Founders of Faith
For Sikhs the Ten Gurus are the foundation of Sikhism and the main sources of Sikh inspiration. The Gurus are considered by Sikhs to be spiritually perfect and morally correct.
Sikhism began with the teachings of Guru Nanak Dev Ji (1469-1539), who came from Talwandi, near Lahore (now Pakistan). Nanak’s teachings were composed in the context of, but distinguished from, the Hinduism and Islam of his day.
Guru Nanak, also known as the First Great Master, emphasised meditation on the Word of God (Naam Japna) and taught that all human beings were equal, regardless of caste or creed. As well as preaching against prejudice and unjust discrimination, he put his words into action by starting the institution of the langar, where people sit together to eat without any distinction.
He was followed by nine further Great Masters:
– Guru Angad (1504-1552)
– Guru Amar Das (1479-1574)
– Guru Ram Das (1534-1581)
– Guru Arjan (1563-1606)
– Guru Hargobind (1595-1644)
– Guru Har Rai (1630-1661)
– Guru Harkrishnan (1656-1664)
– Guru Tegh Bahadur (1621-1675)
– The final human Guru, Guru Gobind Rai (1666-1708) formed the Khalsa and was renamed Guru Gobind Singh Ji. Sikhs today continue to follow his example in joining the Khalsa.
The final Guru is the holy text of the Guru Granth Sahib Ji itself (see ‘The Scriptures and Authority’ above).