GCSE Sikhism Project

The Sikh religion began about 500 years ago in the Punjab region of India (shown on the right). Sikhism was started by a man called Guru Nanak, the title Guru means teacher. He was born at a time in India when Muslims and Hindus were living in the same region but did not get a long well at all, there was conflict and arguments. Sikh religion tells us that at the age of thirty, Guru Nanak went missing and was presumed to have drowned after going for one of his morning baths to a local stream called the Kali Bein, his friend tried to find him and so ordered the whole river to be netted out-he was not found. People had begun to think he was dead but surprisingly three days later he reappeared and would give the same answer to any question asked to him: "There is no Hindu, there is no Muslim" (in Punjabi, "nā kō hindū nā kō musalmān"). It was from this moment that Guru Nanak would begin to spread the teachings of what was then the beginning of Sikhism. He (Guru Nanak) began preaching to others that there should be tolerance of other faiths; it made sense to some people. He taught people that the differences in people's religions were not important in God's eyes. He tried to spread his teachings to everyone everywhere Although the exact account of his journey is unclear, he is widely known to have made four major journeys, across thousands of kilometres. The first being east towards  and , the second south towards  via , the third north towards ,  and , and the final tour west towards  and .

After Guru Nanak's death the leadership of the Sikhs was passed down to nine more gurus. The tenth guru decided that it was important for the Sikhs to be able to defend their faith and he formed a brotherhood called the Khalsa of devoted Sikhs who are willing to defend the faith even at the expense of their lives. Men and women may join. If they do they take part in the Amrit ceremony held by five exemplary community members who represent the original "beloved Five" or first five who brave men who joined the Khalsa. There are five symbolic aspects of the dress of members of the Khalsa: uncut hair which symbolizes the belief in not disturbing nature anymore than necessary; a wooden comb for neatness; white shorts to wear under clothes for purity and modesty; a steel bangle for strength and eternity; and a short sword as a reminder to defend the truth and what is right.

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Guru Nanak’s father was Kalayan Das Mehta, also known as Kalu Mehta, and mother was Matta Tripat. They were both  and belonged to the Vedic Brahmin caste. Guru Nanak had an older sister called Bebey Nanki, who was the first to recognise Nanak as an enlightened person. Guru Nanak from an early age seemed to have acquired a questioning and enquiring mind. He refused as a child to wear the ritualistic  called a Janeu, saying instead that he would wear the true name of God in his heart for his protection, as ...

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