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Anand Karaj

Anand Karaj - Sikh Marriage Ceremony


1. Introduction

1.1 What does Anand Karaj mean?

2. Important Features

3. Gurdwara

3.1 Etiquette and Protocol

4. Summary of Procedure

5. History of Anand Karaj

5.1 How did Anand Karaj begin?

5.2 What is Anand Marriage?

6. Rituals before Anand Karaj

7. A Wedding Sermon

8. The Main Ceremony

8.1 Procedure

8.2 Pre-Wedding Sabad 'Keeta Loree-ai Kaam'

8.3 Pre-Wedding Sabad 'Pallai Thaiddai Laagee'

8.4 The Four Laavan

8.5 Post-Wedding Sabad 'Viyah Hooa Mere Baabla'

8.6 Post-Wedding Sabad 'Puree Asa Ji Mansaa Mere Ram'

9. Anand Sanskar

8.1 Note

10. Rituals after Anand Karaj


Anand Karaj (or, Anand Sanskar) is the Sikh marriage ceremony introduced by Sri Guru Amar Das Ji. The four Laavan (marriage sabads which take place during the marriage ceremony) were composed by his successor, Sri Guru Ram Das Ji.

Anand Karaj is governed by the Sikh Reht Maryada (Sikh code of conduct and conventions) issued by the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC).

The Sri Akal Takht Sahib has issued a verdict, via a Hukumnama, that Anand Karaj can only take place in a Gurdwara. Any Amritdhari Sikh (one who taken Amrit) may perform the marriage ceremony.

The Anand Karaj is a religious ceremony and not a Punjabi cultural ceremony as some seem to believe. The core of the Anand Karaj is the 'Laavan' where sabads are sung and both husband and wife complete 'Pakarima' (circumambulations) around Guru Granth Sahib Ji.

The ceremony serves to provide Sikhs with core principles towards unity with God and a successful marriage.

What does Anand Karaj mean?

What does Anand Karaj mean? Anand means 'happy' or 'joyful' and Karaj means 'to do' or 'act towards'. So Anand Karaj literally means 'act towards happiness'. Note, 'act towards happiness' means to act with God in mind.

Sometimes, Anand Karaj is translated as 'blissful or joyful union' to highlight its significance with marriage. In the Sikh Reht Maryada, the formal term for Anand Karaj is 'Anand Sanskar' which translates as 'joyful ceremony'.

Important Features

The Anand Karaj is a significant commitment, and shouldn't be taken lightly. When a couple marries with Guru Granth Sahib Ji's blessings, they are committing not just to each other, but also to the Guru, and spending their lives in accordance with the Guru's instructions and teachings. The couple will live merged with each other through God. The following are other important points that must be adhered to by the Sikh couple and their families:

• Both partners must be Sikhs.

• Marriage is a partnership of equals.

• No consideration is to be given to caste, social status, race or lineage.

• No dowry is allowed.

• No day is considered holier than any other; No astrological considerations are to be made; No superstitions are to be observed in fixing the date of the wedding.

• The religious ceremony to take place in a Gurdwara or home of the bride in the presence of Guru Granth Sahib.

• The religious ceremony must NOT take place in a hotel, wedding palace or banqueting hall.

• The burden of the cost of the wedding should be shared as equally as possible.


The Gurdwara is where Sikh marriages normally take place.

The literal translation of the term Gurdwara is 'the Guru's door', but it also means 'the gateway to the Guru'. Any place where the Guru Granth Sahib is installed and treated with due respect according to Sikh Rehat Maryada (the Sikh code of conduct and convention) can be referred to as a Gurdwara, whether it is a room in one's own house or a separate building. A Gurdwara is a place of worship for Sikhs; however, people of all faiths are welcomed in the Gurdwara.

Etiquette and Protocol

This section is prepared for the benefit of the first time visitor to the Gurdwara.

The following etiquette should be observed in the Gurdwara:

Do not enter the Gurdwara after smoking, drinking alcohol, taking drugs or any other intoxicants.

Before entering the main hall:
1. Turn off or switch mobile phones to silent,
2. Take off your shoes,
3. Wash your hands,
4. Cover your head,
5. Think of God/ the Guru.

Upon entering the hall (where the Guru Granth Sahib is present):
1. Fold both your hands and walk forward slowly.
2. Bow humbly and touch your forehead to the ground out of respect for the Guru Granth Sahib. As you bow, place your offering respectfully before the Guru, it may be money, a flower, or a word of thanks. Any sincere expression of gratitude is equally acceptable to the Guru.
3. After bowing and offering, sit in the "Sangat" (the congregation) quietly without disturbing others. Usually men sit on one side and women on the other side. Sometimes families, particularly those with young children, sit together.
4. Sit comfortably and peacefully, the cross legged position is commonly used, but do not point your feet in the direction of the Guru Granth Sahib.
5. Do not talk, gossip or chew gum.

The usual sequence of events (service) in the Gurdwara is:
1. Kirtan: The singing of the holy sabads - Gurbani (generally with the Harmonium and Tabla).
2. Katha/ Gurbani Vichar: The reading of the holy sabads followed by explanation or a sermon or talk appropriate for the occasion. Recitation portions of a scripture followed by the 'Anand Sahib'.
3. The Ardaas.

To join in the Ardaas:
1. Stand straight with folded hands and think of the Guru.
2. Sing together 'Too Thakur Tum Peh Ardaas'
3. After the Ardaas, continue standing, and sing, 'Aage-aa bha-ee Akal kee, Tabhee Chala-io Panth'.
4. The Ardaas concludes with the Jakara. "Boley So Neehal.......Sat sri Akal".
5. Then sit quietly. The person sitting behind the Guru Granth Sahih will read the Hukam, the Guru's message or 'Order' to the Sangat.
Upon completion of the Hukam, Karah Parsad is distributed to the Sangat. (This is a sweet pudding made of flour, sugar and clarified butter that is offered as ceremonial food.)

