Many scholars have stated that the Granth contains specific references to Hindu gods such as Rama and Krishna. Guru Arjan Dev, the fifth Guru, declared: “Na koi hindu na koi mussalman" (No one is Hindu or Muslim)”

Nevertheless, in the Adi Granth he compiled around 1600 AD a little over 11,000 names of God that appear over 95% are of Hindu origin: Hari, Rama, Gopal, Govind, Madhav, Vithal and others. Some like 'Allah, Rab, Malik' are Muslim. The exclusively Sikh word for God, Wahguru, appears only 16 times.

If the Guru Granth Sahib were to be examined, there is no difference between Hinduism and Sikhism because the Granth is based on the Hindu scriptures and beliefs.The Granth invokes the name of

  • Krishna 10,000 times
  • Rama 2400 times
  • It invokes Parabrahma 550 times
  • Omkar 400 times
  • It invokes the authority of the Vedas, Puranas, Smritis about 350 times
  • The names of the Nirguna Absolute – Jagdish, Nirankar, Niranjan, Atma, Paramatma, Parmeshwar, Antaryami, Kartar – are invoked 2600 times.
  • Those of Saguna deity – Gobind, Murari, Madhav, Saligram, Vishnu, Sarangpani, Mukund, Thakur, Damodar, Vasudev, Mohan, Banwari, Madhusudan, Keshav, Chaturbhuj, etc, – are invoked 2,000 times

In the entire Guru Granth Sahib, the Vedas are respected and referred to as sacred. Guru Gobind Singh states that

The Vedas originated from Brahma and the path of the Vedas is the only path for the people to follow:.

Guru Tegh Bahadur is executed explicitly for his defense of the Hindus of Kashmir, he is executed in the company of his Hindu devotees. Guru Gobind Singh composes a paen to Rama – Ramavatara – and another to Krishna – Krishnavatara.

He declares as his aspiration:

Sakal jagat mein khalsa panth gaaje
Jage dharma Hindu, sakal bhand bhaje

Let the path of the pure prevail all over the world
Let the Hindu dharma dawn and all delusion disappear.

He declares as his goal:

Dharam vedamaryaada jag mein chalaaun
Gaughaat kaa dosh jag se mitaaun

May I spread dharma and prestige of the Veda in the world. And erase from it the sin of cow-slaughter.

  • All Orthodox Hindus (Vedantists), no matter whether dualists or non-dualists, accept the Vedas, believe in God, and believe in reincarnation and cycles. Can Sikhs assert the same? Oct 11, 2018 at 5:07
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    Sikhs do believe in Karma and reincarnation and liberation. Vedas are just a holy book not an infallible authority as for Hindus. They hold Guru Granth Sahib as the best of scriptures. I have highlighted differences below. Liberation occurs by grace of God and Guru through righteous living and complete absorption in God i.e. simran. Oct 11, 2018 at 15:10
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    I don't consider it a separate religion at all.
    – user9969
    Oct 12, 2018 at 7:52

1 Answer 1


This is a selective reading of few verses in the Guru Granth Sahibji, which is a very large literature.

Sikh Gurus often used the most popular names of God in their times since as per Sikhism all names of God are sacred. There are major differences from Hinduism: 1. No belief in Avatars. Sikh Gurus have spoken strongly against the idea of Avatars. 2. No deity worship i.e. idol worship is strictly forbidden. 3. Caste system is refuted. 4. Many Hindu traditions like offering to Pitrs, pilgrimages, fasting are discouraged. 5. The deities if at all believed in are said to be subservient to the one true God.

There are verses which Guru Arjan Devji has spoken where the names of Rama or Govind are explicitly taught to be not the names referring to deities but the God who rules over them. I am not quoting them here since the Granth is considered too sacred to openly quote without good reason.

There are numerous differences to speak. If you are interested, please go over the Sikh Religion by Max Arthur MacAuliffe , there are many volumes on Sikhism by this respected author, its not a small topic. Here is one reference of volume 1. http://www.sacred-texts.com/skh/tsr1/index.htm

Having said this, the Sikh Gurus believed in Dharma and sacrificing even their lives and families for righteous causes. Hence they have supported the Hindu cause and freedom to practice one's religion and some verses you selectively quoted indicate this because in those times Hindu innocents were extremely oppressed. Similarly they believe irrespective of religion devotion matters most to God. Hence the teachings of Bhagats which include Hindu and Muslim saints, and those aspects which are in consonance with Sikhism, have been incorporated in the Guru Granth Sahibji.

So my humble view is to consider Sikhism as a unique religion in its own right and celebrate the common points with Hinduism without trying to downplay its great unique teachings.

  • Nice info. Just to be more clear, If sikhism is against the idea of avatar then what they considers their Gurus (Nanak etc.), only human? If yes, then what a human can possible give to them. Can a human make them free from cycle of rebirth? I guess only Lord/Incarnation can, but if they don't considers their Gurus anything like incarnation/Lord then from whom Sikhs will get freedom from cycle of birth and death?
    – Vishvam
    Oct 11, 2018 at 12:04
  • Sikhism does not consider their Gurus as Avatars. They believe them as specially enlightened souls. Liberation occurs due to Grace of God by immersing in the name of God with guidance from the Guru. Oct 11, 2018 at 15:04
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    After reading above ,it seems Lingayatism has got more differences than Sikhism! Besides these differences, Lingayatism , unlike sikhism, advocates Burial + It says once Linga is tied to ones body Lingayat is free from Rebirth + it refutes Vedas, Agamas, Puranas etc in very harsh words(It says VEDANTA is mental disease!)+ it does not have any Gurudwara/Temple . Hence my argument is that if Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism – which were also born against the tenets of Hinduism – can be considered as separate religions, then why not Lingayats? Oct 12, 2018 at 5:41
  • @VinodAuradkar I agree that Lingayats are a different religion and that they are only considered Hindus for political reasons. Dec 27, 2022 at 19:43

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