By Ek Ong Kaar Kaur Khalsa

Many people who practice Kundalini Yoga as taught by Yogi Bhajan love the mantras and chants. But where did these chants come from? What language are they written in?

Kundalini Yoga often uses chants taken from the language of Gurmukhi.  As far as languages go, Gurmukhi is relatively new. It’s less than 500 years old.

Guru Angad, the second Sikh Master, invented the Gurmukhi script. Guru Nanak named Guru Angad to succeed him as the Guru for the Sikhs in 1539. Gurmukhi means “from the mouth of the Guru.” The Gurmukhi script accomplished something very special. It allowed people to be able to read and pronounce the songs written by Guru Nanak. Up until that point in history, the dialect spoken by Guru Nanak and his contemporaries had no written equivalent. Written languages were reserved for the powerful, the wealthy, and the high-castes. There was no writing or reading based on the common language.

Gurmukhi was developed to be a very precise phonetic language. By learning to pronounce Gurmukhi, people could not only learn to read and pronounce the songs written by Guru Nanak; they could also learn how to pronounce the songs that Guru Nanak had preserved during his life from other masters and sages, even if those songs were in a completely different language. The purpose of Gurmukhi was not to simply represent the common language of the time, but to allow people to read and sing sacred songs in other languages as well. 

Why did this phonetic language develop? And what does it have to do with the Shabad Guru – the Guiding Sound of Wisdom?

Being awakened or enlightened is not simply a mental state. It is a physiological state as well.  How we breath, how the glands secrete, how the nervous system is operating—all of this changes based on what we speak, what we hear, and what we perceive. When Guru Nanak sang his songs, the words he brought forth had a two-fold effect. On the level of language, they imparted a certain philosophical meaning of how to see the world. But in the science of Naad (sound), the songs have the ability to change the physiology of a person and bring them to a more heightened state of consciousness.

The invention of Gurmukhi was key to opening the doors of the Shabad Guru to all people. Through learning this very simple, precise method of pronunciation, and by repeating the words of the sages, you begin to induce in yourself the same state of consciousness that they were in when they sang the songs. It begins to create the same changes in the physiology. It opens the door to higher awareness. And all that is required is your breath and voice imitating and repeating those sounds.

This is the essence of the Shabad Guru. It is between you and you. There is no one else involved.  It only requires your breath reciting this sacred poetry. By doing this practice, there is a process you undergo within your own ego and identity to transform your awareness to live at these heights.

If you would like to read more about the particular effects of some of the banis, or sacred songs that people practice on a regular basis, click here.

[This article is re-posted from http://www.sikhdharma.org/pages/invention-gurmukhi-script]

The next article in this series will be about the purpose of the Siri Guru Granth Sahib.

Continue Reading


 By Ravi Hari Singh Khalsa

We are forty days away from the historic date of November 11th, 2011 (11-11-11). On that date KRI and 3HO are planning a day-long celebration called The Aquarian Experience. This event promises to be informative, uplifting and a whole lot of fun. I would like to add one more dimension to all of the planning and festivities.

As many of you know, I’ve spent a large part of the past year researching Yogi Bhajan’s teachings about the Aquarian Age in preparation for writing the book We are the Aquarians, Yogi Bhajan’s Vision of the Aquarian Age. Yogi Bhajan spoke about the date 11-11-2011 repeatedly as a critical milestone marking the end of the cusp period that started on 11-11-1992 and the beginning of the transition to the Age of Nanak, which he also referred to as the Age of the Shabad Guru, and which officially begins in 2038. You might think of the period from 1991 up to the present as being the time during which changes have happened mostly on the level of vibrational frequencies.

