Sikhi (Sikhism) is the youngest of the world’s major religions. Born in 1469, Guru Nanak Dev Ji, the first Sikh Guru, taught people that we are all part of the same light as the creator, and we should treat everyone accordingly. Additionally, we should endeavour to understand ‘hukam’; the idea that everything that happens is the will of the creator.
hukmY AMdir sBu ko bwhir hukm n koie ]nwnk hukmY jy buJY q haumY khY n koie ]2]
Everyone is subject to Hukam; no one is beyond Hukam.
O Nanak, one who understands Hukam, does not speak in ego. ||2||
– Guru Nanak Dev Ji (Japji Sahib)
Sikhs are easy to recognise, due to their articles of faith, known as the five Ks:
- Kes – uncut hair – a symbol both of holiness and strength
- Kanga – a wooden comb – symbolises a clean mind and body, since it keeps the kes tidy
- Kara – an iron (or stainless steel) bangle – a symbol that a Sikh is linked to the Guru, and protects the wrists in battle
- Kirpan – a dagger/sword – Sikhs should always be armed, to be ever ready for battle/ to defend someone in need
- Kachhera – cotton underwear – undergarments suitable for battle
Sikh men and women are held to the same standard when following rules of the religion, for example, when it comes to wearing these articles of faith. The tenth Guru, Guru Gobind Singh Ji, gave the Sikhs these articles in 1699, along with the last names, Singh, or Kaur.
Sikhi is a panenthiestic religion. This means that the creator is within, and exceeds the creation. This is reflected in Sikhi through the descriptions of nirgun (the idea that God is separate from us, and has no form), and sargun (the idea that God permeates the universe, such that everything within it is God).
Kwilku Klk Klk mih Kwilku pUir rihE sRb TWeI ]1] rhwau ]
The Creation is in the Creator, and the Creator is in the Creation, totally pervading and permeating all places. ||1||Pause||
– Bhagat Kabir Ji (Guru Granth Sahib, Ang 1350)
Therefore, the Sikh belief is that there is only one God, and all of us are part of that same being, similar to how water drops form the ocean. Sikhi also believes that the path to God can be travelled by anyone, regardless of religion (or lack thereof), through realisation of the truth; though it is the Sikh belief that Gurbani (the writings of the Gurus) is the supreme guide to realising this truth.
The journey to truth is aided by reciting Gurbani, and serving others, through whatever means are possible for you. This is known as seva, and it is a fundamental tenet of Sikhi, and forms institutions such as Langar, the free kitchen served at all Gurdwaras.
Ingrained within Sikhi is the concept of the Saint-Soldier. Being a saint makes you a master of the spiritual realm, and allows you to connect with the oneness that is Akaal Purakh, the timeless being. This gives you the clear-headedness, and the understanding of hukam that allows you to be a righteous soldier, a master of the temporal world; someone who fights for what is right, using any means appropriate.
چو کار از ھمہ حیلتی در گزشت
حلال است بردن بہ شمشیر دس
cu kwr Az hmh hIlqy dr guzSq
hlwl Asq burdn b SmSIr dsq
Only when all other means have failed,
is it righteous to pick up the sword
– Guru Gobind Singh Ji (Zafarnamah)