The doctrines of Sikhism as set forth in the Granth are that it prohibits idolatry, hypocrisy, class exclusiveness, the concremation of widows, the immurement of women, the use of wine and other intoxicants, tobacco-smoking, infanticide, slander and pilgrimages to the sacred rivers and tanks of the Hindus; and it inculcates loyalty, gratitude for all favours received, philanthropy, justice, impartiality, truth, honesty and all the moral and domestic virtues upheld by Christianity.
Peace returned, and during the next twenty or twenty-five years Sikhism reached its lowest ebb; but since then the demand for Sikhs in the regiments of the Indian army and farther afield has largely revived the faith.
In this way both Buddhism (q.v.) and Jains have almost been swallowed up by Hinduism; Sikhism (q.v.) is only preserved by the military requirements of the British, and even the antagonism between Hindu and Mahommedan is much less acute than it used to be.
Considerations of their history and past political importance have led to the elevation of Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism to the rank of independent religions, while the numerous other schismatic bodies are held to be only sects.
There may first be mentioned the zealots such as the Akalis, who, though generally quite illiterate, aim at observing the injunctions of Sikhism Guru Govind Singh; secondly, the true Sikhs or Singhs who observe his ordinances, such as the prohibi tions of cutting the hair and the use of tobacco; and, thirdly, those Sikhs who while professing devotion to the tenets of the gurus are almost indistinguishable from ordinary Hindus.
This doctrine of philosophic quietism was common to his successors, until in the time of the sixth guru, Har Govind, it was found necessary to support the separate existence of Sikhism by force of arms, and this led to the militant and political development of the tenth and most powerful of the gurus, Govind Singh.
At the present day the stronghold of Sikhism still remains the great Phulkian states of-, Patiala, Nabha and Jind and the surrounding districts of Ludhiana, Lahore, Amritsar, Jullundur and Gujranwala.
The establishment of Singh Sabhas, of Sikh newspapers, and the spread of education have largely tended in the same direction, but the strict ethical code of Sikhism and the number of its obligatory divine services have caused many to fall away from the faith: nor does the austere Sikh ritual appeal to women, who generally prefer Hinduism with its picturesque material worship and the brightness of its innumerable festivals.