This article was written by Elizabeth Gurmukh in February of 2020.
On New Year’s Day, the sound of our nearly 40 voices chanting Ong Namo Guru Dev Namo together was gorgeous, deep and sweet.
Subbing at the Ritz-Carlton gym the next day, a student who had never done Kundalini yoga before asked me at the end of class, “What was that beautiful chant?” I thought she was referring to the Spirit Voyage collection of music which so many of us enjoy, but it was our opening chant that caught her attention.
Ong Namo Guru Dev Namo, sung three times, bowing to that infinite elevated creative consciousness within.
If it has become ‘ho-hum’ in your practice, or you have not yet chanted it in class, make it a point next time to really listen to your own voice as you chant, to understand that by doing so you are “tuning in” to a particular frequency where the deepest understanding of Kundalini kriya and meditation has been coded so that we might benefit most profoundly from this practice.
As a Kundalini yoga Teacher Trainer, I went through a dynamic process of relating to this mantra, our golden chain, on deepening levels. It was like falling in love again with an old friend.
I now feel completely supported by this mantra, for myself during my own practice, and when I teach students and trainees. The more I practice and teach tuning into this mantra, the bigger the space it contains – allowing for myself and others to use this amazing tool to develop our consciousness.
Simply put, this mantra refines the energy around and within us.
A Kundalini yoga teacher should relate to these words as an opportunity to let their ego step aside while in front of the class, to make the experience NOT about the teacher, but about holding space for the student to go in and through whatever is right in that moment.
This is the power of Ong Namo Guru Dev Namo – humility that drops us out of our ego’s tendency to control, allows us to feel our Infinite Self that goes beyond time and space, to see that all our answers are within – that we can move from the ignorance of darkness to the realm of Light.
The Siri Singh Sahib, Yogi Bhajan was the right teacher for me because he never tried to initiate me, to fix me, to keep me, to even really care about me in any personal way. It’s not that I didn’t spend time with him, he gave me my name personally while in his trailer at Summer Solstice in 1982, he married me to my first husband and on a few occasions had some pretty serious things to say to me – but his recommendations didn’t directly engage my neurosis – his advice instead went to positive action I could take to elevate my life experience. Once given, he wasn’t personally invested in the outcome, that was up to me.
What he said when I last saw him in 2003 that was so valuable to me was, “Thank you for the work you are doing. We are all in this together.” That was the level of humility I needed to see from him – to finally know he was the real deal. Human and imperfect like all of us, and yet inspired to be greater and rich with wisdom and this amazing technology that he shared with us.
I feel the same with each of you: that we are all in this together.
I am grateful each time you bow your ego to your Infinite Mind, and each time you chant Ong Namo Guru Dev Namo, whether it is with me, with yourself, or with another teacher or friend.
We are blessed to be in this human life with all its wonders and frailties, and I thank you for sharing this time and space with me.