Finally, Langar (food from the Guru's kitchen) may be served.

Summary of Procedure


Horses are traditionally used for the arrival of the groom

1. Departure of Barat (Groom) and Reception of Barat (at marriage location)

2. Milnea (means "Introductions") (Optional)

3. Ardas (traditional prayer)

4. Refreshments (Optional)

5. Anand Karaj (Main Wedding Ceremony)

        a) Kirtan

        b) Groom is seated facing the Guru Granth Sahib and is then joined by the Bride

        c) Ardas (for marriage couple and parents only) and Speech by Giani

        d) Kirtan - Keetaa loree-ai kam

        e) Palaa and Sabad

        f) Laavan – Four rounds where Granthi reads and Ragis sing

        g) Final Kirtan and Speech

        h) Ardas – The whole congregation

        i) Hukumnama - A short reading from the Guru Granth Sahib

        j) Karah Parshad – Blessed "Sweet pudding" is served to all

6. Lunch or Langar

7. Departure of Doli (marriage couple)

8. Wedding Reception/ Party (This is NOT part of the Sikh faith)

History of Anand Karaj

In 1579, the fifth Guru, Sri Guru Arjan Sahib Ji and Mata Ganga were the first couple to be married through the Anand Karaj ceremony.

How did Anand Karaj begin?

The history of Anand marriage ceremony is traced back to the time of Sri Guru Amar Das (1479–1574), who composed the long 40-stanza sabad Anand, in the Ramkali measure, suitable to be sung or recited on all occasions of religious importance. His successor, Sri Guru Ram Das, composed a four-stanza sabad, Laavan, which is recited and sung to solemnize nuptials.

What is Anand Marriage?

The Anand form has been observed since the early days of Sikhism. Sikh boys and girls are married according to this form when they are grown-up and fit to undertake matrimonial responsibilities. Marriages are generally arranged and assisted by parents though there is no bar to the boy and the girl fixing it on their own.

The marriage ceremony is simple but impressive. The bride and the bridegroom along with their relatives and friends form a congregation with the Granth Sahib in their midst. The couple and their parents stand up and an Ardas is offered seeking God's blessings.

The person in charge of the function addresses the bride and the bridegroom individually and explains their duties in the new life they are about to enter. Anand marriage is a sacrament. The Guru is a witness to the marriage. No writing or document is necessary.

The bridegroom is to vow fidelity to the wife - Istribrat Dharam, while the bride is to vow fidelity to her husband - Patibrat Dharam. The husband is to protect the life and honour of his wife while she to remain content with the lifestyle of her husband and the treatment in the husband's house.

The couple signify their consent by bowing before Guru Granth Sahib. Then a scarf (palla) is placed in the hands of the bride and groom, creating a link between the two. The Granthi or the officiating person reads the laavan - the epithalamium of Guru Ramdas. The Groom, holding his end of the palla, walks to the left and clockwise around the Guru Granth during each laavan (the bride follows him holding onto her end of the palla), as the ragis repeat and sing the words of the Laavan.

Rituals before Anand Karaj

Other than Ardas, Kirtan and the Laavan (actual marriage ceremony) there should be no other rituals.

Taking part in Punjabi or Western 'cultural rituals' negates the benefit of Anand Karaj taking place in front of Sri Guru Granth Sahib.

ਮਨਮੁਖਿ ਅੰਧੇ ਸੁਧਿ ਨ ਕਾਈ ॥
Manmukh andhe sudh na kaaee ||
The blind Manmukh have no understanding at all.

~ Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Guru Amar Das, Ang 118

ਮਨਮੁਖਿ ਝੂਠੋ ਝੂਠੁ ਕਮਾਵੈ ॥
Manmukh jhootho jhooth kamaavai ||
The Manmukh practices falsehood, only falsehood.

~ Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Guru Amar Das, Ang 363

A Wedding Sermon

All the Sikh ceremonies are very simple. They are based primarily on the principle:

ਜਾਲਉ ਐਸੀ ਰੀਤਿ ਜਿਤੁ ਮੈ ਪਿਆਰਾ ਵੀਸਰੈ ॥
Jāla▫o aisī rīṯ jiṯ mai pi▫ārā vīsrai ||
Set fire to such rituals and ceremonies that lead me away from my beloved.

~ Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Guru Nanak, Ang 590

The ceremony of marriage is also simple. It consists of prayer and vow. All ceremonies, in fact whether of joy or of sorrow, begin and end with prayer. The Guru says:

ਕੀਤਾ ਲੋੜੀਐ ਕੰਮੁ ਸੁ ਹਰਿ ਪਹਿ ਆਖੀਐ ॥ ਕਾਰਜੁ ਦੇਇ ਸਵਾਰਿ ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਸਚੁ ਸਾਖੀਐ ॥
Keeta loree-ai kaam so har pehi aakheeai || Kaaraj dhaee savaar sathigur sach saakheeai ||
Whatever work you wish to accomplish-tell it to God. God will resolve your affairs; the true Guru gives it's guarantee of truth.

~ Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Guru Nanak, Ang 91

The message of the Lavaan is for the merger with a higher spiritual being, and marriage is used as a metaphor for seeking the merger.

ਧਨ ਪਿਰੁ ਏਹਿ ਨ ਆਖੀਅਨਿ ਬਹਨਿ ਇਕਠੇ ਹੋਇ ॥ ਏਕ ਜੋਤਿ ਦੁਇ ਮੂਰਤੀ ਧਨ ਪਿਰੁ ਕਹੀਐ ਸੋਇ ॥੩॥
Ḏẖan pir ehi na ākẖī▫an bahan ikṯẖe ho▫e || Ėk joṯ ḏu▫e mūrṯī ḏẖan pir kahī▫ai so▫e. ||3||
They are not said to be husband and wife, who merely sit together. They alone are called husband and wife, who have one light in two bodies.

~ Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Guru Ram Das, Ang 788

Sikhism is not a way of renunciation. For our salvation, realization of truth, to find and attain God, we do not have to give up our homes and wander in the woods and wilderness. God pervades in us all. As the Guru has said:

ਕਾਹੇ ਰੇ ਬਨ ਖੋਜਨ ਜਾਈ ॥ ਪੁਹਪ ਮਧਿ ਜਿਉ ਬਾਸੁ ਬਸਤੁ ਹੈ ਮੁਕਰ ਮਾਹਿ ਜੈਸੇ ਛਾਈ ॥੧॥
Kāhe re ban kẖojan jā▫ī || Sarab nivāsī saḏā alepā ṯohī sang samā▫ī. ||1||
Why do you go looking for God in the forest? Although God is unattached, God dwells everywhere. God is always with you as your companion.

~ Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Guru Tegh Bahadur, Ang 684

The Main Ceremony

The fundamental beliefs of Sikhism, articulated in the sacred scripture Guru Granth Sahib, include prayer and faith on the name of God, unity of all humankind, engaging in selfless service, striving for social justice for the benefit and prosperity of all, and honest conduct and livelihood while living a householder's life.


1. To begin, the brides family await the groom and his family at the Gurdwara courtyard. When the groom and his family arrive milnea (means "introductions") take place.

2. This is begun by an Ardas (usually by the Gurdwara Granthi) and then an introduction of the main family members. It is not essential to conduct a milnea.

3. After refeshemnts (optional) the families and friends of both the bride and groom gather in the Gurdwara (or location of Sri Guru Granth Sahib) for the Anand Karaj.

4. Wedding guests bow before the Sri Guru Granth Sahib and assemble together. sabads are sung as men and boys sit to one side of a central isle, and the woman and girls to the other. Every one sits on the floor reverently with legs crossed and folded.

5. The groom enters the Darbar (main hall) and bows in front of Sri Guru Granth Sahib and then sits on the side of the hall designated for men.

6. Just before the bride is to enter, the groom is seated in front of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib altar by a granthi.

7. The bride then enters escorted by her brother or either her entire family or select family members.

8. The bride bows in front of Sri Guru Granth Sahib and sits (with her sisters and bhabis (brother's wives) around her) side by side with the groom, who on the right hand side facing the Sri Guru Granth Sahib.

9. At this point, the groom's sisters and bhabis may sit behind him (optional).

Note: At some stage, a ramala is given to the Sri Guru Granth Sahib either by the bride or groom or their families, out of respect.

10. The musicians, who are called ragis, sit on a low stage and sing the sabad, "Keeta Loree-ai Kaam", to seek God's blessing and to convey a message that a successful marital union is achieved through grace.

11. The couple and their parents stand up to signify that they have given their consent for the wedding to take place. Every one else remains seated while a Sikh offers Ardas, a prayer for the success of the marriage.

12. A Sikh wedding official counsels the couple with the verse "Dhan Pir Eh Na Akhee-an". They are advised that 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, recognize her individuality, regard her as his equal, offering guidance and support.

• The wife is to show her love and respect with loyalty, support her husband's objectives willingly, harmonize 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.

13. The bride's father (or one acting in his stead) takes a palla (a long scarf or length of turban cloth) and places it in the hands of the bride and groom. This is to signify, the couples future responsibilities to each other.

The ragis sing the sabad: "Pallai Taiddai Lagee" symbolizing joining the couple by the palla to each other and God.

14. The Laavan, the Four Wedding Rounds, begin.

The Groom, holding his end of the palla, walks to the left and clockwise around the Guru Granth during each laavan (the bride follows him holding onto her end of the palla), as the ragis sing the words of the Laavan. After every circle, the bride and groom should stay standing until the words of the Laavan are complete and then bow before the Sri Guru Granth Sahib, lowering their forehead to touch the ground and then sit to listen to the recitation of the next Laav. The couple makes their first marital adjustment by keeping in step with each other. The 2nd, 3rd and final 4th round, are conducted in the same manner. After the final round the couple bow and sit in front of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib.

Summary of the First Round - Follow the way of 'Dharma'

The first phera or walk around the Guru Granth Sahib instructs the couple to follow the way of 'Dharma' (Dharma means the path of righteousness, proper religious practice and one's own moral duties toward God). The first phera announces the commencement of the marriage ceremony with emphasis on spiritual awakening and togetherness by meditating on God's name.

• Commit to righteousness. Always be truthful and tread the path of Dharma.
• Renounce sinful actions. Never consider treading on the path of falsehood and deception.
• Remember, mediate and embrace God and recite God's naam.
• Only by good fortune, is real peace obtained. God seems sweet to the mind.
• Worship the one Waheguru and all your sins will vanish.
• With these principles on-board, together you begin the first stage of marriage.

Summary Second Round - Seek the path of the true Guru

In the second round of pheras, the couple is urged to seek the path of the true Guru. There is emphasis on freeing the mind of fear, removing the self of ego and filling the mind and space with soulful spiritual songs of joy.

• In the second round, the Guru asks the partners to advance further towards meeting the True Guru - God, the spiritual destiny of all humans:
• The Guru leads you to meet the True Guru, the primal being - the enlightener
• Only have fear of fearless God and no one else, live in hukam;
• And thus all the filth of your own ego will disappear from your mind.
• with humility before God, sing God's praises and feel God's presence within you both.
• Perpetual bliss will gather and you will feel on top of the world;
• You will see God everywhere, deep within you and outside; always sing of God in joy;
• In the second round, the divine music (Anhad-Sabad) will resound.

Summary Third Round - Soul filled with divinity and love

In the third phera, the soul is said to be filled with divinity and love, by the good fortune of God. The heart and mind is filled with love for the God, invoking the couple to fulfill their destiny by contemplating on the greatness of God.

