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Key Terms on Sikhism


Department
Religion
Course Code
RLGA01H3
Professor
Henry Shiu

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Key Terms for the Lecture on Sikhism:
1. Sufism: In Islam, there was Sufism, the Islamic mystical tradition (some scholars
maintain that Sufism derived much early inspiration from Hinduism)
2. Sant tradition: There was also the North Indian Sant tradition” (the term Sant may
carry the meaning of holy ascetic”, truth” or saint) Three elements contributed to the
rise of the Sant tradition:
1. Bhakti or devotional practice
2. Tantric yoga
3. Sufism
3. Sant poets: Ascetic poets who believed divinity to exist beyond all forms of description.
There were many influential Sant poets, including Namdev, Ravidas, Kabir
4. Nanak: The first teacher: Nanak (1469-1539). Composed more than 900 hymns,
compiled as the Adi Granth. He said he had experienced God directly, and the experience
revealed to him was that:
there is only one God, beyond all names and conceptions. Style of clothing of Nanak:
Deliberately blended Hindu and Muslim elements, wore a Hindu dhoti, along with an
orange Muslim coat and cap, and adorned his forehead with Hindu religious markings
(tilak). Sensing his own end approaching at age 70, Nanak passed on his authority and
work to a chosen disciple. Nanak is commonly calledGuru Nanak”, and is recognized as
the first of a line of Ten Gurus. Nanak accepted a belief in reincarnation and karma,
though he resisted Hindu rituals and disdained Hindu polytheism. Also criticized both
Islam and Hinduism for their deficiencies in helping the poor and the oppressed. Nanak’s
view of God: although God is beyond personhood, God has personal qualities such as
knowledge, love, justice, and compassion.Nanak saw God as the primary guru.
5. Adi Granth: Literally, ‘original book’; first complied by Guru Arjan in 1604 & invested
with supreme authority as the Guru Granth Sahib after the death of Guru Gobind Singh.
6. Sat Guru: Guru Nanak referred to the fundamental divine reality as the Sat Guru” (True
Teacher) or Om kara (Divine One). He insisted that God should be experienced, rather
than talked about. There is no Hindu and there is no Muslim (the movement did not bring
into consideration Jainism and Buddhism). In spiritual training, the Sikhs should reject
ego-centered living and embrace the inner life of opening to the divine Sat Guru within
7. Om kara: Divine One
8. Mardana: Nanak and his friend Mardana visited the holy sites throughout northern India
Nanak preached, sought disciples (“Sikh”), and sang devotional songs, while Mardana
played musical accompaniment. Nanak was raised in a Hindu family, while Mardana was
a Muslim
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