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Parkama Question (everyone participate)

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hey, i wanted to know the why in the parkarma ( 4 cycles in a sikh wedding )

how come the man is in the front and the woman is at the back???

id really like to know what's the reason behind that

Got to be a reason for it

and can someone give me more information about the 4 lava, wat each cycle means

thanks a bunch :)

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1. Parkarma is done 4 times around sri guru granth sahib ji because there are 4 lavans of anand karaj and in the anand karaj, there are 4 cycles( state) of this being, we do parkarama around sri guru granth sahib ji because of acknowledge/promise the vows in lavan to guru .

To read upon details on anand karaj, check out the translations i managed to do of audio katha of anand karaj by gyani thakur singh ji.


2. dont know the reason behind that one.

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Its the same reason why God made it so that the male member goes inside the female organ in order to reproduce..

I guess if God wanted equality the way some modernists believe then well..

now im confused.. until God shows equality by making us exactly the same then I believe the man should walk infront and the woman follow.

Actually to be honest I have heard (and neo you might be able to confirm this as I heard it from many Nanaksari's) there was a time when there was no walking.. Just sit down read the lava and hey presto you married.. :D

Its a cultural thing i would assume.. but like I said I assume..

maybe it signifies how the woman will follow the husband into his family (hence the taking of the mans name, and living in their family home until you have a fight with the mother in law.. !) I dont believe its degrading to women, coz every wedding I been too.. the man has been surrounded by women .. and then her brothers turn up !!! it would be dangerous ground offending a woman in that situation :P

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Actually to be honest I have heard (and neo you might be able to confirm this as I heard it from many Nanaksari's) there was a time when there was no walking.. Just sit down read the lava and hey presto you married..

Thats quite true bro, before thats what used to happen before.

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I've been to a coupla Nanaksar Gurdwara weddings.

At Nanaksar Gurdwaras, Guru Maharaj sits elevated, in front of the sangat and is "walled off" to the sides. This means you can't go around the Guru Ji like in other Gurdwaras. The Granthi and other sevadars have to go through a side door and enter the "inner sanctum" that way.

Because the bride and groom can't go around Guru Maharaj, they stand up instead for the bit where you would normally go round. They still Matha Tek and such.

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Wicked warrior, that's interesting which nanaksar gurdwara is that? as in which branch? baba mihan singh ji one or baba kundan singh ji one or baba gurdev singh ji or baba amar singh one?

Because the one i go to is baba gurdev singh ji one, they don't held anand karaj ceremonies at all because it's consider an dera.

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  • 2 weeks later...

i have seen at wolves tath gurdwara, that they close off the doors to the inner sachkhand and place a smaller palki sahib infront still elevated but with enough space to allow parkarma.

But I have also heard from many singhs in india who say they got married without doing parkarma.. maybe thats coz all of em had no legs.. ?? :P

actually how would a guy with no legs get married ?

would the wife carry the guy around?

intresting its not about gender equality in sikhi.. its all about disability equality :D

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Gurfateh !

I don't know how relevant this is to this particular discusion - but here is extract from 'The Prem Sumarg Granth'

I am giving the salient points that may be of interest in this discussion

In lines 1 - 4 - it states that the marriage takes place before a 'bhagauti' adorned with 'sindoor' and flowers -and a fire of wood

The groom sits (on a stool) facing south and the bride sits opposite (also on a stool) (not side by side) - they are separated by a 'salu' (red shawl)

In lines 16 - 19 - it states that after due 'Ardas' before 'bhagauti' and 'Khalsa' - the couple are then seated on stools side by side in the west facing east- the bride to the groom's right - the groom's 'patka' (long scarf) is tied to the bride's headscarf - an elachi (cardamom) placed in the knot.

Ghee (clarified butter) is added to the fire to keep it alight and incense is burned

The Lavan from Raag Suhi are then sung

The couple then walk around the fire - keeping it to their right ( the groom in front the bride behind) this is done four times.

