Do Sikhs Believe in the Devil or Demons?

Egoism, the Concept of Evil in Sikhism

Person in a Demon Costume
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5 Influences of Egoism and Indulgence in Duality

Sikhism does not have a concept of the devil, or Satan as does Christianity, Islam, or Judaism. Sikhs believe that demons or devils are entities, or spirits which are driven solely by ego.

Sikhism teaches that indulgence of ego or homai is the prime cause of evil doing. Ego has five basic components:

  • Pride or Ahnkar
  • Lust or Kaam
  • Greed or Lobh
  • Attachment or Moh
  • Anger or Krodh

These five influences act as clamoring voices to distract, delude, and drive the senses of the individual soul. Sikhs believe that involvement with ego creates a state of vijog or duality that is the cause of all suffering. The soul in duality experiences homai, the disease of egotism resulting in sense of separation from the divine, which is the source of sorrow, and struggling.

13 Descriptions of Demons, Devils, and Evil Spirits in Gurbani

The scripture of Siri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS)  and describes the relationship of the soul to the influences of egoism. Gurbani identifies 13 evil inclinations of devilish, demonic, or satanic behaviors and beings as Asur, Badaphalee, Baetaal, Balaa, Bhoot, DaitDanav, Daanon, Doot, Dusatt, Jinn, Rakhas, and Saitaan.

  1. "Sukhdaataa dukh maettanno satigur asur sanghaar ||3||
    The peace giving, pain obliterating, True Enlightener demolishes destructive demons." SGGS||59
    "Asur saghaarann raam jamaaraa ||
    The demon destroyer is my Lord." SGGS|| ||1028
  1. "Badaphalee gaibaanaa khasam na jaannaee ||
    Foolish is the demonic evil doer whose master is not known." SGGS||142
  2. "Sach kaal koorr varathiaa kal kaalakh baetaal ||
    There is a famine of Truth where falsehood prevails, the blackness of the Dark Age has made men into demons." SGGS|| 468
  3. "Oue satigur aagai naa niveh ounaa antar krodh balle ||
    They bow not before the Ture Enlightener for within them is the demon anger." SGGS||41
    "Jab tae saadhoo sangat paa-ae|| Gur bhaetatt ho gee balaa-ae ||
    Since I obtained the Saint's society, and met with the Enlightener, the demon pride departed." SGGS 101
  1. "Praet bhoot sabh doojhai laa-ae ||
    The goblins and demonic beings all are caught in duality." SGGS || 841
  2. "Sant janaa kee nindaa kareh dusatt dait chirraa-i-aa ||3||
    The saintly person was slandered and provoked by the wicked demon." ||3|| SGGS ||1133
  3. Daev daanav gan gandhharab saajae sabh likhiaa karam kamaaidaa ||12||
    Demi gods, demons, heavenly heralds and celestial musicians all act according to the destiny of past deeds. SGGS||1038
  4. "Panch doot tae leeou chhaddaa-e ||
    From the five demons he rescued me." SGGS||331
    "kaam krodh bikraal doot sabh haariaa ||
    The dreadful demons of insatiable lustful desire and the wrath of unresolved anger, have all been overpowered and destroyed." SGGS ||854
  5. "Bikhai bikaar dusatt kirkhaa karae en taj aatamai hoe dhiaa-ee ||
    Within weed out evil, wickedness and corruption, leave these to become single minded and meditate." SGGS||23
    "Ehu sareer maa-i-aa kaa putalaa vich houmai dusattee paa-ee ||
    This body is mammon Maya's puppet within it is the evil of egotism infused." SGGS||31
  6. "Kalee andar naanakaa jinnaan daa aoutaar ||
    In the dark age O Nanak, the demons have taken birth.
    Put jinooraa dheea jinnooree joroo jinnaa daa sikdaar ||1||
    The son is a demon, the daughter a demon, and wife the He and She demon chief." ||1|| SGGS||556
  1. "Raakhas daanon daith lakh andar doojaa bhaao duhaelae ||
    Evil spirits and gigantic demonic beings by the hundred thousands are with duality imbued. Bhai Gurdas || Vaar 5
  2. "Chhod kataeb karai saitaanee ||
    They have forsaken religious scriptures and practice Satanic evil.SGGS||1161
  3. Baed kataeb bhulaa-ikai mohae laalach dunee saitaanae ||
    The Vedic texts and holy scriptures are forgotten, worldly attachments have led them astray in the devil's way." Bhai Gurdas || Vaar 1

Deliverance From Evil

Sikhism teaches that contemplation upon naam, the divine name, with each and every breath is the means to deliverance and salvation. Contemplation on the qualities of Ik Onkar, one inseparable creator, and creation, calms the voices of ego. Prayer and meditation on Waheguru offer the individual an opportunity to center the focus of the soul inwardly, ultimately achieving the blissful state of sanjog or unity in an awareness of being one with God.

  • Saas giraas sadaa man casai jyam joeh na sakhai tis ||
    With every breath and morsel of food taken the Lord ever abides in their mind, and the minister of death can not see them. SGGS||854