Japji Sahib and the Shabad Guru
By Ek Ong Kaar Kaur
“Give because God gives to you. Love because that is your purpose in life. Shine because it is important. Share because it is demanded of you. How can you do it?
In Japji, Guru Nanak gave you guidance, telling you the way he found liberation, ‘In the ambrosial hour, meditate on the True Identity. Your karma will be covered and you will see the door of liberation.'” – Yogi Bhajan. May 2, 2000.
These days, many people are having spontaneous spiritual experiences. The soul is opening up, ready to understand and embrace life in more subtle and profound ways. But in the middle of our still imbalanced world, what do we do with those experiences? Ancient spiritual traditions teach us that we need a Guide of some kind, a Guru.
A Guru is a conscious being who has already walked the path of spiritual awakening and can take us, step by step, along the way, protecting us from the pitfalls of illusion and ego. Yet, there are so many spiritual teachers today that it is difficult to know who to follow.
Shabad Guru and Dharma
Many years ago, I moved to Espanola, New Mexico, to study with Kundalini Yoga Master Yogi Bhajan. He did not let me relate to him as a Guru. Rather, he took our relationship of Yoga Master and yoga student and used it as a way to teach me about the Shabad Guru.
But how to explain the Shabad Guru?
It requires taking a step back to see the big picture of life, death and rebirth.
You are not who you think you are, and you are not here for the reasons your mind tells you. You are the Spirit of the Divine and you have come into form to enjoy the experience of creation, of being alive.
You have come into many different forms over thousands of different lifetimes to enjoy creation from a myriad of perspectives. Every time you are born in one form or another, you forget where you came from and you get absorbed in the play of creation. But this forgetfulness, when it comes to being human, can create difficulties.
The human consciousness is so subtle and sophisticated. It was made to understand itself as a manifestation of Divine Light. But there is so much to learn and experience in the human form. Sometimes we can get lost. Between the process of forgetting where we came from and feeling all these human sensations, we get trapped into forgetting who our True Identity really is.
Realizing this problem, the Creator developed different Dharmas—different spiritual paths, disciplines and practices as short cuts to mastering the human experience. Through Dharma, through spiritual practice, we can learn the essential lessons so much quicker and get to the reality of living our own Divinity.
Dharma is born of the Compassion of the Creator, and like all natural organic systems on Earth, Dharma expresses itself in more than one form, in more than one culture, in more than one way. There are many different kinds of tomatoes, but they are all good to eat. There are many paths of awakening. But they are all going to take you there. It is a question of what your soul needs.
Guru Nanak and Japji Sahib
Over 500 years ago, a beautiful man was born in what is now India who understood this truth. His name was Guru Nanak. He spent most of his youth studying with spiritual teachers and practitioners of every tradition known in his day. He saw the Divine Light in everyone, and believed that our common brotherhood and sisterhood is the highest spiritual reality. In his early 30’s, Guru Nanak had his own enlightenment experience. In that state of ecstasy, Guru Nanak sang a song. The song he sang is known as Japji Sahib, the Song of the Soul. And Japji Sahib is a manifestation of the Shabad Guru.
Japji Sahib works on two levels. First, it offers beautiful instructions about how to understand life, the Universe, and your own place in this vast Cosmic play. In this way, it operates on the level of language and meaning. But as a manifestation of the Shabad Guru, it also has a powerful effect on another level entirely.
The sounds of the words themselves have the capacity to heal and transform your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual reality. As you chant the words, a powerful alchemy takes place. Your body, like an instrument, begins to vibrate at the same level of consciousness that Guru Nanak was in when he had his enlightenment experience.
As that vibration continues, anything in you—in your karmas, in your subconscious, in your habits—which does not match that high frequency starts to “shake loose.” As you keep chanting in the frequency of Universal Consciousness, you begin to clear and remove your own blocks to experiencing Universal Consciousness.
This is a process between you, your breath, and the Sound Current of the Shabad Guru. No other person has the power to intercede. As you chant, you purify yourself. And in this way, the Shabad Guru guides you, in time and through grace, to merge into your Infinite Identity.
Flow with the Divine
We are moving into an age where humanity will understand reality as a flow of information. In this age, we will come to see that our survival depends on how we flow with that information. The Shabad Guru is a Guru that teaches, through the Sound Current, how to flow with the most subtle information of all: the creative command of the Divine that is continually creating the creation and bringing us to ever deeper and vaster realms of awareness.
Guru Nanak founded Sikh Dharma in two ways: his teachings offer a truly universal and inclusive vision of the human race. But he also laid down a specific path through the technology of the Shabad Guru. Within the teachings of Japji Sahib is not only a description of how to see the Divine, but through vibrating the Sound Current, it becomes the path of how to be Divine. And this is its great power and secret.
May you be blessed unto Infinity and may the journey of your own soul take you to your highest truth within yourself. May the remembrance that the Creator set you here for a purpose, for a reason, awaken you to live in the purity of your own genuineness and spirit. And may you ever be blessed to live healthy, happy and holy.
Ek Ong Kaar Kaur Khalsa has a great love for the mystical spiritual traditions of the East. Her other great love is writing. These two loves come together in her translations of the Songs of the Sikhs. She is an ordained minister of Sikh Dharma International, and a teacher of Kundalini Yoga.
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