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Japji – The Song of the Soul

By Dev Suroop K. Khalsa 

Jap means to repeat, and Ji means soul. The repetition of Japji gives you a consistent projection and allows you to access your own infinite source of inspiration and depth. Japji is one of the five daily prayers of the Sikhs. It was written by Guru Nanak, the first Sikh Guru who, with his companion, Mardana, traveled on foot over thousands of miles teaching people through song and simple inspiration to live exalted and simple lives. Stated very clearly, “Guru Nanak spoke Japji as a way to guide and enlighten other human beings about the reality of the Divine within the Creation. Japji is a teacher for anyone seeking Truth. The Sound Current of Japji and the meaning of its words, when meditated upon with openness and love, awakens a soul to its destiny. Step by step, Japji gives you the comprehensive power to know yourself as you are and be with God’s Creation in a spirit of joyful surrender.”1

The power of Japji comes from the combination of its sounds, or naad. Sounds have profound effects on the psyche, and when they are arranged in the science of naad, they have very specific transformative power. Yogi Bhajan has taught that by reciting different stanzas—or pauris—of Japji eleven times a day, one can access very specific effects. Reciting the Mool Mantra, for example, gives an experience of the depth and consciousness of your soul and can change your destiny to complete prosperity. Similarly, it is said that the total knowledge of God and ecstasy is contained in the first pauri. Recitation of this pauri eleven times a day will lift you from the deepest depression, insecurity, nightmares and loss. Meditation on each of the remaining 38 verses offers equally unique, rich and powerful pathways of healing, self-discovery and revelation. With the complete recitation of Japji Sahib, it is said that every problem can be solved and dissolved.

The structure of Japji is beautifully technical and precise. There are 40 pauris in Japji. The word “pauri” means “step,” as on a staircase. It is taught that Japji starts from God and comes to earth. There are five elements or “tattvas” of which all matter is composed—earth, air, fire, water and ether. Additionally, there are eight chakras, including the aura. Mathematically, five times eight equals 40—the number of paurees in Japji. When you take the first “step” of reciting the Mool Mantra, this is associated with the Eight Chakra at the frequency of ether. As you continue to recite, you work progressively through the chakras and the tattvas until you end at the 40th step with the First Chakra at the frequency of Earth. In this way, reading the entire Japji Sahib completely adjusts “all the elements in all of the chakras and completely adjusts your subtle and physical bodies.”2


An accomplished musician, recording artist, and teacher of Naad Yoga, Dev Suroop Kaur uses the art of sound to create an experience of deep transformation and healing. She leads chanting programs with musical accompaniment, and offers meditation instruction and teachings about living a spiritual life. Her focus is teaching courses about loving the experience of your voice, and using your voice as a meditative tool to transform and uplift. Dev Suroop Kaur specializes in training teachers of Kundalini Yoga in the science of Naad Yoga, conscious communication, and how to teach others to access the beauty and power of their personal voice. devsuroopkaur.com

English translation by Ek Ong Kaar Kaur Khalsa. Go to www.a-healing.com to purchase a beautiful and inspiring complete translation of “Japji Sahib – The Song of the Soul.”

1. Ek Ong Kaar Kaur Khalsa

2. The Aquarian Teacher

(This article was originally published in Aquarian Times magazine, Spring 2004, and Sikh Review, Fall 2004)