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Interfaith Anand Karaj / Lavan

Harkiran Kaur

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[Ishna's note: This thread started within this one: Interracial And Interfaith Marriage, Help Needed To Confront/convince My Parents ]

InnerDarbar ji,

Guru Fateh,

My nephew got married to a Japanese classmate of his in March. They had the Anand Karaj in India and then Shinto/Christian wedding ceremony in Japan. Both of them are barristers and work at the World Bank in London. He was born in India and she in Japan.

His parents, my sister and her hubby never objected to that. They were rather very happy for their son as am I. I told my nephew just one thing that both India and Japan (including other far eastern countries) are racist countries, so they should not even think of settling down at any of these places.

You may be wondering why I am telling you all this. The reason being that this has nothing to do with Sikhi as a religion but Sikhi as a culture. Here in this thread, the discussion is being mixed from both aspects. People who are born in Sikh families and keep Sikhi saroop (look) are accepted as Sikhs. Even people who do not wear turbans also call themselves Sikhs because of the same reason. My nephew got married from a cultural point of view as did his wife, hence the two marriage ceremonies. It had nothing to do with religion/s.

I have no idea if you and your Korean girlfriend are financially independent. It seems your father is objecting the cultural aspect of this affair but labeling it as religious. It is a shame that he can not see the difference.

Happiness in not found in any religion but in the self which is knotted with the culture and the religion.

It is not about how much you are in love with each other but the more important question is, are you both ready to have kids in this mixed marriage and prepare them to face racism?

Would the love between you two dissipate if you two faced racism after marriage?

If I were you, I would make a list of these questions with her and then decide.

In closing I would say, thanks for joining the forum and sharing your story with us. We are one big SPN family here who are always with you no matter what decision you make.

Good luck in your journey.
Tejwant Singh Ji, I am just wondering how they got around the hukamnama issued by Akal Takht on interfaith marriages as far as anand karaj is concerned? It's a big issue in the UK right now, with people actually protesting weddings! In 2007 a hukamnama was issued by Akal Takht stating that only twi Sikhs can be married via anand karaj (because the lavans are actually deeply spiritual) and that if a convert is being married, they must already have Kaur or Singh in their documents (passport etc.) to show that they are not just claiming to follow Sikhi, in order to have a Gurdwara wedding.

I'll attach it.

akaltakht.jpg
 
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Tejwant Singh

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Tejwant Singh Ji, I am just wondering how they got around the hukamnama issued by Akal Takht on interfaith marriages as far as anand karaj is concerned? It's a big issue in the UK right now, with people actually protesting weddings! In 2007 a hukamnama was issued by Akal Takht stating that only twi Sikhs can be married via anand karaj (because the lavans are actually deeply spiritual) and that if a convert is being married, they must already have Kaur or Singh in their documents (passport etc.) to show that they are not just claiming to follow Sikhi, in order to have a Gurdwara wedding.

I'll attach it.

akaltakht.jpg
Harkiran ji,

Guru Fateh.

If Akal Takhat were serious, then it would not issue so meaningless things trying to make Sikhi as dogmatic as possible, the same thing Guru Nanak rejected and founded Sikhi on.

The above Hukumnaama seems nothing but ambiguous and not well thought at all.Please share your thoughts regarding what you understand about it. As you do not carry any Punjabi baggage, it would be interesting to see from your angle.

Regarding Lavan, I Skyped with both of them for a month explaining the meaning of Lavan and both of them loved the easy but responsible way to cultivate a personal relationship in a deeper manner.

If I am not mistaken you are taking the Hukumnaama much more seriously than me which is quite understandable. These Hukumnaamas are based on some parochial and antiquated cultural values which do not jive with today's, but not religious at all as discussed earlier.
 
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Harkiran Kaur

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Harkiran ji,

Guru Fateh.

If Akal Takhat were serious, then it would not issue so meaningless things trying to make Sikhi as dogmatic as possible, the same thing Guru Nanak rejected and founded Sikhi on.

