Om Brahmanandam parama-sukhadam kevalam jñana-murtim
dvandvatitam gagana-sadrisham tat-tvam-asyadi-lakshyam
ekam nityam vimalam achalam sarva-dhi-sakshi-bhutam
bhavatitam tri-guna-rahitam sad-gurum tam namami
—From Tantrik Text and The Guru Stotram
Salutations to that inner guru, the inner guiding light, which is never-ending bliss; the giver of supreme happiness, one-without-a-second pulsation of consciousness beyond dualism, beyond subject and object; which is like the blue sky and is indicated by such statements as, “Thou art That” and “I and my Father are one,” and which is the final aim of life; one eternal, pure, without pollution, every time with you, the witness of all wisdom, beyond all states of being and beyond the three gunas—sattva (electron), rajas (proton), and tamas (neutron). I bow to that inner guru.—Interpretation by Shri Brahmananda Sarasvati
OK, so I’m a total yoga geek, I guess, but I totally dig this chant. My teacher, David Garrigues, introduced it to me and we pretty much chant it every time I’m with him. There’s something about the rhythm and the way he chants it that hits home for me. And then when I dug into its meaning, well, I was blown away. It’s the yoga bomb. So, I’m taking a shot here at providing the audio along with a bit of commentary on what it has come to mean to me. I hope you enjoy it!
Salutations to that inner guru, the inner guiding light, which is never-ending bliss;
It’s all within you. This chant starts off with a bolt of empowerment. It gives us hope and sets the stage for positive aspiration – to shed the artificial, fabricated layers of who we think we are and open up to the possibility that we are so much more. It seems the word “guru” can conjure up all sorts of reactions some positive and some quite negative. In my own practice I’ve found it useful to keep things simple and draw from personal experience. “Gu” is the false identity, the mistaken belief that we in this body are permanent, that the world is somehow solid – it’s avidya – yogic ignorance. And “ru” means remover – the opportunities in life to see past the temporary, to let go and settle into the consciousness we all share. This guru principle can present itself in many forms – if we’re open to receiving the message. And it can even show up more sustainably in that rare and special individual, a teacher, if we’re open to that. I feel blessed to have such a person in my life and I cherish every opportunity to show up and learn from him. In doing so, I believe that I’m more equipped to explore, understand, appreciate and accept the guidance from within myself – my inner guru.
the giver of supreme happiness, one-without-a-second pulsation of consciousness
beyond dualism, beyond subject and object;
During a recent session with my Buddha dharma teacher, Khenpo Tokpa Tulku, he said that enlightenment is a state of being that is completely out of hope and fear – opposite ends of the human spectrum. “Dvandva” means pairs of opposites – the dualistic state that pushes and pulls us about as we move through life. Freedom from this dualism brings true happiness. Trokpa Tulku went on to say that so many of our problems happen because we don’t understand contentment and we are too strongly influenced by duality. This causes us to be overly swayed by external happenings – made up problems – rather than internally nurturing our own, independent peace.
which is like the blue sky and is indicated by such statements as, “Thou art That”
and “I and my Father are one,” and which is the final aim of life;
Yoga is often explained as meaning “union” and this stanza wraps that up in terms quite familiar to many of us in the West. The union happens within our own mind. We take a posture, steady our body and breath, and focus the mind on one point – working towards a state of ekagrata – single-pointedness. Through repeated practice and much trial and error, someday we just may find ourselves merging with that point and becoming one with, as Sri Brahmananda Sarasvati says here, the vast “blue sky”.
one eternal, pure, without pollution, every time with you, the witness of all wisdom,
beyond all states of being and beyond the three gunas—
sattva (electron), rajas (proton), and tamas (neutron).
Yoga philosophy starts at the most basic primordial level – the gunas. States of energy that come together in various combinations to form everything that exists in this material, temporary, world. Recently I taught a workshop on yoga energetics and when I talked about this aspect of yoga I could see that some in the group were highly skeptical. That’s totally understandable – this stuff can seem a bit wackadoo. But, you know, the thing is, we can go through this life with the normal, narrow view of who and what we are, or we can step outside of that and embrace a life that’s without limits, beyond the beyond, and filled with incredible, uplifting, motivating potential. And this way of seeing serves as a great equalizer – no male/female, young/old, white/black – no duality – just sentient beings on a path. So, yeah, it can seem a bit out there to accept this as truth, but when we do it can put us on a path leading from the mundane to the extraordinary in everything that we do.
I bow to that inner guru.
Keeping all this in mind, I have absolutely no qualms about bowing because of an increasing understanding that we are all connected in ways beyond this current bodily experience. In Buddhism they say that we’ve all been one another’s mother, father, sister, brother, enemy, friend, and so on. Karmic energy that runs deep within. Acknowledging this and welcoming humility, I bow to the people and aspects of my life experience that have brought me closer to my true inner “blue sky” Self.