Khanda
Symbol of Sikhism

Sikhism is the fifth largest religion in the world, founded in the fifteenth century by Guru Nanak, in the South Asian region of Punjab (present day India and Pakistan). Guru Nanak was followed by nine successor Gurus, leading to the formation of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib, the holy book encompassing Sikh teachings--based upon the teachings of the Sikh gurus. Followers of the religion are known as Sikhs, literally meaning disciples.

GurusSGGS
10 Sikh Gurus Sri Guru Granth Sahib

The monotheistic religion includes various core beliefs. The basic principle of the religion is based on the term Ik Onkar, or There is One God. This encompasses the core Sikh belief that God is an all-encompassing, universal, creator. Furthermore, Sikhism states that all human beings are created equal regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, caste, etc. Adherents to Sikhism also believe that all religions are equal, and represent different paths to reach the same God.

Sikhs live in accordance to three basic pillars preached by Guru Nanak as essential to a godly way of life. These pillars represent worship, work, and charity:

  1. Naam Japna: Meditation while thinking about God, or chanting God's name during everyday activities.
  2. Kirat Karna: To live as householders, and not as heretics or those who denounce worldly things.
  3. Vand Chakna: Giving to the community, and consuming your own share.
Baptized Sikhs form what is known as the Khalsa Panth which was created by the tenth Sikh Guru, Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji. He created the baptized order of Sikhs to fight injustice and hatred for all human beings. Baptized Sikhs are known as Amritdhari. To ensure that baptized Sikhs were fully visible to everyone, and to make them stand out, Amritdhari Sikhs are required to adorn certain symbols to represent their faith and spiritual ideals. These are known as the Panj Kakkars or the Five Ks:
  1. Kes: Uncut or unshorn hair. Hair is kept unshorn to show respect for God, by seeing it as a gift from God, and keeping the hair in the natural state. Most Sikh men, and some women, who adorn their kes wear a turban to keep the hair neat and tidy.
  2. Kanga: A small, wooden comb worn in the hair to represent cleanliness.
  3. Kara: A steel bracelet representing oneness to God, and to have a constant reminder of the Gurus' teachings.
  4. Kirpan: A small dagger representing a Sikh's duty to defend against injustice and hatred.
  5. Kachera: Shorts to represent chastity and purity.
Nishan Sahib
Flag of the Khalsa Panth