Marriage Ceremony of
February 1, 2003
Symbolizing a holy union, the marriage ceremony marks the beginning of the
young couple’s family life. Family life is a means for spiritual growth. It
serves as a training ground for man and woman to practice divine love
through human love, patience, consideration of others, forgiveness, respect,
kindness, and self control. These spiritual qualities, when developed,
contribute towards a happy marriage and accelerate spiritual progress.
The spiritual aspect helps couples recognize that marriage is a permanent
lifetime relationship. The bride and groom vow to love each other, to have a
family, and to fulfill all of their dharmas (duties and obligations)
pertaining to the family and to society. The marriage ceremony is solemnized
somewhat differently in the Hindu and Sikh religions. In Sikhism the bride
and groom take their wedding vows in front of the Guru Granth, the
eternal Guru of the Sikh religion.
In Hinduism the ceremony takes place in the presence of Agni, the
Vedic God of Fire. The couple goes around the Guru Granth and Agni
to legitimate their ties on earth and in heaven.
groom’s party arrives; family and friends celebrate this joyous occasion
by dancing in a procession to the mandir (temple).
(Greeting the Party)
bride’s family greets and welcomes the groom’s family. They embrace and
exchange garlands. The bride’s family greets relatives and guests by
offerings of flowers and fragrant water, sprinkled to demonstrate love
(Exchange of Garlands)
bride and groom exchange garlands sym-bolizing their willingness to
accept each other.
(The Sikh Marriage)
The Sikh ceremony begins as the bride, the groom, relatives, and friends
bow before the Guru Granth and congregate in His midst.
couple and their parents stand up and an Ardas is offered seeking God’s
blessings. TheGranthi, the person in charge of the ceremony, addresses
the couple and explains the duties of their new life. The groom is to
vow fidelity to the wife, while the bride is to vow fidelity to her
husband. The husband protects the life and honor of his wife, and in
turn she remains con-tent with the lot of her husband. The Guru
is an eternal witness to their vows. The couple signi-fies their consent
by bowing before the Guru Granth.
groom’s scarf is placed in the hands of the bride. The Granthi then
reads the lavan, four nuptial stanzas accompanied by musical
instru-ments. At the end of reading each lavan, the groom followed by
the bride walks around the Guru Granth in a clockwise direction
while ragis (singers) sing the hymn. During the fourth round, the couple
is showered with rose petals by the entire congregation as a sign of
rejoicing. Following the lavan, the Anand Sahib (concluding hymns
of the Sikh ceremony) is read and Ardas is offered again, with the
entire congregation standing up this time. Finally,
hukam (the divine command) is received from the Guru Granth by
opening it at random, and karahprashad (the sweet sacrament) is served
to the entire congregation. The bride and the groom are now husband and
The four nuptial stanzas explain in detail the development stages of
love between husband and wife and an individual and God.
In the first stage, the Guru urges to perform duties to the
family and the community and practice simran (meditating upon God’s
name). Simran washes away past sins and bring stability to mind.
In the second stage, egotism and all fears vanish and one can recognize
God’s presence in everyone and everything.
In the third stage, one begins to feel Bairaag, an intense longing for a
complete union with the Beloved.
The final stage is Harmony, reached by one whose mind, through simran,
has gained stability and for whom remembrance of the Lord has become the
sweetest of all pleasures. The stage of harmony is of complete oneness.
The bride and the groom feel and think alike and both completely
identify with each other; they become one soul in two bodies.
The four wedding hymns are described below. Proceeding forth to
the first nuptial stanza:
Lord presents before you his instruction for the daily duties of marital
You are to recite the hymns of the Guru, And be constant in the
performance of your duty. Thus the errors of the past shall be washed
away. Be confirmed in righteousness and Repeat the Lord’s name. The
practice of the Name has been urged in the Smrids as well.
Reflect upon the True Guru, who is ever perfect, And all your
sins and errors will leave you.By the greatest good fortune the mind is
filled with bliss and thoughts of the Lord are soothing to the mind.
Slave Nanak proclaims that in this first round. The marriage ceremony
Comes the second nuptial round:
And the Lord has made you to meet the True
Guru. With your heart bound by the fear of the Fearless God. All
sense of pride has been washed from the mind. Knowing the fear of God
and singing His praise, You behold His presence before you. God, the
Lord Master, is the soul of the creation; He pervades everywhere and
fills all places with His Being.
Know then that there is One God, within us and without. And His songs of
rejoicing are heard in the company of His servants. Nanak proclaims,
that in this second nuptial round, the Divine music is heard.