• In the third round, the Guru says that the partners' minds are filled with 'divine love':
• There is great anticipation and expectation in the minds of these cosmic travellers;
• In the company of saintly people this mind is calmed down and settled.
• Meeting the Sadh Sangat (holy congregation), which is only obtained by good fortune;
• Sahaj path is found. The Guru instructs that - Together speak the Word of God's holy bani,
• Recite Gurbani and sing the glorious praises of God. Naam will resound within your hearts;
• In this state of bliss your unique destiny will be realized as inscribed 'upon your foreheads'.
• Knowing your future destiny; divine love will be awakened within you.

Summary Fourth Round - Peace of mind and union with God

The fourth and final phera implies a peace of mind and having found union with God. It proclaims the sweet and fruitful state of mind where the heart and mind is finally one with God. The bride and groom are now blessed with the grace of God to begin their life together.

• In the final round, the Guru says that following these instructions, the partners' minds become peaceful and they will have found God:
• God is found and calmness (sahaj) engulf your minds; deep peace dwells within.
• God's Will seems sweet to these Gurmukhs - they will be perfectly happy and satisfied with their lives.
• You will lovingly focus your consciousness on God, day and night.
• All your desires will be fulfilled; all your mind's desires will have born fruits - complete contentment will be achieved.
• The souls together will blend together and experience Waheguru and only the true Naam will occupy their hearts and minds.

15. The entire congregation then sings "Anand Sahib", the "Song of Bliss". The sabad emphasizes the fusing of two souls into one as they merge with the divine.

16. Conclusion, the ragis sing two sabads to complete the ceremony:

"Viyah Hooa Mere Babla" - celebrates the marriage of the couple and their union with God.

"Puree Asa Ji Mansaa Mere Ram" - describes the happiness at having found the perfect partner.

17. Every one stands for the final Ardas. After it has been said, everyone bows, and resumes sitting.

18. A Sikh reads a random verse from the Guru Granth Sahib, called a Hukamnama, which concludes the ceremony.

19. Lastly, everyone is served a handful of Karah Parsad. This is a sweet pudding made of flour, sugar and clarified butter that is offered as ceremonial food.

20. The married couple and their families, express thanks to all present for taking part in the celebration outside the main prayer hall. The wedding party guests congratulate the married couple.

21. Everyone gathers in the langar hall to eat.

Pre-Wedding Sabad 'Keeta Loree-ai Kaam'

This Sabad is by Guru Nanak Sahib Ji in Siree Raag:

ਪਉੜੀ ॥
ਕੀਤਾ ਲੋੜੀਐ ਕੰਮੁ ਸੁ ਹਰਿ ਪਹਿ ਆਖੀਐ ॥ ਕਾਰਜੁ ਦੇਇ ਸਵਾਰਿ ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਸਚੁ ਸਾਖੀਐ ॥
ਸੰਤਾ ਸੰਗਿ ਨਿਧਾਨੁ ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤੁ ਚਾਖੀਐ ॥ ਭੈ ਭੰਜਨ ਮਿਹਰਵਾਨ ਦਾਸ ਕੀ ਰਾਖੀਐ ॥
ਨਾਨਕ ਹਰਿ ਗੁਣ ਗਾਇ ਅਲਖੁ ਪ੍ਰਭੁ ਲਾਖੀਐ ॥੨੦॥

Pauree ॥
Keeta loree-ai kaam so har pehi aakheeai ॥ Kaaraj dhaee savaar sathigur sach saakheeai ॥
Sa(n)thaa sa(n)g nidhhaan a(n)mrith chaakheeai ॥ Bhai bha(n)jan miharavaan dhaas kee raakheeai ॥
Nanak har gun gaae alakh prabh laakheeai ॥20॥

Whatever work you wish to accomplish-tell it to God. God will resolve your affairs; the true Guru gives it's guarantee of truth.
In the society of the saints, you shall taste the treasure of the ambrosial nectar. God is the merciful destroyer of fear; God preserves and protects God's slaves.
O Nanak, sing glorious praises, and see the unseen God. ॥20॥

~ Sri Guru Granth Sahib, Guru Nanak, Ang 91

Pre-Wedding Sabad 'Pallai Thaiddai Laagee'

This Sabad is by Guru Arjan Sahib Ji in Raag Raamkalee, symbolizing joining the couple by the palla to each other and God.

ਸਲੋਕ ਮਃ ੫ ॥
ਉਸਤਤਿ ਨਿੰਦਾ ਨਾਨਕ ਜੀ ਮੈ ਹਭ ਵਞਾਈ ਛੋੜਿਆ ਹਭੁ ਕਿਝੁ ਤਿਆਗੀ ॥
ਹਭੇ ਸਾਕ ਕੂੜਾਵੇ ਡਿਠੇ ਤਉ ਪਲੈ ਤੈਡੈ ਲਾਗੀ ॥੧॥

Salok Mehla 5॥
Ousathath ni(n)dhaa naanak ji mai habh van(j)aaee shhorriaa habh kijh thiaagee॥
Habhae saak koorraavae ddit(h)ae tho pallai thaiddai laagee ॥1॥

Salok, Fifth Mehla:
I have totally discarded praise and slander, O Nanak; I have forsaken and abandoned everything.
I have seen that all relationships are false, and so I have grasped hold of the hem of your robe, God. ॥1॥

~ Sri Guru Granth Sahib, Guru Arjan, Ang 963

The Four Laavan

Laavan: Wedding Sabads

First Laavan

ਸੂਹੀ ਮਹਲਾ ੪ ॥
Soohee Mehlaa 4 ||
Soohee, Fourth Mehl:

ਹਰਿ ਪਹਿਲੜੀ ਲਾਵ ਪਰਵਿਰਤੀ ਕਰਮ ਦ੍ਰਿੜਾਇਆ ਬਲਿ ਰਾਮ ਜੀਉ ॥
Har pehlrree laav parvirtee karam drirraya balram jeo ||
In the first round of the marriage ceremony, God sets out instructions for performing the daily duties of married life.

