What Is Sikhism?
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||edHelper's suggested reading level:
||grades 4 to 6
||Flesch-Kincaid grade level:
||communing, disciple, exploiting, gurdwaras, horoscope, rabab, sikh, sikhs, sumptuous, accompany, luscious, spiritual, prayers, attain, meditate, religion
||Guru Nanak, In India, Ravi River, Guru Granth Sahib, Golden Temple
What Is Sikhism?
By Colleen Messina
1 Most world religions begin with a single teacher. Sikhism began with a man named Guru Nanak. A guru is another word for teacher. Guru Nanak loved God... and he loved to sing! Sikhism is unique because its followers sing all of their prayers.
2 Guru Nanak was born in 1469 in a small village in India called Talwandi. His father was a village official. In India long ago, many parents consulted an astrologer when their children were born. An astrologer thought that Nanak would be an important religious leader. According to stories, he was so amazed at Nanak's horoscope that he began to pray when he saw the baby.
3 As a boy, Nanak had regular chores like any other child. He herded the family's cattle. In school, he did well and learned many languages easily, including Persian and Arabic. His ability to talk in lots of languages helped him later. In his spare time, young Nanak liked to visit religious men who meditated in the woods close to the village. India had many wandering holy men at that time. Nanak heard many wonderful stories from these pilgrims.
4 Nanak's parents wanted him to be practical and have a family. They decided that he should get married when he was just 16. Many teenagers got married in 15th-century India. Nanak loved his wife and had two sons. He took a job as an accountant for a Muslim governor. Nanak got up early each morning to meditate and sing songs. His friend, Mardana, played a stringed instrument called a rabab to accompany Nanak's hymns. Soon, others joined them. They all also sang together at night. Then, Nanak's life changed because he took a swim.
5 Nanak went down to the river to take a bath. He jumped in, but he never came back to the surface. Mardana was afraid that Nanak had drowned! He looked and looked for his friend, but it was no use. Nanak had disappeared. No one found any traces of Nanak downstream, either. Everyone was sure Nanak was gone.
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