My First Time at Golden Temple
My first experience with deep musical meditation was at the Golden Temple in Amritsar, India. I was only 22-years-old.
While my surroundings were beautiful, I was sick with dysentery. Running to and from the bathroom put me in a bad mood — and out of enjoying the Golden Temple itself.
On top of that, the temperature was 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
I was negative about everything: The heat, the dust, the music, the crowds and the low water level in the nectar tank, fed from lake water. I couldn’t even drink the water because it was green instead of clear.
As you can imagine, I was incredibly uncomfortable and pessimistic. Even the sounds of the live music, called kirtan, were grating my ears.
Thankfully, I was sent to Yogi Ji’s doctor’s uncle’s air-conditioned home in the suburbs to fully recover. The clean and cool environment was a relief.
Then, a kind neighbor handed me a collection of poetic English translations of musical prayers from the Golden Temple — a UNESCO publication called The Sacred Writings of the SIKHs.
I ended up devouring the book in one night. Even in English and without music, they reached me in a deep, meditative way.
That’s when I heard my inner voice:
Go back to the Golden Temple, Satkirin.
Dip in the nectar tank.
Sip the water.
Let the past karma’s of life float away from your being.
Once I fully recovered, I went straight back to the Golden Temple.
This is how I fell in love with the music and meditations of Gurbani Kirtan.
That blissful awakening is something I hope everyone experiences.
And you don’t need to be in the Golden Temple to do that.
Maybe you’re driving in rush hour traffic.
Just got home after a stressful day at work.
Need a moment to yourself while the kids take a nap.
For many decades, I’ve been studying and teaching the Kirtan & the Raga of the Sikh Masters. With this study, I’ve realized you can find meditation in unlikely places. In fact, I encourage it!
Bringing meditation to all parts of life, not just to the proscribed quiet times of our lives, is why I’m bringing you my 19th album to use whenever you need a break.
Meditate Forever, the digital album I’m releasing February 12, is a celebration of being kind to yourself in and out of what people consider official meditation spaces or times.
The words, combined with special rhythms and musical instrumentation, will give you joy and clarity of mind when you need it most.
Forget about asking: How will this happen? When will that get started? The truth is you’ll know deep within yourself when the time is right, and this music can shed light on those inner whispers.
Maybe a new wonderful reality of your life is revealed. Or your problem dissolves into a bigger picture with more understanding.
Learn more about the new album here, and get the experience by singing along or listening deeply to find your own inner voice.
A word of caution: When you’re listening to this music in the car, let it soften your road rage, but not to the point you want to take a nap. Keep your eyes on the road!
After you’ve taken a listen, tell me: Is the music making you feel relaxed? Any new insights? I’d love to know.
About the featured photo: Jemez, New Mexico at the Summer Solstice event in June 1973. Our group returned from the trip to The Golden Temple and we’d learned to sing kirtan there, thus this photo of us preforming. That’s me with the guitar!