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Four Principles of Sikhism

The Sikh faith is based on four principles - Truth, Equality, Freedom and Justice. These are the guiding principles of Sikhism. Devotion to Waheguru or Almighty is encouraged in Sikhism but there is no place for superstitions, blind rituals and caste system.

Equality of brotherhood is encouraged and much emphasis is laid on ethics, values, morality and truthful living. Sikhs believe in experiencing God through continuous worship, devotion, love and contemplation.

The Five Vices

To come closer to God, a true Sikh is expected to overcome and rise above five basic vices as described in scriptures.

1. Kaam (Lust, Adultery, Fornication)

2. Krodh (Anger, Wrath)

3. Lobh (Greed)

4. Moh (Worldly Attachment)

5. Ahnkar (Ego, Pride)

Thus, a God - conscious Sikh is expected to overcome these five transgressions, apart from leading a truthful and selfless existence.


Basic Tenets of Sikhism

There are three basic tenets of Sikh living. These were taught by the first Sikh guru, Guru Nanak ji.

1. NaamJapna - To wake up each day before sunrise, cleanse the body andmeditate on God's name(Waheguru) to purify the mind.

2. KiratKarni - Truthful and honest living.

3. Wand Chakhna - Shareone's earnings with others before considering oneself, and thus to live as an inspiration to the entire community.


Sikh Devotions

1) There are different devotions for morning, evening and night.

· Morning - Five devotions (Japji Sahib, Jaap Sahib, Tav Prasad Sawaje, Chaupai Sahib and                     Anand Sahib)

· Evening - Rehras Sahib

· Night (before bedtime) - Kirtan Sohela

In these scriptures, the human body and mind are explained in relation to the cosmic divinity. Devotees are encouraged to recite these prayers as these promote their self-being and impart endless bliss, peace and tranquility.

All Sikhs are encouraged to start their day with early morning private devotions, preferably at dawn.

2) Nitnem (Panj Bania)

Nitnem means daily observance, without fail. In Sikhism,Nitnem stands for a covenant ofdaily observance of the five prayers called the Panj Bania (or bani). Panj stands for the number five, and Bani denotes scripture.

During Amritshak (the Sikh initiation ceremony), the Khalsa initiates are instructed to perform Nitnem daily without fail. They can either read, recite or listen (recording or live) to these prayers.

The prayers of Nitnem correspond to specific times of day including morning, evening and bedtime. These prayers, taken from the Sikh scriptures and written in Gurmukhi, are bound together in a small booklet that can be held in hand (Gutka).
A Nitnem Gutka can also include Ardaas and Amrit Banis, favoured in daily routine.


Salvation in Sikhism

Salvation in Sikhism is defined as merging of the human soul with the 'Creator', just like a drop of water merges in an ocean. To become one with God or to attain salvation, following is emphasized in the scriptures:

· Self-control (in order to conquer the five vices of lust, greed, anger, pride and ego)

· Self-denial

· Daily worship and meditation on holy scriptures,

· Chanting on the name of Waheguru,

· Charity and good works 

· Noble and selfless acts

· Truthful living

The Sikh school of thought shares the belief of samsara (the cycle of birth, life and death), karma (the sum of good and bad deeds of a person in previous birth, that decides the decide the quality of life in next birth)and reincarnation in line with other Indian religions like Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism.


Some key facts about salvation and death in Sikhism

1. The soul is immortal and a part of God, hence it lives forever.

2. The soul goes through the cycle of 8.4 million reincarnations.

3. Human birth is the closest form to God, and is the best opportunity to attain salvation.

4. Being born as a human is an indication that the soul is getting close to ending the cycle of births and deaths.

5. If you made no efforts to come closer to God and purify your soul, you will end up going through 8.4 million reincarnations. 

6. If you lived a righteous life but did not make efforts to sanctify your soul, you will be given more chances to take human form, in order to get closer to God.

7. Till a person achieves perfection to become one with God, the cycles of birth and death continue.

8. God has created man in order to accomplish His purpose in the cosmos, and once that is accomplished, he merges in with his Creator.

9. Those who do not meditate on God can never become one with Him.

10. After death, the soul does not stay forever in heaven or hell. God judges the soul and if found pure, He allows it (soul) to rest with Him. If not, the reincarnation cycles continue.

11. The Sikh spirituality is centred on experiencing God, and becoming one with Him. 

12. Sikhs do not believe in spending eternity in heaven or hell.

13. Heaven and hell are created to reward and punish, until one gains perfection to eventually merge with the Almighty. 


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