The above Hukumnaama seems nothing but ambiguous and not well thought at all.Please share your thoughts regarding what you understand about it. As you do not carry any Punjabi baggage, it would be interesting to see from your angle.

Regarding Lavan, I Skyped with both of them for a month explaining the meaning of Lavan and both of them loved the easy but responsible way to cultivate a personal relationship in a deeper manner.

If I am not mistaken you are taking the Hukumnaama much more seriously than me which is quite understandable. These Hukumnaamas are based on some parochial and antiquated cultural values which do not jive with today's, but not religious at all as discussed earlier.
But regardless of what you or I think, Gurdwaras are mandated to follow those hukamnamas are they not??

And I actually had to change my name legally prior to being married in India, at a historical Gurdwara. They knew I was serious about Sikhi, but I still had to show that by adopting a Sikh name... Kaur and I also took a Sikh first name because I was taking Amrit at the same time. So I am very aware of the hukamnama. And I was openly professing to follow Sikhi. I can't imagine that the same Gurdwara would have even entertained marrying us by anand karaj, if I professed a different religion all together! In the UK there are whole groups protesting and picketing weddings of interfaith in Gurdwaras. A compromise was reached that for interfaith weddings they could have a Gurdwara wedding, and the Granthi could give blessings and they could have kirtan etc. But they can't do lavans. That way they still do the cultural thing, while they keep anand karaj between Sikhs. I don't know how many Gurdwaras do this though.
 

Tejwant Singh

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But regardless of what you or I think, Gurdwaras are mandated to follow those hukamnamas are they not??

And I actually had to change my name legally prior to being married in India, at a historical Gurdwara. They knew I was serious about Sikhi, but I still had to show that by adopting a Sikh name... Kaur and I also took a Sikh first name because I was taking Amrit at the same time. So I am very aware of the hukamnama. And I was openly professing to follow Sikhi. I can't imagine that the same Gurdwara would have even entertained marrying us by anand karaj, if I professed a different religion all together! In the UK there are whole groups protesting and picketing weddings of interfaith in Gurdwaras. A compromise was reached that for interfaith weddings they could have a Gurdwara wedding, and the Granthi could give blessings and they could have kirtan etc. But they can't do lavans. That way they still do the cultural thing, while they keep anand karaj between Sikhs. I don't know how many Gurdwaras do this though.

Harkiran ji,

Guru Fateh.

A very few Gurdwaras in India and in the diaspora may mandate that but if someone does not follow the rules of Anand Karaj, they do not have authority to annul the marriage.

This is the cultural part that seems difficult to grasp.
 

Harkiran Kaur

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Harkiran ji,

Guru Fateh.

A very few Gurdwaras in India and in the diaspora may mandate that but if someone does not follow the rules of Anand Karaj, they do not have authority to annul the marriage.

This is the cultural part that seems difficult to grasp.
Marriages are still registered through court to be legal anyway. Why even have a religious ceremony if you don't believe in what the lavans stand for anyway? I kind of agree with the Gurdwara wedding with kirtan / granthi's blessing etc. but not lavaans since they don't even describe the husband and wife relationship anyway. It's describing the souls journey to Waheguru. The husband and wife doing the circumambulations symbolizes the two moving as one, toward that same goal. How can they have the same goal if they believe different things about the nature of the universe anyway?

So I agree that the anand karaj ceremony should be between two Sikhs as stated. And I think a Gurdwara ceremony using kirtan etc can still be beautiful and include the culture aspects that people want. And no matter what, care should be taken to ensure no beadbi happens of SGGSJ which HAS happened before at interfaith marriages in Gurdwaras, where the non Sikh family didnt know any better.
 

