“The Thirty-second Paurī pays your debts and completes your karma.”
~ from the teachings of the Siri Singh Sahib, Yogi Bhajan (1)
Reflections on the 32nd Pauree from Ram Singh Khalsa:
The 32nd Paurī of Japjī Sāhib starts with a multiplication. Lakh means 100,000, and instead of writing “many” or “innumerable,” Gurū Nānak gives an exact calculation – so let’s do the math:
That’s 20 x 100,000 x 100,000 x 100,000: 20,000,000,000,000,000. Twenty quadrillion: quite a lot! What kind of number could that be? What vibrates the Name of God, and is so abundant in the Universe that it needs sixteen zeros to write?
We could think of planets and stars, but there are actually many more stars than a few quadrillions: now we need twenty zeros to count them. It seems that the best option here is . . . the average number of cells a human body has in the entire life!
And when in a lifetime, at every moment, all of them have been vibrating the Nām – the inner vibration of divine identity – merging with the primal cosmic One happens.
The Siri Singh Sahib, Yogi Bhajan taught us these sacred words “Ang Sang Wāhe Gurū: with every limb of your body, God is! . . . God is with your every limb. Now you have ten trillion cells in you. Each cell has three parts. It means you have 30 trillion Wāhe Gurū with you! . . . It says, “One God is thirty trillion times with you!” (2)
Ang Sang Wāhe Gurū can be poetically translated as “the dynamic, living ecstasy of the Universe is vibrating within every cell of me.” The cell is the basic unit of our biological life; it is the first level where life, Prāna, incarnates. That’s why cells can multiply, from the very first one, to quadrillions of them.
But as every cell receives life, it also stores history: every cell, and not only the ones in the brain, is the organic substratum, the biological ground, of the subconscious. The totality of our cells is the hard drive of personal experience. That is called “cell memory.”
Therefore the chanting of Ang Sang Wāhe Gurū is recommended to anyone who wants to eliminate haunting thoughts from their subconscious: such a cleansing has to happen at the very cellular level, where the negative memories and the karmic patterns are stored.
Cell level is also where Kundalini Yoga works: it is a complete technology that reaches that level of precision and subtlety where deep and lasting change can be programmed. It goes to the very unit of your biology to install transformation and identification with truth.
Through Shabad Gurū – the transformative science of effective vibrations, of combinations and permutations of sacred primal creative sounds that the Sikh Gurūs mastered and taught – each cell is tuned to the others, thus creating a complete harmony of vibration.
Under the right conduct of the brain glands, the whole body becomes an orchestra playing the cosmic symphony. Gurū Nānak teaches that through that technology, let every cell of you, at every moment, vibrate the divine sound of Oneness: that shall lead you to God.
But in some way, this Paurī is also about the Japjī Sāhib itself:
With the Mūl Mantra, thirty-eighth Paurī and the final Salok, the Japjī is a forty-step staircase that is taking us from the very beginning of everything – Ek Ong Kār, “One, continuously unfolding into creation” – to collective liberation in God’s glory – with the last two lines of Japjī celebrating this.
Many creative or transformative processes have forty stages: for instance, around thirty-eight weeks of pregnancy, plus conception and birth. Or the forty days after birth that newborns need to generate their own aura. Kundalini Yoga teaches that it takes a minimum of forty days of daily meditation to change a habit, a pattern or a negative identification.
Here, Gurū Nānak suggests that the recitation of Japjī itself is such a process of transformation and elevation: Ayt Rāh(i) means “this is the path.” And Pavaṟī is just another version of Paurī – actually sounding quite the same – that means “step.” Each Paurī is a step on the ladder of spiritual awakening, up to the very realization, in every cell, that it’s all One.
And Gurū Nānak says, hearing such spiritual, elevating, etherical things – actually, the Japjī itself! – even the lowest, most humble, miserable and insignificant being recognizes that there is a path, there is a possibility to grow and attain liberation. As Gurū Rām Dās says in Kīrtan Sohilā, one of the daily recitations of the Sikhs, “I am low and weak, but I am yours, o God! So save me! Save me, o Highest of the High!”
And that resonates with so many testimonies of people who embraced the path of Kundalini Yoga and the awakening lifestyle of Sikh Dharma after hearing the Japjī just once. That’s what happened to the third Sikh Gurū, Gurū Amar Dās: longing to find a guru, he heard his nephew’s wife – who happened to be the daughter of Gurū Angad, first successor of Gurū Nānak – reciting Japjī and that was enough for him to recognize Sikh Dharma as his path, to bow to his Gurū and serve him forever.
So for people of all walks of life, let Japjī awaken you to the path of Spirit that your soul aligns to, whatever that path may be. Whoever you are, whatever you have done – and whatever was done to you – however miserable you might feel, walk the path of Spirit! Elevate! Climb up the ladder of grace: recite Japjī, and keep the company of those who do.
(1) Yogi Bhajan, The Aquarian Teacher, 80.
(2) The Teachings of Yogi Bhajan, November 27, 1988.
*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.