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What is Sikhism? Out of all the major religions, Sikhism is the youngest, and it dates back to the 15th century. It is a monotheistic religion and the origin of Sikhism resides in the teaching of Guru Nanak and the other followers who were appointed to be Gurus. The teachings are about the devotion to God, the values of family life, hard work, and service to others. The core of Sikh teaching is summarized by Guru Nanak Dev Ji in these words “Realization of truth is higher than all else. Higher still is truthful living.” The word Sikh means strong and being able to learn.  The 10 Gurus (Disciples) Guru Nanak Dev Ji (First Guru):The life of Guru Nanak Dev Ji is documented in a group of stories called the Janam Sakhis. He is the first of the Sikh Gurus and he is the founder of Sikhism. He was born into a Hindu family, but he disappointed he didn’t want to do a traditional ritual. He sang these words: “Let mercy be the cotton, contentment the thread, continence the knot and truth the twist.” These words were an early sign of his future teaching, which say that the values and “truthful living”, are more importance than the rituals in a religion. He hand picked some of the Gurus before he died, but he was the main focus out of them all. He created Sikhism because he wanted to unite people. This religion was created in the mist of tension between the Muslims and Hindus. He didn’t want to be a part of Hindus or Muslims, so he taught of his own path to follow, which led to Sikhism. Guru Nanak Dev Ji rejected the notion of Hinduism’s  four stages of life rituals, and instead, he taught that the “householder” is the ideal for everyone. He later died in 1539, but his teachings still carried on. Guru Angad Dev Ji (Second Guru):Guru Angad was originally a Hindu named Bhai Lehna in Ferozepur, Punjab. Before meeting Guru Nanak Dev Ji at the age of  27 years old, he worshiped the Hindu Goddess Durga. Seven years later after meeting him, Guru Angad became a devoted follower and was chosen as Guru Nanak Dev Ji’s successor. He had to go through many tests, proving that he was worthy enough to be a Guru. After Guru Nanak Dev Ji died, he continued his work, and made significant contributions to the teaching of Sikhism. He started schools for children and women to learn the Gurmukhi script. He also wrote the first biography of Guru Nanak Dev Ji and gathered some of the first Guru’s shabads (hymns). He made sure that the Langar in Gurdwara became an obligation. Guru Amar Das Sahib Ji (Third Guru):Guru Amar Das Sahib Ji was born in the village of Basarke and he was the eldest son of a farmer. Before he became a devoted follower to Sikhism, he was a dedicated Hindu. When he became Guru Angad Dev Ji, he began following the path of Sikhism and became a Guru in 1552. He was made a successor of Guru Nanak Dev Ji  because of his selfless service to others and his great humility and wisdom. He followed what Guru Angad Dev Ji stood for and he dedicated hi services to him. He was chosen to be a devoted Sikh in charge of each of the 22 regions in Punjab. He preached equality of all people and tried to get equality for women while he was alive and living in Punjab, India. Guru Ram Das Sahib Ji  (Fourth Guru):Guru Ram Das Sahib Ji was born into a poor Hindu family in Lahore, which is now known as Pakistan. He was originally named Bhai Jetha and was orphaned around the age seven, until his biological grandmother took him in. He was appointed as a Guru at the age of 40 by Guru Amar Das Sahib Ji and he continued to spread the Sikh faith. When he became a Guru, he changed his name to Guru Ram Das. He served as a Guru for seven years.  He founded the Chak Ramdas P., a village that is now known as Amritsar. He helped build the city of Ramdaspur by adding a second sacred pool, that was instructed by Guru Amar Das Ji. Guru Arjan Dev Ji (Fifth Guru): Guru Arjan Dev Ji was born in Goindwal in Punjab, India. He was chosen as one of the successors in 1581. He became a Guru because of his selfless services and his universal love. He was the treasure of spiritual excellence and celestial knowledge. He became the first Sikh martyr when he tortured and killed in 1606. He was tortured by Muslims and was killed because he refused to convert to islam. He built the building of Amritsar, along with the Harmandir Sahib. He developed Amritsar as the center of excellence. He enhanced the structure of Sikh community by advancing mansand system.  Guru Hargobind Sahib Ji (Sixth Guru): Guru Hargobind Sahib Ji  was the son of Guru Arjan Dev Ji and he was born in Wadali village. He was appointed as a Guru by his father. After his father’s passing, he arranged Sikhs to defend the weak and helpless because he recognized that the Sikh communities and the other non – Muslim communities had to defend the right of habituating their faith. He created an army to defend Sikh, in which he led and fought in battles. He built the Akal Takht in the city of Kiratpur, which is one of the five seats of power of Sikhs. He had the longest term of being a Guru out of all the Gurus. Guru Har Rai Sahib Ji (Seventh Guru):Guru Har Rai Sahib Ji born in Kiratpur Sahib, India and he was grandson of Guru Hargobind Sahib Ji.  He was chosen to be a Guru because of his selflessness of providing free medical aid to the people in need. He followed the footsteps of his grandfather. He continued his grandfather’s military traditions and expanded the Manji Missions. He always kept 2200 mounted “sainted soldiers” at all times. He was known as a “man of peace,” but he never abandoned the Sikh Cavalry. His grandfather, Guru Hargobind Sahib Ji, picked him as the next Guru because he thought that Guru Har Rai Sahib Ji would bring the “light” to Sikhs and carry on traditions to Sikhs. Guru Har Krishan Sahib Ji  (Eighth Guru):Guru Har Krishan Sahib Ji was born in Kiratpur Sahib, India. He was the son of Guru Har Rai Sahib Ji and he was only five years old when he appointed to be a Guru. He had only been a Guru for three years because he died from smallpox. He didn’t really get to achieve much as a Guru, but he is known for being the youngest Guru and he was picked because he had potential and he was a devoted follower