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Sikhism is one of the religion of India, that is based on teachings of its ten gurus or spiritual teachers. First of these ten teachers was Guru Nanak, born in 1496, Guru Nanak, like Jesus Christ, did not start new religion. Sikhism just gradually developed as a result of organized activities of people who believed in teachings of Guru Nanak, and considered him as their Guru or spiritual teacher. After Guru Nanak, there was a succession of nine other gurus who were entrusted with the task of carrying on the task of guiding followers of Guru Nanak and in this process, Sikhism emerged as separate religion.
The tenth and last Guru of Sikhism, Guru Goving Singh, declared that after him the holy book of Sikhs, containing preachings of Sikh Gurus and some other leading personalities of Hindu philosophy and religion, will be treated as the Guru and there will be no more human Gurus. Thus this book is called Guru Granth Sahib.
The philosophy of Sikhism is essentially the same as the ancient Hindu philosophy. The main difference between Sikhism and Hinduism is the rejection of many of the superficial rituals of Hindu religion prevalent at the time of Guru Nanak and other Gurus, which are not a part of the basic Hindu religion. However with passage of time Sikhism adopted its own rituals and traditions.
The main features of Sikhism as practiced now are described below.
- Sikhism accepts people of all religions, particularly Hindus and Muslims as the children of the same God. It does not believe in discrimination on basis of religion.
- Sikhism believe in discrimination on the basis of cast or social class.
- Sikhism does not believe in worship of God in form of images and pictures.
- Sikhism has no separate order of priesthood. Their places of worship, called Gurudwara are operated by people who are paid for their services or by volunteers.
- All sikhs are required to always wear five signs of their faith, called five K's. These are Kesh (uncut hair), Kangha (comb), Kripan (dagger or a short sword), Kada (steel wrist band), and Kachha (breeches worn by soldiers). All Sikhs are also required to wear turbans.
- Sikhism prohibits use tobacco, drugs and alcohol. In particular smoking is strictly prohibited.
- Sikhism prohibits eating of flesh of any animal or bird not slaughtered in a single stroke. This method of slaughter is called jhatka, which is in contrast to other method called halal. It is interesting to not that in Muslim religion jhatka is prohibited while halal is accepted.
Sikhism does NOT believe in discrimination on the basis of cast or social class****
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