The Sikhs

In the year 1469 a man named
Guru Nanak was born into a Punjabi-Hindu family. His
name means "He who was born at the home of his mother\'s
parents", which was in Talwandi, near Labone ("Sikhs"
647). We know little about Nanak\'s life but a lot about his
beliefs from a book called " Adi Granth" or " Granth Sahib",
which means holy book. Some of his beliefs were the reality
of "karma" and "reincarnation".These are beliefs that our
actions in this life determine how high or low we\'ll be in our
next life. The Hindus and Muslims believe it is best to
worship, missionize, study and write the sacred scriptures,
and other religious public actions and behaviors. Nanak
believed that this is wrong. He felt that the people should be
involved in inward meditation to the God, Akal Purakh
(Nanak was a monotheist, believing in one god). Nanak
believed that Akal Purakh is the almighty creator and
sustainer of the universe and he has no form. If one is truly
devoted to Akal then Akal may reveal himself to you in
"nam" or the divine name. Since Akal created the world and
everything in it then, the world can be considered an
expression of "nam",(McLeod 5). Akal, to reveal himself
through "nam", speaks the "sabad" or divine word, through a
loyal believer. This believer acts as the eternal guru, or
teacher, speaking in the mystical voice of Akal through the
"sabad". A guru can achieve this divine harmony with Akal
by the practice of "nam simaran". This can be accomplished
in many ways. One way is by the repeating of a "mantra", a
word that expresses the divine reality. Another way is to sing
devotional songs or even to have deep mystical
concentration. Guru Nanak attracted many disciples, or
"sikha" (this is where the name Sikh comes from). These
"sikhas" were the original Sikhs. Before Guru Nanak died he
appointed a successor from among his disciples to be the
second guru. This started the chain of the ten Sikh gurus
which lasted 439 years from the birth of Nanak to the death
of Gobind Singh, the tenth guru, in the year 1708, ("Hindus
and Sikhs" 11). Nanak appointed as his successor Lehna or
Lahina, who later changed his name to Angad (Angada was
a lesser legendary hero of that time). Guru Angad is the
person responsible for the thinking up the idea of a "Granth
Sahib", the holy book. Angad appointed as his successor
Amar Das, who did two things that differed from Nanak\'s
beliefs. He made his own village, Goindual, a city for
pilgrims, though Nanak said that missionizing was not good.
In addition, Amar Das collected materials for the forming of
"Granth Sahib", though Nanak said you shouldn\'t make
sacred writings. Guru Amar Das appointed, as his
successor, his son-in-law Jetha or Ram Das. Guru Ram Das
built the golden temple in Amritsar on the land given to him
by emperor Akbor. Before then the Guru- ship was given to
someone who deserved it, but from that point on it was
given to a family member. So, Ram Das gave it to his third
son Arjan Dev, a legendary hero of his time. Guru Arjan
Dev put together the "Granth Sahib", supposedly taking it
from the works of Amar Das. Before he died, Guru Arjan
told his son Hargobind to wear, when he became Guru, not
one but two swords because one stood for "piri", the
continuing authority of the Guru and the other stood for
"miri" the newly assumed secular authority (McLeod 4). It
was from his secular authority that the Panth or Sikh
community developed, always arming themselves out of fear
of the Mughal forces. The death of Arjan is not clear but it
probably did occur while he was in Mughal custody. Guru
Hargobind was forced to change the Panth from
Nanak-Panth, the Panth similar to the days of Nanak, to a
military Panth. After Guru Hargobind, Hari Rai took over. In
his days, and in the short days of the next guru, Guru Hari
Krishan, the Mughal authorities didn\'t disturb the Sikhs.
After these two gurus, Tegh Bahadun became the next guru.
Guru Tegh Bahadun was beheaded by Aurangzeb in 1675
for not accepting Islam ("Sikhs" 647). After him came the
last guru, Guru Gobind Singh. Gobind Singh had to do
"pahul", the Sikh initiation. The Sikh initiation involves stirring
together sugar with water with a two-sided dagger. This
mixture must be drunk by the person about to be inititated.
After this ritual water, water and sugar, drinking, the person
purifies himself five times. After this, he then yells the Sikh
war cry and forever wears the five k\'s. They are "kes"