From now until 2038 we will see the corresponding changes manifest on the physical Earth, in society, and in our consciousness. The ages change roughly every 2160 years, so this is not just another routine day. It’s not even a once-in-a-lifetime event—it’s a once-in-2000-years event! Think about this for a moment. On the soul level, each of us here today clamored to take birth on this Earth just to be here at just this time. On a cosmic level, preparations for this transition have been going on for a long time. Over two thousand years ago Patanjali gave the mantra Wahe Guru. Guru Nanak took birth over five hundred years ago to deliver the teachings of the Shabad Guru for these times. Guru Gobind Singh came to give form to the Khalsa as the model for the pure conscious humans of the Aquarian Age. Yogi Bhajan came in his time to gather us brave souls, wandering dazed and confused in this alien world, and shape us into a Khalsa (Khalsa means pure of heart) sovereign spiritual nation. Each of us has played a part in this Divine play, to be here just at this time. Nor does this process end with the change of the age. Yogiji describes this time as the beginning of a period of five thousand years, a Golden Age, during which the Khalsa will rule through service, compassion, and humility.

This coming date of 11-11-2011 is much, much more than just an important date on the calendar. It marks the beginning of a whole new age of light, consciousness, and awareness. It is why each of us is alive today. I encourage you to pause, take a moment from your daily routine and reflect upon the scale of these momentous changes that are taking place right now. In 1992 Yogi Bhajan gave us the Aquarian Sadhana as the daily practice to prepare us for the transition of the ages and for living in the Aquarian Age. This is a perfect time to give yourself a most precious gift—the gift of the experience of the Shabad Guru in a group consciousness. Monday, October 3rd marks the beginning of the forty days leading up to 11-11-2011. I encourage each of you to take a decisive step and make a personal commitment, to make it a priority to join in the practice of the group Aquarian Sadhana for these forty days.

It is time to leave our old Piscean habits and limiting mental patterns behind. The change of the times is upon us now. Now is the time to step up and give ourselves the gift of experience, the gift of Aquarian consciousness. Here are some of Yogi Bhajan’s words on this topic:

“Now we are entering an Aquarius Age, an age where you know, experience, and then only you will believe. An age of love, it’s a golden age, it’s an age of truth, it’s an age of perfect guidance. In this age happiness shall belong to those who will have the concept of an individual consciousness; the individual consciousness may be blended into group consciousness; and as a group consciously you blend with universal consciousness. Individuality shall not survive in this age. Individuality shall not even exist in it with any iota of happiness. Individuality shall not have any role to play in the Age of Aquarius. The miserable water carrier, the sign of the zodiac of the age will be the plight of those who will try to remain and live individually sealed off in their own cocoons. But the man of God, man of wisdom, man of light shall walk out and shall live in a group consciously, respecting, loving, with individuality as his basis, as his foundation, but vibrating in uniformity of soul, body, and spirit. Such a man shall progress. Those who will pull themselves beyond that yonder to the Infinity and the beauty of God, creativity, and the spirit—those who will not exist with their ego but with humility—t hose shall find themselves going higher in levitated form.” Yogi Bhajan 06/20/1973

“The religion of the Piscean age was I believe, I know. The religion of the Aquarian age is I know, therefore I believe. It’s a hundred eighty degree difference. That’s the difference of religion from now onwards. We call it a new age. Nobody will believe just because of philosophy or because of this or because of that. People will believe experience. Even in 3HO people who experience the consciousness through Kundalini Yoga could believe that there is a God, there is a path to God. The consciousness of Ang Sang Wahe Guru came to us through experience. The consciousness of Cherdi Kala came to us through experience; it didn’t come to us through philosophy. It came to us through Sadhana. And that is the difference between the past which is the age of Pisces, now, which is the age of Aquarius, and tomorrow, which is the Sat age or the new age, or we call it cosmic consciousness.” Yogi Bhajan 04/11/1979

I welcome each and every one of you to join us in morning sadhana during this most wonderful and exciting time.

Ravi Har Singh Khalsa is currently writing “We Are the Aquarians: Yogi Bhajan’s Vision of the Aquarian Age,” which is scheduled to be published by the Kundalini Research Institute and available at Summer Solstice 2012.


