Sikhism introduction | World History | Khan Academy


– [Instructor] Sikhism comes
into being in northern India in a time when the Mughals
are coming into power. What we see in this blue area is what the first Mughal emperor, Babur, is able to put under his control, which includes the region of Punjab, which is where Sikhism begins
and thrives to this day. We see later emperors like
Akbar continuing to expand the domain of the Mughal
emperor with Aurangzeb, the least tolerant of the Mughals, expanding well into South India. It all starts in the 15th
century with the birth of who will eventually
be known as Guru Nanak. He’s born into a merchant
class Hindu family, and he is known to be precocious
from a very young age, especially when it comes
to matters of spirituality. He is constantly questioning. He goes and learns
about various religions. Remember, North India is under
the control of the Muslims, but it’s a Hindu-majority population, and you also have populations
of Christians and Jains. And this is also a time, as
we’ve studied in other videos, where the Bhakti movement is on the rise, this notion of devotional
love to God within Hinduism, and it’s in this context that Guru Nanak becomes a significant, some
would say, Bhakti guru. To get a sense of some of his teachings: “There is but one God. “His name is Truth. “He is without hate. “He is beyond the cycle
of births and deaths. “He is Self illuminated.” So just in this excerpt
of some of his sayings, you see elements of the core of Hinduism and elements of Islam. There is but one God, a
central tenet of Islam. But then, these ideas that really come from a Vedic tradition. God is beyond the cycle of
births and deaths, samsara. He is self illuminated. There’s a lot of mention
of your inner self, your true self, is one with this God. “Even kings and emperors “with heaps of wealth and vast dominion “cannot compare with an ant
filled with the love of God.” So here, you see this Bhakti influence, and you can see why he’s considered a major Bhakti guru or Bhakti saint. He’s emphasizing this
devotional love of God. “The world is a drama staged in a dream.” So here, you have the Hindu,
the Vedic notions of Maya. The world is an illusion. His followers will
eventually be known as Sikhs, and the word Sikh comes
from the Sanskrit word for to learn or learning, and it’s related to the word for student. And even in modern Sanskrit-derived
languages like Hindi, you have words like sikhna,
which means to learn. Guru Nanak dies in the early 16th century. You can see by this point, the Mughals have taken
control of northern India. And before his death, he names Guru Angad, who is not his son, as his successor. After Guru Angad, you have Guru Amar Das, and then you have Guru Ram
Das, who establishes the city now sacred to Sikhs known as Amritsar, originally known as Ramdaspur. Guru Dam Das is succeeded
on his death by Guru Arjan. And Guru Arjan is
significant for many reasons. He creates the compilation
known as the Adi Granth, which are the sayings and the
hymns of the previous gurus, including his own. The Adi Granth, as we will
see, will eventually evolve into the Guru Granth
Sahib, which is considered not only the Sikh holy book but also the last and final of the gurus. In Ramdaspur, later to
be known as Amritsar, Guru Arjan builds the Harmandir Sahib, which is intended to be a place of worship for people of all religions. They have a tradition of langar, where they feed anyone
who comes from any faith, and today the Harmandir Sahib would later be known as the Golden Temple where later Raja would plate it with gold, is the largest free kitchen in the world. Guru Arjan is also known as the first martyr in the Sikh faith. As we’ve told about, the early Mughals were
relatively tolerant. Akbar in particular
was extremely tolerant. But upon his death, his
son Jahangir takes power, and early in Jahangir’s reign, he is insecure about his hold on power. And remember, the Mughals are ruling from the same region where the Sikhs are having an increasingly
growing following, not just from Hindus
but also from Muslims. Threatened by this growing following, Jahangir imprisons Guru
Arjan and tortures Guru Arjan trying to get him to renounce the faith to convert to Islam. Guru Arjan refuses despite many days of excruciating torture
being boiled alive. Eventually, he dies and there’s
slightly varying accounts of how it happens. After his death, his
son, who will be known as Guru Hargobind comes to power, and Guru Hargobind, as
legend has it on direction from his father before he would die, tells him that the Sikhs
need to protect themselves. They need to adopt a military tradition to protect themselves from the oppression especially the oppression
from the Mughals. So, Guru Hargobind, he is
famous for establishing the military tradition of Sikhism. He is the first guru to
be what you could call a warrior saint. He’s famous for wearing two swords. One to represent his authority
in the spiritual realm and another to represent his authority in the temporal realm. He also has the longest tenure as guru. At Guru Hargobind’s death, his grandson, Guru Har Rai becomes guru. At his death, his very
young son, Guru Har Krishan becomes guru but dies of smallpox. Afterwhich, Guru Hargobind’s
youngest son becomes guru. He is named eventually Guru Tegh Bahadur which means brave sword or
brave wielder of the sword because as his father, Guru
Hargobind, fought the Mughals, he was known as being unusually brave and an unusually competent warrior. He continued this tradition
of being a warrior saint and especially under the rule
of Shah Jahan and Aurangzeb as the Mughals became
more and more intolerant and started force conversions, he viewed himself as a
protector of the oppressed, not just of the Sikhs but the oppressed of any
faiths including Hindus who are being forced to
convert by Aurangzeb. Eventually, Aurangzeb
tortures and kills him for refusing to convert to Islam and he is considered the
second guru who is martyred. At his death, we have the
tenth and last human guru of the Sikh tradition, Guru Gobind Singh, who continues, again, this
tradition of a warrior saint and actually formalizes it
in this notion of Khalsa. There’s a famous story of him
gathering the Sikh community and asking for volunteers. And the first volunteer
he takes into a tent and then he emerges from that tent without the volunteer with a bloody sword giving people the impression that he might have killed that individual. Then, he asked for more volunteers and more people coming. Every time, he comes out of
the tent without the volunteers but with a bloody sword. But after five volunteers have come, they all emerged from the tent. He makes it clear that
this was an exercise as a test of faith to see who was willing to risk their life to follow the cause. And he says, “These are the Khalsa, “these are these are the pure. “Together, we are going to be
a group to fight oppression “wherever it might be.” And he formalizes what it means to be one of these warrior saints. Famously, with the Five K’s of Khalsa that anyone who goes into
the Khalsa indoctrination who becomes a Khalsa sikh, they should not cut their
hair, this is known as Kesh, they should wear a metal
bracelet known as Kara, they should have a wooden
comb known as Kanga, and they should carry
a short dagger or sword known a Kirpan and there is Kaccherra which is often an undergarment worn and has a symbolic meaning. A man who goes through
the Khalsa ceremony, the Khalsa baptism,
adopts the title of Singh which means lion, and a woman who does adopts
the title, Kaur or princess, and it’s essentially, they are
promising to fight oppression wherever it might be. Guru Gobind Singh is also famous for the final compilation
of what would be known as the Guru Granth Sahib. Taking the Adi Granth which
was compiled by Guru Arjan and adding the 115 hymns of Guru Tegh Bahadur who was martyred, and making this collection of
hymns not just from the gurus but from saints and gurus in the Hindu and Muslim tradition as well and declaring that this
is the 11th and final guru and sikhs today view the Guru Granth Sahib as their guru. If you were to visit a
gurdwara which is their temple, it means door to the gurus, dwara, same root in Sanskrit as door, you will see it houses a Guru Granth Sahib which the Sikhs will venerate
and view as their guru.


