August 5th, 2012
06:20 PM ET

Explainer: Who are Sikhs and what do they believe?

By Steve Almasy, CNN

(CNN)– Sikhism, the world's fifth most popular religion, is a monotheistic faith that believes in equality and service to others, Sikh officials say.

"Everyone is the same," says Raghunandan Johar, president of the Guru Nanak Mission of Atlanta. "There is no distinction, no caste system."

Navdeep Singh, a policy adviser to the Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund, says Sikhs believe in freedom of religion, community service and inclusiveness.

At temples, or gurdwaras, where Sikhs hold services, everyone is welcome.

"You can come and be equal," he says.

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Doing good deeds is important for you to be with God after death, Johar says. Sikhs believe that if you don't live a life full of good deeds you will be reborn and repeat the circle of life and death.

There are 25 million Sikhs around the world, Singh says, about 700,000 of which live in the United States. Most Sikhs are in India.

Sikhs do not have a particular day of worship, he says, but due to the American work week, Sunday is a popular day for services. Johar says his gurdwara has formal services on Wednesdays and Fridays, in addition to Sundays.

At a typical gurdwara, the doors open up at 6 a.m. for prayers. A formal service includes the singing of hymns and a team of leaders who have studied the faith reciting from the Guru Granth Sahib, Sikhism's holy scriptures. That book, more than 1,400 pages long, includes writings from Sikhism's 10 gurus as well as writers from other religions.

It is an example of Sikhism's inclusiveness, Johar says.

"There is not a single word of hate in it," he adds.

At the end of the service, congregants pray for the "well-being of the world" then head to the langar, the community kitchen that serves meals for anyone who wants one.

10 years after Sikh murder over 9/11, community continues to blend in and stand out

"(Founder) Guru Nanak said that if you want to meet God, serve the poor people," Johar says.

Gurdwaras around the world variously incorporate clinics, schools, guest quarters and community centers, which Sikhs say is a sign of the religion's values of service and equality.

The first gurdwara in the United States was built 100 years ago in California, Singh says.

Most Sikh men don't cut their hair and wear turbans and beards. Many American Sikh women dress like other Westerners or wear the salwar kameez, a traditional north Indian garment of a long shirt and loose-fitting pants.

Sikhism emerged more than 500 years ago in Punjab, in what is now India. It was founded by Guru Nanak, a non-practicing Hindu who was against rituals and praying to idols.

"He received a revelation," Johar says.

Guru Nanak taught a message of love and that all religions were good.

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"If you are Hindu, he said be a good Hindu," Johar says. "If you are Muslim, be a good Muslim. If you are Christian, be a good Christian."

Sikhs, he says, are taught two other important things in addition to serving others and serving God: Work hard and never beg.

- Producer/Writer

Filed under: Belief • Houses of worship • Religious violence • Sikh

soundoff (1,169 Responses)
  1. Brara

    Let's not forget Ranjit Singh (a ruthless Sikh Ruler of India hundreds of years ago) decimated India. he destroyed in days what Moghals had built over hunders of years. Hindu mandirs (Temples) and Mosques were converted to stables for horses. Gardens (like Shalimar) were turned into prisons and torture chambers for enemies.

    August 8, 2012 at 1:18 pm |
    • singhnee

      that's the most twisted version of history i've ever heard. raja ranjit singh BUILT temples and mosques, his army included generals of every faith and multiple races. he ruled a secular and united punjab that allowed everyone to practice their faith. it's the only time there's been a single peaceful rule in punjab since, well forever.

      but yeah, he did deliver the final blow to the dying mughal empire built by muslim invaders who tried to convert the entirety of india to islam...

      August 8, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
    • A Hindu

      Is that what they teach you in Pakistani history books?

      The UNICEF was supposed to edit hatred out of your text books. Doesn't look like they are doing a good job.

      August 8, 2012 at 4:42 pm |
    • Karl from Wash DC

      This Ranjit guy was a bad dude all around. There are still examples preserved of the destruction he caused in India then. He literally massacred millions of people without blimking an eye. He was in cahoots with hindus....some say. Same mold.

      August 9, 2012 at 11:50 am |
    • Simran

      Brara, you obviously are either 200 yrs old and had lived during the rule of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, or you are delusional.

      I know you will not bother to google the Maharaja himself, so I present to you glimpses of a great man.

      Ranjit Singh was crowned on 12 April 1801. Sahib Singh Bedi, a descendant of Guru Nanak Dev, conducted the coronation.[13] Gujranwala served as his capital from 1799. In 1802 he shifted his capital to Lahore. Ranjit Singh rose to power in a very short period, from a leader of a single Sikh misl to finally becoming the Maharaja (King) of Punjab.

