Basics of Sikhism


The word Sikh means a disciple or seeker of Truth. The founder of the Sikh religion, Guru Nanak (1469-1539) first uttered the word Ek-Onkar (ੴ) envisioning that there is only One Universal Creator of us all and of everything around us. He brought a message of love and equality to his disciples, the Sikhs, and preached them to: 1. Always remember the creator God (Akaal Purkh) 2. Always live a honest life and earn a just living and 3. Always share your blessings with other less fortunate ones. Guru Nanak passed on his enlightened leadership of this new religion to nine successive Gurus. The final living Guru, Guru Gobind Singh died in 1708. All ten Sikh Gurus preached the same enlightened spiritual beliefs and carried the same torch lit by Guru Nanak. All Sikh Gurus emphasized equality of mankind through word and deed and barred discrimination based on caste, color, religion or social status. Guru Nanak traveled far and wide spreading his message of monotheistic belief in only one creator being, Akaal Purkh, and dispelling superstitions and ritualistic practices brought about by old religions and prevalent beliefs..


The Guru Granth Sahib is the Holy Book of the Sikhs. This Holy Book, containing the Banis (actual utterances) of the Sikh Gurus, was compiled by the fifth Sikh Guru, Guru Arjan Dev Ji, and it contains the virtues, beliefs and lessons for all Sikhs to follow. The tenth Sikh Guru, Guru Gobind Singh Ji, ordained an eternal Guruship to Guru Granth Sahib and ordered all Sikhs to accept and respect this Holy Book as their eternal living Guru.

The Guru Granth Sahib is kept in all Gurdwaras (Sikh Temples). When entering the Gurdwara prayer hall (Diwan Hall), where Guru Granth Sahib is enshrined, all bow before the Holy Book, present their offerings (generally small sum of money) and then they take their seat as Guru’s Sangat (Gurus Congregation).


This is the way Guru Nanak described and remembered his Creator. It ends with gur pRswid meaning that the Creator, Akaal Purkh is envisioned through His Grace. ੴ ਸਤਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਕਰਤਾ ਪੁਰਖੁ ਨਿਰਭਉ ਨਿਰਵੈਰੁ ਅਕਾਲ ਮੂਰਤਿ ਅਜੂਨੀ ਸੈਭੰ ਗੁਰ ਪ੍ਰਸਾਦਿ ॥ Ik▫oaʼnkār saṯ nām karṯā purakẖ nirbẖa▫o nirvair akāl mūraṯ ajūnī saibẖaʼn gur parsāḏ. One Universal Creator God. The Name Is Truth. Creative Being Personified. No Fear. No Hatred. Image Of The Undying, Beyond Birth, Self-Existent. By Guru's Grace


First Guru: Guru Nanak Dev (1469 to 1539) Second Guru: Guru Angad Dev (1504 to 1552) Third Guru: Guru Amar Das (1479 to 1574) Fourth Guru: Guru Ram Das (1534 to 1581) Fifth Guru: Guru Arjan Dev (1563 to 1606) Sixth Guru: Guru Hargobind (1595 to 1644) Seventh Guru: Guru Har Rai (1630 to 1661) Eighth Guru: Guru Harkrishan (1656 to 1664) Ninth Guru: Guru Tegh Bahadur (1621 to 1675) Tenth Guru: Guru Gobind Singh (1666 to 1708)


> Nam Japna: Always remembering the Creator Lord, Waheguru

> Kirt Karni: Earning a Honest living

> Wand Shakana: Sharing the bounty with those less fortunate ones


The tenth Guru, Guru Gobind Singh elevated Sikhs to Khalsa, The word “Khalsa means the pure ones. On March 30th (Baisakhi Day), 1699, Guru Gobind Singh baptized 5 Sikhs and then in turn the five Khalsas baptized the Guru. Since then every Sikh aspires to become one of the 10th Guru’s beloved Khalsa Order. The baptismal ceremony, also known as partaking “Khande di Pahul” is the attainment of a personal spiritual goal when an initiate is ready to fully live up to the high expectations of Guru Gobind Singh. The Khalsa Sikhs always wear five articles of Faith “Five K’s” (pMj kkwr) at all times as commanded by the 10th Guru. The Five K’s are the five items of dress and physical appearance given to Sikhs by Guru Gobind Singh and include:

Kesh - uncut hair and beard and a turban to cover the head

Kangha - a small comb to keep the hair clean and tidy.

Kachera - a special pair of shorts, usually worn as undergarment.

Kirpan- a sword worn by initiated Khalsa Sikhs.

Kara - a bangle made of iron or steel

From with Thanks


Most Gurdwaras have a daily morning service when Asa Di War Hymns are sung and an evening service, when Rehras Sahib is read. There are Sunday services and sometimes extended evening Kirtan on other days and on the first day of each month (Sangrand). Special services are held to celebrate occasions like Birthdays, and

Anniversaries of Sikh Gurus or to celebrate days of special significance to Sikh religion.

On entering the Sanctuary (Diwan Hall), one presents himself before the Altar, where Guru Granth Sahib is Placed, bows in front of the Guru to honor the Guru and to be accepted as a humble disciple and a member of the Sangat. It is customary to present an offering of cash, flowers or food. There is also a box for cash or check donations in front of the Alter.


Inside the Diwan Hall (and Langar Hall) all congregants (Sangat) sit on the floor, unless severe disability poses a problem. Traditionally men sit together on one side and women on the other side of the Diwan Hall. Everyone faces towards the Alter where Guru Granth Sahib is adorned. There is often a stage near the Alter where Ragis (the Hymn singers) sit and perform Kirtan (singing of Hymns from Guru Granth Sahib). The Sangat sits (often crosslegged) in silence listening to and enjoying the kirtan.

Kirtan: Kirtans are essential part of Sikh Worship. In a kirtan Hymns from Guru Granth Sahib are sung often accompanied by musical instruments such as a Harmonium and a Tabla. Kirtans are often performed by specially trained Hymn singers, Ragis, or sometimes by members from the Sangat.

Sermon: A sermon, a talk or a Katha is usually based on teachings in Guru Granth Sahib, life-stories of the Gurus or to elaborate important issues related to Sikh spirituality and Sikh History.

Ardas: The congregation stands with folded hands facing Guru Granth Sahib for prayer (Ardas). It is a prayerful request to the Almighty (Akaal Purkh) for acceptance in His presence and for His varied Blessings. All Sikh ceremonies are started and concluded with Ardas (a request for Almighty’s blessing).

Hukum Nama: After the prayer and Ardas The Granth Sahib is opened at a random page and a Hymn that starts at the top of the left page is read. This Hymn is the Guru’s order for the day.

Karah Prashad: It is a sweet made with equal amounts of sugar, flour and clarified butter. This is distributed to all Sangat, after a worship or Service, as a gift of God and is received in cupped hands.

Langar: After the services the congregation is offered a meal. It is wholesome vegetarian meal that all Sangat partakes in equal status without regard to cast, creed, or religious affiliations.

For Additional Information: Contact Dr. Ajaib Singh, Chairman (2012-2013) SFV-Tel: 540 720 5755