I have become wedded now, O my father. By becoming a Gurmukh, I have
attained God (Husband). The darkness of my ignorance has been dispelled.(sggs 78).

Literally, Laav (ਲਾਵ) = to unite, become one, the stage (of Aatmaa's Spiritual Unfoldment)...

"Aatam" weds "Parmaatam" - Aatmaan links to its Mool (Source, Origin, Jot...). How this Spiritual Wedding between the embodied Soul (Aatmaan) and the Supreme Truth can be realized is the essence of the Gurbani's four Laavaan. According to the Gurbani (SGGS), the Divine Substance is the only Husband; rest of us are all His brides. In other words, one's Soul is the lover or bride, and the Divine Essence within is her Beloved or Husband.

  • ਠਾਕੁਰੁ ਏਕੁ ਸਬਾਈ ਨਾਰਿ ॥: Thaakuru eku sabaaee Naari: The Lord is One, all (Jeev) are women (His soul-brides...). (sggs 933).

Since all living entities are bound and limited in the framework of time and space, the material marriage between the two physical bodies (e.g., a man and a woman) is impermanent — limited to their physical existence only. However, the Spiritual Marriage between the Soul and the Divine Beloved is Eternal or Permanent, because both are Immortal and Imperishable - never die or take birth. But, how can this Divine Marriage or Union between the Soul-bride and her Divine Beloved (Mool, the Pure Consciousness...), can take place?

There are four Laavaan. Composed by the Fourth Mahal, these four Laavaan are recited during a Sikh marriage ceremony [called Anand Karaj (pronounced Kaaraj - ਅਨੰਦ ਕਾਰਜ ), Anand Sanskar (pronounced Sanskaar), etc. ]. Thus, they form the bases of both the worldly marriage (two souls becoming one - of one thinking or ਸੋਚ based on the Gurbani) as well as Spiritual Marriage. With the example of a worldly marriage performed on a material plane between a man and a woman, the Gurbani explains in these 4 Laavaan as to how a Sikh  — a Spiritual student or seeker — can marry (or link to the Mool within - Aatmaan weds the Husband Lord, within.

  • ਸਾਹਾ ਸੰਜੋਗੁ ਵੀਆਹੁ ਵਿਜੋਗੁ ॥ ਸਚੁ ਸੰਤਤਿ ਕਹੁ ਨਾਨਕ ਜੋਗੁ ॥੩॥੩॥ : Saahaa sanjogu veeaahu vijogu. Sachu santati kahu Nanak jogu ||3||3||: Union with the Pure Consciousness is my wedding date, and separation from the objective world is my marriage. From such a Union has sprung Truth as my off-spring. O Nanak! this is the (True-ਸਚ) Union (sggs 152).

In the worldly marriage, a man and a woman both take four rounds around Sri Guru Granth Sahib while the four Laavaan are being recited, one by one. During the walking of four rounds, at places the bride is seen being emotionally helped, escorted and guided by her brothers and other relatives. At the completion of four Laavaan or Phere, man and woman are declared married.

Similarly, during the process of Soul-bride wedding to her Beloved Divine within — that is, wedding to her Mool within — the Soul-bride has to go through four rounds or stages of Spiritual Development to attain necessary Divine Virtues, or Understanding (ਸੂਝ-ਬੂਝ, ਆਤਮ ਗਿਆਨ...). Along the way, she is Spiritually helped and guided by the Divine Name (Shabad - Aatam-Giaan, Divine Knowledge, or Spiritual Wisdom of the Gurbani...). At the successful completion of four stages of Spiritual Unfoldment, the Soul-bride attains Self-Realization, and becomes wedded or linked to her Pure Being or Mool within. Thus, the purpose of Jeeva's life gets fulfilled, and with that the Jeeva's repeated suffering ends.