      He spent the following years fighting the Afghan rulers who had made him the governor of Punjab.[5] After driving them out of Punjab, Ranjit Singh and his Sikh army then invaded Afghan territory in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. This was the first time Punjabis entered Afghan territory. Ranjit captured Multan which encompassed the southern parts of Punjab, Peshawar (1818), Jammu and Kashmir (1819).

      When the Foreign Minister of the Ranjit Singh's court, Fakir Azizuddin, met the British Governor-General of India, Lord Auckland, in Simla, Lord Auckland asked Fakir Azizuddin which of the Maharaja's eyes was missing, Azizuddin replied: "The Maharaja is like the sun and sun has only one eye. The splendor and luminosity of his single eye is so much that I have never dared to look at his other eye." The Governor General was so pleased with this reply that he gave his gold watch to Azizuddin.

      Ranjit Singh's Empire was secular, none of the subjects were discriminated against on account of their religions.[14] The Maharaja never forced Sikhism on his subjects and respected all religions

      August 10, 2012 at 9:23 am |
    • Simran

      The empire of the Sikhs was most exceptional in that it allowed men from religions other than their own to rise to commanding positions of authority. Besides the Singh (Sikh), the Khan (Muslim) and the Misr (Hindu Brahmin) feature as prominent administrators. The Christians formed a part of the militia of the Sikhs. In 1831, Ranjit Singh deputed his mission to Simla to confer with the British governor general, Lord William Bentinck. Sardar Hari Singh Nalwa, Fakir Aziz-ud-din and Diwan Moti Ram ― a Sikh, a Muslim and a Hindu representative ― were nominated at its head.

      Externally, everyone in the Sikh empire looked alike; they sported a beard and covered their head, predominantly with a turban. This left visitors to the Punjab quite confused. Most foreigners arrived there after a passage through Hindustan, where religious and caste distinctions were very carefully observed. It was difficult for them to believe that though everyone in the Sarkar Khalsaji looked similar, they were not all Sikhs. The Sikhs were generally not known to force either those in their employ or the inhabitants of the country they ruled to convert to Sikhism. In fact, men of piety from all religions were equally respected by the Sikhs and their ruler. Hindu sadhus, yogis, saints and bairagis; Muslim faqirs and pirs; and Christian priests were all the recipients of Sikh largess.

      August 10, 2012 at 9:24 am |
    • Simran

      Ranjit Singh's earliest conquests as a young misldar (baron) were effected by defeating his coreligionists, the heads of other Sikh Sardaris (popularly known as the Misls). By the end of his reign, however, he had conquered vast tracts of territory strategically juxtaposed between the limits of British India to the East and the powerful Afghan Empire to the West. The land that eventually became the Kingdom of the Sikhs had been ruthlessly subjected to the worse kind of atrocities by invading armies coming through the Khyber Pass into the Indian sub-continent, over eight centuries.

      In 1799, Ranjit Singh captured Lahore and made it his Capital. After the capture of Lahore, Ranjit Singh rapidly annexed the rest of the Punjab, the land of the five rivers. Having accomplished this, he extended his empire further north and west to include the Kashmir mountains and other Himalayan kingdoms, the Sind Sagar Doab, the Pothohar Plateau and trans-Indus regions right up to the foothills of the Sulaiman and Hindu Kush mountains.

      Ranjit Singh took Amritsar from the Bhangi Sardari and followed this with the more difficult conquest of Kasur, the fabled twin city of Lahore, from the Pathans.[29] With the conquest of Multan the whole Bari Doab came under his sway.[30] In the year 1819, Ranjit Singh successfully annexed Kashmir.[31] This was followed by subduing the Kashmir mountains, west of the river Jhelum (today, Hazara in Pakistan and Pakistan Administered Kashmir).[32]

      The most significant encounters between the Sarkar Khalsaji and the Afghans were fought in 1813, 1823, 1834 and in 1837. In 1813, Ranjit Singh's general Dewan Mokham Chand led the Sikh forces against the Afghan forces of Shah Mahmud led by Fateh Khan Barakzai.

      Following this encounter, the Afghans lost their stronghold at Attock. Subsequently, the Pothohar plateau, the Sindh Sagar Doab and Kashmir came under Sikh rule. In 1823, Ranjit Singh defeated a large army of Yusafzai tribesmen north of the Kabul river, while the presence of his Sikh general, Hari Singh Nalwa prevented the entire Afghan army from crossing this river and going to the aid of the Yusafzais at Nowshera. This defeat led to the gradual loss of Afghan power in the trans-Indus region. In 1834, when the forces of the Sarkar Khalsaji marched into Peshawar, the ruling Barakzais simply fled the place without offering a fight.[33] In April 1837, the real power of Maharaja Ranjit Singh came to the fore when his commander-in-chief, Hari Singh Nalwa, kept the entire army of Amir Dost Mohammad Khan, the Wali of Kabul, at bay, with a handful of forces till reinforcements arrived from Lahore over a month after they were requisitioned

      August 10, 2012 at 9:25 am |
    • Simran

      Requesting Karl from Wash DC, please at least google search before you comment.

