. Forms of Worship (Sikh Cult) Meditation: ●Although Sikhs emphasize good works over spending time in prayer they see value in certain prayer experiences. ●Sikhs believe that the presence of God is within all individuals (Nam) and it is important to them to remember that presence through meditation. ●Sikhs believe that meditating on the name of God drives away evil, gives knowledge of truth, and brings the person into closer relationship with God.
  31. 31. Forms of Worship (Sikh Cult) Prayer: ●Sikhs recite daily prayers (nit nem) in morning, evening and before bed. ●Morning prayer begins with the Mul Mantra (a summary of the most important aspects of Sikh belief and the first hymn written by Guru Nanak). ●Ardas (prayer) is always offered before or after significant Sikh religious gatherings and ceremonies. ●Read scriptures on a regular basis ●Gutka = smaller collection of hymns used for daily worship (since not all homes have a separate room for the GGS).
  32. 32. The Gurdwara (Sikh Cult) ●“Gurdwara” house of Sikh worship ●Dwara = door. ●Gurdwara = door to the enlightener (Guru) ●Guru Granth Sahib regarded as a living Guru is the present Guru and is installed in every Gurdwara ●Sikhs usually spend time worshipping weekly in the Gurdwara ●Any building that contains a copy of the Adi Granth (Guru Granth Sahib) is, technically speaking, a gurdwara. ●The Gurdwara serves mainly as a place of worship or Sikhs ●Only furniture in worship room is a special platform at one end called the Takhat (throne) where the holy text is placed – symbol of respect.
  33. 33. The Gurdwara (Sikh Cult) ●No special day for worship but in Canada it is usually held on Sunday. ●No formal priesthood in Sikhism but a Bhai Ji. Is appointed to look after the Gudwara, recite sciptures etc.. ●The Bhai Ji’s most important duty is to rise early in the morning and arrange the morning service by bringing the holy text to the main room of the Gurdwara and placing it on the alter. ●Worship in the Gurdwara is preceded by bathing, and consists of singing the Gurus’ hymns, reading from the Adi Granth, and sharing in karah parshad (sweet pudding). ●Worship can be lead by any member who has studied Sikh scriptures, the person who performs the daily prayer service is known as the granthi.
  34. 34. The Gurdwara (Sikh Cult) ●The sharing of food is central to the Gurdwara ●Each gurdwara generally has a Langar Kitchen, where Sikhs gather after services to share in the preparation and consumption of a vegetarian meal. ●The act of sharing a meal is symbolic of the unity of the Sikh community. ●All members, whether prominent or not, rich or poor sit on the floor of the Langar Kitchen to share a meal. ●This not only promotes unity but also equality before God.
  35. 35. Milestones (Sikh Cult) Birth and Naming: ●Parents visit the gurdwara to present the child before the G.G.S. ●The bring a romala (piece of material) for the G.G.S. ●Also bring money and offer gifts of thanksgiving. ●Granthi offers general prayers and asks for the blessing of God. ●Nam Karam – naming ceremony (GGS used to select the first initial of the child) ●Sing (lion) is added if the child is a boy, kaur (princess) if a girl (originates with the Khalsa) ●Amrit (honey and water) is placed on the babies tongue reminding everyone of their duty to raise the child in the faith.
  36. 36. Milestones (Sikh Cult) Amrit Ceremony (Baptism of the Sword) ●Sikhs who have been through the Amrit Ceremony of initiation become baptized Sikhs and members of the Khalsa, take new names, and wear the 5 K’s. ●These individuals are bound to a strict moral code. ●The Amrit Ceremony was introduced by Guru Gobind Singh when he founded the Khalsa in 1699. This is seen as a public commitment of faith. ●A Sikh can go through this initiation as soon as they are old enough to understand the full commitment that they are making. ●Any man or woman can be baptized regardless of race, status or prior faith tradition.
  37. 37. Milestones (Sikh Cult) ●The ceremony takes place in a Gurdwara before the Guru Granth Sahib, and in the presence of 5 initiated Sikhs (who represent the Panj Piyaras, the first 5 Sikhs to be initiated). ●During the ceremony, hymns are recited from the Sikh scripture, prayers are said, and the principles of Sikhism are affirmed. ●The candidates for initiation drink amrit from the same bowl, and have it sprinkled on their eyes and hair. ●Each then recites the Mool Mantra (the fundamentals of Sikhism). There are readings from the Guru Granth Sahib and an explanation of rules of Sikhism. ●The ceremony ends with the eating of the ceremonial Parshad.
  38. 38. The 5 K’s (Sikh Cult) ●The 5 Ks are 5 physical symbols worn by Sikhs who have been initiated into the Khalsa. ●The 5 Ks date from the creation of the Khalsa Panth by Guru Gobind Singh in 1699. ●The Guru introduced them for several reasons: ●Adopting these common symbols would identify members of the Khalsa ●Because all members of the Khalsa wear the 5 Ks the members of the community are more strongly bound together ●Each K has a particular significance ●The 5 Ks taken together symbolize dedication to a life of devotion and submission to the Guru.
