Sikh religion has some salient features, which make it distinct from the other major world religions.
Guru Granth Sahib is revered as a living Guru, not just a Holy Book.
Guru Granth Sahib is followed as the prime guide throughout a Sikh’s life.
The Guru Granth Sahib has been preserved in its original form.
In addition to their own works, the Guru included the revelations of many saints of various periods in history. This outstanding feature helps in building the base of Sikhism as a universal religion.
The followers, with their turban and natural hair, are proud and definitely distinct.
They respect followers of other religions. Non-Sikhs can partake fully in Sikh prayer meetings and social functions.
Their daily prayers include the wellbeing of all human beings.
The concept of saint-soldier is another unique feature.
Every Sikh is required to aspire to be a saint by his devotion to God, and service to humankind, but at the same time, adopt the role of the soldier according to the situation.
An aspirant need not renounce the world but should aspire for the best.
In effect, Sikhism makes the path of spirituality practical and noble.
Seva (service) is an integral part of their worship.
This is observed at every Gurudwara, which welcomes people from all walks of life and invites them to partake in all activities and share the ‘langar’ (food).
The Auckland Sikh Society was established in 2000 to provide a place of worship for believers of Guru Nanak Dev Sahib to get together on a regular basis.
The Gurudwara Dashmesh Darbar features facilities for prayers, major festivals including the Guru Nanak Jayanti, Prakash Divas, Guru Gobind Singh Parkash Divas, Bandi Chod Divas (Diwali) and Bisakhi.
The Punjabi Cultural Association was established in 1995 to maintain, protect and promote the Punjabi tradition and to add to the value of multiculturalism in New Zealand.
The association boasts of 300 members who strive towards the achievement of the common objective of instilling a sense of pride and belonging to the New Zealand born Punjabis and inculcating the values of Sikhism, the spirit of oneness and tolerance in them to lead the future generations.
The Association participates in traditional festivals organised by various organisations in Auckland, in addition to supporting teams of volunteers.
The above article, written by Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi (now Member of Parliament on National List, was published in our Guru Nanak Special Report, November 15, 2007.