Tejwant Singh

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Marriages are still registered through court to be legal anyway. Why even have a religious ceremony if you don't believe in what the lavans stand for anyway? I kind of agree with the Gurdwara wedding with kirtan / granthi's blessing etc. but not lavaans since they don't even describe the husband and wife relationship anyway. It's describing the souls journey to Waheguru. The husband and wife doing the circumambulations symbolizes the two moving as one, toward that same goal. How can they have the same goal if they believe different things about the nature of the universe anyway?

So I agree that the anand karaj ceremony should be between two Sikhs as stated. And I think a Gurdwara ceremony using kirtan etc can still be beautiful and include the culture aspects that people want. And no matter what, care should be taken to ensure no beadbi happens of SGGSJ which HAS happened before at interfaith marriages in Gurdwaras, where the non Sikh family didnt know any better.
Harkiran ji,

Guru Fateh.

Let's agree to disagree then. :)
 

Harkiran Kaur

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Here is one such well known incident that happened... anyway this should be split into a separate topic as it really has nothing to do with the original post. I don't think he intends to marry in a Gurdwara anyway.

Glen Cove Gurdwara Apologizes for Anand Karaj Sacrilege | Sikh24.com

Admin SIngh Ji can you separate the topics? The bits about anand karaj for interfaith / and rules regarding that should be its own topic I think. I don't think the OP really intends to explore that method of marriage anyway.
 

InnerDarbar

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I would indeed appreciate if these posts could be put into another thread. My thread got hijacked right in front of me.:rofl:
 

Tejwant Singh

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Here is one such well known incident that happened... anyway this should be split into a separate topic as it really has nothing to do with the original post. I don't think he intends to marry in a Gurdwara anyway.

Glen Cove Gurdwara Apologizes for Anand Karaj Sacrilege | Sikh24.com

Admin SIngh Ji can you separate the topics? The bits about anand karaj for interfaith / and rules regarding that should be its own topic I think. I don't think the OP really intends to explore that method of marriage anyway.
Harkiran ji,

Guru Fateh.

I saw the picture that you posted. Can you please tell me what it is about? And how is it offensive to the Shabad Guru?

Thanks
 

Harkiran Kaur

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She is sitting behind SGGSJ, with her back to the Guru, for a 'photo op' She was in all kinds of odd positions during the photo shoot, on Guru Ji's throne, some of which can be considered sensual... do you think that is appropriate?
 

Tejwant Singh

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"Harkiran Kaur, post: 209428, member: 18224"]She is sitting behind SGGSJ, with her back to the Guru, for a 'photo op'
And? When you walk back after matha tek, don't you show your back to the SGGS? Is there a difference between the two?

She was in all kinds of odd positions during the photo shoot, on Guru Ji's throne, some of which can be considered sensual... do you think that is appropriate?
Everyone takes all kinds of pictures in the Gurdwaras especially as each of us carry a camera now a days. Is this your personal opinion or something deeper than that? Either way, what is your opinion based on? Please share your thoughts.

Lastly, do you listen to keertan on your ipod while driving, walking with or without covering your head? Do you also sometimes throw it on your bed? Do you think that is also an insult to the Shabad Guru in the ipod?
 
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Ishna

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From the article...

"This scandal comes on the heels of another Anand Karaj scandal in the US in which a bridge and groom violated Sikh Maryada by walking side by side during the lavaan."

Equality! Oh no! :O
 

Harkiran Kaur

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From the article...

"This scandal comes on the heels of another Anand Karaj scandal in the US in which a bridge and groom violated Sikh Maryada by walking side by side during the lavaan."

Equality! Oh no! :O
Ah but was it? If they walk side by side, then one is further from Guru Ji than the other, and the whole focus is SGGSJ.

It was explained to me the ONLY reasons why it was male in front was symbolic. Since marriage is the closest relationship where we can relate to two entities merging into one, Gurbani uses that as metaphor and a comparison when speaking about our soul merging with Waheguru Ji. And in that metaphor we take the position of soul 'bride' while Waheguru Ji takes the position as 'husband lord' (please not it doesn't mean that Wahegurj Ji has gender as both Waheguru Ji and our 'soul' are genderless according to Gurbani - or rather Waheguru Ji is genderless but posses all forms).

