Religions of South Asia
Five Main Religions of South Asia
Hinduism
 Buddhism
 Jainism
 Islam---We studied Islam in depth in the
Middle East Unit, so we will not be learning
about this religion within this lesson.
 Sikhism

What Religions are found in India?
Hinduism: 81.3%
 Buddhism: 0.7%
 Islam: 12%
 Christianity: 2.3%
 Jainism: 0.5%
 Sikhism: 1.9%

CULTURE OF SOUTH ASIA
A culturally fragmented region
 Religious and linguistic diversity
 Religions

 Islam
is predominant in Pakistan
and Bangladesh (165 million in
India).
 Hinduism is predominant in India.
 Sikhism thrives in northern India.
 Buddhism is predominant in Sri
Lanka.
 Hinduism
emerged from the beliefs
and practices brought to India by
the Aryans. (6th century BC)
 Buddhism emerged during the
6th century BC;
made the state religion of India in
3rd century BC
 Islam swept through central India
from the 8th -10th centuries AD
RELIGIOUS CONTRASTS

ISLAM










Monotheistic
No idols
One sacred book
Uniform dogma - 5
pillars
Intolerant (of other
religions)
Eat beef/Sacrifice cows
Bury Dead
Social Equality (in
theory)
Theocratic society
HINDUISM









Polytheistic
Many idols
Various sacred
writings
Varying beliefs
Absorbed other
religions
Venerate cows
Burn dead (& alive)
Caste separation
“State” of secondary
importance
Hindu/Muslim-practices/perceptions
•Hindus tend to be
vegetarians (ahimsa and
reincarnation beliefs
foster this)
•Cows are sacred animals
•Believe in reincarnation
•Brahman, if it is God, is
an impersonal one
•Follow caste system – no
social or religious mobility
within one lifetime
•Formerly practiced sutee
•Muslims see Hindus as
polytheistic infidels not to be
tolerated
•Muslims eat meat (cows) –
not pork
•Muslims are strict
monotheists
•Muslims believe in a
personal God
•Muslims reject the concept
of castes – equality of
believers
•Reject reincarnation
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Similarities Between Hinduism and
Buddhism



Both religions believe in
the concept of karma
and reincarnation.
Both emphasize
compassion and nonviolence towards all
living beings.
Both believe in spiritual
practices like
meditation and
concentration to help
reach a certain state of
mind.


Both believe in
renunciation of
worldly life to enter
spiritual life. Both
consider desire as the
chief cause of
suffering.
Both believe that
liberation, nor rebirth
or heavenly life, is the
best solution to the
problem of suffering
and bondage.
Similarities Between Hinduism and
Buddhism
Both believe the goal of religion is to
attain enlightenment and be released from
the cycle of rebirth and death.
 This is not all the similarities, but a
starting point for your compare and
contrast essay!

Differences Between Hinduism and
Buddhism


Hinduism was not
founded by any
prophet. Buddhism
was founded by the
Buddha.
Hinduism believes in
the supremacy of the
Vedas and Caste
System. While
Buddhists reject the
Vedas and Caste
System.

Buddhism does not
believe in the
existence of souls
who come from
God. While
Hindus believe in
the existence of
Atman, which is
the individual soul
and Brahman, the
Supreme Creator.
Differences Between Hinduism and
Buddhism


Hinduism believes in
the trinity of Gods.
The Buddhist doe not
accept any Hindu god
either as an equal or
superior to the
Buddha.
The original followers
of Buddhism as taught
by Buddha do not
worship the images of
Buddha nor believe in
the Bodhisattvas.

Hinduism recognizes
four chief aims of life:
dharma, artha, kama,
and mosksha.
Buddhism considers
the world full of
suffering and
resolving it the chief
purpose of life
through dharma and
liberation/nirvana.
Differences Between Hinduism and
Buddhism

Hindus believe in
the four ashrams
or stages of life.
This is not followed
in Buddhism.
People can join the
Buddhist Order any
time depending on
their spiritual
preparedness.

