Ek Ong Kar Sat Gur Prasad
This is the story of the Ek Ong Kar Mantra and how it became my much loved and favorite Magic Mantra for connecting, releasing and transforming negativity into positivity and optimism.
First a little history, a couple of love stories and a little culture.
How you get your start in the world is everything.
Due to its location in the north of India, the Punjab region has been influenced by both east and west. The Persians, Greeks, Scythians, Turks and Afghan invasions resulted in centuries of bitter bloodshed with today’s Punjab culture combining influences from Hindu, Buddhist, Islamic, Afghan, British, and Sikh.
Most of the 27.7 million people in Punjab are Sikh. The roots of Sikhism began at the time of the conquest of northern India by the 1st Mughal Emperor. His grandson was Akbar the 3rd Emperor. You may recognize him from the Jodhaa Akbar movie. In contrast to the other Mughal Emperors, Akbar supported religious freedom, tripled the Empire in size and wealth, cooperated with and sought the goodwill of his multicultural subjects and was a patron of the arts and culture. No wonder they called him Akbar the Great!
Anjou was fond of watching Indian movies, and Jodhaa Akbar was a favorite that we watched together multiple times. We were inspired by the tolerance, leadership, romance, sensuality, culture and beautiful aesthetics of the period. We infused our work with tolerance, inclusion, and compassion, and used the aesthetic elements to decorate our home – particularly the master bedroom, domed ceiling and walls in vibrant colors and exotic fabrics.
We acquired objects of art and beauty as well as inspirational and devotional decor to create an environment of sacred beauty that was part, temple, part art gallery. In all main rooms of the house, we installed audio systems and created a playlist of mantras to play in the background 24/7.
Iran at the time of the Shah
Anjou spent her formative years in India, moving to Iran before the overthrow of the Shah and while her father waited for approval to immigrate to Canada, she went to school in London, England. The family moved to a very small town in rural Christian Canada where they were the only Sikh family, her Dad’s Turban caused a commotion on top of no one ever seeing an Indian before! Extreme prejudice…
Looking back on this story, I think it is easy to understand why her mother had a hard time adjusting and why Anjou would be embarrassed by her culture and become westernized in order to fit in and be accepted. It took years for Anjou to re-embrace her heritage.
We talked for hours and hours over many years about Sikh beliefs and how different they are from the Hindu majority of India. Sikhism is relatively new with just over 500 years of history vs 5,000 for Hinduism.
While not a practicing Sikh, Anjou was always proud of her Sikh heritage and at the same time embracing elements from many diverse practices including American Indian, Christian, Hindu, Islamic and Buddhism. You could say she was very open-minded and inclusive.
The Two Swords of Sikhism
Anjou was proud of the Sikh symbol of two crossed swords that represent the balance of spiritual and material. In other words, both are inclusive of the other and you cannot have one without the other. Anjou and I talked extensively about how many philosophies encouraged the abandonment of material pursuits in order to achieve spiritual fulfillment and how Sikhism embraced both.
These discussions influenced our holistic ideas of balancing ego with spirit that became the foundation concepts behind GOLDZONE.
In Hinduism, there is one supreme God and according to popular belief, 33 crore deities (330 million). Contrast this with Sikhism where there is only one God.
Going Through the Motions
All religions have beliefs and spiritual practices that are designed to support the practitioner to become a better person, to deal with day to day challenges of life, to explain life’s meaning and purpose and to reach enlightenment or salvation. When performed on a regular basis, these practices become rituals with meaning and if not performed deliberately become rituals devoid of meaning as if the practice itself will automatically “do the job”.
After lengthy discussions over many years, Anjou and I concluded that intentional and deliberate practice of a ritual is where the magic is. In other words, it is in understanding the meaning and contemplating the application where the practice comes alive and produces the most value.
Inclusive vs Exclusive
Some people are of the belief that there is only one true path and that all others are lost and on the wrong path. This form of belief is exclusive, meaning that you are either in the club or excluded from the club. Contrast this with the inclusive attitude that all paths will eventually lead to the same place and it does not matter which path you choose as this is a merely personal preference.
The reason people often fixate on positions of being right is because a fixed view does not allow the viewer to see that things look different from the other person’s position. Meaning that both parties can be both right, both wrong or one right and the other wrong. Typically the person who is the most attached to being right is often the “most wrong.”
It is the inclusive viewpoint that allows for both right and wrong and multiple viewpoints where all parties can be right. From here it is easy to see that multiple paths can lead to the same place.
This perspective will allow you to transcend the singular religion and embrace peoples of all religions and all practices that don’t infringe on the rights of others.
The Magic of the Mantra
Most spiritual practices include some form of repetitive chants, sacred words, prayers, and music. These are sung or chanted as an incantation or prayer.
Many people repeat phrases, statements of belief or truisms that are also mantras. Some are positive and others are counter productive.