100 Responses

  1. Brian Singham

    December 18, 2018 10:44 am

    Guru Nanak took the good and logical bits from Islam and Hinduism and made Sikhism but in the 16th century Sikhism changed and became more militant due to the Mughal invasion

  2. Jagmeet Singh Bajwa

    December 19, 2018 3:03 am

    The Sikhs main goal is to gain knowledge and keep learning until death. They also seek spiritual peace. They actually were the first people to propose the theory of many planets near the 15th century P.s plz correct me if I'm wrong.

  3. Jagdeep Sandhu

    December 19, 2018 6:43 am

    Great Job from Khan Academy!! A very accurate explanation of Sikhism in less than 10 minutes. Excellent 🙂

  4. Gurinder Singh

    December 24, 2018 5:30 am

    Dear Salman, the word India wasn't born before Punjab was called Punjab. Ibnebatuta in 12th century describes the land of five rivers as Punjab. Therefore pls don't say that Sikhism was born in Northern India part called Punjab. The correct sentence could be Sikhism was born in Punjab which is now in northern India and western Pakistan. India is a name gives to the subcontinent by the British empire. Thank you.

  5. Gurinder Singh

    December 24, 2018 5:32 am

    If anyone wants to understand Sikhism please read the book 'Spirit born People' by Professor Puran Singh

  6. OHM-968692

    December 28, 2018 9:58 pm

    Very good explanation.
    I noticed that a lot of videos on Sikhism miss the historical context and make it seem like Sikhism was born out of vacuum. That was not the case with this video.