Buddhists organize
themselves into a
monastic Order.
And the monks live
in groups.
Hinduism is
basically a religion
of the individual.
Differences Between Hinduism and
Buddhism
Buddhism believes
in the concept of
Bodhisattvas.
Hinduism does not.
 Buddhism
acknowledges the
existence of some
gods and
goddesses, but
they are not very
important.


Buddhists require
following the EightFold Path and
believing in the
Four Noble Truths
for liberation.
Hinduism offers
many choices to its
followers on the
path of selfrealization.
Differences Between Hinduism and
Buddhism

Although both
religions believe in
karma and rebirth,
they differ in the
manner in which
they operate and
the impact they
have on the
existence of
individual beings.

A God or gods
have been wholly
rejected by
Theravda
Buddhists. Their
only refuge are the
three jewels of the
Buddha, the
Dhamma, and the
Sangha.
Differences Between Hinduism and
Buddhism
The previous slides contain only some of
the differences, but not all.
 They are a starting point for your compare
and contrast essay.

Hinduism
HINDUISM
One
of the
world’s oldest
religions.
Not
just a
religion; also a
culture in itself.
Hinduism
Originated more than 3000 year ago.
 Do not have 1 specific founder.
 3rd most practiced religion in the world
with about 1 billion followers (1.4 million
in US)
 Originated in India
 Belief in a supreme spirit
 Oldest in the world but developed over the
centuries from many different texts.
 There is no hierarchy like Catholic

Religions
Hinduism
•
•
•
•
•
Grew out the Aryan
culture, the Vedas,
and the work of
Brahman priests
Everyone has a
moral duty: dharma
Good actions are
rewarded and bad
ones punished:
karma
People are
reincarnated and
either move up or
down on the caste
system based on
their karma
Ultimate goal is to
be reunited with
the universal spirit
after living as
Brahman priest
2500 – 250 BC
Hinduism




The religion of Hinduism developed and evolved over a long time in India,
giving rise to a variety of beliefs and practices and to other religions, including
Buddhism.
One of the oldest religions of humanity, founded in 1500 BCE or earlier.
It is the 3rd largest religion in the world.
No particular founder
Brahman
Background
The term Hindu originates from the
Sindhu, the ancient name for the Indus
river.
 Classical language=Sanskrit. It is the
language for Hinduism and is one of
India’s 22 official languages (less than
50000 fluent)
 The faiths traditions and beliefs developed
from the ancient Vedic tradition.

MAJOR TENETS OF HINDUISM
 Three
main ideas are important
in understanding the Hindu
religion and the caste system
 Reincarnation
 Karma
 Dharma
REINCARNATION
Every
living thing has a
soul.
When a living thing dies, its
soul moves into another
living creature.
Souls are reborn in a newly
created life.
What is reincarnation according to the
Hindus?



It is rebirth of the soul in various forms.
After the body dies, the soul may be reborn
as anything from a god to a flower to a
snake.
Each form in only temporary.
KARMA
 Every
action brings about certain
results.
 There is no escaping the
consequences of one’s actions.
 Good behavior is rewarded when
the soul is reborn into a higher
ranking living creature.
Karma
The cycle of reincarnation continues until
one reaches moksha. The cycle is
governed by the law of karma.
 Karma is derived from the Sanskrit word:
‘to do”.
 The law of karma states that every deedmental or physical-in this life affects a
person’s fate in a future life.
 Your present situation is the result of your
deeds in a past existence, says karmic
law.

Hinduism– Beliefs

How does a Hindu achieve moksha?

Karma: every deed in a person’s life affects a
person’s fate in a future life




Reincarnation: rebirth of the soul
Karma determines where you are reincarnated in the
caste system
Good Karma = higher in caste system
Bad Karma = lower in caste system
DHARMA
A
set of rules that must
be followed by all living
things if they wish to
work their way up the
ladder of reincarnation.
Each person’s dharma is
different.
Hinduism– Beliefs

How does a Hindu achieve moksha?

