Updated: Oct 2, 2020
Given the Syrian refugee crisis and the number of terrorist attacks on European cities, it feels like people of this region are being asked to rise to a great challenge - to remain in love, spirit, and hope during difficult times. We can react with fear, hatred, and revenge. However, we have as human beings been given examples from saints and sages of all traditions to rise above these emotions and come from a place of human-ness. Being human is actually quite a privilege. I remember the many times that Yogi Bhajan, my spiritual teacher, defined human for us:
man: mind, heart, soul (Man is the combination of these three energetics within our beings - how our heart connects to our mind, how our soul connects to our mind, and how all three function together)
Being human is an enlightened state and we have the capacity to exist in this way right within ourselves. There is an infinite energy of love and light that naturally lives and breathes within. In order to access this energy, we have to be in a state of clarity and calm. When we are faced with challenges and we are not able to experience them within our highest state of awareness, this creates a sensation of failure. Unless we forgive ourselves, that sense of failure develops into negativity. This becomes a great burden on us, both within our bodies physically and also in our man - that incredible and highly sensitive amalgamation of heart, mind and soul. Forgiveness of the self does not come easily to many of us. Eventually it will - this is the doorway to our merger with the One.
Now let's take it a step further. What exists within us is an exact mirror of what exists all around us. We are simply reflecting the oneness of the creativity of God. That lack of consciousness - the anger, the fear, the sense of anguish and frustration that is in our world, is in fact a part of our inner beings. That is why we must continually do the work to heal within ourselves and look with compassion on what is happening in our exterior environments.
So we have two jobs to do now. We have to forgive and we have to melt the negativity. There is no way around it. It doesn't matter where you live or who you are. We are all being asked to do these two jobs for ourselves and for everyone.
I have recently re-discovered a mantra that is helping me with just that.
The majority of this mantra comes from a Shabad (sacred musical poem) by Guru Arajan, the fifth Guru of the Sikhs, who resided in his physical body in the 16th Century in Northern India. In our present day we have the essence of his being in the many Shabads that he composed. This is the technology from the Sikh tradition called Shabad Guru, in which the Guru exists within the sound current. For me, this sound current is my greatest guiding light in this life. Guru Arajan faced many challenges during his human life and rose above with absolute grace, beauty, and strength. I feel his energy in these words.
Yogi Bhajan gave a way for the power of these words from Guru Arajan to enter into the psyche, by following them with three powerful recitations of har(i) har(i) har(i), which he then taught in his many Kundalini Yoga and Sikh Dharma classes.
Let's take a look at the entire mantra. When we chant aap sahaa-ee ho-aa, we are saying that God of Himself/Herself/Itself/the Self (aap) is fully helping us (sahaa-ee), and that this is happening, (ho-aa). Not only is this sahaa-ee outside of us but it is inside as well. The Divine Doer is within us as well and it is from the sacred essence of the Divine Doer the aap that this work is being done. In this realization that we have the Divine within us, we are given the opportunity to forgive ourselves - which is the best place to start when forgiveness is needed.
Then we chant sachay daa, the true One gives, sachaa ḏo-aa the true refuge/support/gift. My mother, Prabhu Nam Kaur taught me the following meaning of ḏo-aa and words close in derivation that she found in her various Gurmukhi dictionaries. We came to the conclusion that in this mantra the meaning of ḏo-aa has the energy of all of the definitions listed below.
ḏo: trist, support, pillow, rest, prop, buttress (something that holds something up)
ḏo-aa: gift, proffer, offer, present
I like the way Yogi Bhajan defines this mantra and for me it really works in terms of how to understand ḏo-aa. He tells us that in this mantra "The True God has come down as the True helper to uplift your Truth."(1) That in fact identifying and experiencing your Truth is the greatest gift, support, and refuge that one could ever imagine.
Finally, we seal the deal, by burning off any last residues of negativity by chanting har(i) three times.
Yogi Bhajan teaches us that the three strokes of har(i) represent the three aspects of God that are present in our creation(1). The Christian faith represent those energies as Father, Son, and the Holy Ghost. The Hindu faith represents those energies as Brahama, Vishnu, and Shiva. We can look at it in universal terms of Generator, Organizer and Destroyer/Deliverer, the letters of GOD. By engaging in chanting har(i) three times like this, from the navel and in full awareness, there is no amount of negativity that can stand in the way.
So enjoy and celebrate with us. You can come in person to hear this mantra during one of our concerts on our European tour. You can download it at the following link: "Aap Sahaa-ee Ho-aa" on Ras. Finally, you can join me on Facebook mentions to experience this mantra live on Friday, September 23, 2016.
I am grateful to my mother Prabhu Nam Kaur who helped me understand this mantra more fully. If you would like to study with her, please visit her ashram and teaching center Facebook Page.
1. Yogi Bhajan, The Master's Touch (Santa Cruz, NM: Kundalini Research Institute, 1997), 278.