Sat Nam Dear Friends,
“In the eye of the Saint, everything is God. In the heart of the Saint everything is Dharma. The Saint hears words of Goodness. He is absorbed into the All-pervading Lord. This is the way of life of one who know Him. True are all the words spoken by the Holy.” //4//23// Guru Arjan Dev Ji, Sukhmani Sahib. Siri Guru Granth Sahib Page 294
It is high times in Espanola, as Summer Solstice has begun in the Jemez Mountains, under the blue skies of New Mexico. It is one of the two times of the year that we were encouraged to make a priority by the Siri Singh Sahib Ji. Solstice means we come and work on ourselves, do White Tantric Yoga, attend group Sadhana with thousands of seekers, eat a cleansing special diet and observe silence. Well we used to observe silence. I think it is a rare occurrence now that you see the occasional attendee with a sign on their clothing saying ‘Observing Silence’.
When many of us began back in 1969, going into the mountains was truly a break from routine. No one could be in contact with you during your retreat. In the 1990’s cell phones started showing up; by the 2000’s they were quite common and by the 2010’s they have become the virtual, instant address for most people. So detaching oneself from the mobile umbilical cord of society to participate in your Solstice Sadhana will take a lot of discipline and commitment but I highly encourage you to try it. And for those rare few who dare to experience a few days of silence, if even just the three days of White Tantric Yoga, I know great insights and blessings will come.
Our tradition of making 10 days at Solstice an integral part of our spiritual life holds great significance. It is a form of an Ayurvedic healing treatment called ‘Panche Karma’. In that discipline, you depart from your normal life, your daily work and surroundings, and eat a special diet, do a lot of yoga and heal from the inside out. So you can see that coming to Solstice Sadhana provides all these too!
The other side of silence is speaking. The Siri Singh Sahib Ji, Yogi Bhajan was a master of the spoken word. He continually reminded of its power. He even gave us the meditation of carrying a recording device with us for a week to record our every spoken word and then transcribe it, or at least listen to it! He knew we would be woken up by the reality of our outward persona! OK, before trying that meditation, why not give silence a go! There is the silence of the mouth and the Power of the Word. Each help illuminate the other!
The Siri Singh Sahib Ji was a master of appreciation, another example of the Power of Words. In almost every one of his classes, he honored a student who was present. His words were loving and affectionate, always uplifting and kind. I was struck once when he talked of “graceful appreciation, sifat salah” equating the two. I wanted to understand more of what this meant. I have seen it translated in the 25th Pauree of Japji as “power to praise” or “praise and glory.” In the last lines of the 25th Pauree of Japji , Siri Guru Granth Sahib Page 5, it reads: “One who is blessed to sing the Praises of the Lord, O Nanak, is the king of kings.”
or “Whosoever is bestowed with the ability to render Divine’s Praises.”
In Japji we are instructed to recognize the Power of God and sing His Praises. Those who are granted the gift of gratitude, and the power to praise, see the God in all! We begin by praising God and extend that to praising the Godliness in all we see. Ahh, Sifat Salah, graceful appreciation of all the kindnesses and grace we experience in our fellow Siblings of Destiny!
Today, let us all appreciate someone who deserves infinite recognition and heart-felt thanks…..
The Siri Singh Sahib Ji was a Saturn teacher who mastered the Power of Words. He used them to grill us relentlessly and also to charm us to get us to do what we never thought we could! He was able to get such diverse personalities and groups to work together for a common goal. He took all as they came and used them for their best! We have such a legacy left to us by the Siri Singh Sahib Ji through his lectures, his publications, his writings and recordings, his example and his larger than life presence. Here is another heartfelt section from Sukhmani that to me describes our beloved teacher:
“The most sublime hymns are the Words of the Holy. These are priceless rubies and gems.
One who hears, and acts upon Them is saved. He himself swims across, and inspires others to swim across.
Prosperous is his life, prosperous is his company, Who’s mind is imbued with the Lord’s Love.
Hail Hail unto him, for whom the Sound-Current of he Shabad resounds. Hearing It again and again, he is in bliss singing God’s Praises.
The Lord radiates from the foreheads of the pious. Nanak is saved in their company.” //3//24// Guru Arjan Dev Ji, Sukhmani Sahib. Siri Guru Granth Sahib Page 295.
We are approaching this zenith time of the year when we can crystallize our thoughts, words and actions for good, better, best! May we continue to work, live and share the vision that he gave us with such humility and grace. Happy Solstice!
“Look good. Speak best. Elevate another Person.” The Siri Singh Sahib Ji Yogi Bhajan addressing the Khalsa Council circa 1990’s.
SS Sat Bachan Kaur Khalsa
Sat Bachan Kaur is a Sikh Dharma Minister and is a member of the International Khalsa Council as part of the Bhai Sahiba section. She is also a member of the Siri Singh Sahib Corporation. She and her husband have a jewelry business called Nine Treasures.