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ABS920 Buddhism and Interreligious Understanding

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During discussion you will be encouraged to discuss topics. In collaboration with the students, each group will be assigned a question and a dilemma relating to the interreligious dialogue. The report should be delivered after one week and should address: 



In the course of this research paper, the dilemma regarding basic faith of the Hindus and the Sikhs have been presented. The Hindu pressure groups have perceived that Sikhs originated by the will of the Hindus and they demand the Sikhs to accept this fact by will or by force. There is also bifurcation of faith in that Hindus believe that there is divergence of the Hindu faith among various godheads and on the contrary, the principal focus of the Sikhs is on a single god head who is considered as the singular and the ulterior supreme entity. In the last part, the current implications of the dilemma and assorted conflict have been presented.

Difference between Hinduism and Sikhism

In spite of the fact that the place or origination of both religions Hinduism and Sikhism is different, there are ample distinctions between the ways they have denominated and gathered the values and religious cult. Hinduism comprises of a constricted set of religious belief that should be followed ardently by the believers of Hinduism together with some rituals as well as traditions that are permanent throughout the life of a Hindu. Among the primary traditions and customs, there are most poignant rituals like worshipping, conception of reincarnation, and lastly there is a strong perception of final divine unity that specs that the true self of a being is that atman that unites with the brahma after death. The Hindu rituals can also include the attainment of enlightenment (known as moksha in Vedic terms) that is only attainable by crucial practices like as Yoga. This enlightenment gives the person, the essential piety that enables them to worship the Hindu gods and goddesses.

In Sikhism there is however the lack of absolute stringency. The exponential founder of Sikh religion, Guru Nanak Ji advocated that there are multi-fold path that can be followed to draw a devotee towards god. However, the major area where the religious belief of the Sikhs differ from that of Hindus is that the Sikhs unlike the Hindus believe in uniqueness of god and the most amplified and exhibited way through which individuals can embrace the benevolence of god is meditation. That is why, it is seen that Hindu devotees decentralise their faith by devoting towards several god heads like Kali, Durga, Shiva and so on. On the contrary, Guru Nanak JI have professed that God is one and absolutely supreme.

The religious path that is followed by the Sikhs is that which is described in the Guru Granth Sahib that is a composure of the writings and the speeches of Guru Nanak Ji. This is the path that the Sikhs believe to have been provided by god to create closeness with him. The scriptures of Hinduism are wholly variable. There are 4 Vedas for the Hindus that have been composed between 1200BCE to 100CE. Another important aspect of Sikhism is that they bow down at the Gurdwaras to demonstrate their reverence not towards the founder of their religion or their religious guide, rather to exhibit their respect towards the supreme god head. The teachings of Guru Nanak Ji demonstrates that the Sikhs do not need to glorify the spets that have consolidated their religion. Rather they should pray to praise the goodness of the supreme god.

There are deviations in the day-to-day practices of the followers of the two religions. On one hand the Hindus who follow their religion rigidly are absolutely refrained from consuming eat. On the contrary, the Sikhs do have the consolidations like imposition of dietary strictures on the followers. However, there is the presence of a sect among the Sikhs that abominates the consumption of meat. However, in contrast, Guru Nanak Ji never gave any such verdict. Rather he left this topic absolutely on the personal discretion of the followers.

Owing to the fact that the Hindus follow this policy of idolising their religious preachers, there is a trait of appraising the religious gurus of the Hindus and that is why there is presence of god like saints who share the same god like status like Baba Lokenath, Ramakrishna and others. Evidently, Sikhism never advocates that the religious preachers or the philosophical leaders should be praised or poised. There is ample difference between the caste systems that is present among the communities of the followers of the two religions. Different castes in the Hindu religious belief have level of difference that they get in the society. In sharp contrast Sikhism vehemently despises this fact. Even during the emergence of the religion when there was the domination of casteism among the Hindus, Sikhism showed the path of equality among the members of religion. This is one reason because of which the contemporary Hindu rajas became rebellious towards emerging Sikhism.  Sikhism religiously promotes equality irrespective of caste, creed, or ethnicity.

