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An Outline of Sikh Doctrines
Essays on Sikh Values

Sikh Missionary Society: Publications: Essays on Sikh Values:

Sikh Theology, its Originality

Sikh Theology

Ik Onkar

Its Originality

Without an iota of doubt, the Sikh faith is original in its every aspect. It becomes clear if we pay a little attention, and study it a bit more deeply, rather than (like Tyonby etc.) believing some who merely follow the hearsay without searching the truth.


The statements that the Sikh Gurus picked up things mainly from Hinduism and Islam, and intertwined them into the new Sikh faith, have no base. Such a claim may directly project the expression that the Sikh Gurus were not God-sent Prophets, and the Sikh faith was only a maneuvered byproduct of other faiths. Anything may get imagined and distorted by those having nefarious intentions and vested interests.

Has anyone in other religions, ever professed such derogatory claims for his or her faith? Perhaps, only the Sikhs assert their �vague� liberal-mindedness, feel proud of their misdirected modernity, and make such ill-founded assertions! Very innocently, they insult their Prophets, and feel dignified and distinguished with their confused ideas. The so-called scholars and searchers, should make sincere efforts to find out the truth before making their minds public, and when advancing their opinions.

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Sikh Guru's
What do the Gurus Say?

Such unfounded ideas evaporate when we even cursorily study what the Gurus say in Guru Granth Sahib, the Sikh Holy Book -

jYsI mY AwvY Ksm kI bwxI qYsVw krI igAwnu vy lwlo ]
jYsI mY AwvY Ksm kI bwxI qYsVw krI igAwnu vy lwlo ]
Jaae-see maae aavaae khasam kee
t.aaesr.aa karee geaanu vae Lalo
O Lalo, I say what God reveals to me!
1-722-Line 16
siqgur kI bwxI siq siq kir jwxhu gurisKhu
hir krqw Awip muhhu kFwie ]
siqgur kI bwxI siq siq kir jwxhu gurisKhu
hir krqw Awip muhhu kFwE ]
Sat.t.egur kee sat.t.e sa.t.t.e kar-e gur-sikh-hu
Har-e Kart.aa aape muhu kadhaae
O faithful ones, have faith in the Guru�s Hymns,
The Lord Himself makes him utter these.
qU Awip scw qyrI bwxI scI Awpy AlKu AQwhw hy ]
qU Awp sçcw qyrI bwxI sçcI Awpy AlKu AQwhw hy ]
Toon� aaep sachaa t .aeree sachee
aapae alakhu athaahaa hae
O Lord, You are a truth, Your Hymns are true (revealed to the Guru), You are unfathomable and unlimited!
Dur kI bwxI AweI ]
iqin sglI icMq imtweI ]
Dur kI bwxI Aweé ]
iqin sglI icMq imtweé ]
Dhur kee aa-ee saglee chint. mitaa-ee
What I say is the revealed one (received directly from God),
and it alleviates all anxieties.
inq aiT gwvhu pRB kI bwxI ]
inq auiT gwvhu pRB kI bwxI ]
Nit.t. outh:.e gaavhu Prabh kee
Get up and sing the God given Hymns (His praise).
Guru Nanak, the First Sikh Prophet would himself say something like, �O Mardana, take out Rabab (string instrument played with a striker), revelation is coming.� What the Gurus sang was God-sent.
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Guru Gobind Singh

