Sikhism “God sends His messengers into the world from time to time to guide humanity,” states Professor Gobind Singh Mansukhani, author of the book, The Quintessence of Sikhism. Although Jesus Christ was considered to be sent to Earth between 8 BC and 4 BC by god, the ten Guru’s, who found the Sikh religion five hundred years ago in the Punjab region of India, were also considered to be messenger’s of God (“Jesus Christ” 194-198; Mansukhani 1; Kleffman 1). These founders of the Sikh religion, unlike others of the time, recorded their teachings and their beliefs in the Guru Granth Sahib, a holy book that is considered to be the eternal Guru (Sikh Missionary Center 244). The history, beliefs, and distinction from other religions make Sikhism a fascinating religion. Originating in the fifteenth century, Sikhism struggles to stay alive in India, even today. Guru Nanak Dev Ji, the founder of Sikhism established this religion, free from the discriminating ideas of Hinduism and Islam (Mansukhani 2; Wolcott and Wolcott 48).
Guru Nanak Dev Ji carried the Divine Light, which allowed his body to be a platform for God to speak on. This light was passed on to the other nine Gurus who created the Guru Granth Sahib (Sikh Missionary Center 7-9). The eighth Guru, Guru Harkishan Dev Ji, became a Guru at the age of five (“Guru Harkishan Dev Ji” Internet). His knowledge and power awed people who realized he was really divine (Mansukhani 30-32). The lives of most Sikhs were threatened by religious hatred everyday.
The fifth Guru, Guru Arjan Dev Ji, and the ninth Guru, Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji, both became martyrs. Guru Arjan Dev Ji was tortured with boiling water, thrown on burning sand, and was seated on a red-hot plate because he would not give up his faith. Similarly, Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji also became a martyr. He refused to lose his faith and died saying God’s name. Today, Sikhs are still dying for their beliefs (Mansukhani 23-25, 35-36). For Sikhs, their beliefs are declared in the Guru Granth Sahib.
The Guru Granth Sahib contains the words of all ten Gurus and is the eternal Guru. This holy book’s teachings are protected in such a way that its followers would notice if a comma or a period is out of place (Sikh Missionary Center 3, 248). Sikhism opposes the caste system that existed in India. In fact, the Gurus erased the caste system in Sikhs by creating a Langar system, which means Guru’s Free Kitchen. This system still exists today and requires everyone, rich or poor, to sit side by side and share a meal, despite of social classes (Mansukhani 15-16; Sikh Missionary Center 3-4). The Guru Granth Sahib also states woman should be equal.
Guru Nanak Dev Ji pointed out that women were never inferior to men because they can get salvation also (Sikh Missionary Center 278). Besides promoting equality, Sikhism respects other religions. The Guru Granth Sahib includes excerpts from Hindu and Muslim saints, to show Sikhs to accept other faiths (Gurbani CD 6). All the beliefs of Sikhs are outlined in the holy book written by the ten Gurus, themselves (Sikh Missionary Center 248). Although Sikhism is different from other religions, it is similar in many aspects also. Unlike other religions, everything people know about Sikhism comes from the mouths of the Gurus.
For example, The Sikh Missionary Center writes “..there came Mahatma Buddh in India and he never wrote anything with his hands. After that came Christ who did not write anything himself. His teaching are only known through the Bible.” Sikhism believes materialistic items come in the way of salvation (Sikh Missionary Center 3, 248, 249). Similarly, Buddhists also agree materialistic values get in the way of nirvana, the state of peace (“Buddhism” 319-325). Sikhism, Hinduism, and Buddhism all support reincarnation (Sikh Missionary Center 253; Wolcott and Wolcott 36; “Buddhism” 322).
Although there are several similarities with other religions, Sikhism is unique in its own way. Although times have changed, the Sikh religion has remained unchanged for the last five hundred years (Kleffman 1). The ten messengers God sent to Earth have helped form the Sikh religion (Mansukhani 1). The holy book which the ten Gurus created is the living Guru, since it will last forever and holds all the teachings of the past Gurus (Sikh Missionary Center 244). The ideas behind Sikhism make it a unique religion.