Sikhism is a progressive religion; it was well ahead of its time even when it was established some 500 years ago. As per Wikipedia, It is the fifth-largest organized religion in the world, with approximately 30 million adherents. Let’s take a look at some extremely interesting yet unknown aspects of Sikhism…
The concept of God
The concept of “God” is different in Sikhism than that of other religions. It is known as “Ik Onkar” or “one constant”. It is found in the Gurmukhi script that God has no gender in Sikhism (though translations may present a male God); it is also “Akaal Purkh” (beyond time and space) and “Nirankar” (without form).
Sikhs don’t cut their hair
Sikhs do not cut their hair, they coil or knot it on top of head on their solar center. In men the solar center is on top of the head at the front. Women have two solar centers: one is at the center of the crown chakra; the other is on top of the head towards the back. For all, coiling the hair at the solar centers channels one’s radiant energy and helps retain a spiritual focus.
The Guru Granth Sahib is a unique scripture
The authority accorded to the Guru Granth Sahib certainly sets it apart from other scriptural texts of the major world religions. The Guru Granth Sahib was compiled by the Sikh Gurus themselves and is primarily comprised of writings composed by the Gurus. This collection also includes the devotional writings of other religious figures, including Muslim Sufis and Hindu Bhaktas.
Sikh women have equal status
In fourteenth century, before the time Guru Nanak Dev Ji, Indian women were severely degraded and oppressed by their society. Her function was only to perpetuate the race, do household work, and serve the male members of society. Female infanticide was common, and the practice of sati was encouraged, sometimes even forced. Guru Amar Das Ji, the third Guru of Sikhs, raised his voice and denounced the Sati system.
Food in Sikhism
Sikhism encourages healthy living by consuming simple and natural food only. Over-eating and eating unhealthy food should be avoided. The concept is not to hurt anything or anyone and live in harmony by sharing with others. Killing animals for taste has been called unrighteous in Guru Granth Sahib.
The symbol of Sikhism
The universal symbol of Sikhism is the khanda, the double-edged sword flanked by two daggers (representing worldly and spiritual powers, bound by the oneness of God).
Singh and Kaur
The names Singh and Kaur are the last names of Sikh males and females, respectively. Singh means lion, Kaur means lioness or princess. The Gurus confirmed the equality of women in society by starting a system where women did not have to change their last names post marriage. Sikh history also has women fighting alongside men in battles. Thus, Gurus ensured equality for women.
No defined architecture for Gurudwara
Any place where the Guru Granth Sahib is installed and treated with due respect according to Sikh Rehat Maryada (the Sikh code of conduct and convention) can be referred to as a Gurudwara, whether it is a room in one’s own house or a separate building.
The four doors of Gurudwara
There are four doors into a Gurudwara, known as the Door of Peace, the Door of Livelihood, the Door of Learning and the Door of Grace. These doors are a symbol that people from all four points of the compass are welcome, and that members of all four castes are equally welcome. There’s always a light on in a Gurdwara, to show that the Guru’s Light is always visible and is accessible to everyone at any time.
Guru Granth Sahib
The focus of attention, and the only object of reverence in the main hall (or Darbar Sahib) is the book of Sikh scripture, the Guru Granth Sahib, which is treated with the respect that would be given to a human Guru. The book is placed on a raised platform and covered with an expensive cloth when not being read. Although Sikhs show reverence to the Guru Granth Sahib, their reverence is to its spiritual content (shabad) not the book itself.