Since ages, religion has guided us to stay on righteous path, helped us to overcome difficulties in life, provided motivation, and united people.
Indian subcontinent has nurtured several religions that influenced the world. Sikhism, which originated from Punjab region, is one of them.
It is one of the youngest major religions of the world. The fundamental beliefs of Sikhism find mention in the sacred scripture, Guru Granth Sahib, which proclaims that there is one Creator or God, which is beyond the realm of time and space.
Sikhism propounds the messages, principles and sermons of 10 Sikh Gurus. Their life is the ultimate symbol of courage, righteousness, and spirituality. Their life also inspires us to serve society selflessly.
WittyFeed brings you excerpts about Sikhism from the book, The Sacred Sword, written by Hindol Sengupta.
He is the founder of the Sikh faith and author of many hymns that form the sacred texts of the Sikhs.
He was the second Guru who succeeded Guru Nanak Dev. He introduced Gurmukhi, the Sikh script in which Guru Granth Sahib is written. He is said to have modified and standardised this script. Its use became popular thereafter.
He introduced the Manji system. This involved spreading the message of Guru Nanak through a trained clergy. Guru Amar Das laid the foundation of what would finally be the written and compiled - Adi Grant - the holy book of Sikhs. He established many key rituals including Anand Karaj, the wedding ritual of the Sikhs.
Founder of the Sikh holy city of Amritsar, he was the force behind the construction of Golden Temple, the most sacred shrine of the Sikhs.
Guru Arjun, whose name is sometimes also spelt as Arjan, placed the first edition of the Adi Granth inside Harmandir Sahib, the sanctum sanctorum of Golden Temple. He created a Masand system of collecting the tax, settling civil disputes and encouraging the donation of 10 per cent of household earnings to Sikh charitable institutions.
Guru Arjun, the first martyr among the Sikh gurus, was tortured to death on orders of Mughal Emperor Jahangir because he refused to convert them to Islam.
One of the most militarily powerful gurus, he started a tradition of active armed resistance and the creation of a military force to defend the Sikh faith and to resist Mughal Islamic persecution and forced conversions.
He tried to push the idea of peace and non-confrontation between the Sikhs and the Mughals. As part of this move, he tried to befriend moderate, pluralistic Dara Shikoh, the brother of Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb.
His tenure was short. He became a guru at the age of five and died of smallpox when he was barely eight years old.
A fearless warrior guru, he tried to protect the Kashmiri Pandits from forced conversion to Islam. He was beheaded on the instructions of Emperor Aurangzeb in Delhi and is remembered as one of the greatest martyrs in Sikh history.
Guru Gobind Singh is the 10th and the last guru of the Sikhs. He declared that Granth Sahib will be the considered the "living guru" after him. He was a warrior-poet, a rare combination. He was as skilful in writing beautiful verses as he was in leading the armed forces. He laid the foundation of the great Sikh Empire.
*This text has been taken with permission from the book, 'The Sacred Sword' written by Hindol Sengupta. It is published by Penguin Random House, India.