Excerpted from Beads of Truth, Summer 1984, Issue #13, as compiled by Ram Das Kaur Khalsa from the teachings of Siri Singh Sahib, Yogi Bhajan
The power and blessings in the recitation of Siri Guru Granth Sahib have been shared with us through the knowledge and experience of the Siri Singh Sahib, Yogi Bhajan. He has explained how the inner sound current (naad) is tapped and how the recitation of Gurbani alters the mind to give the experience of God within oneself. He has also explained the effects of various shabads (Guru’s bani or Guru’s words) in Siri Guru Granth Sahib, as well as the way to recite Gurbani to gain the maximum benefits.
This article shares some of these teachings, which have been drawn from the vast treasure of his lectures.
Experiencing and Understanding Gurbani
The Guru’s word (Gurbani) is what the Guru spoke. It is the imprint of the essence of God. It is the pathway to God. If the ordinary human being speaks it, it will always elevate him to that state of consciousness of the Guru. The Guru’s consciousness is united with God, so the person will automatically get united with God, if he speaks the same words. It is a scientific and direct way to unite the finite with the Infinite Consciousness. The hypothalamus will get the same tingling. The impulsation of the pituitary will function the same way and get the other glands to secrete also in the same way as it was in the body of Guru Nanak.
Gurbani is nothing but a total illustrated, facilitated science of naad for human knowledge. It is an individual effort. Read Gurbani in the way Guru says it, and understand it, and you will be in such ecstasy you will not believe it! Concentration on the construction of the word, and the sound is the proper way to recite Gurbani. As you are creating the sound, the meaning will automatically come to you, now or later. It is just a matter of time and space. You must listen to your own construction of the Gurbani. This is the technical way in Naad Yoga.
There are two ways to go about understanding Gurbani. The first is to know the meaning through purposeful study; and the second is, if you recite it, you will automatically understand the meaning intuitively. Gurbani has to be recited with the tongue, through japa. But, when you read meditatively for the purpose of understanding the meaning, it is okay.
The Power of the Shabad, Gurbani Kirtan and Naam Simran
In Siri Guru Granth Sahib each shabad has its own individual domain, power, ridhi (worldly riches), sidhi (spiritual power), and nau nidhi (nine treasures). All occult powers are there. The recitation of shabads gives you the power to redeem the environments. Shabad is a part of the power of God, and when the shabad merges in you, you become God.
The lotus feet of God is the shabad of God. The sound itself will uplift you and take away the disease and sorrow from within you. Meditate on the lotus feet of God in your heart. The sound of the spirit is the shabad. Decorate yourself with it. Shabad is the fountain of spirit. It will always keep you flowing and growing.
The neutral mind records the shabad, the Truth. When your mind is “freaking out,” the shabad automatically comes. The shabad has the power to control you and your mind, otherwise there is no way you or your mind can be controlled. Shabad brings inner balance. The power of inner balance is the shabad, and the power of the shabad is inner balance.
When controlled, our minds can create great things, because the power of the mind is also very infinite. When disciplined, it can change the vibrations and the magnetic psyche of the earth. That is why we come before Siri Guru Granth Sahib and do kirtan (singing of God’s praises). Kirtan is to change the magnetic psyche of the universe with those vibrations of the Word of the Guru, the naad, so that we can principally enrich the self in ecstasy.
Gurbani Kirtan, when done right, adds more harmony to Gurbani, but when not done right can reverse the effect. Kirtan must be according to time, pure, straightforward, and the raag (musical mode) should be exact. It is a pure discipline and recited in that discipline, and everyone should participate.
Naam simran (continuous remembrance of God’s Name, of the Self) is the preparation for Gurbani. You grind the ground, make the earth ready, and then you do simran. Simran is gurmantra (mantra given by the Guru). Khalsa is to recite Waheguru, and a Sikh is to recite Sat Naam. Sat Naam can elevate the consciousness of any person to Infinity, and Waheguru can bring you the experience of that Infinity. “Wha” means Infinite, “he” means Thou, and “guru” means self. When chanted, it brings you very near to God. Sat Nam is a panch shabad (mantra containing five parts). “Saa” means Infinity, “taa” means birth, “naa” means death, and “maa” means resurrection. Sat Naam is the shabad in which you have superiority over God. God is a slave in the hand of the devotees. Sat Naam purifies the entire time and space, when you speak it once, it does not matter when. It is superior self-power of God. God is remembered by His actions. Naam simran is a must to prepare for Gurbani to have its effect. It is the complete science of the word and sound. It changes a human’s biological and psychological metabolism of his body, mind and soul.
Nitnem – Daily Recitation of Guru’s Bani
The following is a story which Siri Singh Sahib Ji told in Khalsa Women’s Training Camp: “There is a surprising story about my grandmother. She never spoke in a loud voice. I have never seen that woman offending anybody, and I have never seen a single human being offended by her. The respect was so great that everyone would settle disputes by Mata Ji’s decision, without going to court. Whatever she would say, people would accept it as the truth and nothing but the truth. That reputation and non-offensiveness was built from her perfection in her nitnem, her sadhana and Gurbani.
I am trying to illustrate to you that after a certain age in life, if you do not have nitnem and sadhana, then you will not churn yourself. When milk is churned, it takes a lot of milk to make a little butter. As milk has to be churned to make butter, life has to be churned. Gurbani works to churn the brain waves through the hypothalamus. You need not be a Sikh. In India, for example, there are a lot of Hindus and a lot of Muslims who recite Gurbani. Gurbani is not a thing for a fanatic. Gurbani is for a woman who wants to be graceful, a woman who wants to be balanced, and a woman who wants to do things by her radiance. A woman’s presence alone should see the job done.”
Nitnem in Gurbani gives you a very powerful meditative mind. It gives you the balance required. Energy comes to a person from the head, and the head is the distributing center through the spine. It is a must that when one reads Gurbani, it be done in the correct harmony and rhythm.