The lavans in Anand Karaj are speaking not about human marriage but of our journey to merging with Waheguru. The circumambulation the reason the husband is in front is symbolizing that the couple (now as ONE) are the soul bride and are following Waheguru our husband lord linked back to that goal of merging. The only reason the husband is in front is because of that symbolism / allegory used to get the spiritual point across. In the real scenario the husband is in the same place as the wife... Following Waheguru Ji.

If we were to have walked side by side it would have changed that allegory to mean we were already merged with Waheguru Ji??

The hubby walking front has nothing to do with thinking the wife has to always follow behind the husband as an obedient puppy. Not at all! Sikhi teaches women to take the lead even in their own protection. Sikh women are expected to protect others the same as Sikh men and have all the same obligations. There is no 'husband rules wife obeys' even though some misguided Sikh groups try to insert thought from laws of Manu regarding this. They are wrong.
 

Tejwant Singh

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Harkiran Kaur ji,

Guru Fateh.

Before I respond, I must say that kudos to you as you do a very commendable job by questioning the interfaith rituals practiced by the Sikhs.

Ah but was it? If they walk side by side, then one is further from Guru Ji than the other, and the whole focus is SGGSJ.
I am a bit bewildered at your explanation. You have made SGGS, our only Guru into an idol. This is not Sikhi but Hindutva I am afraid.

Allow me to take your thought a bit farther, then the luckiest people are those who stay all day long closer to SGGS according to you. Why this Hindu mindset all of a sudden or did you consider SGGS as an Idol=Murti from the get go?

It was explained to me the ONLY reasons why it was male in front was symbolic.
Who ever told you that is wrong. I would like both bride and groom walk side by side as Sikhi is for equality. My both kids have agreed to do the same when the time comes.

Since marriage is the closest relationship where we can relate to two entities merging into one, Gurbani uses that as metaphor and a comparison when speaking about our soul with Waheguru Ji. And in that metaphor we take the position of soul 'bride' while Waheguru Ji takes the position as 'husband lord'
Sikhi has a universal message. It gives us tools how to become better beings during the only life we know. Hence it applies to all humankind irrespective of hue,creed,faith,class,caste, no faith etc. etc. Therefore, the message does not only apply to the Sikhs. This is the reason SGGS, our only Guru is filled with Gurbani from people who belonged to all different kinds of faiths.

Yes, I agree that most of the times Ik Ong Kaar is referred as the husband and we as his brides in a metaphorical sense otherwise, it would be spiritual polygamy. But it seems irrelevant in this discussion of Anand Karaj.

Ik Ong Kaar in this ever evolving way of life called Sikhi does not differentiate between people which indicates us that any gender including the LGBTQ can get married to each other as we are all part of The Source.

Having said that, SGGS,panna 103, also says the followinng, the literal translation in by Sant Singh Khalsa.


ਮਾਝ ਮਹਲਾ
Mājẖ mėhlā 5.
Maajh, Fifth Mehl:

ਤੂੰ ਮੇਰਾ ਪਿਤਾ ਤੂੰਹੈ ਮੇਰਾ ਮਾਤਾ
Ŧūʼn merā piṯā ṯūʼnhai merā māṯā.
You are my Father, and You are my Mother.


ਤੂੰ ਮੇਰਾ ਬੰਧਪੁ ਤੂੰ ਮੇਰਾ ਭ੍ਰਾਤਾ
Ŧūʼn merā banḏẖap ṯūʼn merā bẖarāṯā.
You are my Relative, and You are my Brother.


