Waheguru Ji ka khalsa Waheguru Ji ke fateh
I have been waiting for this post due to many factors, a bit busy & didn’t got some vital & joining elements, now its complete I guess, so let me unveil what our 4th master - Dhan Dhan Sri Guru Ram Daas ji wanted to convey by penning the ANAND KARAJ - the blissful union. What was that secret of life he successfully cracked & packaged it beautifully it in the form of this wedding song, the 4 laavas; is tried to be revealed in this article.
Please Note: In this article, some comparisons are made between different religions & that was vital to understand the Anand Karaj, its significance & its meaning. So, it’s a humble request in your feet to not make it as a source of conflicts.
First of all, you all have to realize what a marriage is. Marriage is not an easy path. Marriage is a life. Marriage is not a ceremony, marriage is God.
Marriage has not been understood by the Western world at all. It was understood by the Eastern world but it is forgotten here too. So at this time, the institution of marriage is in total limbo. People do not know what to do with it; people do not know what to do without it. So what we have found out via the media is that marriage then divorce and divorce then marriage is a continuous process.
But actually if we all understand what marriage is, then perhaps we can do better. Marriage is an institution of willingness, in which two identities want to amalgamate. It’s an amalgamation of two egos to bring out a neutral new personality. So, is that all ??? Well, keep reading ... :)
What is the advantage of it and what is the disadvantage of it ? When this amalgamation happens then divine power in the psyche starts to function. Without that, people are individuals and they will only yell and scream at each other and goodness will never come in that home. It is a granted fact.
Marriage brings happiness. It’s an amalgamation of two psyches. And when these two psyches are amalgamated, neither one is an individual. There is no question of he and she. That’s it. There is no loss, there is no gain and there is no bank account.
“This is what my husband said” does not exist. “I will ask my wife” does not exist. If there is no confidence that the husband can speak on behalf of his wife and the wife can speak on behalf of her husband, they have not yet married. If this is the commitment, that the husband cannot commit on behalf on his wife and the wife cannot commit on behalf of her husband, they do not know what commitment is.
To make an alloy, you take two elements and put them together. The alloy cannot be separated. You can boil it, you can form the alloy into a liquid, you can totally burn it, but once it becomes an alloy, it will totally keep its own quality, own quantity, own weight, own molecules, own electrons, protons and neutrons, and own combination. Whatever made brass doesn’t matter. Brass has its own faculty, own quality, own weight and own property.
And that is what love is, that is what marriage is, that is what life is, that is what good luck is. There are no two opinions about it; when a male and a female merge together. That’s why we do it before God. That’s why we do it before Guru.
The practical reality is that marriage is the most misunderstood institution ever created by man
(Above was the post in my blog added a month ago, so I thought to stress this path more)
When a couple (2 humans of opposite sexes) falls madly in love, its like the shooting star ... it resembles the incomparable beauty, blazing white flash, flying over the night sky with tremendous speed, everything is slow before them; but in the end, "zaap" ... all ends & only dust remains. No wonder this seems priceless for the moment, but now u know, its short lived. When you as a bride soul falls madly in love with the divine 1 lord, its like the blazing sun ... some times this love is experienced more (Probably when we are "UP" in some part of life), some times the same love seems comparatively less (experienced in the "PITFALLS" in life). This is synonymous with the Day & night due to rotation of earth around the sun, so we need some 1 to fill that gap ... someone to make us feel the same lovely experience even in the pitfalls.
For this article only, I have conducted a survey at some places (like orkut, yahoo, msn, etc). The Q of that survey was just 1 & was simple. "Q. What qualities do u need / expect from your future spouse?" The response was overwhelming, but not satisfactory. Everyone gave the same kind of response. Males wanted their future wife to be beautiful, rich, understand his emotions, be with him in different phases of life, should be able to cook nice/ tasty meals, etc. As for females, they too had the similar & the obviously expected response - should be tall, dark, handsome, rich, loyal to her, will be together in the good & bad times of her life, makes weekend holidays breakfast, etc. So as you see, no 1 understands what to ask for making the vital decision of life. If these are the things wanted, some can also be fulfilled by "prostitutes" (As said by my guru jee) ... willing to marry them???
Not that none of the responses were up to my expectations, there were some nice once too; as they wanted their future spouse to do naam simran, get up early for prayers & inspire me too do the same, etc. (In short, remember lord with true heart by any means)
That was some of the beautiful reply I got ... but still, I wasn’t satisfied completely with that too. Once I was enjoying kirtan from Darbar Saheb jee, this is the shabad that first fell in my ears ==>
Bandhan te chhutkaave, prabhu milaave, har har naam sunaave
(Is there anyone who can release me from my bondage, unite me with God, recite the Name of the Lord, Har, Har,)
asthir kareh nehchal eh manua bahur na kathu dhaave
(and make this mind steady and stable, so that it no longer wanders around?)
hai kou aiso hamraa meet
(Do I have any such friend?)
sagal samagri jeeo heeo deu arpo apno cheet(I would give him all my property, my soul and my heart; I would devote my consciousness to her / him)
Needless to say, I had tears in my eyes. Its the perfect thing one can ask for.
