The word 'Sikh' is derived from the Sanskrit word 'shishya' which means a disciple, a learner, and a seeker of truth. A Sikh believes in One God and the teachings of the Ten Gurus, embodied in the Eternal Shabad Guru, Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji. Sikhism was founded by Guru Nanak Dev Ji in the beginning of the sixteenth century. The succeeding nine Gurus nurtured, developed and preached his ideas and teachings. The pontificates of the nine successors of Guru Nanak were only the extensions of Guru Nanak's work. It is significant to note that five of the successors of Guru Nanak also composed under the name 'Nanak' implying thereby that there is no difference between the compositions of the successor and the founder.
The Sikh Gurus provided guidance for about 240 years. They taught the basic values of freedom, brotherhood, charity, obedience, understanding, sympathy, patience, humility, simplicity, and piety, and outlined the path to spirituality in life. The Gurus themselves said that they were human beings and were not to be worshipped as God. They considered themselves to be mere servants of God.
Gurudwara - The Sikh Place of Worship
Gurudwara (the door or abode of the Guru) is the name given to the Sikh place of worship, commonly addressed as Sikh temple in the western world. In the Gurudwara, the Sikh scripture is recited and sung. Guru Granth Sahib is placed on a palanquin under a canopy in the middle of one end of the hall. The Gurudwara is a place where the "Word of the Guru" reigns supreme, not only in its recitation but also in practice. All the ceremonies relating to birth, initiation, marriage, death and celebration of festivals centers around the Gurudwara
The Five Takhts (Panj Takht)
'Takht' which literally means a throne or seat of authority is a result of historical growth of Sikhism. There are five Takhts and these Takhts are the five Gurudwaras which have a very special significance for the Sikh community.
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