The Historical Tussle

The zest for establishment of a Sikh kingdom around a Hindu territory led to the tussle between the two sects originally. Sikhism emerged around a time when there was a large complication in the Hindu and the Muslim society. At the time of the Tenth Sikh Guru, Guru Gobind Singh Ji, the tussle reached extreme. Raja of the Bilaspur region, could feel that emerging popularity of the tenth guru and feared that his kingdom could be at stake if the Sikh Guru continued his popular presence. This brought the Raja finally in to a battle with the Sikh Guru in which Gobind Singh Ji easily won over the confronting lot. Latter, the other Hindu rajas united with Mughal emperor Aurangzeb engaged in a combined battle with the Sikhs and almost drove away the entire Sikh sect from the domain of the Anandpur Sahib. Latter after Aurangzeb’s demise, the Hindu rajas realised that they did not have the accumulative force that could defeat the Sikh army. Hence they gradually entered in terms of peace with the Sikh Gurus and the Sikh sect.

Significance in the interreligious scope 

Brahmanism have always ben fearful of the Sikh Community faith. The main dilemma between the Hindus and Sikhs is regarding the fact whether Sikhism is a fragmental community of the Hindus or not. Other than that there is absolute difference among the religious cult that the two religious sects follow. Sikhism is highly liberal and embraces all forms of people. Whereas, Hinduism is more conservative and constricted in terms of social acceptance. However, this dilemma is being politically coloured and Sikh views are constantly attempted to be intimidated. In the days of expansion of Brahmanism and its domination, the Sikh Gurus made a proclamation that they did not support segmentation and vehemently supported equality among all forms of humanity.

The Sikhs also rejected the caste practices as well as holy thread associated with the cow. Embracement of Sikhism implied in those days relief from the exploitation of the Brahmin culture. Although the fundamentalists of the Hindu culture have a long drawn legacy of destroying the Sikh faith for centuries, the latest attacks of Hindus on the Sikhs can be traced back to 1993. The Liberation Movement of the Sikhs have been crushed severely. Until 2000, the Hindu political domination continued over the Sikhs. The Sikhs are being continually dominated and not allowed to practice their faith properly. In case if the Sikhs resign their originality and true decadency and accept the theories of The Hinduism regarding the descent of Sikhism, they can enjoy a more relaxed belonging in the Indian terrain.  

Personal interpretation related to the dilemma 

There are ten prominent ways in which the Sikh faith varies from the Hindus in the current context.


Sikhism despises idolatry and also clergy-ship. The concept of one god is prevalent among the Sikhs. The divine head of the Sikhs all around the world is Waheguru, the godhead who enlightens all people. Whereas it is evident that in Hinduism there is a subtle hierarchy among the gods and goddesses. 33 million gods and goddesses are prevalent in the Hindu mythology that includes plants, animals as well as mineral spirits.

Basic Tenets

There are five essential beliefs of the Sikhs. These are as follows:

  • 1 primary creative source
  • 10 historical Gurus
  • The followership of Guru Granth
  • The teachings provided by the 10 gurus
  • The tenfold path of the Guru Gobind Singh

The Sikh Faiths are dependent on the initiates that they wear on the body. These are Kes and Kesi, Kara, Kanga, Kachhera and the Kirpan.

On the contrary, the religious tenets of Hinduism includes:

  • Caste
  • Idolatry
  • Puja
  • Dharma
  • Karma
  • Moksha
  • Samarsha and so on.

The divisions in the prayers of the Sikhs and Hindus are also evident. The Sikhs generally begin their day with recitation and analogously pray in the evening and during their bedtime. Whereas, there are diverse rituals for Hindu worship. Only the high class Brahmin priests have the right to devote to the deities.

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