Lavan is a set of sacred verses recited during Anand Karaj
, the Sikh wedding ceremony. Guru Ram Das, the fourth Sikh guru, composed these verses. The recital takes place when the bride and the groom walk around the Guru Granth Sahib
, the holy book of Sikhism. The word ‘lavan,’ borrowed from Sanskrit
, literally means ‘break away.’ The meaning refers to the bride’s departing from her parent’s home.
There are four verses in lavan, representing four stages in the married life. The first verse reminds the couple of their duty towards their families and the community. The second verse contains a reference to their love with each other. The third verse mentions about the detachment at some stage in their life.
The final verse indicates the union of their love with the love towards god. This union is the basic concept of Sikh marriage. In Sikhism, a marriage is not just a legal contract between the bride and groom, but holy union between two souls. After the marriage, the souls of the couple are considered as a single entity held in two different bodies. This unified soul is said to become one with the Almighty.