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Guru Nanak Dev who was born in 1469 in
Talwandi in present Pakistan (a part of undivided India before 1947) was the
founder of Sikh religion. Sikh literally means a "disciple". Followers of
Guru Nanak Dev were referred to as Sikhs and the new faith was termed as
"Sikhism. He preached that there is only One God (Ik- Omkar) and one should
be kind and loving to His creation irrespective of caste, creed & gender.
The goal of our life is to lead an exemplary existence so that one may merge
with God. Sikhs should remember God at all times and practice living a
virtuous and truthful life while maintaining a balance between their
spiritual obligations and temporal obligations.
There have been a total of ten Gurus in Sikh
1. Guru Nanak Dev (1469 - 1539) -
founder of Sikh religion.
2. Guru Angad Dev (1504 -1552) - The 2nd
Guru developed Gurmukhi Lipi (script), in which later, Guru Granth Sahib was
3. Guru Amardas (1479 - 1574) - 3rd Guru
founded the town of Goindwal as headquarters the Sikhs and contributed
towards social reforms. He formalized the importance communal eating (Langar).
4. Guru Ramdas (1534 - 1581) - He was
the 4th Sikh Guru and founded the town of Amritsar that became the main
religious centre for the Sikhs. He also initiated concept of voluntary
service ("Kaar Sewa").
5. Guru Arjan Dev (1563 - 1606) - The
5th Guru Arjan Dev compiled first version of Guru Granth Sahib (also
referred to as "Pothi Sahib" & "Aadi Granth"). Constructed Harmandir Sahib
in Amritsar town in 1604. The ruling Mogul emperor Jahangir could not
tolerate growing popularity of Sikhism and ordered assassination of Guru
Arjan Dev in 1606 A.D.
6. Guru Hargobind (1595 - 1644) - He was
the 6th Sikh Guru and he constructed Akal Takhat (Waheguru's throne of
justice) facing Harmandir Sahib. He started giving military training to the
Sikhs at Akal Takhat. Guru Hargobind installed a Sikh flag called "Nishan
Sahib" (meaning Landmark) outside "Akal Takhat. "
7. Guru Har Rai (1630 - 1661): The 7th
Sikh Guru advocated Sewa (selfless service) and took it to common man.
8. Guru Harkrishan (1656 - 1664): The
younger son of Guru Har Rai became 8th Sikh Guru at a very young age of 5
years. The older son Ram Rai was disqualified by Guru Har Rai. Guru
Harkishan contacted chicken pox while he was trying to help the victims of
the epidemic and died at a young age.
9. Guru Tegh Bahadur (1621 - 1675) - The
9th Sikh Guru founded the town of Anandpur Sahib (“City Of Bliss”). He
sacrificed his life while opposing the anti draconian rules of Mughal King
10. Guru Gobind Singh (1666 - 1708)- He
completed the mission of initiating Khalsa in the year 1699. The first five
devoted Sikhs who came forward to offer their lives in response to Guru
Gobind Singh's demand were regarded as “Five Beloved Ones” (Panj-Piyare).
“Code of conduct” for the Sikhs was established and the Sikhs were given a
special & unique physical appearance by virtue of five essential items as
part of their uniform all beginning with letter “K”. Kesh - Hairs ; Kangha -
Hair Brush; Kada - Iron Bangle; Kripan - Sword ;Katch - cotton loincloth.
Literal meaning of Khalsa is "Pure". Guru Gobind Singh's description of “The
Khalsa” was: “The Khalsa” is one who rides the horse and is prepared to
fight the enemy in the battlefield all the time. “The Khalsa” attains the
virtues of One Almighty (Waheguru) and does not look upon any one except the
Almighty. Khalsa loves the Creator and respects & loves His creation.
Guru Gobind Singh recompiled Guru Granth Sahib.
He nominated Guru Granth Sahib as the Sikh “Word Guru” thus ending the line
of human gurus. He continued the fight against the oppression and injustice
of Mughal rulers.
Llinks to useful web sites on Sikhism:
Sikhs org - This
site provides information on history and teachings of Sikhism.
Gate way to
Sikhism - Lots of information, links on Sikhism on this site and a
nice Golden temple picture.