Sikhism – The History
The history of Sikhism begins with Nanak, a son of the ruler/warrior caste, who lived from 1469-1538 and was born in northern India. The mystic branches, Bhakti Hindu and Sufi Islamic, "holy" men influenced him. Guru Nanak Dev believed in a supreme being and determined that all religions used different names for the same deity, which he called "Sat Nam," (True Name). It appears that Nanak wanted to blend Hinduism and Islam, (Sikh is Hindu for disciple). Although many similarities can be seen between Sikhism, Hinduism, and Sufism (a branch of Islam), the typical response to claims of a connection are met with an adamant position for Sikhism as a direct revelation from God.
The word Guru is combination of two small words Gu and Ru. Gu means Darkness and Ru means Light. Sikhs say guru means "the Light that dispels darkness," but since "darkness" comes first it seems more like, "the darkness that parades as light."
Sikhism – Beliefs
The basic beliefs of Sikhism are:
God is said to be self-created. This is a self-defeating option, since something that doesn't exist cannot create itself. Sikhs are taught by "becoming the image of the Lord." This means that there remains no difference between God and that individual, such as a drop of water merges in the ocean.
Salvation is attained by baptism, a life of honesty, meditation on God, having faith, reciting the name of God, avoiding getting caught up in worldly distractions, and remembering God in every moment possible. It is said that salvation and spirituality comes to those not affected by happiness, pain, pride, greed, and emotional attachment, who treats poverty and riches the same, do not react to pain or pleasure, treats friends and enemies alike, and recites the name of God at all times.
Sikh Baptism (Amrit, or Khande Ki Pohul) is performed by drinking holy water which is prepared while reciting hymns. Once baptism is taken, the devotee is prohibited from hair trimming, adultery, meat eating, smoking, drinking, and drugs.
Prayer is performed three times a day, and the seven prayers are prescribed word-for-word for each part of the day.
All other Scripture (than the Sikh Shri Guru Granth) is faulty. Any Granth translated out of the original is not trustworthy.
Sikhs reject that Jesus is God and teach that human errors and misinterpretations of the Bible are what led to the belief in a Trinity of persons in the one Essence of God. "God is neither born and nor does He die" reads similarly to the Islamic "God is not begotten, neither does He beget." Consider that created people cannot really conceptualize the existence of something that is not created; neither can those with a dead spirit accurately conceive of the true spiritual realm.
Sikhs believe in reincarnation (samsara), and that life destinies are determined by the accumulation of one's good and bad deeds (karma), much like Hinduism.
Sikhs, as Islamists, are doctrinally monotheistic, but some Sikhs elevate the founder of Sikhism to the level of a god. Sikhs see the concept of a Trinity as either tritheism (three separate gods at the same time) or modalism (one god living in three modes, one at a time).