The Sikhism religion developed at a critical time and place in history. It is believed that this enabled the religion to grow rapidly. Since it was developed, the religion has grown to have more than 20 million followers all over the world. This paper will discuss the factors that lead to the development of the Sikhism religion.
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Development of Sikhism
This is one of the youngest religions in the world. The religion is estimated to be around 500 years old. The religion is referred to as an ethnic religion since it is not widely practiced. It was developed by Guru Nanak in the early 1500s. During this time, Islam and Hindu were the main religion in Punjab area. The political system at this time had been unjust and very corrupt. It had been at this time that the Punjab region had been going through a transition (Brodd & Sobolewski 2009). It was believed that the religious leaders of the Hindu and Islam religions had been engaging in corruption and also viewed their respective religions as being superior. This caused the Punjab region to be divided along religious lines. Castes and sectarianism were also some of the major reasons behind the inequalities in the Punjab region.
Guru Nanak Dev Ji at this time tried to foster unity in the area by his simple teachings. Guru Nanak believed that all people were created by one creator regardless of their religious views. However, the teachings Guru Nanak were different from the two dominant religions that were Hindu and Islam. Guru Nanak also encouraged his followers not to bow down to anyone but the almighty and the Gurus who were the religious leaders (Dalton 2006).
The Gurus preached that all people should be devoted to God. They also preached that all people are equal regardless of the religious views, race, gender and age. They also believed that trust and honesty were the most important virtues that all human being should posses. They encouraged their followers to be feeding the hungry and helping the poor.
The first disciple of Guru Nanak had been his elder sister by the name Bibi Nanki. There were other nine Gurus. They include; Guru Angad Dev who served as Guru from the year 1539 to the year 1552. Guru Amar Das was the next in line and served from the year 1552 to the year 1574. In the year 1574 another Guru by the name of Ras Das took over and served until the year 1581. Guru Arjan Dev then took over in the year 1581 and served until the year 1606. The sixth Guru went by the name Hargobind and served as Guru from the year 1644 to the year 1661.
The seventh Guru was known as Guru Har Raj and served till his death in the year 1661. Guru Har Krishan was the youngest Guru to ever serve. He was made Guru at a tender age of five. However, he only served for three years and died aged eight years due to a small pox infection. Guru Tegh Bahadur was crowned Guru following the untimely dearth of Guru Har Krishan in the year 1964. The last guru by the name of Guru Gobind Singh served from the year 1675 and died in 1708 (Bingham 2008).
The Gurus contributed to growth of Sikhism and to some the practices that Sikhs practice. A Guru served until his death.
Practices of schism
Place of worship
The Sikhs place of worship is called Gurdwaras which can be translated in English to mean the house of the Guru. While in the Gurdwaras the Sikhs will pray and sing hymns from their holy book. At the end of the service the Sikhs take Karah Prasad which is a form of sacramental food. By taking the sacramental, food the Sikhs practiced equality (Hopfe & Woodward 2012).
There holy book is referred to as Guru Granth Sahib. The book has hymns that praise God and offer moral guidance to the Sikhs.
Sikhs believe that they should avoid some vices that create barriers between themselves and God. They are referred to as the five deadly evils. They include, anger, covetousness, desire, pride and attachment to worldly things.
The religion has several festivals that are celebrated after every year. The festival of the Gurus is the most common festival. Sikhs celebrate this festival to remember their ten Gurus. Another festival by the name Baisakhi is celebrated after the harvest season. Diwali is celebrated to commemorate the day Guru Hargobind together with some Hindu kings were released from Gwalior. On the 13th January of every year the Sikhs celebrate the Lohri festival after the harvest of the Rabi crop (Hopfe & Woodward 2012).
The Sikhism religion developed at a time when the Punjab region had been going through a transition. This had divided the region along religious lines as the religious leaders of the Islam and Hindu religions were corrupt. It was at this time that Guru Nanak came in and preached peace and stressed that all people were equal regardless of their religious views. This helped foster unity in the region as well and more people started practicing Sikhism.
Bingham, J. (2008). Sikhism. North Mankato, Minn: Smart Apple Media.
Brodd, J., & Sobolewski, G. (2009). World religions: a voyage of discovery. Winona, MN: Saint Mary’s Press.
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Dalton, D. (2006). Sikhism. Hauppauge, NY: Barrons Educational Series, Inc..
Hopfe, L. M., & Woodward, M. R. (2012). Religions of the world. Boston: Pearson.