When the heart is so locked up that healing cannot penetrate, there is a way through. There is a mantra that can break down the walls -- the Miracle Mantra, Dhan Dhan Ram Das Guru.
Today, I spoke to MKY's spiritual sister Akal Bani Kaur (Sholeen) about her profound self-healing experience with this mantra.When Akal Bani (who is now a Kundalini Yoga teacher) first started practicing Kundalini Yoga, she would chant mantras in class and, at her teacher's suggestion, try 40 day practices with some. But she didn't keep up with any and never reached 40 days. Then one day in class, she heard Dhan Dhan Ram Das Guru playing in the background. Something about it caught her; she asked her teacher for the details and then began a 40 day experience that, among other things, surprised her.
As she chanted Dhan Dhan Ram Das Guru, she was overcome with tears. "I've always thought of myself as a happy person, an optimistic person." Akal Bani said. "I didn't know I had so many tears." She had committed to chanting 31 minutes a day but would often keep going for longer until the tears had moved through.
After weeks and weeks of tears, something else surprised her. Her heart opened. "I didn't even remember that after my first boyfriend broke my heart, I had like encased my heart in metal." As she chanted, the metaphorical metal around her heart melted.
After 40 days of daily chanting of Dhan Dhan Ram Das Guru, Akal Bani opted to continue beyond the 40 days to over six months. She stopped counting. The heart opening led to a new compassion, and she was able to turn that compassion to herself. She was able to finally really look at herself, really see herself and love herself. "The miracle of the mantra," she said, "is self-love."
Dhan Dhan Ram Das Guru is a longer mantra, also known as a shabd or Sikh prayer, that honors Guru Ram Das, the fourth Sikh Guru in the lineage. Guru Ram Das represented miracles, humility, and service. In the Kundalini Yoga tradition, we chant this mantra in the 11 days leading up to Guru Ram Das's birthday, which is celebrated on October 9.
If you like, you can see the mantra and its translation below, as well as a link to a playlist of some of the most beautiful versions of it that I know.
Dhan dhan raam daas gur jin siri-aa tinai savaari-aa
Pooree hoee karaamaat aap sirajanhaarai dhaari-aa
Sikhee atai sangatee paarbrahm kar namasakaari-aa
Atal athaa-o atol too tayraa ant na paaraavaari-aa
Jinee too sayvi-aa bhaa-o kar say tudh paar utaari-aa
Lab lobh kaam krodh mo maar kadhay tudh saparvaari-aa
Dhan so tayraa thaan hai sach tayraa paisakaari-aa
Naanak too lehanaa toohai gur amar too veechaari-aa
Gur dithaa taa man saadhaari-aa
Blessed, blessed is Guru Ram Das; the One who created You has also exalted You.
Perfect is Your miracle; the Creator has installed You on a throne.
Sikhs as well as all Conscious people recognize You because you manifest the Creator.
You are unchanging, unfathomable and immeasurable; You have no end or limitation.
You are unchanging, unfathomable and immeasurable;
Those who serve You with love are carried across the sea of existence.
The five obstacles of lust, anger, greed, pride and attachment:
You have beaten them and driven them out.
Blessed is Your realm, and True is Your magnificent glory.
You are Nanak, You are Angad, and You are Amar Daas;
When I recognize You, my soul is comforted.
Playlist: Link to it here on iTunes.
Aquarian Sadhana is a practice which was given to us by the Master of Kundalini Yoga, Yogi Bhajan in 1992. He believed that we needed this practice in order to keep up with these times -- fast-paced, confusing, stress-filled times -- and live our lives as victories.
In short, it is a specific two and a half hour practice during what's called the amrit vela, or the ambrosial hours 3:30-7am. (At MKY, we make it a little more doable by starting at 5 or 5:30am.) Here's how the practice breaks down:
Yogi Bhajan said, "The greatest reward of doing sadhana is that the person becomes incapable of being defeated. Sadhana is a self-victory, and it is a victory of time and space. Getting up is a victory over time, and doing it is a victory over space."
If you are learning about Aquarian Sadhana for the first time, you may find some of its aspects extreme or strange. I know how you feel. I felt the same when I first learned of it and started practicing it.
I was first introduced to this practice in Teacher Training, and it was a requirement. Truth be told, I didn't have a great attitude about this requirement. I had all kinds of internal complaints about it.
If you want to learn more about Aquarian Sadhana, I recommend the book Original Light: the Morning Practice of Kundalini Yoga by beloved devotional artist and Kundalini Yoga teacher Snatam Kaur. She goes into depth and unpacks each aspect of the practice based on her lifetime of experience, growing up in a Kundalini Yoga community and studying directly with Yogi Bhajan. There are so many beautiful nuggets to take from this book, but here is one of my favorites: "It is through a daily spiritual practice that is consistent, like the heartbeat, that we change the psyche to know -- on an elemental, psychic, physical, chemical, and spiritual level -- that we are in fact putting the soul first."
I encourage you to read this book or any other about this beautiful gift from Yogi Bhajan, Aquarian Sadhana. But more so, I encourage you to experience it. Join us or find a sadhana near you. Sat Nam.
Co-owner and Instructor of Montclair Kundalini Yoga, Cate Baily (Arvind Dev Kaur) is ever grateful to share these teachings. Full bio here.