From the Office of the Secretary of Religion of Sikh Dharma International
Dharma Ministers' Newsletter
Healing the Master- SS Sat Kartar Kaur Khalsa, Espanola, NM
“Love brings us to life, gives us courage and inspires us to service and sacrifice. To live fully, we need to learn how to heal the wounds of love which we all carry. Shabd Hazaray is the 'Shabd Worth 1000 Shabds.' It is the purest and most powerful love song ever written. This amazingly beautiful mantra will take you through that process of deep healing.”
From the Secretary of Religion
This year our Summer Solstice Ministers' gathering was very special. If this was a trailer for the upcoming feature film of our Dharma, I for one am ready for the feature! I had the privilege of framing the gathering. After forming a circle, I asked the question: What do you do in your capacity as a Minister that brings you joy and fulfills your natural desire to serve? The truth is, what each of us does as a Minister creates the evolution of our Ministry in this time and space. Consequently, we wanted to hear from each person present.
The following encapsulates what has inspired and fulfilled those gathered: answering yoga students' questions about Sikh Dharma; participating in the Hearts & Hands group to reach out to people in time of need; organizing and participating in interfaith activities; spearheading the annual Peace Picnic in L.A.; healing through the Shabd Guru; teaching Gurbani Kirtan to our children; leading the Sadhana meditation chants and singing Gurbani Kirtan in daily Gurdwara; teaching others about Gurdwara; hosting group Sadhana for students; working with MPA graduates; mentoring Spanish-speaking Sikhs who want to learn abut the Guru; teaching Asa di Var; teaching about Sikhism in high school; teaching about the four pillars of Bana, Bani, Simran and Seva; working in the NM State Legislature as a representative of the Siri Singh Sahib and Sikh Dharma; building our sense of community as Ministers; loving that Sikhi is universal and gives a voice to the voiceless; ministering in a "non-denominational" way by serving whatever the consciousness dictates at that moment; being a "full-service" Minister serving everyone regardless of religion or creed; experiencing the healing that comes with remembering that God is the Doer of all. One Minister cracked us all up when he shared that a student told him he was "Sikhilicious!"
After everyone had a chance to speak, SS Dr. Shanti Shanti Kaur led us in a meditation for the Radiant Body. The element of focus for this Summer Solstice was the Ether tattva. The Radiant Body meditation is for presence, the Ether tattva, unity and harmony. SS Harhajan Kaur from Millis, Mass. provided live music and SS Guru Prem Singh from Los Angeles and SS Sangeet Kaur from Espanola, NM joined her for this beautiful meditation. Then we sang the song, "From One Vibration" by Raghu Rai Kaur. The words are: From one vibration the world came to be. From this mantra into eternity. We all dance to this song of love. Let's join hands and carry it on. Ek Ong Kaar Sat Naam Siri Wahe Guru. We spontaneously joined hands and sang from our hearts. As we continued to hold hands and sing this song, I had tears rolling down my cheeks. The beauty of this vision touched me.
We ended with Long Time Sun and an appreciation of each person's contribution to our Dharmic collective whole.
SS Dr. Sat-Kaur Khalsa, Secretary of Religion
It is the Shabad Guru which unites us to the Infinite, through the meditation on the Siri Guru Granth Sahib. Kundalini Yoga prepares us to hear that Shabad.
While compiling Victory & Virtue (Sikh Dharma Manual), we were aware that it would be read by Sikhs who chose to become Sikhs, as well as those who were born into a Sikh family, usually of Indian origin. It is historical fact that almost all of the people who chose to become Sikhs were inspired to do so through the practice of Kundalini Yoga and the practice of Nam Simran at Kundalini Yoga classes. I do not believe that this is a coincidence. I believe that by the Grace of Guru Ram Das, who sits on the Throne of Raj Yog, the teachings of Kundalini Yoga were brought out of India to the West to lead the souls whose destiny it is to walk in the Guru's Way unto the Guru. I believe that it is important to maintain the practice of this "preparation." We also recognize that it is the Grace of the Guru which leads us unto liberation.