  • ਸਬਦਿ ਸਵਾਰੀ ਸਾਚਿ ਪਿਆਰੀ ॥ ਸਾਈ ਸਹਾਗਣਿ ਠਾਕੁਰਿ ਧਾਰੀ ॥੨੯॥: Shabadi savaaree sachi piaaree. Saaee so(u)hagan Thaakur dhaaree ||29||: (The Soul-bride) embellished through the Shabad (Giaan) is loved (by the True Lord). She alone is the true Soul-bride, for she is accepted by her Lord ||29|| (sggs 933).
Unfortunately, in worldly wedding ceremonies it is very rare to witness someone disseminating the four Laavaan of the Gurbani in their true perspective. Instead, people generally waste this useful and auspicious occasion in drinking alcohol and eating the uneatables. Bhai and Ragi just want to collect their fee and leave. Consequently, most of us only remain aware of the material aspect (Mayaic) of the wedding ceremony at best; leading to a total disregard, forgetfulness, ignorance, and unawareness of the true Spiritual Essence or the real purpose and message of the four Laavaan.

"Why the Pujaaree group (Bhai, Ragi, Granthee, etc.) do not explain the true meaning of the Laavaan of the Gurbani?", one may ask. The first reason could be that many of them do not know the true meaning of the Gurbani themselves. Second, they are not earnestly interested in genuine Spiritual Unfoldment of the Soul because their main aim is to make money in the pretext of the Gurbani and religion. Third, they want to secure return business (i.e., greed)! Therefore, they only say things people want to hear!

The marriage is not a contract for the fleeting lusty pleasure rising from a purely flesh-fleshy biological function. It is neither a contract between two parties who have entered into it in the presence of a Pujaaree (priest) at a religious place or at the table in a office of a marriage clerk. But, seemingly, fed upon the sex absurdities of corrupt psychology, they are making mockery of this holy institution because of our dense ignorance of the scriptures and sanctity of the marriage.

The four Laavaan of the Gurbani explain the four stages of Spiritual Development of the Jeev (individual beings), leading them to Divine Union with their True Aspect within (Joti-Svaroopa). Here we are told that the teaching of the Gurbani is the sacred basis upon which the sanctity of marriage is to be recognized by mortals. Thus, the Sikh marriage (or any other marriage for that matter) is a sacramental knot under the roof of True Love, tied in the presence of Gur-Shabad (Aatam-Giaan...). In the pages that follows, this Gurbani reflection will attempt to reflect on the Spiritual Treasure of the Gurbani's four Laavaan.

First Laav - ਪਹਿਲੜੀ ਲਾਵ - First Stage Of Spiritual Development

ਸੂਹੀ ਮਹਲਾ ੪ ॥ ਹਰਿ ਪਹਿਲੜੀ ਲਾਵ ਪਰਵਿਰਤੀ ਕਰਮ ਦ੍ਰਿੜਾਇਆ ਬਲਿ ਰਾਮ ਜੀਉ ॥ ਬਾਣੀ ਬ੍ਰਹਮਾ ਵੇਦੁ ਧਰਮੁ ਦ੍ਰਿੜਹੁ ਪਾਪ ਤਜਾਇਆ ਬਲਿ ਰਾਮ ਜੀਉ ॥ ਧਰਮੁ ਦ੍ਰਿੜਹੁ ਹਰਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਧਿਆਵਹੁ ਸਿਮ੍ਰਿਤਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਦ੍ਰਿੜਾਇਆ ॥ ਸਤਿਗੁਰੁ ਗੁਰੁ ਪੂਰਾ ਆਰਾਧਹੁ ਸਭਿ ਕਿਲਵਿਖ ਪਾਪ ਗਵਾਇਆ ॥ ਸਹਜ ਅਨੰਦੁ ਹੋਆ ਵਡਭਾਗੀ ਮਨਿ ਹਰਿ ਹਰਿ ਮੀਠਾ ਲਾਇਆ ॥ ਜਨੁ ਕਹੈ ਨਾਨਕੁ ਲਾਵ ਪਹਿਲੀ ਆਰੰਭੁ ਕਾਜੁ ਰਚਾਇਆ ॥੧॥ : Soohee Mahalaa 4 || Hari pahilaree laav ...: Soohee Mahalaa 4. This is the the first Laav: (in this Laav the Lord sets out His Instructions for performing the daily duties) take this Bani as the Brahma's Vedas (ie., take this entire Gurbani as Brahm Bani or Brahm-Giaan...). By uttering this Bani, embrace or hold fast to Dharma (ਸਚ) and renounce sinful actions (i.e., live the Hukam - ਭਾਣੇ ਵਿਚ ਰਹਿਣਾਂ). Embrace or hold fast to Dharma, contemplate the Divine Name (Naam: Aatam-Giaan...); recollect and embrace or hold fast to the Naam. (By making the mind and Chit one) Worship the Satigur within, and all your Kilvikh (Maya's inflictions, worries...) will end. By great good fortune, Sahaj Aanad (that Natural State of Bliss, which is known through the Gur-Shabad) is attained, and the Divine Name seems sweet to the mind. Servant Nanak says - by this first Laav, the ceremony has begun (or the first stage of wedding has begun) ||1|| (sggs 773-774).

