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Sikhism Research Paper

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SIKHISM


Punjab is a State in the Northern India where Sikh religion is dominant. It is here in this State where there follows there is a young woman called Ananda who is a follower of the Sikh religion. She is the one who was helpful in the giving of information that enabled the understanding of the viewed religion. Before meeting Ananda, there was a misconception that Schism did not allow their followers religious freedom and that it was just a religious reform movement. This woman explains that Sikhism is a progressive religion founded 500 years ago. The analyzed ideology believes that there is only one God who is of all religions. A Sikh is a disciple of God and should be someone who follows the teachings and writings of the Ten Sikh Gurus.

From a brief history from Ananda, we learn about Sikhism and who was the founder. This was Guru Nanak who created it in 1496. He passed on his enlightened leadership to nine other Gurus; until the last of them – Guru Gobind Singh – died in 1708. During the lifetime of Guru Gobind Singh, A Khalsa Order was established and it meant pureness. The Khalsa upheld the highest Sikhism virtues of social conscience, commitment and dedication. The order requires male and female Sikh baptism ceremony’s undergoing, and they are to follow strictly the Sikh Code of Conduct. Ananda herself is already a Sikh and is proud of her religion. The physical articles of the Sikh religion are the uncut hair of men which should be covered with a turban and the ceremonial sword (Singh, 1993).

Before the death of Guru Gobind Singh, the Guru said that the Sikhs did not require a physical successor after him. The Guru felt that, all the wisdom and spiritual guidance that was necessary to the Sikhs were to be found in the religious book. Sri Guru Granth Sahib is a religious scripture that has writings of even other faiths that had similar thoughts as to those of the Sikh Gurus.

From what Ananda is explaining Sikhism religion does not have priests since the posts were abolished by Guru Gobind Singh. The last Guru felt that his successors had become corruptible and had ego. As a result, Sikhs have only the Guru Granth Sahib custodians. The Holy Book is found in the Sikh temple also known as the Gurdwara. Sikhs are allowed to read the treatise from their homes or in the Gurdwara. The last one is usually open to all people of all faiths. In her house, Ananda has a Guru Granth Sahib which she reads at least three times a day when she is in the indoor for the entire day.

In every Gurdwara, there is a community kitchen that serves meals to all people regardless of their religion. Guru Nanak is the one who initiated the idea of such a creating as a sign of humility, service and equality. A visit to the Gurdwara with Ananda it is proved to be that there is a truly community kitchen and anyone regardless of their religion can share a meal with the Sikhs.

People are to remove shoes before entering the temple, and if the feet are dirty, they are washed. Every visitor entering the Gurdwara should cover their heads and once inside, people usually sit on the floor facing Guru Granth Sahib.

According to the Sikhism teachings, every place that has the Sri Guru Granth is considered holy for the Sikhs. There is one most famous historical center of religion for the pointed ideology which is the Harmiandir Sahib or The Golden Temple. The Golden Temple is at Amristar in Punjab state North of India. It is considered as a historical and inspiration center by the Sikhs.

Ananda says that she learnt that Guru Nanak preached love and understanding and criticized the blind rituals. Today, the Sikhism is ranked as the fifth most populous religion in the world. It has over twenty million followers all over the world. Sikhism is open to all people through the teaching of the ten Gurus which are enshrined in the Sikh Holy Book and Living Guru, Sri Granth Sahib. The teachings in Sri Guru Granth Sahib are universal and practical to all human beings.

The woman of this faith tells that according to Rehat Maryada, Sikh Code of Conduct, any person who believes in an immortal being, believes in baptism by the tenth Guru, believes in teachings and utterances of the ten Gurus and owes no allegiance to any other religion, is a Sikh. Ananda continues to explain that Sikhism religion denounces superstitions and blind rituals, and it preaches that people should live truthfully, observe equality to all mankind and remember God all the times.(McLeod, 1997)

Blind rituals include things like fasting, worshiping idol gods, worship of the dead and visiting places of pilgrimage. Sikhism teaches on equality between men and women. Women just like men can perform any Sikh ceremony or lead in a prayer. They believe that way through which one can make salvation is by living an honest life and avoiding worldly sins and temptations. Ananda says that on several occasions, she has led the temple in prayers and that she is never discriminated.