“The mantra, taking us into the present moment and beyond the ego, slips through the narrow gate into the city of God.” – John Main, Benedictine Monk.
Some well-known mantras include; Hinduism’s Gayatri mantra, Buddhism’s Om Mani Padme Hum, Christianity’s the Jesus Prayer, and Islam’s the Sufi dhikr.
There are conflicting opinions about how mantras work and if they work at all. One school of thought suggests that mantras are mostly meaningless melodic sound constructs whereas the other point of view insists that they are meaningful linguistic instruments of the mind. At the very least I think everyone would agree that they have a minimum effect similar to listening to your favorite music and possibly much more.
Some mantras have literal meanings and others do not. Many people believe that the universe began with a word or sound from God. Everything in the universe can be related to a vibration or frequency. Mantras are a way of tuning into and focusing this vibration, or sound, in ourselves so that we begin to vibrate at the same frequency of the words or mantra.
By repeating a mantra you are literally tuning yourself to resonate at the same vibrational frequency as the energy or intention associated with that mantra. Eventually, as you resonate more and more at the same frequency as the mantra, the mantra gains its own momentum and as they say in Sufism, “you stop doing the mantra, and the mantra starts doing you”.
At first Skeptical, then Acceptance, then Amazement…
Prior to meeting Anjou mantras seemed confusing and a little woo-woo to me. After lengthy conversations, a little education and some translation I opened my mind to more possibilities and fell in love with mantras as a sacred meditative practice.
What I discovered was a plethora of different types, styles, purposes and methods of mantras. To name a few, Hindu mantras tune you into a specific deity for healing, success or protection whereas Sikh mantras tend to focus on the supreme being, creation, and oneness.
When combined with meditation, education, clean slate, taking positive actions, surrounding oneself with creative and uplifting environments, beauty and aesthetics, healthy diet and exercise, mantras add an extra dimension.
If you don’t solve your problems, or at least, the ones you can do something about and accept that which you cannot change — no amount of positive thinking, affirmations, visualizations, meditations or mantras will alleviate your discomfort for anything more than temporary relief — only to recur again as soon as the effects of the mantra have worn off.
Ek Ong Kar Sat Gur Prasad
My favorite mantra is Ek Ong Kar. This is reputed to be the most powerful Sikh mantra in at least three variations; Ek Ong Kar, Ek Ong Kar Sat Gur Prasad, and Ek Ong Kar Sat Nam Siri Wahe Guru.
Here is the translation and meaning:
Ek Ong Kar: “The creator and creation are one.”
Ek Ong Kar Sat Gur Prasad: “The creator and the creation are one. All is a blessing of the one creator. This realization comes through Guru’s Grace.”
Ek Ong Kar Sat Nam Siri Wahe Guru: “The creator and the creation are one. This is our true identity. The ecstasy of the experience of this wisdom is beyond all words and brings indescribable bliss.”
This mantra takes a negative thought and reverses it to positive. It is said to contain the essence of the entire Siri Guru Granth Sahib (the holy scriptures and living Guru of the Sikhs).
It is said that this mantra brings about Kundalini awakening, the opening of the chakras, a sense of bliss and is the mantra of the Aquarian Age.
Warning! This is the only kundalini mantra that comes with a warning… it is said to be so powerful that you have to watch your thoughts and actions after your chant it. You will be in such a state of manifestation, that your thoughts will accelerate into being. A good reason to chant it deliberately and with intention.
Lightness of Being
Over the thirteen years that Anjou and I were together we actively sought out and acquired music, videos, mantras and visualizations to use on our own journey as well as to share with others.
Some of the very best pieces we found included music, mantras, and visuals. My all time favorite is the album Lightness of Being by SatKirin Kaur Khalsa, a Los Angeles-born American who converted to Sikhism. She is a beautiful musician, teacher, and yogi. I love her message of unity, love, and compassion. Leaving aside the religious aspects, the mantras, chants and music are incredible!
Here is SatKirin Kaur Khalsa chanting Ek Ong Kar:
In preparation for playing this mantra, I suggest that you create a sacred environment, play the music intentionally, chant along with the words (doesn’t matter if you get them all or not) and focus your attention on a meditative state.
One of my other favorites is Om Mani Padme Hum and Gregorian Chants by the Benedictine Monks of Santo Domingo…
Check it out:
Here is a Sufi Hu Mantra:
Om Mani Padme Hum:
Go on your own personal quest to find chants, music, and mantras that uplift and inspire you and by all means, share your best picks!
Whatever you do — do it with passion and purpose!
Leadership Advocate and Co-Founder of the Goldzone Group. I help leaders to master the new rules of leadership for the new economy. Over the past 30 years, I have visited over 500 cities in 54 countries to explore, learn from, and help many of the world’s leading companies, leaders, and luminaries in the fields of science, technology, health, finance, entrepreneurship, and leadership.