The following text is largely a transcription of introductory videos in which Kamalroop Singh explains foundational concepts of meditation, chakra, and mantra.
Those who are both new and familiar with these concepts may find such texts useful as points of reference.
INTRODUCTION TO MANTRA
In many Eastern traditions meditation is normally accompanied with a mantra.
We call that ‘Jap’ - we repeat a mantra again and again, and some rituals can be involved too, like having an initiation for that mantra, using a mala, a rosary, and so forth.
This method is simply repeating a word again, and again and again.
That jap of the mantra is like trying to train your mind.
‘Man’ - means mind, man is the one with the mind, mankind has a mind - which separates us from animals, and that gives us a consciousness.
Therefore we want to train that mind, that consciousness.
‘Tra’ - train, travel, track, traverse, give it direction, give the mind direction.
So in the Sikh tradition, and the Buddhist, Hindu, and Taoist traditions - basically the Eastern traditions, they will repeat a mantra again and again.
Like ‘Har, Har, Har’, or sing a mantra ‘Waheguru, Waheguru, Waheguru’, ‘Ram, Ram, Ram’, etc.
In the Islamic tradition, certain words such as ‘Allah Hu’ have been used, and they have also been meditated on in the rosary, in the same way the names of Allah for example, as a meditation. Also in the Christian tradition, the chaste, from the greek orthodox church to repeat certain words from the Bible, and you’ll find this in the Coptic tradition in Ethiopia too. You’ll find this chanting - singing everywhere, so this is one type of meditation.
In India they went very deep into explaining this, but I will keep it brief here. When we repeat a mantra obviously I’m doing it with my mouth first:
To make that deeper I can start listening to it.
As I start listening to it I don’t need to do it so loud, in fact I can stop singing and take it inward. So I’m then letting the mantra repeat in my mind - starting normal volume, and diminishing the sound as it retreats inside of you. Let the mantra sink deeper and deeper into yourself and let it repeat again and again. When you let the mantra repeat again and again it’s called a ‘japa jap’, which means ‘automatic recitation’; it means that your body is doing it automatically and continuously.
In the Guru Granth Sahib, and in many spiritual traditions in India, they say our bodies are already doing ‘Naam’ - you’re already meditating. It’s very deep inside of us, but we disconnect from that when we go too much into the mental noise, too much into the conceptualisation.
So the mantra is one method, and now I want to share with you another method.
Another method of meditation is to simply deconstruct your mind.
When we’re born, the first being we connect to, and even before being born, is the mother. And the first word we normally learn in every culture is ‘Ma’, ‘Madre’, ‘Mummy’ - the first concept is mother. The child learns the language from who? The mother - ‘mother-tongue’. But also that in a way is a duality, that makes a conceptualisation - it makes the mind say ‘this is this, this is man, this is woman, this is good, this is bad, this is the democrats, this is the republicans, this is a Sikh, this is a Muslim, black lives matter, all lives matter, and all of these sorts of things.
We have to take the mind out of conceptualisation, to meditate.
That’s why meditation is not about a belief system - it’s not like ‘Oh, I believe in Guru Nanak and now I’m saved’, ‘I believe in Jesus Christ and now I’m saved’, ‘I believe in Krishna and now I’m saved’.
I must now reach calmness within me, that is what God is looking at - God or the divine, or whatever we want to call it, the mystery.
That is what it’s observing within us: can we actually make our inside calm and in harmony, with the will of the Tao, or acceptance with that greater Cosmic Being.
And that happens through meditation, it happens through faith, through surrender, through letting go.
That’s probably where all traditions meet in agreeing with that.
We have to let go, we have to let go of the mind.
That’s what meditation helps us to do, to let go of the mind, and rest the mind.
The other way is to deconstruct, so I keep looking at the constructions in my mind, and then I witness them, I’m mindful of them, and start letting them go. In the observation I don’t try to fight them, I try to let go, let go, let go… And you’ll see you’ll drop into this pulse, this rhythm, that’s within yourself.
