The oath of a Kundalini Yoga teacher
“The Oath of a Kundalini Master: “I am not a woman. I’m not a man. I am not a person. I am not myself. I am a teacher.” ~Yogi Bhajan
I have a confession to make. I struggled with The Master’s Pledge when I started my Kundalini Yoga teacher training. When I first heard it, I rebelled. What do you mean I’m not a woman? If I am not a person, what am I? And if I am not myself, who am I? I didn’t understand it and it confused me immensely. Who was this guy to tell me it’s not me? Can you say “resistance”? How’s that for a great start?
In this article, I will explain about The Master’s Oath and what it means to me now compared to my first impression. I will also address the key ethical responsibilities a KY teacher has in terms of service to students, personal conduct, and roles. And finally I will bring my relationship with the teachings and with the source of the teachings.
Gurmukh Kaur Khalsa of Golden Bridge in Los Angeles says that “as Kundalini yoga teachers, [we] Take this [Teacher’s] Oath. It establishes the above as to why we are there and what we must deliver: these sacred teachings. Our purpose is to deliver the student to himself, not the teacher. We are there to inspire students.”
How do I feel about The Master’s Oath now? It’s about uplifting humanity! Yogi Bhajan gave the Teacher’s Pledge as a reminder to keep our egos out of our teaching and always respond with what is best for the student. He is trying to teach us to “shine the soul of the student,” not shine our own egos. He is about being a messenger of the teachings; be a vehicle and let it flow. The Teacher’s Oath reminds us to be the teacher and uplift the soul of each student.
Hand in hand with the teachers’ oath are the ethical responsibilities that a KY teacher has. These responsibilities are threefold. First, there is the ethical responsibility in terms of service. As a KY teacher, it is essential to maintain the purity of the teachings and to teach them in a selfless way. It is the responsibility of the teacher to connect the students with the flow of the teachings and raise the student to the awareness of the Infinite within them.
Second, there is ethical responsibility in terms of personal conduct. It is about leading by example and teaching by example. It is also about relating to the spirit, soul and essence of a person, not their ego. Additionally, teacher-student relationships must remain professional. Personal conduct must be of the highest caliber and always from a place of deep care, respect and concern for others.
The third and final piece is ethical responsibility in terms of role. As a KY teacher, you need to stop identifying with your own success or failure. In this role, a KY teacher needs to identify with “being a teacher” as an endless task. It’s about being mindful of students (skill levels, never being a bully, honoring all belief systems, and keeping confidences). In terms of your role as a KY teacher, choose right over wrong, ethics over expediency…these are the choices that measure your life (not just your teaching experiences). He walks the path of integrity…because there is never a bad time to do the right thing.
To close this discussion, it is important to mention what my relationship is with the teachings and the source of the teachings.
My relationship with the teachings is one of respect, consideration, love, appreciation, gratitude and service, always, at all times, regardless of my particular feelings and momentary opinions, because that is the attitude I must have towards my very Essence.
As for my relationship with the source of the teachings, it was difficult at first. As a pure Sagittarius, I often feel desperately unhappy in regimented situations, as I tend to get bored and restless, and I also take offense to authority. So coming to this kind of spiritual teaching that is based on the tradition of a guru passing on wisdom was an interesting choice. I know that people usually surrender to the guru to guide the way until you have the discipline of the pure teachings. Everything changed to greatness once I began to trust my teacher and surrender to the experiences. Now KY is a proven step-by-step system for walking my own path. Everything is LOVE… pure LOVE. I surrender my ego to my soul. I came to explore knowledge and I didn’t know that knowledge would start to explore me. It was about the wisdom of yielding, rather than opposing, the flow of life.
Now I get it… as Mark Ciaburi says, “My whole being moves toward these teachings. I love what I’m learning and unlearning.”
©Copyright 2010 Kundalini Yoga with Sharlene Starr. All rights reserved.