SIKHISM

Worship, The Gurdwara, Beliefs & Sources of Authority

Worship, The Gurdwara, Beliefs & Sources of Authority

Sikhs make do without priests and any Sikh can lead a holy service in a Gurdwara. Services consist of prayers and readings from the Guru Granth Sahib. Although there is no priest, there is a Granthi who is charged with looking after the Gurdwara and reading from the Guru Granth Sahib. A Granthi is expected to be a good observant Sikh and is also responsible for organising services. Services in the Gurdwara always end with a meal which includes a sweet called Karah Parshad.

Religious studies

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The Gurdwara

Religious studiesThe Gurdwara is the Sikh place of worship. Although the Sikh flag flies outside, inside there are no icons, pictures or statues as the Sikh God is formless. There is also a complete absence of the ritual devices that many other religions have. The central object in each Gurdwara is a copy of the Guru Granth Sahib, and its importance lies not in its physical manifestation but in its contents.

Every Gurdwara has four doors each with its own title. These are Peace, Livelihood, Learning and Grace and the doors symbolise ‘welcome. Gurdwaras have a Langar, a canteen where simple vegetarian food is served to anyone, including non-Sikhs, for free.

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Central beliefs

The most important Sikh beliefs can be summarised thus:

– There is one God.

– God has no physical existence and no gender.

– All have access to God.

– All are equal before God.

– All should live an honest life and care for others.

Rituals on their own are worthless.

In summary, Sikhs believe the most important things in life are their relationships with God and with the community around them. Knowledge of God and good deeds are the key to a good life.

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