My Thoughts Regarding our Religion
At times, I have preferred to go with the prevailing wind and be critical about my own religion, pointing out common flaws like apostasy, cultism, favoritism, bias, etc. But today I am standing back and looking at the larger picture, the brighter side of things as it were, and I want to put down a few reasons why I feel Sikhism stands out as a unique and powerful path in today's world.
2) The message of its founder was purely universal in nature and is applicable to the entire humanity. It didn't denounce any other existing religion but instead gave birth to a new cosmopolitan ideology.
3) The Siri Guru Granth Sahib stands not simply as a scripture. It is the embodiment of the Shabd Guru. It speaks not to the head but to the soul.
4) It gives full respect to the Doctrine of predestination, but also to one's calling in life, according to which work is considered sacred, but it never equates self-worth with net-worth as it gives emphasis on spiritual sovereignty and not the accumulation of wealth.
5) It provides perfect harmony between work and worship and encourages its followers to live a householder's life with a practical, dynamic balance between these two.
6) It provides seekers with the technology to live spiritually in the world but not of it.
7) It provides guidelines to experience nobility and self-mastery at the same time by the example of its 10th Guru.
8) It never claims to be the result or the source/parent of any other religion. It is clear about its origin and independent identity.
9) It does not, in any way, declare non-Sikhs as infidels.
10) It is not at all proselytizing in nature and opposes forced and politically-motivated conversions.
11) It is absolutely egalitarian in nature as it opposes the caste system that results in discrimination and is one of the reasons behind social stratification.
12) It doesn't encourage nudity or carnality for realization of GOD.
13) No male child or adolescent is compelled to go through the painful process of circumcision.
14) No devotee has to go through the process of cutting, shaving or uprooting their hairs in order to prove renunciation or commitment.
15) It encourages its followers to have a family life and not escape from worldly responsibilities in the name of spirituality.
16) Bride capturing, stealing or forceful seduction into marriage is not permitted. This is commonly known as "Asura", "Rakshasa" and "Paisacha" form of marriage. Neither a bride-price nor a dowry is ever required for marriage.
17) The dead are gracefully cremated and their earthly bodies are not left to rot.
18) No offender of the code of conduct is sent to a place like the "tower of silence" but are allowed to state a reason for the offence and are allowed back by small remuneration and performance of community service.
19) It lays emphasis on forgiveness and embodies the true spirit of non-violence, understanding that it is a position of strength, not weakness and that force may be used only when all other means have failed. Sikhs always stand in defense of other’s rights to live and worship as they please.
20) All its sacred shrines are open to the entire humanity irrespective of caste, creed, color, race, religion, sex or nationality.