dictionary meaning of 'Sikh' is disciple or student. This
naturally implies that just as a student has a teacher to
learn from, a Sikh has his GURU for spiritual learning. Thus
the definition of a Sikh is: 'A person who has faith in the
teachings of the ten Sikh Gurus from Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji
to Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji and the present Eternal Guru,
Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, to the exclusion of all religions
or faiths.' A Sikh prayer starts with the invocation of God,
the ten Gurus and the Eternal Guru, Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji,
the embodiment of the Spirit of the ten Gurus as articles of
Sikhism is a
revealed religion among the world religions. The divine Word
as received by Guru Nanak Dev Ji and the subsequent Gurus
has been preserved by the Gurus personally in the authentic
form and enshrined in Sri Guru Granth Sahib, for the benefit
of mankind, along with similar TRUTH, which came through
other Saints. All the ten Gurus were in fact one in spirit
and worked to fulfil the same Divine Mission through stages.
Thus the writings are all under the same pen name, 'Nanak',
as Mahala 1, 2, 3 and so on, implying that it was only a new
body with the same spirit. Remarkable is the role of Guru in
Sikh parlance. The Sikh Gurus themselves emphasized the fact
that the True Guru is only the Divine Word. The individual
ten Gurus were the self -effacement and were fully tuned to
receive His Word. Thus Guru is a medium for God to reach
mankind. Similarly a person has to go through the medium of
Guru to realize God. What a Sikh seeks from the Guru is to
acquire his Divine Wisdom to shape his own life.
always simple and straight forward as the most natural
thing. The basic tenets of Sikhism can be summed up as (a)
holy congregation, and (b) common kitchen. The corresponding
qualities are (a) to meditate on God, and (b) to share
individual's own earnings with others . The life ordained by
the Guru is that of honest earnings with the sweat of brow
and give freely for social needs. The service to mankind is
dedicated to God in all humility, while always remembering
Him in one's own mind.
remember God at all times is the all important lesson learnt
through the Grace of Guru by a Sikh during the Baptising
ceremony. It is like the admission to a new school of
learning. Nam Simran (God meditation) now becomes part of a
Sikh's intellectual process as well as uttering, hearing and
seeing. In fact all his being is fully imbued with Nam, when
he drinks the Nectar of Nam, which is also poured at the top
of head and sprinkled in the eyes. He is clearly told, that
God realization is not an easy process nor is it marketable
for a price, how so ever high it may be. Thus ritualism and
fakeness are both condemned. A Sikh is expected to be the
same within and without and remain sincere even to the peril
of his life.
In the highly
competitive world of harsh realities, where it becomes easy
to fall prey to temptation and difficult to live according
to the Divine Wisdom, a righteous life, a Sikh is given code
of life to assist in his efforts. This is a discipline of
both external appearance and internal cleaning. In making of
this code, the Guru has abided by the Divine Will, to serve
the best interests of the faithful Sikh. A single sincere
step by a Sikh invites Divine help to carry him along for
many more steps to advance towards the objective of human
The Nectar of
double edged sword is prepared by stirring the sweetened
water with the sword while reciting the five Gurbanis of (1)
Jap Ji (2) Jaap Sahib (3) Tav Prasad Swaiye (4) Kabio Bach
Benati Chaupayee and (5) Anand Sahib, in the presence of Sri
Guru Granth Sahib by the five selected Sikhs, on behalf of
the Guru. Acceptance of the Divine Nectar signifies that the
Sikh has dedicated his all, body, mind and wealth to the
Guru. Hence forth he lives as a devotee of the Guru, abiding
by the teachings of the Gurbani.
He is told
about the external code:
- To keep
unshorn hair in the natural form with a small turban (Keski)
on the head at all times.
- To keep a
wooden comb (Kangha) to clean the hair twice daily.
- To wear an
iron bangle (Kara) on a hand as a reminder to perform
only righteous actions.
- To wear
long breeches , reaching upto the knee, (Kachhera) as a
reminder for need to observe celibacy.
- To wear a
sword (Kirpan) across the chest on left side to remind
about the Sikh attributes of being a friend to a victim
and protect honour.
- To get up
early morning and after ablution, engage in meditation
- To recite
at least the five Gurbanis of Baptism ceremony in the
- To hear or
read the Divine Word from Sri Guru Granth Sahib and
attend holy congregation.
- To recite
Sodar Rehras Gurbani after sunset at the end of the
- To recite
Sohila before retiring.
- Not to
remove hair from any part of the body.
- Not to use
tobacco, wine or drugs - intoxicants.
- No sexual
relationship except with a wedded wife or husband.
- Not to eat
meat or eggs.
Indulgence in any of the above strictly prohibited
practices renders a Sikh as an outcast. Such a person can
only be readmitted after re-baptism and undergoing
- Not to
steal, plunder, gamble or exploit weak and the poor.
- Not to
commit perjury or treachery or violate a promise or vow.
- All Sikhs
are generally prohibited from social interaction with
those who are not duly baptised Sikhs.
- A Sikh
must be baptised to believe in One God, the ten Sikh
Gurus and Sri Guru Granth Sahib.
- A Sikh
must keep the five Kakkars of his external appearance.
- A Sikh
must earn his livelihood with honest labour.
- A Sikh is
discouraged from using or hearing or seeing what may
take away his mind from remembrance of God.
- A Sikh
should associate with like-minded persons for a positive
effect on his mind.
- Only Sikh
ceremonies are performed during birth, marriage or a
death, avoiding any kind of ritualism, good or bad omens
- Sikh way
of God Realization is Nam Simran without paying heed to
yogic practices or any kind of tantra, mantra or jantra,
worship of idols, graves, tombs, monasteries or maths.
- A Sikh
should set aside at least one-tenth of this income for
religious proposes in the name of the Guru.
in the light of Divine Wisdom, derived from daily recitation
of Gurbani, Nitnem and Nam Simran, a Sikh acquires the
attributes which not only help in God Realization, but also
make him a very useful person in society. His broad vision
enables him to see the world as a global village, inhabited
by mankind, as part of God's Creation. He is always full of
love and willing to serve all with his universal outlook,
which is Fatherhood of one God and all mankind as one
brotherhood. He sees God in all. Service comes only through
a feeling of humility. It also imposes self discipline to
limit one's own needs with a sense of contentment and
fairness. A Sikh always stands for rule of justice and fair
play. He does not covet what does not rightfully belong to
him. In his case the five evils of lust, anger, covetousness
or greed, attachment and ego are replaced by selfless love,
humility, contentment, aloofness of spirit with the
illusionary nature of things and self-effacement knowing
that it is only the Hand of God everywhere.
A Sikh is a
world citizen, following a universal faith. He is capable of
the supreme sacrifice in the Name of his Creator. His life
of righteousness makes no compromises in following the
Divine Will. Even if his understanding fails him, he knows
that the code ordained by the Guru is flawless and abiding
by that he can attain the objective of his human life of God
Realization. Human life is a sojourn and this world is a
workshop for attaining merit of a good, worthwhile life. He
not only bows to the One God and has complete faith in the
ten Sikh Gurus and Sri Guru Granth Sahib, but is also highly
respectful to his fellow Sikhs.