Indianapolis, June 24, 2006
of IndyStar.com. , Indianapolis
Question: Sikhism is one of the world's newer religions,
with its origins in Pakistan. Can you tell me how it was founded?
Answer: The founder of Sikhism was Guru Nanak Dev Ji. He
was born in 1469 in Nankana Sahib in Pakistan. The Sikh religion
was founded 500 years ago. It has 20 million followers worldwide
and is ranked as the world's fifth-largest religion. It preaches
a message of devotion and remembrance of God at all times. It
is open to all through the teachings of 10 Gurus in the Sikh holy
book, Sri Guru Granth Sahib
Q. Tell me about the Guru Granth Sahib and some of its central
A. Guru Granth Sahib is a religious scripture just like
the Bible. In this, you can read details about God and learn what
is God and how to meet God. People who have already seen the light
can learn what is their place in this world. And people who have
not yet found God can learn what is their place in this world.
The Guru Granth Sahib is known as truly unique among the world's
great scriptures. It is also the only kind of scripture that has
the sayings of its own Gurus as well as people from other faiths.
Sikhs do not worship idols.
Guru Granth Sahib is regarded as the body of the Guru and is kept
on a raised platform under a canopy, covered in clean clothes.
It is a collection of devotional hymns that proclaim God. It puts
emphasis on meditation. It is a guide to social reformation. It
has 5,894 hymns.
The Granth contains Gurbani, or the Guru's teaching.
Q: I understand that the Guru Granth Sahib is treated with
great care and respect, both during your worship services
and in Sikh homes. Can you tell me about some of the practices
pertaining to the handling and placement of the book itself?
A: We bow our head in front of Guru Granth Sahib. At night,
priests put it on a nice bed with nice clothes. In the morning,
priests put it on a stage called a palaki, covered with nice clothes.
If we take the sacred book anywhere outside gurdwara (a building
where the book is kept), at least five Sikhs are supposed to be
there with the sacred Granth. We take our sacred book as our living
The Guru Granth Sahib is ceremonially opened in the gurdwara every
morning. The holy book should not be opened through the night.
The holy book should not be opened until the Granthi or the attendant
is there. The place where it is kept should be clean at all times.
Q: Sikhism is sometimes characterized as a blending of Hinduism
and Islam. Do you think that is true? If so, how? If not, how
does it differ from those two faiths?
A: Sikhism is different from both faiths. The Sikh saint,
Guru Nanak Dev Ji, wanted to level the barriers so that common
spiritual ground can be found between Hinduism and Islam. God
established Sikhism through Guru Nanak, and it is completely wrong
to consider Sikhism as a part or combination of either Hinduism
or Islam. A Sikh does not worship demi-Gods or worship idols.
A Sikh does not believe in a caste system. A Sikh believes in
monogamy and should not marry his or her cousins. They don't believe
in animal sacrifices. Sikhs give equal status to their women.
They don't believe in fasting. They don't believe in going to
pilgrimages and finding God over there. Sikhism does not take
any ritual or beliefs from either Islam or Hinduism.
Q: How do Sikhs view God?
A: Sikhs view God as a power and light. Sikhs are strictly monotheistic.
They believe in one true God. According to Guru Nanak's prayer
Mul Mantra, there is one God. Eternal truth is his name. Maker
of all things, fearing nothing and at enmity with nothing. Timeless
is his image, not begotten, being of his own being. . . . Sikhs
believe that humans relate to God through meditation..........