Meditation to Know the Unknown

This month I completed my favorite 2 ½ hour meditation for what I believe to be the 36th time: Kirtan Kriya or the Sa Ta Na Ma Meditation.

Yogi Bhajan called this meditation the way to “experience your own infinity … to know the unknowable”. Kirtan Kriya, or the Sa Ta Na Ma Meditation, is the most researched meditation in Kundalini Yoga. Evidence has been accumulated in several studies that show its efficiency in memory improvement and as an adjunct to offsetting the effects of Alzheimer’s. Traditionally, it has been used therapeutically for balancing the glandular and hormonal system. 

Kirtan Kriya is considered to be the most fundamental practice of Kundalini Yoga, along with Sat Kriya and Breath of Fire. The typical version of this meditation takes 31-minutes or 11-minutes (the time used for most research purposes).

When Yogi Bhajan first discussed this meditation on December 28, 1972, he described is as “it’s one of the highest Kriya on the basic primary sounds (S, T, N, M, A). These are the five primary sound, Panch Shabad, and they have the power to eliminate in you any subconscious mental block.”

While the standard version of Kirtan Kriya is 31-miniutes (chant out loud for 5 minutes, whisper for 5 minutes, repeat silently for 10 minutes, whisper for 5 minutes and finally chant out loud for 5 minutes), Yogi Bhajan originally discussed it as a 2 ½ practice or sadhana:

“Those who meditate on these five primal sounds for one-tenth of the day, which is two and a half hours, that for the rest of the day the unknowable meditate on them. It is an exchange of energy. Those who have faith, those who have spirit, those who have courage, those who have will, they will be in the position to receive it. I can request you to do this mediation but I cannot do it for you and I won’t — why should I?”

Typically, it is said that in Kundalini Yoga, a 2 ½ hour meditation creates a new pattern in the individual subconscious mind that can be held by the Universal Mind. Gurucharan Singh Khalsa said that the extended 2 ½ hour meditation “completes the cycle of prana and apana so that whatever you gain will hold through the cycle of the day. It holds the change in the subconscious.”

My experience with doing Kirtan Kriya for 2 ½ hours is that you experience an immense opening of intuition and crystal clarity. You will know what is to happen before it happens, and life becomes an effortless flow.

The 2 ½ hour version of Kirtan Kriya is done as follows: 

  1. Chanting out loud 25 minutes.
  2. Chanting in a whisper 25 minutes.
  3.  Chanting silently 50 minutes.
  4. Chanting in a whisper 25 minutes.
  5. Chanting out loud 25 minutes

If you have some technical skill, it is helpful to create your own extended version of the meditation by repeating or looping the 5-minute segments of a recording for five times and create your own 2 ½ recording of the mantra so you can chant with it and not watch the time.

It is an amazing group meditation. I use it as a “graduation present” for all of our Level 1 Kundalini Yoga teacher training graduates, followed by a 20-30 minute gong relaxation.

My recent discovery surrounding this practice is to play the Gong in rhythm with the Sa Ta Na Ma chant all the way through the 50-minute silent segment for increased focus and clearing. So powerful!

If you are looking for an excellent 2 ½ hour meditation, or want to experience a profound clearing and awakening of intuition so you can “know the unknown and see the unseen,” this is your practice.

How to Practice it!

Want to experience the 2 ½ version of Kirtan Kriya with the Gong on a New Moon? Here is the upcoming event in Austin, Texas!  

New Moon Kundalini Gong Meditation

Saturday, September 28th


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