A progressive religion well ahead of its time when it was founded over 500 years ago, The Sikh religion today has a following of over 20 million people worldwide and is ranked as the world's 5th largest religion. Sikhism preaches a message of devotion and remembrance of God at all times, truthful living, equality of mankind and denounces superstitions and blind rituals. Sikhism is open to all through the teachings of its 10 Gurus enshrined in the Sikh Holy Book and Living Guru, Sri Guru Granth Sahib.

Here's a little about Sikhism:

Age of Sikhism: The history of Sikhism began with the birth in 1469 CE of Guru Nanak Dev Ji, the first Guru of the Sikhs. The initiation (baptism) ceremony and other traditions of the religion were formalized by 1699 CE.

Size of Sikhism: Sikhism is the fifth largest world religion. Sikhs currently number approximately 25 million across the globe, placing Sikhism below Buddhism and above Judaism in terms of size.

Role of Women: Sikhs view men and women as being completely equal. Women are expected to participate in daily and religious life in the same way as men. Barring or discouraging women from any activity or position based on sex is against the principles of Sikhism.

Role of Clergy: In Sikhism, every person is fully responsible for leading a moral life. Sikhs do not believe an intermediary can supplicate on one's behalf to God. Hence, Sikhs have no priestly class. Those educated in religious affairs or with a special insight on God are free to teach or guide others, but they cannot claim to have a monopoly on access to God. Religious services are usually conducted by a Giani, literally, one who is educated in religious affairs. However, members of the congregation are also expected to be active participants.

Conception of God: Sikhism is a monotheistic religion. In Sikhism, God—termed Va-higuru-—is formless, eternal, and unobserved: niran.ka-r, aka-l, and alakh. While a full understanding of God is beyond human beings, Guru Nanak Dev Ji described God as not wholly unknowable. God is omnipresent (sarav via-pak) in all creation and visible everywhere to the spiritually awakened. Nanak stressed that God must be seen from "the inward eye", or the "heart", of a human being: devotees must meditate to progress towards enlightenment. Guru Nanak Dev emphasized the revelation through meditation, as its rigorous application permits the existence of communication between God and human beings.[9] God has no gender in Sikhism, though translations may incorrectly present a masculine God. In addition, Nanak wrote that there are many worlds on which God has created life.

Life After Death: Sikhs believe that upon death one merges back into the universal nature, just as a drop of rain merges back into the ocean. Individuality is lost. Sikhs do not believe in heaven or hell. Heaven can be experienced by being in tune with God while still alive. Conversely, the suffering and pain caused by ego is seen as hell on earth. Sikhism views spiritual pursuits as positive experiences in and of themselves that transcend death, not as sacrifices made in order to collect a reward that is waiting until after death.

Religious Texts: The only authenticated text of the Sikhs is Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, a 1430-page text containing hymns written directly by Guru Nanak Dev Ji and later Gurus. This text was ratified by Guru Gobind Singh Ji as the final authority on Sikh spiritual doctrine. The Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji is the living Guru for Sikhs.

View of Other Religions: Sikhs believe they have no right to impose their beliefs on others or even to cajole members of other religions to convert. Such practices are strictly forbidden in Sikhism. Sikhs are required to defend the freedom of worship of other religions just as they would their own. Sikhs do not believe that followers of other religions are doomed in the eyes of God regardless of their personal character and behavior, nor does being born into a Sikh family guarantee salvation. However, this does not mean Sikhs view all religions as being similar. The philosophy, practice, and history of Sikhism are unique and seen as clearly distinct from any other religion.

Eligibility for Participation: All individuals, regardless of race, gender, or nationality, are free to become Sikhs. One does not have to be a Sikh to participate in Sikh religious services and activities. Members of other religions are welcome.

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