Continue Reading


By GuruMeher Singh Khalsa

How many hours will you sit to do yoga and meditation this week? How many hours will you spend working? For all but a few, time spent working will far exceed even the most avid spiritual practice. So why not make work part of your practice? This is not a new idea: working zazen, doing God’s work, karma yoga. In fact, every interaction we have with matter is an exercise of the soul discovering itself. In work, as well as in relationships and our physical health, we get to see the fruits of our karma, feel the status of our consciousness, learn, and grow. Let’s take a fresh look at work as a vehicle of union with the Self.

The soul comes to human form seeking to manifest its uniqueness. It seeks forms to ever more perfectly paint its picture, until there is no difference between the True Self, what you do, and how you do it. When these harmonize, life feels satisfying, peaceful, and fulfilled. Fulfillment through work is possible, but the very idea of doing one’s life’s work, or following one’s calling, can find us trapped in old habits and motivations.

Following are some characteristic transitions that occur in how we relate to work, described in terms of shifts. Shifts represent evolutionary upgrades in the fundamental ways we operate as humans that allow us to function more effectively. We can alter a mental or behavioral habit in a moment by truly “getting” that there is another way or reality. Hold that possibility as you read the work ethic shifts below. Find the ones you are drawn to and are ready to make.

1. The Level of Play Shift: From ‘work is about survival’ to ‘work is about self-expression’

Anyone reading this article is probably not working for bare sustenance, but may feel that way as a result of unhealed trauma and long-held beliefs. There are many techniques available to help clear the past if such patterns persist. With so many beings and talents in this world, your most competitive advantage in the marketplace is to allow the soul, which is unique, to fully and clearly express itself through you and your work. No one is better at being you, but you’ll never touch that inner gold while pursuing others’ goals. Career counseling to discover talents and options, life coaching to move from needs to values, and methods to develop and follow intuition are a few ways to support this shift.

2. The Source Shift: From ‘outwardly motivated’ to ‘inwardly prompted’

When we are driven by outside influences, we do this in order to get that, and this is something we have not truly chosen. Be famous so millions will love you. Be a doctor so Dad will be proud. Make money to feel secure. Accomplishment is produced this way but comes at great expense and lacks fulfillment. For instance, seeking a new career “so that” – there may be an assumption that a new situation will bring relief from some difficulty, or more time or money, which will bring more freedom, which will bring more happiness or peace. Upon deeper inquiry, one can begin to hear what the soul is calling out for, some aspect or ability that has been dormant and seeks expression. When that is brought to the forefront of awareness, it can be developed immediately, for which development current circumstances may be perfect. Questioning long-held motives and meditatively inquiring how you feel about your pursuits, as well as what you feel most satisfied doing, is a way to begin this shift. Write down and honor what you discover. You don’t have to make any radical changes, but allow yourself to sit with surprising inner answers; if nourished, they may germinate.

3. The Operational Shift: From ‘emphasis on doing’ to ‘importance of being’

How you feel about your accomplishments and how you achieved them will outlast the glory of the moment. Recent history is rife with examples of shortsighted trades of wealth and power at the sacrifice of virtues, values, and other qualities that make us feel good about ourselves in the long run. You probably don’t remember who won last year’s gold medals or Oscars, but can you remember those who have touched you in great ways? Which is more important? It’s true that at the moment of death we review our entire lives, but we judge it not in terms of what we did, but how we did it, how we felt, and how clearly our Being performed its tasks, monumental and mundane.  To operate more from being, try focusing on behavior rather than on accomplishments or possessions.

4. The Attraction Shift: From ‘struggle, pursue, make it happen’ to ‘project, attract, and respond’

This is the yogi’s way: Work inwardly to polish the projection, and then let it do the work. It takes trust in the Universe, patience, and surrendering your timeline to God. Begin by developing the 6th and 7th chakras[1] and the aura[2]. All methods that release the past, as well as attachment to the future, and declaring the present as perfect (gratitude) will help. To attract opportunities, use techniques and support that develop self-acceptance, self-esteem, personal radiance, and projection.

