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Sikhism or Sikhi (from Sikh, ‘disciple,”seeker,’ or ‘learner’) is an Indian Dharmic religion that began at the end of the 15th century CE in the Punjab area of the Indian subcontinent. With around 25″30 million Sikhs as of the early twenty-first century, Sikhism is one of the most recent major faiths and the world’s sixth-largest organized religion. However, it is estimated that there are 120″150 million (12″15 crore) Sahajdhari or non-khalsa Nanakpanthi Sikhs worldwide who believe in the ten Sikh Gurus and the Guru Granth Sahib.

Sikhism arose from the spiritual teachings of Guru Nanak (1469″1539), the first Guru, and the nine Sikh gurus who followed him. Gobind Singh (1666″1708), the tenth guru, appointed the Sikh scripture Guru Granth Sahib as his successor, bringing the line of human gurus to an end and establishing the text as the final everlasting 11th living guru, a religious spiritual/life guide for Sikhs. Guru Nanak taught that the ideal man “establishes union with God, knows His Will, and carries out that Will” through a “active, creative, and practical life” of “truthfulness, fidelity, self-control, and purity,” and that the ideal man “establishes union with God, knows His Will, and carries out that Will.” The sixth Sikh Guru, Guru Hargobind (1606″1644), created the notion of the miri (‘political’/’temporal’) and piri (‘spiritual’) realms coexisting.

The Mul Mantar (), a foundational prayer concerning ik onkar (‘One God,’) begins the Sikh canon. Faith and meditation on the name of the one creator; divine unity and equality of all humankind; seva (‘selfless service’); striving for justice for the benefit and prosperity of all; and honest conduct and livelihood while living a householder’s life are among Sikhism’s core beliefs, as articulated in the Guru Granth Sahib. Sikhism rejects assertions that any religious tradition has a monopoly on Absolute Truth based on this test.


Simran (meditation and recall of Gurus’ teachings), which can be conveyed musically via kirtan or internally through naam japna (‘meditation on His name’), is emphasized in Sikhism as a way to sense God’s presence. It instructs followers on how to change the “Five Thieves” (i.e. lust, rage, greed, attachment, and ego).

During periods of religious persecution, the faith grew and changed, drawing adherents from both Hinduism and Islam. After refusing to convert to Islam, Mughal rulers of India tortured and murdered two Sikh gurus, Guru Arjan (1563″1605) and Guru Tegh Bahadur (1621″1675). The persecution of Sikhs prompted Guru Gobind Singh to establish the Khalsa in 1699 as an order to safeguard religious and moral freedom, with members exhibiting the traits of a Sant-Siph (‘saint-soldier’).

In Sikhism, God has no gender in the literal sense, yet God is depicted as masculine and God’s strength as feminine symbolically. The tenth guru Guru Gobind Singh Ji, for example, refers to God as akaal purkh (‘beyond time and space’) and nirankar (‘without form’), yet he also refers to God as his father and God’s creative power as his mother. Another example is that all people are soul-brides who want to join with their spouse Lord, according to the Guru Granth Sahib, a scripture and everlasting guru. Additionally, the gurus declared in the Guru Granth Sahib that the transcendental God has created life on various realms.

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