Dharma: duties and obligations of your caste

Doing your dharma will get you good karma
Hinduism– Beliefs
 Atman:
the essential self
Also, part of the Brahman
Nonviolence
Every living thing has an
atman
Unity of all Life---Atman

“The essential
self or the vital
essence in
human is the
same as that in
an ant, the same
as that in a gnat,
the same as that
in an
elephant…indeed
the same as that
in the whole
universe.”
Seeing
all life as
sacred – a part of a
“oneness”
Results in the life
principle of nonviolence
Supports the idea
of being in harmony
with nature
A principle also
found in Jainism
and Buddhism
Ahimsa
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Hinduism– Beliefs

Moksha: freeing your atman/soul from
your body


The ultimate goal of all Hindus
Your atman is reunited with the Brahman and you
will have true peace.
Brahman
Hinduism– Beliefs

How does a Hindu achieve moksha?

Caste system: strict social classes



Handed down from the Aryan varna
A Hindu must reach the top of the caste system in
order to achieve moksha
How do you get to the top?
Priests,
“brahman”
Traders,
merchants
Commoners,
peasants
Untouchables
CASTE SYSTEM
1) Brahmans, the priestly and learned class;
2) Kshatriyas, the warriors and rulers;
3) Vaisyas, farmers and merchants;
4) Sudras, peasants and laborers.
5) Panchamas, “the untouchables” who
performed the most menial tasks.
The Varna (Caste System)
4 different castes– Never change within a
lifetime.
1.
2.
3.
4.
Brahmin- priests and educated people
Kshatria- Rulers and Aristocrats
Vaisia- Landlords and Businessmen
Sundra- Peasants and working class
Untouchables (literally cannot be touched by the
other 4 castes)- Cleaning, sewage, etc.
Jat

The Varna is broken down further into
various Jat or Jati.



Must eat according to Caste
Must work according to Caste
Must marry within the Caste
Hinduism– Beliefs

Brahman: the single supreme force of the
universe



Only a few people can fully understand it
Many gods are worshiped as part of the Brahman
Nameless, formless, unlimited
 Names and faces given to certain aspects of the
Brahman:
Shiva,
destroyer
Brahma,
creator
Vishnu,
protector
2500 – 250 BC
What do Hindus believe?







1. Brahman -the eternal being - created and preserves
the world. Everything in the world is an aspect of
Brahman.
2. Atman - the soul – each person has one that is an
aspect of Brahman. Can’t ever be destroyed.
3. Devas – manifestations of Brahman that are active in
the world and who help to maintain order.
 3 of the most common—Brahma, Vishnu, & Siva
4. Reincarnation – being reborn into this world
lifetime after lifetime (Samsara)
5. Karma – the sum effect of a person’s actions, good
and bad, which helps shape future experiences
6. Moksha - goal of human existence, escape from the
cycle of reincarnation to join with the Brahman.
7. Dharma – set of spiritual duties and obligations that
must be fulfilled to achieve moksha.
Hinduism

Sacred texts
1.
2.
Vedas – scriptures/hymns that explain Hindu
teachings
Upanishads

Vedas
Help explain the ideas of the Vedas
Vedas and Roots of Hinduism
Unlike many religions, Hinduism bases its
principles on a collection of teachings
compiled over time.
 Earliest collection are the Vedas
Scriptures.
 Other notable scriptures are the
Bhagavad-Gita, the Brahma Sutras, and
the epics Ramayana and Mahabharata

2500 – 250 BC
What are the Sacred Texts?

Oldest, most authoritative:
 1. Four Vedas (“truth”) – sacred
hymns of praise


Contain knowledge revealed by Brahman
2. Upanishads – philosophical
reflections on the Vedas


Also revealed to, not written by, people
the Great Indian Epics (composed by
sages)


Ramayana
Mahabharata (includes BhagavadGita)

Both tell stories that reflect on what it
means to live according to Vedic teachings
THREE
BASIC PRACTICES
or worship –
corporate worship
not required – largely
individual practices
Cremation of the
dead
Regulations of the
caste system
Puja
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What are the religious
practices of Hinduism?





