Last updated: December 21, 2023

What Does Waheguru Mean?

In Sikhism, Waheguru is the most widely used name for God, describing the Supreme Being as a universal, genderless deity. Despite having many words to describe the Divine, Sikhs believe in only one God and seek to hold Waheguru in mind at all times. Waheguru is otherwise known as Sat Nam (true name) and Akal Purkh (eternal being).

In both Sikhism and Kundalini yoga, Waheguru also refers to a mantra which can be chanted to call upon divine light to remove spiritual darkness. It is used as a means to elevate and awaken the spirit, whilst expressing the bliss one feels when moving from ignorance and illusion to wisdom or enlightenment.


Yogapedia Explains Waheguru

The term Waheguru is derived from a mix of Punjabi and Sanskrit roots; wahe meaning "wondrous" in Punjabi, and guru which translates from Sanskrit as "teacher" or "remover of darkness."

In Gurmukhi, the primary scripture of Sikhism, Waheguru can be translated as "the wonderful Lord," though some argue that it is instead an untranslatable, divine essence.

Sikhs believe that Waheguru is the creator of all things, yet has no shape or form. It is a genderless deity, eternal and beyond space, time or form. Waheguru can be known by anyone who dedicates themselves to learning about God, particularly from the teachings of the Ten Gurus who contributed to Sikhism.

Waheguru is believed to be transcendent and immanent, with an essence that cannot be described in words.

As a mantra, Waheguru is also known as the Gurmantra or "primary mantra." It references the almighty God or Supreme creator, calling upon divine light to illuminate spiritual darkness.

By highlighting the wondrous nature of the Divine, the Waheguru mantra is not only a means of paying homage and respect but also refers to the ecstasy and bliss felt by those who know God.

By chanting Waheguru, practitioners are believed to be able to dissolve ego and come closer to self-realisation. It is a trikuti mantra, with three distinct sounds that should be pronounced clearly for maximum benefit.

When chanted slowly, the sound vibrations of Waheguru are said to stimulate the pineal gland and ajna chakra (third eye). This may help to awaken kundalini energy, which is why the mantra lends itself to the tradition of Kundalini yoga.

Another mantra incorporating Waheguru is Satnam Sri Waheguru. Satnam is derived from the Sanskrit, sat, meaning "truth," and nam, meaning "name," and is used as another name for the Supreme Being or Waheguru. Sri is a title of veneration, and so the mantra can be translated as “Great is the Divine, the teacher who leads me from darkness to light.”

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