Anand Karaj in the context of Guru and Western Culture


When Ram Rai, the eldest son of Mata Krishen Kaur and Guru Har Rai Ji, changed a word of a Gurbani tukh to appease (the usurper of the Mughal Raj) Arungzeb, Guru Har Rai Ji excommunicated him from Sikhi. Baba Ram Rai was Guru Sahib’s own son yet he had disrespected Gurbani which is considered the highest form of direspect in the Sikh Faith. Baani Guru, Guru Hai Baani.

BUT we forget one important thing, Baba Ram Rai was punished so severely because he KNOWINGLY did the wrong thing. Being Guru Sahib’s son he was well aware of the crime he was committing and therefore it was a choice.

Sadly majority of our community today is ignorant of our faith and it’s history. So how then can we hold individuals responsible when they disrespect Gurbani and thereby the True Guru unknowingly? Our response must be different because the Guru is just and never angry toward those who commit a mistake unknowingly. It is counterproductive to curse the bride and say “she deserves to rot in hell” or that “she is a stupid bitch who should die”. This only perpetuates ignorance and division within our community.

We must as a community take responsibility and educate ourselves and others to make sure incidents like this never occur again. As for incidents regarding to Anand Karaj, Anand Karaj is a very big commitment that we have dumbed down to “the Punjabi Marriage Ceremony” and by doing so we have turned it into a ritual, something often the bride and groom do without true knowledge.

The Anand Karaj is a commitment ceremony that binds the souls of the couple, you are not only committing to each other but making the HUGE commitment of accepting Guru Sahib as your Guru, to follow “his” teachings and keep “him” in the center of your new married life. Each part of the Lavaan gives you a different teaching which you hear out while you revolve around the Guru like the earth revolves around the sun and you commit to that teaching, saying you fully agree with it and will embody it the moment you bow your head before the Guru and Matha Tek.

The “pheray” or parkarma around Guru Granth Sahib was not always part of the ceremony, it was added and is merely mirroring your commitment. The palla shows the connecting of two souls, you walk around Guru Sahib to show “he” is the center of your life. The reason walking side by side doesn’t work is because you both will not be equidistance from Guru Sahib, one person will be further. The woman walking behind the man is not inequality because it simply mirrors a Gurbani tukh. Also in the greater context of Anand Karaj one can see inequality is not an issue. As I stated before, we are viewing our religion through a western perspective without the knowledge and historical context of our religion. Furthermore, another way to look at in a western perspective is “Behind every man is a strong woman…and boom now it’s liberating.

I would like to state once again that ignorance is the root of all the confusion and division in our community. If it pains you to see Guru Granth Sahib disrespected then take it upon yourself to educate others of Gurbani and Sikh History. Do your research so you can know about the faith and institution you claim to be a part of. I would like to end this by saying once again, disrespect to Gurbani and thereby the true Guru is the highest crime.

I will leave you with one other example of how much respect our Gurus had for Gurbani. They were always stating that they are nothing, Gurbani, the word of Waheguru is everything, worship and follow Gurbani not their physical forms. Baani Guru, Guru Hai Baani.

When Guru Arjun Dev Ji, the 5th Guru was bringing Aad Granth (half of Guru Granth Sahib organized into a saroop) to Amritsar, Baba Buddha ji carried Aad Granth on his head while Guru Arjun Dev Ji did chaur seva (waving of peacock feathers). This shocked the sangat that was walking alongside Guru Sahib because chaur seva was something that was only done to the Guru or to Kings and yet here was the Guru doing chaur seva to what appeared to be a book! Then when they ended the daily events at Amritsar, the Sikhs asked Guru Arjun Dev Ji where they should put Aad Granth for the night. Guru Sahib responded, Aad Granth will rest on my bed, I will sleep on the floor beside it. OUR GURUS SHOWED TIME AND TIME AGAIN THAT GURBANI IS THE HIGHEST. Today we have largely forgotten this and disregard Guru Granth Sahib, we neglect our Guru by remaining ignorant of “his” teachings.

Source: WarriorPrinces Blog