SACRED BOOK: ADI GRANTH
SEE THEMSELVES AS DISCIPLES OF:
● AKAL PURAKH ("Timeless Being" / God)
● the ten SIKH GURUS
25 MILLION SIKHS WORLD WIDE
SIKH means DISCIPLE
Originated in Punjab
Religious env. of 15C Punjab was suffused wiht the thought of
the North Indian SANTS (poet-saints)
one of the SANTS was the FOUNDER of the Sikh Trad:
GURU NANAK (1469 - 1539)
- shifted orientation of religious piety from ascetic
renunciation towards active engagement with the world.
- belief in possibility of achieving spiritual liberation in a
single lifetime through meditation on the divine Name:
and living an ethical life.
Punjab ("five rivers") area is the five rivers that feed into
the Indus. historical geographic cross roads for cultures of
Middle East, Central Asia, and india. the area was intensly
diverse in religious practice, allowing room for sikh tradition
to flower safely, and develop theologically since they had to
define themselves in an ongoing process of interaction and
lively debate. GURU NANAK
much of what we know comes from hagiographicy called JANAM-
SAKHIS ("birth narratives"). three distinct phases of his life
1. mystical enlightenment
2. pilgrimage and debate
3. growing communiity of disciples established the first sikh
nanak goes into the river and disappears, presumed for dead,
returns three days later and declares that "there is no muslim,
there is no hindu" underlining the common humanity. this time
commences his ministry. he feels he has divine mission given
from God. thirty years old at this time. leaves his family on
pilgrimage across india to debate with hindu and muslims and
different religious leaders all over.
FOUNDATION OF SIKH PANTH
at the end of his pilgrimage, nanak purchased a parcel of land
in central punjab and founded village of KARTARPUR in 1519. he
won many disciples. they sang hymns together.
KIRTAN : DEVOTIONAL SINGING
PANTH : path, and refers to the first families who gathered
around Guru Nanak at Kartarpur, and all the rest of sikhs
afterwards. like the umma of islam. SIKH PANTH = SIKH COMMUNITY
- NANAK encourages the "real" muslims and "real" hindus and nath
and jainas to follow him, equating their tangible traditions
with ethical virtues to be pursued. his path was an inner
sprituality based on ethical values.
three key institutions:
SANGAT - holy fellowship, all feel beonging to one large
spiritual fraternity DHARAMSALA - the orignal form of the Sikh place of worship
LANGAR - the communal meal, prepared as a community service by
members of the SANGAT. served to everyone attending the GURDWARA.
GURDWARA: THE SIKH PLACE OF WORSHIP. people of all castes and
conditions sit side-by-side in status-free rows‚ female next to
male, socially high next to socially low, ritually pure next to
ritually impure, AND THEY ALL SHARE IN SOME OF THE SAME FOOD
Institution of Langar promoted egalitarianism, community
service, unity, and belonging across all peoples
final institution created by Nanak was the institution of the
GURU, who became the central authority.
THE TEN GURUS
GURU NANAKH's decision regarding the succession was the most
significant step in the development of the early sikh panth, for
he not only promoted Angad to the status of "Guru" within his
own lifetime, but bowed before his own successor, becoming a
disciple himself. This clearly asserted the primacy of the
message over the messenger.
GURU ANGAD followed Guru Nanak. He consolidated Sikh doctrince
to be in complete conformity with Guru Nanak's message. He
refined the GURMUKHI script in which the guru's hymns were
recorded. Using Gurmukhi was an emphatic and populist rejection
of the hegemonic authority attributed to sanskrit, arabic, and
persian in the scholarly circles of the time.
*language has been the single most important factor in the
preservation of the Sikh cultural heritage. For Punjabis, having
their religion be in their vernacular native tongue was empowering.
GURU AMAR DAS followed Guru Angad. introduced institutional
innovations to reinforce cohesion in ever-growing sikh panth.
started town of goindval. established two annual festivals:
these both allowed regular opportunities to get the growing
community in a place to meet the guru.
he introduced a system of twenty two MANJIS (seats of authority)
as bases for missionaries
oversaw preparation of the goindval POTHIS (volumes), the
initial collection of the compositions of the first three gurus
and some of the medieval poet-saints.
*IN EVERY RELIGIOUS TRADITION, TRANSLATION INTO A STANDARD
WRITTEN FORM AND OBJECTIFICATION IN RITUALS AND CEREMONIES
BECOME IMPERATIVE AS TIME REMOVES NEW CONVERTS FURTHER AND
FURTHER FROM THE LIVES OF THE FOUNDER AND THE ORIGINAL DISCIPLES.
Guru Amar Das' reforms for women were even more significant: he
abolished the wearing of the veil and the practice of SATI! and
he permitted widows to remarry! he also appointed women as
missionaries (about half the original Manjis were held by women)
and gave all Sikh women equal rights with men to conduct prayers
and other ceremonies.
GURU RAM DAS followed Gurue Amar Das. he constructed AMRITSAR, a
town with a bathing pool amritsar means nectar of immortality.
created MASANDS ('deputies') for administrative purposes since
these buildings were high overhead.
Ram Das contributed 679 new hymns. he was big on music. invented
11 more rajas (melodies the hymns are sung to) to supplement the
19 they had before. the liturgical req not only to recite but to
sing the sacred Word became part of the very definition of
Sikhism. the distinction between "us" and "them" was effectively
completed during the period of guru ram das.