5. The Oneness Shift: From ‘success = individual achievemen’ to ‘success = welfare of the group’

It’s folly to think we can accomplish anything without the intricate web of all life. Team effort, lots of support, delegation to specialized talent – these don’t just make good sense and create ease; they are necessary to truly succeed in this world. In Jim Collins’ book, Good to Great, he describes one characteristic of today’s best corporate leaders as “a paradoxical blend of personal humility and professional will.” The best performing leaders seek success for the company above their own notoriety. Building network and community are learnable skills; embracing them gives immediate benefit.

6. The Bigger Picture Shift: From ‘I am doing this and it is important’ to ‘God is the Doer and it is His play’

The first leads to a false sense of self-importance and stress. Seeing it all as maya, a movie in which you are cast in order to experience, learn, and grow, can make for an enjoyable ride. Religion has been the traditional source of this paradigm and offers a vast array of teachings and techniques. It can begin as a belief but must ultimately be experienced directly.  Knowing and feeling your Self as directed and guided by a higher power can be both relaxing and liberating.

These six shifts of consciousness regarding work can make your life more satisfying by bringing your daily activity into alignment with your purpose. Finding your life’s work and discovering that you are always doing your life’s work, always doing your spiritual practice, become one and the same.

The following meditations address different aspects of our relationship to work, by balancing aspects of the mind that connect our inner and outer lives, opening the window from soul to action.

Meditations for Shifts to an Aquarian Work Ethic

For Shifts 1 & 2:

Karani Kriya: This kriya helps you to feel secure, so you can immerse yourself into a role without losing a confirmed sense of your Self.  You can perform action in the world to enhance and express the Self. This solves the problem of finding how to make a lucrative livelihood and satisfy the soul at the same time.

Sit with straight spine. Raise the arms in front of the torso with the forearms parallel to the ground at shoulder height. Bend the elbows so the fingers can point toward each other in front of the throat center, palms facing down. Bend the ring and little fingers of both hands under the thumb on the palm. Extend and touch the tips of the index and middle fingers to the tips of the same fingers of the opposite hand. Close the eyes to 1/10th open. Create a precisely timed pattern of pranayam: Inhale for 2 to 3 seconds. Hold the breath in for 5 seconds. Completely exhale for 10 to 15 seconds. Continue for 11 to 31 minutes. Then inhale deeply. Relax.

From The Mind, its Projections and Multiple Facets by Yogi Bhajan.

For Shifts 3 & 5:

Apostle Projection: This meditation is said to link the essence of your purpose to the universal mind and soul of the cosmos. Your message and need are projected to the cosmos, and help and knowledge come back to serve you and complete your goal. It is a prayerful projection for a unified response from the Universe. You learn to rely on the heavens and the greater environment.

Sit with a straight spine. Hold the hands at the level of the heart center. The right hand is on top of the left hand, both palms face down. The right thumb is bent and comes under the left hand and touches the palm. The left thumb is bent and also touches the left palm. The bent thumbs are pressed together so the thumbnails touch. Look at the tip of the nose. Chant the following mantra:

Wha-Hay Gu-Roo Wha-Hay Gu-Roo Wha-Hay Gu-Roo Wha-Hay Jee-o

Lift the navel and diaphragm in rhythm with each Wha. Continue for 31 minutes.

An ideal tape to use is Wahe Guru Jio by Gianiji available through Ancient Healing Ways at www.a-healing.com.

From The Mind, its Projections and Multiple Facets by Yogi Bhajan.

For Shifts 4 & 6:

Kundalini Yoga Laya[3] Meditation: According to ancient yogic tradition, this meditation will bring your soul and destiny to the present.  It will let your activity serve your purpose. It will make you creative and focused on your real priorities. You have an expanded sense of life. You feel that the Infinite Will and yours act together. Strong actions combined with nonattachment make life a dance with much creativity and gratitude.