So they’re two types of meditation, one is more like a Sikh/Hindu perspective, and the other is more like a Jain Buddhist mindfulness, like a Sadhu, a more renunciate person who goes away from the world, or who goes away from conceptualisation or maya - ‘maya’, ‘madre’, ‘mother’.
So the thing is, when we recite a mantra again and again it’s that act of syncing within our own consciousness, our own awareness, our own being. And the more we do that, the more we realise about ourselves. There is a blissfulness to meditation, there is a freedom it gives you, but it can also bring up trauma, it can bring up pain, it can make us feel very uncomfortable. So don’t just think that when you start meditating everything is going to get very easy for you, it can also be quite painful and you have to go through that, or seek guidance.
INTRODUCTION TO MANTRA
Here we look further into the process of meditation.
When we use a mantra or ‘mantar’ as we say in Gurmukhi, it has a process of ‘Jap’. When we do jap of a mantra, you can use whichever you choose - ‘Allah Hu’, Waheguru, ‘Hare Krishna’, ‘Ram’, ‘Ik onkar’, etc.
When you employ this mantar, this sacred word, the first process according to Indian Rishis is that you can sing it out loud - but how long can you sing for? You could do a few hours properly, but I can’t imagine someone who can sing continuously for a long period of time. So after a certain amount of time, you’ll chant the mantra and then reduce the volume, then whisper, and then you’ll take it into your lips, your mouth, your tongue, and then into your mind, into your thoughts inside you.
Once the mantra is in your thoughts. This particular of saying the word or the ‘bani’, is called Berkari bani, where we go from saying it out loud, it goes into the tongue, the lips, and then into the thoughts. This is the first stage.
As it develops further and it gets deeper, it will literally drop into the throat - this is called Muthum bani, it drops into the Vishuddha chakra, this is where the regulation of etheric energy takes place, and is also related to the thyroid gland. As we start to meditate further it enters the heart. When you reach this stage when the bani resonates in there, it’s called Basenji bani, and as you go further and further, it ends up in the naval point. Where the umbilical chord joins with the mother, where there’s a continuation of life is found, it’s the void, it’s the abyss. The Manipura chakra is a very mysterious and powerful place, it’s where we can say our will power originates from. We can say Bara bani.
So we have 4 stages - Berkari in the mouth, to Muthum in the throat, and the Basenji in the heart, and then Bara in the solar plexus.
Some of you may be thinking how does that work? There’s 7 chakras, surely it should be based on 7 chakras…
The reason why Waheguru, as well as Satnam has 4 syllables, is due to the different bani, that have just been explained, but also the fact that we have 4 chakras.
“No but there are 7 chakras?” I hear you say.
In the Antipkuti, in the most ancient text there are only 4 chakras, over time they have been divided up. So the Manipura chakra has been divided into the Svadhishthana chakra and Muladhara chakra, it’s been divided into 3 in fact. The mechanics of that are for another time, but in short the Manipura chakra is like a U-bend pipe, that goes back up. The Manipura is like a pump, that’s why many times when people are taught mantra to recite, they’re taught to recite it from the naval, to release the blockages in the lower chakras. That’s just one area - Wa, and we have Anahata, the heart - He, and then we have the throat - Gu, and the mouth the tongue - Ru. And this corresponds to the four bani and the 4 states of consciousness - which are enlightenment, the full state of consciousness, waking state, dreaming state, and dreamless sleep.
When you do a mantra, as you’re practicing it you’ll find it will move through different parts of the body, and it can move into some unusual areas too, it doesn’t have to follow any specific order.
PERSONAL EXPERIENCE OF THE CHAKRAS
In many traditions, when you’re given a meditation technique, often it’s with the breath. Often the starting point from that is the Bara bani, the naval point, the Manipura chakra. In the Sikh tradition a simple technique is where you’re given Waheguru - you inhale Wahe and exhale Guru. That’s how I began my spiritual journey when I was younger. And the Manipura chakra, as previously explained, is the umbilical connected to the mother, it’s the abyss - it’s very mysterious. It’s a very deep place. In that place is almost like a cosmic awareness, or space, something like that, it’s very hard to put into words. But that’s where I started off.