      August 10, 2012 at 9:29 am |
  2. obrotherwhereartthou

    Sounds like everyone should be a Sikh!

    August 8, 2012 at 10:49 am |
  3. Dhillon

    CNN is doing a wonderful job in bringing awareness among Americans & others who are less or not aware of the Sikh faith!
    I personally take liberty as a Sikh & Congratulate CNN for an excellent Journalism!
    From: Canada

    August 8, 2012 at 10:30 am |
    • Chuck

      I recognize that Sikhism is fundamentally different from being a Muslim, or an Episcopalian.
      How do you reconcile your "religion of peace, with a requirement that males wear a short curved knife (Kirpan) or a picture of a knife in your religion, then? I was a Judge Advocate (lawyer( in the U. S. Army in from '75-'79', a time which was the height of liberalism in the U.S. Army. Some Sikhs, who could compromise with a picture of a Kirpan worn on their bodies could join, as well as wearing a U.S. Army uniform, and a trimmed beard, and a short turban. Then the Army in the '80s or '90s decided no beards, and no turbans.
      So if you are a religion of peace, how come you are to live as soldier-saints, and carry a knife on your person at all times?

      August 8, 2012 at 11:17 am |
    • Sikh Warriors

      ... were organized in response to the Islamic onslaught on Indian civilization. The founder Guru Nanak preached peace and co-existence.

      August 8, 2012 at 4:44 pm |
    • Simran

      Chuck, just like the cross symbolizes the sacrifice of Jesus for one religion, the Kirpan (short sword) symbolizes this faith. It is one of the 5 signs of the Khalsa Panth. And no, you are entirely wrong to presume that all Sikhs wear it. A vast majority, including those in my family do not. Just like all Christians are not going around wearing crosses. The "Soldier Saint" concept is a very spiritual one – We are soldiers bcoz we are ready to fight against the 6 evils (Homai i.e. EGO, kaam i.e. LUST, krodh i.e. ANGER, lobh i.e. GREED, Moh i.e. ATTACHMENT, and Ahnkar i.e. PRIDE). Saint – bcoz we believe each and everyone is equal, bcoz the religion teaches us to work for the betterment of all.
      I feel sad for those Sikhs who would interpret that Soldier Saint means that they should always dress like a soldier.
      I hope I have made my point and not offended you.

      August 10, 2012 at 9:51 am |
  4. PAUL

    People Just Need To Be Relaxed Accepting And Learn How T Play With Each Other!!


    August 8, 2012 at 10:24 am |
  5. AsiaWatch

    No hindu will hate Sikhs. Kindly note that this forum. Most of the posters are actually Pakis under the guise of Hindu names. Pakis job is to create wedge between Hindus and Sikhs. In actual walk of life have you ever met a Hindu who curse sikhism. Be aware of fake Hindu posters.Pakis are doing this for years.

    August 8, 2012 at 7:36 am |
    • Pras

      This is true... Sikhs are an integral part of India, and the have sacrificed teh most for India's security.. Infact Sikhism was created to protect Hindus from Muslim aggressors..............

      August 8, 2012 at 8:50 am |
    • sukh

      @pras Sikhs were never created to protect hindu. they were born to start a new religion free from caste system, blind faith, equality of everyone.they were taught to fight for innocent and victims . they happened to save their land and hindu at time when hindu were too coward to take any stand and were victim of muslim aggression. please refine your history knowledge

      August 8, 2012 at 9:40 am |
    • PAUL

      sikhs are God loving and God-Fearing!


      August 8, 2012 at 10:22 am |
    • Rajaish

      We dont have courage to accept the reality. We dont think that we have certain limitations but we start blaming others. In every religion there is a portion of extremist people. We should not pose them as a hero. This white guy was a terrorist, same like those terrorists who blown up air india plane and killed Indera Gandhi. Similarly Indra Gandhi was also a terrorist who killed tens of thousands of innocent Sikhs in golden temple.

      Majority of the Sikhs are very nice and humble. Those who were killed by this white man were all innocent and were taking part in thier religious activities.

      August 8, 2012 at 2:05 pm |
  6. sikh guy

    I am sorry for couple of words like thankless & cowards, i got angry after reading few hate comments of hindus against my religion.