But, nothing is asked except for that (Mentioned above) which is surely vital for a happy married life??? We did ... where? :) Well, some one asks for diamond ring, some 1 for gold chain, etc; but the one who owns the jewellery shop has all. Similarly, people asks for beauty, money, faithfulness, etc ... but one who asks for the 1 almighty lord gets all ... gets even that which he / she never thought off.
We got this human life after 8.4 million re-incarnations ... rare are those who knows how priceless it is & makes full use of it ... redeems it to meet the 1 lord. (Gobind milan ke ehe teri baariya - this is the time to meet the lord of the universe) & its wasted for a mere shell by many. (Heeray jaisa janam hai, kaudey badley jaaye - This human life is priceless, precious than even the most costly diamond but is exchanged for a mere worthless shell).
This was what the general sense of marriage is (With respect to the divine). But then, what were the extra things Guru Raam Das Ji wanted to convey? Which mystery, which understanding did he provided? Its all there in the Laavan (It’s the 4 verses / lines of shabad which is recited in sikh marriages)
Normally, seeing the translation of the same, there is no such thing as promises made before lord (Which normally happens in other religious marriages like Hindus, christens, etc). So, let’s put some light on those marriages :)
In hindus, there are 8 types of marriages, depending on the cast system (Upper & lower casts)
* Brahma marriage
* Daiva Marriage
* Arsha Marriage
* Prajapatya Marriage
* Gandharva Marriage
* Asura Marriage
* Rakshasa Marriage
* Paishacha Marriage
(Its details can be found here)
Normally, there are 7 rounds in the "hindu wedding ceromony", which are:
1. With the first step, the couple invokes the gods for plenty of pure and nourishing food.
2. With the second step, the couple prays to the Gods to give them the mental, physical and spiritual strength to lead a healthy life.
3. The third step is for preserving wealth and prosperity in life.
4. With the fourth step, the bride and groom invoke the gods for attainment of happiness and harmony by mutual love and trust in all walks of life.
5. With the fifth step, they pray for the welfare of all living beings in the Universe and pray for virtuous, noble and heroic children.
6. With the sixth step, they ask the gods to give them a long, joyous life and togetherness forever.
7. With the seventh, and last, step, the couple prays for understanding, companionship, loyalty and unity.
So basically, they cover all the things vital to be present in the life of a married couple. Nothing more. Also, there prevails a concept of being together for 7 janams (7 re-incarinations). Well, ask me, I'd never want to enter into the fire of womb again, then why they ? And that too for 7 times ? Ok, if you are so madily in love, then why just 7 janams ? Anyways, it dosent satisfy me more than just worldly desires.
In muslims, there is a law of marying as many wifes (Or some limited number, i guess), muslim women does not have equal rights as per men are given, needless to say anything more.
In catholics, the couple enters the church ... The priest says some holy lines from the bible & the couple takes some promices in front of the priest (That simply includes the couple about leading the life being faithful, will share its income, will always help in both sorrows, joys, etc)
Other religions too have the similar thing (Not about the rituals, but about the signifances of it)
Now, this is what & how our sikh gurujis have cracked this secret of life with the perception of ANAND KARAJ (Blissful Union)
There are different ways where the relation between a human & the 1 lord can be described. Of them, the most beautiful one is the relation between a husband & a wife. In GURU GRANTH SAHEB JI (The holy book of the sikhs), all humans (Irrespective of whether they are male or female) are synonymous to the bride - "The Soul Bride". Thus we all humans are brides & are waiting to get married to the 1 lord ... our husband lord. This is the main aim of life. This is why we came to this world as humans, to meet the husband lord & be always with him. That union with the 1 lord is now synonymous with our marriage. We seek our completion through a partner. But as an individual, are we lacking something??? No, not at all; but when 2 souls merge, the individual identity is lost & we become 1, by merging.
Its vital to understand what Guru ji wanted us to understand ... In one place, Guru jee mentioned:
"Kood meeya kood beebee khap hoyee khaar"
(False is the husband & false is the wife since they waste their life in emotional love with each other & do not understand the essence of being - SUHAGAN)
Whereas in other place Guru jee also said:
"dhan pir ehey na aakheean behan eikathae hoe"
(They are not said to be husband & wife, who merely sit together)
"Ek joth, doyee mooratee dhan pir kahiyea sooyee"
(They alone are called husband & wife, who has 1 soul dwelling in 2 different bodies).
