This past weekend, Mr J and I signed up on a local event organizing website to meet new people and try new activities in our city.
The first event we signed up for was Kundalini Yoga chants and sacred songs led by a special guest guru, Kirpal, from Paris. The event was a part of a weekend retreat for couples who wanted to experience spirituality, sexuality, and love and was organized by the owners of a local yoga studio.
Mr J and I grabbed our yoga mats and dressed in our most comfortable yoga garb assuming we would chant a litte and get our stretch on. Turns out, we were greatly mistaken.
We found our way along the winding roads that made their way up the mountain and followed other participants to a small building on a local community center compound. Unsure of where we were going and what we were doing, we walked through snowy sludge and made our way into the building with a small paper sign with the word “Yoga” written on it.
As we walked in, we were greeted by a thin woman, whose head was wrapped in a turban, and was joined by three others – two men and a woman. Their heads were all wrapped the same, all of them wearing yogi outfits similar to those worn in India.
We were asked to take off our shoes and deposit our belongings on the floor. Our host, Valerie, or Varanjeet as she preferred to be called, invited us in, introduced us to her partner, Prem Bhagat, and offered a “Yogi” tea.
Kirpal, a tall blue-eyed man with a long, curly beard, made his way to the guests. He turned to me and asked me why I was here. I told him that I’ve been doing yoga for years and I’m interested in trying something new. He laughed and said that we wouldn’t be doing any yoga tonight, because, as he put it, we would be searching for the place between the fat and the cream by singing sacred chants. This is when the other guests drew in closer to our conversation with intrigue, because I’m sure everyone who signed up on the website thought we’d be doing some actual yoga. As we soon learned from Kirpal, this was not the case. What we would be doing, according to him and our hosts, was changing our vibration – our consciousness of reality, if you will – through song.
Interesting, I thought and allowed myself to listen further. A woman standing amongst us asked Kirpal what the significance of chanting was. Kirpal said that chanting is the act of expressing the word and as it is written in the Christian Bible, God’s Word is life, as God spoke and we came into existence. Kirpal continued that in order to create what is in the physical, we take our ideas and thoughts and make them conscious through word. We create vibrations and patterns through our thoughts and words and thus create the reality that we experience. The goal of sacred chants is to align ourselves with God, the highest vibrations possible to create the highest, purest versions of ourselves and in speaking chants, often for hours in the morning and evening, we recreate habits, regenerate our subconscious and conscious thoughts, and manifest pure love just as Jesus Christ and the Buddha.
What a beautiful concept, I thought to myself. Automatically, I thought of my mom, Marissa, who always says, “You have the power of life and death with that mouth of yours. Be careful what you say.” Of course, which explains why I almost impulsively say, “Don’t curse yourself!” to my friends who say negative things for example, “Oh, knowing this car, I’ll get into an accident.”
Before we knew it, we were all seated in a circle, Kirpal in front of an accordion piano and his wife seated next to him with an acoustic guitar. Kirpal explained the purpose of chanting, the purposes of the various durations of chanting, and why Kundalini yogis and gurus can go up to two and a half hours chanting their spiritual songs each morning and night.
Kirpal explained that the correct pronunciation of these sacred texts in conjunction with mindful breathing are designed to stimulate the 84 meridian points and parts of the body and brain.These points affect the glandular system which affects our moods, emotions, and behaviors. Kirpal explained that chanting for as little as three minutes affects the body’s electromagnetic field and circulation of the body’s blod flow, where continuing to increased numbers of time can change brain patterns, magnetic fields, glandular system performance. After 22 minutes, it is believed that the three minds balance themselves in harmony and the subconscious begins to clear. After an hour, the frontal lobe is stimulated along with its pituitary and pineal glands, the goal is to work through the lower, physical and emotional, aspects into the Divine. After two and a half hours, the psyche is transformed in relation to its magnetic field and the subconscious mind is within the pattern of the universal mind. This chanting, if continued anywhere from 40 to 1,000 days, changes our habits and perceptions and permits us to master our psyches.
With this explanation, we began our two and a half hour session with the following chant: “Ong Namo Guru Dev Namo” which means, “Infinite Creative energy in manifestation and activity.”
The participants played instruments, drums, and sang. Together, the voices combined into a melodic and at time, hypnotic, harmony. Singing praises to God for His infinite and creative nature, focusing on that and releasing all the other thoughts about my life and day was cleansing. It’s much like how in church, the service begins through singing into to focus on the message.
A sample of what we sang was the following chant:
GOBINDE, MUKUNDE, UDARE, APARE, HARING, KARING, NIRNAME, AKAME it means, “Sustainer, liberator, enlightener, infinite, destroyer, creator, nameless, desireless”. This is the Guru Gaitri Mantra which creates stability to the brain’s hemispheres and helps the “Heart Center” to develop compassion and patience. This sing works to unite the singer with God, the Infinite.
After our session, Kirpal explained that this two and a half hours of chanting each morning and night is usually done by yogis who have devoted their lives to their enlightenment with God. While not everyone has the time to spend five hours a day chanting plus however many hours in meditation and in yogi practice, he said a little bit of chanting and mindful breathing each morning and night goes a long way to align our intentions with our actions and thus create the type of reality we truly desire to experience.
It just makes me think about how much time we spend mindlessly ranting hurtful things about ourselves and others. How, through our words, we curse ourselves with negative circumstances and relationships. We talk, talk, talk, but do we have anything constructive – I mean, literally, constructive, to say about our lives? Are our words aligned with God’s purity? If our thoughts, perceptions, and words build our reality, then is what we are building a metaphorical mansion of God’s glory or a shack of needless pain and suffering which we call our daily lives?
Kirpal said that there was a yogi he met that took the vow to never utter a word during his life. He said this man took this vow so that he would never utter an impure and hurtful word. What a vow to take! Perhaps, we could make a vow to stay silent when we’re frustrated or simply choose our words to construct a better reality and future?
Needless to say, I walked into that room that night looking for some relaxation yoga. What I left with was a profound life lesson on creating our reality and how to trade our negative thoughts and words for the more positive and constructive kind.
As we sang during the final chant of our session together, I bid to you:
“May the long time sun shine upon you, all love surround you, and the pure light within you, Guide your way on. Guide your way on, guide your way on, Sat Nam.”