ਬਾਣੀ ਬ੍ਰਹਮਾ ਵੇਦੁ ਧਰਮੁ ਦ੍ਰਿੜਹੁ ਪਾਪ ਤਜਾਇਆ ਬਲਿ ਰਾਮ ਜੀਉ ॥
Bani brahama ved dharm drirro paap tajaa-i-aa balram jeo ||
Instead of the sabads of the vedas to vrahma, embrace the righteous conduct of dharma, and renounce sinful actions.

ਧਰਮੁ ਦ੍ਰਿੜਹੁ ਹਰਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਧਿਆਵਹੁ ਸਿਮ੍ਰਿਤਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਦ੍ਰਿੜਾਇਆ ॥
Dharam drirro harnaam dhiavo simrat naam drirraya ||
Meditate on God's Name; embrace and enshrine the contemplative remembrance of the naam.

ਸਤਿਗੁਰੁ ਗੁਰੁ ਪੂਰਾ ਆਰਾਧਹੁ ਸਭਿ ਕਿਲਵਿਖ ਪਾਪ ਗਵਾਇਆ ॥
Satgur gur poora aarodho sabh kilvikh paap gavi-aa ||
Worship and adore the Guru, the perfect true Guru, and all your sins shall be dispelled.

ਸਹਜ ਅਨੰਦੁ ਹੋਆ ਵਡਭਾਗੀ ਮਨਿ ਹਰਿ ਹਰਿ ਮੀਠਾ ਲਾਇਆ ॥
Sehaj anand ho-aa vadbhagi mun har har meethaa laa-i-aa ||
By great good fortune, celestial bliss is attained, and God, Har, Har, seems sweet to the mind.

ਜਨੁ ਕਹੈ ਨਾਨਕੁ ਲਾਵ ਪਹਿਲੀ ਆਰੰਭੁ ਕਾਜੁ ਰਚਾਇਆ ॥੧॥
Jan kahai Nanak laav pehlee arambh kaaj rachaa-i-aa || 1 ||
Servant Nanak proclaims that, in this, the first round of the marriage ceremony, the marriage ceremony has begun. || 1 ||

Second Laavan

ਹਰਿ ਦੂਜੜੀ ਲਾਵ ਸਤਿਗੁਰੁ ਪੁਰਖੁ ਮਿਲਾਇਆ ਬਲਿ ਰਾਮ ਜੀਉ ॥
Har doojrhee laav satgur purakh milaya balram jeo ||
In the second round of the marriage ceremony, God leads you to meet the true Guru.

ਨਿਰਭਉ ਭੈ ਮਨੁ ਹੋਇ ਹਉਮੈ ਮੈਲੁ ਗਵਾਇਆ ਬਲਿ ਰਾਮ ਜੀਉ ॥
Nirbhao bhey mun ho-ay humai meil gavi-aa balram jeo ||
With the fear of God, the fearless God in the mind, the filth of egotism is eradicated.

ਨਿਰਮਲੁ ਭਉ ਪਾਇਆ ਹਰਿ ਗੁਣ ਗਾਇਆ ਹਰਿ ਵੇਖੈ ਰਾਮੁ ਹਦੂਰੇ ॥
Nirmal bhao paiya har gun gaa-i-aa har vekheh ram hadooreh ||
In the fear of God, sing glorious praises and behold God's presence before you.

ਹਰਿ ਆਤਮ ਰਾਮੁ ਪਸਾਰਿਆ ਸੁਆਮੀ ਸਰਬ ਰਹਿਆ ਭਰਪੂਰੇ ॥
Har aatam ram pasaari-aa suami sarab rihya bharpooray ||
God, the supreme soul, is the master of the universe; God is pervading and permeating everywhere, filling all spaces.

ਅੰਤਰਿ ਬਾਹਰਿ ਹਰਿ ਪ੍ਰਭੁ ਏਕੋ ਮਿਲਿ ਹਰਿ ਜਨ ਮੰਗਲ ਗਾਏ ॥
Antar baahar har prabh eko mil har jan mangal gaaeh ||
Deep within, and outside as well, there is only the one God. Meeting together, the humble servants of God sing the songs of joy.

ਜਨ ਨਾਨਕ ਦੂਜੀ ਲਾਵ ਚਲਾਈ ਅਨਹਦ ਸਬਦ ਵਜਾਏ ॥੨॥
Jan Nanak dooji laav chlaaee unhudh sabad vajaeh || 2 ||
Servant Nanak proclaims that, in this, the second round of the marriage ceremony, the unstruck sound current of the sabad resounds. || 2 ||

Third Laavan

ਹਰਿ ਤੀਜੜੀ ਲਾਵ ਮਨਿ ਚਾਉ ਭਇਆ ਬੈਰਾਗੀਆ ਬਲਿ ਰਾਮ ਜੀਉ ॥
Har teejrhee laav man chao bhiya bairagia balram jeo ||
In the third round of the marriage ceremony, the mind is filled with divine love.

ਸੰਤ ਜਨਾ ਹਰਿ ਮੇਲੁ ਹਰਿ ਪਾਇਆ ਵਡਭਾਗੀਆ ਬਲਿ ਰਾਮ ਜੀਉ ॥
Sant jana har mail har paiya vadbhagia balram jeo ||
Meeting with the humble saints of God, I have found God, by great good fortune.

ਨਿਰਮਲੁ ਹਰਿ ਪਾਇਆ ਹਰਿ ਗੁਣ ਗਾਇਆ ਮੁਖਿ ਬੋਲੀ ਹਰਿ ਬਾਣੀ ॥
Nirmal har paayia hargoon gaiya mukh boli har bani ||
I have found God, I sing the glorious praises of God and I speak the word of God's bani.

ਸੰਤ ਜਨਾ ਵਡਭਾਗੀ ਪਾਇਆ ਹਰਿ ਕਥੀਐ ਅਕਥ ਕਹਾਣੀ ॥
Sant jina vadbhagi paaya har kathieh akath kahaani ||
By great good fortune, I have found the humble saints, and I speak the unspoken speech of God.