Sit straight. Put the palms together in prayer pose at the center of the chest. Focus at the brow point. Chant:

Ek ong kar-a,                                   Sa ta na ma-a,                   Siri wha-a,    Hay gu-ru

                 (One Creator Creation)                                  (True Identity)                             (Great Indescribable Wisdom)

The chant is very precise. On Ek pull in the navel. On each –a lift the diaphragm up firmly. Relax the navel and abdomen on Hey guru. The sound has a “spin” to it. It is a 3 -1/2 cycle rhythm. As you chant, imagine energy and sound spiraling up and around the spinal cord in a right-handed helix. Start at the base of the spine as you initiate the energy from the navel. End with focus over the head to the Cosmos on Hey guru. Continue for 31 minutes. This extraordinary Laya Yoga Chant is said to suspend you above conflicts attracted by success and the activity of the Positive Mind, and help you sacrifice what is needed to accomplish your real prioritiesFrom The Mind, its Projections and Multiple Facets by Yogi Bhajan.

 GuruMeher Singh Khalsa is a practicing life coach, helping people to make shifts, achieve excellence, and realize their business, personal, and spiritual goals. He teaches Kundalini Yoga and directs the teacher-training program at Yoga West in Los Angeles, CA. You may contact him at www.Lifesworkcoaching.com or [email protected].

[1] The 6th chakra is the energy center located at the third eye. The 7th chakra is the energy center located at the top of the head.

[2] The aura is the energy field surrounding the body.

[3] Laya Yoga is a form of meditation that uses rhythmic patterns of mantras and locks (bandhs).

Continue Reading


Excerpts from Shabd Guru: Basis, Use and Impact of the Quantum Technology of the Shabd Guru by Yogi Bhajan, Ph.D. and Gurucharan Singh Khalsa, Ph.D., April 1995

 In the Aquarian Age there are no secrets! Information is available. Finding it is not the central task any longer… The greatest power will be your Word, your consciously projected words. The mind is changing its sensitivity, its basic frequency and functioning. Our lifestyle is changing its sense of time, space, relatedness, and relevancy… We have always experienced change, but rarely with this intensity and speed and never with this scope and vastness. The change is on all levels of life at once. It is not sequential and orderly, nor is each step predictable. And it affects each one of us personally.

This is an Age of Paradox—more global and more individual…everything is faster and we have less time. We need far more love and unity for we have more fear and tremendous insecurity. Stamina and constant peak performance are the common benchmarks to evaluate every person and their work, and the need is to go inward and regenerate. We require a reconciliation and integration of the spiritual side of life with the technological and material sides.

There are warning signs of personal breakdown and information overload everywhere… We have a massive capacity for storage. The number of neural connections goes into the trillions, but the capacity to process the information of the senses and the stored information of experience is severely limited… We must be able to clear the subconscious quickly and start to develop new capacities in the brain to deal with the overload.

We do not need new choices. We are flooded with choices. We need an elevated capacity to make choices. We do not need more information. We need the wisdom to use all the information. We do not need another religion. We need the experience of a Dharma that creates the spiritual fitness to act believably on our beliefs.

Shabd Guru

The Shabd Guru is a special kind of technology with a unique contribution to develop potentials and handle the problems of …the Aquarian Age. In the body it produces vitality; in the complex of the mind it awakens intelligence and develops wisdom and intuition; in the heart it establishes compassion; in each person’s consciousness it builds the clarity to act with fearless integrity.

Shabd means sound; Guru means teacher or knowledge that transforms you. The simplest meaning of Shabd Guru is a special sound that is a teacher. But what is it that we learn from the Shabd Guru and how does the use of sound act as a teacher?

To answer this question, look at a deeper definition of Shabd Guru from its root structure. Shabd comes from Sha and bd. Sha means the expression of the ego, the attachments we identify with. Bd means to cut out off or to eradicate. The root meaning of Sha-bd is that which cuts the ego. It is not just any sound. It is not just a wise sound or a song of truth. It is a sound that cuts away the ego that occludes the truth from you.

