By Shabad Kaur Khalsa, LCPC, LMFT, E-RYT 500
“I know as the Age of Aquarius will proceed, many families will face tragedies, things will go rough and wrong, I know. I am not unnecessarily warning you all—I am trying to explain to you very, very smartly a survival way to relate, to understand, to acknowledge the power of the shabad. Pain is in ego, and shabad is that permutation and combination of such words which totally kills the ego.”
-Yogi Bhajan, November 21, 1993, Espanola, NM
When my husband and I visited Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris many years ago, we lit a candle for my mother who was struggling with a chronic health challenge. We made a prayer for her utmost health and radiance. Even after we departed the church, the candle remained lit for a few days.
The lighting of the candle represented our highest intentions, best wishes and prayers. A priest explained that the flickering of the flame is like the tongue continuing the prayers, and as the smoke rises, it carries the prayers up towards Infinity. And at any given moment on the planet, someone somewhere is always praying.
On the path of Kundalini Yoga, we embrace the sacred technology of mind’s waves—mantra—in activating the sacred sound current of the Shabad Guru.
We have two ‘seed caves’ or guphas in the body. The first is the bij (seed) gupha, where sperm meets egg and human life is reproduced. The second one, and the one we are focused on for this discussion, is the upper seed cave, or gian gupha, the cave of infinite wisdom and knowledge.
The metaphors here are just so powerful: the tongue moving as we chant represents the male organ, and the mouth, with its shape and all the meridians activated through chanting, represents the female vessel. The gian gupha is the place where the power of mantra is activated, where prayer is actually conceived and born. There’s a sacred rhythm to that process, like a heartbeat, the Earth drum.
One of my favorite mantras is the Mangala Charan mantra:
Aad guray nameh,
Jugaad guray nameh
Sat Guray nameh
Siri Guru dayvay Naameh
I call on the Primal Wisdom.
I call on the Wisdom through the Ages.
I call on the True Wisdom.
I call on the Great Transparent Wisdom Within.
This mantra has pulled me out of the soup on more than one occasion, including a time when I narrowly escaped a violent mugging. This mantra, as I experience it, has the potential to shift time and space. We never start a journey on a transport vehicle (trains, planes and automobiles!) without first chanting and surrounding ourselves with a dome of protection. You really have to project your aura when you’re on an airplane.
The Mangala Charan mantra is highly regarded by lovers of Kundalini Yoga as one of the gems of protection and courageous personal projection.
So many benefits to chanting! So the next time you light the candles on a birthday cake, remember that the flames of all those little candles represent the tongue, moving in prayer, bestowing infinite blessings.
Shabad Kaur Khalsa, LCPC, LMFT, E-RYT 500, KRI Level 1 Lead Teacher Trainer, organizes and leads the Annual Midwest Women’s Yoga Retreat. She is co-founder and director of Spirit Rising Yoga Center and Spirit Rising Foundation. She has taught Kundalini Yoga as well as practiced psychotherapy for nearly 30 years, integrating the yogic teachings into treatment for adults and couples. She is honored to have served Yogi Bhajan directly and has transcribed, edited, and illustrated several books including his Women’s Camp lectures, Master’s Touch andFlow of Eternal Power. The health and empowerment of women through the teachings of Kundalini Yoga is a cause that is near and dear to her heart and she also specializes in Humanology, marriage, conscious birth, self-care, and health and wellness. www.spiritrisingyoga.org, [email protected]