When I first started meditating when I was younger, it was my grandmother who taught me that technique, and the first kind of blockage that I saw in myself was in my navel point, and within a few weeks or months, it was gone. Obviously we have different chakras, but for the Manipura chakra, it’s will power, and that’s why in martial arts they work a lot on the Manipura chakra. As I said this is a U bend, so the Manipura chakra goes down goes through the Svadhisthana, to the Muladhara, and goes back up.
The Svadhisthana chakra is fluid, it’s like dictates what you like or dislike, some level of emotion, forgiveness, anger, this is what we can hold onto or let go is also a bit related to this mechanism in there, especially like and dislike.
The Manipura, solar plexus is like a golden yellow light, it’s more of an orangey feeling, but it can also become very fluid, and myself personally I’ve experienced an almost like water like sensation there, or a fluidity of water that is transparent - this is obviously experiential what I’m saying, I’m trying not to talk from text books.
Then we have Muladhara chakra, the earth element, it’s related to your grounding. In yoga they say the karma is stored there. When we do jap we get a japajap, where you get continuous recitation of mantra, and that in itself becomes kind of an energy, coldness, heat or some kind of vibration. When you reach that point that’s when your karma is being liberated, so a source of the karma is in the Muladhara chakra, and the colour there is red earthy colour, like Ayers rock in Australia, or the mud you get in south India, Africa - it’s a very deep rich red.
In my meditation, personally speaking, I started off from the naval, and then it went to the heart, from my heart it went into the Muladhara, from there it went to the Svadhisthana, and then went into my third eye and from my third eye it went into my throat. That’s my own personal experience, it’s not text book, it can be different for different people. For me it just moved around in that way.
It’s worth mentioning here the Muladhara chakra is related too… this elimination is the whole tube of the spine, the elimination for things to leave you, or for the karma to liberate, from the Muladhara all the way up. And that’s why a lot of the mantras often have 2 syllables, like ha and ram, because they’re connecting the top and bottom, like a positive and negative electrical connection. So the Svadhisthana, the Sahasrara, and the Muladhara, they are interconnected. According to Yogi Bhajan, the Tao, that divine flow, is elimination. So the Svadhisthana chakra is related to the Ajna, and the Manipura chakra is related to the throat chakra.
WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO START MEDITATION
If you wish to understand meditation, you must use your breath.
When Buddha began his meditation, his first meditations were on his breath.
Anulom vilom pranayam, the left right nostril, deep breathing, Kapalabhati, Breath Of Fire, if you want to stabilise your mind, you must learn to stabilise your breath. Why is that? Because there are 5 bodies. The first body is the food body, then you have the breath body, the mind body, you have the imagination/intellectual body, and then you have the soul. Because of these 5 bodies, one of the main interactions is between the physical body and the mental body, and to control both you need the mind. You need to have balance of mind, and that is developed through the breath. So you must breathe very deep, very long, and you must practice that everyday. That’s why in the Sikh tradition, when you get Guru mantra, we are given the Guru mantra through the breath, we inhale Wahe, and again we exhale Guru, we inhale Wahe, and we exhale Guru. So without the breath you are completely zero. And it takes awareness to be with your breath. You have to be mindful to be with the breath.
This is not like some kind of ritual you do every day for 10-15 minutes, the breath is something you need to be aware of 24 hours a day.
What does the Guru tell us in Gurbani –
“One who does not forget God, forget the divine breath by breath, is a complete saint”.
Says Guru Nanak, that person is the complete saint because every breath they are remembering God, they are remembering the divine.
So become aware, become mindful of your breath - of your breath, the very breath you’re breathing is your power. When you go away from your breath you will forget the link with your body and the link with your mind. The breath is the glue that links the body and the mind together.
The first meditation is to meditate on the breath, one of the best ways is inhaling Wahe, exhaling Guru, and build up to 8 minutes, that’s a good start.
for more info on Sikh Mantras: