SIKHISM, the youngest of the major world religions, strictly monotheistic in its fundamental belief, was born in the Punjab in the revelation of Gurū Nānak (1469-1539). Although it bears close affinities in its terminology and in some of its philosophical assumptions with other India-born religions and with Islam, yet in its orientation it is a separate, independent faith. The distinctive nature of Sikhism has been asserted right from its origin in the pronouncements of Gurū Nānak, not set down as a systematic treatise but scattered throughout his numerous hymns included in the Gurū Granth Sāhib, amplified by the lives and works of his nine successors and explained in the exegetical writings of Sikh scholars dating back to the late sixteenth and early seventeeth centuries. Again, Sikhism is not only a philosophical system but is also a distinct cultural pattern, a way of life signified by the term Sikh Panth.
Etymologically, the word sikh goes back to Sanskrit śiṣya, itself derived from the root śis or śās meaning to correct, chastise, punish ; to teach, instruct, inform. In Pāli śiṣya, (a pupil, scholar, disciple) became sissa and later, sekh or sekkha which means a pupil or one under training in a religious doctrine (Sanskrit śikshā and Pāli sikkhā). In Punjabi the term is sikkh usually transliterated sikh. "Sikh" now almost universally denotes a follower of Gurū Nānak, his nine successors and their teachings embodied in the Gurū Granth Sāhib, the Scripture. "Sikhism" denominates the faith they profess. Scattered all over the globe, the Sikhs are mostly concentrated in the northwestern part of India. According to 1991 census, of the 17 million Sikhs in India over 85 per cent live in Punjab, Haryāṇā and Chaṇḍīgaṛh which till 1966 comprised a single state called Punjab. In the present state of Punjab where they number 10.2.million, they form 62.95 percent of the population.
The first date in Sikhism is 1469, the year in which the founder of the faith, Gurū Nānak, was born. According to Janam Sākhīs, traditional accounts of his life, he from early childhood possessed a reflective mind and liked the company of holy men of different denominations. He was already a married man and a father of two sons, when, towards the close of the fifteenth century, he had a direct mystic encounter with the Supreme Reality, which he called Niraṅkār, the Formless One. He then set out to preach the Word, Śabda, revealed to him.
According to Gurū Nānak, God is One, a single Supreme Reality. He is the creator, preserver, destroyer and recreator of material existence, but He Himself is uncreated, unborn and self-existent. In fact the Creator is not different from His creation but is one with it. All material existence emanates from Him and is the manifestation of His Self. Its apparent diversity does not alter the unicity of the All-embraching whole. God as the supreme spirit permeates throughout His creation but is not limited by it. He transcends it. He, the timeless and the boundless One, transcends even time and space.
In the Sikh Scripture, the concept of the supreme reality is not only dynamic and reverberating but many pluralities such as nirguṇa-saguṇa and transcendent immanent are subsumed in it. He is nirguṇa or without attributes. Yet He is saguṇa or with attributes, too, because in the manifested state all attributes are His. At the same time the ultimate reality of God never binds Himself to any specific forms of image. Sikhism clearly rejects avatārvād or belief in divine incarnation and idol worship.
God was a palpable reality for the Gurūs. They were so imbued with divine love that hey never imagined there could be any doubt about His existence. It is true, though that as an infinitesimal part man can never know the Whole. The supreme reality in its totality is unknowable. Gurū Nānak in his long hymn, Japu, which forms early morning prayer for the Sikhs, says : je hau jāṇā ākhā nāhī kahaṇā kathanu na jāī---Even if I knew, I could not describe (because he) is indescribable" (GG, 2). Elsewhere using a poetic image he elaborates : "You are the All-knowing, All-seeing Ocean ; how can I, a (humble) fish measure (your) immenseness ?--- (tū darīāu dānā bīnā mai machhulī kaise antu lahā"(GG, 25). Yet the individual self, being a tiny ray of the illimitable source of light that God is, is ever connected to that source and may feel and even comprehend its existence, however vaguely. The Gurūs have often used the image of the sun and the ray to define the relation of God and individual self. They accepted the universal term ātmā or soul as the spark or ray through which the paramātmā or the Ultimate Spirit permeates individual selves. To comprehend the latter, the former is to be awakened and ignited. This is to be done through self-effort under the guidance of the Gurū but, above all, with God's grace, nadar, mihar or karam. Knowing God is meeting God, becoming one with Him, merging of the individual soul ātmā in the supreme spirit, paramātmā, realization of God is a spiritual experience. It is a revelation which comes through intuition and divine grace. Logic or any other kind of reasoning is of no avail here, for against one kind of reasoning another can be advanced. Hence for the seeker is to try in a spirit of humility in prayer, and devotion, and in meditating upon nām, the divine name, or śabda, the Divine Word. For such effort, Sikhism does not favour asceticism or renunciation. It preaches humility, prayer, devotion and meditation to be cultivated and practised within the worldly life of a householder. Renunciation or rejection of the world as false would be to falsify God's handiwork.
