Photograph: Grayson // Barcelona, Spain // Light of the Beloved Tour
Watch Snatam perform live at the 2019 Grammys Awards Premier Ceremony, February 10 from 12:30p-3:30p at Grammys.com
The word mantra comes from a very beautiful experience; that of the sound waves moving the mind. Tra comes from tarang, which is the wave of sound. Man is the mind. When we chant sacred mantras, we are creating a sound wave that the mind feels safe to embark upon. This sound wave takes us out of our limited individual mind into our Infinite universal mind. We can see and experience beyond our limitations and the circumstance of the day into the greater story. There are many powerful mantras that work from many sacred traditions. There is one particular mantra from the Kundalini Yoga and Sikh tradition that has given me the capacity to self-elevate.
Har Har Har Har Gobinday
Har Har Har Har Mukanday
Har Har Har Har Udaaray
The One Who Uplifts
Har Har Har Har Apaaray
Carrying Through all
Har Har Har Har Haree-ang
Har Har Har Har Karee-ang
Har Har Har Har Nirnaamay
Har Har Har Har Akaamay
I remember chanting this mantra with my mother, Prabhu Nam Kaur, in the presence of my spiritual teacher Yogi Bhajan as a teenager. You can watch the video here, if you would like. It’s very fun.
Then, as a young adult, I got together with a group of my friends, and we recorded it in Eugene, Oregon. We had a guitar, a tabla, a drum, and a bunch of voices. Listen here.
Now, once again, it has come back into my life. For our Thanksgiving celebration in 2016, I made up a tune, and we sang it together as a community, just before having our feast. We seemed to go to heaven with its energy. I loved it so much, that a few months later, I decided to put that same song on my new album, Beloved.
The common thread throughout my experience with this mantra is that it just rocks, and throughout the years, all of the tunes that I have created have been super fun.
Essentially, this mantra is the Guru Gaitri mantra with four recitations of Har in front of each word.
In the Guru Gaitri mantra, there are eight words, each of which celebrates a different aspect of God. Some of these aspects of God are comforting and nourishing, while others are challenging to relate to, as life is in itself. By pulsating four times with har before each word, which is called the Shakti Yog Mantra, we are given the extra energy to face the challenge of each of these eight aspects and find healing and victory. As Yogi Bhajan said,
“These are the eight facets of God which you have to deal with whether you like or not.”(1)
Let’s experience each word. I invite you to take a moment and chant each word, and I will guide you into a series of sensations to help you relate to the meaning.
God is taking care of us; the sustainer. Feel all of the ways that you are sustained.
God liberates us. Feel yourself being released from the weight of the world. You are Spirit first, free to live in your truth.
God uplifts. Feel God coming into relation with your deepest troubles. Feel yourself being embraced by God and being healed as you are lifted up and out of each and every trouble.
God carries us. Feel how the hand of God is carrying you, has been, and will always carry you. You simply have to come back to our breath to realize it. Feel completely supported, held, and loved.
God destroys. Let’s say, for example, that everything is falling apart in your life, and you are being torn apart by that experience. This is the energy of haree-ang. When we come into alignment with our Soul, through the power of breath and practice, we begin to see that what’s being destroyed is actually not in alignment with our Soul’s destiny. Instead of a destruction that we resist, it becomes a destruction that allows us to shed our old ways and start fresh. Really, in each moment, as sure as we exhale, there is an elemental destruction occurring in the universe.
God creates. As soon as something is destroyed, by law of the universe, another thing is created. New blessings come into our lives constantly. However, new challenges get created too. That part we like to forget. But, it is the natural way of things. Challenge is there to make us grow. Either we face the challenge and grow, or we are paralyzed by it. Neither the challenge or the soul likes paralysis. Challenge is there, like a wave for you to ride and be victorious, not for you to freeze up. Once you are victorious, another challenge comes, another creation of karee-ang.
God is without Name. So, here we are as human beings with our minds, trying to define and name everything. That is the power and the job of the mind. It’s good. We need names to anchor into our knowledge and awareness. God also has many names from many traditions, and when we chant those names, we are uplifted. However, here in this mantra, we are going to let go of all of that and go into the unknown. Like a baby being born who does not have a language, and like an old man who breathes his last breath wordlessly, we are brought back into the essential nature of existence. We are asked to let go of our knowledge and just be in the flow of Spirit. Try it out for a moment.
