Sikhs and the Concept of God
29 SEP 2017
Sikhism is a religion native to Pakistan founded by the Guru Nanak and his followers in the 16th Century. Sikhism is a monotheistic religion that believes in an all-powerful creator God who protects followers of the religion. By worshiping God and following his will, Sikhs believe that they can lead a moral life and receive God's blessing.
God's nature is two-fold in the Sikh religion and the first part is transcendent. God exists outside of the material world and has no gender and no form. In the transcendent form, God exists outside of time and the cycle of death and rebirth that characterizes existence for followers of Sikhism. The Sikh God is beyond human comprehension, since in his transcendent form, God has no limits and cannot be understood by a mind grounded in the limits of the physical world.
Although the Sikh God is transcendent, he also has a very real presence within the world, known as his immanent form. God's immanent form manifests itself in his Word, which guides and sustains the universe. For this reason, Sikhs believe that God is close to them at all times and pervades every aspect of reality. Unlike his transcendent form, the immanent form is knowable, but only to individuals blessed by God.
One of the most important parts of the Sikh belief in God is his role as the creator of the universe and humanity. Sikhs believe that God created human beings and imbued them with the ability to know right and wrong. God also created the Earth for the enjoyment of human beings. Although God created the universe within his being, the universe is not God itself, and prior to the creation of a distinct universe, God was alone for eons.
Worship is the only way that Sikhs believe they can come to understand God and know his nature. Sikhs give God many names, such as Akal Purakh (the Eternal One) and Waheguru (the Wonderful Lord), in an attempt to define aspects of his being. Sikhs also believe that God is present in every individual's soul and by divine acts, such as helping other people, people can begin to understand God's presence within themselves. By chanting mantras and focusing on their meaning, Sikhs also believe that they can come to understand the immanent form of God's Word.