Kundalini Yoga is the householder's yoga. It is the Yoga of Awareness, of Chardi Kala. Guru Nanak admonished the yogis of his time that they were on the wrong path, teaching them that leaving their families, leaving this world and practicing austerities would not merge them with God. This is true. He did not teach that yoga itself is bad and in any way incongruent with the life of a Sikh. In fact, the internal process of merging with the Infinite that is described in the Siri Guru Granth Sahib is identical to universal principles of union with God which were taught by the ancient yogis.
A Sikh does not do yoga to "earn" his or her liberation. A Sikh uses the techniques of Kundalini Yoga in the same way that s/he would take a bath in the morning, or be conscious of how s/he maintains the body purely, eating a vegetarian diet, not partaking of tobacco or alcohol. In other words, a Sikh prepares this sacred body temple as purely as possible to bring the Holy Nam, the Holy Gurbani into it, to do justice to that Sacred Word. However, Kundalini Yoga prepares not only the physical body, but all of the Ten Bodies of which this magnificent human system is composed.
I see no contradiction to a life as a worshipper of the Siri Guru Granth and my Kundalini Yoga practice. There is nothing in the path of Kundalini Yoga which in any way contradicts what is taught in the Siri Guru Granth. It has been my personal experience that Gurbani Kirtan and developing a relationship with the Siri Guru Granth Sahib has given me the bliss and grace of life. However, it was and continues to be my Kundalini Yoga practice and teaching which keeps me in Chardi Kala and continues to remind me to seek the Guru's Feet as my refuge.
I truly believe that it is the Miracle of Guru Ram Das that the ancient teachings of Kundalini Yoga were offered to the Sikhs to keep them in Chardi Kala. How else can we explain the miracle of so many Westerners coming to the feet of Siri Guru Granth Sahib through the practice of Kundalini Yoga?
Dhann dhann Raam Daas Gur
Jin siri-aa tinai savaari-aa
Pooree ho-ee karaamaat
Aap sirjanhaarai dhaari-aa
from "Victory and Virtue: Ceremonies and Code of Conduct of Sikh
Dharma," published by the Office of the Bhai Sahiba of Sikh Dharma
of the Western Hemisphere. To purchase this manual online, visit Sikh
Dharma International. Please
feel free to submit your dharmic questions to:firstname.lastname@example.org .
Sukhmani Sahib - Healing Prayer of Guru Arjan
"Sukhmani Sahib,the creation of Guru Arjan Dev ji, is most popular and loved by all the Sikhs. Like the five Banis, for many persons, it has also become a part of Nitnem (to be read daily). In the homes and Gurdwaras, by forming several societies after its name, Sukhmani Sahib is being read routinely. It is felt that its regular readings help to alleviate the miseries and sufferings.
"The word Sukhmani is rendered into English as “consoler of the mind.” The entire poem has been translated into English more than once under the commonly preferred title; also "Jewel of Peace," “Psalm of Peace” or “Song of Peace,” signifying the soothing effect it has on the mind of the reader. Sukh literally means peace or comfort and mani means mind or heart also jewel.
"Sukhmani Sahib consist of 24 Ashtapadis and 24 Shaloks. Each Ashtapadi contains 8 stanzas and each stanza contains 10 Tukas (lines). It contains one Rahau, meaning Pause at the end of the first stanza of the first Ashtapadi. It is generally accepted that Waheguru-inspired Sukhmani Sahib was composed during 1601-1604, at Ramsar, Amritsar under a Pipal tree. Guru Arjan Dev Ji composed Sukhmani Sahib at Amrit Vela for the sake of humanity in Kalyug.The sacred prayer spans 35 pages from page 262 to page 296 of the Guru Granth Sahib.
"Sukhmani Sahib contains 24,000 shabads as a person reputedly takes 24,000 breaths (swas) day and night in a given day. The Bani is considered a cure for all ailments and is recited to those who are sick and have intractable problems such as cancer and terminal illnesses."--Blog post by Kudrat Kaur on Punjabi Janta
News and Information
Welcome to seven new Ministers who took Sikh Dharma Minister Vows
Sikh Dharma Minister Vows -
Summer Solstice, 2012
by Sardarni Sahiba Shanti Shanti Kaur Khalsa
Assistant Secretary of Religion
At Summer Solstice 2012 we had seven men and women take Sikh Dharma Minister vows. This is the largest number of people that have taken Minister vows at one time in many years.