ਤੂੰ ਮੇਰਾ ਰਾਖਾ ਸਭਨੀ ਥਾਈ ਤਾ ਭਉ ਕੇਹਾ ਕਾੜਾ ਜੀਉ ॥੧॥
Ŧūʼn merā rākẖā sabẖnī thā▫ī ṯā bẖa▫o kehā kāṛā jī▫o. ||1||
You are my Protector everywhere; why should I feel any fear or anxiety? ||1||

ਤੁਮਰੀ ਕ੍ਰਿਪਾ ਤੇ ਤੁਧੁ ਪਛਾਣਾ
Ŧumrī kirpā ṯe ṯuḏẖ pacẖẖāṇā.
By Your Grace, I recognize You.

ਤੂੰ ਮੇਰੀ ਓਟ ਤੂੰਹੈ ਮੇਰਾ ਮਾਣਾ
Ŧūʼn merī ot ṯūʼnhai merā māṇā.
You are my Shelter, and You are my Honor.

ਤੁਝ ਬਿਨੁ ਦੂਜਾ ਅਵਰੁ ਕੋਈ ਸਭੁ ਤੇਰਾ ਖੇਲੁ ਅਖਾੜਾ ਜੀਉ ॥੨॥
Ŧujẖ bin ḏūjā avar na ko▫ī sabẖ ṯerā kẖel akẖāṛā jī▫o. ||2||
Without You, there is no other; the entire Universe is the Arena of Your Play. ||2||

ਜੀਅ ਜੰਤ ਸਭਿ ਤੁਧੁ ਉਪਾਏ
▫a janṯ sabẖ ṯuḏẖ upā▫e.
You have created all beings and creatures.

ਜਿਤੁ ਜਿਤੁ ਭਾਣਾ ਤਿਤੁ ਤਿਤੁ ਲਾਏ
Jiṯ jiṯ bẖāṇā ṯiṯ ṯiṯ lā▫e.
As it pleases You, You assign tasks to one and all.

ਸਭ ਕਿਛੁ ਕੀਤਾ ਤੇਰਾ ਹੋਵੈ ਨਾਹੀ ਕਿਛੁ ਅਸਾੜਾ ਜੀਉ ॥੩॥
Sabẖ kicẖẖ kīṯā ṯerā hovai nāhī kicẖẖ asāṛā jī▫o. ||3||
All things are Your Doing; we can do nothing ourselves. ||3||

ਨਾਮੁ ਧਿਆਇ ਮਹਾ ਸੁਖੁ ਪਾਇਆ
Nām ḏẖi▫ā▫e mahā sukẖ pā▫i▫ā.
Meditating on the Naam, I have found great peace.

ਹਰਿ ਗੁਣ ਗਾਇ ਮੇਰਾ ਮਨੁ ਸੀਤਲਾਇਆ
Har guṇ gā▫e merā man sīṯlā▫i▫ā.
Singing the Glorious Praises of the Lord, my mind is cooled and soothed.

ਗੁਰਿ ਪੂਰੈ ਵਜੀ ਵਾਧਾਈ ਨਾਨਕ ਜਿਤਾ ਬਿਖਾੜਾ ਜੀਉ ॥੪॥੨੪॥੩੧॥
Gur pūrai vajī vāḏẖā▫ī Nānak jiṯā bikẖāṛā jī▫o. ||4||24||31||
Through the Perfect Guru, congratulations are pouring in-Nanak is victorious on the arduous battlefield of life! ||4||24||31||

The above in bold also indicates all different kinds of relationships with Ik Ong Kaar.

The lavans in Anand Karaj are speaking not about human marriage but of our journey to merging with Waheguru. The circumambulation the reason the husband is in front is symbolizing that the couple (now as ONE) are the soul bride and are following Waheguru our husband lord linked back to that goal of merging. The only reason the husband is in front is because of that symbolism / allegory used to get the spiritual point across. In the real scenario the husband is in the same place as the wife... Following Waheguru Ji.
Is the above your personal opinion or your were told by someone?

