A short definition of a Sikh is somebody who follows the teachings of the Sikh Gurus, as found in the Guru Granth Sahib. Underneath I will try and sum up the most important aspects of these teachings.
One God & One Humanity
There is only One God, there is no Sikh God, Christian God or Muslim God, there is only One God. God is the Creator, the Nurturer, the Destroyer, all the qualities of the various Hindu gods are united in the One God.
All humans, regardless of their gender, caste, ethnicity, faith, nationality are members of the same human race. Guru says that all can find the way to God, Guru only recognises the high caste of being near God and the low caste of being away from God.
Simran & Seva
Simran = Meditation, which means think about God, keep God in your mind. You can do simran by repeating a special word (Vahiguru), or by reading, singing the hymns from Guru Granth Sahib. All this should lead to a state where God is always with you (whether you are sitting or standing, awake or sleeping), a state where you see Her/His presence in all and everything.
Seva = Selfless Service. A lot of Sikhs do voluntary service in the Gurdwara, like cooking or serving the free food supplied there, or keeping the Gurdwara clean. In big Gurdwaras the reading and singing from Guru Granth Sahib is mostly done by ‘professionals’ but in smaller ones the sangat (congregation) performs part of or all of this seva.
We should also do seva outside the Gurdwara, help your elderly neighbour or the single parent family, the homeless, or people outside the UK who are victims of famines, natural disasters, wars etc. I came across a good example of Sikh seva at a Gurdwara in Himachal Pradesh, where a local Hindu man who had lost his arm in an accident was employed as watchman. Instead of giving him a handout, they enabled him to make an honest living.
Guru Granth Sahib does teach us that we should not be so-called ‘holy beggars’. We are to live in society and make a living by doing honest work. A Sikh in business is fine, but it should be honest business, giving the customers a good deal, and the Sikh businessman should share any surplus monies with those that are in need, which brings us back to seva.
What is our aim in life
We believe that the soul originates from God, and after travelling through various existences, wants to return to God. It is only as a human that you can achieve this ‘liberation’ from the cycle of birth and death.
It is by God’s grace only that this liberation will be achieved.
We should open ourselves to the love that God showers upon us, always, without limit and without conditions. We should develop our love for God, so that the ‘soul-bride’ will be able to merge in the ‘God-Groom’
|Caste||Hereditary social group within Indian society|
|Gurdwara||Guru’s Door = Sikh place of worship|
|Guru||‘Bringer of Light into Darkness’ = Teacher|
|Guru Granth Sahib||Teacher Book Respected = Sikh holy book|
|Nám||Name = Key concept for Sikhs : Godly Essence, present in all and everything|
|Sádh Sangat||True Congregation|
|Sikh||Pupil, student = follower of Sikh way of life / religion|
|Vahiguru||Wonderful Teacher = God|