by SS Dr. Gurusangat Kaur Khalsa, Belo Horizonte Brazil
Berlin can be very damp in summers and the year 1992 brought us an unusually warm July. This particular afternoon was hot and humid. My dear friend Audre Lorde was coming to see me and, while cleaning up my room, I was singing Ang Sang Wahe Guru at the top of my lungs. I had just started my Kundalini Yoga Teacher Training classes, and I guess that was part of the new territory and all the excitement it brings with it.
Audre Lorde arrived in her beautiful African dress, and time just flew by in our heart-to-heart conversation. The experience is still vivid in my memory. Out of the blue, she took my hand, looked into my eyes, and said: “Community is all that matters. Solo leaders won’t survive in times to come.” A few months after that afternoon, on a cold November day, my friend passed away, leaving behind a legacy and the gift of her kindness in my heart.
Step by step, I moved into that new territory under the guidance of my Berlin teachers and eventually the Siri Singh Sahib. I met him twice and only briefly, but enough to find myself immersed in his compassion and wisdom. The teachings were delivered right into our laps, and from that moment on I walked, carrying them naturally.
I mean to say that I had no clue, no plan, nothing at all as far as the teachings were concerned. I never really planned anything. After all, I was a Ph.D. doctor on my way back home where life had its challenges and pleasures—more pleasures than problems, to be honest. Never once did I consider becoming a Kundalini Yoga teacher or growing/becoming part of a community. I innocently followed the jet stream of life, hardly realizing that I was being streamed towards a new chapter of my life, which later on I started calling “destiny.”
A Seed of Sangat
Not even one year had passed upon my return to Brazil, and I was already teaching Kundalini Yoga classes and communicating with the Siri Singh Sahib about the possible roads to take, with regard to sharing the teachings with people in need.
The seed of a sangat was being sown, and Audre’s thoughtful advice was taking shape. Those days I didn’t hear much about leadership from the Siri Singh Sahib, and we had very few publications. I had my Nitnem and I had Satya Singh’s book for my morning sadhanas, and that was pretty much it.
Following the Siri Singh Sahib’s advice, I sent him an e-mail one day, complaining about a few teachers who I was training to assist me. The Kundalini Yoga classes were growing fast, and I could not see myself taking any further steps alone.
He did not care for my nagging behavior and sent me an arrow-like answer: “Do 31 minutes of Sat Kriya in the morning and 31 minutes of Sat Kriya in the evening for 40 days.” I must say, there was not a single day during that 40-day sadhana that I did not regret being on this path! A few months later I got another e-mail from him saying: “Never be alone. Train people with compassion and serve all.”
Carrying the Mission
When I look back, I realize that my life has been set precisely to carry that mission. Now more than ever, I feel that what Audre and the Siri Singh Sahib both told me is correct—there is no room for solo leadership in the world. Not only is knowledge collective, but Aquarian times require Aquarian leadership.
If you ask me what an Aquarian leader means, I must say I don’t know exactly. If I weren’t a doctor myself and someone would ask me what my heart is like, I wouldn’t be able to explain. I could only say that I feel it in my chest and that it is by its compassion that I am alive.
Deep inside, I feel that Aquarian leadership means being out there pulsing; it means breaking ties and being unconventional. It means getting notorious by doing the unthinkable act of service by unchaining yourself from the general mores and conventions and going mad serving the world. It means revoking your need to be the center and suddenly realizing that by doing so, you are all in all. Your center is in everything that exists. It’s wild. It’s walking on the wild side (baby!). It’s living where you fear to live and right there, excelling.
There is not even a single moment in my life as a Minister of Sikh Dharma, as a Kundalini Yoga Trainer, as a doctor, or as a pure human being where life seems isolated or concealed.
Isn’t it true that, in those ephemeral moments in which we find real joy and happiness in life, all we want is to celebrate together? And isn’t it true that in moments of pain and frustration when time seems to stand still, making us captive in that displeasure, all we need is to gather together to remind us of Gurbani? As Guru Nanak says in Japji Sahib:
“Kaytiaa dookh bhookh sad maar. Eh bhi daat tayree daataar”
“So many are continually beaten down by endless pain and hunger.
Even these are your Gifts to us, Great Giver.” (trans. SS Ek Ong Kaar Kaur Khalsa)
I treasure sangat because it helps me to find the treasure contained in the Divine gift of pain and suffering. Quite frankly, I cannot help but see us humans actually as a community of cells, of impressions, of emotions—a sangat of molecules in divine pain, and heavenly happiness. When we stop being so self-centered, we then realize we are an immense stunning community that can manifest that leadership, which will honor and support such eloquent uniqueness.
Photos courtesy SS Gurumustuk Singh Khalsa
About the Author
SS Dr. Gurusangat Kaur Khalsa has been a Sikh Dharma Minister since 2008. She has studied Kundalini Yoga since 1991 and has been teaching in Brazil since 1995. She is engaged in creating a strong 3HO sangat in Brazil, devoting her expertise in the medical field to bridge medical science and yogic science in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, where there is a vibrant and engaged sangat comprised of over 300 members. Gurusangat Kaur has dedicated herself to creating the Miri Piri School Brazil System. (To date, four schools have opened in the country.) She holds a PhD in Epidemiology from the Freie Universitãt Berlin, and a Master’s Degree in Education from Brazil. Gurusangat Kaur Khalsa is a Kundalini Research Institute Lead Mentor and International Khalsa Council Chairperson.