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Guru Jagat operates on a higher vibration. She is a Kundalini teacher, chill-inducing public speaker, and founder of the RA MA institute— the spiritual oasis with locations in LA, NYC and Mallorca. She offers workshops on aligning chakras; entering the Aquarian age with grace; discovering opulence, vitality, and chiseling out your authentic destiny; mastering our own breath and more. She calls LA home, so when she was in the New York City for a few days this summer, we snagged a mat in one of her classes in the Lower East Side to experience her flavor of Kundalini. It's sharp, punchy, transformative and filled with light. Afterward, we had the opportunity to sit with her and dive into her thoughts on interstellar life, the myths about enlightenment, the power that lies within every woman, and what the next 26,000 years might look like.
Will you share with us your journey? How did you become the woman and thought-leader you are today?
Well, I had a really cool mom, which I think is the beginning of any good journey. She was very open-minded, and just amazingly strong. She was actually one of the first dance and movement therapists that ever existed in America, she was super ahead of her time. She raised us as spiritual, and to be connected to ourselves, which I think is really all you can do with your children. I both saw the pitfalls of the spiritual path, and just a lot of the strange things that were going on in the New Age world of the '80s and '90s.
I also knew that I didn't want to just live the work, slave, society life. I certainly didn't feel connected to some of the promises of the American dream, and cultural promises like, "You're a woman, and you can get married and have children, and somehow that's going to make you happy," which we all know is a falsity and a lie. Or you find a good career. The new lie that's happening is if you have a really good career, you'll be happy, and that's not true, either. I knew that there was something deeper, so I was looking in my heart of hearts for a spiritual teacher.
That was when I stumbled into my first kundalini yoga class, and some girl was teaching here in New York. She wore a cool turban. I was like, "This girl is cool." The moment I started, I knew that I had entered the right space. At the time, Yogi Bhajan was still alive. He pointed me in the direction of a lot of things in the last couple years of his life. One of them was doing teacher training and moving to Los Angeles where the seat of his throne was.
At the time I was like, "Why am I moving to LA?" I had fallen in love with a guy who was a California boy. He was like, "Let's go back to California. I want to take you there." It was all orchestrated perfectly. I'm an east coast girl. Now it's en vogue, but when I moved from New York to LA, people were like, "What is wrong with you?" I moved after meeting Yogi Bhajan, and I did teacher training and got as much transmission from him as I could.
Five months before he died, he asked me to teach at his school in Los Angeles, which I then taught at almost every day for a decade. I think a lot of times people think that these things are overnight. It looks like it's an overnight success, and of course, if you're good at something, you should be making it look like it's easy. That's part of a level of mastery. I think it's important for everyone to know that I feel one of the keys to real, true success is a work ethic. All the people who are the most successful have a very strong work ethic. They're up and at it, doing it, doing what they love as much as they can.
Can you explain the origin of your name?
[Yogi Bhajan] gave me that name when I was very young. I think that part of what he was doing, one, it's part of the destiny, but two, Guru Jagat is more normally used in India, and it's always men. Gurus classically in the time that we came from, were men.
I think he very much knew what was going to be happening with women, the rise of the feminine, and he knew that we needed women leaders. I think he really groomed me in a way to be that.
Guru doesn't mean what we would classically think of like. It's really more about the spirit of a teacher and the spirit of someone who brings the light into the darkest areas of our minds and our hearts and our lives, and that's certainly my mission. In terms of how I became a guru, it's really about my mission as a teacher.
Everything is changing now, and I think that's part of all of our jobs— to show what it looks like when a woman is a spiritual leader, or a woman is a political leader, or a business leader. I think it's really a part of our work to be these new role models and show what that looks like. I think that was part of why he gave me that name, but I certainly was annoyed about it. I was like, "Really? Okay." I also had felt like I got the golden ticket, because I knew what was ahead. We always do. You never know, but you kind of know. I taught at his school for a decade in Los Angeles, and then I opened RA MA Institute in 2013, right after we shifted across the galactic center.
What was the vision for the RA MA institute? How have you stood out from the saturated spiritual market, especially in LA?
On the 21st of December, 2012, I started looking for RA MA, the space that was going to be our first studio. A shift in age occurred, and there was a new of sense of, "Okay, now we need a new place of being a community.” What I've created with RA MA demonstrates we can be everything we are. We don't have to divorce our spiritual lives from the rest of our lives. We don't have to “be good.” We don't have to talk softly to show that we're spiritual. We don't have to not swear to show that we're more evolved.
This place is a mantle of the new consciousness, which is we can be artists, we can be people who are embodied, we can be people who are living all sorts of different types of lifestyles and all sorts of different types of destinies. We come together in community and solidarity in yogic practice and meditative practice, and everything else can exist. It doesn't need to be thrown out the window. I think that that has been such a huge message. All things can be held in the human spirit. We're past the age of morality where it's, "This is the way it looks to be spiritual."
