by SS Panch Nishan Kaur Khalsa, Goettingen, Germany
To be a leader, one must go beyond the comfort zone into the unknown in order to trust and lean on the One within. Guru Arjan inspires me above all to walk my talk and to lead through example. When the challenges of life come, I think of Guru Arjan sitting on the hot plate and it gives me the sense of equilibrium in the midst of extremity and remembrance that the challenges “are too Thy Gifts, O Lord.”
Thinking of Guru Arjan’s burning body and striving to look through his eyes, Maya can no longer disguise as the state of Jivan Mukta gives rise. Living in the Maya and not of it, living dead or liberated while alive is such a delicate balance that is an essential leadership quality.
Often it is much easier to be in one polarity or the other: to either perceive that you are not living in the Maya by putting on spiritual airs and separating yourself and elevating yourself above others, or through the polarity of living in the Maya and being seduced by it, constantly pulled by the five passions of lust, anger, greed, pride and attachment.
It is safe to say we have all experienced variations of both polarities. The concept of Jivan Mukta is not a destination but rather a constant dance between Purusha and Prakirti so that life can challenge us to recalibrate and pierce through the Maya. If you can keep your cool through the burning heat you can keep your cool through anything.
“When I ask how to live my life you laugh and ask me why,
You tell me I’d be better off to ask you how to die.”
From Walking up the Mountain (lyrics by SS Guru Dain Singh, music by SS Guru Dass Singh)
Living in Community
Living in spiritual community, the state of Jivan Mukta is a useful tool, as the sangat is not free from its own interplay of Maya. This state allows a shift from the model of “territory” to creating partnership.
Seeing your life as something much bigger than yourself, seeing the community in which you live as a living organism requires many diverse components to keep it alive. The more you show up authentically in reverence of the whole, the more your unique service becomes clear.
One of the most elemental teachings of Guru Arjan is to lead through example. Since moving to Germany in August of 2011 and joining a small community in Goettingen, it has been my mantra, my focus, and my guiding light to practice the teachings individually and together in community.
Working together, we organized the first 2 ½ hour Long Ek Ong Kaar Meditation for the Siri Singh Sahib’s birthday, the first 120-day event, the first Gurdwaras, the first workshop for Kundalini Yoga Teachers that drew about 40 people from three countries and the first 40-day morning sadhana practice as a community. Also the first Teacher Training program started this year in Goettingen.
With a small, growing Sangat we experience all possibilities. An asset of our community is that we don’t have just one leader, we have many. We are also blessed that we have a community with diverse talents and there is room for everyone to offer what they are called to bring forth.
About the Author
SS Panch Nishan Kaur is an ordained Sikh Dharma Minister. She is is a KRI Certified Kundalini Yoga Teacher and Teacher Trainer. Her specialties include yoga for women, pre-natal, burnout prevention and relationships. Panch Nishan studied directly with the Master of Kundalini Yoga, Yogi Bhajan and spent many years working under his guidance for Akal Security, Sikh Dharma International and 3HO Foundation where she led the area of International Community Relations. Additionally she serves as a facilitator of White Tantric Yoga.