The Sikhs (derived
from the Sanskrit word "Shishya" for "disciples")
is a very important group of people of India. Beards and turbans give
them a very distinctive look. Although they constitute only 2% of the
Indian population, still they are politically and economically significant
for India. Its founder Guru Naanak (1469-1539 AD), 1st of the 11 Gurus
taught many things like Kabeer, who in common with Muslim mystic Soofee,
believed in mystical union with God. Guru Naanak believed that God is one,
formless, eternal and beyond description. He transformed the Hindu concept
of Maayaa into the meaning the unreality of the values commonly held by the
world. He emphasized three actions - meditating on and repeating God's name
(Naam), giving or charity (Daan), and bathing (Snaan).
1st Guru, Guru Naanak - Apr 15, 1469-Sep 22, 1539 - 69 years
The Sikh faith was founded by the first Guru, Guru Naanak in early 16th
century recruiting from peasantry and Muslim birth.
2nd Guru - Guru Angad - March 31, 1504-Mrch 29, 1552 - 48 years
The 2nd Guru was Guru Naanak's chosen successor. He gave the community
a clearer sense of its own identity.
3rd Guru - Guru Amar Daas - May 5, 1479-Sep 1, 1574 - 95 years
He was patronized by Akbar.
4th Guru, Guru Raam Daas - Sep 24, 1534-Sep 1, 1581 - 46 years
He also served at Akbar's court and was granted some land between the rivers Satalaj
and Raavee in Panjaab which became the site of Sikh's sacred capital.
5th Guru, Guru Arjan Dev - Apr 15, 1563-May 30, 1606 - 43 years
Raam Daas's son and successor Arjan Dev, completed the great Sikh temple
at this spot naming the city "Amritsar" (Pool of Nectar) for
its tank filled with "sacred" well water. Sikh's scripture Granth
Saahib was also compiled and deposited in Amritsar temple under Arjan Dev's
guidance. Jahaangeer charged Arjan with treason and had him tortured to death
for supposedly aiding the Emperor's rebel son Khusaro.
6th Guru, Guru Hargobind - Jun 19, 1595-Feb 18, 1644 - 48 years
Arjan's martyrdom inspired his own son, Hargobind to arm his comrades to
defend their own religion converting the old pacifist faith of Guru Naanak
into a militant new order against Mugal tyranny. although he retreated to
Kiratpur in the Himaalaya foothills, he stood against them till his peaceful
death in 1644.
7th Guru, Guru Har Raaya - Jan 16, 1630-Oct 6, 1661 - 31 years
Their seventh Guru, Guru har Raaya was hounded even farther into the mountains
from which he emerged only after 1658 to support Daaraa Shikoh's claim to the
throne. Following Aurangzeb's victory, however, Har Raaya was obliged to send
his son Raam Raaya as hostage to Dehlee's court, where the young man became the
follower of the Emperor losing his father's support.
8th Guru, Guru Har Krishan - Jul 7, 1656-Mar 30, 1664 - 8 years
Shortly before his death in 1661,
Har Raay designated his younger son, Hari Krishan, as his successor, but this
son was also forced to seek Aurangzeb's favor in Dehlee; and he expired there
of smallpox in 1664.
9th Guru, Guru Teg Bahaadur - Apr 1, 1621-Nov 11, 1675 - 54 years
The ninth Guru, Guru Teg Bahaadur was Guru Har Raay's granduncle. He was
arrested by Aurangzeb's soldiers in Aagaraa and brought to Delhi where
he was subsequently beheaded after refusing to
convert to Islaam.
10th Guru, Guru Gobind Raaya - Dec 22, 1666-Oct 7, 1708 - 41 years
The tenth Guru, Teg Bahaadur's son, Guru Gobind Raaya was the tenth Guru
and the last Guru of Sikh. He vowed to take his father's murder and to end
Aurangzeb's tyranny. He organized his community into "Khaalasaa"
("an army of the pure") taking as new surname Singh and baptizing
his closest followers with the same name.
11th Guru, Guru Granth Saahib - Oct 7, 1708
After the 10th Guru, Guru Gobind Sinh, Guru Granth Saahib is the only Guru
of Sikhs. It took the charge the day Guru Gobind Sinh Jee died.
Thus from this time
Sikh emerged as a close-knit force of toughened fighters who recognized earth
other by the sartorial symbols of their faith -
(1) never cut their hair and beards (Kesh),
(2) always to carry a saber (Kripaan),
(3) to wear a steel bracelet on their right wrists (Kadaa),
(4) knee-length soldier's shorts (Kachchhaa) and
(5) to keep a comb for their hair (Kanghaa). [Or say five K - Kesh, Kripaan,
Kachchhaa, Kadaa, Kanghaa]
The Guru was now merged with his community since all were now hunters and full-time
fighters. Gobind Sinh had more than 20,000 supporter to back him up, but the king's
army still outnumbered them.
Guru Naanak was the first Guru
and the founder of the Sikh religion. He was born on Kaarttik Poornimaa,
(April 14, 1469) and lived for 69 years. He explains the 5 stages of a
man's spiritual progress which are enumerated below :
1. Dharam Khand : The first stage consists of performance of ones duty sincerely.
2. Gyaan Khand : The first stage leads to the second stage where a devotee gains
a true awareness of the greatness of God, His true attributes.
3. Saram Khand : In this phase the devotee attains purity of mind and understanding.
Saram means shame, with this feeling one doe not do any bad Karm
4. Karam Khand : In the 4th phase the devotee gains the fruits of his good actions
which he did in Saram Khand. He acquires divine grace and true spiritual power.
5. Sach Khand : Through the grace of God now the devotee enters the realm of God
which is beyond all human activity and the ordinary reality. Sach means "Sat",
a word which is normally used for God.
Guru Naanak philosophy
and teachings can be summarized as :
--There is only one God, who is known by different names in different religions.
--Strive hard and make a whole hearted effort to help others, because service to mankind
is the biggest service to God.
--Follow the path of honesty.
--In the eyes of God, all are equal, irrespective of the caste, age, creed or sex.
--Be compassionate towards all living beings.
--Lead a simple life.
--Don't get scared of anything and just keep performing good deeds.