Sikhism, or Sikhi, is a distinct monotheistic spiritual tradition founded over 500 years ago in the Punjab region of South Asia. There are more than 25 million Sikhs around the world, which makes Sikhism the world’s fifth largest world religion. Sikhs first came to the United States in the late 1800s and there are an estimated 1 million Sikhs living in America today. The three core pillars of the Sikh way of life are: 1) To work hard and earn an honest living, 2) Share wealth and resources with those in need, and 3) Remember the blessings of the One Divine Being at all times.
The Sikh worldview centers around the idea of Oneness. Sikhs believe that people of all faiths worship one Divine Being who created this world and lives within all. Every human being is equal in the eyes of God. From the Sikh perspective, there are no theological grounds to discriminate against people on the basis of their social identities, whether gender, caste, ethnicity, or otherwise. For example, as Sikhs believe all people are equal, the Sikh community does not have clergy or priests; each person can connect with the Creator directly and all positions of leadership and authority in Sikh religious and political life are open to people of all backgrounds.
Sikhs aim to recognize the divine presence in all aspects of life, and this constant recognition contributes to the cultivation of a loving self. A natural corollary of recognizing the Oneness of the world and practicing love is to serve society. In the Sikh tradition, service is a way of expressing gratitude to the Divine. Service is prayerful action. The concept of love-inspired service is called seva, and it is a core part of the Sikh practice. All Sikhs are expected to serve humanity while also cultivating their own spirituality, at once both internally focused while also contributing to the world around them. Serving the world is a natural expression of the Sikh prayer and worship exemplified in the concept of Sant-Sipahi, or Saint-Soldier. This Saint-Soldier ideal applies to women and men alike. In the Sikh tradition, a truly religious person is one who cultivates the inner spiritual self while also serving the external world around them.
Today, Sikhs all over the world are embedded within their local and national communities and remain committed to the core values of spiritual growth and social justice. Sikhs continue to establish Gurdwaras (Spiritual Community Centers) with and for their local communities.