The Tenth Master

Let us see what the Tenth Master Guru Gobind Singh says in �Bachitar; Natak,� (Dassam Granth) -
mY Apnw suq qoih invwjw ] pMQu pRcur krby kh swjw ]
jwih qhW qYN Drmu clwie ] kbuiD krn qy lok htwie ]
mY Apnw suq qoih invwjw ] pMQu pRcur krby kh swjw ]
jwih qhW qYN Drmu clwe ] kbuiD krn qy lok htwe ]
Maaen�. apnaa sut.t. tohe nivaajaa
Panthu pr;achur karbae ko saajaa
Jaahe t.ahaan� taae dh:armu chalaa-e
Kabudh:e karan lok hataa-e
I have designated you my son
And am sending you to set up the path of righteousness.
In the world, you should establish Dharma (right path),
And take the people away from evils.
10th Guru-Dassam Granth.
ieh kwrin pRB moih pTwXo ] qb mY jgiq jnmu Dir AwXo ]
Eh kwrin pRB moih pTwXo ] qb mY jgiq jnmu Dir AwXo ]
Eh kaarane Pr;abh mohe pathaa-eyo
Tabb maaen. jagat. janamu d:har-e aa-eyo
God made me for this reason (to start a right path),
And sent me to the world.
10th Guru-Dassam Granth.
How clearly the Guru tells that God prepared and then sent him to the world to start a new Dharma. Clearly, he came to the world prepared to start a new faith and had no need to borrow things from others. The Tenth Master declares -
pWie ghy jb qy qumry qb qy koaU AWK qry nhIN AwnÎo ]
rwm rhIm purwn kurwn Anyk khYN mq eyk n mwnÎo ]
isMimRiq swsqR byd sBY bhu Byd khYN hm eyk n jwnÎo ]
sRI Aispwn ik®pw qumrI kir mY n khÎo sB qoih bKwnÎo ]
pWie ghy jb qy qumry qb qy koaU AWK qry nhIN AwnÎo ]
rwm rhIm purwn kurwn Anyk khYN mq eyk n mwnÎo ]
isMimRiq swsqR byd sBY bhu Byd khYN hm eyk n jwnÎo ]
sRI Aispwn ik®pw qumrI kir mY n khÎo sB qoih bKwnÎo ]
Paan�ae gahae jabb t.e T.umrae kouoo aan�kh t.arae naheen� aanyo
Raam Raheem Puraan Kuraan anaek kahaen� mat.t. aek naa maanyo
Sin:mr;ite Sastr; Baed sabhaae bahu bhaed kahaaen� hamm aek naa jaanyo
Sr;ee Asipaan kr;ipaa T.umree Karre maae naa kahyo sabh T.ohe bakhaaneou
Since I have taken Your refuge, I never looked to anyone else.
Rama, Mohammad, Puranas, Qouran, tell a lot, but I have depended only on You, God!
All the books of the Hindu faith tell so many secrets, but I kept steady in my faith only on You.
God, my praising You is due to Your blessing. On my own, I cannot  do anything, only You make me praise!
Svayaa-10-Dassam Granth
If we have faith in our Gurus, we will have to believe them word by word. The Gurus say the truth, because it is what God ordained them to do, they themselves do not say or do anything. They are in total surrender to God. Their every thingis said or done by Him, and they stay unbound by the Karma (actions and their reactions i.e. they stay above destiny).

Every thing in the world is under His will, but the irony is that the worldly people do not absolutely surrender to the Lord; therefore,  they say or do things themselves and incur their Karma (they themselves create their destinies).

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Guru Nanak Dev

Guru Nanak

Na Ko Hindu Na Musalman.
Guru Nanak, came out of �Bae-een� rivulet after staying submerged in it for a couple of days, and declared, �None is Hindu nor a Muslim.�  He meant that quite a number of them did not practice their faiths sincerely, and he had his independent path seeking no ideas from anyone else. He gave to his faith, the following original things -
  1. Beej-Mantar - the �Seed-Formula.� It is the Symbol  <   �Ik-Oankar.� It means �He is One (there is none other like Him), All Pervading, All Powerful, and the Doer.�
  2. Mool-Mantar - the Basic-Formula -
    1. <> siq nwmu krqw purKu inrBa inrvYr
      Akwl mUriq AjUnI sYBM gur pRswid ]
      < siq nwmu krqw purK inrBå inrvYr
      Akwl mUrq AjUnI sYBM gur pRswid ]
      (<  kw açcwrn hY �iek AoMAMkwr�)
      Ik oNkaar sat naam kartaa purakh nirbh-a-o nirvair
      akaal moorat ajoonee saibhN gur parsaad.
      God is everywhere and in everything, He is the truth - immortal, creator, without-fear, without-enmity, unborn, and self-created. This understanding comes by the Guru's Grace.
  3. Gur-Mantar - the Supreme-Formula, or Guru�s-Formula. It is the Holy Word - vwihgurU  vwhyguu{ �Waheguru� - It means the Wonderful Lord i.e. God is Great!
There is no doubt that Guru Nanak had his Guru, but He is God Himself and none else -
AprMpr pwrbRhmu prmysr nwnk gur imilAw soeI jIa ]
AprMpr pwrbRhmu prmysru nwnk guu{ imilXw soe ijå ]
Apran:par Parbr;ahmu Parmesaru
Nanak Guru mil-eaa soo-ee jeeo
The Lord Himself, who is unfathomable,
and beyond reach, is the Guru of Nanak.
Guru Nanak got every thingfrom God, had no need to learn things from others in the world, and rather he taught things to the humanity.
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Protection of the Original Faith

