& Abortion in Sikhism
Sikhism, marriage is obligatory for a Sikh. Sikhism rejects renunciation
of the world. A Sikh must live the life of a householder. Except
for unavoidable circumstances, a Sikh must not remain celibate.
Sikhism does not deny the existence of a sexual being in a man:
is no (so-called sacred) thread for sex organs
And there is no such thread for females
Because of this (sexual sins) man's beard is ever spat upon (p.
in Sikhism, marriage is not performed for gratification of sexual
desire or for enjoyment of carnal pleasure. For a Sikh, a marriage
partner is must in order to check him from committing sexual sins.
Similarly, the purpose of marriage is not mere creation and upbringing
in Sikhism marriage is sacramental. It is not a contract between
two persons. It is a union of two souls to play their social and
spiritual role in this universe. A Sikh and his/her marriage partner,
while living in this world, as average social beings, have to meditate
to achieve liberation (self-realisation). According to Sikhism,
ideal husband and wife are one soul in two bodies:
are not said to be husband and wife
who merely sit (live) together;
Rather they alone are called husband and wife
who have one soul in two bodies.(p. 788)
a Sikh, while living the life of a householder, must escape from
attachment to worldliness. A Sikh must perform his duty as a husband
and as a father. But, for him his wife and his children are not
"everything" for him; he has a duty to his brotherhood,
to the society and to God, who has created him:
Guru-wards become desireless and attain supreme bliss
In household they remain unattached and imbibe love for the detached
To be a householder, who at least gives some (charity to beggars/sadhus)
Is better than this wearing deceptive robes (of renunciation of
OF A SIKH MARRIAGE
children grow up and enter adolescent period, the parents should
begin giving them necessary knowledge about sex and marriage. It
should be a sort of preparation for marriage. The children should
be given information about sex, philosophy of marriage, religious
implications of marriage, cultural traditions, family customs etc.
If we have already educated the children about their future and
their marriage, there won't be any problems before or after the
It is a common belief that the Sikh marriages are "arranged".
It is simply incorrect. In Sikh system, the parents, the relatives
and the other friends help the boys and the girls find their marriage
partner. In no case there is forcible marriage. In the case of the
boys, he is given facilities to choose his would-be wife. Similarly,
a Sikh girl gets facilities to select her life-partner. The young
boys and girls, being less informed about the lives of their would-be
life-partners and their in-laws, are, usually unable to analyse
the pros and cons of choosing a partner. The youth, usually, does
not have information about the personality of their would-be partners
(most of the so-called courtship marriages are a result of infatuation
and not understanding). The parents or the other relatives provide
such necessary, important and valuable facts. The Sikh boys gets
acquaintances of several girls and the Sikh girls are told about
several Sikh boys. They can choose from among them the one who comes
up to their expectations. After the first approval the boy and the
girl meet each other. If both agree to become life-partners, the
betrothal ceremony is performed. The boys and the girls are also
free to tell their parents or guardians about some person already
known to them and the parents analyse his nature, personality, career,
family and the other credentials. If such a person is suitable,
he/she is selected. This makes the job of the youth very easy; and
lesser possibility of going wrong. Hence, in Sikhism, there are
no forced marriages. In most of the cases where the youth had taken
their own steps the results were disastrous.
is another difference between the so-called "love marriage"
and the Sikh marriage. In the case of the western society, the youth
first loves for some time and sometimes even for years. These "couples"
celebrate and enjoy their marriage much before the performance of
marriage rites. Due to this there is not much charm in marriage;
hence leads to divorce with in a short period. On the other hand
the Sikh marriage is the beginning of love. In Sikhism, love begins
after marriage. This tie of love, usually, goes on being tighter
and tighter. In short, the western system of marriage can be defined
as love marriage and divorce and the Sikh marriage system can be
summed up as: marriage, love, understanding and more and more love.
In Sikhism, there is no command restricting polygamy but with the
exception of a few cases, the Sikhs practice monogamy.
to Sikhism, husband-wife and, in fact, all the relationships are
pre-destined by the Almighty:
Mother, father, wife, sons, relatives, lovers, friends and brothers
Meet each other as per Almighty's Order made by Him before their
But none of them will help you at the time of final judgement. (p.
A SIKH MARRY A NON-SIKH PARTNER
Sikh must marry a Sikh. If a Sikh wants to marry a non-Sikh, the
non-Sikh partner must embrace Sikhism, otherwise this marriage is
null and void. There is strict command of Guru Gobind Singh Sahib
that "if a Sikh gets his daughter married to a non-Sikh such
a person ceases to be a member of Sikh brotherhood." This excommunication
does not apply if the girl has married a man against the will of
the parents and these parents have not accepted this marriage and
they have disowned such an excommunicated girl. However, if the
husband of such a girl, later, embraces Sikhism, then their marriage
can be given consent.
THE SIKH MARRIAGE RITES
Karaj is the Sikh marriage ceremony. The exact date of its origin
is not known but references can be found that the marriage of the
children of Guru Sahib had been performed by way of this ceremony.
