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Grihast: Sikh Marriage - One Spirit


1947-2014 (Archived)
Jun 17, 2004
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Dalvinder Singh Grewal

Jan 3, 2010
Sikh marriage is solemanised with Lavan. Lavan is a spiritual discourse through which two individuals are advised to be one soul in two bodies. In case of two differences these are required to be adjusted that there remain no differences. It is not a marriage of convenience but of resolve; resolve to be together. It is occasionally said that there is no place of divorce in sikhism. It is so because two souls are to be united and united souls do not ask for divorce. In actuality however things are different. Most of the Sikhs do not understand the means of Lavan and take it as ritual. The Bhai sahibs, the spiritual guides also fail to enforce the fundamentals of a Sikh marriage as enshrined in lavan in to the minds of individuals. The marriages solemanised ritually and not with souls thus remains at the tenterhooks. Let us be more serious about the teachings of Sri Guru Granth Sahib to be a real Sikh.

Tejwant Singh

Jun 30, 2004
Henderson, NV.
Sikh marriage is not about Lavan. It is much more than that. As suggested before, The Bride and the Groom need to be taught the meaning of Lavan and there should be a week long course, not by the Bhai Sahib, but by some learned Sikhs to teach them the meaning of commitment. Sikhi marriage is not about rituals but about Oneness which demands commitment under thick and thin.

It is not like the Christian vows,"Till death do us part" and then 50% of the marriages fail because someone meets someone at the pews in the church.

How can two souls mingled into one can part?

The only thing I object to for the sake of equality is that the bride and the groom should walk together during lavan rather than the bride behind the groom because that defeats the purpose of oneness in all aspects.

Tejwant Singh
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Dalvinder Singh Grewal

Jan 3, 2010
Sikhs can save marriages from breaking if they teach and initiate Sikh values from the childhood onwards. Teaching Sikhism is not creating fundamentalist but true citizens of the world. The initiated Sikhs have strength and energy to face the world head on since they know that God has made all equal. Where we considers other equal to you and even better than you there is no question of subjugation, misgivings, in fights and broken marriages. we have all maladies because we do not understand true Sikhism follow it, impart it to our wards and do not help the world to be a happy and peaceful place. I have seen the enlightened people who followed Sikhism truly who not only enjoyed their happy life but also helps many others to be happy.


May 9, 2006
Isn't lavan about individual uniting with the Creative Force? I don't understand how it's been reinterpreted to mean the uniting of two human souls together. To me, it's more about two people committing to be together with a united goal of being with Akal Purakh.

Gurbani also says that one's spouse is not one's support - Naam is.

Ang 10

ਜਨਨਿ ਪਿਤਾ ਲੋਕ ਸੁਤ ਬਨਿਤਾ ਕੋਇ ਕਿਸ ਕੀ ਧਰਿਆ
जननि पिता लोक सुत बनिता कोइ न किस की धरिआ ॥
Janan piṯā lok suṯ baniṯā ko▫e na kis kī ḏẖari▫ā.
Mothers, fathers, friends, children and spouses-no one is the support of anyone else.
ਸਿਰਿ ਸਿਰਿ ਰਿਜਕੁ ਸੰਬਾਹੇ ਠਾਕੁਰੁ ਕਾਹੇ ਮਨ ਭਉ ਕਰਿਆ ॥੨॥
सिरि सिरि रिजकु स्मबाहे ठाकुरु काहे मन भउ करिआ ॥२॥
Sir sir rijak sambāhe ṯẖākur kāhe man bẖa▫o kari▫ā. ||2||
For each and every person, our Lord and Master provides sustenance. Why are you so afraid, O mind? ||2||
Committment in marriage is fundamentally important. Committment through thick and thin, yes.

It is tempting to talk about divorce (in the case of spousal abuse) but it would easily derail the thread so I will stay quiet about it.


1947-2014 (Archived)
Jun 17, 2004
Ishna ji

You ask some interesting questions. Laav means join or unite. Lavan are the 4 wedding hymns recited at a Sikh wedding. They were composed by Guru Ram Das. The story of these hymns is truly touching. I am posting the 4 hymns of the Lavan here, because I think in their study we all can discuss how they answer your questions.

Sukhminder Kaur Khalsa, reports "The Lavan hymns are compositions of Guru Raam Das, and were written for the occasion of his own wedding to Bibi Bhani. They are meant to fuse the soul of bride and groom into one conscious being who is subsequently wedded to God in spiritual union.."

