Religion Posts

  • My new Twitter handle is now live - check me out at @jackiewgibson!

  • CNN has posted a history of bias against Sikhs - more reason for people to learn about religions before they attack anyone:...

  • Sikh temple shooting unfolding, learn about Sikhism here:

  • Sikh temple shooting unfolding, learn about Sikhism here:

  • Hackers group Anonymous takes down Vatican website:

  • WGN-TV calls doomsday prophecies "an illusion":

  • RT @graceishuman: Really,? Asking people JUST LEAVING the service how they felt about it? Tacky, tacky, inappropriate

  • Whitney Houston's funeral service really took the world to church. Love Pastor Winans' honesty, very moving.

  • #teacher ? Here are appropriate responses to situations with your Jehovah's Witness student:

  • #Teachers: Want to know why your Jehovah's Witness student won't say the pledge and how to respond?

English flagItalian flagKorean flagChinese (Simplified) flagPortuguese flagGerman flagFrench flagSpanish flagJapanese flagArabic flag
Russian flagGreek flagDutch flagBulgarian flagCzech flagCroatian flagDanish flagFinnish flagHindi flagPolish flag
Romanian flagSwedish flagNorwegian flagCatalan flagFilipino flagHebrew flagIndonesian flagLatvian flagLithuanian flagSerbian flag
Slovak flagSlovenian flagUkrainian flagVietnamese flag      

Sikhs will celebrate Baisakhi Day on April 14th this year. For those unfamiliar with the Sikh celebration (or Sikhism), here is a quick rundown:

The major players: 10 gurus, teachers who passed the torch onto one another until the tenth guru told Sikhs to follow the eternal guru one year on Baisakhi Day. The first guru was Guru Nanak Dev whose life and preaching resulted in the founding of Sikhism.
The major scripture: Sri Guru Granth Sahib, the eternal guru, a collection of the teachings of the ten gurus and writers from other religions. It is the so-called “head” of the Sikh religion, though Sikhs do not worship the book as an idol.
The major tenants: There is only one God, he cannot take human form, one should devote oneself daily to remembering God, one should reject rituals (such as fasting, yoga, and pilgrimages) as one should focus more on good conduct and right mind than things connected to the world
The goal: To break the cycle of death and rebirth and merge with God
Encouraged practices: Meditation, following the teachings of the gurus, service, and charity
The social connection: Equality for all sexes, races, castes, and creeds; social responsibility and community service emphasized

At the age of 33 (yes, 33), the tenth guru, then Guru Gobind Rai, gathered his followers in Anandpur, India, to celebrate the harvest festival, Baisakhi (in the Hindu month of Vaishakhu, or April). At the gathering, he asked for five heads to be sacrificed. Eventually one man came forward, Gobind took him into a tent, and reappeared with a sword dripping with blood. He then asked for four others. Each time someone volunteered, he took them into the tent and reemerged with a sword dripping with blood. The crowd assumed he had killed the men, and some began to disperse. But Gobind had actually baptized the men, and he brought all five men (now wearing white) out of the tent. Gobind proclaimed the men “The Five Beloved Ones” and said wherever five baptized people meet together, there the guru will be also.

Just years before, Sikhs had gained a reputation for cowardice (against the Mughal Empire), and Gobind sought to instill a sense of courage in them. He thus gave them symbols of courage and purity (the sword, unshorn hair, etc.) and proclaimed the baptized Sikh nation to be the Order of the Pure Ones (Khalsa). As such, the group found a common identity as Sikhs, thus eliminating divisive identification with castes, races, sexes, etc. He also eliminated divisions within Sikhism, asking followers to devote themselves to the eternal guru (the scriptures), rather than to a man. Finally, the guru gave all men the surname “Singh” meaning “lion” (he himself took the surname), and then gave the women the surname “Kaur,” or “princess.”

Sikhs today celebrate Baisakhi, not just as a harvest festival, but as a remembrance of Gobind Singh’s gifting of the Order of the Pure Ones. This year marks the 308th anniversary of that day.

Be Sociable, Share!

2 Responses to “Happy Baisakhi!”

Leave a Reply