Outline of Sikhism

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The following outline is provides an overview of Sikhism, or Sikhi (its endonym).

Sikhism has been described as being either a panentheistic or monotheistic religion—emphasizing universal selflessness and brotherhood—founded in the 15th century upon the teachings of Guru Nanak and the ten succeeding Gurus.[1][2][3] It is the fifth-largest organized religion in the world,[4] and one of the fastest-growing.[5]

The sacred text and last Guru of Sikhism, Guru Granth Sahib, teaches humans how to unite with the all cosmic soul; with God, the creator: "Only those who selflessly love everyone, they alone shall find God."

Scripture and literature[edit]


Sikh literature[edit]

Associated terms[edit]

  • Ardās
  • Bhagat Bani — any of the writings that appear in the Guru Granth Sahib which were not written by the Gurus.
  • Gurbani (abbreviated as bani) — general term for Gurus' writings
  • Gutka — a small sized breviary or prayer book containing chosen hymns (banis) from Sikh scriptures
  • Nitnem — daily recitations
  • Paath
  • Savaiya — a form of poetry written in praise of someone, in which every verse is 1/4 times the length of a common verse.
  • Shabda — the hymns contained in Sikh scriptures.
  • Sloka — 'stanza'; the Sanskrit epic metre formed of 32 syllables: verses of 2 lines (distich) of 16 syllables each or in 4 half-lines (hemistich) of 8 syllables each.

Philosophy and beliefs[edit]

Relation to other religions[edit]

Practices and culture[edit]

  • Amrit — elixir of immortality; the sanctified nectar or sugar water substitute used in ceremonies. It is prepared by stirring it in an iron bowl with the double-edged sword and continuous recitation of five banis by the five selected members of the Khalsa.
  • Dasvand — a kind of Sikh tithe; the act of donating 10% of one's harvest, both financially and in the form of time and service (i.e., seva) to the Gurdwara and community.
  • Five Ks — five articles of faith worn by baptised, or khalsa, Sikhs:
  • Kirtan — musical recitation
  • Langar — communal kitchen where free food is distributed to all comers
  • Naam Japomeditation on the name of God
    • Jaap — 'recitation'
  • Prohibitions (kurahit kurahat), including:
    • Cutting, trimming, shaving or removing hairs from one's body — Sikhs practice kesh, allowing their hair to grow out naturally in respect to God's creation
    • Intoxication
    • Castism
    • Kutha meat — eating meat killed in a ritualistic manner (particularly halal or kosher meat), or any meat where langar is served (except jatkha meat).
  • Seva — selfless service
  • Sikh Rehat Maryada — code of conduct

Sikh ceremonies[edit]

  • Anand Karaj ('blissful union, joyful union') — the Sikh marriage ceremony, first introduced by Guru Amar Das.
  • Akhand Path — continuous reading of Sri Guru Granth Sahib, either in honour of a particular occasion or simply to increase one's feeling of connection to God. Akhand Paths can be held, for example, in honour of a birth/birthday, wedding/anniversary, recovery from a medical operation, death, or a historic occasion; to celebrate the achievement of a goal such as a graduation or passing the driving test; or in chasing away evil spirits and curses, etc.
  • Amrit Sanchar — baptism into the Khalsa tradition
  • Antam Sanskar — funeral rites
  • Naam Karan — child's naming ceremony
  • Sadharan Paath

Sikh festivals[edit]

General Sikh culture[edit]

Sikh geography[edit]

Map of Ranjit Singh's empire at its peak
Map of Punjab Province (British India), 1909
Harmandir Sahib (the Golden Temple) at night, in Amritsar, India

Sikhism by country[edit]


The Harmandir Sahib, Sikh Gurdwara and spiritual centre at Amritsar, India
Nishan Sahib

In India[edit]

The Harmandir Sahib (or Golden Temple) is the holy shrine of Sikhs; the spiritual and cultural center of the Sikh religion, found in Amritsar. The Shiromani Gurudwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) is the organization responsible for the management of gurdwaras in the states of Punjab, Haryana, and Himachal Pradesh, and the union territory of Chandigarh

Other gurdwaras in India include:

In the United States[edit]

Gurdwaras in Pakistan[edit]

Other gurdwaras[edit]

Other Sikh institutions[edit]

Sikh politics, military, and administration[edit]


Ghadar Party flag



History of Sikhism[edit]



Sikh man in turban

Sikhs are members of the Sikh religion. A sangat is a society or congregation of Sikhs.

