SIKHISM BELIEFS/PRACTICES

THIS PACK CONTAINS THE KEY BELIEFS OF SIKHISM THAT YOU WILL NEED TO KNOW FOR PAPER 1. 

---- SOME OF THIS KNOWLEDGE IS ALSO APPLICABLE IN PAPER 2 ----

  • Created by: harine_
  • Created on: 26-05-19 17:53

- THE ONENESS OF HUMANITY + IN THE EQUALITY OF ALL

  • Sikhs believe in the oneness of humanity and don't feel like they need to convert others to the faith
  • everyone's treated with respect regardless of gender, disability, racial or wealth differences
  • both Sikh men and women can take part in worship or reading the Guru Granth Sahib
  • any man or woman can become Amritdhari Sikhs
  • believe that everyone has God's divine spark within them 
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- EQUALITY: LIFE STORIES OF THE GURUS (INCL. NANAK

  • Guru Nanak: rejected the Hindu caste system; wanted to stress the idea that everyone is equal and so he created the Langar and said: 'there is neither Hindu nor Muslim and the path I follow is Gods'
  • Guru Gobind Singh: introduced many customs that Sikhs practise today; Kaur + Singh - no caste's associated w/ these surnames; Panj Piyare - came from different backgrounds but emerged from the tent wearing same clothing; 5Ks - all Amritdhari Sikhs required to wear
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- EQUALITY: SIKHISM TODAY + THE ROLE OF THE SANGAT

  • the concept of the langar is still continued today; every gurdwara has a langar where all are welcome to a free meal; all food vegetarian so people of all diets can eat
  • Sikhs see congregational worship as having its own special merits; Sikhs believe that Waheguru (God) is pleased by the act of serving the Sangat
  • by being part of the Sangat, one can socialise and support each other -- 'join the Sangat and find the Lord'
  • by surrounding yourself with people with the same mindset + who have positive intentions, you cannot wither -- 'ape he beejo, ape he kaur' you reap what you sow
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- SEVA: THE IMPORTANCE + PRIORITY OF SERVICE TO OT

  • Sikhism teaches that people should try to become less of a manmukh and more gurmukh and should live their lives in the selfless service of others --  'through selfless service, eternal peace is obtained' 
  • man seva: mental service (studying/teaching the Guru Granth)
  • tan seva: physical service (working in the langar)
  • dhan seva: material service (giving money to charity)
  • all of these must be done with good intentions to serve Waheguru and not for personal gain -- 'seva is the soap of humility'
  • by performing seva, Sikhs gain mukti and serve God and the world 
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- FEATURES OF A GURDWARA

  • the literal meaning is the door that leads to the guru
  • any building that contains the Guru Granth is a Gurdwara
  • it's a place to learn spiritual wisdom, have religious ceremonies, learn the faith and as a community centre
  • no idols/statues inside because Sikhs only worship one God; regard God as having no physical form
  • Guru Granth is placed on a Takth under a Palki and covered with a Rumalla when not being read; a Chaur is waved over the Guru Granth 
  • four doors of peace/livelihood/learning/grace; doors represent the points of a compass + members of all four caste systems are welcome; always a light (Guru's light is accessible to all)
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- ROLE OF PRAYER AT HOME

  • Sikhs are expected to remember God at all times which includes reciting the daily prayer at home 
  • Gutka: prayer book with some of the regular prayers; when not in use it's wrapped in a special cloth + Sikhs wash their hands before picking it up
  • if a Guru Granth is kept at home, it must be in a separate room and treated w/ the same care it is in a gurdwara
  • if one is unable to go to gurdwara they can do their prayers at home with the Gutka 
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- ROLE AND IMPORTANCE OF THE AKHAND PATH

  • the continuous ceremonial reading of the whole of the Guru Granth Sahib; all 1430 Angs - usually 48 hrs
  • readers will take turns to read + reserves are kept in waiting if someone falls ill
  • usually takes place before a marriage, to celebrate a birth or death of a family member, and generally at moments of great joy or sorrow (Gurpurbs)
  • extremely important, meaningful meditative practise for Sikhs 
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- MEANING OF LANGAR AS AN EXPRESSION OF SEVA

  • Guru Nanak strongly believed in equality; began a residential community in Katapur and made sure that langar was given central importance 
  • everyone shares tasks of prep, cooking, serving and cleaning - shows seva to others in the sadhsangat, the gurdwara and world outside 
  • by taking part in langar, one performs seva and can obtain mukti to overcome the 5 Vices and become closer to Waheguru
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- VAISAKHI, DIWALI AND GURPURBS

  • Vaisakhicelebrate the beginning of Khalsa; remember the Amritsar Massacre (1919) and the idea of equality + freedom of religion; perform Kirtan; hold cultural celebrations and processions
  • Diwali: Guru Hargobind's release; celebrate the freedom to express religious beliefs; remind Sikhs to stand up for their faith and of Bhai Mani Singh
  • Gurpurbs: commemorating the birthday/death/martyrdom of a Guru; reminded of important principles; strengthen Sikh faith; provides an opportunity to share the faith + practise seva
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- IMPORTANCE OF VISITING HISTORICAL SIKH GURDWARAS

  • Harmandir Sahib housed Adi Granth when it was completed in 1604
  • 4 doors to enter gurdwara; symbolises equality + view that all people are welcome to their holy place
  • surrounded by rectangle lake - Amrit Sarovar (Bibi Rajni)
  • Kesh: uncut hair; accepting hukam of God 
  • Kangha: wooden comb; keep things in order as God untangles their lives
  • Kara: metal bracelet; God is timeless and always with us
  • Kachera: cotton undergarments; a symbol of purity 
  • Kirpan: sword/dagger; defend their faith and help the vulnerable 
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- BIRTH + NAMING RITUALS

  • parents bow to Guru Granth w/ baby + give Dasvandh; Granthi gives Amrit to baby + dip Khandha into Amrit and lightly touches head and tongue of the baby
  • granthi opens Guru Granth and reads hymn on page; first letter is used to decide the name 
  • name is announced w/ Singh/Kaur title
  • ends with Anand Sahib + Karah Prashad is given to everyone
  • importance: welcomes child to Sikh community; celebrating God's gift; providing opportunity got individual to get to know Waheguru and receive his blessing 
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