ਹਿਰਦੈ ਹਰਿ ਹਰਿ ਹਰਿ ਧੁਨਿ ਉਪਜੀ ਹਰਿ ਜਪੀਐ ਮਸਤਕਿ ਭਾਗੁ ਜੀਉ ॥
Hirdai har har har dhun oopji har japieh mustak bhaag jeo ||
The name of God, Har, Har, Har, vibrates and resounds within my heart; meditating on God, I have realized the destiny inscribed upon my forehead.

ਜਨੁ ਨਾਨਕੁ ਬੋਲੇ ਤੀਜੀ ਲਾਵੈ ਹਰਿ ਉਪਜੈ ਮਨਿ ਬੈਰਾਗੁ ਜੀਉ ॥੩॥
Jan Nanak boley tiji laavai har oopjay mun bairaag jeo || 3 ||
Servant Nanak proclaims that, in this, the third round of the marriage ceremony, the mind is filled with divine love for God. || 3 ||

Forth Laavan

ਹਰਿ ਚਉਥੜੀ ਲਾਵ ਮਨਿ ਸਹਜੁ ਭਇਆ ਹਰਿ ਪਾਇਆ ਬਲਿ ਰਾਮ ਜੀਉ ॥
Har chau-tharhee laav mun sehaj bhiya har paaiyua balram jeo.
In the fourth round of the marriage ceremony, my mind has become peaceful; I have found God.

ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਮਿਲਿਆ ਸੁਭਾਇ ਹਰਿ ਮਨਿ ਤਨਿ ਮੀਠਾ ਲਾਇਆ ਬਲਿ ਰਾਮ ਜੀਉ ॥
Gurmukh milia subhaey har mun tun mitha laaya balram jeo ||
As Gurmukh, I have met God, with intuitive ease; God seems so sweet to my mind and body.

ਹਰਿ ਮੀਠਾ ਲਾਇਆ ਮੇਰੇ ਪ੍ਰਭ ਭਾਇਆ ਅਨਦਿਨੁ ਹਰਿ ਲਿਵ ਲਾਈ ॥
Har mitha laaya mereh prabh bhaya un-din har liv laa-ee ||
God seems so sweet; I am pleasing to my God. Night and day, I lovingly focus my consciousness on God.

ਮਨ ਚਿੰਦਿਆ ਫਲੁ ਪਾਇਆ ਸੁਆਮੀ ਹਰਿ ਨਾਮਿ ਵਜੀ ਵਾਧਾਈ ॥
Mun chindia phal paaya suami har nam vaji vadhaaee ||
I have obtained God, the fruit of my mind's desires. God's name resounds and resonates.

ਹਰਿ ਪ੍ਰਭਿ ਠਾਕੁਰਿ ਕਾਜੁ ਰਚਾਇਆ ਧਨ ਹਿਰਦੈ ਨਾਮਿ ਵਿਗਾਸੀ ॥
Har prabh thakur kaaj rachaiya dhun hirdey nam vigasee ||
God, my master, blends with his bride, and her heart blossoms forth in the naam.

ਜਨੁ ਨਾਨਕੁ ਬੋਲੇ ਚਉਥੀ ਲਾਵੈ ਹਰਿ ਪਾਇਆ ਪ੍ਰਭੁ ਅਵਿਨਾਸੀ ॥੪॥੨॥
Jan Nanak boley chaoteh laaveh har paaiya prabh avnaasee. || 4 || 2 ||
Servant Nanak proclaims that, in this, the fourth round of the marriage ceremony, we have found God. || 4 || 2 ||

~ Sri Guru Granth Sahib, Guru Ram Das, Ang 773-774

Post-Wedding Sabad 'Viyah Hooa Mere Baabla'

This Sabad is by Guru Ram Das Ji in Siree Raag:

ਵੀਆਹੁ ਹੋਆ ਮੇਰੇ ਬਾਬੁਲਾ ਗੁਰਮੁਖੇ ਹਰਿ ਪਾਇਆ ॥
ਅਗਿਆਨੁ ਅੰਧੇਰਾ ਕਟਿਆ ਗੁਰ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਪ੍ਰਚੰਡੁ ਬਲਾਇਆ ॥
ਬਲਿਆ ਗੁਰ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਅੰਧੇਰਾ ਬਿਨਸਿਆ ਹਰਿ ਰਤਨੁ ਪਦਾਰਥੁ ਲਾਧਾ ॥
ਹਉਮੈ ਰੋਗੁ ਗਇਆ ਦੁਖੁ ਲਾਥਾ ਆਪੁ ਆਪੈ ਗੁਰਮਤਿ ਖਾਧਾ ॥
ਅਕਾਲ ਮੂਰਤਿ ਵਰੁ ਪਾਇਆ ਅਬਿਨਾਸੀ ਨਾ ਕਦੇ ਮਰੈ ਨ ਜਾਇਆ ॥
ਵੀਆਹੁ ਹੋਆ ਮੇਰੇ ਬਾਬੋਲਾ ਗੁਰਮੁਖੇ ਹਰਿ ਪਾਇਆ ॥੨॥

Viyah hooa mere baabla guramukh har paaeiaa ॥
Agiaan a(n)dhhaeraa kattiaa gur giaan pracha(n)dd balaaeiaa ॥
Baliaa gur giaan a(n)dhhaeraa binasiaa har rathan padhaarathh laadhhaa ॥
Houmai rog gaeiaa dhukh laathhaa aap aapai guramath khaadhhaa ॥
Akaal moorath var paaeiaa abinaasee naa kadhae marai n jaaeiaa ॥
Veeaahu hoaa maerae baabolaa guramukhae har paaeiaa ॥2॥

