Most of the
living beings are acutely aware of their unfulfilled lives
and in need of their companionable complementary half. This
is true in the case of all wild life, birds, life in ocean
and even human beings. What distinguishes the
divine-oriented beings is that they have an even deeper
divine-yearning of self-realization and union with God, our
provides us the spiritual solace and guides to the spiritual
goal. It also suits eminently for observing all types of
occasions like birth, marriage, death, etc. Annand
Kaaraj is the Sikh way of solemnizing a marriage of
a couple while it also relates to the stages of progress of
individual soul for God-realization.
performance of Annand Kaaraj, there is participation of holy
congregation in the presence of Sri Guru Granth Sahib
for blessings and prayers for the success of the new married
life. The couple after obeisance present themselves directly
in front of Guru Sahib and take seats (groom on the right
side of the bride). The Ragi Jatha sing a Shabad of
invocation to start the proceedings of the ceremony for the
baptised Sikh couple.
Sri Rag ki vaar by the fourth Nanak
(Page 91 in Sri Guru Granth Sahib):
help at the commencement of a desired goal, to acknowledge
God as All-Powerful, Whose Will is ever done. Through such a
prayer in the light of Guru's Wisdom, success is assured. In
the company of holy ones, one acquires the wealth of God-Rememberance;
NAM. O, Dispeller of all fear! Benevolent God, save
the honour of Thy devotee. Thus, O Nanak, singing the Divine
Praise one establishes a link with the Divine.
congregational prayer is then recited, while standing in
presence of Guru Sahib for divine blessing with the
participation of all those present and for the specific
permission to proceed with the marriage ceremony of the
couple. The marriage is thus being witnessed and blessed by
Guru Sahib and all those present. The Divine Order (Hukamnama)
is then read from Sri Guru Granth Sahib.
are now ready to take the vow of marriage in unison by
circumbulating Sri Guru Granth Sahib, as the Divine
witness. For this, the bride holds the apron of the groom,
which her father offers her. This signifies his approval of
the marriage and unites in marriage to the boy. The Ragis
sing the following holy verse:
Salok by the
fifth Nanak (Page 993 in Sri Guru Granth Sahib):
This is a
depiction of the state of mind of the couple and selection
of the partner as the most appropriate one, as the
dependable one for the earthly sojourn. O my Lord, says
Nanak, I have given up both praise and slander of others.
All the worldly relations I find undependable and false.
Thus I now seek Thy shelter (this is the vow of
companionship through thick and thin of life, with changing
Thus we find,
that the marriage is through a deliberate and thoughtful
selection by the partners, affirmed and approved by the
parents and the community. The Divine seal in now affixed by
reciting the relevant text of LAVAN from Sri
Guru Granth Sahib. The couple circumbulate around Guru
Granth Sahib in accompaniment of the singing of a LAV
after its recitation from Sri Guru Granth Sahib. The
groom leads the bride while going around four times, once
after each LAV is recited and the Ragi Jatha is
singing the just recited LAV. Each time they come to
stand before Guru Sahib after the round, pay their obeisance
and take seats to listen to the recitation of the next LAV.
The Lavan may
be described as the stages the soul goes through for a
complete union with the Divine. The marital relationship has
been sublimated to such a union as the partners are supposed
to help each other in spiritual development besides
assisting in the worldly duties. They are to remain
God-conscious and become useful members of the family and
society at large.
Literally, a LAV
means severing old relationship to get into a new one. A
divine oriented soul is to severe the worldly attachment and
pride to be able to gain acceptance and finally merge with
God. The four LAVAN (by the Fourth Nanak at Page 773
in Sri Guru Granth Sahib) are the four stages that a
soul passes through before attaining the ultimate bliss.
These are as follows:
As a first
step, the Divine Wisdom leads one to engage in God
rememberance. The Divine Word in the heart makes one shun
all sinful activity. The following of Guru's teaching brings
harmony with righteous living, where there is no sin. It is
a Divine blessing that one develops love for God to enjoy
the high state of bliss. Says Nanak, that Nam-meditation is
the first step towards God-realization and leads to marriage
of Soul with the Divine. -1.
In the second
stage, the soul is sacrifice unto the Lord for the Divine
favour of meeting with the Guru, who is the source of Divine
Wisdom and the Divine Word. The Guru helps to dispel all the
fear due to self ego and instead induces the respectful awe
of God, the Almighty and pervading everywhere. The
individual through such perception engages in singing Divine
Praises, seeing God in all and everywhere. Says Nanak, such
is the second stage of the God-oriented. Such a one
experiences the unstruck Divine, ethereal music in a
blissful state. -2.
Pervading Lord, it is Thy favour, that the yearning for Thee
is developed in mind, as the third stage towards union with
Thee. Meeting the Lord for the fortunate ones is possible
through the company of holy ones. The pure one is sought
through singing his praises, Gurbani and thus imbibing the
Divine Virtues. The destined ones always have the Lord in
their minds. Says Nanak, at this third stage, one
experiences a strong yearning for the Lord. -3.