Titles and labels[edit]

  • Amritdhari — baptized Sikh; anyone who has been initiated into the Khalsa, according to Sikh Reht Maryada.
  • Brahmgiani — highly enlightened individual who has obtained the ultimate blessings of Waheguru.
  • Granthi — the Sikh that reads Guru Granth Sahib
  • Gurmukh — a person who is spiritually centered. A person who lives within the will of God and accepts all good and bad that happens to one's self without question or annoyance. A gurmukh stands in contrast to a manmukh.
  • Gursikh
  • Gyani
  • Jathedar
  • Kar sevak
  • Manmukh — a self-centered person, contrast to gurmukh. A person who lives within the will of the Mind as opposed to the will of god.
  • Nihang — a warrior Sikh
  • Nirankari — an offshoot of Sikhism
  • Patit — apostate
  • Sahajdhari — unbaptized Sikh.
  • Sant Sipahi
  • Sardar — a word contemporarily used to address or denote a turban-wearing Sikh male. The term initially used by Sikh leaders and generals who held important positions in various Sikh Misls of the Sikh Empire.
  • Sevadar — one who volunteers for seva
  • Shaheed — title used before the name of a person who has died as a Sikh martyr.
  • Sikh names
    • Kaur ('princess') — the middle name or surname given to Sikh females
    • Singh ('lion') — the middle name or surname given to Sikh males
  • Udasi — a religious sect of ascetic sadhus who were key interpreters of the Sikh philosophy and the custodians of important Sikh shrines until the Akali movement. Modern-day udasis consider themselves more to be Hindu rather than Sikhs.

Sikh Gurus[edit]

  • Guru Nanak Dev — According to the traditional historical Sikh sources Guru Nanak Dev appeared on earth in the month of Katak Oct/November 1469 which is celebrated every year in the month of October/November. The SGPC which was founded in 1925, states the avtar date as 15 April 1469. The Sikhs believe that all subsequent Gurus possessed Guru Nanak's divinity and the one spirit of Akaal Purakh Waheguru.[16]
  • Guru Angad Dev (1504–52) — disciple of Guru Nanak Dev and second of the ten Sikh Gurus.
  • Guru Amar Das (1479–1574) — third of the ten Sikh Gurus.
  • Guru Ram Das ( 1534–81) — fourth of the ten Sikh Gurus.
  • Guru Arjan Dev (1563–1605) — fifth of the ten Sikh Gurus. He was arrested and executed by Jahangir in 1605.[17]
  • Guru Har Gobind (1596–1638) — son of Guru Arjan Dev and the sixth of the ten Sikh Gurus.
  • Guru Har Rai (1630–61) — grandson of Guru Har Gobind and seventh of the ten Sikh Gurus.
  • Guru Har Krishan (1656–64) — son of Guru Har Rai and eighth of the ten Sikh Gurus.
  • Guru Tegh Bahadur (1621–75) — grand uncle of Guru Har Krishan and ninth of the ten Sikh Gurus. He was executed on the orders of Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb in Delhi.[18]
  • Guru Gobind Singh(1666–1708) — son of Guru Tegh Bahadur and tenth of the ten Sikh Gurus. He named the holy scripture, as his successor
  • Guru Granth Sahib — the spiritual religious text of Sikhism, said to be the sole and final successor of the line of gurus. It is the eternal living Guru.[19] the final and eternal guru of the Sikhs.[20]

Notable people[edit]

General concepts[edit]

  • Brahmavidya — knowledge of the Divine
  • Vand Chhako — charity (or daan); one of the three petitions, alongside naam and ishnan.
  • Dasvand — 10% of earnings donated to the less advantaged.
  • Gurbani (abbreviated as bani) — verses; applied to any of the collective writings of the Sikh Gurus that appear in the Guru Granth Sahib.
  • Gurdwara (or gurudwara; literally 'God's door, God's place') — Sikh place of worship
  • Ik Onkar (or Ek Onkar) — One formless, genderless universal Lord called Wahguru
  • Ishnanablution, purification of body and mind; one of the three petitions, alongside naam and daan.
  • Jaap — recite.
  • Kirat Karo — earning a living honestly, without exploitation or fraud
  • Laavaan
  • Naam — remembrance of the Divine name
  • Takhat
  • Tankhah — social offense, such as giving dowry, using liquors and intoxicants, raising monuments over graves, and associating with apostates.

