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Home > History of religion > Sikhism > Main theme of Sikhisim
Main theme of Sikhisim
Sikhism is wholly an Indian religion in the sense that its founders were all of Indian origin. Secondly its religious scripture and teachings are wholly Hindu. Sikhism fully subscribes to the fourfold principles of Karma-Samsara-Jnana-Mukti.

Main ThemeSikhism is marked out as a Guru-centred religion much more than any other Indian tradition. Guru is given a place of great importance in Nyaya, Advaitism, Nathismand, Kabirpanth, but the Guru is held in the highest esteem in Sikhism. Even God is called Wahe guru. The script of Guru Granth Sahib is called Gurmukhi because it is calculated to make the Sikhs Godward instead of becoming self or egocentric (manmukh). In the last resort Adi Granth Sahib is now known as `Guru` i.e., a spiritual guide of the whole community (sangat).

There is the vow of five K`s i.e., keeping of long hair (of head and face), iron-bracelets (Kara),Main Theme Kachha (under wears), Kangha (comb) and Kripan (Sword). In one sense, they are merely external observances, but in another respect they are the vows of self-discipline, martial spirit, brotherhood and submission to the Guru. These five K`s not only mark out the Sikhs from the Hindus but from all other people of the earth.

Unlike any other form of Hinduism, it enjoins upon the Sikhs to fight against social injustice and in defence of one`s faith. Though it appears to have some resemblance with the Muslim doctrine of Jehad, yet it appears to have arisen among the Sikhs as a result of religious persecution and social injustice in the form uf jizya. Even the first guru, Guru Nanak had advised his followers to fight against social evils. Guru Hargobind wielded the two swords of miri and piri. But it was Guru Gobind Singh who infused the martial spirit into the Sikhs in defence of one`s faith. Hence, one of the salient features of Sikhism is that there is a fusion of bhakti and Shakti, and Khalsa is a symbol of a saint soldier.

Sikhism teaches strict monotheism. The highest entity is both non-personal and attributelcss and personal. In the non-attributed form it is called One-Omkara and, in the attributed form He is the creator, sustainer and destroyer of the world. For His devotees He is dayalu (kind) and Kripalu (compassionate). God as both manifest and unmanifest is in accordance with Indian tradition, but is most marked in Dadu and Rai Das, the.Saint poets of medieval India. To some extent even Namadeva admits the worship of Pauranic deities, though his deity is essentially without attributes.

In consonance with strict monotheism, Sikhism does not admit avtaravada (the doctrine of incarnation) and does not believe that there can be any first and last or special prophet of God. But an earnest seeker can obtain the light divine and can be said to be a realized soul. Such a person can be a Guni, but he is not an object of worship, but only of veneration. The refutation of avataravada is found most pronounced in Kabir by whom Guru Nanak was certainly influenced.

But Sikhism admits that there is only One God ek-Omkara (unmanifest) and also Omkara (in manifest form) with an infinite number of attributes. He can be variously named as Wahe guru, Kartar (creator), Akal (eternal), Satt-nama (the holy name). He is also known as Allah, Khuda, Karim (benevolent), rahim (merciful). Sahib (Lord). The same Lord may be variously named and worshipped in different languages. This is also a strongly marked feature of Kabir`s teachings. On the basis of this Kabir has tried to unify the Muslim and Hindu differences.

Sikhism is against caste, idolatry, ritualism and external observances. These features are found in most Saint poets, but specially in Kabir.

guru nanakSikhism teaches that Maya is the creative manifestation of God, but is also the source of five traditional evils in man, namely, Kama (passion), Krodh (anger), lobha (greed), moha (infatuation) and ahamkara (egoity). These can be removed through prayer, meditation and social service. Kabir also teaches that Maya is the power of God, called Raghunath and that it is a great enchanting power which leads to man`s spiritual fall.

Nama-sumirana (constant muttering) of God`s name with complete surrender to him has been emphasized by Guru Nanak. This is a powerful means of winning the Grace of God.

Kabir too takes recourse to nama-sumirana, but it was Namadeva who dwelt upon this method of meditation. We must not ignore the fact that Sikhism is also known as sant-mat. Hence, it is but natural that it should have been influenced by Saint poets.

Sikhism prescribes bhakti for gaining release and this is also a strong feature of Saint poets like Dadu, Rai Das and Kabir.

Guru Nanak does not recommend sannyasa as a means of mukti. He himself was a house-holder and considers the life of a house-holder as very important in society.

Like Kabir, Sikhism is beyond both Hinduism (Vedic) and Islam. Sikhism is no doubt an Indian religion and embedded in Hindu culture and world-view but is an independent religion.

But Sikhism does not teach that either Hinduism or Islam is wrong. It teaches both Hindus and Muslims to practise their own faiths with a view to strict moral life and social service, without caring much for rituals and external observances. In this sense it was a reformist religion.

Sikhism favours local language and its script is gurmukhi, which is also its distinctive feature.
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