“The act of singing truly heals us all,” Gurmukh writes in her book The 8 Human Talents. There is something about singing that makes letting go of the external world and feeling free a little easier. This is why I’m so grateful that singing is a part of Kundalini Yoga. I love that it is one of the tools we use to tune out distractions and to connect to the deepest part of ourselves.
Maybe I’m so drawn to it because I grew up singing. At home, we played 45s of Bob Seger, the Beattles, and Motown (my parent’s music) and sang without embarrassment. On long car rides, we ran through our whole repertoire. Often my younger brother and I were totally innocent to the meaning of the lyrics and got the words wrong. We belted out Seger’s “fire down below” as “fire down your nose.” These are such happy memories!
With devotional and mantra music, you get that same happy, carefree feeling plus a good dose of elevation. Ancient, powerful sounds and uplifting English lyrics can replace the negative thinking it’s so easy to get stuck in. So, I’ve compiled here my top 10 sing-along Kundalini songs. Obviously, this is a totally subjective list. I was going for songs I love and that I can imagine being sung around a campfire or in the wayback of a Volare station wagon.
“Beautiful Day,”Aykanna, Livelight: This is true of all the songs on this list, but especially this one: it’s an instant good-mood inducer. I like to sing this with my kids while they’re getting ready for school. I start the lines and let them complete: Me: “Today must be….” Kid: “… the most beautiful day I ever lived.” Me: “Waves are coming in…” Kid: “…but I am sitting still.” Sometimes they’re very tired and their responses are groggy (and pretty funny).
“Beautiful Am I,” Aykanna, Livelight: This song is inspired by the English mantra “Beautiful Am I, Bountiful Am I, Blissful Am I.” It’s an affirmation for self-esteem and confidence given by Yogi Bhajan. If I teach a class that’s all women, I try to make sure to play this one because it’s a great antidote to society and the media’s messages to women.
“A Thousand Suns,” GuruGanesha Band, A Thousand Suns. Such a moving song, “A Thousand Suns” blends English lyrics with one of my favorite Gurmukhi mantras, Ang Sang Wahe Guru. I love taking in the bold and inspiring meaning of it: the Infinite wisdom vibrates in every cell of my being. My favorite English lines are: “May the light of a thousand suns shine through. Live the life of grace that you were meant to.” I can’t get enough of this song! It’s soaring in parts and mellow in others.
“People of Love,” Snatam Kaur, Celebrate Peace. The words of this song “We are the people, the people of love/Let us people love today” were written by Yogi Bhajan, as an affirmation and an urging to live from a place of love. All of Snatam’s music is heart-breakingly gorgeous and of such pure intention, but this one (like the next one on this list and all of her children’s music) is especially sing-able for those of us who don’t hang out comfortably in the higher octaves.
“Wahe Guru Wahe Jio,” Snatam Kaur, Meditations for Transformation: Merge & Flow: A traditional call and response chant, this is a great way to experience the mantra of ectasy, Wahe Guru, Wahe Jio: Great is the Infinite Wisdom, Great is the experience of that in my soul.
“Ong Namo/Sat Kartar,” Sat Kartar, Flow: Flow was the first Kundalini album I bought, so it’s extra special to me. “Ong Namo/Sat Kartar” is a song about authenticity and living from the heart. This song’s English lyrics continue to speak to me after over a decade of listening: “Flow from your heart. Say what is in your heart to say.” The Gurmukhi mantras deepen this message. The artist includes the Adi Mantra: Ong Namo Guru Dev Namo, I call on the teacher within, and the mantra that is her spiritual name, Sat Kartar, which seems untranslatable but means something along the lines of: the heart in action or love manifested.
“Hallelujah,” Jai-Jagdeesh, Heaven & Earth: This is Jai Jagdeesh’s cover of Leonard Cohen’s famous song, and it’s a doozy. It may be less of a swaying by the camp-fire song and more of a crying in the shower experience. Either way, you gotta sing-along with this one. So, so, beautifully longing and soul-awakening!!!!!
Ong Namo Guru Dayva, Jai Jagdeesh, I Am Thine: This upbeat song offers the complete version of the Adi Mantra: Ong Namo Guru Dev Namo, Guru Dev Namo, Guru Dayva. This is the mantra and the song to sing when you lack faith in your own ability to keep up with your practice.
“Love, Serve, Remember,” Harnam Singh, A Fearless Heart: Actually, every song on A Fearless Heart is great sing-along material. But if I had to narrow it down to one, I’d pick this one because it really invites contemplation. The title refers to Yogananda’s answer to the question “Why are we here?”
“Siri Mantra,” Sarah Calvert, Love and Light: I’m new to this artist and so glad to have discovered her. Her rendition of the Siri Mantra, the mantra of healing, is mellow and soulful. It’s a totally fresh take on the beautiful Gurmukhi words Ra Ma Da Sa Sa Say So Hung: The sun, the moon, the earth, Infinity… all of that, is within me.
I’m curious. What are your favorite sing-along Kundalini Songs? What feels glaringly absent from this list? Won’t this be a fun conversation?