Now, what this '1 soul in 2 bodies ...' literally means ? it dosent mean what it sounds to mean, but it means that they both realise that both of their souls are the same since it came from the same source (AkalPurakh) & in the end gonna merge there itself. So the only thing requied is to realise this fact, understand it & make each other experience the same. Ahhh, just imagine, how beautiful their relation would be ... :)
Having said this, it clears many Q's arising in ones mind about the concept of marriage in sikkhi. Like,
> There is no need at all for both the (future) husband & wifes to be at the same spiritual level, infact this is one way where one of the couple helps other to progress spiritually & thus both gets more close to each other & to Guru jee.
> 'Physical Age' of theirs dosen't matter. This may take another full article on age, but for now, just be reminded that Guru harkrishan saheb jee, was made the Guru at the tender age of 5.5 yrs. Thus, in sikkhi, husband OR wife either can have relavent age difference, what matters is ... how close they are - 'Spiritually' to each other & to Guru jee.
Going further, in GURU GRANTH SAHEB JI, this relation is penned around 641 times. The general concept of the same is that ==> The soul bride (we humans) is ignorant. It wanders here & there & falls in love of duality, the love for worldly entanglements. Those comforts seem so sweet to her that it forgets why it she here for & in the end regrets & repents. The real fortunate brides do not fall in trap to these "sweet looking evils". She knows the real truth, loves & waits for her husband lord. That love is true, pure & non-conditional. In the end, she meets & forever unites with him.
Following are some of the quotes from GURU GRANTH SAHEB JI with respect to this relation:
blessed is that fortunate bride, who is in love with her Husband Lord.
The self-willed manmukh performs religious rituals, like the unwanted bride decorating her body.Her Husband Lord does not come to her bed; day after day, she grows more and more miserable. She does not attain the Mansion of His Presence; she does not find the door to His House.
The soul-bride in love with duality goes around the wheel of reincarnation, through 8.4 million incarnations.
Listen, listen, O soul-bride: you are overtaken by sexual desire-why do you walk like that, swinging your arms in joy? You do not recognize your own Husband Lord! When you go to Him, what face will you show Him? I touch the feet of my sister soul-brides who have known their Husband Lord.
The happy soul-brides are attuned to the Shabad (Divine music); their egotism is eliminated from within.
There is only the One Beloved - we are all soul-brides of our Husband Lord. She who is pleasing to her Husband Lord is good.
Blessed, blessed are the happy soul-brides, O my friend, who are blended with their Husband Lord.
The virtuous soul-brides dwell on the Lord's virtues; they keep their Husband Lord in their remembrance, and so they never suffer separation from Him.
The Lord rejects the impure soul-brides. Their life-night passes in misery.
Nanak, they are the pure soul-brides, who merge in the True Guru.
The following are 2 paragraphs is taken from one of my sister blog. Its her perception of ANAND KARAJ. (I intentionally added this to give u the taste of one same thing with different frequencies)
In four simple stanzas, Guru Ram Das outlines the consciousness we need in order to be ready to marry. Or perhaps - more profoundly - to be able to give, receive and merge into Love. And that consciousness has nothing to do with being young and sexually desireable, or being successful and clever, or being rich and famous. The consciousness to give, receive and merge into Love has to do with stability of spirit, with surrender to the Guru's teachings, and with a profound peace in knowing that the time of these events are written for us before we're even born. There's a Hand guiding our lives - and that Hand - when we let it guide us - will guide us to merge into Love. When the time is right.
For me, passages like these Engagement Shabads work on two levels at the same time. They describe the relationship between the soul and the Divine. But they also describe the relationship between a man and a woman. Because when the relationship between a man and a woman is right, it mirrors the relationship between the soul and the One. That's why we look for completion through a partner, in my humble view of it. Not that we lack anything inside of ourselves. We don't. But somewhere inside there's a spiritual knowing that when two become one - both loose an individual identity - but gain something far greater than either could have on their own - in return.
The Laavan shabad - Decoded
Finally the Laavan shabad is here ... the 4 verses who’s significance was explained previously. The fourth Guru, Guru Ramdas, originally composed Laavan, the wedding song, to celebrate a holy union between the human soul (Atma) and God (Parmatma). The Guru wishes that our married life should also be moulded on the ideal laid down for our union with the Parmatma. It consists of the 4 verses & it explains the four stages of love and married life (With both, your spouse & your husband lord)
(I’d really wanted to decode this Laavan shabad from my own consciousness & understanding but an un-avoidable event have recently occurred in my small life due to which its not possible. But, I will surely decode the same ... at least before getting married J. This version of laavan shabad is taken from one of the various gurbani files I have)
First laav – Read in the first round of marriage ceremony
har pahilarhee laav parvirtee karam drirh-aa-i-aa bal raam jee-o.
In the first round of the marriage ceremony, the Lord sets out His Instructions for performing the daily duties of married life.
banee barahmaa vayd Dharam darirhHu paap tajaa-i-aa bal raam jee-o.
