SIKHISM

Sikhism was founded about 500 years ago in the Punjab region of India, by a man who became known as GURU Nanak. He taught that all religions share the same essential truth and that holiness is to be found within. Sikh literally means “disciple.”

WHERE IS THE CENTER OF SIKHISM?

The Harimandir, or Golden Temple, has become the symbol of the Sikh religion and their most important pilgrimage site. The fourth Guru, Ram Das, built a city and sacred lakes in Amritsar, in the Punjab, where Guru Nanak once meditated. The fifth Guru, Arjan, built the Golden Temple and collected the teachings of the Gurus into a sacred book, the Granth Sahib.

HOW DO SIKHS WORSHIP?

Guru Nanak taught that “the only temple that matters is inside oneself.” Sikhs pray at home, and also worship together, with hymns read from the sacred book. The focus of worship is on Nam, the divine name that lives within everyone. Sikh gurdwaras (temples) have a langar, or eating space, where Sikhs can share a communal meal with anyone who comes.

GURU

As with Hindu traditions, guru means “wise teacher,” or more literally, “revealer of light and darkness.” Sikhism regards its Ten Gurus as a single living spiritual flame, passed down from God, through Guru Nanak onward, and eventually reaching all Sikhs.

WHO WAS GURU GOBIND SINGH?

Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth Guru (1666–1708), founded the Khalsa, or community of Sikhs, in 1699 to protect them against religious persecution. He called for volunteers who were prepared to die for their faith. All Sikhs wear five symbols, known as the five “Ks,” as a sign of their allegiance to the Khalsa. These include the kirpan (dagger) and kangha (comb).

WHERE IS THE SACRED BOOK KEPT?

The tenth Guru, Gobind Singh, appointed the sacred Adi Granth (“First Book”) as his successor, so that after him there would be no more human gurus. It became known as the Guru Granth Sahib and copies were kept with great care at temples and treated with the respect a human guru would be given.

FIND OUT MORE

Hinduism
Southern Asia

Copyright © 2007 Dorling Kindersley

highlights

Vote Now for the Children's & Teen Choice Book Awards
Voting is open now through May 3 for the Children's and Teen Choice Book Awards — the only national book awards program where the winning author, illustrator, and books of the year are selected by young readers. Encourage your child to vote for his favorites today!

Find Today's Newest & Best Children's Books!
Looking for newly released books for your child? Try our new Book Finder tool to search for new books by age, type, and theme, and create reading lists for kids!

8 Products to Help Your Family Go Plastic-Free
How can you minimize your family's exposure to harmful chemicals and lessen your impact on the environment? Try swapping out some of your everyday plastic products with these non-plastic alternatives.

Registered for Kindergarten — Now What?
Wondering what to do now that you've signed your child up for kindergarten? Try our award-winning Kindergarten Readiness app! This easy-to-use checklist comes with games and activities to help your child build essential skills for kindergarten. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Facebook icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks