Sikhism is a system of faith propounded by the Ten Guru's the first of whom was Guru Nanak but the evolution of Guru Nanak’s devotional path need to be understood.
Guru Nanak who started preaching in 1499 in (Punjab) India. Being a compassionate person, Guru Nanak had observed the selfish ways of life and was touched by unhappiness prevalent in people at large in his time. He saw the tyranny of Muslim rulers. He commented on the weaknesses of both – Hindu and Muslim – communities. At that time the noble Hindu culture had, in practice, yet again, fallen a victim of decadence. Casteism was yet again rampant and lower caste persons were treated inhumanly. Mechanical performance of rituals had become the norm. Internal purity of mind and spiritual progress were not the aim, only external actions were the aim. Despite the divine knowledge about the four Paths for ‘Spiritual Progress’ viz. ‘Jnaana Yoga’ (Knowledge), ‘Karma Yoga' (Action), ‘Paatanjali Yoga’ and of ‘Bhakti Yoga' (Devotion) being available, upper castes including Brahmins, in their selfish interests, were inhumanly exploiting the lowest castes. On the one hand such divine knowledge was available, and on the other such abysmal inhuman behavior!!
Bhakti Movement : Historical Background
It would help to understand the evolution of Guru Nanak’s devotional path – ‘Naam Simarana’ – chanting the Name of ‘Advaitic (non-dual) God’. Among many others, the old scriptures like Bhagwad Geeta, Upanishads (Upani) and Naarada Bhakti Sutra (NBS) and even Paatanjali Yoga Sootra have discourses on paths of devotion. Bhakti (devotion) basically is remembering and chanting Names of Gods or Supreme One. NBS is a comprehensive treatise on paths of devotion, inclusive of chanting of His Name, and all other modes described in Guru Granth Sahib (GGS). Bhakti (devotion) movement in India is ancient. Both Patanjali and Naarada are believed to belong to the ancient period, but certainly a few centuries prior to Christ. Bhakti Movement of ‘Alawars’ was prevalent from 7th to 9th century A.D. in South India.
Around 800 AD, the greatest exponent of modern era of Jnaana Yoga, Aadi Shankaraachaarya (Shankara) himself had written and sung devotional hymns; and he, a brahmin, had accepted an enlightened lowest caste person as one of his Gurus.
During 11th and 12th centuries in South India Sant philosopher Raamaanujaachaarya (1017 – 1137) expounded ‘Devotion’ as per his ‘Qualified Monism’. He indeed had rebelled against the caste system of Hinduism. He, a brahmin by birth, accepted an enlightened person of a lowest caste as his Guru! And he preached the lowest castes openly.
Naamdeva (1270 – 1309), of Mahaaraashtra, a lowly tailor by caste, enriched the Bhakti tradition with his both Saguna (God with form) and later Nirguna (God without form) devotional songs.
In Kashmir, Lalleshwari (1335 – 1376) propagated ‘non-dual devotion’ through ‘waakhs’ (sentences). She, living under a Islamic ruler Shah Mir, proclaimed, “ Supreme One pervades the world, Hindus and Muslims are the same.”
Devotional Movement was brought by Santa Raamaanand in the mid 15th century to North India. He openly sang, “Nobody asks for anyone’s caste, for one who chants His Name becomes His.” He also propounded a concept that although God Raama was a reincarnation of the Formless One, He is the Supreme Spirit the Formless One.
And his disciple Sants Kabir (1440 – 1510), Ravidaasa (15th century), and Dhannaa (15th century) etc. were preaching ‘non-dualistic (Advaitic) devotion’. Ravidaasa was the Guru of Santa Meeraa (1498 – 1563). (Akkaa Mahaadevi, Lalleshwaree and Meeraa form the trio of famous women rebel devouts that the Hindu society produced 7 to 8 hundred years ago).
Guru Nanak (1469 – 1538) also taught the same, and used all other names of various reincarnations of Brahman like Hari, Har, and Gobinda etc. to convey that these Names, commonly used to indicate different Gods, in fact, indicate the same Supreme One. ‘Chaitanya Mahaaprabhu (1468 – 1533) of Bengal, a contemporary of Guru Nanak, was extremely respected in North India, with his Dualism- based- Devotion.
It is a truism that there are always ups and downs in peoples’ lives and cultures depending on vicissitudes that they pass through. From this extremely brief view of development of ‘Devotion’, recurrence of casteism and rebellions against it in Hindu Society appear to be one such phenomenon. It may also be worth noticing that most of the rebellions against Caste System were initiated by Brahmins. Guru Nanak also belonged to an upper caste.
The great genius of Guru Nanak was that he :
1) Simplified the process of devotion (by chanting) to the utmost and named it ‘Naam Simarana’. He had realized that understanding of Vedas esp. the ‘Advaitic philosophy’ of Upanishads for a man of the world was difficult, as availability of teachers had become difficult. This achievement of simplification is even more remarkable for he did not lose the philosophical essence of complex hymns of the Upanishads.
2) Established the practice of group chanting daily in a regular and disciplined manner. Thus he developed social harmony and love.3) To avoid rituals, he started a separate temple, appropriately known as ‘Gurudwara’, – door of Guru - for congregational chanting.
4) He used the language of common man like some other Sants. He also used Sanskrit for a few Shlokas (couplets).
5) He started teaching congregations his message through devotional songs (not just poems but musical compositions), obviously one of the most attractive and effective methods. This was done for the first time probably after the compositions of ‘Saama Veda’ and some Upanishads.
6) Although previous Sants had written devotional poems, they had not got them composed musically.
7) In Gurudwaras he started the custom of distributing sanctified Karaaha Parsaada, a sweet food (halwa) which is prepared in a Karaaha – an iron cauldron, hence the adjective. In a congregation, while distributing parsaada, no differential treatment was given to any person based on his caste, gender, status or class. This was a very simple and yet extremely effective method of ensuring equality of all before the Supreme One and also in the society.
8) Those who accepted his teachings were known as ‘Sikhs’ literally meaning disciples. In the period of early Gurus, Sikhs basically remained Hindus. After considerable time the word ‘Sikh’ evolved into the meaning that we are familiar with today, and ‘Sikhism’ was established as a religion.
The goal of both Sikhism and Hinduism is to achieve happiness here and now and also to attain ‘Moksha’ hereafter i.e. liberation from the cycle of birth and death. Looking at the complexity, and difficulty of the other three Paths or Yogas, Guru Nanak chose the simplest ‘Path of Devotion’.
In this Path there are three ways:
Dualist Path of devotion :
There is the God and separately there is His creation. He gives His grace and is merciful, but no person’s soul can ever unite with the God. Some dualists believe that He has a form (saakaar or saguna i.e. Brahman with form).
Non-dualist Path of devotion :
There is the Supreme One who is formless (Niraakaar or Nirguna), and there is His creation, but in essence both are the same. Any person’s soul can unite with Him, indeed the soul is the same in every one, and the Atman and Brahman are the same.
Dualist–Non-dualist Path :
The Supreme One is indeed formless, but He also takes forms when needed to restore justice. This path believes in ‘awataarawaada’ (the other two paths do not believe in this).
Out of these, Guru Nanak chose the Non-dualist (Advaitic or Nirguna) Path, which had been already used by Santa Naamadeva and Santa Kabir etc. who had been preaching the non-dualistic (Advaitic, Nirguna) Path for the past 200 years. And what I find extremely praiseworthy is that Guru Nanak deliberately uses the names of Hindu gods with forms (Saguna) in far too many places for it to be either a chance or to meet necessities of rhythm for the song, or merely to please any group. Names of Gods like Brahma, Vishnu, Mahesh (or Shiva), Rama, Gobinda, Krishna, Paarwatee, Har, Hari etc., who all have ‘forms’, have been used liberally. There is an apparent contradiction in believing in the Supreme One who is both ‘formless’ (Nirguna) and with form (Saguna). This does not throw any doubt on his firm faith in and experience of the non-dual (‘Nirguna’) Supreme One, but indicates that he is preaching that ultimately the Truth or Parabrahma (Supreme One) is both, formless and with form.
Thus rather than merely condemn dualists and create a confrontation, he lovingly reconciles the difference. He says that Rama, Krishna, Shiva etc are the same as Parabrahma. Indeed Hindu scriptures keep reminding everyone about the same truth(Jaimineeya Upanishada Braahmana – 1.14.2; Kathopani. 2.1.12 & 13. Ishopani. – 15 & 16; Geetaa –11. 15 to 24.)
i m really surprised at how well he is playing it
J.S.T.: No Sikh general has been appointed army chief. Harbakhash's name was recommended by outgoing army chief Kumarmanglam and approved by the Defence Committee, but [then prime minister] Indira Gandhi ignored the recommendations and appointed Manekshaw.
Khushwant .Singh .: They can't trust a non-Hindu to be the army chief, the most powerful wing of the defense forces, though Arjan Singh and Dilbagh Singh had gone to the top in the Air Force. May be someone did in the Navy as well, I'm not sure.
Guru Granth Sahib recognizes many saints of the Bhakti movement of medieval India. Namdev are the saints belonging to this movement which swept across the North India from 1100 A.D. till 1600 A.D. When Fifth Guru Guru Arjan dev ji compiled Guru Granth Sahib, he decided to give some recognition to the saints of Bhakti movement, that is the reason that Guru Granth Sahib contains verses of such saints. In some cases Guru Granth Sahib ji is the only voice remained for such saints over the years.
so this shows that in Sri Guru Granth Sahib ji, the only criteria was GOD devotion and not religion & all
and you are saying that basically Hindus and Sikhs practice same God and have got same ways of worshiping and they have got all Upanishads or whatever. But let me write few points and then you can tell me is it different or same:
1. In Sikhism, we never worship stones or gods made from stones. In Sikhism we never believed that God can be so small and so FORMLESS that it can take a form of stone.
2. In Sikhism we never worship trees, we never worship pictures or anything.. as we believe that GOD is in everything and God is in each & every creation.
3. In Sikhism we believe that all castes R equal and there is no discriminations based on caste, creed or religion.
4. In Sikhism, we believe in Sri Guru Granth Saahib ji ad we consider them our gurus and no need for me to tell that this is quite different from Ramayan or Mahabharat or Kuraan ( with due respect to all religions).
5. In Sikhsim we have equality of sexes. well In Hinduism, there is big difference between man & women and even Upanishads also prove this.
6. In Sikhism we believe in the principle of GOD is ONE and this has been proved by our GURUS and also SRi GURU Granth Sahib ji.can we say the same for Hinduism or muslims?
7. In Sikhism we never considered our GURU;s as god.. they are GURU's which is very unlike Hinduism as they have got 100000089 GODS in many forms and many versions.
8. Sikhism works on a principle of disciplined life and always remembering GOD and thats why we have 5K's and Nitnem.
9. Sikhism strongly advocates the concept of family and doesn't believe in any sanyasi or something of that stuff.The institution of family has great significance in Sikhism.
10. Sikhism strongly believes in the uplift ment of the society as a whole and works towards it by showing the way of being humble and being helpful. Hinduism doesn't work on society at all, in fact all the bad traditions like SATI or caste system was more prevalent in Hindu societies then in any other societies.
I can go on and on... so let me know if you want some more points.
I have just given points to clarify my points and in no way I'm showing my dis respect for any religion. I consider all religions as equal and all are good and I truly believe in Sikhism principles and one of them is that GOD IS ONE...
The pronciples of Nanak and his Sikhi are all derived from the Bhakti
movement of medieval India (800-1700).
The word bhakti is derived from Bhakta meaning to serve, honour, revere,
love and adore. In the religious idiom, it is attachment or fervent devotion
to God and is defined as "that particular affection which is generated by
the knowledge of the attributes of the Adorable One."
The concept is traceable to the Vedas where its intimations are audible in
the hymns addressed to deities such as Varuna, Savitra and Usha.
However, the word bhakti does not occur there. The word occurs for the
first time in the Upanisads where it appears with the co-doctrines of grace
and self surrender. ( Heritage of the Sikhs, Harbans Singh)
is a term within Hinduism which denotes the spiritual practice of fostering of loving devotion to God, called bhakti.
Traditionally there are nine forms of bhakti-yoga. Bhakti yoga is generally considered the easiest of the four general
paths to liberation, or moksha (the others being Karma, Raja and Jnana Yoga), and especially so within the
current age of Kali yuga
(according to the Hindu cycle of time). In scriptures such as the Bhagavata Purana, bhakti is described as
a perfectional stage in itself which surpasses even moksha as a level of spiritual realisation.
Hindu movements in which bhakti yoga is the main practice are called bhakti movements.
Bhakti is the Sanskrit term that signifies a blissful, selfless and overwhelming love of God as the beloved
Father, Mother, Child, Friend or whichever relationship or personal aspect of God that finds appeal in the
devotee's heart. Bhakti incorporates a number of universal principles, also common in other world religions.
The 'Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu' (written by Rupa Gosvami) gives the following as the nine primary activities of bhakti,
with the instruction that by following all, or just one, of these activities perfectly the aspiring devotee can
achieve pure love of God:
Hearing about the Lord - singing & chanting God's names (japa),
hearing stories from scripture.
