By Dev Suroop Kaur
The yogis often refer to the freewheeling, erratic nature of the mind as the ‘monkey mind.’ A scattered mind creates scattered habits. Commanding the mind and stilling its chatter is considered a key to yogic discipline and is a direct source of mental health.
Throughout the years, Yogi Bhajan has repeatedly stressed that it is imperative to have a clear relationship with the mind. In innumerable lectures, he has referred to a single line in the 28th verse of Japji Sahib—Man jeetai jag jeet. This line translates simply as “By conquering your mind, you can conquer the world.”
The mind is given to you to serve you, not to control you. This is why his main message has been to meditate, recite the Shabd Guru, and do sadhana so we can conquer the mind. All the academic degrees, material achievements, and trappings of success will not give you self-command and self-mastery. Such things only come from mastery of the mind. And mastery of the mind comes from a regular spiritual discipline and practice.
The Chatter of the Mind
One summer evening, I went to a captivating one-woman show called I Worry. During the first act of the play, the actress expounded upon the nagging confusions of our current American moment. In a frenetic and hilarious style, she highlighted the impact on our mental state of being constantly bombarded with troubling information and scary facts and events that we can’t control—anything from the obscure dangers of trans-fats to whether or not there were WMDs in Iraq. The audience could certainly identify.
While holding up a copy of the New York Times, she commented that there is more information in one issue than the average 17th century villager would be exposed to in a full lifetime. No wonder we worry. Wouldn’t it be a welcome state of mental health to release all that worry and exist in a calm, content, and contained state?
In the closing moments of the play, she shared her solution—let go of control, relax, be in the moment. Yet how many times have you tried to do just that? By mustering up our will power and saying to ourselves, “I will not react” or “I will not think that way,” we usually find that the mind flits right back to the thoughts we tried to eradicate. Clearly, the application of willpower alone will not still the constant chatter of the mind.
28th Pauree of Japji Sahib: Man Jeetai Jag Jeet
The 28th pauree (verse) of Japji Sahib, which contains the line Man Jeetai Jag Jeet, is said to unite you with God. In these lines are contained perfect instructions for how to live your life. When we read and recite these words, it is exhilarating to realize that by simply mastering one line of instruction—for example, being centered in the center of your being—all our problems and frustrations will fall away.
Mundaa santokh saram pat jholee dhi-aan kee kareh bibhoot
Khinthaa kaal ku-aaree kaa-i-aa jugat dandaa parteet
Aa-ee panthee sagal jamaatee man jeetai jag jeet
Aadays tisai aadays
Aad aneel anaad anaahat jug jug ayko vays
May you wear the earrings of deep contentment.
May humility be your begging bowl and the shawl in which you carry your belongings.
May being centered in the center of your being be the ashes that cleanse you.
Wear the patched coat of Death.
Keep your body pure, like a virgin.
And may the staff that holds you upright as you walk along your journey be the constant remembrance of Spirit within you.
Let the highest and best company be the company of all people.
Conquer your mind to conquer the world.
I bow to the very act of bowing to Thee, oh Divine One.
Beyond Time. Beyond Color. Beyond Sound. Beyond Form and Containment.
Age after age, You are the One.
(English translation from Japji Sahib: The Song of the Soul by Ek Ong Kaar Kaur)
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. Work carefully to pronounce the words properly.
A like the ‘a’ in about
I like the ‘i’ in bit
U like the ‘u’ in put
AA like the ‘a’ in want
AY like the ‘ay’ in say
AI like the ‘a’ in hand
EE like the ‘ee’ in beet
OO like the ‘oo’ in food
O like the ‘o’ in go
AAU like the ‘ow’ in cow, or the ‘o’ In God
[Originally published in Aquarian Times, Summer 2004]
Dev Suroop Kaur Khalsa 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, Dev Suroop Kaur 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.