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Sikh Traditions.docx

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Angela Brkich

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SIKH TRADITIONS 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: NAM 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 community. 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 (THE LANGAR). 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: ● DIVALI ● BAISAKHI 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 canon. 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 ● self-consciousness ● separatism ● militancy 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 hostility 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 executed, 1675. 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 tradition: 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, Gobind Singh. 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. THE KHALSA CREATED BY GOBIND SINGH, 10TH GURU, ON BAISAKHI DAY 1699 THREE ASPECTS OF THIS INSTITUTION 1. in undergoing the A
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