Sikhism was founded in the 1400s in India by Guru Nanak. Sikhism is a distinct religion, but also has some similarities to a wide variety of other religions and eastern philosophies, including Hinduism, Sufism, Islam, Taoism, Buddhism, and Christianity.
For Sikhs, the concept of God is less of a personality-based being, and more accurately described as the Ultimate Reality / One / Truth, which is timeless, formless, unborn, self-existent, and above and within everything. Sikhs (people who follow the religion) consider themselves on a spiritual path to attain oneness with the Truth, to know it, and to live it.
Guru Nanak is the most venerated figure in Sikhism, and was also followed by nine other gurus. Central to Sikhism is the scripture known as the Sri Guru Granth Sahib,which was written primarily in 1604 and added to in 1704, and records various hymns from a variety of people, including those of Guru Nanak. The Sri Guru Granth Sahib is considered the “Final Guru” in the Sikh lineage of Gurus.
Sikh men wear turbans and have beards, and all have the surname Singh, which means lion. All Sikh women have the surname Kaur, which means princess. Both Sikh men and women wear a bracelet on their right wrist. Since Sikhs have been persecuted for much of history, many Sikhs often carry swords as a symbol of their willingness to defend their beliefs.
Some other themes in Sikhism include cooperation, commitment, righteousness, the importance of work, the equality of people, and an emphasis on the Sikh community.
There are currently about 22 million Sikhs in the world today, most of whom live in Punjab, India.
Sri Guru Granth Sahib Passages
[There is] one universal reality/being, and Truth is its Name.
Realization of Truth is higher than all else; higher still is truthful living.
By purity of heart alone, the holy eternal is attained.
By conquering my mind, I have conquered the whole world.
Treat others as you would be treated yourself.
We know the Truth when our Soul knows the Way; and cultivating our bodies, we sow the seed of God.
Where speech will not succeed, it is better to be silent.
Yoga does not consist of going to distant places… or wandering around the world, or in ritual bathing. To live pure amidst the world’s impurities—this is practicing true yoga.
The world is a garden and the Lord is its gardener, cherishing all and neglecting none.
Why do you go to the forest to search for God? He lives in everything and is yet ever distinct—he lives with you, too. Like a flower’s fragrance and a mirror’s reflection, God dwells inside everything. Seek him… in your heart.
He [God] is always near—don’t think he is far... Recognize him within yourself.
… The wise practice spiritual wisdom.
Gather spiritual wisdom within your mind.
The jewel of spiritual wisdom was placed within the universe.
Let spiritual wisdom be your food, and compassion your attendant.
Let understanding be the anvil, and spiritual wisdom the tools.
Practicing truth, self-discipline and good deeds, the Gurmukh [God-oriented person] is enlightened.