Question & Answer-33
660. Are there any saints in Sikhism ?
Sikhs recognise saints as the preachers of the same philosophy as
preached by the Gurus. Kabir, Ravidas, Dhanna, Sadhna, Pipa and Nam Dev were
some of the saints for whom the Sikhs have a great regard. Some imposters
are nowadays raising their heads and proclaiming themselves saints. Like
counter-feit coins they have got some currency among the less informed
gullible Sikhs. Unlike the above saints none of these has ever written any
hymns. They only interpret the Holy word.
661. What is the attitude of Sikhism towards other religions ?
discredits no religion. According to Sikhism all religions orginated with good intentions and are like different roads leading to the
same destination. The Gurus clearly stated the futility of entering into
argument regarding the veracity and practicability of the ideas expressed by
other religious leaders. They encouraged their followers instead to
cultivate a rational attitude and find out for themselves what is right and
what is wrong. Guru Granth Sahib is full of such instruction as :
the Vedas and the Semitic books false. Rather he is false who lacks the
ability to rationalise." However the Gurus have very clearly stated their
own point of view on matters where they differed and disagreed with other
religions. As a testimony to their all-embracing, egalitarian approach to
religion. Guru Nanak kept a Muslim with him all his life and visited the
holy places of other religions. Guru Arjan had great affection for a Muslim
saint, Mian Mir, who laid the foundation stone of the holiest temple of the
Sikhs at Amritsar.
crown it all, Guru Arjan included the Hymns of many
Hindu and Muslim saints in the Holy Granth, caring little for their caste,
social standing and religion. Saint Budhu Shah was a staunch Muslim Faqir
and yet he was an intimate friend of Guru Gobind Singh. He had his sons and
other relatives butchered in trying to help the Guru in the teeth of Muslim
tyranny and bigotry.
Nabi Khan and Ghani Khan risked their lives and carried
the Guru in a palanquin from one place to another at a time when the penalty
of expressing the faith in the Guru was death for all the family and
relatives. The Gurus laid stress on the purity of thought word and deed and
rejected ritualism and unrealistic blind faith.
662. How does Sikhism differ from other religions ?
all religions are means for the spiritual betterment of human beings and
hence are good in their own way. Sikhism as a religion differs from almost
all the other world religions in one way or the other. It differs from
Hinduism in the way that it rejects the authority of the Vedes
and that of the priestly class.
is opposed to the caste system which has been (and still is) the pivot of
Hinduism. The Sikhs bow only before the Holy Granth because it embodies the philosophy of their Gurus and are
against idol-worship. In Sikhism very little importance is attached to
pilgrimages and austerities. God, according to Sikhism, can be realised
easily while leading a family life and there is absolutely no need to go to
the jungle, resort to asceticism and penances.
sacrifice is discredited as useless and unnecessary. Widow re-marriage is
encouraged and is common. Sikhism has much in common with Islam but it
rejects the theory of the finality of Mohammad as a prophet and that of the Quran as a
revelation. Fasting, according to Sikhism, brings no merit to the human
for personal physical benefit its efficacy is completely ruled out. Women in
Sikhism are allowed full freedom in religious worship, social functions and
political programmes, and are considered as "Conscience
of men." The Sikhs do not remove any hair from their bodies and special
shaving (as Bhaddan) of the Hindus and circumcision (of Muslims) are the
things quite alien to the Sikhs.
Sikhs attach no importance to the worship of relics or graves and the only
worship they have is the singing of the Guru's hymns in praise of the Lord.
Although the Sikhs have their morning and evening prayers yet they are
enjoined to remember God throughout the day whenever they have the time to
is not an impossibility for the Sikhs because they need not adhere to any
time schedule, make any postures, have any materials for worship or face in
a particular direction. The hymns of the Gurus can be repeated aloud or in
the mind, at work, on the road, in the bus or anywhere wherever the Sikh
happens to be. Unlike many other religions the Sikhs believe in ten
spiritual masters called Gurus. A Guru literally means "one who dispels
darkness and floods the soul with light."
Guru ever called himself "God" and as such though the Sikhs hold their Gurus
in high esteem, they do not call them God or "the only sons of God." Baptism
in Sikhism is not ceremonious and hence no infants are baptised. Unlike many other faiths it is the initiate who has to beg for
baptism with folded hands and the five Piaras conducting the baptism have
the authority to refuse if the initiate has not progressed up to a certain
Baptism no age and no auspicious day is fixed. One may bet baptised at any time and any age. The baptised Sikhs are unique in having
five physical symbols, i.e., Kesh, Kara, Kirpan, Kangha, and Kachha. Except
for the birth days and the martyrdom days of their Gurus the Sikhs do not
have any special days of worship. One other special day is Baisakhi, the day
when Khalsa was created. One can go to the Sikh Temple (Gurdawara) on any
day and at any time. No special day (like Sunday in the West) is fixed.
usually the first day of every Indian month is observed in many Sikh
Temples. Although special trained Granthis (readers) are nowadays
employed in the Sikh Temples, there is no priestly class and anybody having
a reasonable proficiency in reading Punjabi can conduct service. Sikhism
does not believe in resurrection but in evolution of the soul.
Sikhs believe that transmigration can be halted by acting upon the advice of
the Guru, repeating the true name, and doing good deeds. Thus the Sikh
belief is not fatalistic predestination but admits a free will and the grace
of God. Community kitchen (Langar) is another speciality of Sikhism. Where there is
a Sikh Temple, there is a refectory where all can go irrespective of caste,
creed or colour and eat whatever is available at that particular time.
The Langar is run on public donations from the devoted Sikhs in cash and kind
and is a practical example of service, equality and fellowship. Although
aspiring for peace, the Sikhs are prepared to go to war if this becomes
inevitable. Their solution is "Waheguru ji ka Khalsa, Waheguru ji ki Fateh"
(The Khalsa belongs to the Lord. Victory be to Him.)
in reform, progress, improvement and the betterment of Society, a Sikh works
hard and attributes his successes to God, thus annihilating his ego.
Optimism is the keynote of a Sikh and he asks for Charhdi Kala (Optimism) everyday in his
prayers. But doing all he can do for the Society, he is to remain humble and
also ask for the gift of "a humble mind."
Guru Gobind Singh is the ideal
example for a Sikh to follow. He sacrificed his sons, his father, his mother
and his all, even himself for the people and yet was so humble as to kneel
before his Khalsa and ask for a sip of the baptismal water which he himself