Akal Dayal

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The Master’s Journey Home

Yogi Bhajan, who later became the Siri Singh Sahib, met with a few dozen students from among the several hundred who had gathered in the wilderness for Summer Solstice. “I am on my last mile,” he told us, addressing a group of the earliest teachers of Kundalini Yoga in the West. We sat solemnly around him, quiet and still, many of us with tears in our eyes or streaming down our cheeks. “When I am gone, it is up to you to carry the banner.”

This was in Mendocino, California, June 1972. He did not leave his body for another 32 years.

Clearly, the Siri Singh Sahib began preparing us for his passing shortly after he began training us to be teachers. In doing so, he taught five principles:

  1. Trust that we know the unknown.
  2. We have within us the capacity to be calm, clear, and courageous in the face of
    challenge.
  3. Stay together in unity and community, no matter what the obstacles.
  4. Death is not to be feared; although the soul does leave the body, we do not die.
  5. The subtle body of the teacher and the subtle body of the student are in continuous relationship so that we need not feel separation or loss at the time of death.

Akal Dayal is a 224-page tribute to our Spiritual Teacher.  It is the story of how we fulfilled these principles together as a global sangat when Yogi Bhajan left his physical body. The heartbeat of this book is the collection of Hukams from the Siri Guru Granth Sahib.

The collection of Hukams is from the week before his passing, the day of his passing on October 6, 2004, the cremation day, the 17 days leading to the memorial service, and the 40 days following. These Hukams come from the Siri Singh Sahib’s two homes, the Hari Mandir Sahib (the Golden Temple) in Amritsar, India and Hacienda de Guru Ram Das, in Espanola, New Mexico.

The Hukams from the Golden Temple were first gathered by the students of Miri Piri Academy in Amritsar, together with their drawings, and presented to Siri Sikdar Sahiba Sardarni Guru Amrit Kaur Khalsa. The Hukams from Hacienda de Guru Ram Das, with artwork from loving students near and far, are companions to those from the Golden Temple.

During the time leading up to the Siri Singh Sahib’s passing and the demanding days following, it was the sound current through the Naad of the Siri Guru Granth Sahib, the Shabd Guru—no matter where we were across the globe—that gave us comfort, support, clarity, unity, and a constant reminder of the true relationship between the soul, each finite lifetime on the planet, and the Infinite Divine Light of God.

Now, as then, this collection of Hukams provides a pathway for the mind to merge with the soul and allows our whole being to resonate with the kindness and truth that we are undying. As Guru Gobind Singh speaks in Jaap Sahib, Akal Dayal: Undying, Merciful, Kind.

As you recite and contemplate a Hukam, notice the artwork that frames it. Each is from the hands of a member of our Khalsa family, many by our children from the Miri Piri Academy, done with love and a meditative devotion. Several invoke the marble inlay at the Golden Temple. Others reflect the tone of the Hukam, the movement of the psyche, or of the heart, or the depth and innocence of the soul of the artist.

In April 1985, a student came to Yogi Bhajan with a request, “Please teach me how to live.” The Siri Singh Sahib responded, “If you want to know how to live, you’d better ask me how to die. The only time we do wrong in life is when we forget that we are to die. When we remember that life is a sacred gift, we don’t mess up.” Later that evening, he gave a lecture on death that resulted in the song, Walking up the Mountain. In this song, the words of the lecture are rendered into a dialogue between a student and a teacher and set at Ram Das Puri. “Won’t you help me find the way…You turn and walk away…the only thing that matters is the memory of you.”

These Hukams offer a similar dialogue between the soul and the Beloved. Each Hukam is the answer to an unvoiced question, a prayer or a problem of the heart.

One of the gifts of this book is that it offers an example of a Master in life and in death. It is a model to teach us how to die and thus to embrace life with vitality, spirit, service, and
neutrality. The Hukams from the Siri Guru Granth Sahib collected over the course of the Siri Singh Sahib’s passing, the 17-day journey of the soul, and the 40 days following—map our journey, too. Recitation of the Naad of these Hukams clears any heartbreak, anger, guilt, regrets, grief, or fear of the future. You can use naam simran as your own healing medicine.

“We only grieve when we forget God,” the Siri Singh Sahib once said. It was October 1998, and he was sitting at a table in a hotel restaurant sipping hot tea, waiting for his turn to present at a conference for counselors and psychologists.

“When we remember God,” he continued, “we feel Infinity. Infinity knows no loss or gain, so what is there to grieve? Remember God and you experience Infinity. Experience Infinity and you experience ecstasy, joy.”

Experience this book. Feel the strength of each word and each image through your Sensory System into each of your Ten Bodies and allow the vibrations to penetrate and transform any pain of your past into your vast, fearless Self. Recite the Hukams aloud. Photocopy those Hukams that particularly speak to you, draw your own artwork for them and keep them on your altar. Let these Hukams be your guidance to a joyful, expansive, serviceful, and rich life, leading—when your soul is fulfilled, and each challenge faced—to a passing that is peaceful, victorious and complete.

Undying. Merciful. Kind. Akal, Dayal.
Sardarni Sahiba Shanti Shanti Kaur Khalsa, Ph.D.
Assistant Secretary of Religion for Sikh Dharma International

With the above words, the writer shares her personal memories of words spoken by the Siri Singh Sahib.  They were engraved in her heart and on the hearts of those who were privileged to hear him during the earliest days of his teaching in America.