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Religious Studies

Sikhism: good and evil

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What does Sikhism teach about good and evil?

  • Everything that happens is Hukam, the will of God (Waheguru [Waheguru: A Punjabi term used in Sikhism to refer to God. ]). People should live their lives in obedience to God’s will.
  • God created everything and gave people free will [Free will: The ability to choose for oneself. ].
  • Suffering is not inflicted directly by God but is permitted by God as a test of courage and faith. Suffering is appreciated for the good that it often brings out in humanity eg, compassion. It is a person’s own actions that are responsible for their suffering.
  • There is a divine spark or soul, which is part of God, in everyone. This spark or soul is re-absorbed into God when a person is finally released from the cycle of births and deaths.
  • The soul lives through many different forms of existence before being born into a human body. There are 8,400,000 different forms of life, and many souls have to travel though many of these before they can finally reach God.
  • Only humans know the difference between right and wrong, and can make moral choices. So it is only when the soul is in a human being that the cycle can be broken. Freedom from this cycle of rebirth is called mukti.
  • Good actions do lead to good karma. However, Guru Nanak preached that the birth is due to a person’s karma, but the final liberation (mukti) is due to God’s grace.

There are several things which can stop a soul reaching mukti:

  • hankar, pride
  • kam, lust or desire
  • karodh, anger
  • lobh, greed
  • moh, being too attached to the world
  • manmukh, being self-centred instead of God-centred (Gurmukh)
  • maya, illusion – looking at the world and ignoring God

Sikhs try to live without these influences and devote their lives to sewa, selfless service to others.

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