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Monotheistic religion founded by Guru Nanak Dev in the Punjab around 1600 CE and consolidated by the ten successive Sikh Gurus. Taking its name from the Sanskrit terms for ‘instruction’ and ‘disciple’, Sikhism has three main principles:

  • daily worship of God by repeating and meditating on His name
  • living honestly by diligently exercising one’s skills and talents
  • sharing what is earned.

The aim of life is to achieve spiritual union with God, who is timeless, shapeless and sightless, and thus salvation from reincarnation. The life of a householder is essential to this, with asceticism, pilgrimages, ritual and idol worship discouraged.

Sikhs are concentrated in the Punjab areas of Pakistan and India, with sizable communities in Europe, particularly the UK, Australia, North America, east Africa and increasingly in other parts of Asia.

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