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The Sikh faith is a monotheistic religion originating from the area of northwest India and Pakistan. It was founded by the first Guru, Guru Nanak. The Sikh faith is the fifth largest religion in the world with around 26 million adherents around the globe. The central belief for Sikhs is summed up through the Sikh prayer which states, "that there is one all pervading spirit, and it is called truth. It exists in all creation; it does not fear; it does not hate; it is timeless and universal and self-existent. You will come to know it through seeking knowledge and learning."
In addition, Sikhs are to lead moral lives, earn their living through hard work and honest means, and to share with others through charitable contributions and work.
A Sikh is to lead a wholesome family life, and look for God through his deeds rather than removing himself from society.
Know what it means to be a Sikh. Sikhs have an obligation to pray daily, work hard, and share with those in need.
Understand the definition. The word Sikh means disciple or student. Sikhs are the students of their ten teachers (or Gurus) who compiled their teachings into a unique collection of divine scriptures, called the Guru Granth Sahib.
Learn of the religion. Six Gurus wrote the Guru Granth Sahib, but it contains the writings of the Gurus and other religious teachers. The Guru Granth Sahib is considered a Living Guru.
Unite the past and present beliefs. There are, however, writings by followers of Sikhism from past and present that are worth while reading.
Go to a temple. If you live in India it will be easy for you to attend a Gurdwara or Sikh temple. However outside India attending a Gurdwara might be more difficult, unless you live in a large city. If you live near a Gurdwara visit the local Granthi/Sikh custodian who can provide more information on the Sikh path.
6Do not eat ritually killed meat. Some Sikhs are vegetarian because they have a great respect for animals, however Sikhs are not bound to be vegetarianism according to the Sikh Code of Conduct. The Sikh Code of Conduct states that ritually slaughtered meat or Kosher/Halal is forbidden.
- When Sikhs attend a Gurdwara only vegetarian food is served. Whether a Sikh is vegetarian can also depend upon what traditions or region he or she are from.
7Acknowledge the pervading spirit. Observe that there is only one all pervading spirit (known as Akal or Ek Onkaar) that is formless and timeless, it is also almost difficult to know but not impossible. Akal is only realized through self knowledge, Sikhs therefore place emphasis on meditation to understand Akal.
- Sikhs aim to become one with Akal in order to end the cycle of birth and death, while not withdrawing from society.
8Meditate. Sikhs also meditate for the purpose of realizing truth, as Akal (timeless spirit) is truth and truth is Akal and as Sikhs know Akal through meditation so they know truth through meditation, Guru Nanak said truth is only attainable through self realization.
- Self realization thus leads to enlightenment and ends the cycle of birth, death and rebirth.
Understand the five distractions. These are ego, anger, greed, lust and attachment. Sikhs believe these five distractions prevent one from achieving union with God, which is the ultimate goal. If you are to lead a good life, free from suffering, you must avoid the five distractions.
10Learn the teachings of Guru Nanak. He taught that one can only achieve union through devotion to Akal. Guru Nanak stated that rite, pilgrimages and asceticism and fasting are meaningless, devotion should come inwardly. Sikhs therefore should try to balance work, charity and worship. Sikhs have an optimistic view of life, a spirit of chardi kala.
- They also believe that they should defend and protect the rights of others. They should never endorse a class system, sexism, racism, or other stereotypes that support inequality.
Embrace charity. Charity is very important to Sikhs who balance charity along with work and worship. Charity is part of the Sikh belief in defending others and that can also mean defending others from poverty.
Partake in ritual recitations. Sikhs often recite parts of the Guru Granth Sahib daily and for before/after certain activities. The part of the Guru Granth Sahib depends on the activity and is supposed to strengthen faith.
13Celebrate your faith. Sikhs have a number of festivals, as a Sikh you attend these festivals as a sign of faith and to strengthen faith. Here are some Sikh festivals taken from Wikipedia, though there are more.