It's really one of the reasons why I accent some of my more street aspects. There's lots of words in the dictionary, but I cuss on purpose because you're basically neuro-linguistically trying to break through. Tony Robbins does this. It's neurolinguistic programming. You're trying to break through people's idea of what it means to be something. We're breaking the molds. As much as we can, let's see how much we can break away the patterns and those molds in the shells of our cultural conditioning. I really feel that that's the definition of spiritual practice. We're not trying to get enlightened. We're not even particularly trying to be quote-unquote "better" people. I think that's a myth of spirituality.
It really is about, how much of my true essence can I chisel out of the casing from our familial history, our cultural history, and all the socioeconomic constructs, these types of structures? How much of the true essence can we chisel out? And that true essence obviously is something that is unique to us, and then it's also the thing that is the same in all of us, that kind of power of thought or whatever you want to call it. That's my mission. That's what RA MA’s about.
Enlightenment is a huge word that's thrown around often. Everything seems to be about becoming "enlightened" without people really understanding what that actually means. Can you talk about true enlightenment?
There are some great descriptions of what it actually means to be enlightened quote-unquote, and it's just not what we think. One good description I think of enlightenment is that the lights get turned on brighter, and this is when most people, when they have even a little shard of an experience, this is when most people run away from either a relationship or an opportunity. All of a sudden, we see ourselves a little bit more clearly, and it can be very, very confronting. I feel like part of the spiritual conditioning is just like you would condition a muscle— we're conditioning ourselves to be strong enough to really comprehend the complexity of who we are and then also the purity of who we are.
They exist simultaneously. There's a pure light and a pure ray of consciousness that is the soul body. It exists beyond the time and space, beyond the physical body. In some traditions, they call it samskara. It's the repetition of the patterns. You could call it karma. I don't love that word because I think it's misused. It's this repetition of the traumas, and the patterns, and the ways that we repeat that stuff in relationships, from childhood, and then even from beyond past lives.
When you have this moment of more light opening up in the system, it should be somewhat mortifying because you actually start to see the dust in the corners. One of my favorite Tibetan Buddhist traditions comes from the teacher, Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, who says that basically if you're really opening yourself up to enlightenment or the light, it's not nirvana. It's suffering plus more suffering. It actually shows you how the more open you get, the more you see how much people are suffering. You see how much you're suffering, so it requires more strength. It's a little bit different than the way that it's been described in certain types of spiritual texts, or even just our western idea of what that looks like, that we're going to be blissed out or something.
Sometimes you are, because you start to become strong enough to actually be receptive to the power of the suffering, just as much as the power of the nirvana. They call this samsara-nirvana. The power of the suffering. If you're receptive to it, you can see how much it's here to create an evolutionary pressure on the planet, and hopefully, it's enough suffering to wake us all up. That's the question. I would tell people to stop asking why they're suffering so much. Really, take the medicine of the suffering so that you can wake up.
As a leader and guru, one would probably assume that you are susceptible to suffering, internal struggles, or darkness. Have you reached a place beyond suffering?
Look, I suffer, too. Everyone knows that I'm not on a high horse. The way I relate to it is basically I have conditioned my system, and you can, too, and that's what I'm teaching. I have conditioned my system to metabolize the energy of the suffering, the doubt, or the negativity, the fear, or whatever it is.
I've conditioned my system to be open enough and strong enough to metabolize it as fuel, rather than collapse. It's not like it's not there because we're human and we're living on a very fucked-up and very beautiful planet. It’s a very relevant planet and an important planet. We're not the only life in the universe, but certainly, planet Earth is a very unique place, and it's a special place. We need to take care of it. We need to take care of ourselves and each other on it.
I've conditioned my bio-energetic system in a way that it's much more efficient. When the suffering comes, I know how to metabolize it through these practices so that it fuels me, and creates art, and creates more openness, and creates more possibility. I think that's the difference. It's not that it's not there, but it's really the usage of it, and how we utilize it and alchemize it that really makes the difference. Then it becomes fun. That's the thing that I'm always talking about. If you're not an athlete, it wouldn't be fun to play a two-hour basketball game. You'd be fucked up.
People who train themselves, they love playing a game because they're conditioned, and it feels good. That energy is a flow state.
