Q: How is Sikhism different from other religions?
A: Sikhism focuses on unity with God. Sikhism instructs to be one with God though meditation and simple, ethical and moral lifestyle. While some religions practice animal sacrifice, fasts, pilgrimage, omens and other rituals, Sikhism instructs that there is no need of such ritual because we can meet God with pure love towards Him.
Sikhism also instructs that one is responsible for his own actions. He cannot wash away his sins by just going to pilgrimages or taking a holy bath. Only God can forgive humans of their sins and meditation on God is the only way to receive God’s grace.
In Sikhism, ethics and religion go together. The inculcation of moral qualities and the practice of virtue in everyday life is a vital step towards spiritual development. Qualities like honesty, compassion, generosity, patience, humility etc. can be built up only by diligence and perseverance. Sikh Gurus showed how to live a family and social and still be close to God. Their lifestyle serves as an example to all Sikhs.
Sikhism is a modern, logical, and practical religion. It believes that normal family life is no barrier to salvation. That it is possible to live detached in the midst of worldly ills and temptations. A devotee must live in the world and yet keep his head above the usual tensions and turmoils.
Every belief in Sikhism has rational explanation. Sikhism is both modern and rational. It does not foster blind faith. Guru Nanak Dev Ji exposed the futility of meaningless ritual and formalism. He questioned the superstitious practices of his time and he brought about a revolution in the thinking of all people around him.
Sikhism rejects all distinctions of caste and class. It stands for the 'Fatherhood of God and the Brotherhood of man'. Sikhism believes in a casteless and equal society which guarantees equal rights to every man and woman. At a time when woman was regarded inferior to man, Guru Nanak Dev Ji placed woman on a high pedestal and said, "Why call her inferior, who gives birth to kings?"
In addition, Sikhism does not contradict with scientific facts. Sikh Gurus delivered vast knowledge about our Universe which was proved by science centuries later.
An important aspect of Sikhism is the belief in democracy. The welfare of man is best secured by his elected representatives. Under the Khalsa government, 5 individuals are elected as the head of the state and only unanimous decision by those 5 individuals shall materialize. Sikhism instructs never to do any injustice or apply force on anyone. However, if someone does injustice to you or someone, a Sikh should stand up and fight against the injustice and protect the oppressed.
Sikhism offers a lifestyle, social structure and path to meet God.