Ten Sikh Gurus

Gurus were originally teachers and parents, but Sikhs came to rely on them for spiritual guidance.  As Sikh’s gurus they were not only considered spiritual guides, but also community leaders.  Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism sought to redefine who a guru really was.  To him an authentic guru works for an honest living, and gives to the poor.  Sikh’s ten gurus are as follows:

  1. Guru Nanak (1469–1539), was the first of the ten Sikh Gurus. His birth is celebrated worldwide as Guru Nanak Gurpurab on Kartik Pooranmashi, the full-moon day in the month of Katak, October–November.
  2. Guru Angad (1504–1552), was the second of the ten Sikh gurus. He was born in a Hindu family, with the birth name as Lehna, in the village of Harike in northwest Indian subcontinent.
  3. Guru Amar Das (1479–1574), was the third of the ten Gurus of Sikhism, and became Sikh Guru on March 26, 1552 at age 73. Before becoming a Sikh, Amar Das had adhered to the Vaishnavism tradition of Hinduism for much of his life.
  4. Guru Ram Das (1534–1581), was the fourth of the ten Gurus of Sikhism. He was born on September 24, 1534 in a poor Hindu family based in Lahore, part of what is now Pakistan. His birth name was Jetha.
  5. Guru Arjan (1563–1606), was the first of the two Gurus martyred in the Sikh faith, and the fifth of the ten total Sikh Gurus. He compiled the first official edition of the Sikh scripture called the Adi Granth, which later expanded into the Guru Granth Sahib.
  6. Guru Hargobind (1595–1644), revered as the sixth Nanak, was the sixth of ten Gurus of the Sikh religion. He had become Guru at the young age of eleven, after the execution of his father, Guru Arjan, by the Mughal emperor Jahangir.
  7. Guru Har Rai (1630–1661), Guru Har Rai revered as the seventh Nanak, was the seventh of ten Gurus of the Sikh religion. He became the Sikh leader at age 14, on March 8, 1644, after the death of his grandfather and sixth Sikh leader Guru Hargobind.
  8. Guru Har Krishan (1656–1664), was the eighth of the ten Sikh Gurus. At the age of five, he became the youngest Guru in Sikhism on October 7, 1661, succeeding his father, Guru Har Rai. He contracted smallpox and died of the disease in 1664 before reaching his eighth birthday.
  9. Guru Tegh Bahadur (1621–1675), was the ninth of ten Gurus of the Sikh religion. Tegh Bahadur continued in the spirit of the first guru, Nanak; his 116 poetic hymns are registered in Guru Granth Sahib.
  10. Guru Gobind Singh (1666–1708), born Gobind Rai, was the tenth Sikh Guru, a spiritual master, warrior, poet and philosopher. When his father, Guru Tegh Bahadur, was beheaded for refusing to convert to Islam, he was formally installed as the leader of the Sikhs at age nine.

The Sikh’s sacred scripture rests with the authority of Adi Granth (Guru Granth Sahib).  This influence was passed down on the death of the tenth Guru Gobind Singh, through whom it was declared the spirit of all the gurus.  So Sikhs venerate Guru Granth Shib in the Khalsa (community).  For only through this Guru’s teaching may devotees achieve union with God.

Gift in a Storm

Food and shelter are two important gifts.  People need these basic gifts to survive.  Elsa Schiaparelli (1890–1973), an Italian and prominent fashion designer said, “Eating is not merely a material pleasure.  Eating well gives a spectacular joy to life and contributes immensely to goodwill and happy companionship.  It is of great importance to the morale.”  Food like shelter gives us confidence.  They are inspirational and morale boosters.  It’s not only about eating and having a home – it’s about having the right kind of food and shelter. Many of the poor are unable to appreciate these gifts in our society with an overabundance.  All should share food that supports life.  St. Teresa (1910–1997), a Roman Catholic religious sister and missionary wrote, “If you can’t feed a hundred people, then feed just one.”  Undoubtedly the person you feed may be able to live a successful life.

Gifts of Food

There are amazing ways to view food.  Louise Fresco (b. 1952), a Dutch scientist, and director said, “Food in the end, in our own tradition, is something holy.  It’s not about nutrients and calories.  It’s about sharing.  It’s about honesty.  It’s about identity.”  Food could be a miracle worker.  It touches lives, shares joy, and celebrates special moments.  That’s why Ludwig van Beethoven (1770–1827), a German composer wrote, “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”  It takes talent and perseverance to serve up the right type.

