To be straight to the point: There is no such thing as a marriage with Guru Ram Das Ji’s Lavaan Bani between a non Sikh couple according to the Sikh Rehat Maryada. “k. Persons professing faiths other than the Sikh faith cannot be joined in wedlock by the Anand Karaj ceremony.” Sikh Code of Conduct In a recent article Published by Kaur Life, an interfaith marriage took place in a gurdwara sahib in Atlanta, GA where the bride and groom did lavaan ceremony side by side instead of the traditional groom in front of the bride. The named Baljit Kaur and Shawn Tucker felt they wanted to do the lavaan in a way to show equality which Sikhi represents. They apparently asked their parents and relatives opinion before doing such an act. The parents initially objected from both sides but went along later. They say after convincing the granthi at the Gurdwara Sahib, they felt confident. Apparently they received a welcoming response from some of the persons attending the wedding:
“Old aunties and uncles came up to us, wide eyed and said, ‘That was amazing! I wish we had gotten married that way!’ A few younger college-aged Sikhs said, ‘That was awesome. I’m gonna do that when I get married,’ ” said Shawn. “My parents, who were originally against it, saw everyone’s positive reaction and are now saying it was their idea!”
Sikh Rehat Maryada Broken
A commentator on the blog pointed out why this act was wrong: “Lavaan is a metaphor of our spiritual journey towards Waheguru ji. As a soul-bride follows the Husband-Lord as per Gurbani, so does bride in laavan. That is how I understood it. Taking laavan while walking behind my groom did not mean any inequality to me. I consider myself fortunate being woman because submission in intuitive for me, while a man has to make conscious effort to practice it in life to be with Waheguru ji. Marriage is much more blissful in spite of all the ups and downs; if a Sikh couple can understand this simple theory behind laavan and its traditional value” One of the best comments was this: ” Perhaps through ignorance they have forgotten that the purpose of doing laava is to promise that from now forth, you both commit to Dhan Guru Granth Sahib Jee being the centre of your lives together. It is not about who walks first, rather that you are both circumferencing Guru Jee at equal distance. In the way that they chose to conduct the ceremony, one of them was further from Guru Jee than the other. That my friends is not equality. The equality is based on things that matter. The reason the man tends to walk Infront is because the woman is leaving the home of her parents and joining her husband in their marital home (Regardless of if there is a physical move of home involved or not). It follows on from the palla ceremony where essentially the bride is ‘given away’ by her father.
Another comment by a a person “Kaur”
If the bride and groom were so concerned about equality, then surely they would have questioned why only the father gives away the daughter, feather than both parents? Truth is, they is a practical and social reason behind everything we do as sikhs. They should have looked I to it deeper before deciding that they knew better. The Granthi Singh should definitely have know better. What hope do the sangat have if the Granthis allow such beadbi?
I think that people should research the meaning of the lava, the reasons why we do parkarima of Guru Granth Sahib Jee before thinking that they know better than learned scholars of the Sikh panth.
” To quote the Sikh Code of Conduct: Article XVIII
a. A Sikh man and woman should enter wedlock without giving thought to the prospective spouse’s caste and descent. k. Persons professing faiths other than the Sikh faith cannot be joined in wedlock by the Anand Karaj ceremony. j. For marriage, there should be a congregational gathering in the holy presence of Guru Granth Sahib. There should be hymn-singing by ragis or by the whole congregation. Then the girl and the boy should he made to sit facing the Guru Granth Sahib. The girl should sit on the left side of the boy. After soliciting the congregation’s permission, the master of the marriage ceremony (who may be a man or a woman) should bid the boy and girl and their parents or guardians to stand and should offer the Ardas for the commencement of the Anand marriage ceremony.
The officiant should then apprise the boy and the girl of the duties and obligations of conjugal life according to the Guru’s tenets.
He should initially give to the two an exposition of their common mutual obligations. He should tell them how to model the husband-wife relationship on the love between the individual soul and the Supreme Soul in the light of the contents of circumambulation (Lavan) hymns in the Suhi measure (rag) section (The bulk of the Guru Granth (the Sikh holy book ) is divided on the basis of the ragas (measures) of the Indian classical music. Suhi is one of the ragas featuring in the Guru Granth Sahib) of the Guru Granth Sahib.
He should explain to them the notion of the state of “a single soul in two bodies” to be achieved through love and make them see how they may attain union with the Immortal Being discharging duties and obligations of the householders’ life. Both of them, they should be told, have to make their conjugal union a means to the fulfillment of the purpose of the journey of human existence; both have to lead clean and Guru-oriented lives through the instrumentality of their union.
He should then explain to the boy and girl individually their respective conjugal duties as husband and wife.
The bridegroom should be told that the girl’s people having chosen him as the fittest match from among a whole lot, he should regard his wife as his better half, accord to unflinching love and share with her all that he has. In all situations, he should protect her person and honour, he should be completely loyal to her and he should show much respect and consideration for her parents and relations as for his own.
The girl should be told that she has been joined in matrimony to her man in the hallowed presence of the Guru Granth Sahib and the congregation. She should ever harbour for him deferential solicitude, regard him the lord master of her love and trust; she should remain firm in her loyalty to him and serve him in joy and sorrow and in every clime (native or foreign) and should show the same regard and consideration to his parents and relatives as she would, to her own parents and relatives.