The instructions of this first "Laav" establishes the basis of the first stage of Spiritual Development. In this opening "Laav",  the Gurbani sets out ground rules for Jeeva (individual beings) for preparing their individual Soul-bride for the Divine Marriage with their True Being (Mool) within.

The underlying instruction of this first "Laav" is dwelling on the Divine Name (Naam: Aatam-Giaan...), and holding fast to Dharma. The names Bani, Shabad, Naam, Guru, God, Divine Light, Word, Anhad-Dhuni, Naad (Divine Sound), and so on, are virtually synonymous. Therefore, Shabad is the essence of Divinity; for the Transcendental Spirit perpetually expresses through the Vibratory Transcendental Sound of the Shabad. Developing Shabad-Surti or God-Consciousness through the unbroken Shabad-Kamaaee (living in accordance with the Shabad-Giaan) is to become Self-realized or God-Conscious: the state of Spiritual Marriage or linking of the Soul-bride to her beloved Husband Lord (or Pure Consciousness).

  • ਬਿਨੁ ਸਬਦੈ ਪਿਰੁ ਨ ਪਾਈਐ ਬਿਰਥਾ ਜਨਮੁ ਗਵਾਇ ॥੨॥: Bin Shabdai Pir na paayeeai birathaa janam gavaai||2||: Without realizing the Shabad, one does not find her Husband Lord, and her life wastes away in vain ||2|| (sggs 31).
  • ਸਚੁ ਕਰਣੀ ਸਬਦੁ ਹੈ ਸਾਰੁ ॥: Sach karnee Shabad hai saar: The practice of Truth is the essence of the Shabad (sggs 114).
The word Dharma is also of significance in this first "Laav". The limbs of Dhaarmic living include True contentment (Sat Santokh), compassion, humbleness, truthfulness, Spiritual Wisdom, absence of desires for sense gratification, etc. With the sincere practice of the Shabad-Kamaaee, truthfulness or righteousness is bound to take place. Consequently, as one becomes established in Dharma (ਸਚ..), evil instincts and resulting Mayaic efforts depart. Then, the Soul-bride begins to enjoy the sweetness of the Transcendental Vibratory Sound of the Divine Name.
  • ਸੰਤ ਕਾ ਮਾਰਗੁ ਧਰਮ ਕੀ ਪਉੜੀ ਕੋ ਵਡਭਾਗੀ ਪਾਏ ॥: Sant kaa maaragu dharma kee paourree ko badabhaagee paaye: The Way of the Sant (saint) is the ladder of Dharma (by which one can reach his Mool...), but only a fortunate finds (this ladder-ਇਹ ਪਉੜੀ). (sggs 622).
Why has the Fourth Mahal made the the Divine Naam (Naam: Aatam-Giaan...) the basis of this first "Laav" or Instruction? So that we do not start off our Spiritual Unfoldment on a wrong foot, and end up searching God in the outside world, like the deer who goes searching for the musk in the bushes although the musk never left its body. Here the Gurbani has revealed to us the secret that the Lord is hidden in His Name or Shabad. And this Shabad or Naam resides in the inner Shrine of our body. If we miss this point, we will be wasting our time foolishly searching for Truth in the outer objects or places, just as the deer! In foolishness no one can expect to understand the Shabad, declares the Gurbani.
  • ਸਹੁ ਨੇੜੈ ਧਨ ਕੰਮਲੀਏ ਬਾਹਰੁ ਕਿਆ ਢੂਢੇਹਿ ॥: Sahu nerrai dhann kamaleeae baahar kiaa dhoodhehi: Your Divine Beloved is so very near (within you), O foolish (soul-bride); why do you search for Him outside (wold, outside the body...)? (sggs 722).
  • ਇਹੁ ਮਨੁ ਦੇਹੀ ਸੋਧਿ ਤੂੰ ਗੁਰ ਸਬਦਿ ਵੀਚਾਰਿ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਇਸੁ ਦੇਹੀ ਵਿਚਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਨਿਧਾਨੁ ਹੈ ਪਾਈਐ ਗੁਰ ਕੈ ਹੇਤਿ ਅਪਾਰਿ ॥੮॥੧੦॥੩੨॥: Ihu manu dehee sodhi toon gur sabadi veechaari. Nanak isu dehee vichi naami nidhaani hai paaeeai gur kai heti apaari ||8||10||32||: Search this mind and body, by the Gur-Shabad-Vichaar (by reflecting on the Gur-Shabad...). O Nanak! Within this body is the Treasure of the Naam; it is attained through the unbounded love for the Gur (Gur-Giaan...) ||8||10||32|| (sggs 427).
As the true understanding of the Gurbani is crucial in perceiving Truth, attainment of Intuitive Apprehension of inner most meanings of the Gurbani should be the ultimate aim of listening or uttering the Gurbani. To feel satisfied with merely superficial or woldly meanings will be absolutely suicidal. Without understanding the inner meanings, the Gurbani's intuitional Realization is impossible. If one feels satisfied by mere mechanical reading or listening of the Gurbani, then he will be unable to build a strong foundation for the remaining three Laavaan or stages of Spiritual Development.