If we break the word Guru into its inner naad, or atoms of sound, it becomes Gu-Ru. Gu means darkness or ignorance. Ru is light and knowledge. Gur is a formula or instruction. A Guru gives a Gur, a formula or technique that transforms darkness into light, ignorance into knowledge, the gross into the refined… Guru changes you. Guru develops the capacity to see. It removes darkness… The Shabd Guru transforms the practitioner by removing the barriers erected by the needs of the ego.

Where do the patterns of the Shabd Guru come from? They exist from the beginning of Creation. They are the tides and rhythms of the movement of the creative pulse of Infinite consciousness. They vibrate in all things continually. It is the ability to hear and feel them that is needed. That capacity comes to a mind that is fearless, neutral, open, and awakened. The ten Gurus of the Sikh path heard it perfectly. They put that rhythm and pattern of energy into the poetic compositions of the Siri Guru Granth Sahib. That’s why it is called a Granth rather than just a collection. It is a “knot.” It binds the pattern of awareness into the words of the songs. Each Shabd is a template for an aspect of awareness and a potential of consciousness. Each Shabd is a kind of spiritual DNA that restructures the mind and stimulates the brain. The Siri Guru Granth Sahib is a collection of such gems.

The patterns of the Shabd Guru command the brain and mind with rhythm, sound, concentration, and breath. The patterns …combine atoms of information in the smallest sound units to release the inner energy of awareness needed to guide the brain and mind through this wave of change. Just as combining atoms has opened the way to use the greatest energy in matter, the quantums of sound are the atoms that open the way to the greatest inner energy of consciousness and command the chemistry of the brain. These shabd patterns are a legacy to be used and shared with all as an antidote to the maladies of the InfoDementia Syndromes.[1] [This technology] establishes a link with the sense of the Infinite no matter what mood and position you begin with.

Information on anything and anybody is available to everyone. In such a world, your value will not rest in what you acquire, find or know. It will rest in who you have become through the experience of what you find. Value will lie in your capacity and consciousness to use information. You will be valuable for your wisdom and unique point of view. That is what the Shabd Guru develops. It is not a thought, an idea, or a piece of information. It is a patterning of information… In a world saturated with information we need a technology to develop our command of it, not just gather more.

When you repeat the patterns of sound and thought in a Shabd, those thoughts counter the direction and intensity of the habitual thoughts. The Shabd provokes a dumping of the stored subconscious patterns of thinking and feeling. If, under the torrential flood of subconscious feelings and thoughts, you persist in repeating the pattern of the Shabd Guru, then the new pattern establishes itself. Your mind clears, and you awaken dormant inner capacities or enhance existing ones.

Because the reflex points are stimulated by the movements of the tongue, you get the maximum benefit from the pattern of a Shabd by consciously repeating the sounds out loud. That is called Jappa: conscious, conscientious recitation. Rotating the tongue over the eighty-four reflex points in the pattern of the Shabd produces maximum impact on the gross level of the neuro-endocrine system. As the Shabd gets established in the nervous system and your subconscious, every cell of your body will vibrate the pattern with you. That is called the state of Ajappa Jap: repeating without repeating. In that ideal state the resource released by the Shabd Guru is always available to you, regardless of the momentary focus of your attention on daily tasks. It is the result of great devotion, much practice and mastery, or grace.

The techniques of the Shabd Guru codified in the Siri Guru Granth Sahib and in the mantras of Kundalini Yoga wait for us to mine their secrets. Every person can use them to elevate themselves, to heal, to develop stamina, to increase intuition. They do not need to know the science of the process. They only need to apply the technology of the Shabd Guru.

The quantum technology of the Shabd Guru… will be seen as part of the training of the experience of self, so that you can embody your philosophy, carry your values, increase your spiritual fitness and deliver your Self as an answer to the challenge and imperative of the Age.

Gurucharan Singh Khalsa, Ph.D., is the Director of Training for the Kundalini Research Institute. Author, psychotherapist, and researcher, he has collaborated on original research on the cognitive and physiological impact of meditation

This article was previously published in Aquarian Times, May 2009

[1] The variety of maladies like depression and disorientation caused by information overload.

Continue Reading