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Hinduism   Buddhism     Jainism     Sikhism


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 history -

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 composed.

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 Aurangzeb.

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.