As believers we must endeavor to help others by giving food.  These gifts could take a variety of forms, and might literally make us become better people.  Joseph Wooden (1910–2010), a basketball player said, “Be true to yourself, help others, make each day your masterpiece, make friendship a fine art, drink deeply from good books – especially the Bible, build a shelter against a rainy day, give thanks to your blessings and pray for guidance every day.”  It isn’t only for food we must pray, but for shelter on rainy days.  We should do our best to help the disadvantaged, and the homeless.

The Basic Necessities

Even if we have the basic necessities that won’t mean we wouldn’t be tested with storms in our lives.  Dalai Lama (b. 1935), a monk and 14th Dalai Lama wrote, “Even when a person has all of life’s comforts – good food, good shelter, a companion – he or she can still become unhappy when encountering a tragic situation.”  Tragedy doesn’t discriminate, it happens to everyone, and we must spiritually prepare to handle such misfortunes.

Having a good heart could invoke our compassion to be sensitive about God’s creation.  This could be a gift for how we treat our brothers and sisters.  Francis of Assisi (1118/1182–1226), an Italian Roman Catholic friar and preacher said, “If you have men who will exclude any of God’s creatures from the shelter of compassion and pity, you will have men who will deal likewise with their fellow men.”  Whether animals we raise for food, used in sports, or pass unnoticed – our actions relate how well we would treat people.

The Storms of Life

So during the storms of life we must stand side by side with the afflicted to give them support.  We must show we really care, ensure they have food, and provide shelter.  Anne Graham Lotz (b. 1948), a Christian evangelist wrote,  “When the storms of life come, if they come to me personally, to my family or to the world, I want to be strong enough to stand and be a strength to somebody else, be shelter for somebody.”  Lotz vividly captured what being a gift to those embroiled in such a storm should be.

Love by Serving

In life it’s delightful to live simply and share our gifts with others.  That’s how we can capture the dignity of living fulfilled lives.  Life is all about faithful service, and understanding differences in cultures.   We’ll love God more, and capture the truth about love.  Our affection will then become the basis of biblical promises to the world.  Saint Teresa of Calcutta (1910–1997), a Roman Catholic religious sister and missionary said, “Let us meet each other with [a] smile, for the smile is the beginning of love.”  In simple ways people take cues from believers.

The Road in Life

By living godly lives there’s a surge of new life.  In their daily walk believers express this blessing.  Their demeanor shows the embodiment of the gifts of a merciful God.  This sort of love is effective for it brings about healing, doesn’t discriminate, nor makes distinctions.  It’s through such caring bridges are built in our world.  These are the visual signs of God working within and through us.  God’s love is nurturing and ever-watchful as we travel along our spiritual journey.  But there’s another way to determine love’s effectiveness.  Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929–1968), a Baptist minister, and activist wrote, “A genuine leader is not a searcher of consensus but a molder of consensus.”  It’s for believers to meet people where they are, and bring them along the path of righteousness.   

 Kingdom of Life

It isn’t enough to be a lover of life, for such people may be selfish in their desires.  It’s unwise to be self-centered in living without God.  News about God mustn’t be buried, but proclaimed in building confidence in the world.  To know God’s glory people have to be creators in showing others love.  Ralph Ellison (1914–1994), a novelist and literary critic said, “If the word has the potency to revive and make us free, it has also the power to blind, imprison and destroy.”  There’s a difference between “worldly” and “spiritual” love.  Unlike “worldly love,” the “spiritual” enlightens our hearts and minds.

Oscar Wilde (1854–1900), an Irish playwright, and novelist wrote, “Our ambition should be to rule ourselves, the true kingdom for each one of us; and true progress is to know more, and to do more.”  Believers could only attain these gifts through prayer and dedication to their communities.

 Being Compassionate

It’s best to be compassionate.  One of the ways that believers can accomplish this is by interacting with the people they encounter.  It’s the way we treat them that matters.  By being kind we share in God’s love to our colleagues.  Muhammad Ali (1942–2016), a former professional boxer said, “Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.”  If people believed they must serve as a way to pay back a debt, this world would be a better place.  They wouldn’t be so self-centered, but would see themselves as guardians on our planet.  To accomplish these goals mean we have to walk in love by serving others.

What is Religion?

Religion means different things to believers.  To some it may be a church, temple, or mosque, but to others it may be any group worshiping their god or gods in unique ways.

This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness.

Dalai Lama (b. 1935), the current Dalai Lama

How do believers view their religions?