Second Laav - ਦੂਜੜੀ ਲਾਵ - Second Stage of Spiritual Development

ਹਰਿ ਦੂਜੜੀ ਲਾਵ ਸਤਿਗੁਰੁ ਪੁਰਖੁ ਮਿਲਾਇਆ ਬਲਿ ਰਾਮ ਜੀਉ ॥ ਨਿਰਭਉ ਭੈ ਮਨੁ ਹੋਇ ਹਉਮੈ ਮੈਲੁ ਗਵਾਇਆ ਬਲਿ ਰਾਮ ਜੀਉ ॥ ਨਿਰਮਲੁ ਭਉ ਪਾਇਆ ਹਰਿ ਗੁਣ ਗਾਇਆ ਹਰਿ ਵੇਖੈ ਰਾਮੁ ਹਦੂਰੇ ॥ ਹਰਿ ਆਤਮ ਰਾਮੁ ਪਸਾਰਿਆ ਸੁਆਮੀ ਸਰਬ ਰਹਿਆ ਭਰਪੂਰੇ ॥ ਅੰਤਰਿ ਬਾਹਰਿ ਹਰਿ ਪ੍ਰਭੁ ਏਕੋ ਮਿਲਿ ਹਰਿ ਜਨ ਮੰਗਲ ਗਾਏ ॥ ਜਨ ਨਾਨਕ ਦੂਜੀ ਲਾਵ ਚਲਾਈ ਅਨਹਦ ਸਬਦ ਵਜਾਏ ॥੨॥:Hari doojaree laav ...: This is the second Laav: (the Lord leads one to) meet the Satiguru Purakh (ਸਚ ਦਾ ਗਿਆਨ...). (Then) the mind becomes fearless (from all worldly fears), and the filth of egotism (from within) gets eradicated. In the Pure Fear of God (Pure Love of God...), sing the Glorious Praises of God (ਪ੍ਰਭੂ ਦੀ ਸਿਫਤਿ-ਸਾਲਾਹ), and behold God’s Presence before you (ਅੰਗ-ਸੰਗ). (Then the soul-bride gets the conviction that) God, the Supreme Soul, is the Master of the Universe; He is fully pervading and permeating everywhere. Deep within, and outside as well, there is only One God. Meeting together with Hari Jan, (that soul-bride) sings the songs of Joy (ਪ੍ਰਭੂ ਦੀ ਸਿਫਤਿ-ਸਾਲਾਹ ਦੇ ਗੀਤ). Servant Nanak says - in this, the second Laav, (ਜੋ ਜੀਵ-ਇਸਤ੍ਰੀ ਇਸ ਆਤਮਕ ਅਵਸਥਾ ਤੇ ਪਹੁੰਚ ਜਾਂਦੀ ਹੈ, within that soul-bride that reaches this second stage of the spiritual Unfoldment) the unstruck sound current of the Shabad resounds || 2 || (sggs 774).

