“When your work doesn’t proceed, you get blocked, if you chant this mantra, then not only it will start, it will start like Infinity.”
-Yogi Bhajan 4/11/77
The practice of this meditation, even briefly, locates you in your heart, opens your perception, and lets you immediately recognize the way forward. Mandhavani means being in the presence of intelligence, beauty, and profound caring. It is a state of joy. It’s when you’re so happy that you feel the hand and grace of God accompany each breath and effort. In that state all victory is yours and there is no victory to win but to conquer your own heart.
Posture: Sit in a comfortable cross-legged position with a straight spine.
Mudra: Bring the hands in front of the throat, forearms paraIlel to the ground. The left hand is palm down; the palm is flat and the fingers point to the right. Extend the left thumb toward the throat. Bring the right thumb between the left thumb and index finger, placing it in the center of the left palm and allow the fingers of the right hand to rest on the back of the left hand. Lock the right thumb in place and apply firm pressure on the left palm. Hold the position at the level of the throat about six inches in front of the body.
Mantra: Aad Sach, Jugaad Sach, Hai Bhay Sach, Naanak Hosee Bhay Sach
Breath: Inhale deeply and completely exhale as the mantra is chanted in a monotone. Inhale and continue. This mantra is from the 17th Ashtapadi of Sukhmani Sahib
Time: 31 minutes.
Be sure to keep the arms parallel to the ground. The key to this meditation is locking the right thumb and keeping firm pressure on the center of the left hand. Your thumb may become sore after a while but be strong and don’t give an inch.
© The Teachings of Yogi Bhajan
More about Mandhavani Kriya by Gurucharan Singh:
This is a very special and sophisticated meditation. Yogi Bhajan shared this meditation as a way to cultivate, know and act from your heart. We need the clarity of our heart to know how to walk the path of spirit and fulfill ourselves as human beings.
As he explained it, each of us has a longing to touch the Infinite—to merge with and become the Infinite. This is a quality and a desire built deep within our nervous system and hosted by our spirit.
Sometimes we do not recognize that our finite experience in the human body is in part to create a polarity so we can experience the Infinite. The finite and the Infinite are like two hands which are there to both serve our heart. We feel the desire to expand and touch that infinite nature. We may express this as a desire for power, status, money, or to simply look bigger and better in our musculature or our fashions. But when we settle for these finite goals, instead of embracing the full light of our infinity, we often get entangled. We become stuck and can neither see nor accept our own light. As Yogi Bhajan put it, we settle for a single peanut butter sandwich instead of the ongoing feast of plenty that will continue for all our lives.
We get into this entangled state when we are upset by the intensity or misdirection of our emotions. We certainly embrace emotions as essential to a fulfilled life. And emotions are good as they connect us and help us know what’s important. The problem comes in the moment when they become uncontrolled, imbalanced, or simply inappropriate to the realities that we face. Then they fail to serve the real desire of our heart. As Yogi Bhajan said:
“We have forgotten one thing. We have not come on this Earth to have a religion, not at all. We have not come here to do a business. These are all tools to achieve one thing-which is a basic human instinct—that this finite wants to merge in Infinity. We want to have not this, not that, but we want to have everything; we want to feel everything, we want to know everything, we want to merge in everything, and we want everything to merge in us. When you stop trying this, you destroy yourself. It destroys your mechanism because then you act against your own nature to seek Infinity.”
In order to elevate ourselves as human beings and to stay on the path of our spirit, there are simple tools that can help us. They give us the clarity, courage and consciousness we need. This meditation is one of those tools.
The full effect of this meditation comes from a combination of three parts—the mudra, mantra, and meditative focus.
With the hand mudra we create a polarity. The right-hand is contracted, fiery and yang. The left-hand is relaxed, receptive and yin. The right thumb presses firmly in the center of the left-hand and the rest of the fingers of the right hand grab the back of the left-hand and squeeze almost like a pincer. We hold this firm claw-like grasp steadily. The point it’s pressing is called the Talahrida. It is the 8th point on the Pericardium meridian. It connects to the triple warmer meridian as well. So it is an intersection of two streams—a polarity.
