Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Religion Awesomeness: Sikhism

I'm fascinated with religions of the world. They provide some of the most in-depth glances into the human condition. They are filled with magic, conflict, evil, murder, hope, and mysticism: all components that make up a good story. There's no getting around it. That's just the way it is. You don't have to believe in a religion to find it interesting.

From time to time, I'll post about certain religions that have caught my attention. In my writing, I take elements of religion and incorporate them into my stories to add a sliver of reality while maintaining the integrity of the more fantastic elements.

So, for today's post: Sikhism.

The Khanda is the Sikh universal symbol.

Sikhism originated in India roughly 500 years ago. For a religion, it's a youngster. In that short amount of time, however, it has become the fifth largest religion in the world. With over 20 million Sikhs worldwide, it's a powerhouse. That's a boatload of people all focusing their faith on the same set of standards and beliefs. (See how this relates to my Novel Concept in my previous post on faith.)

Without going into too much detail, Sikhism is a monotheistic religion that holds everyone as equals. Also, it's a religion that teaches religious freedom. Everyone is free to find their own path to God.

The Sikh Kirpan is of particular interest to me.

Sikh Kirpan

The Kirpan is usually a hooked blade ranging in 5 inches to 3 feet in length. It is one of the five articles of faith that baptised Sikhs are supposed to have on them at all times. The Kirpan is special because of what it symbolizes: readiness to protect the weak and defend against injustice. It's a tangible representation of the Sikh's warrior spirit. Unless the Kirpan is being used to help others, it's to remain sheathed.

I've enjoyed learning about this religion so much that the Kirpan and other references have found their way into a novel I'm working on.There are many more inspiring elements to this religion and its system of beliefs that I can't possibly do it justice in a blog post.

Are there any religions or specific religious beliefs that you have found fascinating? Please leave a comment and let me know. 

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