Sikhism is a religion that began in fifteenth century in Northern India with the teachings of Shri Guru Nanak Dev Ji and nine successive Gurus. This system of religious philosophy and expression has been traditionally known as the Gurmat (literally the teachings of the gurus) or the Sikh Dharma. Sikhism comes from the word Sikh, which in turn comes from the Sanskrit root "Sikhya" meaning "disciple" or "learner", or Sikhya meaning "instruction". Sikhism is the fifth-largest religion in the world, and is generally considered the fifth largest organized religion, depending on how one defines an "organized religion"
The principal belief in Sikhism is faith in Vaheguru—represented using the sacred symbol of ek onkar. Sikhism advocates the pursuit of salvation through disciplined, personal meditation on the name and message of God. The followers of Sikhism are ordained to follow the teachings of the ten Sikh Gurus, or enlightened leaders, as well as the holy scripture—the Guru Granth Sahib—which includes the selected works of many authors from diverse socioeconomic and religious backgrounds. The text was decreed by Shri Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth guru, as the final guru of the Khalsa Panth. Sikhism's traditions and teachings are distinctly associated with the history, society and culture of the Punjab. Adherents of Sikhism are known as Sikhs (students or disciples) and number over 23 million across the world. However, most Sikhs live in the state of Punjab in India; prior to partition, millions of Sikhs lived in what is now the Punjab province of Pakistan.