The material world of time and space is God's creation. It is as real as the creator Himself. As says Gurū Arjan, Nānak V : "True is He and true is His creation (because) all has emanated from God Himself-- āpi sati kīā sabhu sati; tisu prabh te sagalī utpati" (GG, 294). In Sikhism, why, when and how of universe is not considered a matter for logic and reasoning nor of historical and scientific research. God creates it when he pleases and he destroys when he so wills. To quote Gurū Arjan again "karate kī miti na jānai kīā, nānak jo tisu bhāvai so vartīā-- The created cannot have a measure of the creator; What He wills, O Nānak, happens" (GG, 285). Again "āpan khelu āpi kari dekhai, khelu saṅkochai tau nānak ekaī-- He watches His own sport; when, O Nānak, He winds up His sport, He the one, alone remains" (GG, 292). Gurū Gobind Siṅgh calls this process of expansion and reversion or dissolution as udkarkh (Sanskrit utkarṣaṇa) and ākarkh (Sanskrit ākarṣaṇa), respectively. "When you, O Creator, caused utkarkh" he says, "the creation assumed the boundless body ; whenever you effect ākarkh, all corporeal existence merges in you ("Benatī Chaupaī"). As to the time of the creation of the Universe, Gurū "thiti vāru na jogi jāṇaī ruti māhu nā koī jā kartā siraṭhī kau sāje āpe jāṇai soī (of creation) no yogī knows the date or day, none knows the season or month; the Creator alone who made the Universe knows" (GG, 4). Elsewhere, Gurū Nānak in a 16-stanza verse describes his vision of the Pre-Creation state thus : "For countless eons there was a state of semi-darkness. There was no earth or sky but only the boundless hukam. There was neither day nor night, no moon nor sun. He was in a sunn samādhī (Sanskrit śūnya samādhī) or trance in nothingness. There were neither any sources of production, nor language, air, nor water. Neither were the processes of creation and dissolation, nor transmigration of souls. There were no upper or nether regions, nor the seven oceans, or rivers, nor water flowing in them… (and so on). He was all by Himself (until) when it pleased Him, He created the Universe which he sustains without any prop..." And he concludes, "The perfect Gurū makes one understand. None knows His bounds. Those blessed ones, O Nānak, who are imbued with the love of the true one enjoy the bliss and sing his praises" (GG, 1035).
The created world is not māya or illusion. It is not only real, it is sacred because in Gurū Aṅgad's words, "ih jag sachai kī hai koṭharī sache kā vichi vasu-- This world is the abode of true one who is present in it" (GG, 463).
Gurū Amar Dās, Nānak III, identifies it with God Himself. "This (so-called) poisonous world that you see," says he, "is (the manifest) form of God ; it is his form that you see" (GG, 922). Elsewhere, however, the world is described as false and likened to an illusion, dream or bubble. The seeming contradiction is resolved by considering the word sat (Sanskrit satya) or true in its double nuance. Sat means true, real, actual, verifiable, genuine : not counterfeit, spurious or imaginary; it also means constant, sure, secure, steadfast, not subject to variation. The material or created world meets the former set of characteristics, but not the latter. It is true in so far as it is not imaginary or illusory, and is in fact a reflection of the supreme spirit. So are the souls which are nothing but the microcosmic bits of the Macrocosmic Spirit transcending even the macrocosm. But the bodies, the abodes of these bits of the True One, are transitory, changeable and ever-changing. It is in this sense that Gurū Nānak, in a hymn declaring the world, its dwellers, its wealth, and human relations as false, laments : kisu nāli kīchaī dostī sabh jagu chalaṇhār--- whom to befriend ? The whole world is in flux" (GG, 468). Elsewhere in the Sikh Scripture, the world is described as falsehood, illusion, dream, bubbles, a wall of sand, destructible. Thus, according to Sikhism, the world may be considered as a dialectical truth lying between the Absolute Truth and the Buddhist-Śaṅkarāchāryan māyā.
