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Anand Karaj (Weddings)

The Anand Karaj ceremony is conducted in the Prayer Hall of a Gurdwara in Punjabi, according to the principles set out in the Guru Granth Sahib Ji in the Gurmukhi Script.

The families and friends of the Bride and Groom gather in the Prayer Hall, for the the Anand Karaj – the blissful union.

The congregation assembles together in the presence of the Guru Granth Sahib (Holy Scripture). The Groom enters the hall and bows before Guru Granth Sahib Ji and awaits the bride. At the start if the Anand Karaj, both the bride and groom bow before Guru Granth Sahib Ji, and then sit side by side at the front of the hall. The couple and the parents stand up to offer Ardas (prayer), signifying the that the parents have given their blessing for the wedding to take place. Everyone else remains seated while the Ardas is read, a prayer for the success of the marriage. The musicians, who are called Ragis, sit on a low stage and sing the hymn ‘Keeta Loree-ai Kaam’, to seek Gods’s blessing and to convey a message thats a successful martial unions is achieved through grace:

Whatever work you wish to accomplish, tell it to the Lord Your affairs will be resolved the
True Guru gives his guarantee of truth
In the society of saints, you shall taste the treasure of the ambrosial nectar
The Lord who is the merciful destroyer of fear, preserves and protects those who serve him,
O Nanak, singing the glorious praises of God, ones see the unseen Lord (Shri Guru Granth Sahib)

The First Laav Hymn

The first round of the marriage ceremony, the Lord gives you His Instructions for performing the daily duties of married life. Instead of performing rituals by routine, embrace the righteous life of Dharma, and do nothing that separates you from God. Meditate on God Name. Embrace and practice Simran – the continuous remembrance of your True Identity. Worship and adore the Guru, the Perfect True Guru, and all the errors of your past shall be washed away. By your great destiny, you shall know that bliss which passes all understanding, and the Lord – Har, Har, will become sweet to your mind. Servant Nanak proclaims that in this first round, the marriage ceremony has begun.

The Third Laav Hymn

In the third round of the marriage ceremony your heart is filled with Divine Love. By my great destiny I have met the humble Saints who love the Lord and I have found God. I have found the pure Lord and I sing His Wonderful Praises. I speak the Word of the Lord Bani. By great destiny I have found the humble Saints and I speak the silent language of the Infinite. The Lord Name – Har, Har, Har, vibrates and resounds within my heart. Meditating on God, I have realized the great destiny inscribed upon my forehead. Servant Nanak proclaims that in this third round, the heart is full with Divine Love of the One God.

The Second Laav Hymn

In the second round of the marriage ceremony, the Lord guides you to meet the True Guru – the Primal teacher. Filled with the awe of the Infinite, your ego dissolves away. In awe of the One who is forever pure, sing His Wonderful Praises and see God in all. The Lord – the Supreme Soul, is the Master of the Universe. He fills everything, everywhere. He fills all spaces. Deep within you, and outside as well, there is only One God. God humble servants meet together and sing the songs of joy and ecstasy. Servant Nanak proclaims that in this second round, the music of the spheres resounds.

The Forth Laav Hymn

In the fourth round of the marriage ceremony I have found God and my mind is filled with peace. Living as a Gurmukh, I have met Him with simple ease. My mind and body are full of sweet delight. I am pleasing to God – and night and day I lovingly focus my awareness on the One. I have merged with my Lord and Master and all my desires are fulfilled. The Lord Name resounds and reverberates within me and all around me. The One God, my Lord and Master, merges with His Divine Bride and her heart blossoms with His Holy Naam. Servant Nanak proclaims that in this fourth round, we have become One with the Eternal Lord.

The couple are advised that the marriage is not merely a social and civil contract, but a spiritual process uniting two souls so that they become one inseparable entity.  The couple is reminded that the spiritual nature of family harmony is given emphasis by the example of the Sikh Gurus’ who themselves entered matrimony and had children:

The husband is to love and respect his wife, encourage her with kind consideration, recognise her individuality, regard her as his equal, offering guidance and support.

The wife is to show her love respect and loyalty, support her husband, harmonise with him, and share in happiness and sorrow, prosperity or adversity.

The couple are to ally themselves with each other in an endeavour to achieve a harmonious union, intellectually, emotionally, physically, materially and spiritually.

The Bride and Groom, affirm the acceptance of their martial obligations, and bow together before Guru Granth Sahib Ji. The bride sits to the left of the groom directly in front of the Guru Granth Sahib Ji.

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