Sikhism is a religion of great beauty and simplicity. Launched originally as a revision to Hindu principals and beliefs that were not felt to be humanistic and against one-ness (eg. casteism), its followers later became the defendants of the Hindu faith under attack from the Mughals of Agra and Delhi. It was the sixth of ten Sikh Gurus, Guru Hargobind who militarised the Sikhs after his own father (Guru Arjun Dev) was martyred defending the faith.
Under Guru Gobind Singh, Sikhism was declared a distinct religion from Hinduism – the <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Khalsa"> Khalsa </a> was born. Amrit, or the Sikh baptism was created (occurring in 1699), and the five Ks of Sikhism the signs of a Amritdari (or baptised) Sikh. Thus was born the newest formal religion in the world.
One of the most beautiful elements in Sikhism has a lot of similarity with Hinduism, <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ek_Onkar">Ik Onkar</a> – <i>One God</i> – a core belief of Sikhism. It is derived from the Sanskrit <i>ekomkara</i> which is a sound combining <i>ek</i> (one) and <i>omkar</i> (the name of the Aum syllable). Aum is often known as <i>Om</i> in the West. Together this refers to ’the One Aum"; that is, the single cosmic consciousness.
Though in 1984 there was much pain between Hinduism and Sikhism, sporn out of political insensitivity and persecution of Sikhs post assassination of Indian PM Indira Gandhi by her Sikh bodyguards, there was a longstanding tradition of bilateral closeness between these religions in the Punjab. During the period where the Sikh Army defended Punjab and North India, the eldest son in each Punjabi Hindu family was made a Sikh, and fought in the Guru’s army to defend the land, and the faiths. Many Hindu families in the Punjab visit and have visited Sikh places of worship, and either regard the Ten Gurus reverently or have some respect for the religion.
This is dedicated to my Sikh friends, predominantly in WA; for bringing me into their lives and keenly teaching me about their religion, culture and traditions; it was through them that I was inspired to learn more about my Punjabi heritage, and taught myself the language.
<a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waheguru"> Waheguru </a> Ji Ka Khalsa, Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh.
*This and all shots at Harmandir Sahib were taken without flash, and with full respect, to show the beauty of the Punjab, the peoples of the Punjab and the beauty of the Sikh religion.
<i>Sona</i> means ‘Golden’, or in colloquial use, ‘beautiful’ in the Punjabi language.