The early morning was charged with the Prana of the Ransubhai Kirtan and the sadhana that followed, which included the Bowing Jaap Sahib kriya. The Amrit Ceremony had just ended and the Gurdwara door rolled up, revealing the majestic energy to the sangat. The seven Minister candidates were called forward. Each of them bowed, then stood before the Siri Guru Granth Sahib.
They repeated the Sikh Dharma Minister vows that were written by the Siri Singh Sahib. There were a few smiles as the seven attempted to speak in unison. They bowed and rose to recite the Minister oath. Before we could begin, however, three “Bole So Nihals" were spontaneously called out with enthusiasm by members of the sangat. When it was noted that the ceremony was not yet complete, the sangat held its warm support at bay.
The candidates recited the Minister oath and bowed again. It was my honor to introduce the new Sikh Dharma Ministers to the sadh sangat:
Sardarni Sahiba Nirbhe Kaur of Espanola, New Mexico
Sardarni Sahiba Varnjeet Kaur of Espanola, New Mexico
Sardarni Sahiba Sada Bahar Kaur of San Leandro, California
Singh Sahib Gurvinderpal Singh of Espanola, New Mexico
Singh Sahib Daljit Singh of Phoenix, Arizona
Sardarni Sahiba Japa Kaur of Espanola, New Mexico
Singh Sahib Siri Vias Singh Khalsa of Los Angeles, California
The air resonated with the joyful voice of the sangat as “Bole So Nihal, Sat Siri Akal” was called out five times. May this sound continue to resound in the hearts of all.
Minister Fees for 2012 now payable by Paypal. Contact SS Ek Ong Kar Kaur (Los Angeles) email@example.com for more information.
Longing into Love
By SS Dr. Sham Rang Singh Khalsa, Millis, MA
Hearts are so easily broken: the loss of loved ones, the unfulfilled longing for that perfect partner, the betrayals from those who were dear to us, hopes and expectations dashed. And so often we do not know how to cope, what to do to change things or ourselves, or how to mend.
In Sikh history, the story of Guru Arjan has shown us a way. Guru Ram Das had sent his youngest son Arjan far away, with instructions not to return until called for. Arjan loved his Guru so deeply that he did not hesitate when called to travel to a distant city. His choice to serve his Guru was clear, despite the pain of separation.
Usually when we are faced with painful experiences, we think about the situation in order to find a solution or we look to others for sympathy. We may feel sorry for ourselves and our predicament. Such mental processing can prevent the deeper experience of the situation itself.
Arjan chose to deeply feel his longing and to creatively express it in poetry. In the first part of Shabd Hazare, Mera Man Loche, he beautifully describes the thirst of his mind for the vision and presence of his Guru. By actually feeling the angst of separation, his desire for union increased and helped him to focus upon this vision of his Beloved Guru.
After sending this poem off to his Guru and not hearing back from him, he delved more deeply into his pain. His longing for his Guru was so complete that he himself disappeared into this inner vision, sacrificing personal identity to reach so deeply. Within the experience of this pain, he actually saw his Guru’s face in all its beauty.
With the second poem also unacknowledged, Arjan’s longing reached a darkness of despair. He wrote of being unable to endure the separation, his chest bursting with this love and longing. When this third poem finally found its way to the Guru (bypassing the treachery of his eldest brother), Guru Ram Das immediately recognized Arjan’s devotion and called him to his court, crowning him as the next Guru. In the fourth poem of the shabd, Arjan expressed his joy and delight in this reunion.
So, consider this: the broken heart fully experienced brought Arjan to the deepest love. It was because of Arjan’s complete willingness to embrace this separation that he merged into his Guru and actually became Guru. In fact, the written expression of the pain in his beautiful poetry eventually became part of the Siri Guru Granth Sahib.
Guru Arjan has shown us that the answer to life's pain comes through fully embracing the moment, and acknowledging the authentic will of God and Guru. The broken heart is healed through its complete acceptance and embrace. The problem is solved because there never was a problem, only an experience designed by God’s creative intelligence waiting to be fully experienced.