2500 – 250 BC
Vary greatly because worship can take place anywhere—usually a
temple or in the home.
Spiritual leaders are called gurus or sages.
Yoga-integrated physical and mental exercises. They teach people
to focus their minds and bodies which will aid their meditation in
order to attain moksha
Pilgrimage to Ganges (thought it flows through 2 devas so its water
is holy. Bathing in it will purify them and remove bad karma.
Ultimate goal of life – to release Atman and
reunite with the divine, becoming as one with
Brahman (Moksha)
Hindu and Diet

Many Hindus are vegetarian




Since the divine soul flows through all beings,
many devout Hindus support non-violence.
Some will not eat meat on important days
If meat is eaten, usually fish or chicken
Cows are Venerated (highly respected) at it is
illegal to slaughter a cow in most Indian states

Because they provided milk and helped plow fields.
They were caretakers
Who do Hindus worship? –
3 Most Important Devas
2500 – 250 BC
Brahma, the creator
Siva, the Destroyer
Vishnu, the Preserver
The Three Main Gods of Hinduism
Brahma: the creator
 Vishnu: the preserver
 Shiva: the destroyer
 Different sects worship different gods and
their families.
 Hindus believe in the unity of all life and
every person has an essential self or
atman: part of the universal soul.

Brahma: the creator
Vishnu: the preserver
Shiva: the destroyer
All these deities are but
Aspects of the
impersonal Brahman
Temples

Originally did not have temples, idols or
icons.

There are temples that exist today that
are usually dedicated to one deity.

Temples are often sites of pilgrimages.
Hindu Temple
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Festivals





Diwali, also known as the festival of
lights.
Ganesh Chaturthi, the festival celebrating
Lord Ganesha.
Maha Shivaratri, The night of Lord Shiva
when he drank Halahala to save gods and
demons from its effect.
Ramanavami, celebrates the birthday of Lord
Ram
Holi, The spring festival of colors and light.
Symbols

Aum- (Om) is the
most sacred symbol
of Hinduism. Most
mantras begin with
this sound. It
represents Brahman
(the universal spirit)

SwastikaRepresents the 4
Vedas
Hinduism – Map!
Hinduism in 1500 C.E.
Hinduism Today
AUM!
AUM!
AUM!
Hinduism located in India and SE Asia
Then and Now
Buddhism
Religions
Buddhism
Four Noble Truths
Noble Eight-fold Path
2500 – 250 BC
Buddhism
•Buddhism, which
teaches people that
they can escape the
suffering of the world
through the Buddhist
teachings, developed in
Northeast India in 520
BCE and spread to
other parts of Asia
•4th largest religion in
the world
BUDDHISM
Founded by: Siddhartha Gautama (563 - 483 B.C.)

Focuses on knowledge, especially
self-knowledge

Elimination of worldly desires,
determination not to hurt or kill
people or animals
Buddhism

Siddhartha Gautama, founder

He was a reformer who tried to limit the power
of the brahman, or priest, caste in India
2500 – 250 BC
Siddhartha Gautama (563-483 BCE)




Unlike Hinduism,
Buddhism can be traced
to one single founder,
Siddhartha Gautama
Prince of a small
kingdom; he lived a
sheltered life and
sought the answer to
ending suffering
After years of
meditation and
searching, he sat under
a Bodhi tree where he
became Enlightened
He transformed into the
Buddha-the Enlightened
One.
Siddhartha Gautama




Born in 560 BCE into
wealth
One day journeyed
beyond walls and saw
suffering.
He left his wife and
family and searched out
the cause of suffering.
After six years of
searching he found
enlightenment while
sitting under a sacred
tree.
Was Buddha a Hindu?
Yes: he thought of himself as a Hindu and
believed in reincarnation and karma.
 He did deny the existence of any gods and
thought that priests were unnecessary.
 People had to seek nirvana on their own.

Objected
to harsher features of
Hinduism such as the caste
system
BUDDHISM
Focuses
on knowledge,
especially self-knowledge
Enlightenment
ends the cycle
of reincarnation
Elimination
of worldly desires,
determination not to hurt or kill
people or animals
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2500 – 250 BC
The Teachings of Buddhism
What is the fundamental cause of all suffering?
Desire!