    Once again I am sorry.

    August 8, 2012 at 5:33 am |
    • Simran

      Good for you Sikh guy, thank you for coming around to this. Dont be bother by the hatred and bigotry that some preach or throw at you. "What others do to you is their Karma, how you react is yours". Keep your chin up.
      Proud to be SIkh.

      August 10, 2012 at 10:01 am |
  7. sikh guy

    @ anu i love india but u should see what ur hindu brothers are writing.

    August 8, 2012 at 5:27 am |
    • bellenoitr

      '"If you are Hindu, he said be a good Hindu," Johar says. "If you are Muslim, be a good Muslim. If you are Christian, be a good Christian."' That pretty much wraps it up.

      August 8, 2012 at 7:20 am |
    • Puneet

      Those writing such comments are not hindus but Pakis in disguise. Sikhs have been pride of India for centuries. I am a hindu living in Canada and visit the Scarborough gurdwara every week from Whitby, the dedication and selflessness of the faith is beyond compare. Sat sia akal.

      August 8, 2012 at 11:41 am |
    • A Hindu

      It is possible that pakis are posting hateful comments of Sikhs, my brothers.

      August 8, 2012 at 4:46 pm |
    • Simran

      To Puneet and Hindu, while we do accept that we are one, let us in the same breath also stop blaming Pakistanis. All we know is some weirdo delusional non-sensical people are putting up these hate comments. These are the people who instigate religious intolerance. We have suffered pain through our own ignorance. It is time to move forward to a more peaceful world and for that, we also need to stop being prejudiced against all the people of Pakistan (majority of whom I firmly believe are our own family).

      August 10, 2012 at 10:07 am |
  8. sikh guy

    @Stankin Jankin I don't hate hindus , I have many hindu friends. It was meant for those Hindus who were writing crap about our community & religion.

    August 8, 2012 at 5:25 am |
  9. sikh guy

    When HINDU EXTREMISTS failed to convert Sikhs to hinduism, then they came up with a new theory that Sikhism is just an offshoot of hinduism. Sikhism is recognised as a SEPRATE INDEPENDENT religion by the governments of CANADA & UK. The reason you see a lot of hatred comments by hindus against sikhs is because they are jealous of us as we are economically superior than hindus & are well known for our acts of valor. The Indian state of Punjab(sikh majority state) has the best infrastructure in the country.You will never find a sikh begging on road anywhere in the world but you will find plenty of hindus not just begging but also sh1tting on roadsides in India.

    Sikhs make up to 15% of Indian army despite being less than 2% of Indian population.

    These Hindus are thankless people, they forgot that A Sikh Guru sacrificed his life for their(hindu) religion as muslims wanted to convert hindus forcefully. Not only that Sikhs used to save Hindu women from Afgan invaders as these cowards themselves did not have the courage to do so.

    August 8, 2012 at 4:44 am |
    • Stankin Jankin

      Your Hindu hate contradicts the article.

      August 8, 2012 at 5:14 am |
    • Anu

      sikh guy! People like you bring shame to India! Take your Khalsa and get out of India. You can't, can you??? Think before you write hateful words like this on an international platform. Idiot!!

      August 8, 2012 at 5:25 am |
    • Vic

      Please don't blame hindus. Sikhs are exterimists & terrorist. I witnessed it by my own personal experience. I live in Brampton, Ontario in Canada, a city which have enormous sikh population. In their temples (gurdwara) they have big pictures of those terrorists who killed indian female prime minister Indera Gandhi. Also they glorify those terrorists who blown up air india plane bound to canada. In past two months in Bramton sikh men killed their daughters just because they were dating with a black guy & one with a Pakistani boy.

      Sikhs hate the girls thats why there are more than 10 million female feticide every year in Punjab where majority are sikhs. You can confirm this figure by the UN reports about female feticide around the world.

      Worst thing is that all the time these sikh people carry a knife, a weapon with them to attack the innocent people.

      August 8, 2012 at 5:32 am |
    • Vic

      Please don't blame hindus. Sikhs are exterimists & terrorist. I witnessed it by my own personal experience. I live in Brampton, Ontario in Canada, a city which have enormous sikh population. In their temples (gurdwara) they have big pictures of those terrorists who killed indian female prime minister Indera Gandhi. Also they glorify those terrorists who blown up air india plane bound to canada. In past two months in Bramton sikh men killed their daughters just because they were dating with a black guy & one with a Pakistani boy.

      Sikhs hate the girls thats why there are more than 10 million female feticide every year in Punjab where majority are sikhs. You can confirm this figure by the UN reports about female feticide around the world.

      Worst thing is that, all the time these sikh people carry a knife, a weapon with them to attack the innocent people.

