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Sikhism: Recommended Introductory Books
The Birth of the Khalsa: A Femnist Re-Memory of Sikh Identity by
"Sikhs trace the genesis of their religious rites, prayers, dress codes, and names to Guru Gobind Singh s creation of the Khalsa in 1699. The Birth of the Khalsa is the first work to explore this pivotal event in Sikh history from a feminist perspective, questioning the ways in which Sikh memories have constructed a hypermasculine Sikh identity. The book argues that Sikh memory needs to acknowledge the vital female dimension grounded in the universal human condition and present at the birth of the Khalsa. Inspired by her own father, the eminent Sikh scholar Harbans Singh, Nikky-Guninder Kaur Singh rediscovers the feminine side of the words and actions of the founders of Sikhism. She looks at the basic texts and tenets of Sikh religion and demonstrates the female aspect in the sacred text, daily prayers, dress code, and rituals of the Sikhs. Singh reminds us that Guru Gobind Singh s original vision was an egalitarian one and urges present-day Sikhs to live up to the liberating implications set in motion when he gave birth to the Khalsa." - SUNY Press
Religion and the Specter of the West : Sikhism, India, Postcoloniality, and the Politics of Translation by
"Arguing that intellectual movements, such as deconstruction, postsecular theory, and political theology, have different implications for cultures and societies that live with the debilitating effects of past imperialisms, Arvind Mandair unsettles the politics of knowledge construction in which the category of "religion" continues to be central. Through a case study of Sikhism, he launches an extended critique of religion as a cultural universal. At the same time, he presents a portrait of how certain aspects of Sikh tradition were reinvented as "religion" during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries." Columbia University Press
The Socially Involved Renunciate by
A translation and analysis of Guru Nanak’s description of the Sikh path to spiritual liberation. The Socially Involved Renunciate is an in-depth analysis and an original English translation of the Siddh Gost, a fundamental philosophical text of the Sikh tradition. The work reflects the distinctive worldview of Sikhism, the only major Indian religion that does not regard asceticism as a legitimate path to liberation. Composed by Guru Nanak, a medieval, north Indian saint-poet and venerated founder of the Sikh tradition, the Siddh Gost is a dialogue between Guru Nanak and several Nath yogis who had been pursuing a rigorous path of hath-yoga as renunciates of the material world. Through their dialogue, Guru Nanak teaches the Nath yogis a spiritual path that also includes involvement in the social world and offers a practical way to achieve liberation. In The Socially Involved Renunciate, Kamala Elizabeth Nayar and Jaswinder Singh Sandhu provide background on Sikhism, highlight the ethical teachings expounded in the Siddh Gost, and demonstrate how Guru Nanak reconciles the polarities of the ascetic and householder ideals
Almost from the moment, some five centuries ago, that their religion was founded in the Punjab by Guru Nanak, Sikhs have enjoyed a distinctive identity. This sense of difference, forged during Sikhism's fierce struggles with the Mughal Empire, is still symbolised by the 'Five Ks' ('panj kakar', in Punjabi), those articles of faith to which all baptised Sikhs subscribe: uncut hair bound in a turban; comb; special undergarment; iron bracelet and dagger (or kirpan) - the unique marks of the Sikh military fraternity (the word Sikh means 'disciple' in Punjabi). Yet for all its ongoing attachment to the religious symbols that have helped set it apart from neighbouring faiths in South Asia, Sikhism amounts to far more than just signs or externals. Now the world's fifth largest religion, with a significant diaspora especially in Britain and North America, this remarkable monotheistic tradition commands the allegiance of 25 million people, and is a global phenomenon. In her balanced appraisal, Nikky-Guninder Kaur Singh reviews the history, theology and worship of a community poised between reconciling its hereditary creeds and certainties with the fast-paced pressures of modernity. She outlines and explains the core Sikh beliefs, and explores the writings and teachings of the Ten Sikh Gurus in Sikhism's Holy Scriptures, the Sri Guru Granth Sahib (more usually called just the 'Granth'). Further chapters explore Sikh ethics, art and architecture, and matters of gender and the place of women in the tradition. The book attractively combines the warm empathy of a Sikh with the objective insights and acute perspectives of a prominent scholar of religion.
Sikhism: Recommended Introductory Articles