Healing the Master
By SS Sat Kartar Kaur Khalsa, Espanola, NM
It was in May 1992, at noontime in Espanola. Siri Singh Sahib Ji had just returned from his travels and was preparing to stay for the summer. He was at the dining table at the Ranch, eating with a few members of the staff, when I returned from doing seva, with mop and rugs in hand. He saw me and invited me to sit and share the lunch. As you can imagine, I was rather overwhelmed! I had only met the Master a few times before, during Tantric or meditation classes, and had a few letter exchanges with him, despite my limited English skills at that time.
The communication was complicated. When Siri Singh Sahib Ji spoke to me, two ladies tried to help me understand what he said, as well as to translate my answer. When the question arose, "What is your profession? "I attempted to say (half) in English: “Thérapeute in massage, Sir.” The Master said,” You have a very strong healing power: come tomorrow at 9:00 AM to give me a foot massage.” Now I was more than overwhelmed! Many emotions came to my mind at that moment, from feelings of bliss, to surprise, to fear, and so on.
I returned the next day as requested. When I finished the session, Siri Singh Sahib Ji said “Good, come back each day at 6:00 AM and push harder on my feet.” That was the beginning of my understanding of the deeper aspects of healing. Because Siri Singh Sahib Ji trusted me to touch his feet, I began to prepare myself mentally with meditation each time before coming into his presence. I prayed to Guru Ram Das, asking him to help me, to guide my hands. Ra Ma Das Sa was my major mantra (and still is) to create a sacred space. Ours was a silence exchange.
Most of the time Siri Singh Sahib Ji didn’t pay attention to me. Sometimes he would say “harder”; sometimes he would test me by asking “What’s that point?” (to make sure I knew what I was doing). Having studied different massage techniques as well Shiatsu, I understood the importance of considering the body as a temple. Being at the feet of the Master, in his sacred space, in his sacred aura, an exchange of energy happened. No doubt it was also a healing process for me. Always, but especially when I needed to give him a massage, I approached him with my heart full of love, respect, reverence, the desire to help to the best of my capacity. Our hands are the antennae of our hearts and souls. Pure intention, mental disposition, prayer and meditation are the major aspects of the healing vibration. The healing is not always the way we think it is. We are channels of healing energy and must be humble in this process.
One day I was massaging the Master’s feet and another person was working on his neck. He had a plate of cookies on his lap and offered them to us. We both wanted to take the cookies with our hands. Siri Singh Sahib Ji stopped us and said “No! Don’t touch. You are not a human. I will give them to you,” and delicately he put the cookies in our mouths. For a long time I meditated on what he said, and I found a quote from him:
“You have to understand you are not a man, not a woman, you are a healer! A healer is above a saint! You are not healing through the power of medicine. You are the healing.” I meditate on that quote always. It is now an indelible part of me, to pray and meditate during every healing session, asking Guru Ram Das to guide me, to help any person who trusts me and gives me permission to be in their sacred space and release their stress.
Healing comes out of love, compassion and humility. It is not always immediately visible, and can take many forms. As a spiritual community we all prayed and meditated during Siri Singh Sahib Ji's lifetime for his health and comfort. The beauty is that we keep doing it for our sisters and brothers when they need support. All of us have healing powers in some ways, and when the heart is involved we know that miracles are created.
"You will never enjoy happiness in your life by isolating and separating yourself.
by SS Guru Dharam Singh Khalsa, Mehedeby, Sweden
As the fifth Guru of Sikh Dharma, Guru Arjan Dev ji exemplified the qualities associated with that number in the numerological system expounded by the Siri Singh Sahib ji. As a Spiritual Teacher, Guru Arjan exemplified and defined the path of Sikh Dharma by collating and creating the first version of what would become the Siri Guru Granth Sahib, the sacred seal of the Khalsa Panth. Guru Arjan himself wrote approximately one-half of the Adi Granth, which contains much of the finest spiritual poetry ever produced by humanity.
It is interesting to note that Guru Arjan (1563 - 1606) was a direct contemporary of William Shakespeare (1564 - 1616), whom literary commentators consider the finest playwright who ever put pen to paper. Both represented the pinnacle of the creative surge that characterized the Renaissance, a cultural transformation which was common to both the European and Indian continents.