      Sikh guy you are shame for india. You dont even claim yourself indians rather punjabis.

      August 8, 2012 at 5:36 am |
    • Jasdeep

      There is a high rate of abortion of females in Punjab. However, the rate is higher for Hindus (who form over 40% of the population) than Sikhs. As well, the Sikhtemples publicly condemn female foeticide and religious Sikhs do not abort their daughters (or sons for they beleive abortion is wrong). Some Sikhs have participated in killing their daughters, but it is not just limited to Sikhs. Just recently a Hindu beheaded his daugher and paraded her head in the village because she was seeing men after her divorce. This came on international news. These honour killings predate Sikhism and are a cultural thing. Sikhism condemns such acts. As well, are you aware how many Sikhs Indira Gandhi got killed? She attacked the Golden Temple on a Sikh holy day equivalent to Easter, when it was packed with thousands of innocent people. At teh same time, she got 36 other major Sikhtemples attacked. All after kicking out all journalists and human rights groups were totally banned from the Punjab for years and years (still may be). After these Sikhtemple attacks or operation blue star, she had other military operations against Sikhs too such as Operation Woodrose. The goal basically was to have paramilitary troops go door to door and arrest baptized Sikh males between 15 adn 35 years of age.Look at Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch reports. Congressmen in America even spoke up about the cops in Punjab being given monetary rewards to kill Sikhs. Some of the atrocities that were ordered by India on Sikhs are just starting to come out and those trying to bring them out to the light of day are being harassed. Then you say the worst is that Sikhs don't indentify themselves with India butt with Punjab instead. I was born in India but despise it. I love America though and think it is far kinder to Sikhs than India. Policemen are willing to die for Sikhs here instead of looking the other way while mobs go forth killing, maiming, raping thousands and thosuands of Sikhs in cities all over India (or even worse assisting such mobs)-as happened in India just 25 years ago. As well, there are no American congressment who led such mobs to kill Sikhs though there are politicians in India, including in the national government.

      August 8, 2012 at 6:22 am |
    • Jasdeep

      Oh just in case anyone is wondering why Mrs. Gandhi was so into killing Sikhs. I think it had to do with the fact that the Sikhs were demandong rights to set their own prices for food (thier state was India's bread basket) and angry about the fact that they weren't getting enough electricity though thier rivers were being diverted to supply electricity to other places in India. Farmers were threatening a major strike when operation blue star took place. Most disputes are over financial and other resources. Interestingly, the so called Mahatama Gandhi threatened to go on a hunger strike when Dr. Ambedkar, the leader of the so called untouchables, was thinking of converting to Sikhism. He said it would dangerous to India if the untouchables converted to Sikhism unless Sikhs could be persuaded they were Hindus. I wonder why there is this fear of Sikhism by the current powerholders of India. I think it probably is because Sikhism has the seeds in it for a true egalitarian society and that is a threat to the upper caste folks who have most of the power there. One way to neutralize the threat of Sikhism is to kill lots of Sikhs from time to time and distort Sikhism as much as possible. Both these strategies are deployed. Of course it is nothing new. When the current power holders of India last had rule, the Bhuddist population was wiped out and there were a lot of Bhuddists percentage wise while Sikhs are less than 2%.

      August 8, 2012 at 7:09 am |
    • Keshav

      My Dear Friend
      I am sure no sikh will abuse his own mother. But you are doing it now. You are abusing all Hindus with your narrow mentality. Whatever you are do not forget sikkism is an offshoot of Hinduism. There are good and bad people in every relegion. No relegion preaches bad thisng. It is only the people who adopt it. We are proud that our own sikh brothers are in such good positions. When we feel proud of you, you are trying to abuse. Think of universal brother hood. I hope you will take this sportively. Thanks you. Wish you all the best.

      August 8, 2012 at 10:45 am |
    • Lot12Truth

      This guy is an examplar within Sikhism, that their are individuals who don't know anything but hate. So there is no difference between him and the Wisconsin killer. I am a Sikh and I detest any hatred towards Indians. I am proud of my ex-motherland. Any thing the Indian Govt. did or does, is not a reflection on any of the religions in India. India is a great country and will always be and have give to the world excellent religions like Buddhism, Sikhism, Jainism and the core which is Hinduism, which has been tolerant. Its a prime example of what a democracy should be. Any actions of Govt or Police shouldn't point to people in general. "Sikh guy", shame on you. Look at which religion Bala and Mardana came from before posting such comments.