In line 26 - it states that after the lavan are completed the bride sits on the groom's stool and the groom in the bride's - ie they swap - bride on the left groom on the right

After this ardas is said and Karah Prasad distributed - after this both the groom and bride should receive 'Pahul Khande di'






* taken from Prem Sumaarg Granth - Edited Randhir Singh - New Book Co. - 3rd Ed. 2000 -


The chapter continues and also gives instruction on how the 'Wedding Night' - Suhaag Raat - is to be 'conducted' - (I think this is quite sweet - it involves an Ardas and a special 'benti' - quite romantic really - not smutty as many maybe thinking -YES - you know who you are !! ) - however as I think the above is already far too controversial for many - I won't post that bit - well not yet anyway ! - it might take the topic off the seating discussion.


Back to the discussion in hand it can be seen that - 'seating' arrangements have changed - I am interested to know why the couple swap seats at the end - any ideas ?

Hope I haven't gone off topic ! apologies for the ropey translation !

Oh I forgot to add - in my family there is a mixture of accounts about how Lavan were performed - some only stood during the singing of the Lavan - some did parkarma - some sat during the whole ceremony - and some members had a 'Vedi' marriage ie around a fire.


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Gurfateh !

Here are some pictures that might be of interest - I have been looking for the oldest photograph of a Sikh wedding - these are what I found --

not very old but interesting -

The first is the Marriage of writer and journalist Khushwant Singh to Kaval Kaur Malik in Delhi 1939.



*from Khushwant Singh - In the Name of the Father - Rahul Singh - Roli - 2004

These photographs are from 1941 in Nabha and show the Marriage of Major Khushhalpal Singh of the MG Battalion of the Sikh Regiment



* from Emergency Sahib - Robin Schlaefli - Leach - 1992

This last picture from the Central Sikh Museum Amritsar - shows Bhai Darbara Singh - son of Baba Dyal founder of the Nirankari Darbar - He standardised the 'Anand Marriage' - with the Lavan around Guru Sahib, that we have today, in the early 20th century.



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sorry for my ignorance everyone...i had a chat with a gyani fellow of mine...and he geos why in your mind do you think being infront is more important is than being at the back ? why question in your head a thing like that?...and i sort of shut up...coz...ive realised that whether the guy is it at the bak or the woman at the front deosnt really matter...

we are not equal in terms of body functions....a guy with some breasts , lol, he can give birth,...lol

some women are good at somethings better than a man can do

but...the atma is the same so why bothered questioning whether one should be at the back and one should be at the front when atma is the same...and ive realised that it deosnt matter!!!!!

the Gurus got married when the guy infront n woman at the bak...so watever the Guru deos we should do i suppose

sorry for my stupidity everyone

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This last picture from the Central Sikh Museum Amritsar - shows Bhai Darbara Singh - son of Baba Dyal founder of the Nirankari Darbar - He standardised the 'Anand Marriage' - with the Lavan around Guru Sahib, that we have today, in the early 20th century.

Were the Nirankaris also protested by Brahmins and Akal Takhat Jathedars for boycotting the Vedas for marriage ceremonies? Were there any cases filed against them? Did the Brahmins threaten to throw themselves into flames as it happened when the Namdharis started to use Banis from Granth Sahib for marriage?

Also if Nirankaris "Standardized" the Anand Karaj, were they approached in the 1920's when the Anand Marriage Act was to be passed by the Govt for the mainstream singh sabha community? Why did the singh sabha request a letter from Namdhari Darbar - an outright enemy of the British Govt - instead?


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Dear Fateh Singh,

With respect I don't understand fully the point you are making.

Perhaps you have taken umbrage with my use of the word 'standardized' (apologies for the spelling mistake !) - maybe the word 'revived' would have been better - that is why I put it in quotation marks.