God is beyond desire. When I meditated on this word, it gave me the feeling that God is by Himself, or Herself. A few days later, that was verified, as I read a lecture from Yogi Bhajan where he gave this definition as “Akaamay; it is by itself.”(1)
I meditated on that a little, and it felt like I had to let God go. Like a lover, who loves too much, to the point of going crazy, I had to let God go. I had to take the rejection that God is without desire for me or anything for that matter, and then be okay with it. Once I did this in my meditation, God embraced me, because God wanted a strong, centered, okay-with-being-rejected devotee.
When you chant this mantra, I invite you to chant from the navel point with each stroke of Har. It has the capacity to blast through super heavy energy and bring so much joy when the navel is engaged. Yogi Bhajan perhaps says it best:
“Where is the harmony point of yours? Your navel point. It must move to move your whole life.” – Yogi Bhajan(2)
Yogi Bhajan also teaches about the importance of chanting with the tongue for this mantra, and all sacred mantras.
There are two caves, or guphas, within this human existence. One is called the “bheej gupha,” which means seed cave, and the other is called the “gi-aan gupha,” or knowledge cafe. The bheej gupha is within the woman’s yoni, or vaginal opening. When the lingam, or male organ, enters, there is the possibility of the seed of life getting planted. The other kind of cave, the gi-aan gupha, is within the mouth. The yogis liken the tongue to the male organ, as it plants knowledge with its tapping on the roof of the mouth, through the recitation of sacred mantras. Consciousness is given life! Let’s find out what makes this all possible.
This area where the tongue touches the roof of the mouth is incredibly important in the yogic experience. The tongue is the only area in the entire human being where the Ida, Pingala, and Shushmana come together. These are three vital energy channels.
The Ida is the cooling moon energy channel running from the left nostril to the base of the spine. The Pingala is the warming sun energy channel that runs from the right nostril down to the base of the spine. The Shushmana is the central channel running through the center of the spine, with the Ida going down the spine on the left side and the Pingala going down the right side.
In a balanced state, the Shushmana is totally clear with the Ida and Pingala in harmony. When the Shushmana is clear, the Kundalini energy can rise up the spine to awaken consciousness. The fact that they have a place where they can meet is very significant, and it is for this reason that the yogis say to chant with the tongue. Yogi Bhajan relays it to us this way,
“All right and if you chant with it all this what we are chanting, it will create that unison that intercourse, that merger and you shall be happy, you shall be.” – Yogi Bhajan(1)
Now of course, everybody chants with their tongue. We all use our tongues. The power and effect that the yogis speak of comes when we chant with our tongue in awareness to what we are doing, and we have the sacred mantras to recite, to tap the codes of the ancient ones into our beings so that we may experience liberation.
This mantra is great for bringing in prosperity consciousness.
“This mantra fixes the mind to prosperity and power. It contains the eight facets of Self. ‘Har’ is the original force of Creativity. The four repetitions of ‘har’ give power to all aspects and provide the power to break down the barriers of the past. It converts fear into the determination to use and expand the reserve energy of the navel point. It invokes guidance and sustenance; all powers come to serve your true purpose.” – Yogi Bhajan(3)
There are a number of wonderful prosperity meditations utilizing this mantra that are outlined in Success and the Spirit, a collection of lectures and meditations from the teachings of Yogi Bhajan.
1. Yogi Bhajan as found on Yogi Bhajan Library of Teachings, 1/14/1989
2. Yogi Bhajan as found on Yogi Bhajan Library of Teachings, 1/3/1989
3. Yogi Bhajan, The Aquarian Teacher, (Santa Cruz, NM: Kundalini Research Institute, 2005), pg 85-87
Note from Snatam:
I love to look at Beloved as a sound medicine tool kit, with each track having a specific healing effect. Please use this list as a quick reference to help navigate which track will be helpful for you at this time.
Amul – Priceless – To Feel the Priceless Love of the Divine
Gopaal – To Center the Self
Water of Your Love – To Tune in to the Sacredness of Water
Har Uplift – To Restore Equilibrium
Darashan Maago – Reestablishing Self-Esteem and Honor
Pooran Jot – Pure Light – To Access Your Authentic Light
Har Har Har Har Gobinday – The Power to Self Elevate to Your Highest Destiny
Sat Naaraa-iṉ – To Bring Inner Peace and Blessings