My marriage has been performed, O my father. As Gurmukh, I have found God.
The darkness of ignorance has been removed. The Guru has blazed the very bright light of divine knowledge.
This spiritual wisdom given by the Guru shines forth, and the darkness has been dispelled. I have found the priceless jewel of God.
The sickness of my ego has been dispelled, and my pain is over. Through the Guru's teachings, I myself have eaten my self-conceit
I have obtained God, the Akaal Moorat, the undying form as my spouse. God is imperishable and does not die.
My marriage has been performed, O my father. As Gurmukh, I have found God. ॥2॥

~ Sri Guru Granth Sahib, Guru Ram Das, Ang 78

Post-Wedding Sabad 'Puree Asa Ji Mansaa Mere Ram'

This Sabad is by Guru Arjan Sahib Ji in Raag Vadhans:

ਪੂਰੀ ਆਸਾ ਜੀ ਮਨਸਾ ਮੇਰੇ ਰਾਮ ॥
ਮੋਹਿ ਨਿਰਗੁਣ ਜੀਉ ਸਭਿ ਗੁਣ ਤੇਰੇ ਰਾਮ ॥
ਸਭਿ ਗੁਣ ਤੇਰੇ ਠਾਕੁਰ ਮੇਰੇ ਕਿਤੁ ਮੁਖਿ ਤੁਧੁ ਸਾਲਾਹੀ ॥
ਗੁਣੁ ਅਵਗੁਣੁ ਮੇਰਾ ਕਿਛੁ ਨ ਬੀਚਾਰਿਆ ਬਖਸਿ ਲੀਆ ਖਿਨ ਮਾਹੀ ॥
ਨਉ ਨਿਧਿ ਪਾਈ ਵਜੀ ਵਾਧਾਈ ਵਾਜੇ ਅਨਹਦ ਤੂਰੇ ॥
ਕਹੁ ਨਾਨਕ ਮੈ ਵਰੁ ਘਰਿ ਪਾਇਆ ਮੇਰੇ ਲਾਥੇ ਜੀ ਸਗਲ ਵਿਸੂਰੇ ॥੪॥੧॥

Puree asa ji mansaa mere ram ॥
Mohi niragun jio sabh gun thaerae ram ॥
Sabh gun thaerae t(h)aakur maerae kith mukh thudhh saalaahee ॥
Gun avagun maeraa kishh n beechaariaa bakhas leeaa khin maahee ॥
No nidhh paaee vaJi vaadhhaaee vaajae anehadh thoorae ॥
Kahu naanak mai var ghar paaeiaa maerae laathhae ji sagal visoorae ॥4॥1॥

My hopes and desires have been fulfilled, God.
I am worthless, without virtue; all virtues are yours.
All virtues are yours, God; with what mouth should I praise you?
You did not consider my merits and demerits; you forgave me in an instant.
I have obtained the nine treasures, congratulations are pouring in, and the unstruck melody resounds.
Says Nanak, I have found God within my own home, and all my anxiety is forgotten.

~ Sri Guru Granth Sahib, Guru Arjan, Ang 577

Anand Sanskar (Extract from Rehat Maryada - Sikh Code of Conduct)

Anand Sanskar (Lit. Joyful Ceremonial: Sikh Matrimonial Ceremony and Conventions)

a. A Sikh man and woman should enter wedlock without giving thought to the prospective spouse's caste and descent.

b. A Sikh's daughter must be married to a Sikh.

c. A Sikh's marriage should be solemnized by Anand marriage rites.

d. Child marriage is taboo for Sikhs.

e. When a girl becomes marriageable, physically, emotionally and by virtue of maturity of character, a suitable Sikh match should be found and she be married to him by Anand marriage rites.

f. Marriage may not be preceded by engagement ceremony. But if an engagement ceremony is sought to he held, a congregational gathering should be held and, after offering the Ardas before the Guru Granth Sahib, a kirpan, a steel bangle and some sweets may be tendered to the boy.

g. Consulting horoscopes for determining which day or date is auspicious or otherwise for fixing the day of the marriage is a sacrilege. Any day that the parties find suitable by mutual consultation should be fixed.

h. Putting on floral or gilded face ornamentation, decorative headgear or red thread band round the wrist, worshipping of ancestors, dipping feet in milk mixed with water, cutting a berry or jandi (Prosopis spieigera) bushes, filling pitcher, ceremony of retirement in feigned displeasure, reciting couplets, performing havans (Sacrificial fire), installing vedi (a wooden canopy or pavilion under which Hindu marriages are performed), prostitutes' dances, drinking liquor, are all sacrileges.

i. The marriage party should have as small a number of people as the girl's people desire. The two sides should greet each other singing sacred sabads and finally by the Sikh greetings of Waheguru Ji ka Khalsa, Waheguru Ji ki Fateh.

j. For marriage, there should be a congregational gathering in the holy presence of Guru Granth Sahib. There should be sabad-singing by ragis or by the whole congregation. Then the girl and the boy should he made to sit facing the Guru Granth Sahib. The girl should sit on the left side of the boy. After soliciting the congregation's permission, the master of the marriage ceremony (who may be a man or a woman) should bid the boy and girl and their parents or guardians to stand and should offer the Ardas for the commencement of the Anand marriage ceremony.

The officiant should then apprise the boy and the girl of the duties and obligations of conjugal life according to the Guru's tenets.

He should initially give to the two an exposition of their common mutual obligations. He should tell them how to model the husband-wife relationship on the love between the individual soul and the Supreme Soul in the light of the contents of circumambulation (Laavan) sabads in the Suhi measure (rag) section (The bulk of the Guru Granth (the Sikh holy book) is divided on the basis of the ragas (measures) of the Indian classical music. Suhi is one of the ragas featuring in the Guru Granth Sahib) of the Guru Granth Sahib.