Instead of the hymns of the Vedas to Brahma, embrace the righteous conduct of Dharma, and renounce sinful actions.
Dharam darirhHu har naam Dhi-aavahu simrit naam drirh-aa-i-aa.
Meditate on the Lord's Name; embrace and enshrine the contemplative remembrance of the Naam.
satgur gur pooraa aaraaDhahu sabh kilvikh paap gavaa-i-aa.
Worship and adore the Guru, the Perfect True Guru, and all your sins shall be dispelled.
sahj anand ho-aa vadbhaagee man har har meethaa laa-i-aa.
By great good fortune, celestial bliss is attained, and the Lord, Har, Har, seems sweet to the mind.
jan kahai naanak laav pahilee aarambh 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 laav – Read in the second round of marriage ceremony
har doojrhee laav satgur purakh milaa-i-aa bal raam jee-o.
In the second round of the marriage ceremony, the Lord leads you to meet the True Guru, the Primal Being.
nirbha-o bhai man ho-ay ha-umai mail gavaa-i-aa bal raam jee-o.
With the Fear of God, the Fearless Lord in the mind, the filth of egotism is eradicated.
nirmal bha-o paa-i-aa har gun gaa-i-aa har vaykhai raam hadooray.
In the Fear of God, the Immaculate Lord, sing the Glorious Praises of the Lord, and behold the Lord's Presence before you.
har aatam raam pasaari-aa su-aamee sarab rahi-aa bharpooray.
The Lord, the Supreme Soul, is the Lord and Master of the Universe; He is pervading and permeating everywhere, fully filling all spaces.
antar baahar har parabh ayko mil har jan mangal gaa-ay.
Deep within, and outside as well, there is only the One Lord God. Meeting together, the humble servants of the Lord sing the songs of joy.
jan naanak doojee laav chalaa-ee anhad sabad vajaa-ay. ||2||
Servant Nanak proclaims that, in this, the second round of the marriage ceremony, the unstruck sound current of the Shabad resounds. ||2||
Third laav – Read in the third round of marriage ceremony
har teejrhee laav man chaa-o bha-i-aa bairaagee-aa bal raam jee-o.
In the third round of the marriage ceremony, the mind is filled with Divine Love.
sant janaa har mayl har paa-i-aa vadbhaagee-aa bal raam jee-o.
Meeting with the humble Saints of the Lord, I have found the Lord, by great good fortune.
nirmal har paa-i-aa har gun gaa-i-aa mukh bolee har banee.
I have found the Immaculate Lord, and I sing the Glorious Praises of the Lord. I speak the Word of the Lord's Bani.
sant janaa vadbhaagee paa-i-aa har kathee-ai akath kahaanee.
By great good fortune, I have found the humble Saints, and I speak the Unspoken Speech of the Lord.
hirdai har har har Dhun upjee har japee-ai mastak bhaa jee-o.
The Name of the Lord, Har, Har, Har, vibrates and resounds within my heart; meditating on the Lord, I have realized the destiny inscribed upon my forehead.
jan naanak bolay teejee laavai har upjai man bairaag jee-o. ||3||
Servant Nanak proclaims that, in this, the third round of the marriage ceremony, the mind is filled with Divine Love for the Lord. ||3||
Fourth laav – Read in the fourth round of marriage ceremony
har cha-utharhee laav man sahj bha-i-aa har paa-i-aa bal raam jee-o.
In the fourth round of the marriage ceremony, my mind has become peaceful; I have found the Lord.
gurmukh mili-aa subhaa-ay har man tan meethaa laa-i-aa bal raam jee-o.
As Gurmukh, I have met Him, with intuitive ease; the Lord seems so sweet to my mind and body.
har meethaa laa-i-aa mayray parabh bhaa-i-aa an-din har liv laa-ee.
The Lord seems so sweet; I am pleasing to my God. Night and day, I lovingly focus my consciousness on the Lord.
man chindi-aa fal paa-i-aa su-aamee har naam vajee vaaDhaa-ee.
I have obtained my Lord and Master, the fruit of my mind's desires. The Lord's Name resounds and resonates.
har parabh thaakur kaaj rachaa-i-aa Dhan hirdai naam vigaasee.
The Lord God, my Lord and Master, blends with His bride, and her heart blossoms forth in the Naam.
jan naanak bolay cha-uthee laavai har paa-i-aa parabh avinaasee. ||4||2||
Servant Nanak proclaims that, in this, the fourth round of the marriage ceremony, we have found the Eternal Lord God. ||4||2||
I Still wish I have enough counts of breaths left to decode the 4 laavas out of my own conscious. May happen soon. I wish you all the best in your future (married) life & may you attain what you are here to obtain !!!
Waheguru Ji ka khalsa Waheguru Ji ke fateh