Sikh philosophy is a
young, indigenous, monotheistic one.
Guru Nanak (1469-1539) who was trying to unite
Hinduism and Islam, founded the Sikh religious order. The word `Sikh' derives from the
Sanskrit word shishya or disciple. Sikh philosophy is a set of ideas developed by ten
gurus or teachers and passed on to their shishyas or disciples. It conceives of God as
nirakara or formless and also as one. It admits of no idols or superstitions, whether
Hindu or Islamic. It recognizes all human beings to be equal. However it retains certain
Hindu ideas, such as those of the immortality of the soul, of transmigration and
The tenth and last guru, Gobind Singh, ended the guru system and organized
the Sikhs into a military theocracy named Khalsa (Pure). He started the system of pahul or
baptism into Sikhism with water stirred by a dagger, after which one would be entitled to
use the honorific `Singh'(lion) after his name and carry the five `kakkas' or `K's: kesh
(hair tied in a topknot), kanga (comb), kara (steel bangle), `kacha'(undergarment) and
`kirpan' (dagger). After Guru Gobind Singh's death, the Sikhs got divided into 12 groups.
Collective decisions are taken by the leaders of the groups and taken as coming from God.
Gurvani or `the Guru's word' is the literary expression of Sikh philosophy.
In Sikhism, avtars have no significance as it is believed that God never comes in cycle of birth and death. The word "ajooni" in the "Mool mantra" (starting paragraph of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji) means that God never comes in a "joon" which means worldly life form.