Sikhism is a religion, way of life and philosophy. It is the youngest of all the world's four great monotheistic religions. A progressive religion, it was founded in the 15th Century by Guru Nanak. The word "Sikh" is Punjabi which mean "disciple". Sikhs are disciples of the religious Sikh Gurus. Today, there are 18-20 million Sikhs in the world, followed predominantly in the Indian State of Punjab.
Founder of Sikhism was Guru Nanak (1469-) who preached a message of love and understanding and criticized the blind rituals of the Hindus and Muslims. Guru Nanak passed on his enlightened leadership of this new religion to nine successive Guru and the last Guru was Guru Gobind Singh(1708-).
A syncretistic religion, Sikhism is originally said to be related with Bhakti movement and Sufism within Hinduism and Islam. Many independent beliefs and practices were added. Some believe their religion to be a re-purification of Hinduism but many believe that their religion is only a direct revelation from God.
Sikhism follows teachings of all its 10 Gurus enshrined in the Sikh Holy Book of Guru Granth Sahib. Sikhism preaches devotion and remembrance of God at all times, truthful living, equality of mankind and denounces superstitions and blind rituals. A goal of a Sikh is maintain a close relationship with God.
Sikhism believes in only one God for all people of all religions and condemns blind rituals such as fasting, visiting places of pilgrimage, superstitions, worship of the dead, idol worship etc. Sikhism preaches equality of all people in the eyes of God. The Khalsa Order,meaning 'the pure' includes baptised Sikh men and women that upholds the highest Sikh virtues of commitment, dedication and a social conscious. strictly follow the Sikh Code of Conduct and Conventions and wear the prescribed physical articles of the faith.
Sikhs have only the custodians of the Guru Granth Sahib (granthi), commonly read and studied in the Gurdwara (a Sikh temple) or in their home. Sikh priests were by Guru Nanak for their ego and contempt.
In Gurdwaras, free community meals are served to people from of all faiths, outlining the basic Sikh principles of service, humility and equality. Most significant historical religious center for the Sikhs is Harmandir Sahib (The Golden Temple) at Amritsar Punjab, N,India). However, all places where Sri Guru Granth Sahib are installed are considered equally holy for Sikhs