The world came into being through God's Will and is ever subject to His hukam, a Persian term meaning command, decree, verdict, order, fiat, rule, law, control, direction; authority, jurisdiction, etc. Hukam as a concept in Gurū Nānak’s message is both Divine Will and Divine Law. In fact, Divine Law has its origin in Divine Will, and the sanction behind it bhai or bhau Sanskrit bhaya), the fear or awe of God. According to Gurū Nānak, the whole creation is under bhau, fear of God (GG, 464). Other terms used synonymously with hukam are amar and farmān (Divine fiat or command); bhāṇā and razā (divine pleasure) and qudarat (divine power). But God, unlike God in some Semitic religions, is no jabbār (tyrant, oppressor) or gahhār (wrathful, avenger), and hukam is not a blind impulse of the supreme spirit; it is regulated by order and justice. The universe being the play of his pleasure, God enjoys it. He, of course, dispenses divine justice but it is tampered by his mihar (mercy) and nadar (grace). God in relation to his creation is benign and compassionate.
God's creation does not exist in a lump. "The indestructible Lord, ekankār (the one God) has spread himself in several ways, in several forms, several colours and several garbs" (GG, 284). He is immanent in all these diverse beings, in that ātmā, the divine spirit, pervades through all. Of these the sentient beings, jīvas, are endowed with individual souls, jīvātmā. Jīva, jīu and jīo are the terms used in the Sikh Scripture both for an individual being and for the soul while jīa signifies both the individual being and man or mind. Jīva takes birth under God's hukam through the fusion of the formless soul with some material form or body. While the former, being a part of the supreme spirit, paramātmā, is immortal, the latter, conditioned by time and space, is transient and temporary, and is liable to laws of growth, decay and death. Jīva dies when jīvātmā or individual soul sheds its elemental body. Death like birth is also subject to hukam, God's will. Hukam prevails even between birth and death, but there it operates primarily in the form of karma, the divine law of cause and effect.
Sikhism accepts the laws of karma and transmigration of soul, but according to it heaven and hell have only symbolic significance. The term karam, as it is spelt in Punjabi and as it appears in Sikh Scripture, has three connotations. As an inflection of Sanskrit karman from root kri (to do, perform, accomplish, make, cause, effect, etc.) it means an act, action, deed, etc. It also stands for fate, destiny, predestination inasmuch as these result from one's actions and deeds. Thirdly, as a word of Arabic origin, karam is a synonym of nadar, that is divine grace, kindness, clemency. Under the law of karma, popular in several eastern religions, jīvātmā on leaving one body transmigrates to another body to take birth as another jīva which may belong to any one of the 8,400,000 species that exist. Whether the new body shall belong to a species higher or lower than the one lately cast off by the jīvātmā depends upon the good or bad deeds, respectively, perfomed during the previous birth or births. It is as result of good actions performed during successive births especially during human births, that, subject to nadar or God's grace, a jīvātmā attains mokh (Sanskrit mokṣa), that is final liberation from the cycle of births and deaths. Jīvātmā, a mere drop, then merges finally with the Unfathomable Ocean that is paramātmā or God, and becomes undistinguishable from Him. But as long as such merger does not come about, the soul must wander enveloped in gross matter through various bodies and different species that form the cycle of transmigration.
Of all the species, human is the highest and the most privileged. Gurū Arjan says, "lakh chaurāsīh joni sabāī, maṇas kāu prabhi dīī vāḍāī. Of all the eighty-four lacs of species, God gave superiority to man (GG, 1075) ; and "avar joni terī panihārī, isu dhartī mahi terī sikdārī-- All other species are your (man's) water-bearers; you have hegemony over this earth" (GG, 374). Man's superiority arises from his superior intelligence, keener understanding, self-knowledge and a fine moral instinct. Human birth is, therefore, the most appropriate for trying to attain mokṣa or muktī. It is a rare chance for Jīvātmā to seek union with pararmātmā. To quote Gurū Arjan again, "bhāī parāpati mānukh dehurīā ; gobind milaṇ kī ih terī barīā--- (now that) you have got a human body, this is your turn to meet God" (GG, 378). Gurū Nānak himself had warned : "Listen, listen to my advice, O my mind ; only good deeds will endure, and there may not be a second chance--suṇi suṇi sikh hamārī sukritu kitā rahasī mere jīaṛe bahuṛi na āvai vārī' (GG,154).
