How it all began
The word ‘Sikh’ in the Punjabi language means ‘disciple’, Sikhs are the disciples of God who follow the writings and teachings of the Ten Sikh Gurus. The wisdom of these teachings in Sri Guru Granth Sahib are practical and universal in their appeal to all mankind.
“I observe neither Hindu fasting nor the ritual of the Muslim Ramadan month; Him I serve who at the last shall save. The Lord of universe of the Hindus, Gosain and Allah to me are one; From Hindus and Muslims have I broken free. I perform neither Kaaba pilgrimage nor at bathing spots worship; One sole Lord I serve, and no other. I perform neither the Hindu worship nor the Muslim prayer; To the Sole Formless Lord in my heart I bow. We neither are Hindus nor Muslims; Our body and life belong to the One Supreme Being who alone is both Ram and Allah for us.” (Guru Arjan Dev, Guru Granth Sahib, Raga Bhairon pg. 1136)
“Any human being who faithfully believes in: (i) One Immortal Being, (ii) Ten Gurus, from Guru Nanak to Guru Gobind Singh, (iii) The Guru Granth Sahib, (iv) The utterances and teachings of the ten Gurus and, (v) the baptism bequeathed by the tenth Guru, and who does not owe allegiance to any other religion is a Sikh.” (Rehat Maryada, Sikh Code of Conduct)
- There is only One God. He is the same God for all people of all religions.
- The soul goes through cycles of births and deaths before it reaches the human form. The goal of our life is to lead an exemplary existence so that one may merge with God. Sikhs should remember God at all times and practice living a virtuous and truthful life while maintaining a balance between their spiritual obligations and temporal obligations.
- The true path to achieving salvation and merging with God does not require renunciation of the world or celibacy, but living the life of a householder, earning a honest living and avoiding worldly temptations and sins.
- Sikhism condemns blind rituals such as fasting, visiting places of pilgrimage, superstitions, worship of the dead, idol worship etc.
- Sikhism preaches that people of different races, religions, or sex are all equal in the eyes of God. It teaches the full equality of men and women. Women can participate in any religious function or perform any Sikh ceremony or lead the congregation in prayer.
The Five Ks (Punjabi: ਪੰਜ ਕਕਾਰ Pañj Kakār) are five Articles of Faith that Khalsa Sikhs wear at all times as commanded by the tenth Sikh Guru, Guru Gobind Singh who so ordered it at the Vaisakhi Amrit Sanskar in 1699. The Five Ks are not just symbols, but articles of faith that collectively form the external identity and the Khalsa devotee’s commitment to the Sikh rehni “Sikh way of life”.
A Sikh who has taken Amrit, dons all five Ks is known as Khalsa (“pure”) or Amritdhari (“Amrit Sanskar participant”), while a Sikh who has not taken Amrit but follows all rules and keeps all five Ks is called a sahajdhari (“slow adopter”).
- Kesh(ਕੇਸ) – uncut hair
- Kanga(ਕੰਘਾ) – a wooden comb
- Kara(ਕੜਾ) – a metal bracelet
- Kachera(ਕੱਛ) – a specific style of cotton undergarments
- Kirpan( ਕਿਰਪਾਨ) – a strapped curved sword.