Sikhism is not discriminatory, and it teaches that people of all races are equal before the eyes of God. They also believe that souls go through cycle which involves births and death before they meet the human form.

Beliefs of Sikhism

Ananda claims that people usually have a misconception about Sikhism. After understanding its principles, many people usually convert to this religion. She explains that she has seen many people converting to Sikhism. Sikhs believe in God choosing to embody Divine power in Guru Nanak and the other nine Gurus. They believe that none among the Gurus is to be worshipped as God. They also believe that God can manifest and reveal Himself through anything in the world, but none of these things is to be worshipped as God (Cole, 1994).

Read also about the Taoism & Daoism religion

The Sikhs believe that it is the only God who is aware of when the universe was created. They also have faith in that a human being soul is on a continuous basis reborn until a time when it is liberated by God through His Grace. Sikhism religion does not believe in the existence of Satan, and that sin has no origin. Evil in the world is believed to be a test for the character of faithfulness and humanity. They believe god created human beings and gave them free will and that humans are prone to temptations.

According to Ananda, Sikhs salvation is enlightenment that is granted through God’s Grace. Sikhism advocates for frequent prayers by the Sikhs obeying God’s laws and morality. The religion also claims that suffering is inflicted by God directly to people as a test of courage and faith. Contemporary issues are addressed in the Guru Granth Sahib where abortion is considered as a sin. Gender equality is addressed, and it is stressed. The remarrying of widows is allowed in Sikhism religion.

Basic beliefs of Sikhism religion

Ananda explains about the Sikhism’s basic beliefs. The Sikhs believe in one God who is the same for all the religions in the world. This faith teaches on equality of religion, sex and race, and it states that all human beings are equal before God. The woman reminds that it is required that the Sikhs remember God all the times. Ananda says that many people are not aware that Sikhism allows religious freedom. The last thing is where every person has the right to choose their religion without coercion or discrimination. A Sikh should lead a life that is ethical and morally straight.

Sikhism is against all forms of rituals such as fasting, superstition and idol worship. The primary role of a Sikh is to offer useful services to other people. A Sikh should help the poor, the needy and the oppressed. A Sikh is a saint and a soldier who should fight for the defenseless and speak out against the injustice acts that exist in the society.

Principles of Sikhism

From some literature that Ananda had in her house principle guiding Sikhism religion are drawn. The first Guru who was Guru Nanak taught about three fundamental principles that were meant to guide Sikhs. The first one is on hard work and honesty; the second – requires that Sikhs share what they have with the needy while the third principle is that Sikhs should always and consistently remember God.

Differences between Sikhism and Hinduism

Because Sikhism and Hinduism are the two common religions in India, many people tend to confuse these two. It is good that people know their difference where it is easier to identify a Sikh man because of the turban on their heads. Sikhs practice monotheism unlike the Hindus who are polytheist. In Sikhism there are no priests as it is in Hinduism religion. Hinduism allows the worship of idol images and gods which is not the case in Sikhism (Penney, 2001).

References

Singh, N.-G. K. (1993). The feminine principle in the Sikh vission of the transcendent. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
McLeod, W. H. (1997). Sikhism. London: Penguin Books.
Cole, W. O. (1994). Teach yourself Sikhism. London: Hodder & Stoughton.
Penney, S. (2001). Sikhism. Chicago, Ill: Heinemann Library.

The Sikh Foundation’s online journal, SikhResearch Journal, is dedicated to peer-reviewed articles and papers of the highest quality, in the field of Sikh Studies and Punjabi Language Studies.

We have created this exclusive space for scholars, educators and engaged community members to share their papers not only with the broader Sikh community, but with a general audience of scholars and persons interested in these fields.