Can you talk about the current shift in Ages we are experiencing right now and how that's affecting our overall humanity and consciousness on this planet? There are all sorts of prophecies and timelines. I was interviewing this Mayan time-keeper on Reality Riffing. He was saying that basically, the Mayan prophecy of this 2012 moment was the convergence of many, many, many, many time streams coming into one galactic point, which is called the galactic center. That's why it was such a monumental shift of time and space and consciousness.Think about what's shifted since 2012 culturally and technologically, especially the wellness industry. It was a convergence of all these time streams as the way he describes it. The way we describe it is that there are these eras, ages of consciousness basically, which are marked by time. The one we came from is called the age of Pisces.The age of Pisces was a time where the patriarchy ruled. Then there was the reign of religion, the purity of religion was born, and then the corruption of religion, and the control, and all sorts of other misappropriations of power. It was really a time where we were working on the meaning of power. Who has the power? Who doesn't have the power? The chasm between those things. Then around 1991 was the beginning of the age of Aquarius.We are in a new era. You're seeing it everywhere.[For example] I've been really touched lately by some of the young men who have been coming in who are part of this. They were born in the age of Aquarius. They don't have a problem with women and their power. Their mothers were really powerful women. There's this whole era of men that are being birthed right now that are literally so different than this Piscean era of men. They're coming in by the hordes, and then looking for spiritual practice, looking for depth, and looking to be able to honor powerful women and do right. I just think I see the future as being very bright if we can get our shit together.The age of Aquarius is an age where it's not about the information you have, because all of us, we can find out anything we wanted to. Why interview me? You could fucking go on YouTube and listen to Yogi Bhajan, you know what I mean? Anything you want is at your fingertips, but it's really about the people who have the power to sort, organize, compile, and make relevant the information that is available to us that are becoming the leaders and people who are successful. I think in the age of Pisces, you had to go to the place where someone held the teaching and had the power.The teachings were in Latin, and you couldn't speak Latin, so you had to have some sort of power figure to give you the power. That was the age of Pisces.
There's a dark side to the age of technology, which we are also going to experience. The technological advancements have created a world that is so much more interconnected. It's leveled off the playing field. It gives people power that couldn't have access to power because of technology. There's a lot of unity.
It's not going to be very long before the dying dinosaurs of the patriarchy are gone for good. I know it's hard when you're in the middle of it, but it's not going to be very long.
I really see a lot of the political things that are happening right now on the planet and in America as disruptors to a sleep that we wouldn't be in if we hadn't had this political turmoil. That wouldn't happen without the disruptor of our president, our current president. I do feel like even though sometimes you can look around and go, "Wait, these things are more messed up than ever." There's still the very seedling births of a new era. There's a big shift of consciousness happening now, but by the time we get to 2036, 2038, we're going to be in a whole 'nother era of humanity. There is a possibility that the planet is going to heal, and the wars that are raging are going to shift, the consciousness is going to change.We always are going to have some sort of polarity here, but I do feel that we could have a huge, huge, huge shift in the next 20 years, in all of our lifetimes.
And what is next, in terms of the Age?
There's a convergence of a time that is talked about in a lot of the lineages and traditions called Kali Yuga, and that is ending in 2025. There's an astrological phenomenon which is Pluto is going into Aquarius at that point. Pluto is in Capricorn right now, which is the breaking down of the patriarchy. When Pluto goes into Aquarius, I'm getting chills, it's going to be a big shift of another era. This is an even bigger time cycle. It's a 26,000-year time cycle. It's called, Satya Yuga, and we go into the golden era of consciousness, which will now last another 26,000 years.
I think we have a lot going for us, but we're very good at being destructive, so let's see what we can do.
These last dying powers of the patriarchy basically wanted to throw the planet Earth away like a plastic container, and they want to go colonize Mars. That's a big agenda that's happening. It's like, "Oh, we'll just throw this planet away once there are too many people on it. We'll leave the poor people there and go to Mars." You just pay attention out there.
What comes up for you in terms of legacy, and your ideas behind that, and what does it mean for you personally and professionally in the world?
In terms of my own personal relationship with legacy, I know it's about educating. It's about creating new educational structures that are relevant to the future generations.
In terms of my professional legacy and what I want, it's impersonal, because it's not about me. It’s about discovering how to educate the new interstellar beings that are coming on the planet who are here for higher vibrational experiences, and who are basically being diagnosed and medicated because they don't fit into an old schooling and educational system.
RA MA University is what we're working on as the legacy piece for RA MA Institute, which would actually be a college. We'll have all sorts of different study in terms of the sound sciences and technologies, and the sacred languages, and the new frontier of psychology, and the mind studies. Then there will be the dharma art departments where there's all this art as a product of meditation rather than as a product of neurosis, which is a lot of what we've seen in the time before. We'll have a business school because that's a big passion of mine, and evolutionary astrology school, and study cosmology. Oh, and obviously the yogic science. There will be a department of yogic science where people can study the yogic traditions. I’m excited.
My teacher, Yogi Bhajan, says, "Woman is a living legacy," and I take that very seriously. I really feel that every choice a woman makes, not to be heavy-handed, but because we carry the future in our bodies, or if you choose not to have a physical child, we're always mothering something, is a move of legacy. It's different for men. It just is. They're seeders. If a man doesn't complete his mission, it's one man. It's an individual. As women, we have a whole generation, multiple generations, that we're carrying in our choices. I really take that as a meditation and as a way to inspire myself every day.
By S LIFE MAG • September 10, 2018
Photographer: Lianna Tarantin