Glorifying the Lord - describing God's all-attractive features.
Remembering the Lord - internal meditation on the Lord's form,
activities, names or personality.
Serving the lotus feet of the Lord - providing a form of physical service.
Worshiping the Lord - deity worship (puja) is a popular form of this within India.
Offering prayers to the Lord - any form of prayer offered to please God.
Serving the Lord - offering a service for Lord's pleasure, such as preaching activity.
Building a friendship with the Lord - having an internal, loving relationship with God.
Surrendering everything unto the Lord - surrendering one's thoughts, actions and deeds to God.
(All this sounds familiar, doesn't it?)
The scriptural source of these nine primary forms of bhakti is a verse in the Bhagavata Purana, spoken by Prahlada:
Prahlada Maharaja said: "Hearing and chanting about the transcendental holy name, form, qualities, paraphernalia and
pastimes of Lord Vi??u, remembering them, serving the lotus feet of the Lord, offering the Lord respectful worship with
sixteen types of paraphernalia, offering prayers to the Lord, becoming His servant, considering the Lord one's
best friend, and surrendering everything unto Him (in other words, serving Him with the body, mind and words)
— these nine processes are accepted as pure devotional service. One who has dedicated his life to the
service of Krisna through these nine methods should be understood to be the most learned person,
for he has acquired complete knowledge."
These nine principles of devotional service are described as helping the devotee remain constantly in touch with God.
The processes of japa and internal meditation on the aspirant devotees's chosen deity form (ishta deva) are especially
popular in most bhakti schools. Bhakti is a yoga path, in that its aim is a form of divine, loving union with the
Supreme Lord. The exact form of the Lord, or type of union varies between the different schools, but the essence
of each process is very similar.
And this is precisely what Nanak restatement of Hindu philosophy came to be about.
One may also call it Sikhi.
These similarities cannot be mere coincidence. They are too pronounced to be called so.
The Sikh principles are a restatement of Non-dualist (Advaitic or Nirguna) Path,
which had been already used by Saints of the Bhakti movement that started
in India somewhere in 800 AD.
That there is the Supreme One who is formless (Niraakaar or Nirguna),
and there is His creation, but in essence both are the same.
Any person’s soul can unite with Him, indeed the soul is the
same in every one, and the Atman and Raram-Atma are the same.
Who says it is not ??
(And this is Hinduism.)
bulleshah-aaja kaka-war of internet...!
U say sikhism and Guru Nanak Dev's Philosophy, the doctrines which laid the foundation for sikhism were based upon the bhakti movement of medival India...but many "bhakt" in bhakti movement were devotees of hindu dieties like mirabai used to worship Lord Krishna, Ramananda used to worship Lord Rama, but yes there are few who do not believe in idol worship, one of them was bhakt kabir. Now you tell me where in any GuruDwara have you seen the idols of Gurus or any form which could be regarded equivalent to the timeless almighty. It is because sikhs do not believe that True God Could ever stay in one human shell or vessel. HE cannot be bound in one body for thirty, forty or fifty years for he resides in every single minute entity. All these deities which are worshipped in Hinduism are NOT GOD, but can be regarded as higher forms of life which would have shown people a path towards the true almighty.
LEMME REMIND YOU BUDDY-THERE IS NOTHING CALLED "ISHT DEVTA" IN SIKHISM....WHICH FORMS THE BASE OF BHAKTI MOVEMENT....Wud you still say that sikhism is the result of bhakti movement...?
And now let us consider Shrimad Bhagawad Gita verse spoken by Bhagat Prahalad as said by you---One who has dedicated his life to the
service of Krisna through these nine methods should be understood to be the most learned person, for he has acquired complete knowledge.
As I said earlier in Sikhism worshipping one form like Krishna or Rama Or anybody else is not allowed.
Now to the point of Nirgun and Sargun---the philosophy of one timeless Lord has been taught in chistianity as well, in Islam it is there again---so Do You think Sikhism is an offshoot of Islam and Chistianity as well...?
First assure yourself What point you wanna proove, then find words for that from the web or some books, the approved sources only, the authentic ones...not the words spoken by any Challi Ram or Gulli Ram...?
Once your through to all these things, only then dare to post it here...otherwise if you merely believe in cut, copy and paste...lemme tell u buddy...By the grace of The God, Yoy may face stiff competition from me...!