This article borrows freely from pages 70 & 71 of The Aquarian Teacher by Yogi Bhajan.
Shabd means sound, guru means teacher or knowledge that transforms you. The simplest meaning of shabd guru is a special sound that is a teacher. But what is it that we learn from the shabd guru and how does the use of sound act as a teacher?
Guru Singh is Not My Guru
A guru is simply an active knowledge. It is not the intellectual knowledge that simply classifies or analyzes. It is not Guru Singh per se. Maybe Guru Singh is sat guru for his Tuesday & Thursday devotees but Guru Singh is not my shabd guru.
Guru changes you. Guru develops the capacity to see. It removes darkness. The shabd guru transforms the practitioner by removing the barriers erected by the fearful the needs of the hysterical ego. The encounter with the guru is through action. It gives you Know How, not just Know What. It gives you procedural knowledge that is in your cells and your subconscious, not just representational knowledge in your ideas.
To encounter this shabd the guru is to learn by doing, by experience, by engaging in a practice. That key practice for shabd guru is the meditation and repetition of specific primal sounds and phrases. Vibrating Om is my shabd guru.
Erase the Ego With the Shabd
That may seem simple. But simple does not necessarily mean easy or without challenge. The greatest challenge is the practitioners own subconscious. The mind is not trained to base itself and its relationship to the Infinite. It is based in finite ego. The subconscious mind is filled with reactive thoughts that try to maintain the attachments of the ego and try to avoid pain. When you repeat the patterns of sound and the thought in a shabd, those thoughts counter that direction and intensity of the habitual thoughts. The shabd provokes a release of the stored subconscious patterns of thinking and feeling. If, under the torrential flood of subconscious feelings and thoughts, you persist in repeating the pattern of the shabd guru, then the new pattern established itself. Your mind clears, and you awaken dormant inner capacities or enhance existing ones.
Shabd Guru Feels Like a Mini-Power Plate Inside My Head
From where do the patterns of the shabd guru come? They exist from the beginning of creation. They are the tides and rhythms of the movement of the creative pulse of infinite consciousness. They vibrate in all things continually.
It is only the ability to hear and feel them that is needed. That capacity comes to a mind that is fearless, neutral, open and awakened. Each shabd is a kind of spiritual DNA that naturally restructures the mind and stimulates the brain.