The Tenth Master was also born ready (prepared) to protect and promote this new - original, faith. He asserts the same thing as Guru Nanak -
jvn kwl sB jgq bnwXo ] dyv dYq j`Cn aupjwXo ]
Awid AMiq eykY Avqwrw ] soeI gurU smiJXhu hmwrw ]9]
jvn kwl sB jgq bnwXo ] dyv dYq jçCn apjwXo ]
Awid AMq eykY Avqwrw ] soe guu{ smiJhu hmwrw ]9]
Javan kaal sabh jagat. banaayo d.aaeq jachhan oupjaayo
Aad.e ant.t.e aekaae avt.aaraa
Soee Guroo samjhyhu hamaaraa ||9||
One who created the world,
gods, devils and semi-gods,
One who is the Prime-Being (Constant: Immortal),
know that He is my Guru!
10 - Chaupai - Hamree karo haath Rachhaa - Dassam Granth.

Bhai Gurdas

suxI pUkwir dwqwr pRBu guru nwnk jg mwih pTwieAw ]
..... kil qwrix guru nwnk AwieAw ]
 suxI pUkwir dwqwr pRBu guu{ nwnk jg mwih pTweXw ]
..... kil qwrix guu{ nwnk AweXw ] pukaare d.aat.aar Prabhu Gur Nanak jagg maahe pathaa-eaa| ................ Kalle t.aaran.e Guru Nanak aa-eaa|
The Lord, sanctioning the appeal of the (suffering) humanity,
sent Guru Nanak to the world............... Guru Nanak came to emancipate Kalljug (dark age - the people of the present time).
Bhai  Gurdas-Vaar 23.
Guru Nanak came prepared to save the world and had no need to learn anything from anyone other than God.

What does all this mean?

The above given Words of the Gurus reveal that they did not pick things from here and there, but proclaimed what the Lord Himself ordained to them - they followed His command. Anything said by anyone Guru, pertains to all the Ten of them (they are one in spirit), and it collectively becomes in its totality the philosophy and psyche of the Sikh faith. This signifies that this faith is original, and not an outcome of any other faith, singly or jointly. The Gurus kept revealing to the people the �Words of God� through their revelations: compositions i.e. the Holy Hymns. They did not adopt anything from anywhere else in the world, but equally shared with everyone what the Lord gave to them. They illuminated the world equally all over with God�s light.

The beauty is that the Guru�s preachings: Hymns, are preserved in their originality as these were composed by them. No one else authored or compiled these after their departure from the world.

A Guru is beheld as his body, which is perishable, or in the form of his spirit which is immortal. The immortal spirit of the Gurus is what they said (composed) - their Hymns, and these are contained in Guru Granth Sahib - The Sikh Holy Book. This is the reason why the Sikhs revere their Holy Book i.e. the �originality,� as their �Living Guru.� Had their Hymns been with no originality, there was no need for the Gurus to compose, preserve and protect them in the form of Guru Granth Sahib. Many other holy books already existed. The Gurus had originality, they shared it with the world, and it (the world) followed them in millions not in vain. The people became aware of something different, and it was the originality which they followed.