      August 9, 2012 at 1:01 am |
    • Lot12Truth

      Also come out of your "warrior shell". Sikhs are not the only warrior clan in the world. There are lot of them in the world. So respect that. Don't overreact to the publicity Sikhism is getting and forget that others exists in the world. Every loyal son/daughter will fight for the motherland. Maharana Pratap did it in Rajasthan, Shivaji did it in Maharashtra and so did other fighters. Tell the world what you have done as a Sikh, not what other Sikhs like Manmohan Singh, etc. Sikhism believes in humility, not show off !!!

      August 9, 2012 at 1:11 am |
    • jacob

      imuy buenas!
      well if hindus r so peaceful according to VIC , ANU,as they claim to be then why are they burning churches and forcefully converting people back to hinduism when they freely choose to b christians where as sikhs dont force any body to convert. they keep it to themselve unless provoked.
      2) even in 21 century, in democratic india, hindus are and have murdered their own populationa and citizens(sikhs in 1984,muslims in 2002and christians 2008)
      3)as far as i know and have read,sikhs contributed the most with their lives to free india first from mughals and then from british. so the rightful owners of india are sikhs and not any other just bcoz they are in majority now.
      now by writing that i dont say that hindus are not peaceful but you people have radical organistaions such as shiv sena, vhs, Rss. they are so so like taliban and they dont want indian people to even celebrate valentines day.

      August 9, 2012 at 11:33 pm |
    • jacob

      further mmore
      imuy buenas!
      to my knowledge sikhism is a very peaceful religion.
      i read some commenets about air india bombing here and in my mind, theres no doubt that it is promoted by radical hindus.
      i wanna put some light on extremism in hinduism as well
      1)on jan 22 199, graham staines, australian christian missionary was burnt alive with his two young kids in india bcoz he was preaching about christiany and lot of low caste hindus were converting to christianity bcoz theres no caste sytem in christianity
      2) hindus mob burnt alive innocent sikhs in 1984 and they are burning christians and their churches and houses even today and nobody is there to stop them bcoz its theire govt and police. what a pitty
      what would you say about it now
      now also to mention that many and many incidents in india go un reported.
      now answer to the problem is that live and let live. let anybody and everybody practice what they want to practice. everybody is born free.
      everybody dies no one is immortal.

      August 9, 2012 at 11:44 pm |
  10. rocinante

    Sikh is really an admirable religion, very inclusive and humble, rather than self-righteous and judgmental like some religions. Sikh approach to life is to view themselves as perpetual students for life, always learning from each new experience. They also focus on servitude, such as participation in the preparation and serving of communal meals.

    August 8, 2012 at 2:51 am |
  11. BEAR

    I used to think Sikh's were nice people until I saw a story on tv about a Sikh family that had their daughter lured back to India and killed for disobeying her mother. Are all religions bloodthirsty?

    August 7, 2012 at 11:49 pm |
    • historyB

      There are bloodthirsty people from all religions. Nice ones too.

      August 8, 2012 at 12:08 am |
    • Dustin Goldsen

      Sally likes bread, dogs like bread, therefore Sally is a dog. This is the basic logic used by all bigots to condemn an entire group based on the actions of one or two members.

      Among thinking people it is called the fallacy of the undistributed middle term, but then again bigots are not thinking people.

      August 8, 2012 at 1:01 am |
    • Lauren

      That sounds more like a cultural thing than a religious thing.

      August 8, 2012 at 1:17 am |
    • Think

      According to your logic, I could say that I used to think Christians were nice until I heard one of them gunned down innocent people and now and changed my mind. I am of course trying to make a point and not being serious when I say that. I suggest you think more logically before generalizing.

      August 8, 2012 at 2:35 am |
    • ilvpitz

      Wow. I didn't know that. That's terrible.

      August 8, 2012 at 8:37 am |
    • Csense01

      Dustin Goldsen
      You have put it beautifully, thank you. It is unfortunate that your high intelligence is rarely found on this planet.

      August 8, 2012 at 12:14 pm |
    • Simran

      Bear, what happened in that particular incident wasnot SIKHISM. It was HONOR KILLING, a still rampant bad stone age culture that happens in India!!! (Google the Khap panchayats, of Haryana and the Manoj-Babli incident, one the most recent, where with the help of social activists and media, justice was sought). Indians are standing up against it in protest. THIS IS NOT A RELIGIOUS EVIL, BUT A SOCIAL EVIL OF INDIA. We have overcome many other such evils (like sati pratha) and will surely do this too.
      I condemn the Sikh who killed forces his will upon his children, bcoz that is not who we are.

      August 10, 2012 at 10:23 am |
  12. caesarbc

    Sihks believe they have the right to live.

    August 7, 2012 at 11:45 pm |
    • Michael

      I don't like their faith... It's going to end very poorly for them... Sad leave the sikh religion and join orthodox Christianity...

