Sat Nam Rasayan is the ‘second side’ of the teachings of Yogi Bhajan

Posted on October 12, 2009. Filed under: Spiritual Teachers | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

At the beginning of the Master’s Touch course in Assisi on April 21, 1997 (less than two months before Yogi Bhajan declared Sat Nam Rasayan teacher Guru Dev Singh a Sant) Yogi Bhajan refers to a ‘second side’ of the teachings: “This course reflects my second side of the teachings, which I hid for twenty-eight years. I didn’t come here to collect students or to start a religion. That was not my idea(The Master’s Touch, p 225). Sat Nam Rasayan is that ‘second side’ of the teachings. Yogi Bhajan had taught these teachings to the teacher of Sat Nam Rasayan, Guru Dev Singh over a period of years. Guru Dev Sing says that this was taught in ‘the silence’ and that Yogi Bhajan never had an open conversation with Guru Dev Singh about the content of these teachings. Once Guru Dev Singh had demonstrated that he ‘got’ what it was that Yogi Bhajan was trying to teach, Yogi Bhajan then told Guru Dev Singh to organize these teachings so that everyone could learn them openly. As Guru Dev Singh began doing this Yogi Bhajan named this ‘second side’ of the teachings Sat Nam Rasayan which literally means True Identity Healing.

Sant Guru Dev Singh (Santji) relates that for hundreds of years the most powerful aspects of yogic teaching were kept hidden. Keeping these aspects of the teachings hidden was done through the use of initiation. Before a Teacher would begin to teach a student, that student would have to swear allegiance to the Teacher and the secrecy of the teachings. Then the Teacher would evaluate each student that came forward to determine if that student could learn the second side of the teachings. In the course of a lifetime of a Teacher these hidden teachings would be passed along to only one or two of the students. When these teachings had been passed on to the student, the teacher would leave their body and proclaim the student as the new Teacher. Since there were only one or two of a Teacher’s students that ever actually became aware of the second side of the teachings, and since a student that learned those teachings was eternally indebted to having learned them, those students were absolutely loyal to maintaning the sworn secrecy within the initiation.Yogi Bhajan’s goal was to not only pass on the teachings, but to do so in such a way that they could be taught openly. This corelates with Yogi Bhajan’s frequent statement that ‘I came to teach Teachers, not to collect students.’

Santji (Sant Guru Dev Singh) relates that Yogi Bhajan told him that there was something he wanted to teach Santji, and Santji needed to come to Los Angeles to learn. At the time Santji lived in Mexico City, so this required a major move. When Santji got to Los Angeles Yogi Bhajan told him to come to Yogi Bhajan’s house to be taught the next day. When Santji arrived the following morning, Yogi Bhajan seemed to ignore Santji all day as Yogi Bhajan conducted his normal business until late in the day when Yogi Bhajan apologized to Santji that it hadn’t worked out for that day and requested Santji to return the following day. Santji says that this happened everyday for 2 years before Santji realized that he was actually learning anything. Santji says it was 6 years before he actually ‘got’ what Yogi Bhajan was teaching, when Yogi Bhajan told him to organize those teaching so that they could be taught openly rather than in ‘the silence’.

I can also add that I am aware of when Yogi Bhajan tested me as a new student of his to determine whether I could learn the ‘second side’ of the teachings. It was at a Tantric course in St. Louis in the fall of 1978. I had started attending Kundalini Yoga classes in January in Madison, WI and had met Yogi Bhajan at my first Tantric course in April in KC, followed by my first Summer Solstice where I got my spiritual name. At the St. Louis Tantric course I spoke to Yogi Bhajan for the first time. I explained to him that I competed in martial arts tournaments which had only two weight classes, lightweight and heavyweight. I explained to him that because I was tall yet very slim I had to fight in the heavyweight classification and that I would like to put on some weight to remedy this. Secretly I wanted Yogi Bhajan to know that I was a martial arts fighter, and my slight frame had been a source of insecurity for me my whole life. So in asking Yogi Bhajan this seemingly unimportant question I had actually exposed how I wanted to appear special as a martial arts fighter and was basically insecure about myself. Yogi Bhajan spoke to the core of these issues in his response. He asked me why I wanted to be an elephant. He went on to tell me that what I considered to be my slight build he thought was a perfect physique, and that he had the exact same physique in his youth.

