Sikhism was founded by Nanak, a Khatri by caste, who was born at Talwandi near Lahore in A.D.
Nanak was born in the province which then formed the borderland between Hinduism and Islam.
Starting from the unity of God, Nanak and his successors rejected the idols and incarnations of the Hindus, and on the ground of the equality of all men rejected also the system of caste.
Nanak seems to have been produced by the same cyclic wave of reformation as fourteen years later gave Martin Luther to Europe.
The Sikhs of to-day, though they all derive primarily from Nanak, are only recognized as Singhs or real Sikhs when they accept the doctrines and practices of Guru Govind Singh.
He also was a Khatri, and was chosen by Guru Nanak in preference to his own sons.
The legend of his choice is that Nanak with his followers was going on a journey, when they saw the dead body of a man lying by the wayside.
Nanak said, "Ye who trust in me eat of this food."
Thenceforward the Sikhs believe the spirit of Nanak to have been incarnate in each succeeding guru.
Little is known of the ministry of Angad except that he committed to writing much of what he had heard about Guru Nanak as well as some devotional observations of his own, which were afterwards incorporated in the Granth.
The religious creed of Guru Govind Singh was the same as that of Guru Nanak: the God, the guru and the Granth remained unchanged.
But while Nanak had substituted holiness of life for vain ceremonial, Guru Govind Singh demanded in addition brave deeds and zealous devotion to the Sikh cause as proof of faith; and while he retained his predecessors' attitude towards the Hindu gods and worship he preached undying hatred to the persecutors of his religion.
The word Sikh literally means "learner," "disciple," and was the name given by the first guru Nanak to his followers.
The peculiar conciliatory tendencies of Kabir were carried on with even greater zeal from the latter part of the 15th century by one of his followers, Nanak Shah, the promulgator of the creed of the Nanak Shahis or Sikhs - i.e.