Sutras are words to live by. A sutra is a concise verse or scripture: a complex spiritual concept reduced to a simple sentence that can be remembered, meditated upon, and later expounded upon by a spiritual teacher.
Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras have sustained the world over thousands of years in their wisdom. Kundalini Yoga suggests that a New Age calls for its own words to live by—as such, the Five Sutras are the guiding principles for Kundalini Yogis as we transition into the Aquarian Age.
The sutras form the philosophical underpinning of the Kundalini practice. Each sutra has a mantra and a meditation associated with it. Below you will find commentary for each sutra, in addition to the mantra and meditation instructions.
This sutra has three dimensions: I, You, and Thou. The idea is summed up in the mantra, Creator and Creation are One. Kundalini Yoga is a nondual yogic path which recognizes a Supreme Oneness from which we emerge. But as Oneness expresses itself, it takes the form of polarities.
A basic polarity would be you versus others, or the perception that there is a separate you versus me. While of course it is true that you and I exist, separate in body, experience, and perception, it is also true that we stem from the same source.
As we approach that still point, called shuniya, in meditation or prayer, we recognize that at the innermost, subatomic level we are connected to all that surrounds us. Without stillness and depth in our heart, we may seem opposed or unrelated. But as we attune to the depth within our own consciousness (Humee Hum), listen to the depth in the other (Tumee Tum), and place both sensitivities before the Infinite (Wahe Guru), we recognize our interconnection.
“Irrespective of the external form, there is a divine flame inside everyone. Revering that, our conduct should be always infused with forgiveness.” -Vinoba Bhave
Recognize that the other person is you is the act of recognizing that another person is your own kind. The virtue implies a universal recognition, knowing that everyone and everything is a part of you. Thus we say, “If you can’t see God in all, you can’t see God at all.” In an age of increasing polarization, this unconditional and loving recognition could prove revolutionary.
Mantra: I am thine in mine, myself, wha-hay guroo. Humee hum tumee tum, wha-hay guroo.
At first glance, this sutra is self-explanatory and easy to apply to a real-world, physical challenge. But it also applies to mental blocks, shaped by our conditioning and perceived limitations. The guiding principle is that by connecting to the Infinite, we realign with the flow of Creation. This inevitably clears the blocks, although not necessarily in the way we imagine!
Instead of deciding to hustle or struggle, we can align our centers so that we are carried and arranged by the force of Creation itself.
While the yoga, breath, and meditation practices are tools to foster that connection, we’ve surely all had the experience of just feeling stuck—like there’s nothing you can do to get out of it. For the times when nothing else seems to be working, we were given this mantra.
Make a virtuous, sublime resolve, set the time frame, and begin to work. There is a way through every block!
Mantra: Aad such, jugaad such, haibhay such, Naanak hosee bhay such
The 3rd Sutra is simple and clear: when faced with a deadline or the pressure to get something done, begin. Just begin! Even if you don’t know what the first step should be, do something.
We often dread or procrastinate starting and/or completing tasks. This manifests in a variety of situations, which range from the mundane (such as cleaning your house), to the practical (like organizing a work project), all the way to the personal (like starting a home practice or hobby).
The 3rd Sutra suggests that the way to relieve the pressure is just to begin.
Mantra: Gobinday, mukanday, udaaray, apaaray, hareeung, kareeung, nirnaamay, akaamay
Despite the human temptation to judge, blame, or to set expectations, the 4th sutra calls for us to relate unconditionally through the loving lens of the heart.
This is not an elementary or fickle suggestion. The sutra stems from ancient wisdom that is only now beginning to be understood by western science. The philosophy is that of nondualism or tantric schools of thought, which recognize our inextricable connection with what is.
The path of the heart is the way of love, and the practice of relating to yourself in the other. Compassion is the embodiment of power, truth, and grace. Compassion imparts the strength to endure great suffering. The most beautiful thing that makes us human may be our capacity for compassion. In a world rife with violence, the only antidote is compassion.
Rakhay rakhanhaar aap ubaariun
Gur kee pairee paa-eh kaaj savaariun
Hoaa aap dayaal manho na visaariun
Saadh janaa kai sung bhavjal taariun
Saakat nindak dusht khin maa-eh bidaariun
Tis saahib kee tayk naanak manai maa-eh
Jis simrat sukh ho-eh sagalay dookh jaa-eh
The 5th Sutra speaks to the power of mantra, chanting, and prayer. It speaks to the ability of the Naad, or sound current, to pierce through perceived barriers in mind and body. It embodies the wisdom of nadi as flow and reminds us that our bodies are like instruments that can be tuned and harmonized. The universe is a sea of vibrating energy, and we are of that nature.
As we shift frequencies, the entire structure of our experience changes. Thus we say “the cosmos shall clear the path.” The dictum of this sutra is to chant. As we shift our frequency, we change our emotional response to situations and environments, which allows us to reorient and center ourselves at the moment. It also sparks intuition.
The 5th Sutra is also a reminder to be aware of our words and tone of voice! With our words, we create. It is wise to avoid venting frustration, gossip, or bad-mouthing someone, including yourself. Make a habit not to complain. Begin to choose your words consciously, and notice how much energy and spirit you have. Observe how others change around you, and how quickly you get things done!
Mantra: Ek Ong Kaar Sat Gur Prasaad, Sat Gur Prasaad Ek Ong Kaar