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Sikhism is the world’s youngest religion and is barely 500 years old. Its founder, Guru Nanak, was born in 1469 during a time when India was divided by castes, sectarianism, religious factions, and fanaticism.1 His message was simple, that everyone was one - equal, and created by the One Creator of all. Today there are 20 million Sikhs, most of who live in the Punjab province of India.2

Sikhism believes in only one God, and that it is imperative to live a good life, which is defined by keeping God in heart and mind at all times, living honestly and working hard, treating everyone equally, living a family way of life, being generous to the less fortunate, and serving others. Sikhs are also opposed to superstition, rituals, social inequality and injustice, renunciation and hypocrisy.2

Guru Nanak and the nine Gurus since him have provided practical steps to help Sikh followers live in an internal religious state: To get up each day before sunrise, to clean the body, to meditate on God’s Name, to recite the Guru’s hymns to clean the mind, and to continuously remember God’s name with every breath.1 Guru Gobind Singh, the last of the Gurus in human form, created the Khalsa, a spiritual brother and sisterhood devoted to purity of thought and action. The Khalsa wear 5 K’s to remind them of their commitment1:

  • Kesh: uncut hair and bear
  • Kangha: a wooden comb to properly groom hair
  • Katchera: specially made cotton underwear as a reminder of the commitment to purity
  • Kara: a steel circle worn on the wrist to signify bondage to truth and freedom
  • Kirpan: a sword charm to signify the commitment to righteously defend the Truth


Image source:

1. Religions.com

1. Sikhnet. (n.d.). Introduction to Sikhism. Retrieved from http://fateh.sikhnet.com/s/sikhintro
2. BBC. (2009) Sikhism at a Glance. Retrieved from http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/sikhism/ataglance/glance.shtml

Sikhism: Created in Crisis

Discuss and illustrate the rationale and process by which the religion was developed. What ideas would you say are most central to the meaning and practices of Sikhism?