Guru Arjan exemplified the quality of sacrifice, following the example of his great spiritual forebears who offered their own physical forms as a final act of mastery. This is the timeless teaching that the finite physical body is the repository and the servant of infinite divine consciousness.
The template for success and prosperity given to us by Yogi Bhajan, the Master of Kundalini Yoga was to teach and to become neutral by sacrificing our own shadow on the altar of higher consciousness (Gu Ru = Dark Light). This is why his stated intention was “I have come to train teachers, not gather disciples.” He told his students to consistently engage with this process on a daily basis through Sadhana and to offer it to all those who are ready to receive it. He also taught us to acknowledge the Guru as the constant guide and compass to universal awareness. Hence his statement, “Without the Guru there is no hope.”
This deceptively simple formula has yielded the most exquisite and rare fruit: a global grassroots network of Kundalini Yoga teachers who offer the promise of core transformation and the shift in consciousness that the Aquarian matrix requires. My personal experience and observation after 33 years of practice is that the Grace of Kundalini Shakti merges with the innate creativity of the individual, enhances it and amplifies it into a wider arena. Thus, the yoga teacher is recognized as a healer and a transmitter of spiritual knowledge.
The yoga teacher takes on an increasingly pastoral role as he/she is perceived to have a direct relationship with Spirit. The Kundalini Yoga teacher inexorably earns the trust of the local community and out of that trust arise countless offers, opportunities and projects. The yoga teacher becomes an Elder within the community and earns its respect.
As the holistic philosophy and practice intrinsic to both the Dharma and Kundalini Yoga are recognized as a cogent long term response to the increasingly fractious projections of the external world, Kundalini Yoga is rightly being acknowledged to be an effective preventative and curative against stress and burn-out syndrome.
By attempting to follow Guru Arjan Dev Ji's peerless example of trusting in the unknown, using our personal qualities and attributes, our spiritual consciousness will expand and blossom. The way of the Dharma unfolds as a “progressive path to Infinity.” As long as we walk this path in gratitude, service and humility, we shall always be remembered.
Wahe Guru Ji Ka Khalsa Wahe Guru Ji Ki Fateh!
Meditation to Heal the Wounds of Love
The bani, Shabad Hazare, comprises four letters of longing written by Guru Arjan Dev to his father Guru Ram Das. Yogi Bhajan taught that this shabd, merged with the chant Aad Such, is a powerful meditation
COMMENTS: This meditation is meant to bring positive change to your current relationships while removing past pains that have imbedded themselves in your heart and psyche. To start with you can do this meditation for 11 days. As you do it, you will feel clarity and empowerment to make positive change and to begin to experience authentic relationships. You can continue doing this meditation daily for as long as you feel it serves you.
Sources: 3HO and SikhNet
The Color of
By SS Dr. Harijot Singh Khalsa, Espanola, NM
Guru Arjan healed people through the heart center. He worked with love and kindness. His shabds are universally powerful affirmations, regardless of one's belief system. As a Sikh, I am especially a devotee of Guru Nanak. He was a prophet and a messenger of how to connect with God. He brought people directly to God. He used chanting and meditation to open the heart and taught people how to see the humanity in all. We are all children of God. He used the words "Sat Nam" or "My identity is Truth." It doesn't matter by what name we call God; what matters is the connection we make to that God-Consciousness in our Self and in all of humanity.
I see that more and more people are seeking the spiritual aspect of life. This summer I met with many of the Chinese students who came to Solstice. They come from an atheist country, yet they are hungry to find their spiritual path. I am impressed with their love for Kundalini Yoga.
In the early 1980s, the Siri Singh Sahib told me that because I reached a lot of people as a healer and through counseling them, it would be a protection for me to become a minister. In recognition of the spiritual aspect of my work, I was given an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree when I was doing my studies in India on homeopathy and herbal healing.
Chinese medicine speaks of "Three Treasures"—Chi, Jing and Shen, which is the energy of God-Cnsciousness, nurturing the spirit. As a Doctor of Oriental Medicine, I practice Shen therapy to help people connect their spark of divinity with Divine. In my practice, I often use mudras and mantras or visual meditation.