      Orthodox Christianity teaches God is the ultimate evil and it is the ultimate target of one's aggression's. Orthodox Christianity teaches that karma is not real some men are evil all their lives and never get caught. This is the real World only 3 people on the planet are Orthodox Christians... The smallest tribe of Israel but the strongest. Soon I will have turned the beast of the book of revelation to my will and my power will be absolute on the World plain.

      August 8, 2012 at 2:22 am |
    • SlumDog

      No one is forcing you to like their faith. Just like the fact that everyone has the right to live, and live freely.

      August 8, 2012 at 9:27 am |
  13. caesarbc

    Sikhs believe they have the right to live.

    August 7, 2012 at 11:44 pm |
  14. think about it

    Im an atheist. i have all honours classes in school. i work hard i beleve in equality. i hate violense raceisim crime ect am also a pasifist i take care of my family and care for the well being of all of humanity i just dont beleve in an allmighty force or heavin or hell. am i a bad pirson because of this?

    August 7, 2012 at 11:19 pm |
    • asngh

      Nobody is bad. It is just our deeds that are good and bad and makes us that.

      August 7, 2012 at 11:34 pm |
    • JP

      If you are an atheist, then be a good atheist.

      August 8, 2012 at 3:09 am |
    • EJW

      I am hoping you are not the result of the American education system but are actually a non-native speaker of English who is, incidentally, also living in your home country, wherever that may be. One thing is for sure, you are not getting honors in English and, if you are, then you need a better English teacher. Be that as it may, at least you are open-minded, it seems.

      August 8, 2012 at 4:14 am |
  15. Ivanhoe

    For more on Sikhism and religions of the Middle East read the contemporary novels - king of Bat'ha by Hashim, and Tales from the East: Return of Ivanhoe by Ivanhoe.

    August 7, 2012 at 10:12 pm |
  16. Pres

    Media is NOT reporting following facts: 1. North American Sikhs were involved in blowing up Air-India (Kanishka) on 23rd June 1985 (Source Wikipedia and or through google search of Khalistan – a division of Sikh Community largely funded by North American Sikhs). 2. Sikhs gunned down first Indian Women PM Indira Gandhi (adopted daughter of Mahatma Gandhi). 3. Several innocent labor class people were massacred in buses in Indian State of Punjab by Sikhs. 4. Sikhs were trained in same Pakistan ISI campus where Al Qaidea and Taliban got training in 1980s. 5. Primary reason the USA encouraged Sikhs to the USA is leverage against India in 1980s as India was friendly with the then USSR.

    August 7, 2012 at 10:07 pm |
    • JSGrewal

      All of what you said is true. But what is it that you are trying to prove by stating these incidences? That sikhs are innately violent? That sikhs believe in hurting others? If a christian goes to a temple and shoots people, does that make christianity violent? If a buddhist burns his body to use it as a weapon against the Chinese government, is Buddhism violent? If Hindu's kill hundreds of sikhs and muslims, is Hinduism violent? Violence and hatred is in every culture, not religion. This is exactly the ignorance and hatred that exists in this world that we all wish to end. Sikhs or not sikhs...innocent, good people died last wednesday. You don't need to KNOW sikhism to know not to shoot someone.

      August 7, 2012 at 11:10 pm |
    • fredd

      So since hundreds of Muslims are extremist does it mean the 1 billion muslims are evil. What about the crusades the pope told Thousands of peasants to go to the crusades. They were poorly trained and died along with their wives and children trying to take over land that they abandoned. What about in spain when in the 15th century they burred all the Jews and guess what Jesus of Nazereth was a Jew.

      August 7, 2012 at 11:24 pm |
    • asngh

      All of these negative posts about Sikhs are not going to stop people believing that Sikhism is a piece loving religion. Some people just can't tolerate that CNN/media is spreading words about Sikhism. True Sikh will never hurt anybody but will save lives like they saved lots of lives of Hindu people being converted to Islam by Mughal rulers of India. They also played major part freeing India from British.

      August 7, 2012 at 11:27 pm |
    • OrdinaryMan












      2. FIRST INDIAN CONGRESSMAN WAS DALIP SINGH SAUND FROM 3 January 1957 – 3 January 1963, WAY BEFORE 1980's.




      August 7, 2012 at 11:47 pm |
    • historyB

      Indira Gandhi was no relation to Mahatma. She was the daughter of Jawaharlal Nehru

      August 8, 2012 at 12:10 am |
    • A Hindu

      @Pres, Why do you insist on raking up dirt?

      Is there Sikh terrorism in Punjab today? – NO.

