About the symbol: The center circle is the shield of God. The sword on each side is to guard and defend the faith from every onslaught. The vertical dagger in the center is for power and dignity of the individual.
The word Sikh means disciple. The religion was founded by Guru Nanak about 1469 during the period of Martin Luther. It exists primarily in the Punjab region of western India. But they have spread widely throughout the world, esp. into England.
Nanak, the founder, tried to bring about a brotherhood serving the human race irrespective of color, religion, sex, caste or creed. He wished to bring together the Moslems and all the castes(classes) of Hindus into one great brotherhood for peace and understanding.
The Sikh religion is strictly monotheistic, believing in One Supreme God. Absolute yet All-pervading, the Eternal, the Creator, the Cause of Causes, without enmity, without hate, both Immanent in His creation and beyond it. It is no longer the God of one nation, but the GOD OF GRACE. That being so, He creates man not to punish him for his sins, but for the realisation of his true purpose in the cosmos and to merge in from where he issued forth.
The basic postulate of the Sikhs is that life is not sinful in its origin, but having emanated from a Pure Source, the True One abides in it. Not only the whole of Sikh Philosophy, but the whole of Sikh history and character flows from 'this principle'.
The Sikhs do not recognise the caste system nor do they believe in Idol-worship, rituals or superstitions. The gods and goddesses are considered as nonentities.
This religion consists of practical living, in rendering service to humanity and engendering tolerance and brotherly love towards all. The Sikh Guroo's did not advocate retirement from the world in order to attain salvation. It can be achieved by any one who earns an honest living and leads a normal life and shares his/her earnings with the needy.
The Guroo's gave new hope to the down-trodden mankind is to join his fraternity as equals. He is a creator of the NEW MAN in the New World supported by a New morality.
Riches and personal possessions are not hinderence in living by spiritual ideals. Sikhs do not believe in the maxim, "It is easier for a camel to go through the eyes of a needle than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God".
Sikhs do not accept the ideology of pessimism. It advocates self-confidence, optimism and hope. The maxim, "Resist not evil but whosoever shall smite thee onto the right cheek, turn to him the other also", does not find any place in Sikh way of life. On the other hand it enjoins its followers to practice self-determination, self-respect, and self-defence :
"When an affair is past every other remedy,
It is righteous, indeed, to unsheath the sword."
(Guroo Gobind Singh Jee)
The turban a Sikh wears is the symbol of spirituality and honor
The dagger a Sikh carries with him at all times is the symbol of power and dignity.