A Kundalini Yogi Who Took a Long Time to Embrace Japji

 

 

I am Dharm Kaur from Toronto, Canada and a Kundalini Yoga practitioner since 1991.

I was born in post-war Poland and raised Catholic in a not-so-devoted family.  In my early teens, I learned that my parents had gotten married a few years after my younger brother and I were born; and that it was not a church wedding. In my early twenties, when my father was dying, his liver destroyed by heavy drinking, I learned I had an older sister, from a different mother. It was then I remembered and understood two dreadful words, “bastards” and “alimony”, a dark cloud of words with the power to spark devastating storms.

The hypocrisy of my family, the communist rule forbidding religion classes at school, and the young priests-to-be teaching it on church premises and… touching little girls the wrong way… that was enough for me to decide to leave Catholic church. I left my family too; I got married and was blessed with beautiful twins, Joseph and Zosia and in 1984, we escaped communist Poland, trusting that we would leave our traumatic past behind.

Seven years later, in Canada, I found Kundalini Yoga and the very first class shook me to the core. My armored body began to relax, hidden knots gently untying, opening invisible gates; tears began to flow… streams of tears slowly beginning to wash away the painful legacy of a poverty and addiction ridden past. The year was 1991.  Yoga classes at the ashram on Palmerston Blvd in Toronto were “magical.”

My true transformation took place a few years later in Espanola, New Mexico, at the Master’s Touch teachers training in the summer of 1997. I still remember the old Langar Hall; only one story high then; without air-conditioning; huge fans humming all day long. Yogi Bhajan was present every day, giving evening lectures, teaching kriyas and mantras, and subjecting us to awfully long, demanding meditations. Seventeen intense days.  An experience seriously challenging on many levels – the Master’s radiant body working on us energetically; helping us shed our old skin and let go of things that needed to leave; giving us a chance to become Kundalini Yoga teachers.

We had morning Sadhanas under a “big top” tent erected at Women’s Camp grounds at Shady Lane; and sometimes, at the warm, beautiful golden dome gurdwara… 4a.m. walk up the path in the cool air of the Amrit Vela… unforgettable.

In those days, we thought Japji was for Sikhs only and often joined Sadhana after. I also had my own reason – despite rejecting the church, I loved Jesus… With the passing years however, following my unfolding spiritual path, I understood there was no contradiction… the human heart is big enough to love Jesus, the Sikh Gurus and other saints and prophets.

I began listening to Japji; to the sound of its words, which I couldn’t pronounce or understand, but could feel how they were soothing my mind, refining it in a profound way. Yet I was still not ready to begin a regular practice of Japji recitation.

The turning point came in December 2015, at Winter Solstice.  I saw the poster for the Spirit Voyage 40-day Global Sadhana: Meditation of the Soul – An Experience of Japji, and my heart said YES!

I began receiving emails sent every day at 3:01 a.m. My heart was filled with Joy, and so was my Soul. I couldn’t wait to open another email, read a beautiful writing about the pauree for that day and practice recitation with Snatam. Every early morning, during and after recitation, I felt elevated; my heart was softening.  My mind felt deeply at peace. And then the magic truly began.

One morning I woke up feeling overwhelmed by guilt.  Not sure if it was a dream or reality… I felt guilty for not being in Poland before my mother’s death.  At that time, I lived in Canada, a single parent by then, working hard to make ends meet.  I visited nine times over the last three years of her life.  I helped, I prayed, I called almost every day…Yet, the guilt!

Ten years after my mother’s passing, I lit candles, wrapped myself in a warm blanket on that cold January morning and opened the Japji email – it was the Twentieth Pauree that day, about “…the mind stained by the residues of sin, which can only be cleansed by the love of the Name.” Tears started flowing, my heart bursting with gratitude. I could almost feel my mother’s presence, touching my shoulder: “… nothing matters… only Love remains.”

Another day, my friend with cancer asked for something yogic to help with fear.  I sent her a few versions of Chattr Chakkr Vartee. The next morning the Twenty-Ninth Pauree email arrived; a shield of protection. I printed the page from the Japji booklet for her and she loved the English translation.

Another time, thoughts about my ex-husband and his destructive tendencies interrupted my focus.  They came exactly when I was reciting the Thirty-Third Pauree. I began noticing the pattern of losing concentration, only to realize that intruding thoughts related exactly to the pauree they interrupted.

Since that Global Sadhana in 2016, Japji became my beloved prayer and a constant companion. Even on darkest days, its sacred Naad heals the mind, mends the broken heart and lifts the Soul.

Pictures of Jesus and Guru Ram Das stand side by side, candlelight reflecting in them; my one-tenth open eyes seem to see their rays touching me. I allow them to enter my heart and allow myself to feel guided, protected and loved.

It took eighteen years from when I first heard about Japji to the day when I truly heard it through my heart and Soul. The embrace was worth the wait.

Sat Nam.

Dharm Kaur (Ela Bielski) lives in Toronto with her beloved grown-up twins Joseph and Zosia. She’s been practicing Kundalini Yoga since 1991. She was fortunate to meet Siri Singh Sahib, Yogi Bhajan in 1997 while taking the Master’s Touch Teacher Training. Studying at the feet of the master transformed her life. She is now a certified KRI Level 1 & 2. Dharm’s calling has always been to help those less fortunate, and provide sacred teachings of Kundalini Yoga to those who need them the most. Teaching community classes for underprivileged populations in Toronto, volunteering with classes for homeless youth at Covenant House, and at the Jean Tweed Centre programs for women breaking away from addictions, deepened her compassion and enriched her heart. Dharm became a trainer of the Beyond Addiction – Yogic Path to Recovery program, and she’s been teaching in various locations in Canada and Europe.

