Sikhism Interest Studies Project Year Twelve

1230 words - 5 pages

What are the origins of Sikhism and how has it developed? 11465382 Sikhism, in terms of beliefs, has its basic origins in Hinduism, whilst simultaneously being sympathetic to the Islamic faith. However, it has been the leaders (called gurus) of Sikhism that have influenced its inception and development over time. This Interest Studies Project will discuss how Sikhism begun with Guru Nanak ( b. 1469), and the influence of the following ten gurus, especially Guru Gobind Singh and the Guru Granth Sahib.Guru Nanak was born in a village in the Punjab called Talwandi (later renamed Nankana Sahib) in 1469 CE. He was born a Hindu of the Kshatriya caste (a warrior caste) but his experiences led him to oppose this system, Islam and Hinduism.Historical accuracy has not been established regarding the stories of Guru Nanak and his life, but for Sikhs, these stories still provide a clear path to learn more about spiritual truth. One of the more important stories regarding Nanak is that of his epiphany .He was deeply moved by this experience and it prompted him to begin a period of travel (around twenty years), where he taught and preached about the insignificance of ritual and formality and the importance of religious truth. Nanak's aim was to lead people toward truth in finding God, but not within the ritual and formal nature of the structured religions of Islam or Hinduism.He attracted a number of followers and soon found himself the leader of a large community. At the age of around fifty he settled at Kartarpur with this community, which was the first example of Sikh lifestyle. Guru Nanak constructed a building specifically for worship in this town, which was to become the gurdwara of Sikhism today.These were the beginnings of a religious tradition that has spread over all of India and now has followers worldwide.Guru Angad (1504-1552) was Guru Nanak's appointed successor as leader of the Sikh community, which by this stage had spread throughout India. Angad is the guru accredited with the invention of the written language of Punjabi. Guru Angad chose a man of seventy-three to be his successor even though he had two sons.This man was Guru Amar Das (1479-1574). He emphasised equality and community within Sikhism, which was not found in Hinduism. He said: "Do not be proud of your caste, we are all made of the same clay." This guru also brought to Sikhism the custom of gathering together during Baisakhi and Divali (Hindu festivals). This would express the Sikh's solidarity apart from Hindus and together as a religion.Guru Ram Das (1534-1581) was the next guru. He founded the city of Ramdaspur, later renamed Amritsar. This city was to be a focal meeting point for Sikhs, especially on festival days that his father (Guru Amar Das, the previous guru) had set in place.Guru Arjan (1563-1606) was the next Guru in line and the son of Guru Ram Das. He made important contributions to the establishment of Sikhism as a religion and political force set apart from both...

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