GURU ARJAN followed Guru Ram Das. he built the DARBAR SAHIB (Divine Court, also known as Harimandir Sahib, and later as the
Golden Temple) in the sacred pool of AMRITSAR. The DARBAR SAHIB
remains the central symbol of the Sikh faith to this day.
organized the scriptural corpus into the ADI GRANTH, definitive
Sikhism had such significant growth by this point that it
attracted the unfavourable attention of the Mughal authorities.
RISE OF SIKH-MUGHAL CONFLICT
the peaceful growth of the sikh Panth through the 16C can be
attributed to the liberal policy of Emperor Akbar (r. 1556-1605)
8 months after Akbar died, Guru Arjan was executed at Lahore by
order of the new emperor, JAHANGIR (r.1605-28)
THIS "FIRST MARTYRDOM" IS A BIG TURNING POINT IN SIKHISM, pushed
community in direction of
Arjan's death was the decisive factor in the cyrstallization of
the Sikh Panth.
GURU HARGOBIND replaced Guru Arjan. aat his investiture, he
donned two swords. one symbolized SPIRITUAL - PIRI, and the
other TEMPORAL - MIRI, authority.
directed Panth to take up arms to defend itself from Mughal
Hargobind withdrew from Amritsar to Kiratpur, whcih became the
new centre of the mainline sikh trad.
GURU HAR RAI followed Guru Hargobind
GURU HARKRISHAN followed Guru Har Rai under these two, tensions eased with the mughals. they kept a
regular force of horsemen, and held their own courts to
adjudicate on temporal issues within the panth.
GURU TEGH BAHADUR replaced Guru Harkrishan. increasing strength
of sikh movement under him again attracted mughal attention in
the 1670s. Tegh Bahadur told the followers to be fearless in
pursuit of a just society. Emperor Aurangzeb, who tried to
change all hindu temples to mosques, summoned Tegh Bahadur to
Delhi and when he refused to embrace Islam, he was publicly
This second martyrdom really helped to make human rights and
freedom of conscience central to Sikh identity.
GURU GOBIND SINGH followed Guru Tegh Bahadur. the Sikhs at
Tegh's execution concealed their identitiy for fear of meeting a
similar fate. for this reason, Gobind Singh imposed an outward
form that would make Sikhs instantly recognizable.
he created THE KHALSA ('pure'), an order of loyal Sikhs bound by
common identity and discipline (RAHIT). on the day of the
BAISAKHI festival, 1699, Gobind Singh called for volunteers and
initiated the nucleus of the order to be the PANJ PIARE
(Cherished Five) who responded first. The initiation pattern to
the Khalsa follows the same pattern too:
initiates drink sweet "nectar" (AMRIT SANSKAR) that's been
stirred with a two-edged sword and sanctified by the recitation
of five liturgical prayers.
the launch of the Khalsa was the culmination of the formative
period in the development of Sikhism.
Gobind Singh, after adding Tegh Bahadur's works to the Adi
Granth, closed the Sikh canon.
before he passed away in 1708, he ended the succession of human
Gurus. there after, the authority of the guru would be invested
not in individuals but in scripture: GURU-GRANTH; and the
corporate community: GURU-PANTH.
RELIGIOUS STUDIES THEORY: CRYSTALLIZATION WILFRED CANTWELL SMITH
a number of stages identified in the development of a religious
1. vision of a mystic whose preaching attracts followers
2. organization of a community
3. positing of an intellectual ideal of that community
4. development of institutions
*the last two were reached under 5th Guru, Arjan, and the 10th,
THE SACRED SCRIPTURES
PRIMARY SCRIPTURE: ADI GRANTH
36 contributors strethching from the 12 to 17 C
THREE MAJOR SECTIONS
1. introductory section: three liturgical prayers
2. middle section: contains bulk of the material, divided into
thirty-one major RAGAS - musical patterns.
3. final section: an epilogue of miscellaneous works
second sacred collection: DASAM GRANTH, attributed to Gobind
Singh but extended beyond his time. collected by Mani Singh in
18C. four major types of compositions included
● devotional texts
● autobiographical works
● miscellaneous writings ● collection of mythical narratives and popular anecdotes
third category of sacred literature consists of works by
BHAI GURDAS (1558-1637) and BHAI NAND LAL GOYA (1633-1715)
- for singing in the gurdwara (sikh place of worship)
three more special categories in the sacred literature:
1. JANAM-SAKHIS ("birth narratives"), hagiographical accounts
of Guru Nanak's life dating from the 17C
2. RAHIT-NAMAS ("manuals of code of conduct") provide insight
into the evolution of the khalsa code.
3. GUR-BILAS ("splendour of the guru")
ADI GRANTH IS SET AART FROM OTHER SIKH TEXTS OT ONLY BY THE
RICHNESS AND SEMANTIC DENSITY OF ITS CONTENT, BUT BECAUSE IT IS
INEXTRICABLY EMBEDDED IN DAILY LIFE.
CREATED BY GOBIND SINGH, 10TH GURU, ON BAISAKHI DAY 1699
THREE ASPECTS OF THIS INSTITUTION
1. in undergoing the A