of a Sikh
MEANING OF SIKH
The word "Sikh" is derived from Paali language. It means
"student of religion." It is different from the Sanskrit
word Shishya (a general term for any student). A Sikh is essentially
a student of study of religious philosophy.
PHYSICAL APPEARANCE (TURBAN, BEARD,
SWORD, KARA etc)
A Sikh can be recognized from amongst the crowd of hundreds and
thousands. He becomes conspicuous because of his turban, beards
and moustaches. An Amritdhari (initiated) Sikh has an obligation
to keep Punj Kakar (five articles of faith): Kes (unshorn hair)
and Keski (turban), Kangha (specific Sikh comb), Kachhehra (Sikh
shorts stitched in a specific style), Kara (sacred Sikh bracelet;
however, it is wrong to call it bracelet) and Kirpãn (sacred
Sikh sword). Besides these five, Dastar (turban) is obligatory for
a Sikh. A Sikh must not part with any one of these articles of faith
till his death.
DISTINCTNESS OF NAMES (SINGH &
Another remarkable distinction of a Sikh is the last part of his/her
name. A Sikh must use "Singh" (for males) and "Kaur"
(for females) as a suffix. Using family name is not an authentic
Sikh practice. Singh literally means lion and Kaur means princess.
For some time, the Hindus too have started spelling their name as
SINGH instead of the earlier Hindu spellings of SINH. It leads to
A Sikh is essentially a monotheist. He must have faith in one God
only. In Sikhism God is One, Omnipotent, Omnipresent and Omniscient.
God is the only Creator, Sustainer and the Destroyer. A Sikh can
not have faith in any other living or non-living prophet. According
to Sikhism God never appears in human form. A Sikh does not believe
in life before birth or after death. Sikhism rejects the other-worldliness.
Heaven and hell exist in this world only. Sikhism rejects the theory
Sikhism is not a religion of escapism.
A Sikh can achieve liberation (self-realization) while living as
a householder. It is pragmatic approach. It is a meeting ground
of social and spiritual worlds. In Sikhism the concept of liberation
is not "the other-worldliness" and rather liberation in
this life. 'To be a Sachiaar' (a self-realized person) is the Sikh
concept of liberation. (Guru Granth Sahib, p. 522). In Sikhism,
pilgrimage of the so-called sacred shrines has no place. Shabad
(Word) is the only sacred shrine and meditation and truthful life
is the real pilgrimage.
Sikhism is not a religion of fatalism.
A Sikh bows before the Will of God, but, is ever ready to struggle
for a better tomorrow.
Unique Sikh concept of Miri-Piri
Oneness of Miri and Piri is a unique concept of Sikh philosophy.
According to Sikhism, Miri (temporal) and Piri (transcendental)
are an integral part of the being of a Sikh. The Sikh concept of
Miri-Piri does not mean simple unity of temporal and transcendental
or politics and religion; it is "one-ness" of Miri and
Piri. A man of Miri must impart Dharma (Righteousness) as he is
the defender of Dharma, and a man of Piri should not be a silent
spectator to injustice and tyrrany; he has to come forward and follow
the path of Guru Sahib as defender of Dharma, humanism and justice.
Hence, Miri and Piri do not stand separate apart or distinct from
each other or independant of each other. In fact Miri and Piri resonate
each other. In Sikhism, Miri and Piri, though two different concepts
of philosophy, are "one" and can not be separated from
each other. Sikhism is a meeting ground of Miri with Piri. The Sikh
concept of Miri-Piri is the Saviour of justice, humanity, Righteousness
Dr. Harjinder Singh Dilgeer
For comprehensive information
The Sikh Culture
The Sikh reference Book (Sikh Encyclopedia)
Both by this author