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The Mantra Garden

By Bhavanjot Kaur

“Sat Nam is the bij, or seed, mantra. It is small and potent. Great things grow from it. If it is not written in your destiny to be with God and to know higher consciousness, this mantra will engrave it in your destiny.”
-Yogi Bhajan

My daughter will proudly announce, “Look, Mom, a wish!” as she pulls a dandelion out of the ground, only to blow on the seeds as they float through the air and scatter, landing softly on the ground, eventually spreading and growing into more dandelions.

I recall my teacher making reference to this flower in a Kundalini Yoga class in regard to our thoughts and actions in this moment and how they can and will plant seeds for the days to come. For me, this is how mantra works. Insert a mantra into this moment and see what comes in the next, and on and on.

When I think of the mantra, Sat Nam, it is like a seed being planted in the flowerbed of the heart. It becomes, in essence, the vibration of your life force. Sat Nam. Lub Dub. Sat Nam. Lub Dub.

When I think of the mantra, Wahe Guru, it is like the sun, the rainwater, the nourishment and protection of that seed so that growth may continue to occur. It becomes, in essence, the gardener and the gatekeeper for that seed in the flowerbed of the heart.

I envision my daughter, as her lips pucker and she blows the dandelion flower, scattering new seeds, and I cannot help but think of all the other mantras that have taken root and blossomed in my heart since that first seed was planted. Each mantra, unique in its original form, emerges organically in the journey of the soul. It plants itself, it grows, it buds and it flowers while growing you and pruning you as it becomes a part of your inner garden.

The mantras awaken, serve, challenge, carry and guide, but there must first be a seed and it must be planted so that it may grow and expand and multiply.

 “Understand what meditation is. At that time repeat Wahe Guru, Wahe Guru, Wahe Guru. That's meditation. Meditation is not closing your eyes and feeling blessed and good and all that. I don't know who says this. I have never understood that that can be a meditation anywhere. It's a mental cleansing process by self-will and whatever the garbage of the day is, it must pass through as negative and you must cut it with a mantra and make it positive.”
-Yogi Bhajan 9/1/86

I remember traveling in the wee hours of the morning to practice sadhana with a group of yogis. I sat in my car and before I put the keys in the ignition, I silently chanted the mantra Aad Guray Nameh three times as I envisioned a protective ring of light surrounding the car. I then began the hour long drive in the dark, cold and wintery weather conditions.

I recall sitting in the dimly lit room as my teacher prefaced the kriya that we were about to practice. She thoughtfully made the connection of our current weather conditions to this meditation by alluding to a snow plow barreling down the road and pushing through the heavy snow, removing anything that was in the way.

The mantra for this meditation is Wahe Guru. I learned that this meditation cuts through all darkness and will give you a new start. Thus began our practice of Sodarshan Chakra Kriya. Wow God. Wahe Guru.

“God is everywhere, waiting for you to call. His zip code is His mantra. Mantra is just like that: you take a stone and you throw it in the water, and constant waves go. That is what mantra is all about. It is to be remembered, remembered, remembered; it is to be chanted inside of you with your heart, your mind, your body. The only longing you have is to repeat it. It may be difficult to begin with, but soon God will come through and work for you.”
-Yogi Bhajan 4/23/97

The mantra Wahe Guru, for me, is the gardener and the gatekeeper of the seed in the flowerbed of my heart. I like to nurture the gardener with Wahe Guru Kriya (available at the Yogi Bhajan Library of Teachings) and I like to nurture the gatekeeper with Sodarshan Chakra Kriya. I aim to stay present and positive in each moment with the help of the mantra Wahe Guru.

To keep this awareness strong in my being, I utilize this mantra throughout each day. This mantra becomes my continuous meditation. I inhale Wahe Guru. I exhale Wahe Guru. I answer the phone—Wahe Guru. I stop at a red light—Wahe Guru.

I check in with myself regularly. Do I need to cut through a negative thought? Wahe Guru. Do I need to quench my thirst? Wahe Guru.  Do I need to come out of the dark and into the light? Wahe Guru. Do I need to just stop and look at the vibrant flowers that grew from that one seed? Wahe Guru. Or, do I need to walk through the mantra garden and pick another flower?

 “What does it mean to master a mantra? When you have repeated it so much, so often, and so well that you hear it within your being, and it comes handy to you—especially at the moment of death—you have mastered a mantra.”
–Yogi Bhajan

Bhavanjot Kaur is the owner and founder of Hamsa Healing Arts in Old Saybrook, CT. Bhavanjot is a Kundalini yoga teacher, Reiki Master & Teacher, Craniosacral therapy practitioner and she also offers sound therapy with a 32" gong. Bhavanjot hosts a local women's circle and various workshops on therapeutic grade essential oils, medicinal mushrooms and The Art of Reiki Levels I and II. She is a proud single mother to a beautiful and delightful four-year-old little girl who overcame a rare childhood kidney cancer.