“They are not said to be husband and wife, who merely sit together. They alone are called husband and wife, who have one light in two bodies.” (Ang 788 Guru Granth Sahib Ji).
I wrote a post last year about the meaning of Anand Karaj. Even after reading the translation of the laavan there is always more to learn. In the last four days I have listened to Veerji’s (Bhai Harinder Singh Ji of Nirvair Khalsa Jatha) katha on Anand Karaj. I learned a lot from the last few days and I would encourage all of you to go to the facebook page for the Nirvair Khalsa Jatha and listen to the kathas on Anand Karaj if you missed them. So far they have only posted the first day, but will be posting all of the kathas soon. Remember, the Anand Karaj is not just about physical marriage, but also about the marriage of the mind to God, which is the purpose of all of our lives.
In the katha, Veerji explained the meanings of each of the Laavs. In brief summary, the first laav is about making Guru Ji our guide, making efforts to do naam japna and understanding Gurbani. The second laav is about making the inside the same as the outside (being truthful) and removal of ego. The third is about filling the mind with love for God. The fourth laav is about sehaj (patience). He explained each in the context of the marriage of the mind with God and as well in our relationships.
In my last post about Anand Karaj I focused on the marriage of the mind to God. In this post I’m going to talk a little bit about our physical marriage. (Of course when we merge our mind with God any relationships we have will be easier.) It’s important particularly for those who are yet to be married, what a married life means, what the Anand Karaj means, what we need in a partner. When we are younger we think that a life partner is someone with a list of qualities. Ask my 11 year old cousin and she will tell you a husband needs to know how to cook and that’s most important. What we don’t realize in our youth is that skills are learned and therefore people can learn them later- there are more essential things to a relationship and we can’t and shouldn’t reduce people to a list. In particular it’s become common to get caught up in superficial things like last names, jobs, birth dates (astrology), skills, etc. Yet some people without any education at all have may have more understanding of God than someone with a million-dollar paying job. So let’s try to focus instead now on what Guru Ji tells us in the Anand Karaj.
Veerji explained in his katha that the married couple should make Guru Ji the center of their life, which is why we do parkarma during the Anand Karaj. Both partners should try to understand Gurbani and apply it to their lives. I was reading in Bhai Sewa Singh Ji’s book, Kiv Koodhe Tutay Paal, that we have arguments and fights in our relationships (ex. Families) because our thoughts are being pulled in different directions by maya. When we meditate on God and learn to think alike, the fighting ends. It’s important for us to apply our understanding of the Guru Granth Sahib Ji to our lives so we can learn to live in anand.
The second laav explains that we should be truthful and honest with our partner. Veerji said don’t be afraid to lose relationships over truth. I used to think that being truthful was somewhat magical. They kind of tend to show that on TV- like you are honest and life is really amazing. I’ve lost friendships over truth though and it’s hard because you sometimes think well if I hadn’t been honest then I would still have that friend. Truthful living is the basis of Sikhi though, and you shouldn’t have to hide the truth to have someone stick around. As the third laav explains, we should fill the mind with love.
Lastly, as the fourth laav explains, we should be patient with our partner, have full faith in them, and not get angry over small things. This forms a relationship of equals who respect and trust one another, who are supportive of each other. Everybody has their own marriage advice and you can find thousands of articles on how to find a partner, but we should trust the advice that Guru Ji is telling us! Let’s all apply what we have learned about the Anand Karaj to our daily lives- in our physical relationships and in our spiritual life.