The praises of the Lord fill my mind. By the greatest
good fortune you have come to meet the Lord God in the company of the
Singing His praises and speaking the Divine Word, the Immaculate Lord is
It is by very great fortune that the pious attain to the Lord and tell
that story which can never be told.
The music of God resounds within and we contemplate the Lord God:
For we have been blessed with a great destiny written upon our
Slave Nanak proclaims that in this third round, the love of God has been
awakened in the heart.
In this fourth round:
The mind grasps the knowledge of the Divine,
And God is realized within. By the Guru’s Grace, we have reached the
Lord with ease; our bodies and our souls are filled With the tender
delight of the Beloved.
I am a sacrifice unto my Lord. God seems sweet to me and I have become
pleasing to my Master. He fills my thoughts all night and day. I have
obtained the object of my heart’s desire - my Lord.
By praising His name I have gained the highest praise. The Lord Himself
becomes one with His holy bride, while the heart of the bride blooms and
flowers with His Holy Name.
Slave Nanak proclaims, that in the fourth round we have found the
(Worship of LordGanesh)
(the Hindu God) is the removerof all obstacles. He is worshipped to
ensure an impediment free ceremony. The worship is also performed to
invoke God’s blessings for the longevity of the couple.
(Giving away the Daughter)
Daan is performed by the father who pours a libation of sacred water
symbolizing the giving away of the daughter to the groom. As a condition
in offering his daughter for mar-riage, the father requests a promise
from the groom. The groom promises to assist the bride in attaining:
Dharma (piety), Artha (wealth), and Kaama (desire). The groom makes the
promise by repeating three times that he will not fail the girl in
realizing dharma, artha and kaama.
(Starting the nuptial Fire)
is lit, symbolizing purity and acting as a witness of all ceremonies
(Holding of Hands and
Tying the Knot)
groom holds the bride’s right hand, clutching her fingers with his right
palm. Then, he proclaims to his bride,
Bhaga (the giver of wealth who presides over love and marriage), Aryama
(the Lord of Effort), Savita the Sun (the source of all energy), and the
Devas (all celestial beings), the enlightened ones, bestow all enjoyment
on us; and may all these Gods endow us with good children and bless that
you may live forever. These Gods have given you unto me to be the Queen
of my family.”
During this ceremony, the ends of three scarves are tied together, an
act preceding their marriage union.
(Offerings to the Fire)
The bride and the groom put parched rice, which is handed to them by the
brothers and cousins of the bride, in the sacred fire and recitea hymn
praying for their prosperity.
(Circling the Fire Seven Times)
sapta-padi is the most important ritual of the wedding ceremony. The
bride and groom walk around the nuptial fire seven times, each time
making a promise to each other.
The priest recites the following hymns detailing their vows:
With God as a guide, let us take,
the first step
to provide nourishment and pure food for our household,
the second step
to develop our physical, mental and spiritual powers,
the third step to increase our wealth by righteous means and
the fourth step
to acquire knowledge, happiness and harmony by mutual love and trust,
the fifth step
so that we are blessed with strong, virtuous and heroic children,
the sixth step
for self restraint and longevity,
the seventh step
to become true companions and remain lifelong partners by this wedlock.
Having taken these steps together, I assure you that I will not swerve
from the path of my love and friend-ship with you. So should you also
not swerve. Let our thoughts, decisions, and actions be one and in
unison. Let us be kind, loving, considerate, good and open-hearted to
each other. Let us share our food, possessions, strengths, and
advantages together. Let us be complementary to each other as thought
and speech are to each other. The sapta-padi ceremony concludes with a
hymn signifying that the union is eternal. The bride and groom are
pronounced man and wife.
(Placing Red Powder
on the Bride’s Head)
this ceremony, the groom places sindhur (red powder) on the crown of the
bride’s head. The sindhur is indicative of a blood union, and it is the
unmistakable mark of a married woman.
(Blessing the Couple)
priest distributes sacred rice to the congre-gation. On a signal from
the priest, the married couple is showered with the sacred rice. This
ritual signifies that the congregation, who are the divine angels, have
witnessed the wedding and bestowed their blessings on the newlyweds for
longevity and prosperity.
(Farewell to the Daughter from her Family)
bride’s family says farewell to their daughter. The bride sits in the
Palki as her brothers and cousins physically carry her outdoors. This is
a tearful moment as it symbolizes that the bride is leaving her parents’
home for good. (This will take place after the reception).
“Whatever I am any devotee desires to worship with faith - that faith of
his 1 make firm and unshakable”. 9V. 21
“I am the same towards all beings. None is hateful, and none is dear to
Me. But those who worship Me with devotion dwell in Me, and I too dwell
in them” Ch. 9 V. 29
Srimad Bhagavad Gita