After perfecting the first stage of Spiritual Development, the Soul-bride is now ready to embark on the second stage of Spiritual Unfoldment. In this second "Laav", the central issue is attaining mental Purity by abandoning ignorance born false ego. Mind free of false ego shines forth in Immaculate form.

How does false ego arise in the first place? It results from darkness of ignorance, that is, "I-am-the-body" idea. The sword of the Spiritual Wisdom of the Gur-Shabad cuts asunder the veil of ignorance. The light of God Consciousness, then, takes over the darkness of the menacing body-consciousness.

"Fear of God" and "Kirtan" are also significant words in this "Laav". Fear of God is an essential element in developing Prema-Bhagti or loving devotion of the Divine Substance. What is "fear of God"? It does not mean to be afraid of God. It simply implies Pure Love for God, respect, reverence and veneration, etc. In essence, it is the fear of immoral, false and unrighteous conduct. Thus, in deeper sense, the "fear of God" is meant to discourage ambivalence. Such pure "fear"respect and reverence based on Love keeps a seeker in the scale of morality and righteousness, which, in turn, encourages Spiritual Life, Spiritual discipline, meditation, cultivation of Self-knowledge through inner inquiry and one-pointed conscious love for the original Source. With the help of such Divine Attributes, the Soul-bride develops an important element of Bhgati (devotion) called Bairaag — detachment from material ills and temptations, and attachment to the practice of love and devotion of the Pure Factor within.

Kirtan is defined in the Gurbani as Viaakhiaa of the Gurbani; Viaakhiaa of the One... (Viaakhiaa - ਵਿਆਖਿਆ: ਬਖ੍ਯ੍ਯਾਨੁ, commentary, explanation, interpretation, definition, annotation, elucidation...)

  • ਅਨਦਿਨੁ ਕੀਰਤਨੁ ਕੇਵਲ ਬਖ੍ਯ੍ਯਾਨੁ ॥: Andinu Keertanu keval bakhyaanu (sggs 281).

Thus, Kirtan is not singing of the Gurbani in greed or hearing it to gratify ears - ਕੰਨ ਰਸ - (with "rare" exceptions) at religious places, religious ceremonies, homes, radios, televisions, tape-players, CD-players, Internet, and so on.

Pure fear of God, thus, turns into love and devotion of God. True love and devotion, in turn, brings about fearlessness, personal courage, optimism, feeling of selfless service (Nishakaam Sevaa Bhaava), compassion, humbleness, true knowledge, single-minded concentration, discrimination between truth and false, dispassion, conviction, understanding, and so on.

  • ਭੈ ਬਿਨੁ ਭਗਤਿ ਨ ਹੋਵਈ ਨਾਮਿ ਨ ਲਗੈ ਪਿਆਰੁ ॥: Bhai bin bhagati na hovayee naam na lagai piaar: Without the Lord's Fear, Bhagti cannot be performed; and Love for the Naam (Giaan...) cannot be developed (sggs 788).
Step-by-step, the Gurbani is helping and guiding the Soul-bride to her Ultimate Spiritual Destination — Attainment of Shabad-Surti. She is two steps closer to meeting her Absolute Groom!

