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From Satsang to Sat Nam

By Bhavanjot Kaur

“You cannot judge yourself in the situation you are, you will be always judged by time for the situation you deliver. The law which prevails is deliverance.”
-Yogi Bhajan 4/25/93

A few years ago, I attended what is known as a Satsang. I learned that a Satsang is a Sanskrit word that means "gathering together for the truth." A man and woman shared some of the stories from the Bhagavad Gita and described in poetic brilliance some of the Hindu deities that I had revered and surrounded myself with over the years.

Tucked away on shelves and altars and wrapped neatly in gift boxes, these symbols of protection always reminded me, somehow, that I am never alone. I have been drawn to these characters even with, what I came to realize, was minimal awareness of the complexities and power behind their stories.

During this Satsang, the story of Shiva was told. I wish I could remember all of what the teacher said, but perhaps it was not so much the words he spoke, but rather that I was given a genuine experience of this magnificent character. I was captivated from the moment he began to speak.

The story of Shiva took root in my heart as the words rolled off his tongue. I had goosebumps from head to toe and I could feel myself being transformed. When his words stopped, I was left in a blissful shock as I sat silently with tears in my eyes. I was deeply affected by the story. It felt very personal. My fascination with a fierce and seemingly destructive force that this character symbolized, left me feeling slightly bewildered.

I remember at the end of the Satsang, I purchased a Saraswati deity for my altar. I have a profound connection with Saraswati, but deep down inside I longed for Shiva, the Destroyer.

“When you teach, you have only one privilege: ‘Ong Namo Guru Dev Namo.’ That's it. After that, whatever you have remembered, seen and experienced, just share.”
-Yogi Bhajan, 4/26/97

I recall the first time I heard the mantra Ong Namo Guru Dev Namo being chanted by the lovely Snatam Kaur through the speakers at the Reiki Master training that I attended. Again, with goosebumps all over and tears in my eyes, I was once again altered and left uncertain about what it all meant. I followed that mantra into my first yoga workshop with Snatam Kaur and soon after, became a regular student and teacher in training of Kundalini Yoga.

“Come here to learn and go back learned, come back again to learn more, and go back to teach more—that is what we want. A Teacher is God's responsibility. You all love God, I know. But God loves Teachers—that I know, too.”
Yogi Bhajan 7/20/96

I learned that the word GOD, in this tradition, is understood as a force of “Generating,” “Organizing,” and “Destroying” energies. With this explanation, I began to understand “destroying” as a necessary force in the circle of life. If what no longer serves the life is destroyed, then there is space for generating of the new and then organizing naturally occurs.

"In the West, people think spiritual teacher is just a joke, he lives off you. No! Spiritual teacher you can never pay. He never lives off you. You live off him. Your prosperity is based on what he said in a simple statement, without arguments."
-Yogi Bhajan 7/12/89

I was in my final week of Kundalini Yoga teacher training and standing before my teacher. He was giving out meditation suggestions for individual students upon completion of the training. I looked him in the eyes and without a moment’s hesitation, he said, “Tershula.”

I recalled doing this kriya during teacher training and went back to the manual to read up on the meditation that I was being called to practice. I flipped to the page for Tershula Kriya and realized that Tershula was also known as the “Thunderbolt of Shiva”!

The mantra for this meditation is Har Har Wahe Guru, which has been described to me before as coming out of the darkness and into the light. This kriya can activate the self-healing process and it gives you the ability to heal at a distance, through your touch or through your projection.

“Without Guru there is a darkness, in spite of all light. Without Guru there is no knowledge which you can achieve and practice. It is the self-guidance and experience, which is the Guru, that takes you from darkness to light.”
Yogi Bhajan 1/7/90

Tershula Kriya—Thunderbolt of Shiva—who is regarded as the deity that shall destroy, regenerate and who will ultimately, deliver. This is the path of Raj Yoga: the disciplined student that trusts the wisdom of the teacher within—that inner Guru—can be guided from darkness to the light.

“Without a discipline you can never be a disciple, and without a discipline you cannot be a master, and without a discipline you cannot deliver. And without a discipline you will never know the exalted self.”
Yogi Bhajan 7/24/96

If Satsang is a gathering for truth then Kundalini Yoga is the gathering of truth within us—bringing us to a greater awareness of our true identity—our Sat Nam.

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.