Reflections on the Thirtieth Paurī from JapJī Sāhib by Gurū Nānak

“The Thirtieth Paurī places you upon the throne of divinity. It makes you into a sage and a saint.”

~ from the teachings of the Siri Singh Sahib, Yogi Bhajan (1)

Reflections on the 30th Pauree from Ram Singh Khalsa:

The term Maya is a very common word in Indian sacred scriptures. Whether it appears as MāyāMā-ī or Mā-e, it always means the same: mother.

Then it takes several other meanings, including “money.” In Hinduism, Lakshmi, wife of Vishnu, is the goddess of abundance and prosperity, the mother that nurtures all living beings.But Maya is mainly known in the rather negative sense of “illusion, bewitchment of the world, treacherous show, etc.”

So how can the same term evoke the creative, nurturing and caring qualities of a mother as well as the misguiding illusion of the world? In the 30th Paurī of Jap Jī Sāhib, Gurū Nānak reveals the true nature of Maya and the process of creation:

There is more than one way to understand that line. Let’s try word by word:

  • ayk: one, the One, the primary One.
  • aykā mā-ī: one Mother, the primary Divine mother. But also, “from the One, the mother,” or “first the One, then the Mother.”
  • jugat: the way, the manner, the method, the technology.
  • vi-ā-ī: pregnancy, giving birth, creation. Very close to it, vi-ā-hi means “wedding, marriage.”
  • jugat vi-ā-ī: the way of creation, the creative process, the channel of all creation; the interaction (or marriage) that gives birth.

The primal One and the Mother, who is the channel of all creation, are interacting in a creative process. What does it give birth to?

  • tin: three
  • chaylay: student, disciple
  • paravāṉ: approved, accepted, acknowledged
  • tin chaylay paravāṉ: three disciples are acknowledged

Now Gurū Nānak describes the three disciples:

  • ik: one
  • sansārī: “of the world;” creator of the world
  • bhanḏārī: “responsible for the granary, treasurer;” preserver, maintainer
  • lā-ay dībāṉ: “holding the court,” final judge

It is a clear reference to the divine principles of G.O.D, as explained by the Siri Singh Sahib, Yogi Bhajan: G for Generator, O for Organizer and D for Destructor. In yogic philosophy it has been expressed as the Trimurti, the “three-fold divine representation:” Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. And they all come from Maya, the Mother.

But those three principles are only responsible for the ordinary world, the world as it is, and our ordinary journey through it, incarnation after incarnation. That is called Tribhavan, “three-dimensional world,” Triguna, “of three qualities” or Trikuti, “conditioned by the three qualities.”

It is the realm of ordinary life, of existence without consciousness, of instinctive or robotic routines; the world of fascination, fantasies and beliefs. That is where we get bewitched and trapped, over and over again. And as it is produced and nourished by Maya, she is also known as the mother of the illusionary world, the “beauty of the surroundings,” as the Siri Singh Sahib, Yogi Bhajan neutrally and nicely puts it.

“That’s the way it is. If that’s the way it is, that is what Maya does. That’s what temptation does. That’s what life does to you. It pulls you out to check you out. At that time you have to come through. Then you are reality. Then you are real. Then you are okay. Otherwise the fact of life is, you are a challenge to yourself.”  – Siri Singh Sahib, Yogi Bhajan (2)

But in the words of Gurū Nānak, Maya is definitely not a monster. We only get trapped by her creation because of our lack of consciousness. Out of any awakened consciousness and presence, we do not perceive that everything proceeds from the Primal One. We do not see that Maya acts loyally as it pleases the Divine One, setting the stage of the game of life. That’s why Gurū Nānak says:

It is truly a call to spiritual awakening. In a way, Gurū Nānak challenges us: Come on! See the hand of the primal One acting through everything that happens! It is just a game, see through it, and become aware of the One, however it manifests! And by the way, don’t blame Maya: she is doing a perfect job.

