Two Souls Become One
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 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.
Conduct within the Gurdwara
On the occasion of a wedding at the Gurdwara, the bride’s family will have arrived first, to welcome the Groom with his family and friends. The Groom’s wedding party (the Baraat) often arrives at the Gurdwara, often dancing to the sounds of Dhols (drums). The Gurdwara Management Committee ask that the playing of drums and dancing only takes place up to the car park in front of the Gurdwara, and not on the paved area immediately in front of the Gurdwara.
The Sikh Code of Conduct is very strict in respect of alcohol, tobacco and other intoxicating substances. None of these should be brought on to the Gurdwara premises under any circumstances, and no one should be under the influence of such drugs.