  7. zirrusfox

    January 8, 2019 6:00 pm

    There was no tent.. the muslim spy sent by aurangzeb writes guru gobind singh behedded the people in front of his own eyes and says the guru has gone mad. he also writes that after swapping the heads onto different bodies, and redressed them in a tent. the guru prepared amrit and gave it to the head, and then the body and head rejoined. this muslim sent to spy on guru gobind then writes a letter saying he will now convert to sikhism because after seeing this, he realises aurangzeb has no real power. kool!

  8. Jai Singh

    January 8, 2019 10:46 pm

    Islam copied the Torah and bible. lol you say Sikhism is hindiusim + Islam, but I think Islam is in itself a combination of prior beliefs.

  9. peter wayne

    January 19, 2019 7:07 am

    please dont take this the wrong way but sikhism is a bit confusing to me. having studied it , although sikhs dont like hearing this it does really seem like it has a mix of islam and hinduism integrated in it, which is not very surprising when you consider where he is located. its a bit too convenient to ignore. the next issue for me is that by the last guru, the religion has changed quite a bit. essentially the first guru and the last guru dont even follow the same rules. on top of all this, it doesnt seem very divine to have 'gurus' constantly be defeated and killed, especially if they are suppose to carry out some sort of divine message. i dont know, this religion does seem very nice and does seem like it truly does come from a place with good intentions. but im trying to be a bit practical here and this religion just doesnt seem like one i would follow now looking at the history of these gurus.

  10. J Randhawa

    February 12, 2019 2:22 pm

    Effort is appreciated but martyrdom of DHAN GURU ARJUN DEV G and DHAN GURU TEGBHADUR SAHIB G is not clear.They were sacrifice themselves with their willingness for the protection of destitute people who were grieved from brutal emperor.

  11. Enigma86 Enigma86

    March 3, 2019 11:13 pm

    Sikhism and Hinduism are the same religion in reality…guru Nanak was born in a Hindu family

  12. occupynewparadigm

    March 17, 2019 9:31 pm

    I'd really like to go to India one day to get a better understanding of the different religions of India.

  13. Alizza Lovely Samonte

    March 19, 2019 5:01 pm

    Only in India there are all religions- Muslims, Jews, Christian, Hindu, Buddhist, Sikh- Only missing is peace, All people needs to respect each one's belief.

  14. Livein Gaur

    March 22, 2019 10:54 pm

    Again Minformation from incorrect History written from Mughals and British sources. Sikhism was made to protect Hinduism and had nothing to do with Islam. And all teachings from Santan Dharm or Hinduism are more than 10,000 years old and Islam is only a couple of 100 years old. Indian written history is ruined by the writers from the influence of Mughal and British era.

  15. yash sandhu

    March 26, 2019 12:51 pm

    Sikhism I we were to understand is most crystallised form of Indian dharmic tradition. Which means it draws basic philosophical premises shared by almost all major religion of Indian origin.

  16. Satish Gadekar

    March 28, 2019 8:41 pm

    @1:45 as per bhagawat geeta as well there is only one god, and then there is small presence of god in everything and everybody

  17. Joseph Halbohn

    April 11, 2019 2:56 am

    In a world where faith is so often corrupted by greed and malice, the resolve of the Sikhs should be an inspiration to everyone

  18. delgoogle

    April 18, 2019 12:11 pm

    can I say most sikhs can't explain as correctly and as concisely as khan academy writers did. Truly we need this well researched resource, keep supporting khan academy not because they helped explain sikh religion but because they provide well researched resources, Choice of words is too good, example around 4:00 explains langar as a tradition, which is exactly what it is, a tradition that kept on going since first guru, but most sikhs when giving out interviews can't explain it in so few words as these guys did, I would say on point. Help them keep this going, we need research, we need to see the world as is, not through slimy goggles of people trying to justify their point of views.

  19. manavjeet singh lamba

    April 19, 2019 3:48 pm

    Baba Nanak was not born in a merchant community he was born in a vedic warrior clan.

  20. Suminderpal Singh

    April 28, 2019 3:19 pm

    The most beautiful, condensed and concise narration on Sikhism! Thank You Sal Khan for video.