Today there are seven Chairs of Sikh Studies in the US, including four in California alone. Ever more number of Americans are learning about Sikhs & Sikhism; Sikh community members and other broad scholarly audiences are also increasingly becoming engaged in issues within Sikh studies.

Contributions in Sikh Studies including (but not limited to) Sikh art, religion, culture, history, monument heritage and Punjabi language studies are encouraged. Submissions that are more tangentially related to these fields may also be examined for their potential usefulness and relevance to these fields.

Articles should make a genuine and important contribution to academic research, and should clearly cite sources.

Papers submitted should be in English, with a short abstract, and preferably with not more than 15 pages of text. We do encourage well-illustrated articles; any photographs or illustrations should be sent electronically, in high resolution. It is the author’s responsibility to have obtained full copyright of all materials submitted and, by submitting that material for publication, it is understood that the author gives license to the Sikh Foundation to publish the material in print or online in perpetuity. If the author does not have full copyright of any component of a publication (e.g. for any photograph or illustration used), then the author must so state and must also submit documents confirming the copyright holder’s license to publish that component within Sikh Research Journal.

Contributions should be sent by email to Editor@sikhfoundation.org.

Vol. 2 No. 3 – Dec 2017

Sohela Suri

Sohela Kaur Suri graduated from Michigan State University’s James Madison College with a Bachelor’s degree in Comparative Cultures and Politics with an emphasis in Canadian Law at the age of 19. While completing her undergraduate degree Sohela made the Dean’s List multiple times. She also won first place in the Global and Area Studies division in the MSU University Undergraduate Research and Arts Forum for her research on hate crimes and post‐9/11 racialization of Sikh men. Also, while completing her degree Sohela worked for Michigan State Representative Stephanie Chang, the MSU Office of International Students and Scholars, and Wakulat Dhirani LLP. In addition, she was involved with campus organizations like MSU Asha for Education, an organization which fundraises for impoverished schools in India, and MSU C.A.R.E, a community oriented volunteer organization which facilitates service projects throughout the greater Lansing area. Sohela intends on pursuing a career in international trade and business law; she is currently an executive legal assistant at White Law PLLC, a top litigation firm based in Okemos, MI. She is currently assisting on People v Howard Croft (Case No. 16TC2850‐FY), one criminal proceeding in the Flint Water Crisis where the Defendant is being charged with Manslaughter and False Pretenses, and Lindsey Lemke et al v Michigan State University and USA Gymnastics et al (Case No. 1:17‐ cv‐00257) the civil proceedings resulting from the University’s negligence in the Larry Nassar scandal. Sohela is from Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Minority Minsters in Media:
A Study on Digital Representations of Canadian Sikh Politicians in Mainstream Media
and Their Effects on Race Relations in Canada by Sohela Suri
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Previous Articles

Vol. 2 No. 2 – March 2017 – The Challenge of Translating the Guru Granth Sahib:
An Illustration and Preliminary Reflections by Nirvikar Singh

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Vol. 1 No. 7 – Nov 2016 – Guru Gobind Singh: A Humanitarian of Medieval Times by Dr. Mohammad Habib

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Vol. 1 No. 6 – Oct 2016 – The Genesis and Development of Sikh Calendar Art – By Dr. Kavita Singh

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Vol. 1 No. 5 – Sept 2016 – Cosmopolitanism, Tradition and Identity: Framing the Sikh Experience in California by Nirvikar Singh

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Vol. 1 No. 4 – Aug 2016 – Five Classical Elements (panch tattva) of Creation – A Perspective from Sri Guru Granth Sahib by Dr. D. P. Singh

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Vol. 1 No. 3 – July 2016 – Life at the Lahore Darbār: 1799-1839 by Nadhra S.N. Khan

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Vol. 1 No. 2 – June 2016 – Posthumous Homage Paid to Maharaja Ranjit Singh by Nadhra S.N. Khan

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Vol. 1 No. 1 – May 2016 – Sikh Material Heritage and Sikh Social Practice in a Museum-Community Partnership: The Smithsonian’s Sikh Heritage Project By Paul Michael Taylor

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