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Message started by Admin on 13. Jun 2006 at 08:08
Title: Sikhism...introduction for kids.
Post by Admin on 13. Jun 2006 at 08:08
How did Sikhism begin?
The Sikh religion began over 500 years ago in the Punjab region of India in 1469. Today there are over twenty-five million Sikhs living in the world. They live in almost every country. Sikhism was started by a man called Guru Nanak Dev Ji. The title Guru means teacher. The followers of Sikhism are called Sikhs. Sikh means pupil / student.
What do Sikhs believe?
Guru Nanak Dev Ji taught the importance of remembering Waheguru (Wonderful Lord / God) at all times (praying), love, sharing, being honest / truthful, doing good deeds and helping each other (caring). Helping people is a service called Sewa.
He taught people that the differences in people's religions were not important in God's eyes. In front of god, there was no black or white, no rich or poor and no caste. We are all equal.
The teachings of Guru Nanak Dev Ji were passed down to nine more gurus.
Each of the Gurus spread the word of god. People were taught to respect everyone, become friends with everyone, share food with everyone, help and feed the helpless / poor. It was not who we were that pleased god, it was what we did that would please god.
The tenth guru decided that it was important for the Sikhs to be able to defend their faith and fight against injustice and crime. The tenth Guru was Guru Gobind Singh Ji. He formed a brotherhood called the Khalsa (pure ones) of devoted Sikhs who were willing to help and defend people even at the expense of their lives. Men and women who joined the Khalsa had to take part in an Amrit ceremony (to become pure) held by five members who represented the Khalsa. They were called Panj Payare or ‘ five beloved ones’.
Sikhs who become members of the Khalsa are given a new surname. Men are given the surname ‘Singh’ which means lion and the women are given the surname ‘Kaur’ which means princess.
There are five symbols that make up the dress of the Khalsa:
1. Kesh- uncut hair. This represents the natural appearance of man. Hair is the gift of god. This is the first token of Sikh faith.
2. Kangha- a wooden comb to keep the hair clean.
3. Katchera- underwear to indicate purity,
4. Kara- Iron bracelet on the wrist is a symbol of truth, belonging to God, doing good deeds.
5. Kirpan- A small sword symbolising, fight / protection against crime, injustice. The kirpan is a religious symbol, and it is never used as a weapon.
Sikhs also cover their heads with a Dastar (turban). This keeps the hair tidy and reminds them to remember god. The Dastar is like a crown. (See picture on next page)
The Sikhs follow a strict code of rules, which includes that it is wrong to smoke drugs, eat meat and drink alcohol.
Why are there no more Sikh gurus?
After the tenth guru, it was decided that the Sikh Holy Book itself would serve as the Guru or teacher. The Sikh holy book is called the Guru Granth Sahib Ji. The hymns and writings of all the Gurus are in the Guru Granth Sahib Ji. The Guru Granth Sahib Ji is written in a language called Gurmukhi. In order to read Gurmukhi, people first learn to read, write and speak Punjabi.
Where do Sikh's worship?
Sikhs worship in a Gurudwara. This word means’gateway of the guru’. When entering a Gurudwara, Sikhs take off their shoes and must have their heads covered as a sign of respect. They bow in front of the Guru Granth Sahib Ji and say a small prayer.
Sikhs gather at the Gurudwara everyday to sing hymns and pray to Waheguru (God). At the Gurudwara, they learn to become better people. Sikhs who gather at the Gurudwara are called Saadhsangat, (blessed group).
Hymns and prayers are said and then the worshipers share ‘Karah Prasad’, which is a food offering made of sugar, butter and flour.
After worshipping and singing hymns, the saadhsangat gather downstairs and share ‘Langer’ (food) with everyone. The food is prepared by the saadhsangat before worship. Everyone sites on the floor together with each other while the food is distributed. We all sit together in the same place to show equality.
The holy city of the Sikhs is called Amritsar, which is in Punjab (India). Here is the most scared shrine of the Sikhs, called Sri Darbar Sahib or Golden Temple.
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