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Religious Studies: Sikhism

Religion 101


Recognise all mankind whether Hindu or Muslims, as one. The same Lord is the Creator and Nourisher of all; Recognise no distinction among them. The monastery and the mosque are the same; So are the Hindu worship and the Muslim prayer. Men are all one. (Guru Gobind Singh Ji)


Indian religion founded in the 15th century by Guru Nanak. A monotheistic religion combining Hindu and Islamic ideas, including the oneness of God, karma, rebirth, and the guidance of the guru.


Sikhism. (2008). In Philip's encyclopedia. Philip's. Credo Reference.

"In 1469, a man named Nanak was born in Punjab—the region now split between present-day northwest India and eastern Pakistan. Historians contend that Nanak lived in a time of “tumult of hate and falsehood” involving Hindus and Muslims, where tension existed between the two communities and where the religious practices of both groups were generally becoming more ritualistic and less meaningful. At the age of thirty, Nanak emerged from a period of intense meditation with a vision of unity and spiritual renaissance: “There is no Hindu, there is no Mussulman,” he declared." Nanak went on to write the Mul Mantar, or the "root formula" (detailed on the "Principles" page of this Guide).

SIKHS. (2009). In Grey House Publishing (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Religion and the Law in America. Grey House Publishing.

"Sikhism combines Hindu and Islamic ideas."

  • Hinduism: "concepts of karma and rebirth are accepted, but the caste system is rejected."
  • Islam: "god is the only reality."

Taming the Ego

  • "[D]evotional singing, recitation of the divine name, meditation, and service."

Guru Guidance

Five Ks: kangha (comb); kacch (shorts); kirpan (sword); kara (steel bracelet); and kes (uncut hair and beard).

The Mul Mantar: defined under "Terms and Concepts"

Sikhism. (2008). In Philip's encyclopedia. Philip's. Credo Reference.

Terms & Concepts

Akal's meaning lies in its etymology, with a prefix ("A") meaning "not" and kal meaning "dying or ending. Thus, the definition of akal is "undying", or being "timeless, immortal, non-temporal." It is a universal truth that is "integral to Sikh tradition and philosophy." Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism, used the meaning of akal in the Mul Mantar (the opening statement of the Guru Granth Sahib).,to%20Sikh%20tradition%20and%20philosophy.

The Guru Granth Sahib is Sikhism's primary holy text. The general belief is that the Guru Granth Sahib was given by God to Sikh Gurus (primarily Guru Nanak). The text is written by Guru Nanak, Sikhism's first guru. The entire text is written in hymn and verse form, in Punjabi. Guru Nanak intended for the Guru Granth Sahib to be the world's "last guru"; as such, Sikhs revere the text as a living guru.

The guru granth sahib. (2018). In Helicon (Ed.), The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia with Atlas and Weather Guide. Helicon.

Born to a land surveyor in modern-day Pakistan, Guru Nanak is the founder of Sikhism. "A charismatic religious and social reformer, he proclaimed the existence of the one true God, or Ultimate Reality, and the equality of all people. He rejected distinctions between castes, images in worship, and the performance of empty rituals."

Jones, C. A., & Ryan, J. D. (2016). Guru nanak. In C. Jones & J. Ryan (Authors), Encyclopedia of World Religions: Encyclopedia of Hinduism. Facts On File.

A chosen race of warrior-saints, or in other words, the "the purified and reconstituted Sikh community instituted by Guru Gobind Singh on March 30, 1699." Guru Singh had three primary goals in redefining the Sikh community as Khalsa: redefine what authority looked like among Sikhs, introduce an initiation ceremony with a code of conduct, and give Sikhs a new political vision. Now, "Khalsa is used to denote both the body of initiated Sikhs and the community of all Sikhs."

Britannica, T. Editors of Encyclopaedia (2023, September 24). KhalsaEncyclopedia Britannica.

"God is only One.

His name is True.

He is the Creator.

He is without fear.

He is inimical to none.

He never dies.

He is beyond births and deaths.

He is self-illuminating.

He is realized by the kindness of the True Guru.

Repeat his Name.

He was True in the Beginning.

He was True when the ages commenced and has ever been True.

He is also True now."


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