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Truth and Goodness

We should keep in the mind that all faiths teach goodness - truth, honesty, compassion, sharing, and remembering God. No religion ever preached anything different from goodness. Goodness or truth is always the same, and it never differs from faith to faith. There is nothing like Hindu-goodness or Muslim-goodness. If it differs, it is not the truth or goodness.

The Sikh Gurus had no need to beg the truth or goodness from other religions, they had it as the others had, and they were sent with it by God. They gave it to the world in its own original form and decorated with simplicity, free from superstitions, and, free from discriminations including caste system etc., filled with equality, a life free from drugs, and with controlled or right and restrained use of sex (no lust). It was based on the honest earnings and sharing with the needy. This is for the Sikhs to follow and practice. If they fail -

kbIr swcw siqgur ikAw krY ja isKw mih cUk ]
kbIr swcw sqguu{ ikAw krY jå isKw mih cUk ]
Kabeer sachaa Sat.t.e-guru  keaa akraae
jou Sikhaa mahe chook
Kabeer, what can a Guru do if his disciple fails to follow!
Bani (compositions) of Kabir or any other saint, when accepted by the Guru and entered in the Holy Book, became �Gurbani� - expressing the views of the Gurus. The preceding quote of saint Kabir, equally projects the mind of the Guru.


Roots of the Sikh faith were in the main Hindu-block. The first four Gurus came directly from the Hindu families, and became the Guru�s Sikhs later.

The First Guru Nanak was a born Guru, and was different from the other faiths right from his beginning. As a child, he refused Janju (Jan-eoo), the Hindu Sacred-Thread Ceremony (putting their holy thread across the trunk). Later, he did not accept the Hindu rites for his marriage. He devised his own unique ways.

The Hindu and Sikh religions are mostly apart in certain regions and in their total philosophy. But they both are one socially as well mostly in their spiritual thinking. It is impossible to easily separate them. Perhaps, due to this closeness the Gurus heavily drew episodes from the Hindu mythology to elaborate and illustrate their own views. This, extremely close relationship may sometimes create an illusion that the Sikh faith which is so recent, depended heavily on Hinduism and Islam etc. The Sikhi (Sikh faith) established its own independent, individual and distinct path uninfluenced by any other religion.

Military Hue

If anyone says that the Guru gave military hue to the faith, it may get mistaken as the faith of fighters, and then it will fail to project its right picture and essence. The Gurus were not afraid of anyone other than God, and preached the same. Ninth Guru Tegh Bahadur said  -
BY kwhU kau dyq nih nih BY mwnq Awn ]
BY kwhU kau dyq nih nih BY mwnq Awn ]
Bhaae kahoo ko daet. nahe
naah bhaae maanat. aan
Fear none, and frighten none.
The Gurus taught fearlessness and courage to adopt and practice the faith, and to fight tyranny, inequality, and discrimination. They preached to safeguard their rights, freedom, and dignity. They prepared the masses to fight evil -
ggn dmwmw bwijE pirE nIswnY Gwau ]
Kyqu ju mWifAo sUrmw Ab jUJn ko dwau ]1]
sUrw so pihcwnIAYy ju lrY dIn ky hyq ]
purjw purjw kit mrY kbhU n CwfY Kyqu ]
ggn dmwmw bwijAo pirau inswny Gwå ]
Kyqu ju mWifE sUrmw Ab jUJn ko dwå ]1]
sUrw so pihcwinE ju lrY dIn ky hyq ]
purjw purjw kit mrY kbhU n CwfY Kyqu ]
Gagan d.amamaa bajeo pareou nisaa-naae ghaao
Khaet.u ju maan.deou soormaa abb joojhan ko d.aao
Sooraa so pahe-chaani-aae jo laraae d.een kae haet.
Purjaa purjaa katte maraae kab-hoo naa chhadaae khaet.u
Answering the battle drum, aim is taken
and wound is inflicted.
The warriors enter the battlefield for combat.
He is the real warrior who fights for the faith.
He gets cut to pieces, but never turns his back to the battlefield.

