Sikhism: Background information when reading A Moment Comes

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A Moment Comes

by Jennifer Bradbury

A Moment Comes by Jennifer Bradbury
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  • Published:
    Jun 2013, 288 pages

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Heather A Phillips

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Beyond the Book:
Sikhism

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Sikhism is a monotheistic religion prevalent in the Punjab region of India and Pakistan where A Moment Comes takes place. One of the main characters in the book, Anupreet, is a Sikh.

Guru NanakSikhism was founded in the 16th century by Guru Nanak. Nanak's family were Hindus, but he studied both Hinduism and Islam. This deep study, as well as Nanak's innovative thinking and talents at poetry and philosophy, were the foundations of Sikhism. Three of his most radical beliefs were that there is only one God, that every person should and could have direct access that God, and that the caste system was wrong, that everyone, regardless of caste or gender, was equal. Nine gurus who followed Nanak also helped shape Sikhism. The tenth Guru, Guru Gobind Singh, declared that the Guru Granth Sahib, the Sikh holy book, would be the final Guru, and from that moment on, Siks gave it the same respect and status as any living Guru. This book gives detailed guidance on how to live life so that peace and enlightenment may be found during one's lifetime. Emphasis is placed on morality, ethics and virtues, and the scriptures teach the concept of moderation. Guru Gobind Singh also decreed that if Sikhs could not find answers to issues or dilemmas within the Guru Granth Sahib, they should come to a resolution as a community.

KhandaSikhs believe that God is omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent and transcendent. They believe that God is without form or gender, and that everyone has equal access to and is equal before this God that can't be intellectually understood, but can be experienced through love, worship, and contemplation. They also believe that God is the same, regardless of the worshipping religion.

Sikhism does not have priests. They only have the custodians of the Guru Granth Sahib, and any Sikh is welcome to read the scriptures at home or at the temple, which is called a Gurdwara.

Panj KakarThe Panj Kakar are five symbols of faith that all baptized Sikhs are obliged to wear at all times. They are:

  • Kanga (a wooden comb, which represents discipline and cleanliness)
  • Kara (an iron bracelet, symbolizing a never ending life)
  • Katchera (cotton undergarments, a symbol of modesty and a reminder of a commitment to purity)
  • Kirpan (an iron dagger or ceremonial sword, which stands for bravery and protecting the weak and innocent)
  • Kesh (uncut hair, because it is a perfect example of God's creation thus there is no reason to change it; it usually worn by men in a turban called a pagri or dastar)

Sikhism stresses the importance of doing good works and of the internal religious state of the individual rather than the proper carrying out of rituals or celebrations. For Sikhs, the path to achieving salvation and becoming one with God does not require renunciation of the world or celibacy, but living the life of a householder, working hard, earning a honest living and avoiding temptation and sin. By living a proper life, Sikhs believe that they can become one with God in their lifetimes.

This article is from the August 21, 2013 issue of BookBrowse Recommends. Click here to go to this issue.

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