I sense it may be due to the fact there is debate as to who brought about this 'revival' -- Jakobsh (2003) says that both Nirankaris and Naamdhaaris claim the credit.


(taken from Relocating Gender in Sikh History - Doris R Jacobsh - Oxford - 2003 - pg 112)

Webster (John C B Webster, 'The Nirankari Sikhs, Macmillan 1979) states that Nirankaris assert that Darbara Singh performed the first modern era Anand Marriage in 1855 - which they claim was later 'copied' by the Singh Sabha Movement and the subsequent Anand marriage act 1909. Jakobsh says Baba Ram Singh launched his Marriage reforms in June 1863.

Both the Nirankaris and Naamdharis faced fierce opposition from Brahmin priests and the authorities - here is an extract from the Encycl. of Sikhism - the entry for the Anand Marriage act - it can be seen that it was opposed by Brahmin priests.

Sikh reformist movements >> ANAND MARRIAGE ACT


ANAND MARRIAGE ACT was passed in 1909 by the Imperial

(i.e. GovernorGeneral's) Legislative Council to

establish legal "validity of the marriage ceremony

common among the Sikhs called Anand." The origins of

marriage by Anand ceremony go back to early Sikhism. The

practice which somewhat lapsed during the time of

Maharaja Ranjit Singh was sought to be revived as part

of the religious reform initiated by the Nirankari

movement and followed up especially by the Singh Sabha.

Anand marriages were readily reported in the Sikh Press

towards the close of the 19th century. For instance, the

Khalsa Akhbar in its issue of 6 November 1886 reported

the marriage of Bhai Dalip Singh, son of Bhai Ran Smgh

of village Kondi in the princely state of Patiala by

Anand ceremony. The same newspaper announced on 11

December 1886 Anand nuptials of Gian Singh, son of

SubahdarMajor Baghel Singh, which took place at the

village of Jaipura. Again on 18 February 1888, the

Khalsa Akhbar reported the marriage of the daughter of

Bhai Sant Singh, president, Singh Sabha, Lahore,

performed in accordance with the Sikh ritual on 14

February 1888. At Sialkot, an early Anand marriage of

modern times took place on 4 June 1903

(Kha/saAJchbar.lOJuly 1903). Bhai Mohan Singh Vaid in

his Diary recorded that he attended Anand Karaj

performed at the village ofKairon on 7 June 1899.

Presumably that was when Bhai Nihal Singh Kairon's

daughter, sister of Partap Singh Kairon, mighty

latterday political leader of the Punjab, was married.

Early references to Anand marriages occur in old Sikh

texts such as Rahitnama Bhai Daya Singh and Giani Gian

Singh, Panth Prakash.

The Anand ceremony was looked upon askance by

Brahmanical priests who administered the rites in the

old Hindu fashion. They started caluminating the Sikh

form. Sikhs wished to have their social laws accepted

and codified and a beginning was made with their

marriage rites.

The Anand Marriage Bill was introduced in the Imperial

Legislative Council in 1908 by Tikka Ripudaman Singh of

the princely state of Nabha. The House of Nabha had

always espoused simplification of wedding ceremonies

and, as reported in Khalsa Dharam Pracharak, 13 July

1895, there was an order in force in Nabha state laying

down that no marriage party should exceed 11 guests. The

Anand Marriage Bill had been drafted by a committee of

the Chief Khalsa Diwan. The Imperial Council referred

the bill to a select committee. The bill received

overwhelming support from the Sikh respondents. In 1909

Sundar Singh Majithia replaced Tikka Ripudaman Singh of

Nabha state as a member of the Imperial Council. Moving

the bill at a meeting of the Imperial Legislative

Council held at the Viceregal Lodge, Shimla, on Friday,

10 September 1909, Sundar Singh Majithia commended the

effort of Tikka Ripudaman Singh who had "laboured

unremittingly" in behalf of the "useful measure."

