Many of the Sikh wedding ceremonies I’ve attended in California are quite somber affairs, the bride and groom rarely looking at each other, and a general mood of seriousness. Like an academic conference. I’ve always found this rather confusing, since the Sikh ceremony is called the Anand Karaj, which literally means blissful or joyful union. The poetry of the banis and shabads reflect this joy, seamlessly alongside the profoundness of the union. As you can tell from this photo, me and Sona were quite happy!
During the Anand Karaj, four specific banis are recited during each lavan (or marriage round), which reflect the spiritual path of the union, with the final lavan ending as everything in life should: eternal love.
We were sitting down after the second lavan, which signifies the love and yearning between the couple (that’s us!), and the Granthi offered his interpretation of the bani he’d just recited. He instructed us to look at each other and talked about how the bani was about recognizing the unique qualities in your partner. As I look at Sona with much profoundness and the seriousness of our commitment to each other, she’s staring at me, smiling like a lunatic, ecstatic she gets to look at me, rather than the floor. That’s right, I am a better option than the floor. Before we continue to the third and fourth lavan, I think to myself: there is nobody I would rather be with.