Third Laav - ਤੀਜੜੀ ਲਾਵ - Third Stage of Spiritual Development

ਹਰਿ ਤੀਜੜੀ ਲਾਵ ਮਨਿ ਚਾਉ ਭਇਆ ਬੈਰਾਗੀਆ ਬਲਿ ਰਾਮ ਜੀਉ ॥ ਸੰਤ ਜਨਾ ਹਰਿ ਮੇਲੁ ਹਰਿ ਪਾਇਆ ਵਡਭਾਗੀਆ ਬਲਿ ਰਾਮ ਜੀਉ ॥ ਨਿਰਮਲੁ ਹਰਿ ਪਾਇਆ ਹਰਿ ਗੁਣ ਗਾਇਆ ਮੁਖਿ ਬੋਲੀ ਹਰਿ ਬਾਣੀ ॥ ਸੰਤ ਜਨਾ ਵਡਭਾਗੀ ਪਾਇਆ ਹਰਿ ਕਥੀਐ ਅਕਥ ਕਹਾਣੀ ॥ ਹਿਰਦੈ ਹਰਿ ਹਰਿ ਹਰਿ ਧੁਨਿ ਉਪਜੀ ਹਰਿ ਜਪੀਐ ਮਸਤਕਿ ਭਾਗੁ ਜੀਉ ॥ ਜਨੁ ਨਾਨਕੁ ਬੋਲੇ ਤੀਜੀ ਲਾਵੈ ਹਰਿ ਉਪਜੈ ਮਨਿ ਬੈਰਾਗੁ ਜੀਉ ॥੩॥: Hari teejaree laav ...: In the third Laav, like the mind of a Bairaagee (detached one), the mind is filled with the Pleasure of the Divine Love (to meet God-ਤੇਰੇ ਮਿਲਾਪ ਲਈ). By the great good fortune (i.e., the strong longing or hunger - ਤੀਬਰ ਤਾਂਘ - to meet the Lord, the soul-bride) meet the saint, and meet the Lord. (They) Singing God's Glorious Praises, and uttering the Divine Gurbani, found the Immaculate God (ਸਚ). By great good fortune, (they) find the saint, speak the Unspoken Speech of God. God's Name vibrates and resounds within (their) heart; and by the destiny inscribed upon forehead (good fortune, i.e., the strong longing or hunger - ਤੀਬਰ ਤਾਂਘ - to meet the Lord, they) meditate on Him. Servant Nanak says - to attain God, in this, the third Laav, (their) mind is filled with the Bairaag || 3 || (sggs 774).

True Bairaag or detachment begins with right understanding. As discussed in the preceding "Laav", the fear of God brings about the attitude of Bairaag. Which, in turn, helps the Soul-bride to enjoy the Divine Pleasure. We have only one mind; either we fill it with Bairaag or we will end up filling it with material love (Maya). But, as the Gurbani says, only a mind full of Bairaag constitutes the mind full of Divine Love and Joy.

  • ਭੈ ਤੇ ਬੈਰਾਗੁ ਊਪਜੈ ਹਰਿ ਖੋਜਤ ਫਿਰਣਾ ॥: Bhai te bairaag oopjai Hari khojat phirnaa: Through the Fear of God, the attitude of detachment  (Bairaag) wells up, and one sets out in search of God (sggs 1102).
What is Bairaag in its true sense? Bairaag is the absence of sensual attachment to accepting things for one's own sense gratification. In other words, emotional detachment from all mundane objects and attachment to the Trth (God) within only constitute Bairaag. Detachment does not mean that one should become inactive or idle. It simply means, not to get attached to actions and their fruits. One who has developed the most intense Bairaag is never influenced adversely by the inherent charm of the mundane objects. He is fully aware that the enchanting worldly objects are full of venom that would deviate a devotee from the devotional path. Accordingly, he looks upon them with an eye of aversion. Simply put: Bairaag is a complete attachment to Spirit, and complete detachment from matter (Maya).

Thus, a true Bairaagee is he who has inner detachment. God (Truth, Pure Consciousness, etc.) himself is indicated to be a perfect Bairaagee (also spelt Bairagi). He is in everything yet he is out of everything, he is so near yet he is faraway. He is the Doer and the Enjoyer, yet He is unattached. In order to link with such Bairaagee, one has to become Bairaag himself while still living in this material body - by becoming Jeevanmukta or living liberated.

  • ਬਿਨੁ ਬੈਰਾਗ ਨ ਛੂਟਸਿ ਮਾਇਆ ॥੧॥: Bin bairaag na shootas maya ||1||: Without detachment, Maya cannot be gotten rid of (cannot be liberated from Maya, etc.) ||1|| (sggs 329).

To make our love for the Lord stronger and unwavering, the Gurbaniconstantly recommend us to take on the company of the Sat (ਸੱਤ / ਸਚ within), and the Gurmukhs without. The implication here is that if we are in a bad company (Kusang), then we will think and talk accordingly. Because like attracts like. On the other hand, when we are in a Spiritual Company within and without, we will think and talk only of Spiritual matters such as Truth, Aatam-Giaan, etc.