- Gurpurab are celebrations or commemorations based on the lives of the Sikh Gurus. They tend to be either birthdays or celebrations of Sikh martyrdom. All ten Gurus have Gurpurabs on the Nanakshahi calendar, but it is Guru Nanak Dev and Guru Gobind Singh who have a gurpurab that is widely celebrated in Gurdwaras and Sikh homes. The martyrdoms are also known as a shaheedi Gurpurab, which mark the martyrdom anniversary of Guru Arjan Dev and Guru Tegh Bahadur.
- Vaisakhi or Baisakhi normally occurs on 13 April and marks rebirth, the beginning of the new spring year and the end of the harvest. Sikhs celebrate it because on Vaisakhi in 1699, the tenth guru, Gobind Singh, laid down the Foundation of the Khalsa an Independent Sikh Identity.
- Bandi Chhor Divas celebrates Guru Hargobind's release from the Gwalior Fort, with 52 innocent Hindu kings who were also imprisoned by Jahangir, on 26 October 1619.
- Hola Mohalla occurs the day after Holi and is when the Khalsa Panth gather at Anandpur Sahib and display their warrior skills, including fighting and riding.
14Pray. Sikhs pray once in the morning and twice in the evening consecutively, sometimes done in the Gurudwara and sometimes done at home. Names of the morning and evening prayers are below.
Take part in a Sikh baptism. When a Sikh takes Amrit he/she becomes pure or Khalsa. Khalsa members adhere to the five K's.
Would there be a way to become a Sikh living in Germany? This religion sounds beautiful!
Of course there is! Anybody can become a Sikh. If you want to follow this path Waheguru will surely bless you to guide you into the right way no matter where you live. An important way to understand more about Sikhism is to arm yourself with knowledge. Watch the Basics of Sikhi channel on Youtube. It is very useful as they explain everything.
Why is it necessary to have a beard to be a Sikh?
It is intended to show respect for God's creation. God created men with the ability to grow beards, and we do not question God's intentions.
Can Hindus (non-Sikhs) attend Gurudwara prayer regularly?
Yes, any and all religions are welcome to attend Gurudwara. We welcome people from all walks of life to come and join us and learn about who we are as well as to share a home-cooked Indian meal that follows each of our services.
Sikh men wear beards and turbans. What do Sikh women wear?
Many devout Sikh women wear turbans as well, but nowadays a headscarf or chunni works as well. Some Sikh women wear patkas or bandanas on their heads as well.
Do Sikh believe in circumcision?
No, they do not. Circumcision is primarily found in Islam and Judaism. Dharmic religions (Hinduism, Sikhism, Buddhism, Jainism, etc) do not believe in circumcision because it is believed to be harmful and causes unnecessary pain. Sikhs also refuse to believe in circumcision because it is altering a creation of the divine. In Sikhism, circumcision (or any other bodily modification) is viewed just as badly as cutting one's hair.
How can I practice Sikhism under a very Christian household, and can Sikhs trim their beards or make it a stubble?
As a Sikh, you must keep your beard and make sure no scissor or razor goes to cut any of your hair on any part of your body. Yes, you can practice being a Sikh anywhere.
Can I convert to Sikhism?
Yes, you can.
What is the best way to become a Sikh?
You should pray daily, avoid the 5 distractions, and most importantly of all, understand the sacrifices our Guruji's made.
Can one become a Sikh with cut hair, then never cut it again?
Yes, you can become a Sikh with cut hair, but after becoming a Sikh you cannot cut any hair on your whole body. If you cut your hair in the past it doesn't matter, but after becoming a Sikh you can't cut hair ever again.
Is there any provision related to shaving my head to become a Sikh, as in some sort Hindu rituals?
No, in fact Sikhism looks down on cutting hair. There is no initiation required.
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- The Five K's are kesh (uncut hair), kaṅghā (small comb), kaṛā (circular iron bracelet), kirpān (dagger), and kacchā (special undergarment). The Five Ks have both practical and symbolic purposes.
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