  21. Sound of Dank

    April 28, 2019 4:32 pm

    i have a hw question

    who are the important figures of Sikhism? name and describe at least 3.

    please help experts

  22. greeness

    May 3, 2019 3:25 pm

    This is so well articulated, thank you !
    really hope less people would confuse sikhs with muslims, sikhism is a completely different religion with a completely different Holly Book

  23. Sketch it's

    May 15, 2019 9:41 pm

    Thanks I needed a crash course on this so I can better understand someone I care about

  24. Naresh Kumar

    May 27, 2019 11:00 pm

    I have some question regarding history of Sikhism, its creation, sacrifices and purposes and who were ruler and when it was came into existence.. so i need help.. because im from pakistan and un aware about historical facts of sikhism. Plz guide me to be aware from above questions. I will looking farward for positive response…

  25. Brother Eesa Jimenez

    May 28, 2019 5:42 am

    With all respect , after watching this , i see sikhism as a real 16th century religion written by man and followed by man and not by God.

    But respect to sikhism , they have a beautiful religious system with a combination of Hinduism and Islam.

  26. Arwinder Supple

    May 30, 2019 1:56 pm

    Good effort. Really appreciate it. But need to get some facts right. Guru Gobind Singh ji did not add the bani/hymns of other saints from other religions instead Guru Arjun Dev ji did. Guru Gobind Singh ji only added the bani of the 9th guru ji and gave the gurship to the Guru Granth Sahib ji.

  27. aryan arya

    June 26, 2019 6:45 am

    sikhism is a religion a community which fought against injustice….those hindus and muslims who wanna fight against injustice joined the khalsa army….it
    is based on unity one god…

  28. Rizky Citra Anugrah

    July 4, 2019 10:01 am

    oh wow in javanese we have the word "Sinau", which is derived from Hindi "Sikhna" and means the exact same.

  29. joga singh

    July 5, 2019 8:22 pm

    Nice but also mean because that I s not guru Nanak’s real picture and also because some words are also wrong by saying and one more is because Sikhism is a very strong Khalsa team waheguru ji ka Khalsa waheguru ji ki fateh

  30. Coldedge

    July 6, 2019 11:26 pm

    After realizing I know very little about this religion I'm just now learning about Sikhism. I like it! I wanna learn more.

  31. RobloxNewsNetwork

    July 9, 2019 3:37 pm

    Thank you for sharing. Can we have some one post a updated with the (history ) of Sikhs. They fought in world war 1, did you guys know that?

  32. El Nino

    July 15, 2019 7:56 am

    U didn't actually mention how Guru Nanak dev ji got revelations from God. Really disappointed with the way u started showing sikhi as an amalgamation of Hinduism and Islam.Plus U could have shown the reason as to why Guru Harkrishan Sahib ji got smallpox and also the detail about Guru teghbahadur ji's martyrdom wasn't there. But Still thank you for this vid.

  33. Manjit Singh Nerval

    July 28, 2019 6:33 am

    Thank you for making this beautiful introduction about Sikhi, even though I was born in Sikh family but most of Indian born Sikh like myself or our parents or grandparents don't even understand our Gurus ji's teaching, in the last 10 years or so many good parchark are spreading the teaching based on Guru Granth Sahib ji, so but I can understand is that our Gurus didn't create another religion, I think they tried to bring the whole Humanity together because starting from Guru Granth Sahib ji which have writing of poets from other faiths than laying the foundation of Harimander Sahib (Golden Temple) Guru ji chosed person from another faith to do it, the four doors which shows that everyone is welcome from all corners of the world, the Langer where everyone can sit and have meal together it doesn't matter if person is rich, poor, Hindu, Muslim, Christian or any other faith, so what I can understand that Sikhi is not another faith, Guru Ji teaches us that we all are brothers & Sisters we all have one father people call him God, Allah, Ram, Waheguru etc.,
    May waheguru ji bless the whole Humanity
    We are All One!!!

  34. Navdeep Sandhu

    August 10, 2019 12:35 am

    Very nice and short history lesson khan academy. You guys are on point in everything I watch whether it is about religion history or education. Keep up the good work. God bless you guys.

  35. abdeshpanda

    August 10, 2019 4:15 pm

    Sikhism released from Hindu tradition of Punjab region (of present day India and pakistan) purposefully created to fight against- brutal muslim force, Islamic invaders, torturers, looteras. People used to join sikhism to protect their identity, culture what they were from long time by following the commandments of 10 Sikh gurus (religious teachers).