Elaborating, Sundar Singh said the ceremony called Anand

was initiated by the third Guru of the Sikhs, Guru Amar

Das (14791574), and his successor Guru Ram Das

(15341581) was the author of the four hymns of Lavan

which are included in the Guru Granth Sahib (Raga Suhi,

pp. 773 74) and which are recited to solemnize the Anand


Sardar Sundar Singh presented the report of the select

committee. The bill was placed on the Statute Book on 22

October 1909. The text of the Act reads:

5.The Anand Marriage Act 1909, Act No. VII of 1909. An

Act to remove doubts as to the validity of the marriage

ceremony among the Sikhs called 'Anand'.

1. Short title and extent : The Act may be called the

Anand Marriage Act 1909.

2. Validity of Anand All marriages which

Marriages : may be or may have been duly solemnized

according to the Sikh marriage ceremony called 'Anand'

shall be and shall be deemed to have been with effect

from the date of solemnization to each respectively,

good and valid in law.

3. Exemption of certain marriages from Act : Nothing in

this Act shall apply to (a) any marriage between persons

not professing the Sikh religion or (B) any marriage

which has been judicially declared to be null and void.

4. Saving of marriage solemnized according to other

ceremony : Nothing in this Act shall affect the validity

of any marriage duly solemnized according to any other

marriage ceremony customary among the Sikhs.

5. Nonvalidation of marriages : Nothing in this Act

shall be deemed to validate any marriage between persons

who are related to each other in any degree of

consanguinity, or affinity which would, according to the

customary law of Sikhs, render a marriage between them



1. Talwar, K.S., The Anand Marriage Act," in The Panjab

Past and Present. Patiala, October 1968

2. Bajwa, Fauja Singh, Kuka Movement. Delhi, 1965

3. Sodhi, Teja Singh, Anand Pra&as. Amritsar, 1967

(Taken from - The Encyclopaedia of Sikhism - Ed Harbans Singh - PUP - 2002 - vol 1 pg 126)

The received view is that marriages have always been conducted in the way they are today and it was during the rule of Ranjit Singh that "Hindu Ways" crept in and the use of Fires and Brahmins took over - hence the need for 'Revival'.

If we look at the Prem Sumarg Granth - (posted above - earlier) a Bhagauti and fire are central to the ceremony and no Anand Sahib is recited - However , The Lavan from Guru Sahib's Bani Raag Suhi are recited.

If we look at Daya Singh's rehatnama he states that marriage must not be performed without Anand (top line) ;


(taken from Rehatnamey - Piara Singh Padam - Singh Bros - 2000 pg 74)

So it seems that a distinct 'marriage ceremony' has always existed - with Banis from Guru Sahib , the Nineteenth century saw a revival of this - The Nirankaris with Lavan around Guru Sahib , The Namdharis with Lavan around a fire - but the debate about who started the revival and whether it is 'authentic' is still to be resolved.

That is my 'Non Gyani' take on things - excuse my mistakes !

Dear Fateh Singh - I assume you are a NamDharee Brother - is that right ?

the reason I am asking is that some of my Great Grandmother's family (Distant cousins) were Namdharees - though they are no longer observant - just 'regular Jatts'

As you may know there is an intense 'friendly' rivalry between the 'Naankay' (wife's family) and the Daadkey (husband's family) in punjabi culture. In my family this used to take the form of a friendly playful taunting of the Naamdhari 'Naankey'.

Whenever there was a wedding and the women sang 'Boliyaan' or 'Sittaneeyan' ( an exchange of friendly insults ) - the Daadkey would always say "Kukay bare Kasutey - garvi nahin dindey nahaun nu - sahaun nu nahin dindey Manja" --- a playful reference to the cold water ishnan and very strict rehat of Kuka Sikhs.

My Father tells me that one of my Grandfather's friends was very strict in his rehat ( as is my Grandfather) - He and my grandfather would go to Bhaini Sahib together. - He would cook his own food , have special arrangements for going to the toilet etc..