According to Gurū Nānak, muktī or attainment of union with God is the ultimate purpose of man. In human mind, endowed with superior cognitive, affective and cognitive faculties, the spiritual spark shines the brightest. But haumai, or egoism, the sense of "I-amness" bedims the divine spark within him and hampers his understanding of the primal reality. Haumai or self-concern creates a wall around man's understanding, separates him from his original source and leads him to agiān (spiritual blindness, nescience). Haumai gives rise to the five passions, i.e. kām (sensuality), krodh (anger), lobh (avarice), moh (attachment), and haṅkār (pride). Led by these passions, he becomes manmukh, a self-centred, self-willed, unregenerate individual, unresponsive to instruction. His salvation lies in overcoming his haumai and understanding his true self, which is a spark of the light eternal. "Recognize yourself, O mind," says Gurū Amar Dās, Nānak III, "You are the light manifest." And he goes on in the same verse to show the way : "Rejoice in Gurū's instruction that God is (always) with (in) you. If you recognize your Self, you shall know Lord and shall get the knowledge of life and death" (GG, 441). The seeker is advised to follow gurmati, Gurū's instruction, and be a gurmukh, Gurū-oriented, rather than a manmukh. Gurū in Sikhism means, besides God Himself, the ten Sikh Gurūs from Gurū Nānak (1469-1539) to Gurū Gobind Siṅgh (1666-1708) and, after them, their shabad (Sanskrit śabda) preserved in the form of Gurū Granth Sāhib, the Holy Scripture of the Sikhs. Gurmati, therefore, means tenets and doctrines of the faith as revealed in the Gurū Granth Sāhib. The Gurū is the voice of God and Gurū's shabad is his divine self-expression.
According to gurmati, the means to overcome haumai lies in understanding hukam, the fundamental principle of God's activity, and in living one's life wholly in accord with it. This understanding or giān (Sanskrit jñān) comes not through rites and rituals, nor through the study of voluminous tomes or discursive discussions. It is not attained through renunciation, austerities and penances, either. Sikhism recommends grihastha or normal life of a householder, but without falling in love with worldly life as if it would always endure. The only true love is devotion to God. Gurū Nānak set forth devout love as the truest virtue. Love of God consists in immersing oneself in nām simaran, i.e. constant and loving remembrance of His Name, meditating upon His immeasurable immenseness in awe and wonder, and in singing His praises. Such loving devotion helps one to free oneself from haumai and to attain mokhduār or threshold of muktī, i.e. liberation from the circuit of birth, death and rebirth. At the same time as a householder one should earn one's living by kirat karnī, i.e. by hard work and honest means. The third virtue is vaṇḍ chhakṇa, to share one's victuals with others. Besides these Gurū Nānak laid special emphasis on sevā or self-abnegating deeds of service. "One who performs selfless service," says Nānak V, "finds the Lord" (GG, 286). Shīl (good conduct), saṅgam (moderation), santokh (contentment) and garībī (in the sense of humility, not of poverty) are the individual virtues a Sikh is instructed to cherish.
On the social plane, Gurū Nānak preached equality of all human beings. He especially denounced distinctions and discriminations based on caste, creed, sex and worldly possessions. Humanism, universalism tolerance and sevā are the pillars of social ethics of the Sikhs.
The founder of the faith, Gurū Nānak, not only determined the principal truths and doctrines of Sikhism, he also took care to ensure that his teaching would endure. Wherever he went he advised his followers to join together in saṅgat, i.e, holy fellowship or community, to establish dharamsāls or houses of congregation, and laṅgar or community refectory (for themselves and for the needy). At the end of his udāsīs or travels, he himself had such a community established at Kartārpur on the right bank of Rāvī. It was not a monastic order, but a fellowship of ordinary people engaged in ordinary occupations of life, congregating for prayer and sitting together to share a common repast, overruling distinctions of caste and creed. To carry on his work he himself nominated a successor, a devout Sikh Bhāī Lahiṇā, who he renamed Aṅgad, a limb of his own body, and to whom he passed on a book containing his teachings, and his own light, transmitted further from one to the next succeeding Gurū so that, the Sikhs believe, all the ten Gurūs were of equal spiritual rank sharing the revelation of Gurū Nānak, whose message they elaborated and preached and whose social institutions of saṅgat and paṅgat they expanded and consolidated into a well-defined community of believers which ultimately blossomed into the Sikh Panth.
