Chanting Akaal at the Time of Death

Originally compiled years ago by Guru Tera Kaur

There is a beautiful tradition in the 3HO/ Sikh Dharma communities that is done when someone dies. Whether it is a beloved friend or relative, or someone we never knew, this tradition assists the departing soul in its journey home, as well as giving comfort to those left behind.

At the time of death we chant Akaal three times. Akaal means ‘Undying’ and refers to the soul that is being released. This sound current helps to guide the soul to pass out of this worldly realm and into the Akaal Purakh, the Undying Being.

“The chanting of Akaal creates a vibratory frequency that assists the departing soul on its journey through the ethers to final liberation.” -Shakti Parwha Kaur

Yogi Bhajan asked the students at one of his classes to chant Akaal for someone who had passed. Here are his words:

“You have chanted Akaal which you chant three times with the breath of life for the soul. It gives absolute freedom, eternal peace, and eternal rest.

“And it was your faith and belief and your prayer as a power of the word and the power of the breath of life you put behind it, without asking, ‘For whom?  Who? Why? What happened? Give us the explanation.’ In the goodness of your heart you know this will work and when you are asked, you volunteer. You can do it for a king, you can do it for a beggar, but all you know is that the soul of the person is free. That is your longing. That is your Infinite longing.

“You want to go to the Infinite Infinity and rest; to the calmest self. And that passion is so calculating that even Almighty God who created you has no defense against it. And you all participated with love and affection and you all straightened up and all eyes closed and we all chanted Akaal three times.

“As the soul came and traveled through time and space and dropped the body to go unto Infinity, grant the soul the passage unto Thee, to peace, tranquility and everlasting rest.

Guru says, ‘Oh the fortunate one, listen to the Infinite which has no boundary.’

That’s why we have chanted Akaal—it breaks the boundaries, it breaks bondage, it frees us to reach the One who brought us here.”

–Yogi Bhajan, 5/13/96

Q & A


Please I need your answer to my question: If someone left the body a few days or years ago, it is possible to chant AKAAL just to help them, or not? How many days later it is possible to chant this?

Response from Dr. Shanti Shanti Kaur: 

The soul is timeless; one of the translations of Akal is “without time”. This means that Akal can be chanted any time after the soul has left the body, if Akal was not chanted during the first 17 days. The person chanting would hold the intention of the soul she wishes to release as she chants.  Once Yogi Bhajan described the process as giving energy to break through the magnetic field of the earth to release into the ethers. If the intended soul has already been released (through their own frequency or through prayers of loved ones instead of via Akal) then other souls are released when the person chants. So the Akal still serves.

How to Chant Akaal

The sound of Akaal is “uh-call.”  When you chant it, you first take a full, deep breath. Then you chant the mantra for the full, extended length of that deep breath. The first syllable “uh” is short, and the second syllable flows on the whole remaining length of your breath. It is chanted in a comfortable monotone. Chant 3 times.

Listen to Snatam’s version of Akaal here.

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    • Kirtan-Singh Khalsa says:

      Sat Nam, we have been taught that it is better not to chant Akal for pets and animals, etc..who pass. It says in Siri Guru Granth Sahib that it takes 8.4 million lifetimes to attain the blessing of a human body. We are encouraged not to interfere with the evolutionary process of the souls’ transmigration by chanting Akal for pets and non-human beings.

  1. mahan sangeet says:

    sat nam, a friend asked me today or it is allright to chant akaal 3 times for her beloved dog who has to be put asleep because of a tumor and old age, i don t know the answer, hope you can help here?

    • Some people will say that it is not appropriate to chant Akal 3 times for the soul of any animal. But there are others who recognize all living things as having a soul and that therefor it is a good thing to do to assist the soul transition. Ultimately, you will need to choose where you stand on that. Your choice is up to you.

  2. Can you tell us the function of chanting the prayer Kirtan Sohila for 17 days after a person’s death. This appeared recently in the Sikh Dharma’s ministership test. I have already completed my answer but would be interested to know what the Siri Singh Sahib said about it. Thank you and Sat Nam

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