Therefore, extinguish the self, don’t obsess about
oneself. Give up all materials and possessions of the
world.
Buddhism

The Four Noble Truths
1.
2.
3.
Suffering is universal
The cause of suffering is want/desire
The only way to end suffering is to end desire
•
4.
Nirvana: condition of wanting nothing
The way to achieve nirvana is to follow the
Eightfold Path
•
Compassion for all creatures, kindness, truthfulness,
meditation
FOUR NOBLE TRUTHS
 Sorrow
and suffering are part of
all life.
 People suffer because they desire
things they cannot have.
 The way to escape suffering is to
end desire.
 To end desire, follow the “middle
path.”
Eightfold Path
2500 – 250 BC
Right Understanding
Right Speech
Right Intention
Right Action
Right Livelihood
Right Effort
Right Concentration
Right Mindfulness
EIGHTFOLD PATH TO
THE MIDDLE WAY
 Right understanding
 Right purpose
 Right speech
 Right conduct
 Right means of earning a living
 Right effort
 Right awareness
 Right meditation
2500 – 250 BC
Eightfold Path
Nirvana
 Nirvana is a state of perfect peace in which the soul would
be free from suffering forever. It would escape from the
cycle of rebirth.
If nirvana is not achieved, then the soul would be reborn to
live through the cycle of suffering again.
Spiritual leaders are called monks or lamas.
Worship takes place in a temple or meditation hall.
Buddhism– Beliefs

Ultimate goal of Buddhism:


End suffering by achieving nirvana.
Once you are in the condition of wanting
nothing, you will be Enlightened, or
understand the universe and cause of human
suffering
Could you do it?
No drinking or mind-altering substances.
 No eating animals (vegetarian)
 No violence.
 No doing harm to any living creature,
verbally or physically.
 Constant meditation
 Giving up material possessions

Sacred Texts
Pali Canon
 Dhammapada
 Both record the words of the Buddha

Spread of Buddhism
People began carrying the message of
Buddhism throughout Asia
 Monasteries and convents provided a
place where people could devote
themselves to the Eightfold Path.
 Two sects developed



Theravada– Did not worship anyone
Mahayana– Worshiped Buddha and other enlightened
ones as god
Buddhism

Two main Buddhists sects have emerged
1.
2.
Theravada: monastic life to reach nirvana,
Buddha is a great teacher
Mahayana: worship Buddha as a god, more
popular
2500 – 250 BC
Types of Buddhism

Therevada
Buddhism

Mahayana
Buddhism

Tibetan
Buddhism
2500 – 250 BC
Theravada Buddhism






The oldest school of Buddhism.
Found in southern Asia.
The monastic life is the best way to achieve nirvana.
Focus on wisdom and meditation.
Goal is to become a “Buddha,” or “Enlightened One.”
Over 100,000,000 followers today.
Mahayana Buddhism





2500 – 250 BC
Founded in northern Asia (China, Japan).
Buddhism “for the masses.”
One doesn’t need to be a monk or nun to reach nirvana;
anyone can do it with some help.
Seek guidance from Boddhisatvas, wise beings, people
who have found enlightenment but have stayed on
earth to help others find their way.
Goal: Not just individual escape from the wheel, but
the salvation of all humanity through self-sacrifice of
those who are already enlightened.d few.
2500 – 250 BC
Tibetan Buddhism
 Developed in Tibet in the 7c CE.
 A mix of Theravada and Mahayana.
 Boddhisatvas include Lamas, like
the Dalai Lama.
Buddhism – Map!
Buddhism in 1500 C.E.
Buddhism Today
Buddhism located in Southeast and East Asia (China) Then and Now
Buddhism– Beliefs

Similarities with Hinduism
1. Belief in reincarnation
2. Belief in nonviolence

Differences with Hinduism
1.
2.
3.
Buddhists deny the existence of gods
Priests are not necessary, you must seek nirvana
on your own
Buddhists reject the caste system
Buddhism Vs. Hinduism

Siddhartha
believed himself
to be a Hindu

Similarities



Nevertheless



Rejected the caste
system
God did not exist
Priest were not
necessary–
Individual journey


