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SIKH CULTURES

Sikh

The Sikhs are adherents to Sikhism the fifth largest organized religion in the world, with around 23 million adherents. Sikh History is around 500 years and in that time the Sikhs have developed unique expressions of art and culture which are influenced by their faith and synthesize traditions from many other cultures. Sikhism is Punjab's only indigenous religion with all other religions coming from outside Punjab (with the possible exception of Punjabi Hinduism since the oldest Hindu scripture the Rig Veda was composed in the Punjab region. Some other religions, like Jainism, may also claim to have originated in Punjab since Jain symbolism has been found among artifacts of the Indus Valley Civilization). All the Sikh gurus, saints and majority of the martyrs in Sikh history were from Punjab and from the Punjabi people. Punjabi culture and Sikhism are considered inseparably intertwined. "Sikh" properly refers to adherents of Sikhism as a religion, not an ethnic group. However, because Sikhism has seldom sought converts, most Sikhs share strong ethno-religious ties. Many countries, such as the U.K., therefore recognize Sikh as a designated ethnicity on their censuses.[1] The American non-profit organization United Sikhs has fought to have Sikh included on the U.S. census as well, arguing that Sikhs "self-identify as an 'ethnic minority'" and believe "that they are more than just a religion".

Sikh art and culture Part of a series on Sikhism

- Khanda
- Sikh Gurus
- Sikh Saints
- Philosophy
- Practices
- Takhts

Sikhism

Sikhism or Sikhi from Sikh, meaning a "disciple" or a "learner", is a religion that originated in the Punjab region of the Indian subcontinent about the end of the 15th century. It is one of the youngest of the major world religions. The fundamental beliefs of Sikhism, articulated in the sacred scripture Guru Granth Sahib, include faith and meditation on the name of the one creator, divine unity and equality 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 householder's life.In the early 21st century there were nearly 25 million Sikhs worldwide, the great majority of them (20 million) living in Punjab Sikhism is based on the spiritual teachings of Guru Nanak, the first Guru (1469 1539),and the nine Sikh gurus that succeeded him. The Tenth Guru, Guru Gobind Singh, named the Sikh scripture Guru Granth Sahib as his successor, terminating the line of human Gurus and making the scripture the eternal, religious spiritual guide for Sikhs. Sikhism rejects claims that any particular religious tradition has a monopoly on Absolute Truth.

The Sikh scripture opens with Ik Onkar (?), its Mul Mantar and fundamental prayer about One Supreme Being (God). Sikhism emphasizes simran (meditation on the words of the Guru Granth Sahib), that can be expressed musically through kirtan or internally through Nam Japo (repeat God's name) as a means to feel God's presence. It teaches followers to transform the "Five Thieves" (lust, rage, greed, attachment, and ego). Hand in hand, secular life is considered to be intertwined with the spiritual life. Guru Nanak taught that living an "active, creative, and practical life" of "truthfulness, fidelity, self-control and purity" is above the metaphysical truth, and that the ideal man is one who "establishes union with God, knows His Will, and carries out that Will".
Guru Hargobind, the sixth Sikh Guru, established the political/temporal (Miri) and spiritual (Piri) realms to be mutually coexistent.Sikhism evolved in times of religious persecution.
Two of the Sikh gurus Guru Arjan (14. April 1563 25 May 1605) and
Guru Tegh Bahadur (12. April 1621 19. December 1675 ), after they refused to convert to Islam, were tortured and executed by the Mughal rulers. The persecution of Sikhs triggered the founding of the Khalsa, as an order to protect the freedom of conscience and religion, with qualities of a "Sant-Sipahi" a saint-soldier.

Scripture

Adi Granth
- Guru Granth Sahib Jee
- Dasam Granth

The Five Ks

The meaning of the 5 Ks A simple, plain circular steel bracelet Kara - a steel bracelet The 5 Ks taken together symbolise that the Sikh who wears them has dedicated themselves to a life of devotion and submission to the Guru.
The 5 Ks are 5 physical symbols worn by Sikhs who have been initiated into the Khalsa.
The five Ks are:
* Kesh (uncut hair)
* Kara (a steel bracelet)
* Kanga (a wooden comb)
* Kachherhra (cotton)
* Kirpan (steel sword)
   
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