Purged of all
ego and worldliness, the mind attains to a perpetual sense
of bliss, a sense of equipoise and union with the Lord. This
is the outcome of Guru's teachings, which has evolved
God-Love in one's heart. Such ones are ever intoxicated with
the Elixir of Nam. Attainment of the highest objective of
life, union with the lord has gladdened the heart, which
sings Divine Nam. Through this Divine Grace, one is ever
blissful and in high spirits. Says Nanak, in this fourth
stage one attains the Eternal Lord! -4.
of the marriage ceremony brings immense satisfaction,
happiness and mood of thanksgiving. Now the Ragi Jatha
translate the feelings of the bride through the following Shabads:
in Sree Rag at Page 78 in Sree Guru Granth Sahib:
O, my father!
With guidance from the Guru, I have found my Lord and stand
united with Him through marriage. Divine Wisdom taught by
the Guru has banished the darkness of my ignorance. In the
light of Gurmat, I have found the precious jewel of Nam.
Nam-meditation has cured the affliction of my ego and I have
lost all self pride to become pure and humble before my
Lord. My Lord is Eternal, to be with me forever. O, my
father! I have been married to my Lord through Guru's
O, my father!
I ask for dowry of God's Nam. Give me the dress suits of
The wealth of
Nam shall make my marriage rich with glamour and serve me in
good stead. God love is what gives bliss and this gift is
bestowed on me through the grace of the Guru. This has
earned me repute and fame throughout. Such precious gift is
above everything of this world, as the most precious. All
other dowry exhibited by the egoistic people is mere show of
their self pride and is useless. O, my father! Bless me with
the dowry of God's Nam. -4.
in Wadhans Rag at Page 577 in Sree Guru Granth Sahib:
O, Lord! With
Thy Grace all my desires are fulfilled. Thou are the
repository of all the virtues, while I have none. How can I
describe Thy Praises adequately? Ignoring my lack of merit,
Thou have been Gracious to own me. Thus I feel all the
treasures have come to me and this has become an occasion of
celebration with the ethereal music. Says Nanak, I have
found my Lord husband and all my sufferings have ended.
is now on behalf of the Guru and the holy congregation to
congratulate the happy couple and shower blessings. This is
the culmination of the proceedings, which fills everybody,
specially the couple with blissfulness and thankfulness,
feeling of richness with humility. The Shabads could be:
in Sree Rag at Page 44 in Sree Guru Granth Sahib:
O, my mind!
dwell thou on Nam Divine. Without God in mind, all else is
the web of worldliness and of no consequence. -Pause.
if bestowed, brings in all blessings. Singing praises of the
Lord, the human life becomes successful in reaching its
goal. Such destiny is realised through teachings of the
Guru, if so destined. -1.
A favour of
the Guru is like acquisition of a million of Kingdoms and
happiness. Even a momentary dwelling in Nam brings peace to
body and mind. Only the fortunate ones take the shelter of
the lotus feet of the Guru. -2.
time is well spent, that one
love to the Eternal Lord. With the support of the Nam, there
is no pain
Those ferried by the Guru only cross the ocean of worldly
Holy is the
place of holy gathering. The shelter of holy congregation is
the blessing of the Guru, where, O, Nanak, there is no fear
of death, rebirth or weakening with age. This is a house of
absolute bliss. -4.
in Gujree Rag at Page 496 in Sree Guru Granth Sahib:
This is the blessing of thy parent! May thou never forget
the Lord even for a moment, ever engaged in contemplation of
always thou on Him, the Limitless One, to banish all thy
afflictions and sorrows and bring solace even to your
departed elders in the hereafter. -1.
May the True
Guru bless thee with love for the holy ones. May the Lord
shield thy honour and bless thee with the spiritual food of
daily singing of Divine Praises. -2.
Nectar of Nam to become immortal and enjoy forever the bliss
of Nam-meditation. May thou never grieve, dwelling in peace
and complete satisfaction. -3.
May thy mind
be ever engrossed with lotus feet of the Lord, like the rain
bird yearning for the rain drop. Thus, says Nanak, may thou
ever dwell with the Lord. -4.
then sing the six stanzas of Annand Sahib. Final prayer of
thanks giving and to invoke divine blessings for the new
couple's long life, which may be purposeful, of personal
satisfaction, service to the community and abiding faith in
all the Sikh tenets. After the prayer the Divine Order from Sree
Guru Granth Sahib is read.
distribution of Karah Prasad and closing of the ceremony, it
is customary for an elderly member or a preacher to address
the couple on behalf of the holy congregation. This is for
congratulating and blessing them as also to delineate the
important facets of their new life, together on somewhat
following lines in the light of Guru's Wisdom:
together calls for understanding and adjustment with
readiness to sacrifice personal comfort and convenience.
The happiness lies in giving.
topmost virtue is the use of sweet words together with
humility and forgiveness. A person with these virtues
always wears a winning smile and ensures smooth life for
himself/herself and all around.
lays all the emphasis on its command to stress
faithfulness in marriage between the couple to the
extent that coveting another man/woman earns the highest
life together requires the same respect and love for
each other's parents and all other relations. Thus,
marriage also includes bringing the two families in a
- The true
marriage is union of the two souls with two bodies,
working in unison for mutual fulfilment spiritually and
in performance of all duties.
- Keeping in
touch with the Holy scripture, the Living Guru. Sri
Guru Granth Sahib will provide all the wisdom to
tread on the path of life of good householders and
Thus, the ANNAND KAARAJ ceremony comes to a close.