Indian religion founded in the late 15th century by Nanak, the first of the Sikh leaders titled Guru. Most of the religion's 25 million members, called Sikhs, live in the Punjab—the site of their holiest shrine, the Golden Temple, and the principal seat of Sikh religious authority, the Akal Takht. The Adi Granth is the canonical scripture of Sikhism. Its theology is based on a supreme God who governs with justice and grace. Every human being, irrespective of caste or gender, has the opportunity to become one with God. The basic human flaw of self-centredness can be overcome through proper reverence for God, commitment to hard work, service to humanity, and sharing the fruits of one's labour. Sikhs consider themselves disciples of the 10 human Gurus; the Adi Granth assumed the position of Guru after the death of the last human Guru, Gobind Singh (1666–1708). Sikhs accept the Hindu ideas of samsara and karma. The dominant order of Sikhism, into which most Sikh boys and girls are initiated at puberty, is the Khalsa. The emblems of the Khalsa, called the Five Ks, are kes or kesh (uncut hair), kangha (a comb), kachha (long shorts), kirpan (a ceremonial sword), and kara (a steel bracelet).

This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
For the full entry on Sikhism, visit

Seen & Heard

What made you look up Sikhism? Please tell us what you were reading, watching or discussing that led you here.

Get Our Free Apps
Voice Search, Favorites,
Word of the Day, and More
Join Us on FB & Twitter
Get the Word of the Day and More