Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa, Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh!
Welcome Sat Sangat Ji and Fellow Americans, My name is Dilraj Singh Floura and I’m a student in GNFA Khalsa School. It is an honor for me to talk about Sikhism as I am a proud Sikh American.
Sikhism is a progressive and modern religion found about 500 years ago, and was well ahead of it’s time. There are over 2 million sikhs around the world, 500,000 live in America. Sikhs have been in America for over 100 years.
I would like to paint a picture for you about the evolution of the Sikhism.
Let’s travel back in time for moment. Imagine it’s the 15th century, you’re in India. Punjab. You look around and admire the wonderful county. But, you quickly realize, there is a huge divide between the rich and the poor. There is a huge divide between the equality of men and women, and a huge tolerance for rituals that have been around for centuries. No one questions anything, life continues as it should, during that time.
In 1469, a divine child is born into a Hindu family, a child who later becomes known as Guru Nanak Dev Ji. The first Guru of the Sikhs.
You watch and follow this divine child, who stands up against the divide between rich and poor, questioning the caste system. A devine child who stands up against the divide between the equality of men and women, questioning Sati and disrespect of women, and he challenges so called religious rituals as blind faith. This was truly the start of a revolution of the time.
Guru Nanak Dev Ji challenged that women need to be treated equally. One of many Quotes from Guru Nanak is.
From woman, man is born; within woman, man is conceived; to woman he is engaged and married. Woman becomes his friend; through woman, the future generations come.
When his woman dies, he seeks another woman; to woman he is bound.
So why call her bad? From her, kings are born.
From woman, woman is born; without woman, there would be no one at all.
— Guru Nanak, Raag Aasaa Mehala 1, Page 473 of Guru grant sahib
During the 15th century, Guru Nanak Dev Ji spread the word of ‘Oneness’. This was the beginning of Sikhism. He stated that all humans are equal in God’s eyes.
Guru Nanak Dev Ji established the 3 principles of Sikhism.
Naam Japna – to always remember God with Prayer
Kirath Karna – to earn an honest living, work hard
Vand Chakna – to share one’s honest earnings
He traveled across Asia and the many parts of the Middle East to spread his word.
Let’s fast forward to the 18th century. By this time, the Guruship is passed down from generation to generation, the Mughal leaders of the time attempt to convert the region of Punjab to Islam. The 10thliving Guru, Guru Gobind Singh Ji establishes an identity for the Sikhs in 1699. The Sikh identity consists of the 5 K’s, also known as the 5 articles of faith.
Kesh: Unshorn hair, and beards
Kara: Steel bracelet
Kanga: Special comb
Kachera: loose fitting undergarment (shorts)
Kirpan: Small symbolic sword
The eleventh guru is the beloved Guru Granth Sahib Ji. A scripture of devine knowledge.
The Guru Granth Sahib Ji is the eternal Guru. The fifth Guru, Guru Arjan Dev Ji, brought all the hymns of the previous Gurus into one single set of scriptures known as the Adi Granth. The ninth Guru, Guru Teg Bahadur Ji, had his hymns included into the Guru Granth Sahib by the tenth Guru, Guru Gobind Singh Ji, who sealed the Scripture.
The Guru Granth Sahib is considered a spiritual guide not only for Sikhs but for all of humanity, it plays a role in guiding the Sikh’s way of life.
As you can see our beloved Guru Granth Sahib Ji is always the focal point in any Gurudwara, being placed in the center on a raised platform known as a Takht (throne), while the congregation of devotees sits on the floor and bow before the Guru as a sign of respect.
So what is Sikhism and what do we believe in?
The beliefs of Sikhism follow the 3 principles passed down to us by our First Guru, which is all around Remember God by Praying, to Work Hard and to Share.
As depicted in the sacred scripture Guru Granth Sahib, this includes faith and meditation in the name of the one creator, unity of all humankind, engaging in selfless service, striving for social justice for the benefit and prosperity of all, and honest conduct and livelihood while living a truthful life.
Our Guru’s also established the system of the Llangar (which is a shared meal for the congregation after service) in order to demonstrate the need to share and have equality between all people.
After the service today, we welcome you to please join us for Langar.
Guru Hargobind, the sixth Sikh Guru, established the political/temporal (Miri) and spiritual (Piri) realms to be mutually coexistent.
This can be seen in some of the symbols in Sikhism, which remind us of who we are and what we believe in.
This is ‘Ik Onkar’. Literally means God is one. Sikhs believe in One god. The Guru Granth Sahib begins with these words.
This is a Khanda. The symbol of Sikhism, like the cross for Christians or the Star of David for Jews. The Khanda is made of two swords, One sword is the Miri (Political) and the other is Piri (Spiritual). In the middle is the Chakar (round circle) which signifies the eternal never ending one God. The double edged sword signifies Divine Knowledge, the sharp edges distinguishing truth from falsehood.
This is the Nishan Sahib – Nishan Sahib is the name given to the flag which is seen flying outside every Sikh Gurdwara (Temple).
To me Sikhism is a modern way of life. Guru means teacher, and Sikh means learner or student. I do my best to always remember our Guru’s teachings. After all, the Guru is my teacher and I am the Guru’s Sikh.
Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa
Waheguru Ji ki Fateh