Japji brings me home. In Japji “home” is a very poetic way of referring to the state of being one with the soul and one with God. In fact, I believe my life’s purpose is encapsulated in the last two lines of Japji:
jinee nam dhi-aa-i-aa/ga-ay maskat ghaal
naanak tay mukh ujlay/kaytee chhutee naal
[Those who deeply know who they are/and have worked hard, can rejoice and go Home.
Oh Nanak! Their faces shine with joy/and they take many others along.]
And that is what I have dedicated my life to: knowing God and striving to align myself with the Creator’s will. I yearn for this union and reciting Japji every day of my life is the sacred practice which establishes and strengthens this connection.
My highest ideal is not only to live my life aligned with the divine, but to help others know and experience the joy of this connection. I do that certainly through teaching Kundalini yoga…but I am also a “householder.” I work for one of the largest corporations in the U.S., in a more-than full time job. I am also a wife and mother to three young boys. THAT is my real practice. How do I maintain and share this divine alignment on the job and in the family when my colleagues and loved ones seem to delight in pushing my buttons and provoking my sub-conscious at every turn?
I start the day by fortifying; building the muscle of my consciousness by reciting Japji. For some people, the words of the shabd flow easily. I was not one of those people. I began Japji as a daily sadhana in November 2009, during teacher training in India. I had to read along on a photocopied version each day—looking up from the text only for the ever-catchy “kath kath kathee kotee kot kot” line (in addition to the Mool Mantra in the beginning and Salok at the end). I relied on my Nitnem book for months after teacher training. However, one day, about five months after I began, I was able to close my eyes, look up to the third eye point and recite along with the recording. What a gift.
And Japji is the gift that keeps on giving. Throughout the day, I discover that the vibration of the shabd runs like a soothing undercurrent in my heart. I often find myself breathily whispering the 19th pauree with its joyful rhythm and punchy staccatos, “Akhree naam akhree saalaah; akhree gi-aan geet gun gaah/Akhree likhan bolan baan; akhraa sir sanjog vakhaan.” And even if I am in the middle of analyzing the latest financial market gyrations, I am comforted by the akhra or sacred syllables of primal sound. I am reminded of the meaning of that pauree: that inspiration and revelation are coming my way and I am a conduit for universal knowledge. It makes me smile, and remembering my divinity makes it easier to deal with the day-to-day stresses of my earth-plane job and my many roles.
It is cool to make note of whatever pauree is vibrating within me at any given point of the day. They’re never far away. And I thank the Guru for the gift of this vibration that balances all aspects of myself and activates my soul. I am striving for the day when kindness and compassion will be my response in all circumstances—even the most impossible (like when my kids say, “Just one more minute!” for the ump-tee-umth time at bedtime). I know that Japji will be both my armor and my support as I aim for that mastery.