~*~ Sangeet & Jago ~*~
What is this?
The night of the “Sangeet” (literally translated to “musical tradition”) is full of singing, dancing and laughter. Traditionally, women gather to sing songs about getting and being married; almost like a ‘last hurrah’ of single life for the bride! In modern day, both men and women attend the Sangeet and it’s basically a big pre-wedding party. During the night, the bride’s maternal family brings out the “Jago”, which is a decorated steel pot (gaggar) adorned with candles and carried on the head whilst dancing and singing jago songs. Traditionally, the family would take over the streets, singing and dancing throughout the village the night before the wedding – makes sense that “Jago” is literally translated to “awaken”!
What do I wear?
This event is the bride’s favorite! It embodies the fun and lively culture of Punjab and dancing always brings families together. Bright colors, phulkari prints and full Punjabi attire are encouraged!
♦ ♦ ♦
~*~ Anand Karaj ~*~
What is this?
The “Anand Karaj” (“Ceremony of Bliss”) is the actual Sikh wedding ceremony. During this time, the bride and groom enter the Divine presence of Guru Granth Sahib Jee. Hymns are sung among the congregation, led by Raagi Jathas (hymn-singers). To begin the ceremony, the couple and their parents stand for Ardaas (prayer) to humbly ask Guru Sahib to fulfill the auspicious occasion they have come to complete.
The Lavan is the core of the Anand Karaj which includes the singing of shabads whilst the couple circles around Guru Sahib, keeping the Divine Word always to the right hand side. It provides the couple with foundational principles of a successful marriage but places the union within the deeper context of union with God. Guru Ram Das Ji, the Fourth Guru of the Sikhs composed the four stanzas, Lavan to be sung and recited as the core of the Anand Karaj.
The first verse of the lavan is in Raag Suhi composed by Guru Ram Das Ji: “Har pahldi lav parvirti karam dridaya Bal Ram jio…”
“In the first round of the marriage ceremony, the Lord gives you His instructions for married life. Instead of performing rituals by routine, embrace the righteous life of Dharma, and do nothing that separates you from God. Meditate on God’s Name. Embrace and practice Simran – the continuous remembrance of your True Identity. Worship and adore the Guru, the Perfect True Guru, and all the errors of your past shall be washed away. By your great destiny, you shall know that bliss which passes all understanding, and the Lord – Har, Har, will become sweet to your mind. Servant Nanak proclaims that in this first round, the marriage ceremony has begun.”
The first verse of Lavan is about letting go of the past and embarking on a new beginning. It stresses that the center of the marriage is spiritual and that the success of the marriage rests on the couple having a daily spiritual practice.
The second verse is, “Har doojdi lav Satgur purukh milaya Bal Ram jio….”
“In the second round of the marriage ceremony, the Lord guides you to meet the True Guru – the One Teacher. Filled with the awe of the Infinite, your ego dissolves away. In awe of the One who is forever pure, sing His Wonderful Praises and see God in all. The Lord – the Supreme Soul, is the Master of the Universe. He fills everything, everywhere. He fills all spaces. Deep within you, and outside you as well, see only One God. God’s humble servants meet together and sing the songs of joy and ecstasy. Servant Nanak proclaims that in this second round, the music of the spheres resounds.”
The second verse states that the Guru is the centre of the marriage and that such a marriage is filled with joy and ecstasy.
The third verse is: “Har teejdi lav man chao bhiya bairagiya Bal Ram jio….”
“In the third round of the marriage ceremony your heart is filled with Divine Love. By my great destiny I have met the humble Saints who love the Lord and I have found God. I have found the pure Lord and I sing His Wonderful Praises. I sing the Guru’s Bani. By great good destiny I have found the humble Saints and I speak in the silent language of the Infinite. The Lord’s Name – Har, Har, Har, vibrates and resounds within my heart. Meditating on God, I have realized the great destiny written on my forehead. Servant Nanak proclaims that in this third round, the heart is full of Divine Love of the One God.”
The third verse gives the understanding that both love and liberation lie within the Sadhsangat – the company of those who do sadhana and gather together for worship. It is through this that we realize our destiny.
The fourth verse is: “Har choutdi lav man sahaj bhiya Har paiya Bal Ram jio….”
“In the fourth round of the marriage ceremony I have found God and my mind is filled with peace. Living as a Gurmukh, I have met Him with simple ease. My mind and body are full of sweet delight. I am pleasing to God – and night and day I lovingly focus my awareness on Him. I have merged with the One in everyone and all my desires are fulfilled. The Lord’s Name resounds and reverberates within me and all around me. The One God, my Lord and Master, merges with His Divine Bride and her heart blossoms with His Holy Naam. Servant Nanak proclaims that in this fourth round, we have become One with the Eternal Lord.”
The fourth verse is the final stage which relates to Sahaj Avastha (stage of harmony) and the fulfillment of the goal of life. It is the stage of union when married life is completely blended with love for God. This is the stage when the couple becomes one Soul in two bodies.
Immediately thereafter the first five verses of the Anand Sahib (song of bliss) composed by Guru Amar Das Ji are recited: Raag Ramkali Mahalla teja: “Anand biya meri maye Satguru mai paiya. These verses express ineffable joy at experiencing union with God and the desire to maintain that union and to never to forget the source of all joy and to always remember that one’s true identity is one with the Infinite One.
What do I wear?
These days, it seems every wedding is more fancy than the next. We truly wish for the Anand Karaj to be a spiritual experience with our loved ones as witness. We encourage you to wear whatever you’d like, but remind you to remain cognizant of Guru Sahib’s presence at all times — heads covered, shoes removed, and minds in tune with Gurbani 🙂