Anonymous said: Hey! So I read your posts about how Sikh youth nowadays don't know anything about Sikh weddings, and I agree. I'm one of the ignorant folk. :( Could you tell me what Anand Karaj is all about tho? It would be much appreciated.
Hi there!!! It would be my pleasure to answer this question. :) You’re not ignorant! You’re actively trying to find out information that hasn’t been told to you (and brown parents/Gurdware can often be amazing at that). Warning though, this post will be a tl;dr type of thing. Haha.
Weddings now have become a circus of pageantry, when the Guru Sahibaan prescribed a ceremony that was simple and meaningful. The sad thing is that the prescribed ceremony is treated like a ring-around-the-rosy around a textbook, and people are more preoccupied with the lesser, more cultural (often ritualistic) parts of the wedding.
The Sikh Anand Karaj starts at Keeta Lorhiye Kamm inside the Gurdwara Sahib (once the couple has made their entrance), and ends with the Ardaas, Hukamnama, and bhog of the degh (distribution of parshad). Everything before and after (including the lineup to give the bride and groom “sagan”) is completely cultural. I won’t get into whether observing cultural parts of weddings is good or bad, that should be up to your interpretation. :)
As for the Anand Karaj, it officially starts when the couple has arrived in the Darbar. It is customary for the couple to each present a Rumaalaa Sahib (covering cloth) for Sri Guru Granth Sahib when they come and do their mathha-ttek. This signifies giving Guru Maharaaj the honour of a King. Also, the groom should NOT wear a kalgi in Darbaar. It has not become kind of ritualistic to take of the kalgi and have that specially filmed, but according to Gurmat maryada, no person should wear a kalgi except for Kalgidhar Patshah, so the kalgi should be removed PRIOR to entering the Darbar, as the only royalty for us is Sri Guru Granth Sahib.
Keeta Lorhiye Kamm
This is a hymn that is recited to begin the Anand Karaj and it is a prayer to Guru Maharaaj to be ang-sang sahaee and help guide the procedures of the Anand Karaaj. The text for Keeta Lorhiye Kamm can be found HERE.
Chhoti Ardaas - First Hukamnama
After Keeta Lorhiye Kamm, an Ardaas (Prayer of Supplication) is made to ask Guru Sahib for permission to proceed with the wedding ceremony. The participants of this Ardaas vary. In some traditions, the couple, and their respected parents stand to perform this prayer, while in some traditions the entire sangat stands as witnesses to the union of the couple.
After the Ardaas, Guru Granth Sahib is opened at a random page and a Hukamnama is read. The Hukamnama is the Guru’s Command which instructs the to-be-wed couple on their life.
In a way, this separated the Anand Karaj from other wedding ceremonies, as the Anand Karaj is its own segment of a Gursikhi Jeevan. We do Ardaas and Hukamnama when we start a new chapter in our lives, so it may be the door to a new wedded life, but the ceremony itself is also its own chapter in our lives.
Palle Di Rassam
After the first Ardaas and Hukamnama, the shabad Palle Tende Laagi is recited. While this is being recited, an elder connects the couple with a palla, a long piece of cloth. While this shabad is recited during the physical connection of two people into one married couple, the shabad goes deeper into signifying our relationship with the Guru.
The Anand Karaj is different from other weddings in this way, as the couple isn’t really the focus of the ceremony. The Anand Karaj focuses on the unity between the individual soul becoming one with the Creator, and it is the Creator that them binds the two souls (thing of it as a water molecule, in which Waheguru is the oxygen and the couple are the hydrogens).
Once the Palle Di Rassam is done, the main part of the Anand Karaj begins, the Laavan. The text of the Laavan can be found HERE, and they’re divided into four sections. These Laavs instruct the soul how to elevate itself to reach the state of union with the Creator, and does not have any mention of the couple at all (as mentioned above, the centre of focus is the union with God). The Laavan are so deep that one could write an entire book just on them, but here is a very very VERY short overview of each Laav.
First Laav: Instructs the soul to let go of idolatry and focus on the One Lord.
Second Laav: Describes the process by which God Themselves calls you into Their Path, and the mind begins realizing Their Glory.
Third Laav: Describes the feeling of elation when the soul feels the warmth of God and disconnection it feels seeing how it is not united with God.
Fourth Laav: Describes the tranquility and bliss when the soul seamlessly merges with the One Creator, signifying that the seal between the couples’ souls has been made.
These Laavs are read one by one. First the Granthi reads the Laav from Guru Granth Sahib Ji and the couple listens while sitting or standing, the Raagis then sing the Laav, while the couple first prostrates, signifying their submission to the teachings of the Laav, and then circumambulate Guru Granth Sahib in a clockwise motion (once) to signify that Guru Ji is the centre of their universe, stand in front of Guru Sahib until the kirtan of the Laav is finished, then bow to signify their submission to God. This is repeated for all four Laavs.
To celebrate the completion of these Laavs, the first five lines and last line of Anand Sahib are sung to signify the couple being in a state of bliss after their spiritual, physical, and societal union.
Ardaas and Hukamnama
After all of this, the entire congregation stands in Ardaas to pray that the newly wed couple have a happy and prosperous life together. Guru Granth Sahib Ji is then opened up to another random page and a Hukamnama is delivered in which the Guru instructs the newly weds on how to live their lives together.
Degh is then offered as bhog, and distributed amongst the congregants as a benediction, and everyone then shares a communal meal or langar, celebrating the union as a community.
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The Anand Karaj is so beautiful and so special, and it’s an absolute pity that this jewel is not given the justice it deserves. You shouldn’t have to learn this on tumblr, and it’s not your fault that you have to. Our parents need to teach us these things, and if they don’t know themselves, they should be searching for answers themselves. Instead, we the parents tell the Granthis to speed up the Anand Karaj (aka the ACTUAL WEDDING) as much as possible so they can go back to their drinking and partying.
Furthermore, Gurdwara committees need to make it mandatory for couples to know the ins and outs of the Anand Karaj PRIOR to the wedding day. However, all they seem to care about is the wedding fee they collect.
Couples should also be more aware. You wouldn’t sign a contract without reading the contents, why carry out a spiritual contract without knowing what you’re doing?
I’m really thankful you asked this question my friend, and I apologize if I made any mistakes or offended anyone.
Bhul Chukk Muaaf Karni _/\_