This point in the system of yoga, a marma point, is known as the “protector of the heart.” When this point is stimulated, its effect is to stabilize the sensations and expand the sensitivity of the heart. The heart becomes stable amidst all the different emotions and stressors that come from outside or inside us. For this reason, holding this point is also associated with good health in the lungs and heart and circulation, and even in the immune system.
When it is combined with the meditation and the breath it creates a state of extreme calm in which we can sense the entire subtle body. We become receptive to recognize the step we need to take along the line of our destiny. Instead of manipulating, using lies, self-deception, force or cleverness, we use recognition from our heart—our whole Self. We allow our infinity to guide us, speak to us, and show us each step along our way. When we recognize that step, we can act whole-heartedly with full courage and commitment. That commitment is elegant, precise and full of blessing.
The left-hand keeps the thumb extended pointing toward the throat. The left thumb is now open and receptive to the projection of each word, each creation of our consciousness. As we hold the mudra at the level of the throat, our forearms are parallel to the ground and this lifts our chest and heart center just a bit.
Add to this mudra the chant that was given by Baba Siri Chand—the seventeenth ashtapadi of Sukhmani Sahib. When he gave this mantra it varied from the contemporary language and scriptures. He was a master yogi who in fact trained several of the Sikh Gurus. When he spoke this mantra it unblocked the writing of what would become a beautiful scripture in the Sikh tradition. It has been used ever since to go to the essence of a situation, unblock and allow the miracle of what is already present to take birth.
This meditation is about essence and sensitivity from the heart. It locates our power in our consciousness and our elevated Self. In the accompanying lecture Yogi Bhajan helps us understand that we instinctively follow a leader or a hierarchy of fame or status. He asks us to go to essence as did Baba Siri Chand in that moment of miracle. He then explains that there is only one true path and that resides in your heart, as an individual, as you fully embrace both your particular situation and the Infinite of which you are part. In his own words, he says:
“No prophet who has spoken truth has spoken a different truth. But some have explained elaborately, some have just hinted it, some left it as a mystery, and some explained it with a mastery. That difference is there. There is no other difference. There is no Judaism, no Christianity, no Buddhism, no Islam, no Sikhism, no Hinduism, nothing. These are highways, byways and freeways. These are routes, and these routes have their lanes and rules….
Try to understand the concept that the human mind is not here, there or anywhere-- it is universal. It is our desire that becomes religion; Dharma is not religion. Dharma is to walk and whosoever falls, carry them. It's a caravan. It is a walking path of righteousness. Everybody is equal. None is denounced.”
To master this meditation is to see beyond our own impulse to categorize, separate our self from others, and judge. A master of this meditation who opens their heart never acts to destroy or condemn, but to create, elevate and deliver.
Add to these two components a third: the perfection of deep listening. We call it sunia—from a place of perfect inner stillness, you listen. Clear and alert that you speak each phoneme with your tongue. Equally clear that the Universe simultaneously vibrates without sound through your tongue. You hear the sounds you produce with both ears, with your whole mind, and with your heart. Let each sound resonate through your whole being like a pebble across the calmest of ponds. And in that complex matrix of ripples you are still personally present and feel your vastness in equal proportion to your specific finiteness. You are in this body. At this time. Timelessly and fully engaged.
When you listen from the doorway between the finite and Infinite, the mantra you recite becomes the shabad—a sound that dissolves the ego as it invites the Infinite through the heart that you embody. As Yogi Bhajan instructed us:
“This is a Shabad. If you can perfect that Shabad—perfect means when you can recite it correctly at any time without any hindrance while reciting, this is the perfection of the Shabad. While reciting you can hear it accurately. You hear it within yourself, not anybody else. That means it is perfected. Then whenever you will perform it the master miracle will happen.”
The practice of this meditation, even briefly, locates you in your heart, opens your perception, and lets you immediately recognize the way forward. All the blocks that seemed absolute dissolve. When darkness and struggle seems to surround you, a ray of light finds its way in and it is even easier to see through the darkness. This is a state of ordinary miracles. This is a steady state of gratitude to see the constant flow of miracles that accompany you on your path. That is Dharma!
Now you can understand the meaning of the name of the Kriya. It means being in the presence of intelligence, beauty, and profound caring. It is a state of joy. It’s when you’re so happy that you feel the hand and grace of God accompany each breath and effort. In that state all victory is yours and there is no victory to win but to conquer your own heart.