Updated: Oct 6, 2020
Photo by Robin Layton
Aad guray nameh
I bow to the Primal Guru.
Jugaad guray nameh
I bow to the Guru of the ages.
I bow to the True Guru.
Siree gurdayvay nameh
I bow to the Great, Divine Guru.
Guru Arjan, the fifth Guru of the Sikhs who lived in northern India from 1563-1606, composed this mantra, Aad Guray Nameh. It begins a beautiful Sikh poem or hymn that he also composed called Sukhmani. The title of this poem illustrates the effects of reciting it, which means peace of mind. It feels perfect that Aad Guray Nameh opens the
way for this experience of peace of mind.
This Mantra is great to do before starting any task, so that whatever you are doing may be divinely guided. In our family and community we chant it to begin our meetings, to set the tone, and allow the Divine in each of us to flow through. If you’d like to do that, simply place the hands at the heart center, palms together and feel your energy at your heart as you chant it together, three times. We also chant it three times before driving a car (using the same posture as just stated) to center and balance one’s energy before driving. You can invite people in your car to join you as well to assist in grounding the energy and bringing consciousness to the act of driving. But know that it can be chanted at any time! There’s a lot of joy and peace in it, as it calls forth the Divine energy to flow through you.
In chanting this Mantra one has the opportunity to bow, Nameh, to the primal (Aad) Wisdom (Guru or Guray). Then one bows to that wisdom through the ages (Jugaad), and then to the true wisdom (Sat), and the great (Siri) divine (Dayvay) wisdom.
Nameh is an act of letting go of ones resistance to what the reality is. We are bowing to let go of the head, or the thoughts of the mind, and to come into the flow of the heart. When we physically bow, the head comes lower than the heart. This is what is happening when we chant Nameh! Remember, the head is good, thoughts are good, and logic and reason are good. It’s just that all of this is meant to serve the soul and flow of heart. When that relationship gets flipped and we are serving the thoughts, there is a lot of pain. When the head serves the heart, this is a beautiful life.
Guray, derived from Guru, is a state of wisdom that comes from sitting within the dark (Gu) and light (ru), being aware of both, and finding balance within the center of these two forces, from which conscious action can arise. Guru is an energetic that is available to us through the breath, or as Guru Nanak taught, the Pavan Guru, or Guru within the air. Guru can also manifest in teachings and a teacher. In the case of this Mantra we have the opportunity to tune in to the energy of the Guru, Shabad Guru, or Sound Current as Teacher, which is the living manifestation of all ten Gurus from the Sikh tradition. For people of all walks of life, all Gurus can be called upon with this Mantra as the original intention of Guru Nanak, the founder of the Sikh faith, was to recognize God in all. You can call upon Jesus, Mohammed, Buddha, or whoever or whatever you relate to as a wisdom source. As the Mantra states, we are bowing to the True Guru, that energetic of wisdom that truly works for you. It may be an identity that you connect with, or just the sound of the words. You will know you have found it, your True Guru, when your energy shifts to wisdom. In this way you become a Gurmukh, or one who faces towards Guru consciousness, or who lives by Guru consciousness, keeping the energy of Guru, or experience of wisdom at one’s focal point.
Translation of each word:
aad: Primal beginning
guray: Combination of gur from Guru, and ay: meaning: to this one
nameh: to bow, pay obeisance
jugaad: Ages, referring to the Yugas of Time (Satyug, Tretayug, Dwaparayug, Kaliyug)
satigur: True Guru
siree: Great, commonly used as an honorific
gurdayv: Divine Guru, Divine Teacher, God Almighty
You can listen to a recorded track of this mantra on Snatam Kaur’s Prem album , titled Aad Guray Nameh:
Over the next few weeks we will be focusing on the Aad Guray mantra during our Mantra and Meditation class. You are welcome to join us to learn more about this Mantra, practice meditations with it, and simply just enjoy it and sing!