Groom in the front demonstrates inequality and has the same symbolism as in Raksha Bandan that you eloquently spoke against in Sikhi on FB. (Please also start a thread here about the subject,thanks)

This comes from Hindu way of getting married. In some Hindu societies in India, the bride and the groom change places midway. Using your own rationale above, perhaps the Pundit wants both to be equally close to the Agni-Fire Goddess.

If we were to have walked side by side it would have changed that allegory to mean we were already merged with Waheguru Ji??
I disagree as explained above. As Ik Ong Kaar is omnipresent, then the merger already took place since the big bang. No one can be outside the realm of omnipresence.

The hubby walking front has nothing to do with thinking the wife has to always follow behind the husband as an obedient puppy. Not at all!
This is more the reason the couple should walk together. Equality needs no justification.

Sikhi teaches women to take the lead even in their own protection. Sikh women are expected to protect others the same as Sikh men and have all the same obligations. There is no 'husband rules wife obeys' even though some misguided Sikh groups try to insert thought from laws of Manu regarding this. They are wrong.
I agree.


The lavans in Anand Karaj are speaking not about human marriage but of our journey to merging with Waheguru. The circumambulation the reason the husband is in front is symbolizing that the couple (now as ONE) are the soul bride and are following Waheguru our husband lord linked back to that goal of merging. The only reason the husband is in front is because of that symbolism / allegory used to get the spiritual point across. In the real scenario the husband is in the same place as the wife... Following Waheguru Ji.
In reality, the couple is getting married, so it is a human marriage. The couple has to cope with the ebbs and flows of their relationship by learning Piri from SGGS, our only Guru and using the tools in our Miri life. However the symbolism has a lot deeper meaning beside starting a married life as One Jyot.

If we were to have walked side by side it would have changed that allegory to mean we were already merged with Waheguru Ji??
Please elaborate what you mean by the above.

Thanks & Reards

Tejwant Singh
 
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Harkiran Kaur

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I guess I also look at it this way... in the military we march in rows of three. Not everyone in the platoon can be in that front row. It doesn't mean that whoever is in the second, fourth, or even last row are lesser. They can even be higher rank than those in the front row! The idea is that the whole platoon marches together as one. It would be highly impractical for 50 soldiers to march side by side! Now I know this only two people, but yes the metaphor was explained in numerous Kathas. I can't off hand list any specific one. You can find them on Youtube though. And the more outward reason that the husband is in front is that usually its the bride who leaves her parents home and follows the husband to her in laws home to become her new home. Not so applicable anymore since many couples get their own place. But anyway yes, the commitment is being made in front of our Guru. If husband and wife walked side by side, who would get to be closest to SGGSJ? Then would it mean that the person further away is somehow being seen as lesser? Unless a couple can quite literally superimpose their bodies and become one physically... there is no way to do circumambulations where they would have absolute equality. Some people do it where the Husband leads in two and the wife leads in two. But then, who gets to lead in the first one?
I actually think that the way some used to do it before turn of 1900s it was described in some history books that they did not actually walk around SGGSJ, they stayed put for the lavans both in front of SGGSJ. That would actually make more sense to me if where you walk compared to someone else determines equality. Sheesh should this carry on to when we walk in a park or on the street? I am usually the one in front LOL.

I walked in the normal position - what you say is behind Balbir Ji in our wedding. It did not bother me in the least because its not symbolic of our relationship, and it's a CIRCLE. Nobody can truly lead or follow in a circle! Case in point, put two people randomly on a circle and then tell them to walk in one direction. Then tell me who is in 'front' and who is 'behind' There is no front or back because BOTH people if they walk fast enough will find themselves behind each other! a circle has no beginning or end... If Balbir Ji had sped up too much, who's back would he see? MINE! So who is really leading and following? As it were we were moving as one, so there is no front or back to me. In any case, Balbir Ji is one of the most outspoken Singhs I have ever met on equality of women in Sikhi :)
 
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