This however did not satisfy me and I pressed him for something that I could do to put on more weight. He then told me to do cat stretch, and I found myself stammering in front of him wondering if he meant for me to do this cat stretch right there in front of him at that moment. Although I did not articulate this directly he indicated that he wanted me to do cat stretch right then and there. I was relatively new to Kundalini Yoga and had only heard of cat stretch once or twice and was initially not clear on what in fact he was referring to. As I stood there though, it became clear that he meant that I was to lie on my back and stretch one knee across past the opposite leg keeping my shoulders on the ground. I understood that this is what he wanted me to do even though I had never learned it was called cat stretch. As I became aware of this I also realized that I was wearing my new white kurta that I had payed a lady in Madison to make for me. I was very proud of this kurta, and I didn’t want to get it dirty rolling around on the floor there. I therefore acted like I was unclear about what he actually wanted me to do. This dance went on for a few moments until he stopped it indicating frustration,  communicating that he wanted to teach me something and that I was not allowing him to. Chance missed, he then entirely stopped talking to me about this cat stretch thing. Since hearing from Santji of his trials learning from Yogi Bhajan in the silence, I now understand that Yogi Bhajan was testing me to see if I was ready to learn in the silence. That Yogi Bhajan was teaching me in the silence when I became aware of what cat stretch meant, and he knew that I understood what he wanted me to but that I was feigning that I did not. it only took a few moments to fail the test by acting that I did not understand when in fact I understood.

I, like the majority of Yogi Bhajan’s students, had communicated that I was unable to learn the second part of the teachings in the silence. However, also like the rest of Yogi Bhajan’s students, I had recognized that Yogi Bhajan was an Enlightened Master, and my Teacher. As I mentioned previously in my post The Problem with IKYTA simply recognizing a spiritual Teacher is a major milestone in the spiritual development of each and every person. It is said by the Buddhists that there is a specific experience when one recognizes their spiritual Teacher. They describe this as experiencing the words of your own heart in what the Teacher is saying. Speaking for myself I can definitely attest to this being my experience when I first met Yogi Bhajan at that first Tantric course in KC. I was utterly amazed that he knew the issues that I had but could not relate with others about so intimately, and it was as if he was speaking directly to me the entire weekend. Every one of Yogi Bhajan’s students has had some form of this experience. In addition each student has had to humble themselves and admit that they have submitted to a spiritual Teacher in order to be a student of Yogi Bhajan (Note that this is also true of students of any other Teacher or lineage.). Notice that it was a lack of submitting when Yogi Bhajan told me to do cat stretch. The conclusion to draw from this is that the way to learn the hidden ‘second part’ of the teachings is in learning to submit ourselves to the Teacher in more subtle ways. This ultimately becomes the Teacher within until we become Teachers ourselves.

Sant Guru Dev Singh mastered this submission of the self through learning in the silence and was recognized for this by Yogi Bhajan. Accordingly, Sat Nam Rasayan is the structure that Sant Guru Dev Singh was instructed to establish so that slobs like me and the rest of Yogi Bhajan’s students could systematically learn to humble ourselves to God’s Will, to what is presenting itself, to the Guru’s Hukam, to the Teacher within.

Furthermore, this is a conscious journey. When a student recognizes a Teacher, both the Teacher and the student are aware of the fact. It only happens when the student becomes humble to they realize. If I had done the cat stretch instead of pretending I did not understand what was meant, I am sure I would have had an experience that would have confirmed to me that I had a connection with Yogi Bhajan that was present in the subtle instructions he was giving me. This experience and confirmation of a deeper connection would then have been the base for learning more of the second side of the teachings, but that would only have been possible if I made the necessary realization. In this way, the advancement of the student is always determined by the student’s own awareness.

I make this point because many think that the Teacher can simply bestow a blessing upon a student and enlightenment blossoms instantaneously because of the devotion of the student. This does not happen. The second side of the teachings must be consciously learned in order for the student to modify themselves to understand the next step. It is a painstakingly slow and gradual process of self awareness where the student is cognizant of what is being learned every step of the way.

Ong Namo; Guru Dev Namo

It’s not the life that matters, but the courage we bring to it.


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[…] Yogi Bhajan's Student Just another weblog « Sat Nam Rasayan is the ’second side’ of the teachings of Yogi Bhajan […]

[…] Teachers to facilitate that shift. He was also a pragmatist. He established the structure for the second side of the teachings, Sat Nam Rasayan (blogs: Darsana Wellness, Healing with Lea, Be the Lighthouse ). He made sure that this was […]

[…] is so misunderstood is that the real “how to” of how to meditate must be learned in the second side of the teachings. If a person has not learned or understood the second side of the teachings, they do not know how […]

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