Yoga, Meditation, & Wisdom


(Formerly *A Moment for Meditation*)


While there are four paths of yoga (Karma, Bhakti, Raja, Gyana), which will be discussed in a future column, today I will be talking about the “Five Paths of Wisdom” as taught within Kundalini Yoga.

As with all important things, connecting to the path to wisdom is a much longer journey than you might think upon undertaking it. It is filled with obstacles; frustration; deep inner work, which is almost always painful, and strange twists and turns in the road.

In brief, the stages or “pads” are:

Saram Pad – Novice

Karam Pad – Apprentice

Shakti Pad – Practitioner

Sehej Pad – Expert

Sat Pad – Master

1. Saram Pad

“A novice must cultivate obedience, motivation and discipline” ~ Yogi Bhajan

All beginners start with Saram Pad. It is the first exposure to something new that

you wish to explore, in which you have no experience. You just know that you

are desiring something new. Your motivation can be that a friend is doing it, that

you are in physical or emotional pain and this may alleviate it, or it just calls to

you. This is what could be termed “the honeymoon” phase.

2. Karam Pad

Karam means “to accomplish tasks”. This is the stage where you have gained

some experience. You have seen the benefits, the pros and the cons. You

will feel that you need to continue to learn more. In this way, you compare the

new experiences with what you experienced in the past. You will continue to

gain new perspective, and you may choose to challenge yourself.

Within yoga, this would be the time when you would start your Sadhana, or your

daily spiritual yoga and meditation practice.

3. Shakti Pad

Shakti Pad is known as the test of power, or ego.This is the stage where decisions are made. Will you continue with your current path, continuing to learn more or will you decide to stop and find something entirely new.

This is when you begin to make your choices. In the past, it was your teacher

who would be telling you what to practice. Now, you will make that decision.

What is your goal, your motivation, in your practice? You may experience

doubt as you begin to move beyond your instructor’s teachings. For this

spiritual journey, you choose whether to continue to follow this teacher, find

another teacher, or find your own path within your practice. All teachers, even

within the same spiritual/yogic community will have different viewpoints.

4. Sehej Pad

This is when you completely immerse yourself in your path, every step on

this journey is a joy. You are completely focused and are eager to find new

challenges. You develop an attitude of what is called *seva* or service to

others and your spiritual community.

In Sehej Pad, you are learning, but you are also teaching. Teachers can teach,

but, they should also still be students, as you are always learning. You learn as

you teach your students; their thoughts, their ideas.

It can take years to move beyond this stage. It take much hard work and

discipline. Some stay in this stage and never move beyond it, but they are happy

because their path brings them such joy.

5. Sat Pad

“Sat” means “Truth”.

This is the last stage. There is no separation between you and your path.

It has become such a part of you. You have achieved a transcendence

and have become one with your spirituality.


An article in Yoga Journal by Gurucharan Singh Khalsa, Ph.D., who was one of my instructors years ago while in Kundalini Yoga Teacher Training, likes the 5 Paths of Wisdom to the growth of a plant.

Saram = Seed (Formula)

Karam = Sprout (Wisdom)

Shakti = Leaves Appearing (True Wisdom)

Sehej = Blooming Flower (Great Wisdom)

Sat = Sending out New Seeds (Infinite Wisdom)

This article can be found at: http://www.yogajournal.com/article/teach/stages-of-learning/

In the future of this *re-focused* column, I will be discussing The Four Paths of Yoga, as mentioned above, and The Eight Limbs of Yoga.

Blessings and Sat Nam,

Susan Morgaine