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Sikhism

          Sikhism originated in Punjab in Northwest India and is one of the world's youngest religions. It is only five hundred years old. Sikhism was founded by Guru Nanak Dev, who spread a simple message of “Ek Ong Akaar,” meaning we are all one created by the One God of all Creation. This particular religion began when India was torn apart with various caste systems, religious fractions, sectarianism, and fanaticism. Guru Nanak respected all religions, but wasn’t committed to any religion. He expressed the realism that there is one god and many paths for realization, and the appearance of God is Truth, “Sat Naam.” Followers of Sikhism and Guru Nanak are known as Sikhs. The term Sikh means student or disciple. A Sikh is person who believes in one God, the teachings of the ten Gurus.

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Guru Granth Sahib

The 10 Gurus

The ten gurus: Guru Nanak Dev, Guru Angad Dev, Guru Amar Das, Guru Ram Das, Guru Arjan Dev, Guru Hargobind Singh, Guru Har Rai, Guru Har Krishan, Guru Teg Bahadur, and Guru Gobind Singh all played a significant roll in the history of Sikhism. They helped to spread the religion and contributed a lot to it. Today Sikhism followers don’t have a live-body guru; instead they read and recite the holy book, the Guru Granth Sahib. The Guru Granth Sahib contains the words of God. It contains the writings if the Sikh Gurus, Hindu Saints, and Muslim Fakirs and is kept in all Gurudwaras (Sikh Churches). It was first placed in Harimandir Sahib in 1604 where the first granthi was Baba Budda. The final revisions completed in 1706 by Guru Gobind Singh.

Click on the pictures below to learn more about the gurus.

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Guru Nanak Dev (1469-1529)

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Guru Amar Das ( 1479-1574)
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Guru Angad Dev (1504-1552)
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Guru Ram Das (1534-1581)
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Guru Arjan Dev (1563-1606)
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Guru Har Rai (1630-1661)
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Guru Teg Bahadur ( 1621-1675)
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Guru Hargobind Singh (1595-1664)
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Guru Har Krishan (1656-1664)
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Guru Gobind Singh (1666-1708)

Mool Mantar
 
Mool Mantar is the first and most well known verse written by Guru Nanak. It shows how Sikhs see God, who is neither man or woman.
 
Ek Onkar
Sat Nam
Karta Purakh
Nirbhau
Nirvair
Akal Murat
Ajuni Saibhang
Gur Prashad
 
English Translation:
There is only one God
God's name is true
God is the creator of the whole universe
God is without fear
God is without jealousy or enimies
God is timeless and formless
God neither takes birth nor death
God is self existent
God can be found through the blessings of Gurus

Khalsa
 
          On March 30, 1699, Guru Gobind Singh-the tenth and final human Guru-revealed a new order of the Sikhs called the Khalsa. Khalsa means "belonging only to the divine." The Khalsa consists of Sikhs who undergo a ceremony and dedicate themselves to living by the high standards of the Sikh Gurus at all time, as well as maintaining thier physical individuality in society by maintaining the five articles of faith. The Khalsa, a global human fellowship, upheld the highest Sikh virtues through the hardest and most difficult times in Sikh history. Initiated male Khalsas adopt the mandatory last name "Singh" meaning lion, while females take the last name "Kaur" meaning princess.
 
Five K's
The five K's are symbols given to the Sikhs by the tenth guru, Guru Gobind Singh, that member of the Khalsa wear.
 
Kesh:uncut hair-a symbol of God's gifts
Kanga:comb-to show tidiness and discipline
Kaccha: shorts worn under pants-to show readiness for action
Kara: steel bracelet-a symbol of unity and faith
Kirpan: religious sword-a symbol of justice and spiritual power

Khanda
 
The khanda is the visual symbol of the Khalsa. It symbolizes the four pillars of Sikh beliefs. It is made up of a double edged sword in the middle and represents knowledge of divinity and the creatgive power of God. It also consists of an iron ring called a chakkar aroung the two edged sword. The chakkar symbolizes the unity of God. It has swords or kirpans on each side of the ring called Piri and Miri (weapons of Guru Hargobind Singh) symbolizing spiritual and temporal powers.

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Khanda consisting of Miri, Piri, chakkar, and double-edged sword.

Harimander Sahib
 
          Harimander Sahib is the most famous Sikh Gurudwara. It is also called the Golden Temple in English because of the gold plating that covers most of its surface. This Gurudwara is found in the holy city of Amritsar in Punjab in North West India and is the sacred and most visited of the many historic Sikh shrines found in India and Pakistan. This striking building was built by Guru Arjan Dev, the fifth guru of the Sikhs. The main temple building is surrounded by a pool or Sarover. The Sarover is surrounded by a walkway, which is used by the devotees to walk in a clockwise direction aroung the Sarover before going into the central building. The central gurudwara building is the hub of the religious activity.The Guru Granth Sahib is housed in this building during the daytime and continous Kirtan (religious singing) and Gurbani (prayers) recital takes place. The main building complex has four doors that signify the warm welcome to this shrine for all different classes and types of people from all walks of life. People of all religions are welcome to this temple.

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Harimander Sahib in the holy city of Amritsar