He should explain to them the notion of the state of "a single soul in two bodies" to be achieved through love and make them see how they may attain union with the Immortal Being discharging duties and obligations of the householders' life. Both of them, they should be told, have to make their conjugal union a means to the fulfillment of the purpose of the journey of human existence; both have to lead clean and Guru-oriented lives through the instrumentality of their union.

He should then explain to the boy and girl individually their respective conjugal duties as husband and wife.

The bridegroom should be told that the girl's people having chosen him as the fittest match from among a whole lot, he should regard his wife as his better half, accord to unflinching love and share with her all that he has. In all situations, he should protect her person and honour, he should be completely loyal to her and he should show much respect and consideration for her parents and relations as for his own.

The girl should be told that she has been joined in matrimony to her man in the hallowed presence of the Guru Granth Sahib and the congregation. She should ever harbour for him deferential solicitude, regard him the lord master of her love and trust; she should remain firm in her loyalty to him and serve him in joy and sorrow and in every clime (native or foreign) and should show the same regard and consideration to his parents and relatives as she would, to her own parents and relatives.

The boy and girl should bow before the Guru Granth Sahib to betoken their acceptance of these instructions. Thereafter, the girl's father or the principal relation should make the girl grasp one end of the sash which the boy is wearing over his shoulders and the person in attendance of the Guru Granth Sahib should recite the matrimonial circumambulation stanzas {Laavan of the fourth Guru in the Suhi musical measure section of the Guru Granth Sahib } (Pp. 773-4). After the conclusion of the recitation of each of the stanzas, the boy, followed by the girl holding the end of the sash, should go round the Guru Granth Sahib while the ragis or the congregation sing out the recited stanza.

The boy and girl, after every circumambulation, should bow before the Guru Granth Sahib in genuflexion, lowering their forehead to touch the ground and then stand up to listen to the recitation of the next stanza.There being four matrimonial circumambulation stanzas in the concerned sabad, the proceeding will comprise four circumambulations with the incidental singing of the stanza.After the fourth circumabulation, the boy and girl should, after bowing before the Guru Granth Sahib, sit down at the appointed place and the Ragis or the person who has conducted the ceremony should recite the first five and the last stanza of the Anand Sahib. Thereafter, the Ardas should he offered to mark the conclusion of the Anand marriage ceremony and the sacred pudding, distributed'.

k. Persons professing faiths other than the Sikh faith cannot be joined in wedlock by the Anand Karaj ceremony.

l. No Sikh should accept a match for his/her son or daughter for monetary consideration.

m. If the girl's parents at any time or on any occasion visit their daughter's home and a meal is ready there, they should not hesitate to eat there. Abstaining from eating at the girl's home is a superstition. The Khalsa has been blessed with the boon of victuals and making others eat by the Guru and the Immortal Being. The girl's and boy's people should keep accepting each other's hospitality, because the Guru has joined them in relationship of equality (Prem Sumarag).

n. If a woman's husband has died, she may, if she so wishes, finding a match suitable for her, remarry. For a Sikh man whose wife has died, similar ordinance obtains.

o. The remarriage may be solemnized in the same manner as the Anand marriage.

p. Generally, no Sikh should marry a second wife if the first wife is alive.

q. A baptised ought to get his wife also baptised.


The most important thing to understand here is that the Anand Karaj can only be done between Sikhs. That means the ceremony itself can not be performed if either the bride or groom is not Sikh. It explicitly says that:

"Persons professing faiths other than the Sikh faith cannot be joined in wedlock by the Anand Karaj ceremony".

Similar rules exist in other religions. A non-Christian (someone not baptized) is required to be converted and baptized before a sacramental or Christian marriage is granted. In Islam, a bride or groom is converted before taking part in a Nikah. Even in some Buddhist clans in Japan, a bride or groom who is not Buddhist will be denied entry to the temple until they accept Buddhism. Interfaith marriages can be done via a court marriage, but an actual Anand Karaj is not possible or recognised and should not be allowed unless the non-Sikh partner is willing to take to become a Sikh.

Similarly, as per the 52 Hukams of Guru Gobind Singh Ji;

ਭਾਦਨੀ (ਸਿਰ ਮੁੰਨੇ) ਨੂੰ ਕੰਨ੍ਯਾ ਨਹੀਂ ਦੇਵਨੀ, ਉਸ ਘਰ ਦੇਵਨੀ ਜਿਥੇ ਅਕਾਲ ਪੁਰਖ ਦੀ ਸਿੱਖੀ ਹੋਵੇ ॥

Do not give your daughter to a clean-shaven man; give her to a home where Akaal Purakh’s Sikhi is practised. If anything, this is a message to males to improve themselves and live out their lives as part of the Panth.

You should also note, there is no such thing as divorce in Sikhism. When the bride and groom marry each other in the presence of Guru Granth Sahib Ji, their souls bond and become one. There is no religious ceremony for divorce, the souls cannot unbind into two.

Rituals after Anand Karaj

Other than Ardas, Kirtan and the Laavan (actual marriage ceremony) there should be no other rituals.

Taking part in Punjabi or Western 'cultural rituals' negates the benefit of Anand Karaj taking place in front of Sri Guru Granth Sahib.

ਮਨਮੁਖਿ ਅੰਧੇ ਸੁਧਿ ਨ ਕਾਈ ॥
Manmukh andhe sudh na kaaee ||
The blind Manmukh have no understanding at all.

~ Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Guru Amar Das, Ang 118

ਮਨਮੁਖਿ ਝੂਠੋ ਝੂਠੁ ਕਮਾਵੈ ॥
Manmukh jhootho jhooth kamaavai ||
The Manmukh practices falsehood, only falsehood.

~ Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, Guru Amar Das, Ang 363

Parents of Bride and Groom must note: There should be no lavish receptions or partying after visiting Sri Guru Granth Sahib (in the evening or any other day) for Anand Karaj. No changing of clothes and/ or cutting of hair, application of facial make-up, etc. No rituals at the Bride's house or Groom's house.

Waheguru know's and see's everything and will hold the Manmukh's to account.

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