Last updated: December 21, 2023

What Does Sikhism Mean?

Sikhism is a religion concentrated in the Punjab province of India that has more than 20 million followers worldwide. It shares some principles with other Indian religions, particularly Hinduism, but also has some key differences.

Founded in the 16th century by Guru Nanak, Sikhism is based on the guru's teachings and those of the nine gurus who came after him. Sikhism is a monotheistic religion and emphasizes good deeds rather than rituals.


Yogapedia Explains Sikhism

Sikhs believe in the cycle of birth, life, death and rebirth, as well as the concept of karma, in which the quality of a person's life is affected by how he/she behaved in his/her previous life. To escape this reincarnation cycle, the Sikh must become one with God and reach a state of liberation known as mukti, which corresponds to the Hindu state of moksha.

Other beliefs of Sikhism include:

  • God has no form or gender.
  • All believers are equal before God.
  • All believers have direct access to God.
  • Salvation is the result of the Sikh's actions.
  • God is inside every person, good or bad.
  • An ordinary life is the way to God, rather than the life of a hermit.

Traditionally, yoga has not been an accepted practice in Sikhism, and there is a strongly-held belief among some mainstream Sikhs that yoga is incompatible with their religion. However, there are those who cite "Gurbani" (Sikhism's holy texts) to support yoga as an accepted practice, specifically yoga's goal of union with the Divine. In fact, the evolution of Sikhism was influenced by the Bhakti yoga movement.

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