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What is Sikhism?

The Sikh religion is one of the youngest and the smallest. It originated in the northern province of India called Panjab in the late 15th century. There are approximately 21 million Sikhs in the world and the vast majority of them still live in India, though many of them have now settled throughout the world.

Its founder, Guru Nanak, was born a Hindu, but Hinduism did not appeal to him. Guru Nanak thought that these rituals were meaningless. He was happy with Islam because it had equality built into its foundations, but that equality was only for Muslims, all others were called Kafirs (atheists). So the Guru decided to choose the third way, the path of God, where everyone regardless of his or her colour, cast or creed must be respected as equal. He taught his followers to believe in "Ek Onkar", one God. His followers came to be known as Sikhs. Ek Onkar invokes Divine blessing and forms the first line of the Sikh creed, the MOOL MANTAR.

The word 'Sikh' itself means disciple or a learner and the word 'Guru' means enlightener although some may say that it means a teacher. But to a Sikh their Guru is much more than a teacher. They revere their Guru as an enlightener or a messanger of God.

Sikhism is the simplest way of attaining salvation. One can do this through performing their duties to both family and society. One must earn through honest labour, share food with others (Langar), meditate, and give to charity and selfless service to others (Sewa).

There are Ten Human Gurus in the Sikh faith and each and every one has contributed to the faith in his own way.

The "Guru Granth Sahib", the Sikh Scriptures (holy book), contains the divine hymns of Guru Nanak and all the Gurus who succeeded him, along with many Hindu and Muslim Holy men. The Tenth Guru Gobind Singh instructed his followers to accept the Scriptures as the Guru eternal.