By GuruPrem Singh Khalsa
I first heard the Buddhist mantra Nam Myoho Renge Kyo, when I was 17 years old. The year was 1971. I was told if I chanted this mantra often, with good pronunciation and proper devotion, fortune would come to me. I used to chant it hoping I might at least find some unexpected money, but that never happened.
I wanted money to buy things to 'delight' in, as I had little 'light in,' so I needed things to be 'de-lighted' by. Money didn’t appear, so I stopped chanting. Honestly, my heart really wasn’t in it and I had doubts.
A few years later another friend taught me to chant Sat Nam to help clear away bad karmas. This I did as well, but to no noticeable effect. By the time I was twenty-one, I had been exposed to many different mantras. However, my heart wasn’t in any of them. Something was missing from my admittedly limited practice. I was chanting mantras for self-serving purposes, hoping they would magically manifest my desires. I also had a misinformed understanding that I needed to chant perfectly, to wake up God, so he could better serve my interests.
Little did I know that I was the one that needed waking up! I was full of doubt, but more than doubt, I lacked faith. I lacked faith in the effectiveness of chanting a mantra. I lacked faith in the efficacy or the power of mantra. And to top it off, I could not get my mind and body to stay still and focused, even for a few minutes. The benefits of chanting mantras would require patience and a regular practice in order for me to have a successful experience.
A mantra is a projection of the mind (Man=mind, Trang=wave/projection) to divinity. It is a sound, a form of energy that has structure, power and a definite predictable effect on the mind, chakras and psyche. The vibration of a mantra brings to you the frequency at which you are vibrating.
"Every element of the Universe is in a constant state of vibration manifested to us as light, sound and energy. The human senses perceive only a fraction of the infinite range of vibration, so it is difficult to comprehend that the Word mentioned in the Bible is actually the totality of vibration that underlies and sustains all creation.
“A person can tune his or her own consciousness into the awareness of that totality with the use of a mantra. By vibrating in rhythm with the breath to a particular sound that is proportional to the creative sound, or sound current, one can expand one's sensitivity to the entire spectrum of vibration. It is similar to striking a note on a stringed instrument. In other words, as you vibrate, the Universe vibrates with you."
It is said that by chanting God’s name even one time, you can awaken to truth. That would be a rare and blessed individual indeed. For the rest of us, I have found that it helps tremendously to have some facts, faith and fortitude! Facts of what the mantra means and what it does, faith in the possibility of the experience, and the fortitude to keep up and practice.
There are many powerful mantras and words. Sat Nam is a Bij Mantra (a Seed mantra). It means True Name, or Truth is my identity. Now, when I hear the mantra Sat Nam, I have an understanding of its meaning, a deep faith that Truth is my Identity, and I am devoted to having the awakened experience of this fact, and though I am trying to wake up, it is by the grace of God that I get to have that experience, so I must practice with patience.
We have all experienced darkness and the shadow hearts that manifest: the dark heart, cold, cruel, mean, broken, cheatin’ hearts, etc. These darken our mind, block our inner light and cloud our consciousness. But remember, without darkness, how can we see the light?
Faith needs devotion and devotion strengthens faith. Additionally, devotion must be directed towards the embodiment of virtue. In Japji Sahib, Guru Nanak states: “There can be no true devotion without inner virtue.” The embodiment of virtue is one of the great purposes of our human experience.
Sat Nam can be translated as, ‘My Heart is True,’ and a True heart gives birth to virtues such as: kind heart, warm heart, brave heart, light heart, etc. I have faith that the seed mantra Sat Nam can be planted in the fertile soil of my heart, where it can grow into a body of virtue, with proper devotion and a bit of technique.
By accepting the source, Guru Nanak, who put the Guru’s seal on the mantra Sat Nam, we begin to act in faith. Faith must not be blind; it must come from the facts about the mantra itself. If you have faith in the facts then all that remains is the fortitude that you must bring to the practice. So what are the facts of Sat Nam?
Why not just affirm it in English? Isn’t that enough? No, the technical understanding doesn’t carry a potent enough vibration. Part of the vibration of Sat Nam is ‘Ahh.’ Chanting this sound resonates in the chest area. Chanting ‘Ahh’ alone can bring calmness to you and is pleasant but that is not the complete experience, if the goal is deep listening, or Sunia.
The ‘S’ sound of Sat, starts below the navel, moving towards the heart, then the ‘Ahh’ sound vibrates there and the ‘T’ sound finishes with the tip of the tongue hitting the inside of the front teeth and the upper pallet which brings a stimulation to the master glands. The nectar of chanting Nam brings us to our whole hearted truthful identity. It is helpful to chant the mantra correctly so the sound can properly resonate and vibrate in our ‘Sat Nam.’
I no longer look for the truth or for God. The real and factual truth is: I am alive. The purpose of life is to identify that we are alive. Take Nam to heart, identify that you are alive by living truthfully, Sat. Truth is high but higher still is truthful living!
One of the more powerful ways of chanting Sat Nam is by practicing Sat Kriya! Here is a video showing how to do Sat Kriya correctly.
Guru Prem Singh Khalsa was named 'Posture Master' by Yogi Bhajan. He is a Master Yogi and he has been practicing and teaching Yoga for over 30 years. He is certified K.R.I. Kundalini Yoga teacher trainer and an advanced Kundalini and Ashtanga Yoga practitioner. An expert on body awareness in relation to personal growth, he travels all over the world teaching the tools and rules of Divine Alignment and having your Heart Rule.
Guru Prem’s teaching schedule is on the website www.divinealignment.com. You can purchase Guru Prem Singh Khalsa’s books, “The Heart Rules”, “Divine Alignment”, and “Everyday Devotion”, and his prolific CD collection on his website and on www.amazon.com www.spiritvoyage.com and iTunes: Simran Kaur Khalsa and Guru Prem Singh Khalsa or http://simran-kaur-khalsa.bandcamp.com/