  36. Caesar88888

    August 20, 2019 8:00 pm

    1:48 more then 5000 years ago there were monotheism in India with worship of Shree Vishnu as one and only supreme God.

  37. Gursimar Singh

    August 22, 2019 3:56 pm

    Finally! Someone explains Sikhism (My religion) Thoroughly and correctly. But couple things. Guru Harkrishan died at the age of 8 because he saved people from small pox by taking "their disease and giving it to himself" People asked before he was dying who is the next guru, he called out the name of a village where Teg Bahader lived. People from that village said I AM THE NEXT GURU, but a person found Teg bahadur in his home meditating (Not complete details) and they knew he was the next guru. He happened to be the son of Guru Hargobind. In Fact, Guru Amardas's daughter asked for a promise that the next gurus would be in the family, and that promise was kept. I know this isnt my video but just wanted to let you know

  38. Butters Stotch

    August 23, 2019 4:41 am

    The Sikhs don’t believe in a God , but instead they believe in a way of life in which they are taught from their day of birth , something that Christianity needs to learn from .
    If I could have chosen any religion to live with by birth , I would have chosen Sikhism .

  39. Dushyant Rana

    August 26, 2019 10:24 pm

    I would so love to be a khalsa but i dwell in a well of self doubt. A fear of responsibility to my loved ones. But my farher anyways named me Dusht(evil) – anth(end) ..

  40. Sarmad Najim

    September 6, 2019 1:23 pm

    peaceful and knowledge seeking , I like it , all humans need to understand they are one family , they need to learn to love each other , and be tolerant to all , no hate just love and peace

  41. sanjeev gupta

    September 9, 2019 12:56 pm

    Sikhism, Hinduism, bhudism and Jainism are very coexted religions even it's hard to find difference sometimes.

  42. Navtej Mangat

    September 10, 2019 5:07 pm

    The haram satha British destroyed the whole subcontinent, created communal divisions that had never existed to such extent before,brought about through their arrogance and ineptitude famine and poverty that had never existed before or since British rule ( read Mike Davis ' The New Holocaust'). Regarding Maharaja Ranjit Singh Europeans such as Ibbetson and even Americans such as Masson described that when traveling through Ranjit Singh's Empire they came across a land far more prosperous than any part of British ruled India and with no occurrence of famine whereas in East Punjab controlled by the British from the 1810s onwards famines occurred regularly. In fact throughout British Rule from its inception till its demise tens of millions of Indians died from draconic and inhumane agricultural and land revenue policies initiated by the British. The British caused more death than did Mao, Hitler or Stalin. The British Empire was not a benevolent empire but a malevolent one. The most dangerous and politically volatile regions in the world today were created by the British such as Northern Ireland, Palestine ( see Arthur Koestler the Nobel Laureate's book ' Palestine :From Promise to Fulfilment ) Iraq, Kashmir etc. The list goes on. Ranjit was far ahead of the British at his time in terms of humanity, fairness and compassion. No one was discriminated on the basis of religion and as well as Sikhs, Hindus and Muslims held the highest positions in his administration. In contrast, in Britain Catholics and Jews were ostracised and barred from holding office or even entering top universities and institutions ( right up until 1873 ). What the British excelled at as they do today was duplicity, hypocrisy, cunning and back stabbing.They paid lip service to liberty, democracy and human rights whereas in fact these were privileges afforded only to Whites back home in Britain or their Dominions in Canada, New Zealand and Australia. Today thankfully Britain is nothing more than a tinpot nation beset with crime, sexual and moral decrepitude, a teetering economy dependent on foreigners whose arses they lick especially if they be corrupt Russian oligarchs, rich oil barons, Latin American dictators such as Chile's General Pinochet and of course Americans behind whose apron strings they cowardly hide. The sun certainly set on their Empire quicker than they thought. Thanks to the Americans and Soviets they avoided conquest by Nazi Germany. The British Empire created a myth of invincibility about themselves and a myth it was ; they lost the American War of Independence, the 1812 War against America, the First Afghan War ( with 20,000 of them being slaughtered ) and they would have list the Sikh Wars had it not been for the treachery and betrayal of two of the Sikh Empire's generals, Tej and Lal Singh.


    October 15, 2019 11:02 am

    "born in hindu family", every sikh should remember this whenever they say erroneous things about hinduism 🕉

  44. Bhagwan Singh

    October 18, 2019 9:57 am



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