Gurū Aṅgad (1504-52) popularized the Gurmukhī script among Sikhs, and Gurū Amar Dās (1479-1574) introduced a well-knit ecclesiastical system based on mañjīs or dioceses and organized regular congregational fairs for the Sikhs at Goindvāl, which became their special centre of pilgrimage. Gurū Rām Dās (1534-81) established yet another centre by founding the town of Amritsar, now the religious capital of the Sikhs. Under Gurū Arjan (1563-1606) Sikhism was more firmly established. He constructed in the middle of the pool of Amritsar, the Harimandar, Golden Temple of today. He also founded new towns of Tarn Tāran, Kartārpur and Srī Hargobindpur, and further, consolidated the mañjī system by appointing masands to the outlying preaching districts.
More significant was his collection and canonization of the compositions of the Gurūs and some other saints in the form of the Ādi Granth, which he installed in the Harimandar. The provision of a central place of worship and the Scripture proved to be of great significance in moulding Sikh self-consciousness and in the reification of Sikh life and society. Sikhs were now a community distinct enough to attract the spite of the heir-apparent to the throne of Delhi who, soon after his accession as Emperor Jahāṅgīr in 1605, had Gurū Arjan executed. Gurū Arjan's martyrdom, the first in the eventful history of Sikhism, gave a martial turn to the community's orientation. His son and successor, Gurū Hargobind (1595-1644), instead of donning the rosary and other saintly emblems, wore a warrior's equipment for the ceremonies of succession and encouraged his followers to train as soldiers. He set the principle of mīrī and pīrī, combination of worldly strength with spiritual faith; and devotion or, to use modern terminology, coalescence of religion and politics. Not that the earlier Gurūs had been oblivious of the political happenings around them. The fusion of the worldly and the other-worldly was inherent in the basic teachings of Gurū Nānak. The Gurūs preached active participation in life rather than running away from it. What Gurū Hargobind did was to consciously prepare the community to defend the faith against wilful oppression of bigoted state power. His task was made easier by the awakening brought about by the teaching of his predecessors. He was able to forge the instruments of a mighty revolution which he duly tested in his lifetime. His successors, Gurū Har Rāi (1630-61) and Gurū Har Krishan (1656-64) kept the style he had introduced and were attended by armed followers. But although summoned to imperial presence, they were left in comparative peace by the ruling power. Gurū Tegh Bahādur (1621-75), the ninth Gurū, again bore the cross. He laid down his life to defend the people's right to their religious belief. His son, Gurū Gobind Siṅgh (1666-1708), created the martial order of the Khālsā, a classless commonwealth of self-abnegating Sikhs, now surnamed Siṅghs, devout and peaceful worshippers of the One God but irreconcilable opponent of injustice and tyranny.
Sevā or selfless service had always been a laudable ideal for the Sikhs. It implied some measure of sacrifice. With the martyrdom of Gurū Arjan, sacrifice even in its most difficult form, sacrificing one's life for a worthy cause, became a desirable goal for them. To die fighting in defence of righteousness was something to be sought after. "Grant me this boon, O Lord," sang Gurū Gobind Siṅgh, "that I may not turn away from good deeds : may I not be afraid to fight the enemy (of faith) and may l assure my victory : may I instruct my own mind to greedily sing Thy praises; and when the end comes, may I fall fighting in the thick of the battle."
Gurū Gobind Siṅgh transformed the Sikh saṅgat into Khālsā panth, giving it a distinct identity in form as well as in spirit. Before he passed away, he put an end to personal Gurūship and bequeathed the spiritual leadership of the community to the Holy Book, Gurū Granth Sāhib, in perpetuity and the temporal leadership to the Panth itself who was to fashion its own destiny in future under the guidance of the Gurū Granth Sāhib, the perpetual repository of fundamental principles, spiritual and moral, as revealed by Gurū Nānak in ten corporeal frames. Within half a century of Gurū Gobind Siṅgh's decease, Sikhism had turned into a political force and in another forty years it had become a state. In the process the Panth had to undergo the worst state persecution and genocide in human history, but the courage, tenacity and faith with which it reacted to and overcame the suppression was equally unprecedented. The ultimate emergence of Sikhs as the ruling power in northwestern India, however, was accompanied by some loss on the doctrinal side. The Sikh doctrine is not a single reasoned statement but lies scattered in the Scriptural verses and in traditional institutions of the Panth. The preservation of doctrinal purity, therefore, largely depends on correct interpretation of Scripture and tradition. Unfortunately during the turbulent eighteenth century, while the Khālsā were fully involved in the grim struggle for existence and, later, in conquest and political administration, theological affairs fell almost completely in the hands of Udāsī and Nirmalā priests highly influenced by Hindu scholasticism. They brought in priesthood, ritualism and at places even idol-worship, all strictly forbidden in Sikhism. The rise of aristocracy and later of monarchy, on the other hand, put an end to such democratic, republican institutions as Sarbatt Khālsā, gurmātā and Dal Khālsā.
