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SIKHISM Mandeep Singh Bawa GAISS Equity Education Director.

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Presentation on theme: "SIKHISM Mandeep Singh Bawa GAISS Equity Education Director."— Presentation transcript:

1 SIKHISM Mandeep Singh Bawa GAISS Equity Education Director

2 Who are the Sikhs?

3 Agenda Origin of Sikhism What is a Sikh? What is a “Guru”?
Birth of Sikhism & the 10 Gurus Birth of the Khalsa & The “5 Ks” Sikh Beliefs The Guru Granth Sahib Gurdwara & The Golden Temple Importance of Identity Sikh Dastar (Turban) Dastar Bandi & Anand Karaj Sikhs in North America


5 What is a Sikh? Sikh means “Student” or “Disciple”
Sikhism is world’s 5th largest religion, after Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism 26 million Sikhs worldwide 20 million in India 1 million in North America 99 % of the people wearing TURBANS in America are Sikhs

6 Guru means “Spiritual Enlightener”
What is a “Guru”? Guru means “Spiritual Enlightener” The term GURU implies descendant of divine guidance to mankind sent from God. Literally translated: GU–means darkness and RU means light. Thus, “Guru” means the Light that dispels darkness. Therefore, Guru Nanak was the embodiment of divine light.

7 Birth of Sikhism Guru Nanak Dev Ji – 1st Guru
Born in 1469 during a time when: Rich exploited the poor Women had no role in society Land divided by religion Caste system prevailed Guru Nanak founded Sikhism based on equality and justice for all and taught us that all human beings regardless of skin color, wealth, caste, and gender are created equal. “Truth is high; still higher is truthful living” - Guru Nanak Dev Ji

8 Guru Nanak Dev ji’s Principles
Naam Japo: Chanting the Holy Name and thus remembering God at all times (ceaseless devotion to God). Kirat Karō: Earning/making a living honestly, without exploitation or fraud. Vand Chakkō: Sharing with others, helping those with less who are in need. These principles became the FOUNDATION of Sikhism.

9 The 10 Gurus

10 The 10 Gurus Guru Nanak Dev ji – Founded Sikhism
Guru Angad Dev ji – Introduced new alphabet known as Gurmukhi Script, started langar Guru Amardas ji – Embodiment of Seva (service) Guru Ramdas ji –Built the holy city of Amritsar Guru Arjan Dev ji – Compiled Guru Granth Sahib, built Golden Temple, First Sikh Martyr Guru Hargobind ji – Miri (Temporal Strength) and Piri (Spiritual Strength) Guru Har Rai ji – Opened Free hospitals for those in need, “…man breaks flowers with one hand and offers them with the other, but the flowers perfume both hands alike. The axe cuts the sandal tree, yet the sandal perfumes the axe.” – Guru Har Rai Ji

11 The 10 Gurus Guru Har Krishan ji – Devoted his life to helping the sick Guru Tegh Bahadur ji - Championed religious freedom, martyred while fighting for religious freedom Guru Gobind Singh ji – Created Khalsa (comes from the Persian word “khalis” meaning “Pure”), A splendid Divine Light shone in the darkness of the night. Pir Bhikan Shah, a Muslim mystic performed his prayers in that Easterly direction (instead of towards the West, contrary to his daily practice), and guided by this Divine Light, he traveled with a group of his followers until he reached Patna Sahib in Bihar, India.

12 ‘Birth of the Khalsa’ During the spring of 1699, the Guru called his followers for a special gathering. Symbolized a revitalization of the Sikh identity and the evolution of the Sikh community into saint-soldiers. After initiating the five "beloved ones" into the new order of the Khalsa, the Guru knelt before them and requested that they initiate him. Gave the names Singh (“Lion”) to men and Kaur (“Princess”) to women. Khalsa Sikhs identified with the 5 K’s.

13 5 K’s – mandatory articles of faith
Kesh - Uncut hair: Sikhs do not cut hair or beards to remain in the image that God gave us. Kachera - Under-shorts (boxers) to represent modesty and fidelity (virtuous character) Kanga - Comb, made of wood - to keep uncut hair neat and clean. Kara - Bracelet, made of steel worn on right hand –a reminder of noble actions, a symbol of eternity. Kirpan - Ceremonial small blunt knife symbolizing freedom, liberty and justice.

14 Khanda The Khanda: is the double edged sword that represents God’s power, the circle is for continuity, the two outer swords for spiritual and political balance.

15 Sikh Beliefs There is One God for all of creation, a
loving Creator attainable through the Grace Goal is to be one with god Selfless service towards the entire Creation Truth, fearless, non-hateful spirit are important in attaining salvation Absolute equality of humanity Defenders of social and spiritual justice Living a moral, truthful and hardworking existence Humility and loving action Defending the rights of the downtrodden and oppressed Bhai Kanhiya pioneer of the Red Cross & humanitarian aide organizations

16 Guru Granth Sahib ji “Guru” means “Spiritual teacher” who dispels the ignorance. “Granth” implies a ‘Scripture containing divine knowledge’. “Sahib” is added as a mark of respect, which literally means “The Master” or “The Lord”.