to Sikhism. Guru Tegh Bahadur Sahib Ji (Ninth Guru): Guru Tegh Bahadur born in Amritsar, India and was the youngest son of Guru Hargobind. As a kid, he trained and martial arts of archery and horsemanship. He was a Guru from 1664 to 1675. His skills of martial arts came in handy when his teaching taught many. In today’s culture, Sikhs using the training of “guthcka” to learn how to defend themselves. While he was a Guru, he synchronized with Mughal persecution of Hindus when he agreed to help Hindus face the Mughal persecution, but was imprisoned. After a while of being imprisoned, he died and  became the second Sikh martyr. He is the first of all Gurus to sacrifice his life for another religion. Guru Gobind Singh Sahib Ji (Tenth Guru):Guru Gobind Singh was born  in Patna, Bihar and was the son of Guru Tegh Bahadur Sahib Ji. He was raised by a Sodhi Khatri family while his father was helping other cities. Guru Gobind Singh Sahib Ji  was the “final human Guru.” He coordinated the Sikhs into a more effective military force. He established the Amrit Sanskar and created the Khalsa. During this time the sentiment of being born a soldier – saint was established. Just before he died, he declared that there would not be any more human Gurus and that the Sikh teacher would be the holy scriptures, which is called the Guru Granth Sahib. The Panj Kakke (The 5 Khalsas):When Sikhs become a “true Sikh,” they have to follow certain guidelines but not all Sikhs follow these guidelines and they are the ones that are not fully devoted. The devoted Sikhs follow the Five K’s. In Punjabi, it stands for the Panj Kakke or the Five Khalsas. The Five K’s does not just apply to men, both men and women can follow this. Kesh (Uncut Hair): The Kesh symbolizes the teaches one to be humble and devoted to God at all times. Adding on, the hair is covered with a turban because a devoted Sikh cannot show their hair, it has to be covered in public places. Kanga (Small Wooden Comb): The Kanga symbolizes the discipline needed to keep the Sikh faith. It is important for “true Sikhs” to alway have the Kanga because if they have matted hair, it symbolized that they are “withdrawing from the world,” which Sikhs don’t accept. Kara (Steel Bracelet worn on the wrist):The Kara symbolizes the “circle of life” which is birth and rebirth. It is a symbol for reminding one of their moral commitment when using their hands to efface greed. It is like a “handcuff” from the Gurus that reminds a Sikh of their respect and love for their Guru. Kirpan (a sword of mercy usually a small dagger):The Kirpan is part of a Sikh martial tradition. It is used to uphold righteousness and blessing food and it is worn at all times, day and night. The Kirpan operates as a reminder to protect the weak and needy, defend one’s faith, and it is a reminds one of his or her duty as a Khalsa. Kachera (long breeches – underwear):The Kachera evokes one of their moral obligation. It is a dignified attire that is a cognitive of high moral character and modesty. Sikhs initially wore these shorts into battle. The Gurdwara (The Temple): The term gurdwara means “the doorway to the Guru.” Sikhs attend the gurdwara on Sundays or any day they want to practice their religion. In India some go their to bless their family and hope everything works out. There are key elements that happen and are a part of the gurdwara. The Nishan Sahib: The Nishan Sahib is a flag with a Khanda, a religious symbol that represents Sikhism overall, on it. The Khanda indicates some of the essential ideas with in Sikhism, like the Kirpans (swords/daggers) sticking out from the sides. It represents the eternal nature of God and the equally of humanity. The Guru Granth Sahib (The Holy Scriptures): The Guru Granth Sahib plays an important piece in the lives of Sikhs. The book was formulated by 6 of the Gurus and it is selection of shabads (hymns), and there is a total of 5,894 shabads in the Guru Granth Sahib. The book was written in Gurmukhi, a form of Punjabi, that was developed by Guru Angad. Each book is identical in the way the pages are set out, therefore, “the book always starts at the same place on the same page no matter where the book is being read.” During special times in the personal and community life of Sikhs, the Guru Granth Sahib is read continuously in all gurdwaras. This book is given the uttermost respect. Sikhs bow down in front of the book and sit on the ground, where the book is higher off the ground because the book holds the highest authority. Any place where a Guru Granth Sahib is held, becomes a gurdwara. Langar (Free Kitchen): In a gurdwara, after the Guru Granth Sahib is read and put away, everyone eats Langar, food made in the gurdwara. Foods like roti, basmati rice, lentils, and much more.  In gurdwara, no meat can be eaten.  When eating, everyone has to sit on the floor. When food is served, everyone receiving the foods have to put their hands together. No one eats until these words are said: “Bole So Nihal, Sat Sri Akal.”Sikhism Beliefs: Belief About God: The Sikh belief about God cannot be divided from the views of Sikhs about human relationships. Sikhs believe in one God, and there are many names to this one God, listed in the Guru Granth Sahib. The concept of God never takes human form, not like Hinduism.Languages: Punjabi is more of the predominant language of Sikhism but it is not just the only one.  The Guru Granth Sahib uses the Punjabi language that is written in Gurmukhi, which is the “official language of the sacred Sikh scripture” that is a “type of poetic Punjabi” (RealSikhism). What it Sikhism stands for?/What does it mean to be a Sikh?Sikhism stands for being brave and courageous,  not selfish or conceited. Sikhs are educated on the importance of family life, “kirta karna (honest work), and vand chhakna (sharing wealth for the benefit of others)” (Real Sikhism).There are many factors that make of Sikhism and many of it has to do with the act of kindness. The meaning of being a Sikh is that it aims to live a life that worships god, balances work, and doing charitable work. The center of Sikh communal life is the Gurdwara. The purpose of a Sikh’s life is to align their life with god, become a “saint soldier”, and fight for the good.