Sikhism - basics: by Kiran Parikh (email sent to the students before their visit to a Sikh Gurudwara on 10/24/2010) Jay shree Krishna, Everybody. We should know at least basics about Gurudwar and Sikhism before our visit. Gurudwar ( Gateway to Guru's house ). 1. Sikhism is a 500- year -old monotheistic religion founded by GURU NANAK in the 15 th century in Punjab, India ( modern day Pakistan ). 2. A Sikh believes that all creation is an extension of WaheGuru ( GOD ) and so every human being has the spark of divine within. 3. Main Prophets: Ten consecutive Gurus ( Divine Masters ), GURU NANAK founded the faith and Guru Govind Singh was the last Guru. 4. Main scripture: Shri Guru Granth Sahib. Language - Punjabi ( Gurumukhi ) and other languages like Hindi, Sanskrit, Persian, Awadhi and others. Its a large collection of hymns of Gurus and Hindu Pantheon. 5. How to greet each other-- Join palms and greet " Sat Shri Akal " ( GOD is supreme Truth and Timeless ).WaheGuru Ji Ka Khalsa ( Khalsa, the initiated belong to GOD ). WaheGuru Ji Ki Fateh ( victory belongs to GOD ). 6. Sikhism is a family oriented religion. Duty to family foremost and then community service ( sewa ). 7. GOD or Ultimate Truth---God transcends all descriptions and can not be captured in words or any form. God has no physical form or gender. WaheGuru, the Wonderful God is the name for God used by the Sikhs. 8. Grace of Guru enables one to establish an individual connection with God. 9. Cover head to go in front of Guru Granth Sahib., make an offering, bow, sit on the carpet on either side of the hall. Singers of devotional music(Raagis) sing sacred hymns. Guru Granth Sahib is covered with colorful silk scarves, reposes on a higher pulpit in the middle of the hall. Attendance always stands behind and the minister (granthi ) explains the hymns. Hukamnama--The order of the day is read from the holy book. 10. Pudding prashad made of flour,sugar and butter is offered to the congregation. After the program vegetarian food is served. 11. Articles of Faith---- A steel bracelet ( kara ), unshorn hair to respect the way God created human being, a comb ( kangi ), a small dagger for defense and justice and a pair of shorts. 12. Holidays---none. Sikhs believe every day is Gods creation and so no particular day is holier than the other. However Guru birthdays, martyrdoms and Vaishakhi, the day khalsa was ordained are celebrated and/or commemorated. 13. Main site of Pilgrimage: The Golden Temple of Amritsar in Punjab, India. Lots other to know about this great religion, but for our first visit, I think this is enough.