In the tradition of Kundalini Yoga as taught by Yogi Bhajan, many practitioners choose to acquire a spiritual name. A spiritual name holds the key to your own destiny by tapping into your unique vibration and your heavenly identity. The sound current within the name holds a kind of accelerating power, so that when you hear it or speak it aloud, you are vibrating more and more along the lines of your own true nature. A spiritual name is a roadmap to your own spiritual destiny. Once you have one, you know where to focus and where to try to go.
Having a spiritual name is a profound tool for meditation. After careful consideration by Nirinjan Kaur, who Yogi Bhajan personally taught and appointed to this task, your numerology is calculated and a name is determined to match your vibration. When it is given to you, you receive the name and a translation of it, usually a beautiful and moving snapshot into your highest potential. But your name never means only one thing. It is like a sculpture; when you walk around it and look, it changes shape and angle and picks up the light in different ways. When you meditate on your spiritual name, you pick up light in different ways.
When I meditate on the sound current of my own name, I get lost in the energy of elevation. The sounds of “Ram, Ram, Ram” swirl around in my consciousness like cosmic dance. I once heard a beautiful story about a rich man and a holy man. The rich man wanted to impress the holy man and win favors by donating gold to him, but the holy man didn’t want any money. The rich man insisted and the holy man agreed to take only as much gold as would balance the first letter of God’s name in a scale. The rich man arrogantly thought he would get off easily, but when the holy man put the letter “R” from Ram onto the scale, no matter how much gold the rich man put on it, it wouldn’t balance out. The single letter from a sacred sound current was worth more than all the gold the rich man had. The rich man was forever humbled, gave all his gold to the poor, and became a true spiritual seeker.
I remember this story when I meditate on my own name, Ramdesh Kaur, taking care to value even a single letter of my name more than all the gold in the world. I try to feel the power in its vibration and within my own destiny. I pray to have the grace to live up to its potential. The translation that was given to me is “One who sees God’s land everywhere and walks with grace and beauty throughout her life”, which is very meaningful to me. I lost my sight at the age of nine from a brain virus, but it was gradually restored to me. I never take seeing for granted, and often see beauty where others cannot. If there is a single blade of grass in a dirty slum, I’ll see it and notice its sweet green color.
As I walk around my sculpture, I find Ramdesh means more than that translation alone. “Ram” is the incarnation of God in physical form who was brave, just and adventurous as per the stories in the Hindu text The Ramayana. I read those stories to provide inspiration in my own life. “Desh” means land or country. You can also translate Ramdesh as “God’s land”, meaning that my body is a holy place where God dwells; I must treat it as a temple. I can think about it as an instruction to walk in grace, beauty and courage, and to see God in all places and all peoples. I try to live up to that. Or I can simply meditate upon the sound current of the words within it and get lost in the vibration of Infinity.
Kaur and Singh are names that are given to all women and men in the Kundalini tradition. Kaur means a princess or lioness that walks with grace and courage. Singh means a prince or lion that walks with grace and courage. Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth guru of the Sikhs, gave these names originally to all his followers, to teach them that nobility did not belong to royalty, but was the divine right of all of the blessed sons and daughters of the Universe. Guru Gobind Singh wanted everyone to hold their heads up high, to be strong, and to act with honor and dignity at all times.
Khalsa, meaning “pure”, is often the last name of people in the Kundalini Yoga tradition such as Snatam Kaur Khalsa. It is a name given to a baptized Sikh or the children of baptized Sikhs. It is not given as part of a spiritual name in Kundalini yoga, but is added after a person decides to become a Sikh and takes certain vows in an Amrit, or nectar, ceremony.
Once I was walking down the street in Santa Fe, NM in my turban and flowing chuni. A homeless man walked up to me with wonder in his eyes and asked me, “Are you a princess?” I smiled at him and said in the hushed whisper of shared secrets, “Yes. And you are a prince.” And I meant it. Using Kaur and Singh help us to recognize the divine within everyone we meet and help us to remember to act gracefully at all times.
Yogi Bhajan said that hearing your spiritual name was like hearing a prayer or a calling back to your true self. When I hear my name on your tongue, I can hear Spirit calling me home to my own divinity. When I hear your name upon my tongue, I hold your hand and take you with me.
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