Guru Sahib had made it obligatory for a Sikh not to marry except
through Anand Karaj ceremony.
A Sikh marriage ceremony is usually conducted in a Gurdwara. However,
there is no restriction it being performed at the residence of the
parents of the bride or any other suitable place. The marriage ceremony
is performed with Guru Granth Sahib amidst in the hall or the room
where the ceremony is to be performed. First Asa-Di-Vaar is sung.
Keertan of some other hymns follows it. By this time the bridegroom
and bride take place before Guru Granth Sahib, the bride on the
left side of the bridegroom (place of the bride on the left side
of the bridegroom has no significance in Sikhism but, since centuries,
it has been customary; however, there is no need to change it).
The couple is expected to wear simple dress.
Anand Karaj begins with an Ardaas. It is customary that only the
couple and their parents stand up for Ardaas while the others keep
sitting. It is possible that it might have begun in order to introduce
the couple and families but it is wrong because when Ardaas is being
performed every one must stand up for prayer.
the Ardaas, the Granthi or some religious professor or some prominent
person gives a brief explaining the concept and the significance
of the Sikh marriage and the obligations of the partners to each
other. This is followed by performance of marriage rites.
Sikh marriage system, the couple circumambulates Guru Granth Sahib
four times in clock-wise direction while Lavaan [Lavaan literally
means going around], the hymns from Guru Granth Sahib (at pp. 773-74),
are read and the ceremony is complete after an Ardaas (the Sikh
prayer). Some Sikhs don't perform nuptial rounds around Guru Granth
Sahib because they believe that this is copy of the Sapatpadi, the
Hindu marriage ceremony. They profess that simple recitation of
four hymns from Guru Granth Sahib followed by an Ardaas completes
the ceremony. After this Karah Parshad (the Sikh sacred food) is
distributed to every one. After taking Karah Parshad the couple
retires to the bride's house or to some room of the building where
the marriage is being performed. Here, the relatives and the friends
give presents to the couple.
some cases the relatives and the friends garland the couple and
present them presents in the congregation hall. It is an un-Sikh
like practice. To maintain the honour of Guru Granth Sahib, such
acts must be performed in a separate place.
hymns of Lavaan describe union of man with God. The four Lavaan
are the four stages of this union. The first is the stage of understanding
for the necessity of union; the second stage is that of living in
His noble fear and devotion; the third stage is the stage of surrender
of one's ego and immersion of oneself in Him and it is followed
by (the fourth stage) the stage of union. It indicates that the
bride and the bridegroom have to become one soul in two bodies and
then they have to strive for union with God. Hence, the Sikh marriage
is more sacramental than marriage in the other religions. According
to Sikhism, the time of marriage and the marriage partner are pre-destined;
and, marriage is not a contract. It is not meeting of two bodies;
it is union of two souls. (See: Guru Granth Sahib, pp. 700, 778
to the Anand marriage ceremony, both the partners should be Sikh
or at least they should declare that they accept Sikhism as their
religion and promise to have initiation as early as possible. The
Sikh marriage law "Anand Marriage Act" was passed, on
October 22, 1909. It does not mean that the Sikh marriage ceremony
has its origin from this date. Bhai Daya Singh, in his Rahitnama
(code of conduct), has mentioned the Sikh wedding rites. The real
Nirankaris, Baba Dayal and Baba Darbara Singh, resurrected these
ceremonies, perhaps with some changes, in the early years of the
means legal dissolution of a marriage. In Sikhism there is no place
for divorce. A Sikh Anand Karaj (marriage ceremony) is sacramental
and it can not be annulled by a decree of any court. Nowadays, the
laws in different countries grant the right to divorce to every
resident and there is a spate of legal divorces under civil laws,
but it is in contradiction with the Sikh faith. In Sikhism, husband
and wife are: "one spirit in two bodies." Their union
is pre-ordained by the Almighty and, hence, it is a sacred bond.
So, divorce is disobeying of the Order of the Almighty and is a
sin and it leads to sufferings. The Sikh marriage hymns teach that
the husband and wife have to live as dedicated partners as the saints
are dedicated to the Almighty. This dedication is not for the wife
only, it is equally for the husband too. Both should always be prepared
to sacrifice for each other. They should endeavour to purge themselves
of ego. Each one should fully identify him/her with the other partner.
One should fine oneself incomplete without the other. The other
partner should be considered as an inseparable part of himself/herself.
One should always have noble fear that the other partner may not
feel neglected even for a moment. This noble fear is not fear in
the real sense, it is rather height of commitment, it is understanding,
it is attachment, it is sacrifice and, of course it is love and
passion in its fullness.
is killing of an unborn child. It is against Sikh ideology. Sikhism
promotes family planning through self-control but killing of a child
in womb is against the Sikh ethics. Killing a child in mother's
womb is disobeying the Command of the Almighty. Abortion is, usually,
resorted to avoid the birth of a daughter. According to the Sikh
Rahitmaryada (code of conduct) one who kills one's daughter (before
or after birth) is excommunicated from Sikh Panth.