“They are not said to be husband and wife who merely sit together. Rather they alone are called husband and wife, who have one soul in two bodies”– Guru Amar Das Ji.
Anand Karaj is the blissful union of a couple, according to Sikhism. It takes place in a Gurudwara in the presence of the Almighty. And like Hindu weddings, pheras are an integral part of Anand Karaj and are called laavan phere. There are four hymns of laavan phere and each verse describes a spiritual stage of married life. Here’s the true meaning of Sikh wedding pheras.
The four laavan are hymns from the Sikh holy scriptures Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji and are written by Guru Ram Das Ji. Each laavan has a different meaning and signifies various phases of marriage and its importance. And together, they represent the coming together of two people in the presence of divinity. They guide the couple to follow a path of righteousness, remove any fear or ego other than the fear of god, and remember his name. Once the laavan starts, the two people to be married are bound together with a piece of cloth and take a round around Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji. They repeat this for all four laavan phere representing their commitment to god and him being the centre of the universe. This is also a spiritual union of Atma (bride) which means soul and Paramatma (groom) which means divine.
“Har pehladi laav parvirtee karam driraia bal raam jio.”
The first laavan marks the start of the ceremony and states the piousness of a marriage. It reminds the couple to fulfil their marital duties, renounce bad ways, and meditate on god’s name. By following his path, it states, one will get rid of their sins and celestial bliss shall be attained. It asks the couple to stay on the right path even when times get tough and worship the only lord, Waheguru and embrace naam. This will dispel their fears and worries and will allow them to find true happiness.
“Har doojdi laav satigur purakh milaaya bal raam jio.”
The second laavan takes the couple to meet the true guru–the primal being. It instructs the couple to leave all materialistic things and their ego aside and search for the real guru. The guru is omnipresent and is within and everywhere around them. It states that the guru is the master of the universe, so sing his praise in joy and remember his name in good and bad times.
“Har teejdi laav man chaao bhaya bairagiya bal raam jio.”
The third laavan talks about the absolute and true love that the couple has in their heart for their god. The bride here accepts that she has met the divine saint. She narrates how she finds the almighty and sings his praise which resounds from within her and completes her. In this verse, Guru Nanak Ji proclaims that the couple’s hearts must be filled with the divine love of the lord.
“Har chouthdi laav man sehaj bhaya har paaya bal raam jio.”
The fourth laavan narrates how the hearts and minds of the couple have found peace and joy because they have found the true god. Now, the bride must leave her parents’ house and move into the groom’s house as they are two bodies who share the same soul. The last hymn describes the spiritual union of the couple as their souls blend with the god and how naam fills their hearts. And after the completion of the last laavan, the bride and groom are officially announced as husband and wife.
That’s the meaning of Sikh wedding pheras in Anand Karaj which are followed by Ardaas to complete the ceremony.
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