Shabad means sound, Guru means teacher or knowledge that transforms you. The simplest meaning of Shabad Guru is a special sound that is a teacher.
The Shabad Guru employs the Naad, totally balanced universal sound, to remove the constrictions and distortions of the ego.
Definition of Shabad Guru
The root structure of the words gives a deeper definition; the Shabad Guru transforms the practitioner by removing the barriers erected by the needs of the ego.
Shabad comes from Sha- and –bad. Sha means the expression of the ego, the attachments we identify with. Bad means to cut out/off or to eradicate.
The root meaning of Sha-bad is that which cuts the ego. It is not just any sound. It is not just a sound of wisdom or a song of truth. It is a sound that cuts away the ego, which obstructs the truth from you.
The second word in the phrase Shabad Guru is Guru. Gu means darkness or ignorance. Ru is light and knowledge. Gur is a formula or instruction. A Guru, then, is that which gives a formula or technique that transforms darkness into light, ignorance into knowledge.
A Guru is an active knowledge. It is not the intellectual knowledge that simply classifies or analyzes. Guru changes you. Guru develops the capacity to see. It gives you procedural knowledge that is in your cells and your subconscious, not just representational knowledge in your ideas.
Limitations of the Ego
The ego is useful and even necessary for functioning. But when your actions are attached to the ego as if it is your real nature and as if it defines your reality and scope, then you create pain, unhappiness, and problems.
Your spiritual reality is that you are part of a vast creation.
We do not need to create an Infinite self. It already exists. We are all, in essence, a reality that vibrates and creates. That existence is called Sat Nam. Sat is reality, truth or existence. Nam is the identity or creative name.
Effects of the Shabad Guru
Affirmations and positive statements are helpful and good to use. Mantras are effective and gradually create changes. But the Shabad Guru is unique. The patterns are a perfect weave of rhythm, sound, tone, focus, and meaning. There is nothing as effective and universal as those patterns to program the consciousness to be in alignment with the soul.
That may seem simple. But simple does not necessarily mean easy or without challenge. The greatest challenge is the practitioner’s own subconscious. The Shabad provokes a release of stored subconscious patterns of thinking and feeling. If, under the torrential flood of subconscious feelings and thoughts, you persist in repeating the pattern of the Shabad Guru, then the new pattern establishes itself. Your mind clears, and you awaken dormant inner capacities or enhance existing ones.
Origin of the Shabad Guru
The shabads, mantras, and music are recorded in the Siri Guru Granth Sahib. Some of the ten Sikh Gurus – as well as that of the other enlightened men of many faiths – sang shabads that, through the power of their actual sound current, merge the one who recites them into the Infinite, beyond the limits of time and space. The Shabad Guru is a refinement of the Naad.
It’s not because they come from the Sikh tradition. These mantras just happen to be correct mantras. Each of these shabads has embedded in its sounds, rhythms, and words the Infinite identity they share. They awaken the soul, clear the mind, and do not depend on any finite identity, ego, or group.
How to Experience the Shabad Guru
To experience the power of the Shabad Guru is straightforward: repeat any shabad out loud. You may already have had this experience during a Kundalini Yoga class or at a Winter or Summer Solstice Sadhana Celebration.
You are welcome to bring this experience into your personal practice. There are numerous recordings of many shabads available in several online stores, including SikhNet.com. The key practice for Shabad Guru is the meditation upon and repetition of these sacred sounds and phrases.
Sikh Dharma International presents a special video series, The Light of the Shabad Guru, on the many aspects and applications of the Shabad Guru.
These sounds are perfect to share with everyone openly without special precautions or restrictions. There is no initiation process necessary. It is already yours. It is in your cells. The sound current is universal and based on the full use of your brain’s potential.
"When Guru Nanak was asked who his Guru was, he said it was the Word, the Shabad Guru. A simple translation of “Shabad Guru” is, that Word which takes us from the darkness to the light. The words and sounds of the Shabad Guru are consciousness-changing elements that unlock the bounds that your ego holds over your higher self, that keep you locked in your Earth—thereby freeing your true self to soar in your heavens. When you vibrate the Shabad Guru you overwhelm the inner dialog of your mind to create Shunia, deep inner stillness.
Shabad Guru uses the power of “Naad” (an entrancing rhythmic pattern of universal sounds) and the movement of your tongue over the pressure-points in your upper palate which causes actual change in your blood chemistry. It is the actual reciting of Gurbani (the words of the Guru) which brings the formless into form; which gives the Shabad Guru a form."