Color therapy is also a very powerful healing technology. Colors can be used for healing; their effect can be stimulating or depressing, depending on your state of Being. Your favorite color is likely to reflect your personality, but it may not provide the necessary balance for you.
Color therapy can be done simply by visualizing the color and breathing it into the body. Sit quietly for a few minutes, imagining the color in its purest state. Then repeat the affirmation several times, breathing deeply and visualizing the rays of color penetrating your body. You can use the following affirmations:
RED: The Red Ray is flowing through my bloodstream, filling me with energy.
ORANGE: The Orange Ray percolates through my glandular system, filling me with vitality and courage.
YELLOW: The Yellow Ray infuses my solar plexus with healing light and brings clarity and understanding to my mind.
GREEN: The Green Ray vibrates through my heart, bringing peace, harmony, and balance to my world.
BLUE: The Blue Ray is being absorbed by all tissues of my body as it cools, cleanses and purifies every cell.
VIOLET: The Violet Ray is flowing into my pineal gland, expanding my awareness and healing every aspect of my being.
In honoring Guru Arjan and healing, let us meditate through our heart center for prosperity, compassion, kindness and love and bring it to all people.
Healing and the Mind
by SS Subagh Kaur, São Paulo Brazil
I had been asking the Universe for a seva project that I could really sink my teeth into, one in which I would feel that I was making a contribution. Some time later I was invited to be part of a pilot project in Hospital das Clinicas, one of the largest teaching hospitals in South America. The Day Hospital, housed within the Instituto de Psiquiatria, serves people who have a diagnosis of schizophrenia, and who have had multiple hospitalizations through the years. All are being managed with chemical intervention. The Day Hospital operates on Monday through Friday from 8AM to 5PM and offers a very diverse program of activities and therapies, including acupuncture, music therapy, psychodrama, and Reiki. The administration was seeking a yoga teacher to round out the repertoire of healing activities; when the director called me to discuss the project we had a match!
My undergraduate degree was in Social Work. Right out of college I had worked in a hospital in Maine, so I felt familiar with the hospital environment. But the psychiatric realm was a horizon yet to be discovered. As a long-time Kundalini Yoga teacher, I have given thousands of classes and trained hundreds of teachers and yet I found the classes challenging, requiring new delivery methods to reach this group of 20 students.
I began to research the material from our vast array of teachings from Yogi Bhajan and found my way to David Shannahoff-Khalsa’s books. He is a research scientist and veteran Kundalini Yoga teacher with expertise in the area of alternative therapies for psychiatric disorders. I plunged in, researching the world of the new students.
Those of us who have studied the mind through the yogic prism know what a multi-layered complexity lies within the human psyche. When this is superimposed on the clinical knowledge of modern psychiatry we find a huge amount of research with very different symptom domains and diagnostic conclusions. So what did I squeeze out of this plunge? Most people with a diagnosis of schizophrenia have unique “clustered” symptoms, a little of this and a lot of that mixed up in an array that produces periods of “disorganization.” The first psychotic episode is frequently in young adulthood; poor attention skills and concentration challenges are pretty much guaranteed; difficulty in making eye contact and a serious demeanor are a given.
In July 2012, we had our first anniversary of the weekly Kundalini Yoga class. Teaching this class requires a tremendous amount of verbal and energetic stimulation. The co-directors of the project continue to give us extremely positive feedback and gratitude for our participation. The students continue to show up, pushing through their limitations in an attitude of “keep- up.” After one year, an 11-minute meditation is becoming a reality! I am filled with compassion and admiration for their efforts of breath and movement which go unnoticed in a normal class, and gratitude for these time-honored practices that strengthen and heal the delicate realm of the mind.
Guru Arjan ji reminds us in Sukhmani Sahib that when we "Meditate, meditate, meditate, peace is obtained, Worry and anguish are expelled from the body." With the technology of Kundalini Yoga and its profound effects on the psyche through mantra and meditation, we have striking evidence from our students' feedback, that they receive relief from their worry and anguish. We see this in their smiles as they gratefully leave the class. May the teachings prevail as we move further into the Aquarian years. Wahe Guru!