Any belief system or religion that discriminates or divides humanity into 'us versus them' is not a religion but a cult.
True religion also known as Spirituality embraces all of existence, and not only respects but celebrates life. It recognises that Creation is infinite energy beyond description etc. It accepts the contradictions of our existence, good and bad, night and day, evil and good, flowers and thorns etc. It is not hostile to what is different nor does it discriminate between one individual or type and the other being.
True religion is like science. It encourages questioning and never provides answers, it only helps the questioner/seeker to awaken so as to find his or her own answers.
An excellent example of this is Sikhism, (learner). Sikhism is not even a religion.
True Sikhism has been expounded* by Guru Nanak ji and then the guidance was subsequently carried forward by 9 more Sikh Gurus. These teachings delivered as hymns are enshrined in the Shri. Guru Granth Sahib. It may be more appropriately described as the hymn book of India for the world.
The Guru Granth Sahib is a 1430 pages compilation of hymns praising the Divine and Creation sung by not only the Sikh Gurus but also 30 other Hindu and Muslim saints, bhaktas, drawn from across the length and breadth of an undivided India.
The hymns provide clues to attain bliss and the divine through the path of love, nobility and integrity in thought and deeds. Sikhism extols nobility in thought and deed, universal brotherhood, compassion, love, responsibility, respect for all of creation and to see the divine in all beings.
These are the essential elements of the achievement of success and the realisation of peace and happiness of both the individual and the community.
Sikhism shuns negativity and hatred. It embraces all of humanity irrespective of gender, faith, colour, creed, status, wealth etc.
Unfortunately throughout history one witnesses that good and noble people have remained silent and passive even when being persecuted, tortured and murdered, their homes and property plundered and their families sold into slavery.
When all pleadings and requests to the tyrants to refrain from injustice, oppression, disrespect, etc. fell on deaf ears. The Gurus taught and demonstrated that goodness is not weakness, fortitude is not fear, that when the time comes one has to abandon all fear and become as brave as a lion to fight, defend and protect.
Thus after a long period of centuries of industrious and peaceful existence the Sikh Gurus were compelled with great reluctance to pick up arms. The Gurus urged Sikhs to fight for justice and truth, to serve and to protect with honour and dignity the weak and the defenceless particularly women, children and the elderly. The Gurus not only taught the Sikhs to bear arms and use them effectively but also infused into the hearts and minds a sense of unimaginable courage coupled with nobility to restrain and temper their inherent power.
This is why Sikhs particularly the Khalsa Sikhs are known simultaneously for their compassion, generosity, loyalty, passion and their tremendous courage and ferocity.
To be noble, loving, respectful, compassionate, hard working, honest, sincere and fearless are the hallmarks of a Sikh. Sikhism is a user friendly pathway to achieve success and realise divine happiness. It's easy to understand and practice, hence the masses have flocked to the Sikh Gurus and adopted their teachings.
Sikhism is free of myths, dogma and rituals. open to all, Is it any wonder that people of many faiths listen to and imbibe the Guru's teachings to better their lives?
That is why I will always remain a Sikh, a non religious being awakening bit by bit each day imbibing the spirit of the Guru's teachings.
Sat Sri Akal. I send you all salutations, greetings and congratulations.
Additional information about Sikhism
* Some people mistakenly call Sikhism a religion that Guru Nanak ji founded. This error in perception occurs because in the modern world all narratives have been predominantly driven by certain thought and values in which religions have been founded. Guru Nanak ji and other Sikh Gurus only expounded universal truths in a simple and easy to understand language and manner and hence Guru Nanak ji should be called expounder rather than founder of Sikhism.
Sikhism is not a religion but a unifying movement to embrace all of humanity, unconditionally and lovingly irrespective of gender, colour creed, profession, caste, status, etc.
Sometimes people get confused between a Sikh and Khalsa.
While every Khalsa is a Sikh, not every Sikh is a Khalsa.
The Khalsa (The Pure) ones also known as 'Amritdhari Sikhs' who commit to the highest level of humanity and spirituality.
A Sikh become Khalsa by a simple baptism ceremony at a gathering of Sikhs where the Sikh consumes Amrit (nectar) and males are conferred with the title 'Singh' (lion) and the females 'Kaur' (princess).
A Khalsa maintains long unshorn hair, wears a turban, always carries legally a 'Kripan' (a sword, though nowadays many carry a small dagger). A Khalsa carries a special comb, an iron/steel bangle on the wrist, and wears a unique type of boxer shorts.
A Khalsa Sikh vows to maintain the highest standards of nobility and humanity. Because of these qualities many Khalsa Sikhs join the defence forces where they serve and protect.
Sikhism unlike major organised religions has no rituals, and no codification for there are infinite paths for infinite beings to realise the divine. The exception being when a Sikh decides to devote his or her life as a Khalsa, there is a code of conduct befitting a noble being. A Khalsa is born when a Sikh is baptised to undertake the responsibility to selflessly serve humanity and the Divine including taking up arms to ensure justice.
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