Sikhism: Ik Onkaar-There Is Only One God

Essay by ZulaikhaCollege, UndergraduateA-, June 2004

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Sikhism is the world's fifth largest religion. Sikhism is one of the younger faiths of the world, as compared with religions like Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity or Islam. It is a monotheistic faith, preaching the existence of only one God, and teaching ideals that may be universally accepted today and in the future: honesty, compassion, humility, piety, social commitment, and most of all tolerance for other religions.

Sikhism is free from any claims and dogmas. To attain salvation, Sikhism rejects all rites, rituals, and fasts. It rejects the claims of mortification of body, self-torture, penance or renunciation. It does not believe in worship of gods and goddesses, stones, statues, idols, pictures, tombs or crematoriums. Devotees are supposed to desist from working miracles, uttering blessings and curses, and believing in omens. They wear God's name as a necklace and try to practice Nam (remembrance of God's name), Dan (charity) and Ishnan (purity), truthfulness and openness, self-restraint in temper, labor for the purpose of mutual benefit, profitable and edifying speech, humility and forbearance.

Shri Guru Nanak Dev Ji in the Punjab area, now Pakistan, founded the Sikh faith. He began preaching the way to enlightenment and God after receiving a vision. After his death a series of nine Gurus (regarded as reincarnations of Guru Nanak) led the movement until 1708. At this time these functions passed to the Panth and the holy text. The tenth Guru, Gobind Singh, compiled this text, the Shri Guru Granth Sahib. It consists of hymns and writings of the first 10 Gurus, along with texts from different Muslim and Hindu saints. The holy text is considered the 11th and final Guru.

Sikhs believe in a single formless God with many names, who can be known through meditation. Sikhs pray many times each day and are prohibited...