What  is the real battle?

It is fighting for the faith (Dharam) - a struggle with evils.

The Gurus developed the spirit, and instilled high morale into the people to live a God-oriented ethical life, to protect the needy - the weak, and downtrodden. They encouraged them to have an able body, stable mind, tough will, and developed in them ability essential for all this - an edict to bear arms, as illustrated by the lives of the 6th Guru Hargobind, and the 10th Guru Gobind Singh.

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Guru Hargobind Sahib

Guru Hargobind

The Fifth Guru Arjun Dev told his son the Sixth Guru Hargobind to take up arms if the atrocities of the Mugal reign (Jahangir) did not stop even after his martyrdom. He had to take up arms, and constructed Akaal-Takht beside Harimandir-Sahib, at Amritsar, to impress the need of self-assertion (temporal power) to protect the faith and the self etc.

Kakkaars - Guru Gobind Singh

When atrocities particularly of the Mogul kings continued, the Tenth - the last Master Guru Gobind Singh, ordained all and especially his initiated followers - the Khalsa (Singhs), not to part with the following at any time  -
  1. Karra - a heavy iron ring on the right wrist - an ever ready blunt weapon. It reminds the commitment with the Guru at the time of taking Amrit, to live an ethical life.
  2. Kirpaan - dagger, a small sharp weapon.
  3. Kaes (Hair) - covered with a turban: a long cloth. Adding to the other factors, it acts like a helmet - protects the head.
  4. Kangha - comb, to keep the hair tidy.
  5. Kachha - the special baggy shorts, closely fitting above the knees. This is a reminder to assert the sex-control, and is a suitable dress for combat: horse riding etc.
All the Gurus preserved their hair and kept their heads covered. The Tenth Master, further conferred on his disciples their identity, individuality, dignity, impressive form, and a strong personality, by ordering to strictly preserve the hair, and to keep the head covered.

The Guru benevolently enabled the Sikhs to protect their faith and selves without waiting for any outside aid - created Sant-Sipaahee: saintly persons who could defend themselves without looking to others.
It was never the Guru�s idea to create an army to win the lands and treasures, and to sit on a throne to become a worldly king. The Gurus prepared the people to stand for the human values, liberty, and dignity.


Had there been no originality, the Gurus had no need to create a new faith. Already, there were so many of them. The Gurus cared for it, protected it, and smilingly sacrificed their lives for the sake of originality in the faith.

Had Kings Jahangir and Aurangzeb not beheld danger of opposition in the originality of the new faith, they had no need to put Guru Arjun Dev, Guru Tegh Bahadur, Guru Gobind Singh and his four sons, and a great number of the Sikhs to inhuman torture and elimination. For this very reason, Sri Harimandir Sahib (Golden Temple), Amritsar, had been repeatedly destroyed by the anti Sikh forces.

The power of originality did not let the faith die. It took roots and sprouted in the Tenth Master Guru Gobind Singh. The Tenth Master put this originality into the Sikh Panth - the world of Sikhs.

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Right Approach

Everyone should honor his or her Prophets and faith and look up to their subtle halos. If we ourselves fail to do so, who else will look to them with awe and derive inspiration from them? We have to get directions from them to cure our own ignorance, faults, misconceptions, and shortcomings.

We have ourselves to become ethical and to improve ourselves rather than criticizing the Prophets and the faith. We are not wiser than the Gurus and need to ponder on our own selves.

The right choice is to try to find goodness in everything, and to eradicate our own deficiencies. On achieving this, our ill-based concepts will clear up and we will not say that the Sikh faith was processed from the other faiths. If we say that the Sikh faith has good things as in Hinduism, Islam and other faiths, then it is an absolutely different story, and quite understandable. All faiths are basically good and original.

Previous Chapter - Neo Faith
Next Chapter - Truth is Ever Constant
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