When his son came to England with my Dad in 1960 - he maintained Full rehat - including cold Ishnaan - in fact he wrote a letter to Bhaini Sahib saying it is very cold in England ( very few houses had Central heating in those days) and he got a letter back saying he was excused cold ishnan as it was so cold in the UK !

We have lost contact with most of these Naamdharee cousins now and those in India , though still called 'Kukay' - are not observant - just regular Jatts.

I would like to read up on Naamdharee History and Rehat - I would be grateful if you could recommend any books

Many Thanks

Ranjit Singh 'Freed'

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Yes I am a Namdhari and I am aware of all the friendly insults :) Too bad many Namdharis today, especially those settled abroad, are not worthy to be insulted as such anymore. However there is still a good number even in places like Canada and England who do, so no need to feel sad.

I just wanted to know in general how writers like Gianni Gian Singh forgot about Nirankaris 'reviving' the Anand marriage yet the newly published books by singh sabha writers seem to either give credit to both Nirankaris and Namdharis or mention absolutely nothing about Namdharis' involvement (BIG SURPRISE).

You "mention" that opposition was lined up against Nirankaris but in your source there is no such mention only that Namdharis were the ones against whom a case was filed. This is nothing different than what I've already heard and hence I wanted to know why is this the case if there was a 'revival' in 1855 already and why wasn't the first revival protested in terms of specific court filings against them by the Brahmins who must have lost major income.

There is no doubt Anand marriage as a separate way of marriage from that of Hindus was started long before the Namdharis probably by Guru Gobind Singh Ji as there is specific mention of how Guruji, in the years post 1708 as Namdharis believe Guru Gobind Singh werent' Jotijot in Nader, performed Anand marriage for a couple by having Anand Sahib recited. There was no mention of the 'Lavan' being read though.

The following is from an article by Bhai Kahn Singh before his 'full initiation' into the singh sabha movement:

Marriage Ceremony

Baba Saroop Singhji witnessed two different occasions of marriage ceremonies with his own eyes. One was for the daughter of Rattan Singh called Anand Kaur and the second was for the daughter of Sukha Singh called Prem Kaur. At the request of their father, Baba Sahib gave them Blessings and asked for them to be presented (for marriage). When both (bride and groom) are presented (before Baba Sahib), they were questioned via Mai Senda if their marriage was sanctioned by their parents or if it was their own decision. To this both replied that their relationship was approved by their parents. Baba Sahib then gave the Hukam for them to appear the next day at Amrit Vela (Before Sunrise). After Asa Di Vaar an Ardas was performed at the end of the Divan that said such and such Singh had given his daughter to such and such Singh to live in accordance to the Grehsat (Household) way of life in the Divan of Guru Singh Ji. And that both are reminded to live according to the teachings of the Satguru. After Ardas the scripture of Anand (Sahib) was sung and Parsad (Cooked Sacred Food) distributed.

At both occasions there was no ritual of walking or reading of Lavans involved. Only Ardas and recitation of Anand took place.

Hence the term 'Anand Karaj' was definitely coined pre-Namdharis but I believe the reading of Lavan was started by Namdharis. I am always keen to learn more, however, as everyone is entitled to mistakes. Perhaps I need to find some Nirankari book about their marriage ceremony.

So you were not able to find any article about singh sabha approaching Nirankaris for help to pass the Anand Marriage act? I'm disappointed but really not surprised about their omitting any involvement of Namdharis in the ENCYCLOPEDIA of "SIKHISM" :LOL: what a joke! Also it would be valuable to know if infact the Nirankaris revived reading Anand (That would be A LOT of parkarma though :LOL: ) or maybe they recited the shorterned version? I guess we will never know for sure.

BTW for a good book about Namdharis, try Twareekh Sant Khalsa by Prof. Kirpal Singh Kasel. Great book for those with minimal knowledge about Namdharis - that's just about everyone including myself.


Fateh Singh

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