Believers generally have definite objectives which they think their religion offers.  Whether they know it as a baptismal rite, belief in a savior or saviors, and salvation of their souls – from sect to sect these conditions may vary considerably.

Whether you call it Buddhism or another religion, self-discipline, that’s important. Self-discipline with awareness of consequences.

Dalai Lama

 I have an everyday religion that works for me. Love yourself first, and everything else falls into line.

Lucille Ball (1911–1989), an actress and comedian

 It is my goal to love everyone. I hate no one. Regardless of their race, religion, their proclivities, the desire of their heart and how they want to live their life and the decisions that they make. I can even respect people’s decisions and lifestyle choices just as I hope they have the courtesy to respect my decisions and my choices.

Kirk Cameron (b. 1970), an actor

I love you when you bow in your mosque, kneel in your temple, pray in your church. For you and I are sons of one religion, and it is the spirit.

Khalil Gibran (1883–1931), a Lebanese-American writer

 Just as a candle cannot burn without fire, men cannot live without a spiritual life.

Buddha (563 or 480 BC–483 or 400 BC), an Indian religious leader

 We must seek the loving-kindness of God in all the breadth and open-air of common life.

George A. Smith (1817–1875), a leader of the Latter Day Saint movement

 What are some tenets of religions?

Teachings vary among religions.  But regardless how people may regard them there exist some universal truths.

I like the religion that teaches liberty, equality and fraternity.

R. Ambedkar (1891–1956), an Indian jurist

 Human rights is a universal standard. It is a component of every religion and every civilization.

Shirin Ebadi (b. 1947), an Iranian lawyer

 To be a Christian without prayer is no more possible than to be alive without breathing.

Martin Luther (1483–1546), a seminal figure in the Protestant Reformation

 Rivers, ponds, lakes and streams – they all have different names, but they all contain water. Just as religions do – they all contain truths.

Muhammad Ali (1942–2016), a professional boxer

 The truth is that killing innocent people is always wrong – and no argument or excuse, no matter how deeply believed, can ever make it right. No religion on earth condones the killing of innocent people; no faith tradition tolerates the random killing of our brothers and sisters on this earth.

Feisal Abdul Rauf (b. 1948), an Egyptian American Sufi imam

All religions and all communities have the same rights, and it is my responsibility to ensure their complete and total protection. My government will not tolerate or accept any discrimination based on caste, creed and religion.

Narendra Modi (b. 1950), a Prime Minister of India

What part does music play in religions?

All religions have their own music.  It ranges from the secular to the sacred.  Chanting, singing, and with accompaniment of instruments devotees participate in praising their deity or deities.

Music is one of the most powerful things the world has to offer. No matter what race or religion or nationality or sexual orientation or gender that you are, it has the power to unite us.

Lady Gaga (b. 1986), a singer

What are some ill-effects of religions?

Throughout the ages there have been wars fanned by religious beliefs.  In contemporary times there have been atrocities spurned by intolerance.  Yet religions teach people must show love and live in harmony.

Religious wars are not caused by the fact that there is more than one religion, but by the spirit of intolerance… the spread of which can only be regarded as the total eclipse of human reason.

Montesquieu (1689–1755), a French political philosopher

 In the long term we can hope that religion will change the nature of man and reduce conflict. But history is not encouraging in this respect. The bloodiest wars in history have been religious wars.

Richard M. Nixon (1913–1994), a president of the United States

Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people.

Karl Marx (1818–1883), a German philosopher

Why do unknown questions arise with all religions?

Some passages in sacred texts contradict each other.  At times statements about natural phenomena are not supported by science.  Often mythology is used to explain events, so some obvious questions arise.  Some of these explanations leave religious leaders and their followers unsure of their meanings.  In these instances, sages, theologians, and philosophers interpret doctrines giving diverse reasons.  But there still remain these problems.

God is a metaphor for that which transcends all levels of intellectual thought. It’s as simple as that.

Joseph Campbell (1904–1987), a professor of literature

 Science can purify religion from error and superstition. Religion can purify science from idolatry and false absolutes.

Pope John Paul II (1920–2005), a head of the Catholic Church

 If one has the answer to all the questions – that is the proof that God is not with him. It means that he is a false prophet using religion for himself. The great leaders of the people of God, like Moses, have always left room for doubt. You must leave room for the Lord, not for our certainties; we must be humble.

Pope Francis (b. 1936), a head of the Catholic Church