Sikhism stresses belief in One God, for all humanity, who looks to actions rather than people’s religious labels. Guru Nanak, the founder, also taught the complete equality of men and women everywhere and the importance of service to others.
Nine other Gurus followed Guru . The tenth Guru, decreed that there would be no more living Gurus and that the Guru (sacred scriptures) should be read for future guidance. The Guru is, therefore, treated with great respect, both in the gurdwara and in the home.
Sikhs, like Hindus, believe in ‘samsara’, the cycle of rebirth or reincarnation, through which one strives to achieve union with God.
Sikhs are encouraged to be formally confirmed into their faith through an initiation ceremony known as Amrit. This was started by Guru who gave Sikhs a distinctive uniform – the five Ks. These are kesh (uncut hair), kangha (a comb), kirpan (a sword), kara (a wristband) and kachera (short trousers).
The gurdwara functions not only as a place of worship, but as a community centre, demonstrating Sikhs’ commitment to the poor. Belief in the equality of man and women is shown by the sharing of all responsibilities within the gurdwara, and by the shared meal (langar) which is open to people of all races and all creeds.