The history of the Sikhs consists of three periods:
1. The Guru period from 1469 to 1708 A.D.
2. The persecution of the Sikhs and Misal period from 1708 to 1799 A.D. and
3. The Monarchical period from 1799 to 1849 A.D.
The Guru period from 1469 to 1708 A.D.
Guru Nanak Dev, the Founder of the Sikh Faith (Sikhism), was born in 1469 A.D. at Village Talwandi Rai Bhoe (Nanakana Sahib), now in Pakistan. He believed in the Oneness of God, the unity of mankind and in the twin doctrines of “Fatherhood of God and Brotherhood of Man.” He exhorted the people to lead virtuous and harmonious life. He said, “Truth is the highest of all virtues, but higher still is true living.” Guru Nanak further said, “Ek pita ekas ke ham barak”, (Adi Granth, p. 611) (There is only one Father of us all, and we are all His children).
In the words of Dr. M. Mujeeb, the teachings of Guru Nanak are of supreme significance not only in the religious history of India but also of the world. The essence of his teaching is a remarkable summing up of social doctrines of monotheistic belief. Guru Nanak’s message and the basic commandments are:
(a) Naam Japo (Worship) Thou shall practise the discipline of the Name.
(b) Kirt Karo (Work) Thou shall earn thy livelihood by honest creative labour.
(c) Vand Chhako (Share) Thou shall share the fruits of thy labour with thy fellow beings.
After the passing away of Guru Nanak in 1539 A.D., the Sikh Faith was preached by the successor Nine Gurus.
The Sikh Gurus gave to their followers a new religion, “Sikh Faith” (Sikhism); a central religious place at Amritsar-Harimandar Sahib (Golden temple) for worship and preaching Sikh Faith and a holy scripture, Sri Guru Granth Sahib.
The Sikh religion is one of the five higher religions of the World. Sikhism is a monotheistic religion. The Sikhs believe in:
1. One Formless God, Who is truth, the Creator, without fear and without enmity, Eternal, not subject to birth and death. Self-existent, and is realized by the Grace of Guru (the Enlightener).
2. Ten Prophet Teachers, namely Guru Nanak Dev, Guru Angad Dev, Guru Amar Das, Guru Ram Das: Guru Arjun Dev, Guru Hargobind, Guru Har Rai, Guru Harkrishan, Guru Tegh Bahadur and Guru Gobind Singh.
Three great Sikh Gurus sacrificed their lives for rightousness and Dharma. Guru Arjun Dev was martyred on 30-5-1606 at Lahore (now in Pakistan); Guru Tegh Bahadur was martyred on November 11, 1675, at Delhi and Guru Gobind Singh kissed Martyrdom on October 7, 1708, at Nanded (Maharashtra State).
3. The sacred scripture, Sri Guru Granth Sahib.
4. The teachings of the Ten Gurus and 10th Guru’s initiation (Amrit).
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