17 Guru Granth Sahib ji Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth Guru declared Guru Granth Sahib Ji as the eternal Guru and ultimate spiritual authority for the Sikhs. Guru Granth Sahib - the Sikh Scripture is purely monotheistic 1430 pages The Gurus’ Experience of the Divine Also included were a few hymns from Hindu and Muslim saints who believed in ONE God The main teachings of the Guru Granth Sahib are cultivating a real personal devotion to God, fostering compassion and service for people who are poor or suffering, and promoting equality and seeking harmony among all human beings The central theme of the Guru Granth Sahib is concerned with the creation of a just social order and the commitment to social and gender equality and peaceful coexistence

18 Gurdwara – Place of Worship
The Sikh religious service follows the traditions started by the 1st Guru to promote equality and alleviate suffering. It has 3 components: Sangat: Community prayer through readings from the Guru Granth Sahib and singing of hymns (Kirtan). Pangat: A sense of equality with everyone seated on the ground - at the same level. Langar: Community vegetarian meal for all. Protocol to be observed in the Gurdwara: Heads covered Shoes removed Sit on floor All are WELCOME

19 Gurdwara – Place of Worship

20 The Golden Temple The Golden Temple is the most sacred of places for the Sikhs. To enter one has to descend stairs – teaches humility. There are doors on all fours sides, which signifies that people from all over the world are invited irrespective of caste, color, religion, and race. 24/7 Langar.


22 Sikh Dastar (Turban) Mandatory – not a social or cultural article.
Covers long, uncut hair. Approx. 15 feet of cloth wrapped neatly around the head. Boys wear ‘patka’ . Symbolizes discipline, integrity, humility, and spirituality. Middle East head coverings different. 99% of people wearing TURBANS in US are Sikhs, not Muslims or Hindus. A Sikh wears a turban because he is proud of being a Sikh, and proud of the values that Sikhism represents – including defense of the innocent, equality of gender, race, caste, and creed, and community service. Today, a fellow American who sees a person wearing a turban in America should feel a sense of security, knowing that every Sikh is honor-bound to stand against tyranny and protect all those who need their help.

23 Types of Turbans

24 Sikh Dastar (Turban)

25 Importance of Identity
Sikhs feel severely humiliated if asked to remove their turban in public, as this breaks a sacred covenant with god and exposes an intimate part of the body. It is very insulting and disrespectful to a Sikh to remove his or her turban. Turbans are a mandatory part of Sikh faith. A turban is not a hat. It cannot be casually taken on and off. It must be carefully retied each time it is removed. Treat the turban with respect.

26 Dastar Bandi A very important and exciting event in the life of a Sikh boy comes when he starts tying the turban (Usually between years of age). Family will have a special function to celebrate the occasion, which is called Dastar Bandi. The boy is is seated in front of Guru Granth Sahib ji and an elder ties the turban on his head. Prayers are said to invoke Guru's blessing for the boy.

27 Anand Karaj The Sikh marriage is called 'Anand Karaj' which means the ceremony of joy. The Sikh wedding is held in the morning in a Gurdwara in the presence of Guru Granth Sahib Ji. One Soul in Two Bodies   "They are not said to be husband and wife, who merely sit together. Rather they alone are called husband and wife, who have one soul in two bodies." (Guru Amar Das Ji, Pauri, pg 788, Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji)

28 Sikhs in North America Arrived around late 1890’s Places
California, Oregon and Washington British Columbia Farming & Lumber Industry Immigration Barriers by 1920’s San Francisco Chronicle, April 6, 1899 Vancouver Diamond Jubilee 1897 Hong Kong Regiment

29 Some Sikh Public Faces Gurbax Singh Mahli First Turbaned Sikh in
Canadian Parliament Dr. Manmohan Singh Indian Prime Minister Baltej Singh Dhillon First Turbaned Sikh in Royal Canadian Mounted Police Narinder Singh Kapani Father of Fiber Optics T Sher Singh Recognized with the Order of Canada

30 Some Sikh Public Faces Nuvraj Singh Bassi University of Oregon
Football Player Colonel Sekhon United States Army Amrit and Rabindra Kaur Artists Bhagat Singh Thind US Army 1912

31 Respect for All Equality of all religions and people
Give relevance to God rather than religion Believers of interfaith diversity Sikhism believes that there are many paths to God. Anyone can achieve salvation irrespective of the religion that they follow if they endear God in their heart and daily actions

32 References SikhiWiki ( SikhNet (
All About Sikhs ( Sikh Council USA ( GAISS ( UNITED SIKHS ( SALDEF ( Sikh Coalition (


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