by SS GuruSurya Kaur Khalsa, Brooklyn NY
When our son Hari Simran Singh was 10 years old, a few weeks before he was to leave for his first year at school in India, I told him that I intended to pray for him every day he was away. We were walking together along the park. I hadn’t settled on the form the prayer would take—perhaps one of the banis or a shabd, a mantra. He answered right away, “Har Har Har Har Gobinday, Har Har Har Har Mukanday.”
Of course! The Guru Gaitri Mantra with Four Hars* was a perfect choice. I had daily chanted this mantra for a year in the months before and after Hari Simran’s birth in May 1989. At a New Year’s Eve Gurdwara we attended just weeks after celebrating our 120th day of pregnancy, our beloved teacher the Siri Singh Sahib (Yogi Bhajan), had recommended it as a perfect mantra for the coming year. So Hari Simran Singh and I had a shared relationship with this special mantra already.
During that first India school year, I chanted and prayed for his health, success, his courage and happiness, his safety and comfort. Some days I chanted for a few minutes, other days I chanted for hours—sitting in front of the Guru, or as I folded laundry or ran errands. I found that being a long-distance parent required a different kind of attentiveness.
I spoke with other mothers, asking how they connected to their children while they were at school in India—how they supported them, how they coped with worrying. My friend Shakta Kaur from Virginia shared a wonderful insight—she never worried; she just tuned in. That thought gave me the idea that more was possible.
I discovered the ability to tune in to Hari Simran Singh, and found that I could sense how he was feeling, what was going on with him, and know when he needed help from me. I would sometimes get confirmation from him when we spoke on the phone or emailed, but often I would never know what the issue had been about.
I continued chanting and praying each day for his courage, compassion, for people of caliber and consciousness to teach and support him, friends to love and be loved by, for the protection of Guru Ram Das.
The Power of the Subtle Body
Over the years I would chant the mantra automatically during my day, continuing even when he was home during the summers, and then when he went to college and traveled, when he got engaged and married. As he became a man, it was not often that something required my attention. I understood that he had become steady, competent, not easily unbalanced. I prayed for his happiness, his cozy home, for opportunities to serve, and that he would fulfill his highest destiny.
In the autumn of 2014, something changed. I found that when I chanted for him, instead of just knowing all was okay or if more was required, I felt good. When I was bothered by something, or distressed, chanting for him made me feel better.
The realization of this dawned on me slowly, over days. I paid more attention, and enjoyed this new development. I wasn’t thinking that he was a Realized Being, or done here and would be leaving soon. It was more that my prayers as his mother had served and now he was returning the blessing and blessing me.
During the days Hari Simran was missing, I prayed and chanted. After he had been found, and we knew that his life here had ended, I was hardly present in my body but continued to chant. I had been chanting that mantra so long and so consistently that it was automatic for me.
I found in those days and weeks, even in the depths of my grief, when I chanted that mantra I felt better. I would sometimes feel or think that I had lost something important, but when I chanted, I was surrounded by brightness and beauty, his love for me and mine for him. He had left but we were not separate. That is the power of the Subtle Body. We are given the capacity to merge through our Subtle Body, while retaining our individual identity.
In the following months I was able to experience this connection with our beloved Hari Simran, especially when singing and chanting in the company of the Sadh Sangat, whenever his friends were around, when a stranger remembered him to me, in a quiet moment. I continue to chant the Guru Gaitri Mantra with Four Hars, because it is my privilege and blessing.
Har Har Har Har Gobinday (mp3)
*Siri Singh Sahib Ji’s words about the Guru Gaitri Mantra with Four Hars: “This mantra brings prosperity, happiness, and saves us from calamities. It is a sound current which brings a shield and brings good luck and removes discomfort and disease. It is the key to the doorway of self-elevation….This mantra is composed of eight words about God, with four Hars added to it. Chant it from the navel and listen to it.…Each word of the mantra opens up a chakra and feeds the soul, giving the feeling of deathlessness. It has the power of a tidal wave to take away every block to your prosperity. It brings wealth even if you do not deserve it.”
About the Author
SS GuruSurya Kaur Khalsa is a teacher of Kundalini Yoga and Meditation, a Sat Nam Rasayan practitioner, a quilter and watercolor artist. She and her husband, SS Sat Jagat Singh Khalsa, are directors of Kundalini Yoga in Park Slope, a yoga center at Guru Ram Das Ashram, Brooklyn, New York. They host monthly Gurdwara programs and an annual Akhand Path in May honoring their son, Hari Simran Singh, 1989-2014. GuruSurya Kaur enjoys making Sikh doll clothes in support of children of Sikh Dharma and the Hari Simran Foundation.