Sikh is a Punjabi word meaning disciple. Sikhism arose in the Punjab region of the Indian subcontinent, an area which today straddles the border of Pakistan and India. Growing out of a diverse religious context, including the sant tradition and the Bhakti reform movement, Sikhism is often regarded as the fifth largest religion in the world, with approximately 25 million Sikhs worldwide. Sikhism was founded by Nanak (born around 1469). Though at times considered a Hindu sect, the majority of Sikhs and scholars, while acknowledging the Hindu roots, view Sikhism as a separate independent religious system.
Sikhism espouses a form of monotheism while rejecting the dualism often found in Hindu thought. However, pantheistic and monistic elements are retained. The soul goes through cycles of births and deaths before it reaches human form, with the goal of life to live virtuously so the soul may merge with god. This emphasis on a virtuous life gives Sikhism elements of a...
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