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Religious Studies

Sikhism: beliefs about care of the planet

The Assisi Declarations on Nature, 1986

In 1986, HRH Prince Philip, then President of the WWF International invited five leaders of five of the major religions of the world - Buddhism Christianity, Hinduism, Islam and Judaism - to meet to discuss how their faiths could help save the natural world.

The meeting took place in Assisi in Italy, because it was the birth place of St Francis, the Catholic saint of ecology. From this meeting arose key statements by the five faiths outlining their own distinctive traditions and approach to the care for nature.

In the Assisi Declarations on Nature the Sikh statement was:

  • Since the beginning of the Sikh religion in the late fifteenth century, the faith has been built upon the message of the ‘oneness of Creation’. Sikhism believes an almighty God created the universe. He himself is the creator and master of all forms of the universe, responsible for all modes of nature and all elements of the world. Sikhism firmly believes God to be the source of the birth, life and death of all things.
  • Sikhism teaches that the natural environment and the survival of all life forms are closely linked in the rhythm of nature. The history of the Gurus is full of stories of their love and special relationship with the natural environment-, with animals, birds, vegetation, earth, rivers, mountains and the sky. There is also a very strong vegetation tradition.
  • It is for this reason that in Sikhism those who kill for lust of hunting, eating or to make sacrifices are condemned. In Sikh hymns God is often referred to as the provider for all life which God loves and is loved by. God as both father and mother guarantees equality to man and woman in faith and compassion towards all beings and nature.

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