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Shabad Guru for Renewed Spirit in Action

By Dev Suroop Kaur

It is safe to say that each one of us is experiencing the pressures and stresses of the times. We are faced not only with today’s turbulent political and social environment, but we are also coping with our own private, internal landscape. We may be processing feelings of insecurity, concern, or anger from ever changing and intensifying world events.

At times each of us may find ourselves dealing with the constant roiling of our mind, memories, and reactions from life-patterning, or simply coping with life. Sometimes events in our environment or feelings within us seem uncontrollable; we seem to have no influence over them but, nevertheless, we are affected very deeply by them.

How do we cope with challenges and difficult times and with the depressions in the flow of life? Many of us have tried to cope in ways that, later (or sooner), we discover really do not work. Losing your self in anything from mental fantasy to alcohol abuse or drugs may provide some relief, but only temporarily. At some point, we may have the blessing of waking up and realizing that the damage created, the pain inflicted, and the recovery time are simply not worth it and that there is a better way, a permanent and hopeful way, a simple way.

The Technology of the Shabad Guru

The technology of the Shabd Guru is available to serve us all. Quite simply, the Shabd Guru is ready and able to take us out of the abyss of our own misery. The words of the Shabd Guru are universal and were written for all humankind. Anyone of any faith or any background can use this technology. There is no prerequisite, no need to sign up for anything. You don’t need to be anything but you to use and benefit deeply from this technology.

In the Sikh tradition, the written words in the Siri Guru Granth Sahib are known as the Shabd Guru. The Shabd Guru is seen not simply as a compilation of uplifting and inspiring words written by enlightened saints and sages and placed on the pages of this volume, but as the living Guru of the Sikhs.

Those who wrote the words of the Siri Guru Granth Sahib transcended individual identity and ego, and their words came from an exalted state of things unlimited. When we take the opportunity to read, sing, chant, and listen to these words, we deeply connect with our excellence. There is no external personality to confront in the process. There is only our relationship with our own Infinity.

The Shabd Guru is a powerful technology universally available to anyone in any walk of life to uplift and transform onesself and others. Through the Shabd Guru, we can directly use and gain infinite benefit from the sound that “clarifies the doubt of the mind and gives unity and essence to the man.”[1]

How Does it Work?

So how does it work? First of all, select a verse from the Shabd Guru—any one will do—and give it a try.[2] You might select one that seems particularly applicable to your life. For example, perhaps you’re feeling limited and trapped. Correctly chanting the sixth Pauri (verse) of the Sikh prayer Japji Sahib dispels limitation. Whatever you choose, recite it 11 times a day for 40 days and see what happens in your life. Don’t miss a day! If you do, gently and lovingly, start over again. Allow yourself to experience, firsthand, the miracle of transformation through the sound current.

You’ll find the words of the Mool Mantra, or root mantra, at the end of this article. Guru Nanak, a saint and minstrel and the founder of the Sikh lifestyle, composed this simple, powerful, and universal mantra. While traveling throughout Asia in the 1400s, Guru Nanak sang these and other words and taught that all people are inherently divine and created equal by One Creator.

The very first words of the 1,430 pages in the Siri Guru Granth Sahib are the Mool Mantra. They encapsulate “a complete philosophy and psychology of human potential in one compact phrase.” [3] Many things are written about the power of reciting this mantra. The Mool Mantra gives an experience of the depth and consciousness of your soul. It is often called the fate killer. (Fate is what you start with in this life. It can be changed through exerting the effort of will.) Reciting this mantra can change your destiny to complete prosperity. (Destiny is your highest potential in this lifetime.) The Mool Mantra can help you find your spiritual identity and the ways and means to live it.

In its simplest form, Shabd means “sound” and Guru means “teacher” or “knowledge that transforms you.” Put together, Shabd Guru is a special sound that is a teacher. Yogi Bhajan often says that there are two teachers—time and space—or a spiritual teacher—and that we can learn our lessons from either. While both paths lead to the same destination, time and space, or fate, is often a cruel and painful teacher. This is the commonly traveled path, with all of the associated pain of making mistakes and then arduously having to regroup and learn from that pain.

In seeking fulfillment in life, you might try to find your soul mate, gain status and achievement through your career, or strive to purchase the home you always wanted. However, the fulfillment from such endeavors is transitory. Through discipline and surrender, using the technology of the Shabd Guru, and with the intervention of a spiritual teacher who helps you transcend limitation, you can rise above fate and be transported to your destiny. The course that fate might have taken you on can be elevated to the fulfillment of your soul’s original promise when it incarnated as a human being. While the path to living your destiny is not necessarily an easy ride, there is no fulfillment on any other level that can be as deep and gratifying.

Give yourself a chance. Rather than being buffeted by the harsh winds of time, use the Mool Mantra to begin to change your fate which could be disappointing or painful, to your destiny which promises to be ultimately fulfilling and satisfying. Give yourself the opportunity to transform a life of fate into one of destiny and fulfillment.

The Mool Mantra—Guru Nanak

The language of the Shabd Guru is Gurmukhi, a language similar to Sanskrit in its power to transform. The Siri Guru Granth Sahib was written in Gurmukhi script and has been translated into English. Here we provide both the transliteration and the translation.

Ek Ong Kaar                                             The One, Universal Creator

Sat Naam                                                Truth is His Name

Kartaa Purakh                                          The Primal Creative Being

Nirbhau Nirvair                                         Beyond Fear, Beyond Vengeance

Akaal Moorat                                           The Image of the Undying

Ajoonee Saibhang                                     Beyond Birth, Self-Existent

Gur Prasaad                                            By Guru’s Grace

Jap!:                                                     Repeat!:

Aad Sach                                                True in the primal beginning

Jugaad Sach                                           True throughout the ages

Hai Bhee Sach                                         True here and now

Nanak Hosee Bhee Sach                            O Nanak, forever and ever True

How-tos:

A Shabd should be recited 11 times a day for a minimum of 40 days to experience its power. Recite in English or in Gurmukhi transliteration, both are beneficial. However, reciting in Gurmukhi allows you to better access the power of the mantra, and as the words are recited in proper Naad or sound current, the tongue hits the meridian points on the upper palate, effecting a change in consciousness.

When chanting the Mool Mantra, leave a slight space, but not a breath, between the words Ajoonee and Saibhang. Do not run the words together. Emphasize the “ch” sound at the end of the word sach in the last four lines—this adds power. Work carefully to pronounce the words properly.

Dev Suroop Kaur Khlasa delights in sharing the pure practicality of nurturing a successful and deeply authentic life. An accomplished musician, recording artist, and Lead Trainer in the KRI Aquarian Trainer Academy, she strives to break it down, keep it real, and guide students to their own empowered authenticity.

Blessed to study directly with Yogi Bhajan for most of her adult life, she gratefully shares what she has learned—and continues to learn—about how to love, work, and live better in the world. She deeply enjoys training students and teachers of Kundalini Yoga in the science of Naad Yoga, women’s teachings, and how to access the beauty and power of their personal voice. She currently lives with her husband in Espanola, New Mexico and, in addition to her teaching and music activities, works to maintain a peaceful mind as a business executive.  

[Published in Aquarian Times, Summer 2003]



[1] From a lecture by Yogi Bhajan on 11/20/02.

[2] A good resource to use is The Psyche of the Golden Shield, available from KRI. This source includes a pronunciation guide and gives the healing qualities and effects associated with each verse.

[3]The Aquarian Teacher, KRI Level 1 Teacher’s Training Manual. p. 81.