Tuesday, November 12, 2019

The Basic Tenets of Sikhism

Today is the 550th birth anniversary of the first Sikh Guru, Guru Nanak Dev.

As commonly understood, and according to nothing less than Wikipedia, the basic teachings of Guru Nanak can be summarized as:

ਨਾਮ ਸਿਮਰੋ, ਕਿਰਤ ਕਰੋ, ਵੰਡ ਛਕੋ

Loosely translated as: Keep remembering the name, work for your living, and to share one's wealth with the community.

However, it is a myth that these are the three tenets of Sikhism.  Nowhere in the Guru's teachings, except for passing references to the working for one's living and being kind, are the latter two tenets mentioned.  Far be from it that the latter two tenets are "central" to Sikhism.

The first tenet ("remember the name") is indeed mentioned repeatedly in the Guru's teachings.  But as I have written previously, almost universally, Sikhs are either ignorant or confused about what the "name" refers to, and what does it mean to "remember" the name.

Most Sikhs take it to trivially mean just chanting "Satnam Waheguru".  This particular mantra, and this particular practice of chanting is nowhere mentioned in the Sikh gurus' teachings.

I would love to be proven wrong.

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