Reincarnation
Karma
Dharma
Nirvana (Moksha)
self-enlightenment
Jainism
THE ORIGINS OF JAINISM

1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
Vardhamana (“He who
augments”):
Born c. 599 BCE in Patna, city on
the Ganges River in
northeastern India, to kşatriya
family
Possibly elder contemporary of
the Buddha Şakyamuni
Became renunciant at age 30
After 13 years of severe
asceticism, achieved kevalajñana (“unique knowledge,”
omniscience)
Hailed as Jina (“victor”) and
Mahāvīra (“Great Hero”)
Attracted disciples, whom he
accepted from both genders and
all classes
Starved himself to death at 72 in
order to obtain mokşa
85
Jainism
Jainism
 Based on Hinduism
 3 Jewels– Right Faith, Right
Knowledge and Right Conduct
 Mahivira was the founder
 Emphasized Ahimsa (non-violence)


Strict vegetarians
Swept ground to avoid killing
Reincarnation
 Objective– Rid jiva (soul) of all Kharma
 Gods do not help (religion of self-help)

MAHĀVĪRA



1.
2.
3.

1.
2.
All matter (animal, vegetable,
mineral) is alive (hylozoism)
The cosmos proceeds in a series of
ascending and declining phases,
without creation or intervention by
deities
The self (jīva):
Completely individual
Eternal
Encumbered by karma, thus
preventing its ascent to realms of
bliss after death (mokşa)
Path to mokşa:
Ahimsā (nonviolence) – to purify
one’s karma for better rebirth
Tapas (“heat,” asceticism) – to
eliminate karmic encumbrances
87
Jainism Continued

5 Mahavratas
Non Violence
 Non-Attachment
 Sexual Restraint
 Not Lying
 Not Stealing
Agamas– Sacred texts (had
to be memorized due to nonattachment)
2 Sects-- the Digambara
(meaning "sky clad") sect
and the Svetambara
(meaning "white clad") sect
Nuns and Monks are spiritual
leaders




JAINA ETHICS



1.
2.
3.
4.
5.

Primary ethical obligation for all
Jainas (lay or monastic): ahimsā
Commitment to nonviolence in
one’s work, as well as social roots
of Jaina movement, account for
predominance of Jainas in
mercantile profession
Laypersons take 5 vows:
To avoid violence
To avoid lying
To avoid theft
To avoid illicit sex
To avoid material attachments
Monastics follow stricter code,
involving meditation, fasting,
voluntary poverty, etc.
89
JAINA RITUAL LIFE


1.
2.
3.
4.

In theory, mokşa attainable only
through conscientious individual
effort, without need for deities,
priests, or sacrifices
In practice, many aspects of Hindu
tradition are assimilated to Jaina
spirituality:
Veneration of images, including
those of explicitly Hindu deities
Construction of temples
Conceptualization of Brahman as
totality of liberated jivas
Prayer to Tirthankaras
Theism and devotionalism
rationalized as participation in the
karmic merit (punya) of the 90
Tirthankaras
Sikhism
Historical Origins
Sikhism
CHINA
• 22 million Sikhs
worldwide
• 20 million Sikhs in India
IRAN
AFGHANISTAN
PAKISTAN
INDIA
INDIA
Guru Nana
•Founded Sikhism
•Born in 1469
•10 Gurus provided
spiritual guidance
•Guru Nanak founded
Sikhism based on
equality and justice for
all
Sikhism
Sikhism
 1500 CE
 Nanak was the founder
 One God- Waheguru
 Teachings of 10 Sikh gurus
 Guru Granth Sahib (the holy scripture)
 Punjab – almost exclusively
 Attention on god rather than self
 Karma
 Become one with god by serving others
Beliefs of the Sikhs






One god/creator
 All humans created equal
Goal is to be one with god
Human life a precious blessing
All carry a spark of divine light: consequently
no race, pigmentation, gender, is intrinsically
superior to others
Defenders of social and spiritual justice,
Truth, fearless,non-hateful spirit are important
in attaining salvation
Beliefs of the Sikhs