After the conquest of the Punjab by the British, there was a sharp fall in the Sikh population. Two early attempts for the preservation of doctrinal purity were the Niraṅkārī movement of Bābā Dyāl (1783-1855) and the Nāmdhārī movement under Bābā Rām Singh (1815-85). The real renaissance commenced with the Siṅgh Sabhā movement launched in 1873. It touched Sikhism to its very roots and made it a living force once again with a renewed search for separate Sikh identity. It opened for the Sikhs doors of modern progress, and ushered in a period of vigorous educational and literary activity. The Siṅgh Sabhā gave place to Gurdwārā Reform movement of the early 1920's which resulted in the removal of the influence of the priestly class and the establishment of a democratically elected statutory body, the Shiromaṇī Gurdwārā Parbandhak Committee, to look after the religious affairs of the Panth and the management of Sikh shrines. For political leadership, bulk of the Sikh population looked up to the Shiromaṇī Akālī Dal. At the national level, their commitment to the cause of Indian freedom was total and their contribution to it was noteworthy.
In 1940, the Muslims of India represented by the Indian Muslim League made a bid to have a separate country of their own, Pakistan, comprising predominantly Muslim territories culled out of India. The Sikhs were both alarmed and motivated. The Punjab, which to them was their only home, was a Muslim majority province. Its transfer to Pakistan would greatly jeopardize their interests, and threaten their newly re-discovered identity. They made a bid for an independent homeland of their own, but they were too few in numbers (1.47 per cent of the total population of India and 13 per cent of that of the Punjab according to the 1941 census) and too thinly spread to justify their claim to a viable territorial unit.
The partition of the Punjab in 1947, which divided the Sikh population into two almost equal halves, was a severe blow to them. Those left in districts assigned to Pakistan had to migrate to the Indian side of the Punjab and the Sikh states of cis-Sutlej region. But, by their native tenacity and enterprise, they soon rehabilitated themselves in independent India. Yet fresh doubts and misgivings soon arose about the preservation of their jealously guarded identity and cultural heritage. The framers of the new Constitution of India declined to grant to them special rights as a minority community, and a bulk of the non-Sikh Punjabis disowned Punjabi as their mother tongue with the result that while the whole of India was reorganized on linguistic basis, the Sikhs had to launch a prolonged struggle to secure a Punjabi-speaking state. Language being one of the most important factors of any culture, the Sikhs are highly sensitive about it.
On the theological plane, modern Sikhism is a continuation of the Siṅgh Sabhā restoration. While it retains its creedal unity and its adherence to its original metaphysics and symbolism, it has found enough resilience in the framework it has inherited to adapt itself to the modern course of progress without compromising on the fundamentals. Deeply conscious of its eventful history, its outlook is essentially forward-looking. Gurū Granth Sāhib, the Holy Scripture, is the continuing spiritual authority and is venerated as the living presence of the Gurūs. It gives form and meaning to the Sikhs' religious style and social customs. It is the integral focus of their psyche and the regulative principle of their belief and practice. Through their sacred book and through their 500-year old history, they maintain a strong attachment to their religious inheritance. Yet their deep allegiance to it creates no exclusivism. Their faith has a broad humanitarian base. Siṅgly in their homes and collectively in congregations in their places of worship, the Sikhs conclude their morning and evening prayers, or prayers said at any other time as part of personal piety or of a ceremony, with ardās or supplicatory prayer which ends with the words : Nānak nām chaṛhdī kalā tere bhāṇe sarbatt kā bhalā-- May Thy Name, Thy Glory be forever triumphant, Nānak, and in Thy Will, may peace and prosperity come to one and all.
Gurbachan Siṅgh Tālib