 

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  1. Thank you all for your comments – they mean a lot to me.
    Apologies for not responding individually but my schedules been very tight these days – we recently completed Beyond Addiction 9-day immersion at Owen Sound, Canada; and now I’m preparing for my first International Trainers Forum at Espanola, New Mexico.
    Hope to meet some of you there or at Summer Solstice.
    Sat Nam.

  2. Linda JaapAmrit says:

    Ang Sang Wahe Guru ~ I love this story, I love Japji (my name is Jaap Amrita Kaur)
    I am very interested in teaching/taking the Recovery Program, I live in Northern New York state ~ do you do KYTT?

    • Dharm Kaur says:

      Thank you Paramjit,
      I’ve been assisting KYTT Toronto since 2014 and I am mentoring with her now as the intern trainer.
      Beyond Addiction – Yogic Path to Recovery is taught at a few locations in the States, mainly Florida and California – please check the website
      beyondaddiction.ca; we put out to the Universe for the program to happen in the New York area. I trust it will manifest next year.

  3. Thanks Dharm Kaur Jee for sharing your experience with Japji. It gives me hope and inspiration. You are truly making a difference with your volunteering.

  4. Dear Ela, I am speechless….
    Your lovely story came to me today… when I am struggling with my past, unsolved karma patterns…
    My roots are Polish as well.
    Our story is quite similar…
    I live in Holland now, I left Polen with broken heart, no money and no plan.
    I couldn’t live there anymore.
    Any risk was better than my reality by the time.
    It took me years of healing and searching for my truth.
    Kundalini yoga did helped me so much.
    For the first time in my life I felt self empowerment.
    Connection with all that is.
    I steel struggle with Japji… and Japij doesn’t give up on me…
    I am regularly receiving invitation to to start the practice…
    Today again… your story comes in my attention.
    Today I asked the universe to help me out.
    I still have mother in Poland.
    My father has died in February, I haven’t seen them both like 9 years, after his death my mom is nothing but trouble.
    I know, that this is the time for me to heal the past karma and definitely not to act from the ego… but I feel so lost.
    I don’t have the answers, so I asked …and you came with the answers.
    I will sech for the guidance in Japhi.
    I will quiet my mind and listen.
    Thank you
    Much love
    Siri Ranpreet ( Beata )

    • Dharm Kaur says:

      Thank you for sharing Beata.
      Sometimes our path seems bumpy and hard but I truly believe that it is all for a reason; the Divine chisels us knowing that the diamond will emerge.
      Japji is so soothing… There is a very simple app that you can download onto your phone; it’s called Japji for the Aquarian Age (dark blue icon with white rim and white letters) – Nirinjan’s version is easy to follow. Enjoy!!!

  5. Michelle H. says:

    Thank you for this. My journey to begin reciting Japji has been lengthy, too. I share your loyalty to Christ Jesus, yet I know the Guru is there for me as well. It’s good to know I’m not the only one who has struggled with these things :)

  6. Sandra Thornton says:

    Thank you for sharing your life story. I’m sure this would help many from all backgrounds and history.
    I have enjoyed some classes with you and as a Hatha trained practitioner I’m yearning to practice Kundalini yoga as well. Thank you again.

  7. Thank you for sharing your story with Japji Sahib, Dharm Kaur! My name is Dharmatma Kaur, and I too have a story like this one. In brief, I became a KRI Level I teacher in 2001, attended four Summer Solstice events in Espanola. I did not have a personal practice that included Japji, even when other teachers in my small community did the practice as part of our community Aquarian Sadhana times. In 2015 my family attended Winter Solstice with me, and I joined Snatam’s 40 Day Global Sadhana after the Winter Solstice. Those 40 days brought a complete immersion into the awakening to the meanings of the Paurees in my life, a period of healing from trauma. What a gift! Thank you to Snatam Kaur for that Global Sadhana. I know there is still so much more learning to come from these practices and I’m overjoyed to continue to hold a container for others to discover their power in their own lives. Sat Nam Wahe Guru!

  8. Taran Simran Kaur says:

    Sat Nam! Your story very closely resonated with me. Though mine is less dramatic, I too started my life in the Catholic faith and found my heart to be big enough to love Jesus, the Sikh Gurus and other saints and prophets. And, I too, feel drawn to the Japji, listening each day during my long commute (and I’m slowly learning the words in the strange but beautiful language). Many blessings to you sister. ♥️✨

  9. Inderpaul Singh Chandhoke says:

    Nice to hear about you after such long tome. Love to attend your class one of these days?
    Looking forward …

  10. How beautiful! This share is a valuable treasure to my soul. My favorite line:

    With the passing years however, following my unfolding spiritual path, I understood there was no contradiction… the human heart is big enough to love Jesus, the Sikh Gurus and other saints and prophets.

    SatNam and Wahe Guru❤

    • Ajeet Singh Mac says:

      Divine bliss is the state of penetration of mind by the electron size soul but is possible with the grace of GURU . JapJi Sahib is the key if we can do it 10 times during the ambrosial hours after taking bath & by sitting in sukhhaasan posture………SatNam & Waheguru

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