Pop culture[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Takhar, Opinderjit Kaur (2016). Sikh Identity: An Exploration of Groups Among Sikhs. Routledge. ISBN 9781351900102. Since the Sikh concept of the divine is panentheistic, the divine is always greater than the created universe, its systems such as karma and samsara, and all phenomena within it. In Sikhism, due to the sovereignty of God, the doctrines of Nadar and Hukam override all systems, both concepts reinforcing panentheism. Hence one becomes a jivanmukt only in accordance with the Hukam.
  2. ^ Reynolds, William M.; Webber, Julie A. (2004). Expanding Curriculum Theory: Dis/positions and Lines of Flight. Routledge. p. 90. ISBN 9781135621278. Like the God-of-process theologians in the West (Whitehead, Cobb, Griffin, Hartshorne), the God of Sikhism is a dynamic God, a process moving within humankind, pervasive within the hearts of people, yet transcendent and eternal. The Sikh God is one with whom devotees become wholly absorbed: "As the fish, I find the life of absorption in the water that is God" (Sri Guru Granth. 1988, p. 166). As the fish is absorbed in the water that is God, the soul is absorbed in the lightness that is God. The fish, even though absorbed in the water that is God, does not lose its fishness, its fish identity-formation, even though absorbed in the light that is God. A panentheistic system, such as Sikhsim, allows the soul to retain its soulness while merging with God. The soul, in other words, is not identical with God, even after merging with God, but one might say God is part of the soul. A strict identity soul = God is incarnationism and this is considered anathema in Sikhism. The Granth uses the beloved/lover metaphor for the relation of the self to God. God is the beloved and the devo tee is the lover. The lover retains her identity yet merges with her beloved.
  3. ^ Singh, Pashaura; Mandair, Arvind-Pal Singh (2023). The Sikh world. London New York: Routledge. ISBN 9780429848384. In looking at the teachings of the Gurus as a whole, it seems that Lourdunathan overstates the degree to which Sikh scripture is anti-monistic. Guru Nanak famously referred to the world as a "palace of smoke" (GGS: 138) and made countless references to the idea of maya (Illusion). While the Gurus did not teach a radical nondualism, it is perhaps more accurate to suggest that some aspects of Sikh thought constitute a qualified nondualism (in which Creator and Creation are part of the same whole) (GGS: 125) or panentheism (in which the Creator pervades the natural world) (GGS: 24), while many others are monotheistic, including passages in Japji Sahib, where God is described as the King of Kings (GGS: 6). These different interpretations lend themselves to varying understandings of the relationship between the natural world and divinity.
  4. ^ Adherents.com. "Religions by adherents". Archived from the original on April 21, 2005. Retrieved 2007-02-09.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  5. ^ "The List: The World's -Growing Religions". Foreign Policy. Archived from the original on 26 May 2012. Retrieved 5 November 2010.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  6. ^ Singh, Pritama. 1992. Bhai Gurdas. pp. 33–36. ISBN 9788172012182.
  7. ^ Colonist, Times (2008-03-11). "Sikh separatists in Canada concern Indian government". Canada.com. Retrieved 2010-01-22.
  8. ^ "25 years on, few takers for Khalistan in Canada". Thaindian.com. Retrieved 2010-01-22.
  9. ^ The foreign policy of Pakistan: ethnic impacts on diplomacy, 1971–1994. ISBN 1-86064-169-5. Mehtab Ali Shah: "Such is the political, psychological and religious attachment of the Sikhs to that city that a Khalistan without Lahore would be like a Germany without Berlin."
  10. ^ Amritsar to Lahore: a journey across the India-Pakistan border. Stephen Alter. ISBN 0-8122-1743-8 "Ever since the separatist movement gathered force in the 1980s, Pakistan has sided with the Sikhs, even though the territorial ambitions of Khalistan include Lahore and sections of the Punjab on both sides of the border."
  11. ^ Surjit Singh Gandhi (2007). History of Sikh Gurus Retold: 1606-1708 C.E. Atlantic Publishers & Dist. p. 822. ISBN 9788126908585.
  12. ^ Surjit Singh Gandhi (2007). History of Sikh Gurus Retold: 1606-1708 C.E. Atlantic Publishers & Dist. p. 822. ISBN 9788126908585.
  13. ^ Mehta, J. L. (2005). Advanced study in the history of modern India 1707–1813. Sterling Publishers Pvt. Ltd. p. 303. ISBN 978-1-932705-54-6. Retrieved 2010-09-23.
  14. ^ Jacques, Tony (2007). Dictionary of Battles and Sieges. Greenwood Press. p. 92. ISBN 978-0-313-33536-5.
  15. ^ Jacques, p. 93
  16. ^ Guru Nanak may be referred to by many other names and titles such as "Satguru Nanak Dev", "Guru Nanak Dev" or "Baba Nanak" .
  17. ^ N. Jayapalan (2001). History of India. Atlantic. p. 160. ISBN 978-81-7156-928-1.
  18. ^ A Gateway to Sikhism | Sri Guru Tegh Bhadur Sahib J - A Gateway to Sikhism Archived 2008-08-30 at the Wayback Machine
  19. ^ Deol, Harnik (2000). Religion and Nationalism in India. Routledge. p. 62. ISBN 0-415-20108-X.
  20. ^ Keene, Michael (2003). Online Worksheets. Nelson Thornes. p. 38. ISBN 0-7487-7159-X.

External links[edit]