  • ਗੁਰ ਕੈ ਸਬਦਿ ਅਰਾਧੀਐ ਨਾਮਿ ਰੰਗਿ ਬੈਰਾਗੁ ॥: Gur kai Shabadi araadheeai Naami rangi Bairaggu (sggs 1425).
By practicing the genuine Spiritual Life to this point, the Soul-bride has reached the doorstep of her Spiritual Groom! The door is about to open (Tenth Gate)! By taking the next step, she will enter the House or Realm of her Husband, located within her body! From there she will never descend back to material consciousness (Maya).

Fourth Laav - ਚਉਥੜੀ ਲਾਵ - Fourth Stage of Spiritual Development

ਹਰਿ ਚਉਥੜੀ ਲਾਵ ਮਨਿ ਸਹਜੁ ਭਇਆ ਹਰਿ ਪਾਇਆ ਬਲਿ ਰਾਮ ਜੀਉ ॥ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਮਿਲਿਆ ਸੁਭਾਇ ਹਰਿ ਮਨਿ ਤਨਿ ਮੀਠਾ ਲਾਇਆ ਬਲਿ ਰਾਮ ਜੀਉ ॥ ਹਰਿ ਮੀਠਾ ਲਾਇਆ ਮੇਰੇ ਪ੍ਰਭ ਭਾਇਆ ਅਨਦਿਨੁ ਹਰਿ ਲਿਵ ਲਾਈ ॥ ਮਨ ਚਿੰਦਿਆ ਫਲੁ ਪਾਇਆ ਸੁਆਮੀ ਹਰਿ ਨਾਮਿ ਵਜੀ ਵਾਧਾਈ ॥ ਹਰਿ ਪ੍ਰਭਿ ਠਾਕੁਰਿ ਕਾਜੁ ਰਚਾਇਆ ਧਨ ਹਿਰਦੈ ਨਾਮਿ ਵਿਗਾਸੀ ॥ ਜਨੁ ਨਾਨਕੁ ਬੋਲੇ ਚਉਥੀ ਲਾਵੈ ਹਰਿ ਪਾਇਆ ਪ੍ਰਭੁ ਅਵਿਨਾਸੀ ॥੪॥੨॥: Hari chautharee laav ...: In the fourth Laav, the mind (of the soul-bride) attains Sahaj (Natural State of Being, ਆਤਮਕ ਅਡੋਲਤਾ); and attains God. By becoming the Gurmukh (spiritual Being, Aatm-Giaani..., they), meet God (Mool within), God seems sweet to (their) mind and body (ਪ੍ਰਭੂ ਪਿਆਰਾ ਲੱਗਣਾਂ). God seems so sweet (to them -ਪ੍ਰਭੂ ਪਿਆਰਾ ਲੱਗਣਾਂ- and they seem); pleasing to Him; night and day, (they) remain attunes to Him. (They) attain God-Union, the fruit of their mind’s desires; His Name resounds and resonates (i.e., Budhi reflects on the Naam...). God, my Master, blends with His bride, and her heart blossoms forth in the Divine Name (ਹਿਰਦੇ ਵਿਚ ਸਦਾ ਆਨੰਦ). Servant Nanak says - in this, the fourth Laav, the Soul-bride has attained the Eternal Lord || 4 ||2|| (sggs 774).

At this fourth stage, with the Grace of the Satguru within (ਸਚ ਦਾ ਗਿਆਨ), the Soul-bride becomes absorbed in the Divine Name. Consequently, her mind becomes intuitively balanced and peaceful (Sahaj). She attains the Divine Apprehension and the Aatmaan (Soul) links Mool within (Source, Origin...). By transcending the veil of Maya, she is now in union with her True Being within. By becoming a Gurmukh (Spiritual Being...), she has found the Unapproachable; she has seen the Unseen; and she has known the Unknown. At last, she is merged in the Unconditioned Consciousness, her Essential Nature. She has become one with her Mool. She has attained the Fourth State — Chauthaa Pad, Turiyaa Avasthaa, Begampura, Sachkhand, Self-knowledge or the Tenth Gate. And now the Soul-bride roars:

  • ਵੀਆਹੁ ਹੋਆ ਮੇਰੇ ਬਾਬੋਲਾ ਗੁਰਮੁਖੇ ਹਰਿ ਪਾਇਆ॥ ਅਗਿਆਨੁ ਅੰਧੇਰਾ ਕਟਿਆ ਗੁਰ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਪ੍ਰਚੰਡੁ ਬਲਾਇਆ ॥ ਬਲਿਆ ਗੁਰ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਅੰਧੇਰਾ ਬਿਨਸਿਆ ਹਰਿ ਰਤਨੁ ਪਦਾਰਥੁ ਲਾਧਾ ॥ ਹਉਮੈ ਰੋਗੁ ਗਇਆ ਦੁਖੁ ਲਾਥਾ ਆਪੁ ਆਪੈ ਗੁਰਮਤਿ ਖਾਧਾ ॥ ਅਕਾਲ ਮੂਰਤਿ ਵਰੁ ਪਾਇਆ ਅਬਿਨਾਸੀ ਨਾ ਕਦੇ ਮਰੈ ਨ ਜਾਇਆ ॥ ਵੀਆਹੁ ਹੋਆ ਮੇਰੇ ਬਾਬੋਲਾ ਗੁਰਮੁਖੇ ਹਰਿ ਪਾਇਆ ॥੨॥: Veeaah hoaa mere baabulaa gurmukhe hari paaiaa ...: I have become wedded now, O my father. By becoming a Gurmukh, I have attained God (Husband). The darkness of my ignorance has been dispelled. The Gur has revealed the blazing light of Giaan or Wisdom. With the rise of this Giaan or Wisdom, the darkness of ignorance has disappeared, and (I) found the Priceless Jewel of the Naam within. Through the Gurmat (Gur-Giaan), the sickness of my ego has been dispelled, and my pain (of ਹਉਮੈ or egotism) is over and done; the knowledge (Giaan) of my (True) Identity has consumed my identical identity (false identity, ਆਪਾ-ਭਾਵ). I have obtained God of Immortal Form, as my Husband. He is Imperishable; He will never die, and He will never ever leave me. I have become wedded now, O my father. By becoming a Gurmukh, I have attained God (sggs 78).

Now the Soul-bride knows there is no difference between the Soul, God, Pure Consciousness, or Light (Joti-Svaroopa); for the Divine Factor is always present within and the Jeeva (individual being) is never apart from Him. In other words, Self-realization is simply Realizing that we never were not the Pure Awareness! It is the Pure Self experiencing itself. Thus, if we stand completely in God's Realm (Unconditioned Consciousness), where time has no meaning, the whole process of Spiritual Marriage or union never even occurred! The Jeeva was the part of Soul and Supreme Being all along, only without knowing it! It was the false ego-sense (Haume) that had temporary intervened. Once the darkness of unripe ego is eliminated, from God's side, it takes only split second for the Spiritual Marriage to take place!!

  • ਸਤੁ ਸੰਤੋਖੁ ਦਇਆ ਧਰਮੁ ਸੀਗਾਰੁ ਬਨਾਵਉ ॥ ਸਫਲ ਸੁਹਾਗਣਿ ਨਾਨਕਾ ਅਪੁਨੇ ਪ੍ਰਭ ਭਾਵਉ ॥੪॥੧੫॥੪੫॥: Satt santokh daiaa dharam seegaar banaavaou. Safal suhaagan Nanakaa apne prabh bhaavaou || 4||15||45||: (O Lord, may I remain) embellished with truth, contentment, compassion and Dharmic faith. O Nanak! Spiritual marriage is fruitful, (If the soul-bride) is pleasing to her God ||4||15||45| (sggs 812).
  • ਚੇਤਿ ਸੁਚੇਤ ਚਿਤ ਹੋਇ ਰਹੁ ਤਉ ਲੈ ਪਰਗਾਸੁ ਉਜਾਰਾ ॥੨॥: Chet suchet chit hoyi rahu tayu lai pargaas ujaaraa||2||: When you are conscious in your Consciousness, you will be Enlightened and Illuminated ||2|| (sggs 339).
  • ਵਰੁ ਪਾਇਆ ਪ੍ਰਭੁ ਅੰਤਰਜਾਮੀ ਨਾਨਕ ਸੋਹਾਗੁ ਨ ਟਲਿਆ ॥੪॥੪॥੨॥੫॥੧੧॥: Var paaiaa prabh antarjaamee Nanak sohaag na talliaa ||4||4||2||5||11||: I have obtained God, the Inner-knower, as my Husband; O Nanak, my marriage is permanent ||4||4||2||5||11|| (sggs 249).

— T. Singh