History and Principles
Sikhism (Sikhi, ਸਿੱਖੀ in Panjabi), amongst the youngest of the major world religions, originated and primarily developed in the 15th-17th century sub-continental India (South Asia). The word Sikhi derives from the word Sikh, which itself is based on the Sanskrit root "sisya" (शिष्यः), meaning a "disciple" or "learner". Guru Nanak Dev Ji was the founder of Sikhi. He was born in 1469 in the village of Nankana Sahib, near Lahore (presently in Pakistan). The faith system is based on the teachings of Guru Nanak Dev Ji and ten successive Sikh Gurus (divine messengers or enlighteners), with the last one being the revealed sacred scripture, Shri Guru Granth Sahib Ji. This system of religious philosophy and expression has been traditionally known as Gurmat (literally the counsel of the Gurus) or the Sikh Dharma. With around 30 million followers worldwide, Sikhism is the fifth largest organized religion in the world.
The principal belief of Sikhism is faith in waheguru — represented using the sacred symbol of "Ek Onkar", the Universal God. Sikhism advocates the pursuit of salvation through disciplined, personal meditation on the name and message of God. A key distinctive feature of Sikhism is a non-anthropomorphic concept of God, to the extent that one can interpret God as the entire creation itself.
The followers of Sikhism, or Sikhs, are ordained to follow the teachings of the ten Sikh Gurus, enshrined in the holy scripture "Guru Granth Sahib". While compiling the scripture, the fifth Sikh Guru, Guru Arjan Dev Ji incorporated not only the writings of the Sikh Gurus, but also included selected works of many devotees and saints from diverse socio-economic and religious backgrounds, who believed in the unity of God and denounced caste and superstition. The text was decreed by Guru Gobind Singh Ji, the tenth and last human guru, as the final guru of the Khalsa Panth.
Sikhism's traditions and teachings are distinctively associated with the history, society and culture of the Punjab region, the traditional homeland of the Sikhs and the site of the Sikh Empire. Presently, a majority of the Sikhs live in Punjab, India, and until India's partition in 1947, millions of Sikhs had lived in what is now Pakistani Punjab.
Belief in one God
The belief in one pantheistic God. The opening sentence of the Sikh scriptures is only two words long, and reflects the base belief of all who adhere to the teachings of the religion: Ek Onkar "Ek" is One and "Onkar" is God - "There is only one God."