College and University > Religion > Sikhism
There are a number of religions that developed in India, one of them being Sikhism. This is a minor religion though, with only about 20 million followers. It is also unlike Hinduism that believes in several gods. Sikhism is monotheistic, believing in only one supreme, immortal being.
This religion is a fairly recent one compared to others. It was started by Guru Nanak in 1469 in the Punjab region of India. He founded Sikhism as something of a protest against Hinduism and Islam. Guru Nanak thought that the religious rituals that they practiced made no sense, so the religion he established blatantly condemned those practices.
The word “Sikh” translates to “disciple”. Adherents of Sikhism aim to live life that always remembers God in all aspects, which involves practicing a lifestyle filled with integrity and virtue. The ultimate aim of the Sikh is to merge with God, attaining a form of salvation. Sikhs believe that they should make an honest living and avoid worldly temptations and sins.
As mentioned, followers of Sikhism are distinct in that they reject practicing rituals and what they call “blind obedience” to religious rules and regulations. As such, they do not perform idol worship, contact the dead, do pilgrimages, or fasting.
Sikhism also stresses the value of equality of everyone before the eyes of God. That means both men and women are seen as equals, as well as people of all races and nationalities. This also means that anyone can serve any Sikh religious function regardless of their background.
Sikhs are usually easily identified because they wear turbans. This is part of their code of conduct, which states that Sikhs must keep all their hair intact and their heads covered. Sikhs believe that their hair must be kept in its pristine state for life, and for this reason, they cover it all the time.