Such a realization that reaches beyond the three dimensions is called the “fourth stage” or Turiya. It has to do with the fourth of the Ten Spiritual Bodies as taught by Siri Singh Sahib, Yogi Bhajan: the Neutral Mind, the meditative mind, the extraordinary mind that sees truth and reality beyond the veils and fantasies of the ordinary mind, beyond the fascinating games of the ego-mind.

From then on, we can see “God in all”, “the Primal One, pure, without beginning, without end. Throughout all the ages, One and the same.” And Gurū Nānak invites us to salute and bow to such a One.

“There is no misunderstanding that we have definitely a way of life in which we do not misunderstand about this Earth, about this Maya. We have this Maya to use it.” ~ The Siri Singh Sahib Yogi Bhajan (3)

Now Maya is no longer seen as a witch, but as the Divine Mother who, out of infinite kindness and compassion, creates everything we need to awaken our spiritual consciousness. Just like our own mother facilitated our growth and maturity, or like Mother Earth, which is a temporary place for an elevating human experience.

As we have to leave our mother’s home sooner or later, as we will have to leave that planet, we also have to leave Maya and recognize her creation as a temporary stage designed for our own spiritual awakening.

And last, the 30th Paurī offers a beautiful opportunity to meditate on the nature of the female polarity as embodied by women. In the words of the Siri Singh Sahib, Yogi Bhajan:

“If you want to understand what Maya is, understand it through a woman…If you want to see God, see It through a woman.” – Siri Singh Sahib, Yogi Bhajan (4)

Just like we are invited to see beyond the illusion that Maya is a witch, we need – we definitely need – to get rid of any negative concepts about women. It is a totally corrupted heritage from thousands of years of ignorance and hypocrisy and male ego (although it has been passed on by women as well).

Now the Age of Aquarius has come and it is calling us to realize that, just like in this Paurī the One stands just behind Maya. The Siri Singh Sahib, Yogi Bhajan references this teaching of Gurū Nānak:

“There is nothing beyond woman, except God.” – Siri Singh Sahib, Yogi Bhajan (5)



(1) Yogi Bhajan, The Aquarian Teacher, 80

(2) The Teachings of Yogi Bhajan, August 2, 1987

(3) The Teachings of Yogi Bhajan, March 1, 1978

(4) The Teachings of Yogi Bhajan, June 29, 1977

(5) The Teachings of Yogi Bhajan, July 18, 1987


*This article was originally shared in a 40-Day Japji Sadhana hosted by Sikh Dharma International in partnership with other legacy organizations.

Ram Singh Khalsa

Ram Singh came in touch with Kundalini Yoga as a child in Togo (West Africa) in the early eighties. Since then he never stopped exploring the unfathomable richness of the teachings of Yogi Bhajan. Since many years he has been blessed to be guided by his spiritual teacher, Shiv Charan Singh, through that deep journey . After years of teaching in contexts where yoga is still little present – a center for drug addicts, a group of elderly students, an institution for autistic teenagers, a nursing training school, etc. – he and his wife Gururavi Kaur founded in 2011 the Dharamsal Yoga Center in Toulouse, France, dedicated to the teachings of Kundalini Yoga.

As a Kundalini Yoga Lead Teacher Trainer, Ram Singh is involved in several KRI-approved Teacher Training programs worldwide: School of Karam Kriya, École de Paris, International College of Kundalini Yoga and Yoga Teachers 4 Africa.

Ram Singh is also involved in the teaching of Karam Kriya, the sacred science of applied numerology. A singer and a musician, he is the author of three albums of mantras of Kundalini Yoga and sacred songs from the Sikh traditions. And as a lover of Sikh sacred scriptures, Ram Singh teaches courses on Jap Jī Sāhib. After translating Japji Sahib and the whole Nitnem – the collection of Sikh daily recitations – into French, he has recently committed to complete the translation of the whole Sirī Gurū Granth Sāhib.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Post navigation