      Is the first Sikh person that comes to your mind friendly and peaceful? – YES (most probably and definitely not a violent person)

      All the incidents you mention happened more than 25 years back. Dude, a whole new generation of youth was born in India after that. A generation that enjoys Virat Kohli batting and Harbhajan Singh's bowling equally.

      Sikhs protected the Indian civilization from the Mughal plunder. They fought valiantly against the subjugating Britishers. They have the highest per-capita representation in the Indian army. I would NOT question their patriotism.

      Shall we let bygones be bygones please? Shall we grow up to see without prejudice please?

      May the departed souls of this violent crime find peace.

      August 8, 2012 at 2:04 am |
    • Think

      Dear Hindu Pres, Please spread your hate somewhere else. It's interesting that you point out that sikhs shot down Indira Gandhi, adopted daughter of Gandhi but you failed to mention that Hindus killed Gandhi himself. Why shy away from that fact? Does that prove all Hindus are violent, actually not. I happen to have many wonderful Hindu friends so please stop giving your people a bad name by posting hate.

      August 8, 2012 at 2:41 am |
    • JG

      Pres, I suggest you should go back and get your facts right! Im not from India, but from south America. I know this for a fact since I was a little girl, yes sikhs killed the Indian PM Indira Gandhi, but she was never a daughter or adopted daughter of Mahatma Gandhi. Her father was Jawaharlal Nehru and she became a Gandhi by marriage who wasn't even related to Mahatma Gandhi. Also just to inform you that Pujab is not only in India, its also in Pakistan. Remember the countries were divided and Punjab was part of it. Punjabis from Pakistan act the same as most of Pakistanis and hate Indians as well. All religion has good and bad people, so one can't say oh my religion is better than this one or that one. Im not a Sikh, but learnd to respect their belives as well Christians, Jewish and Muslims. Not only that, I even visited several temples including Golden temple, churches and mosque and I'm not even from this belives. Get you story straight!

      August 8, 2012 at 4:20 am |
    • Pardeep

      My friend you forgot Indira Gandhi killed thousands innocents at Golden Temple. She used Indian Army and tanks to demolish the holiest place for sikhs. Sikhs were just asking for autonomy. Why nobdody used army against Raj Thakre, Sadhvi involved in planiting bombs and Narendra modi who killed thousands of muslims in Gujrat.

      Indrira Gandhi was killed by Rajiv Gandhi. It was RG who conspired to killed her mother and use that symptahy to gain power.

      Kahiskha accused people are been cleared by court of law. What Indian govt has done in 1984 that was worst than Hitler's genocide.

      Sikhs are not terrorists but when they are pushed to limits they defend themselves, not like hindus who offered thier daughters to mughals to save thier own life.

      August 8, 2012 at 7:05 am |
    • SlumDog

      Do you have the list of facts about the gunman who killed those innocent people? Let me help you start 1. He was a christian. BUT that list should end with that another fact that he also shot another White Christian, a Cop, who guarded anyone without thinking of race, ethnicity, and religion. Get this in your head, without all of these races and religions around we enrich ourselves.

      August 8, 2012 at 9:36 am |
  17. Jang Singh

    O Nanak, it is absurd to ask to be spared from pain by begging for comfort.
    Pleasure and pain are the two garments, given to the mortal from the Lord's Court to be worn.
    Page 149, Guru Granth Sahib
    Sikhs Holy Book

    August 7, 2012 at 10:06 pm |
    • asngh

      Dhann Guru Nanak! Guru ji taught us and gave strength and courage to cope with pain and painful times. I am listening and Singing Guru ji's Shabads (Hymns) from last two days. That is how I am recovering from this massacre news.

      August 7, 2012 at 11:31 pm |
  18. Bill Maher Nails It


    August 7, 2012 at 10:00 pm |


    August 7, 2012 at 9:25 pm |
  20. AC


    August 7, 2012 at 9:20 pm |
    • Borack Obummer

      Now that's an intelligent post. (sarcasm if you don't recognize it)

      August 7, 2012 at 9:33 pm |
    • TheOracle8191

      You're close to what you want. One day soon there will be a one world religion that is all inclusive. You can worship what you want, when you want, what you want, so long as no one religion or faith criticizes another. Christianity, however, will be the one faith outlawed as true believers will hold fast to God's word, saying that there is no other God but Jehovah God that, through his son, Jesus Christ, the world would be saved. It's already started, among the New Age Spirituality movement. This has all been foretold in one book, the Bible, God's word. Read it, turn to Christ who died and rose for you, pick up your cross and follow the King of Kings. You will be hated, you will be mocked but in the end what is this earthly rock but a heap of dung compared to the majesty of kneeling before Almighty God in splendor nothing can compare to?

      August 7, 2012 at 10:24 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.