Freedom of speech, religion
Equal rights in all walks of life for all persons of
all faiths and external looks
 Note that many countries still ask require
religion, race, or nationality on employment
applications

Compensation based on merit rather than
outward differences
Justice and liberty for all
Origin of universe is from one light source
 Life is by god’s evolution
 There are many planets, solar systems and
galaxies



Elsewhere, people discriminate based on looks
Values & Practices
Seva: Daily selfless service to humanity
Vand Chakna: sharing with others
Langar: Community Kitchen,
 An expression of service to community
Kirat Kamaiyee: Honest Labor
 Honest earnings by hard work
 Do not become burden on the
society
Daily Prayers & Meditation
 No passive mediation
• Maintain channel of knowledge by
actively engaging in the society.
• Prevent stagnation of social and
intellectual skills
Introspection connect now, don’t wait for later
Bhai Kanyia
pioneer of the Red Cross &
humanitarian aide organizations
Respect for All




Protectors of social and spiritual justice for ALL
Believers of non-violence
Equality of all religions
 Give relevance to god rather than religion
 Believers of interfaith diversity
Equality of persons
 Social, spiritual, political rights for all women
Sikhism

3 foci




Keep god in mind at all times
Earn an honest living
Give help to others
5 Vices





Lust
Covetousness and greed
Attachment to things of this world
Anger
Pride
The Five K’s
•
•
Every man and woman who belongs to the
Khalsa must wear five symbols which
show that they are Sikhs.
They are usually called the Five K’s
because in Punjabi their names all begin
with the letter ‘K’.
(1) Kesh


Kesh is hair. Sikhs
promise not to cut
their hair but let it
grow as a symbol of
their faith. Because
during their
lifetimes it will get
very long they wear
turbans to keep it
tidy.
They believe that
this demonstrates
their obedience to
God.
A Sikh wearing a Turban
(2) Kangha

The Kangha is a
small wooden
comb. It keeps the
hair fixed in place,
and is a symbol of
cleanliness.
Combing their hair
reminds Sikhs that
their lives should
be tidy and
organised. Take
note year 6!
The Kangha
(3) The Kara


The kara is a steel
bangle worn on the
arm. It is a closed circle
with no beginning and
no end...as with God
there is no beginning
and no end.
It is a reminder to
behave well, keep faith
and restrain from wrong
doing. Wearing it will
remind a Sikh of his
duties.
The Kara
The Last two are a reminder that Sikhs are
warriors and always fight for what is right!
The last two K’s are:
1.
2.
The Kachera
The Kirpan
(4) The Kachera


These are short
trousers worn as
underwear. They were
more practical than
the long, loose clothes
most people in India
wore at the time of
Guru Gobind Singh.
The Guru said they
were a symbol that
Sikhs were leaving old
ideas behind,
following new better
ones.
The Kachera
(5) The Kirpan


The warriors sword.
These days a very
tiny one is worn as
a symbol of dignity
and self respect.
It demonstrates
power and reminds
Sikhs that they
must fight a
spiritual battle,
defend the weak
and oppressed, and
uphold the truth.
The Kirpan
Sikh Turbans






Mideast headcoverings different
99% of people with turbans in US are
Sikhs, not Muslims or Hindus
Covers long, uncut hair
Approx. 15 feet of cloth wrapped
neatly around the head every time it is
put on
Symbolizes discipline, integrity,
humility, and spirituality
Religious requirement - must be worn
at all times in public
Importance of Identity





Sikhs feel severely humiliated if asked to
remove their turban in public, as this breaks a
sacred covenant with god and exposes an
intimate part of the body
It is very insulting and disrespectful to a Sikh
to remove his or her turban
Turbans are a mandatory part of Sikh faith
A turban is not a hat. It cannot be casually
taken on and off. It must be carefully retied
each time it is removed
Treat the turban with respect
Golden Temple
Golden Temple, Amritsar
Harmandir Sahib—1588
Fifth Guru
Sentiment of Sikhs
Symbol of strength &
endurance
Survived tyrannical raids
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Five World Religions, 1