“Let mercy be the cotton, contentment the thread, Continence the knot and truth the twist. O priest! If you have such a thread, Do give it to me. It’ll not wear out, nor get soiled, nor burnt, nor lost. Says Nanak, blessed are those who go about wearing such a thread”
This website contains information about Sikhism-the fifth largest religion in the world and its founder – Guru Nanak. Sikhism is monotheistic (belief in a single all-powerful god) religion which originated in Punjab, India around 500 years ago. The followers of this religion are called Sikhs. Currently there are more than 30 million Sikhs worldwide.
Among the many philosophical foundations laid by the founder of Sikhism – Guru Nanak, his characterization of God is most recognizable. It forms the opening lines of Guru Granth Sahib. The translation is as follows:
There is but One God, The Supreme Truth; The Ultimate Reality, The Creator, Without fear, Without enemies, Timeless is His image, Without Birth, Self Created, By His grace revealed.
Guru Nanak’s teachings can be found in the Sikh scripture Guru Granth Sahib, as a vast collection of revelatory verses recorded in Gurmukhi(meaning – “From the mouth of the Guru”) , which is the official script/alphabet for Punjabi language. Guru Nanak describes the dangers of the Egotism and calls upon devotees to engage in worship through the word of God. The word of God, cleanses the individual to make such worship possible. Guru Nanak warned against hypocrisy and falsehood saying that these are pervasive in humanity. Through popular tradition, Guru Nanak’s teaching is understood to be practiced in three ways. These are actually the three main pillars/principles of Sikhism that should be followed by Sikh people.
- Vand Chhakkna: Sharing with others, helping those with less who are in need
- Kirat Karna: Earning/making a living honestly, without exploitation or fraud
- Naam Japna: Chanting the Holy Name and thus remembering God at all times (ceaseless devotion to God)
Guru Nanak put the greatest emphasis on the worship of the Word of God (Naam Japna). The crux of his teaching was “Equality of Humans” without distinction of caste or creed. Guru Nanak preached against discrimination and prejudices due to race, caste, status, etc. He didn’t only preached these concepts he also took practical steps to acheive it. He started the institution of langar, where people have to sit together to eat without any distinction.
Guru Nanak believed in equality of men and women. He elevated the position of women by spreading this message: “From woman, man is born; within woman, man is conceived; to woman he is engaged and married. Woman becomes his friend; through woman, the future generations come. When his woman dies, he seeks another woman; to woman he is bound. So why call her bad? From her, kings are born. From woman, woman is born; without woman, there would be no one at all. O Nanak, only the True Lord is without a woman.”
Besides rejecting the Hindu caste system, idolatry, and ritualism, Guru Nanak preached universal equality. In consistence with his message of equality, Guru Nanak scorned those who considered women to be evil and inferior to men by asking:
Why should we call her inferior, when it is she who gives birth to great persons?