When I try to understand better what it means to me to be a Sikh, one of the first things I think of is the first words of the Siri Guru Granth Sahib: Ikh ongkar or “One Universal Creator God”. As I remarked to a friend today, I didn’t find the Sikh way of life because I was in search of religion, I found it because I was in search of peace. I have tended to be suspicious of organized religion because of its susceptibility to dogma and fanaticism, so my own choice to take Amrit, a sort of “Sikh baptism” even came to me as a bit of a surprise.
One Universal Creator God. To me, I feel comfortable being a Sikh because a Sikh world view recognizes that there are many different paths to God. God is a Light in each human heart. It is always there, but we need to teach ourselves to recognize it and pay attention to it. Fellow Sikhs and I find our inherent Divine Light in a Gurdwara. Others may find theirs in a synagogue, a church, or a Muslim temple. No religion is any better or superior than an other. Like God made different varieties of plants and animals, he made different varieties of human beings. Different religions work for different people, but the underlying unity is that they all lead to the same place.
The History Of The Sikh Religion demonstrates a commitment to this principle. Guru Ram Das and Guru Arjan constructed the Golden Temple, the holy site of Sikhs, with doors open on all four sides. This was to show that all human beings, regardless of their religion or social status were welcome to join with Sikhs in coming together for devotional worship. As I become more involved in creating a Gurdwara in Central Austin I do my best to preserve this open attitude – being welcoming to people who would like to share in celebrating the One Universal Light inside us all. One Universal Creator God.