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all kinds of animal food, except the cow race; and it rejects the division of the people into casts. Like the Hindu, Mohammedan, and, indeed, all other religions we are acquainted with, it announces a state of rewards and punishments; and, according to some Sikh authors, Nanac seemed to believe in the Hindu doctrine of the metempsychosis, or transmigration of souls.
General Malcolm, in his Sketch of the Sikhs, gives an account of the ceremonies. observed in admitting proselytes. After these are performed, the disciple is asked, if he consents to be of the faith of Guru Govind. He answers, I do consent. He is then told: 66 If you do, you must abandon all intercourse with, and forbear to eat, drink, or sit in company with men of five sects, which I shall name: the first, the Mina D'hirmal, who, though of the race of Nanac, were tempted by avarice to give poison to Arjun;* and though they did not
*The fourth Guru.
succeed, they ought to be expelled from society: the second, are the Musandia, a sect who call themselves Gurus, or priests, and endeavour to introduce heterodox doctrines: the third, Ram Rayi, the descendants of Ram Ray, whose intrigues were the great cause of the destruction of the holy ruler, Tegh Sinh: the fourth, are the Kudi-mar, or destroyers of their own daughters: the fifth, the Bhadani, who shave the hair of their head and beards." The disciple after this warning against intercourse with schismatics, is instructed in some general precepts, the observance of which is ordained for the welfare of the community into which he is received. He is told to be civil to all with whom he converses, to endeavour to attain wisdom, and to emulate the persuasive eloquence of Baba Nanac. He is particularly enjoined, whenever he approaches any of the Sikh temples, to do it with reverence, and to go to Amritsar to pay his devotions there, and offer up his vows for the Khalsa, or
state, the interests of which he is directed,
of the Singhs all go through this rite at a very early age.*
One of the principal tenets of Govind's religious institutions, obliges his followers to practise the use of arms; whereas among the Hindūs, the use of these as a profession, or in any way but self-defence, is prohibited to all but those of Cshatriya, or the military tribe. And notwithstanding the full and unreserved belief of the Sikhs in one only supreme ruler of the universe, there is a chapter in the Dasama Padshah-kaGranth, or book of the tenth king, in praise of Durga Bhavani, the goddess of courage; and Govind with a view to animate his followers to acts of valour, there relates a pretended dream. Durga (says he) appeared to me when I was asleep, arrayed in all her glory. The goddess put into my hand a bright scymitar, which she had before held in her own. The country of the Mohammedans, said the goddess, shall
* General Malcolm.
be conquered by thee, and numbers of that race shall be slain. After I had heard this, I exclaimed, this steel shall be the guard to me and my followers, because, in its lustre, the splendour of thy countenance, oh goddess! is always reflected."*
The temples of the Sikhs are plain buildings, whence images are entirely banished. Their forms of prayer are short and simple. At the hours of worship, part of their sacred writings, which consist of those of Nanac, mixed with those of some of his successors, in what is called the Adi Granth, are read. They consist of praises of the divinity, and maxims for the practice of virtue. The Adi Granth is in verse, and, like the other books of the Sikhs, is written in the Gūrūmuk'h character, a modified species of the Nagari. Many of the chapters written by Nanac are named Pidi, which literally means a ladder; metaphorically, that by which a man may ascend.
* Sketch of the Sikhs, by General Malcolm.