  39. 39. The 5 K’s (Sikh Cult) Kesh - Uncut Hair ●Throughout history hair (kesh) has been regarded as a symbol of holiness and strength. ●One's hair is part of God's creation. Keeping hair uncut indicates that one is willing to accept God's gift as God intended it. ●Uncut hair symbolizes adoption of a simple life, and a desire to move beyond physical concerns. ●Forcible cutting of a Sikh’s hair or removal of his turban is considered a major insult, almost unforgivable
  40. 40. The 5 K’s (Sikh Cult) Kanga - a wooden comb ●Worn in the hair ●Symbolizes a clean mind and body; since it keeps the uncut hair neat and tidy. ●It symbolizes the importance of looking after the body which God has created.
  41. 41. The 5 K’s (Sikh Cult) Kara - a steel bracelet ●A symbol of restraint from evil deeds - it acts as a reminder that a Sikh should not do anything of which the Guru would not approve. ●A symbol of God having no beginning or end. ●A symbol of permanent bonding to the community and God - link in the chain of Khalsa Sikhs ●The Kara is made of steel, rather than gold or silver, because it is not an ornament and steal represents strength.
  42. 42. The 5 K’s (Sikh Cult) Kachha - special underwear ●This is a pair of pants that must not come below the knee. ●They were introduced during times of war because they were more practical than baggy pants for fighting and ridding horses. ●It's a symbol of chastity and self control (guards against lust).
  43. 43. The 5 K’s (Sikh Cult) Kirpan - a ceremonial sword ●Blunt blade, less than three inches long - kept in a sheath and can be worn over or under clothing. ●Symbolizes the need for Sikhs to stand up (in defense of themselves and other religions) against oppression, terrorism, and injustice. ●It is used as a last resort – NEVER as an offensive weapon.
  44. 44. Milestones (Sikh Cult) Marriage: ●For Sikhs marriage is an ideal state of life (a holy union) ●Marriages are often arranged ●Once arranged there is a betrothal ceremony (brides father and several relatives meet the Groom’s parents and exchange presents). ●Purpose = notify the public that the two families are now allied and to make sure the promise is kept). ●Wedding ceremony = Anand Karaj (ceremony of bliss) can take place anywhere that is free of alcohol and other intoxicants. ●Bride wears red or gold (symbolizing happiness)
  45. 45. Milestones (Sikh Cult) ●Couple is told about the responsibilities of marriage. ●Prayer of blessing is recited to the couple and their parents. ●Bow to the Guru Granth Sahib to show their agreement ●Father puts garlands of flowers of the couple and places one end of the grooms scarf in the bride’s hand. ●The marriage hymn (lavan) is read as the couple walks around the GGS and bows to it. ●Bride’s parents then greet the newly married couple with sweets and garlands, guests bring gifts of money. ●Afterwards everyone shares a meal.
  46. 46. Milestones (Sikh Cult)
  47. 47. Milestones (Sikh Cult)
  48. 48. Milestones (Sikh Cult) Funeral Rites: ●When death is imminent relatives and friends try to divert the attention of the individual from this world by having the individual focus on God. ●Dying person is encouraged to repeat Waheguru (Wonderful Lord) to console the departing soul. ●After death the body is bathed, dressed and placed on a wooden frame. ●The mourners form a procession and sing hymns as they carry the body to the cremation ground where prayers are said for the peace of the soul. ●Mourning lasts 10 days and takes place at the Gurdwara or at home and reading from the GGS is conducted each day.
  49. 49. Milestones (Sikh Cult)
  50. 50. Festivals (Sikh Cult) ●The Sikh festivals celebrating anniversaries associated with Gurus are known as Gurpurbs, meaning Guru's day ●The celebration is generally similar for all Gurpurbs whether related to death or birth or any other event related to the life of the Guru ●Bikrami Sammat - The birthday of Guru Nanak, founder of the Sikh religion, is usually celebrated in the month of November, with the date varying according to the Indian Lunar calendar ●The birthday celebration usually lasts three days. ●Two days before the birthday a forty-eight-hour non-stop reading of the whole Guru Granth Sahib is started in every Gurdwara ●On the birth day, the celebrations begin early in the morning at about 4 am with the singing of hymns, followed by lectures, recitation of vaars (poems) in praise of the Guru and languar. ●The celebration goes on until about 2 am.
  51. 51. Festivals (Sikh Cult) ●2nd type of festival = Jore Melas (provide opportunities for Sikh’s to gather together). ●Ex: Diwali - The Indian festival of lights ●Held around October 25th ●In 1577 the foundation stone of The Golden Temple was laid on Diwali ●On Diwali 1619 the Golden Temple was illuminated with many lights to welcome home and celebrate the release of Guru Hargobind from imprisonment ●Sikhs have continued this annual celebration with lamps being lit outside gurdwaras and sweets distributed to all ●The largest gathering happens at The Golden Temple which is lit up with thousands of lights