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Japji 33rd Pauri: The Ego Eradicator

By Dev Suroop Kaur

Human beings are blessed to be social animals that thrive on a state of emotional connectedness with others. To this end, we may long for loving and understanding relationships, but the thing that tends to trip us up is our own ego—our awareness of our individual identity to the exclusion of our experience of Infinity.

At its worst, the ego manifests as an inflated feeling of pride and superiority over others. The yogis refer to the ego as a 'tiger' that must be slain in order to experience Infinity. Ego and Infinity are totally opposite. The ego is limiting and finite. Wherever "I", the ego, lives and thrives, "Thou", Infinity, can never come to dwell.

It is in our Infinity and vastness that we can see the beauty of our inter-connectedness and shared experience in life and can easily flow in relationships. Such unification cannot occur when the ego is in play.

Recently a friend of mine was indulging his ego in a sense of superiority and said some clearly hurtful things to his girlfriend. Enough was enough. She confronted him and told him to either change his behavior once and for all, or else. In the days that followed, we witnessed a dramatic struggle between his desperation to be seen as being right, versus his strong desire to maintain the most meaningful relationship of his life.

He tried blaming others for his behavior and he created justifications that he hoped others would believe. As you might expect, it didn't work. Fortunately, my friend eventually gave up the fight, surrendered his ego, and gracefully relaxed into a place of union with his girlfriend.

It is said that reciting the 33rd pauri (stanza) of Japji Sahib[1] dissolves your ego and brings forth your divinity. It removes negativity, neutralizes your destructive nature, and prevents harm to others by your hand.

As you can see from the translation below, Guru Nanak[2] stresses that we as individuals are not the ones running the show. Higher caliber and elevated awareness become a personal reality when we effectively surrender to and obey the command of higher consciousness—to remember that God is the Doer and that "The One who rotates the Earth can take care of your routine." (Yogi Bhajan)

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. www.devsuroopkaur.com.

33rd Pauri of Japji

Aakhan jor chupai neh jor

Jor na mangan dayn na jor

Jor na jeevan maran neh jor

Jor na roaj maal man sor

Jor na surtee gi-aan veechaar

Jor na jugatee chhutai sansaar

Jis hath jor kar vaykhai so-i

Naanak utam neech na ko-i

Translation:

The power to speak or keep silent,
I don't have that power.

I don't have the power to beg or to give.

When I live, when I die, is far beyond my power.

I have no power to rule as a King, with wealth
Or through the force of my own mental manipulations.

I have no power to attach myself to God through meditation,
Or to attain wisdom, or to reflect on what I see.

I have no power to know the way to liberate myself from the world.

Whose Hand Holds this power?

The One who does and sees all.

Nanak, no one is high and no one is low.

Translation by Ek Ong Kaar Kaur Khalsa


[1] The first of five universal Sikh prayers recited to connect one to one's soul.

[2] The first of the Sikh Gurus and the composer of Japji Sahib.