ਸੂਹੀ ਮਹਲਾ ੪ ॥
Sūhī mėhlā 4.

Soohee, Fourth Mehl:

ਹਰਿ ਪਹਿਲੜੀ ਲਾਵ ਪਰਵਿਰਤੀ ਕਰਮ ਦ੍ਰਿੜਾਇਆ ਬਲਿ ਰਾਮ ਜੀਉ ॥
Har pahilaṛī lāv parvirṯī karam driṛ▫ā▫i▫ā bal rām jī▫o.

In the first round of the marriage ceremony, the Lord sets out His Instructions for performing the daily duties of married life.

ਬਾਣੀ ਬ੍ਰਹਮਾ ਵੇਦੁ ਧਰਮੁ ਦ੍ਰਿੜਹੁ ਪਾਪ ਤਜਾਇਆ ਬਲਿ ਰਾਮ ਜੀਉ ॥
Baṇī barahmā veḏ ḏẖaram ḏariṛĥu pāp ṯajā▫i▫ā bal rām jī▫o.

Instead of the hymns of the Vedas to Brahma, embrace the righteous conduct of Dharma, and renounce sinful actions.

ਧਰਮੁ ਦ੍ਰਿੜਹੁ ਹਰਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਧਿਆਵਹੁ ਸਿਮ੍ਰਿਤਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਦ੍ਰਿੜਾਇਆ ॥
Ḏẖaram ḏariṛĥu har nām ḏẖi▫āvahu simriṯ nām driṛ▫ā▫i▫ā.

Meditate on the Lord's Name; embrace and enshrine the contemplative remembrance of the Naam.

ਸਤਿਗੁਰੁ ਗੁਰੁ ਪੂਰਾ ਆਰਾਧਹੁ ਸਭਿ ਕਿਲਵਿਖ ਪਾਪ ਗਵਾਇਆ ॥
Saṯgur gur pūrā ārāḏẖahu sabẖ kilvikẖ pāp gavā▫i▫ā.

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 ॥
Sahj anand ho▫ā vadbẖāgī man har har mīṯẖā lā▫i▫ā.

By great good fortune, celestial bliss is attained, and the Lord, Har, Har, seems sweet to the mind.

ਜਨੁ ਕਹੈ ਨਾਨਕੁ ਲਾਵ ਪਹਿਲੀ ਆਰੰਭੁ ਕਾਜੁ ਰਚਾਇਆ ॥੧॥
Jan kahai Nānak lāv pahilī ārambẖ kāj racẖā▫i▫ā. ||1||

Slave Nanak proclaims that by the First round the marriage rite has begun.

ਹਰਿ ਦੂਜੜੀ ਲਾਵ ਸਤਿਗੁਰੁ ਪੁਰਖੁ ਮਿਲਾਇਆ ਬਲਿ ਰਾਮ ਜੀਉ ॥
Har ḏūjṛī lāv saṯgur purakẖ milā▫i▫ā bal rām jī▫o.

In the second round, the Lord has made me meet the Divine True Guru.

ਨਿਰਭਉ ਭੈ ਮਨੁ ਹੋਇ ਹਉਮੈ ਮੈਲੁ ਗਵਾਇਆ ਬਲਿ ਰਾਮ ਜੀਉ ॥
Nirbẖa▫o bẖai man ho▫e ha▫umai mail gavā▫i▫ā bal rām jī▫o.

By God's fear my mind has become fear-free and the filth of my self conceit is washed off.

ਨਿਰਮਲੁ ਭਉ ਪਾਇਆ ਹਰਿ ਗੁਣ ਗਾਇਆ ਹਰਿ ਵੇਖੈ ਰਾਮੁ ਹਦੂਰੇ ॥
Nirmal bẖa▫o pā▫i▫ā har guṇ gā▫i▫ā har vekẖai rām haḏūre.

By having the fear of immaculate God, the Master and singing His praise, I behold Him face to face.

ਹਰਿ ਆਤਮ ਰਾਮੁ ਪਸਾਰਿਆ ਸੁਆਮੀ ਸਰਬ ਰਹਿਆ ਭਰਪੂਰੇ ॥
Har āṯam rām pasāri▫ā su▫āmī sarab rahi▫ā bẖarpūre.

God Lord master, the soul of the world, is pervading every where and filling all the places.

ਅੰਤਰਿ ਬਾਹਰਿ ਹਰਿ ਪ੍ਰਭੁ ਏਕੋ ਮਿਲਿ ਹਰਿ ਜਨ ਮੰਗਲ ਗਾਏ ॥
Anṯar bāhar har parabẖ eko mil har jan mangal gā▫e.

Within and without is the One Lord Master. Meeting with the Lord's slaves sing I the songs of joy.

ਜਨ ਨਾਨਕ ਦੂਜੀ ਲਾਵ ਚਲਾਈ ਅਨਹਦ ਸਬਦ ਵਜਾਏ ॥੨॥
Jan Nānak ḏūjī lāv cẖalā▫ī anhaḏ sabaḏ vajā▫e. ||2||

Proclaims slave Nanak, the second round is finished and the Divine melody resounds.

ਹਰਿ ਤੀਜੜੀ ਲਾਵ ਮਨਿ ਚਾਉ ਭਇਆ ਬੈਰਾਗੀਆ ਬਲਿ ਰਾਮ ਜੀਉ ॥
Har ṯījṛī lāv man cẖā▫o bẖa▫i▫ā bairāgī▫ā bal rām jī▫o.

In the third round, the pleasure of Lord's Love wells up within my mind.

ਸੰਤ ਜਨਾ ਹਰਿ ਮੇਲੁ ਹਰਿ ਪਾਇਆ ਵਡਭਾਗੀਆ ਬਲਿ ਰਾਮ ਜੀਉ ॥
Sanṯ janā har mel har pā▫i▫ā vadbẖāgī▫ā bal rām jī▫o.

Meeting with the holy persons, I have found the Lord God through the greatest good lick.

ਨਿਰਮਲੁ ਹਰਿ ਪਾਇਆ ਹਰਿ ਗੁਣ ਗਾਇਆ ਮੁਖਿ ਬੋਲੀ ਹਰਿ ਬਾਣੀ ॥
Nirmal har pā▫i▫ā har guṇ gā▫i▫ā mukẖ bolī har baṇī.

Singing God's praise and uttering the Divine Gurbani with my mouth I have obtained the immaculate Lord.

ਸੰਤ ਜਨਾ ਵਡਭਾਗੀ ਪਾਇਆ ਹਰਿ ਕਥੀਐ ਅਕਥ ਕਹਾਣੀ ॥
Sanṯ janā vadbẖāgī pā▫i▫ā har kathī▫ai akath kahāṇī.

By great good fortune, the pious persons attain to God and utter His unutterable story.

ਹਿਰਦੈ ਹਰਿ ਹਰਿ ਹਰਿ ਧੁਨਿ ਉਪਜੀ ਹਰਿ ਜਪੀਐ ਮਸਤਕਿ ਭਾਗੁ ਜੀਉ ॥
Hirḏai har har har ḏẖun upjī har japī▫ai masṯak bẖāg jī▫o.

Within my mind has welled up the music of Good, the Lord Master, and by the destiny recorded on my brow, I contemplate the Lord.

ਜਨੁ ਨਾਨਕੁ ਬੋਲੇ ਤੀਜੀ ਲਾਵੈ ਹਰਿ ਉਪਜੈ ਮਨਿ ਬੈਰਾਗੁ ਜੀਉ ॥੩॥
Jan Nānak bole ṯījī lāvai har upjai man bairāg jī▫o. ||3||

Says serf Nanak that in the third round God's love is produced in my mind.

ਹਰਿ ਚਉਥੜੀ ਲਾਵ ਮਨਿ ਸਹਜੁ ਭਇਆ ਹਰਿ ਪਾਇਆ ਬਲਿ ਰਾਮ ਜੀਉ ॥
Har cẖa▫uthaṛī lāv man sahj bẖa▫i▫ā har pā▫i▫ā bal rām jī▫o.

In the forth round Divine comprehension has welled up within my mind and I have obtained my Lord.

ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਮਿਲਿਆ ਸੁਭਾਇ ਹਰਿ ਮਨਿ ਤਨਿ ਮੀਠਾ ਲਾਇਆ ਬਲਿ ਰਾਮ ਜੀਉ ॥
Gurmukẖ mili▫ā subẖā▫e har man ṯan mīṯẖā lā▫i▫ā bal rām jī▫o.

By Guru's grace, I have easily met my Lord, who is sweet unto my soul and body, Unto my Lord I am a sacrifice.

ਹਰਿ ਮੀਠਾ ਲਾਇਆ ਮੇਰੇ ਪ੍ਰਭ ਭਾਇਆ ਅਨਦਿਨੁ ਹਰਿ ਲਿਵ ਲਾਈ ॥
Har mīṯẖā lā▫i▫ā mere parabẖ bẖā▫i▫ā an▫ḏin har liv lā▫ī.

God seems sweet unto me and I have become pleasing to my Master. Night and day I fix my attention on the Lord.

ਮਨ ਚਿੰਦਿਆ ਫਲੁ ਪਾਇਆ ਸੁਆਮੀ ਹਰਿ ਨਾਮਿ ਵਜੀ ਵਾਧਾਈ ॥
Man cẖinḏi▫ā fal pā▫i▫ā su▫āmī har nām vajī vāḏẖā▫ī.

I have obtained my heart-desired fruit, my Lord. By exalting God's name I am congratulated.

ਹਰਿ ਪ੍ਰਭਿ ਠਾਕੁਰਿ ਕਾਜੁ ਰਚਾਇਆ ਧਨ ਹਿਰਦੈ ਨਾਮਿ ਵਿਗਾਸੀ ॥
Har parabẖ ṯẖākur kāj racẖā▫i▫ā ḏẖan hirḏai nām vigāsī.

God, the Lord Master has brought about the wedding ceremony and the bride's mind has blossomed with the Lord's Name.

ਜਨੁ ਨਾਨਕੁ ਬੋਲੇ ਚਉਥੀ ਲਾਵੈ ਹਰਿ ਪਾਇਆ ਪ੍ਰਭੁ ਅਵਿਨਾਸੀ ॥੪॥੨॥
Jan Nānak bole cẖa▫uthī lāvai har pā▫i▫ā parabẖ avināsī. ||4||2||

Says slave Nanak, in the fourth circling I have attained to my imperishable God Lord.

Just as tuks do not stand alone, individual shabads are connected to one another. Verses before and after a shabad give clues to its meaning. Interesting to me is that the last line of the shabad preceding the Lavan is this:

ਨਾਨਕ ਕਿਰਪਾ ਕਰਿ ਕੈ ਮੇਲੇ ਵਿਛੁੜਿ ਕਦੇ ਨ ਜਾਈ ॥੪॥੧॥
Nānak kirpā kar kai mele vicẖẖuṛ kaḏe na jā▫ī. ||4||1||
Nanak, the Lord has mercifully united the bride with Him and she will never be separated again.

Hope that is food for thought. Translation by Dr. Sant Singh Khalsa

Dalvinder Singh Grewal

Jan 3, 2010
Lavan are read during the Sikh marriage. A Sikh is a seeker of truth; The ultimate truth is the Lord; the Creator of the entire universe. God loves all His universe and wants every one of His creation happy and loving. All souls (atma) are parts of the God; the grand soul (parmatma). A Sikh as a soul seeks to meet Him ultimately. The four LAVAN describe this process. Why the theme of meeting True God is read at the time of marriage is a question raised by my friends. Here marriage is shown is union of souls; the parts of the same Grand soul. These two souls are to abide by the same Karma and Dharma as is required for meeting the Lord. Their unison and love for each other is pleasant step forward to meeting Him. If the souls can keep each others happy they please the God as well. Once the God is pleased; the two united souls become close to Him and ultimately reach the destination united. Hence in Lavan both are advised to advance on the spiritual path together. The souls moving on spiritual path together will ultimately unite the Grand soul and this is the ultimate end of journey of all souls.

Tejwant Singh

Jun 30, 2004
Henderson, NV.

Originally wrote this couplet for my sister in law.

Marriage is a wonderful convention,
If you both give care and attention ,
and practice love without pretension,,
Happiness together requires pure intention,
Marriage is the cure and prevention.
Scarlet Pimpernel ji,

Guru Fateh.

Very well written and said. It is from the heart.

I do not know if you have any idea about "Sikhiyah" loosely translated- the guidelines to married life for the couple. It used be a ritual in Punjab in both Hindu and Sikh families, have no idea if it still is, where some elder from the bride's side used to recite it. It was quite lengthy and written in a poetic form. Many of them were written in Urdu, Hindi and Gurmukhi fonts but were recited in Punjabi language. It was part of the ceremony after Anand Karaj.

Good job done!

Thanks & regards

Tejwant Singh
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Scarlet Pimpernel

We seek him here,we sikh
May 31, 2011
In the Self
Veer ji I know what you refer to ,depending on how religious the families are ,I have seen it done unscripted,I thought it was the service persons 'parting' advice, before the rush to the reception.
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