Inter religious marriage in a Gurudwara
A question is being asked should inter religious marriage be performed in a Gurudwara. There have been instances in UK where inter religious marriages in Gurudwaras have been disrupted by a group.
Let’s discuss this in the light of teachings of SGGS (Shri Guru Granth Sahib). Lavan in SGGS is marriage of human female to God husband, not of one human being to another though they are read to perform marriage in Gurudwara. Lavan does tell us how to live a perfect married life.
Message of SGGS is universal and for all humanity irrespective of their religion. It does not say if inter religious human marriages can be performed or not. If message of SGGS is universal then who are we to discriminate one from another because of their religious connections. If one of the partner in the marriage belongs to another religion that person could also be with shorn hair. If we refuse to perform such marriages then we are pushing away the one who is a Sikh from Sikhism and pushing the other partner as well. We should in fact bring all to our fold with open arms. If we perform such marriages there is a chance that one day both might come to the fold of Sikhism but if we refuse it we have closed that door for ever. They may develop hate towards Sikhism from that very moment and never enter a Gurudwara in their life. Guru Nanak went personally to bring Kauda Raksh and Sajan Thag to His fold by giving them the universal message and made them His Sikh. Who are we to push them out.
Akal Takhat approved Sikh Rahit Maryada published by SGPC under Article XVIII quotes that Anand Sanskar (b) A Sikh’s daughter must be married to a Sikh and (k) Persons professing faiths other than the Sikh faith cannot be joined in wedlock by the Anand Karaj ceremony. This looks to be one of many which need to be discussed for amendment in Sikh Rehat Maryada. Many articles had to be included as a compromise for Panthic unity at that time though they did not go according to teachings of SGGS.
A question will arise that people with different ideologies living together will have problems in their life. One will have to compromise. We must not forget that we are discussing here if the inter religious marriage rites should be performed in Gurudwaras are not irrespective of the problems they will face in their married life. In my view if meaning of lavans are explained to them and they follow the universal message of lavans in SGGS, then they will not face any problems in their married life. In fact, this applies to any successful Sikh or inter religious couple.
In conclusion, I can say that according to present Rehat Maryada, those who refuse to perform such marriages are correct. According to teachings of SGGS those performing these marriages in their Gurudwaras are also correct.
Dr. Kala Singh did MBBS degree from Delhi University, India. He worked as Psychiatric Doctor in Africa for 21 years before immigrating to Canada. He gives Sikh religious and spiritual counseling and psychotherapy to clients with stress and mental health problems. For more information, he can be contacted at 604.327.5253.