Everyone is Equal

If I had to summarise Sikhism in one word it would be “Equality”.

Guru Nanak created Sikhism and wanted everyone to be included regardless of age, gender or religion. He was born in the Punjab where the two major religions were Hinduism and Islam. He didn’t like the idea that in Hinduism there was 1) a caste system and 2) a bias towards women. This didn’t sit well with him, he believed that every human has been created by God, therefore everyone is equal to each other, just because you are a male born into a certain caste should not give you an elite status. Besides, different status’ create separation and this was the opposite of what Guru Nanak wanted to achieve. Women were unable to be pure because they menstruate and give birth to children, this was considered dirty. Guru Nanak quite rightly pointed out that these very women give birth to Kings of the land, surely they should be regarded in a better light?

Langar is the word used to describe the food that is served at a Gurdwara, it is always vegetarian. This is because when the religion began, everyone was able to join, Muslims did not eat pork and Hindus did not eat beef, therefore having a vegetarian meal ensured the meal was open to all people regardless of religious beliefs. Langar is always eaten with everyone sitting on the floor, this further emphasises the equality. By eating in this manner ensures that there is no superiority between each other.

A final example on equality within Sikhism comes from the names Singh and Kaur. All men had the surname Singh and all women had the surname Kaur. Guru Nanak believed that God is our mother and father. When a woman gets married to a man, she does not need to take his name, everyone is equal.

It has been proven many times that homosexuality is not a choice, it is something we are born with. Therefore if Sikhism accepts all beings, homosexuality must also be accepted. In my next post I will write about an open gay saint during the beginnings of Sikhism and how he was treated.

  • Ahuv

    Many people become so entangled with the exteriors of their religion: They think the liturgy or their way of dressing or the ability to blindly recite verses is the most important aspect. By focusing on this, they forget the core message, the beginnings and the main ideas such as Nanak’s emphasis on equality. With an understanding of this fundamental message, how can one continue to justify the inferior position of women, so called “castes” or the discrimination of gays?

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