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Harbhajan Singh Khalsa Yogi

Born 26 August 1929(1929-08-26)
Kot Harkarn, Punjab, British India
Died October 6, 2004 (aged 75)
Espanola, New Mexico
Spouse(s) Bibi Inderjit Kaur
Children Ranbir Singh, Kulbir Singh, Kamaljit Kaur
Profession Spiritual Director of 3HO (Yoga) Foundation, Religious Leader (Siri Singh Sahib of Sikh Dharma), Board Member of Akal Security, Golden Temple Bakery, and other US Corporations, Founder of Miri Piri Academy, Former Indian Civil Servant (in Customs Service)
Religion Sikhism
Congressman Tom Udall with Yogi Bhajan's widow, Bibiji. Yogi Bhajan is depicted in the center portrait.

Harbhajan Singh Khalsa Yogiji (born as Harbhajan Singh Puri)[1] (August 26, 1929–October 6, 2004), also known as Yogi Bhajan and Siri Singh Sahib, was a charismatic spiritual leader and successful entrepreneur who introduced Kundalini Yoga and Sikhism to the United States.[2] He was the spiritual director of the 3HO (Healthy, Happy, Holy Organization) Foundation, with over 300 centers in 35 countries[3].

Contents

Family

Harbhajan Singh was born on August 26, 1929 into a Sikh family in Kot Harkarn, district Gujranwala, in the province of Punjab (British India). His father, Dr. Kartar Singh Puri, served the British Raj as a medical doctor. His mother was named Harkrishan Kaur. Theirs was a well-to-do landlord family, owning most of their village in the foothills of the Himalayas.[4] Harbhajan Singh Puri married Inderjit Kaur Uppal in Delhi in 1954. They had three children, Ranbir Singh, Kulbir Singh and Kamaljit Kaur.[5]

In 1976, Harbhajan Singh legally changed his name to Harbhajan Singh Khalsa. His wife, known as "Bibiji" went on to inherit the religious post of "Bhai Sahiba" of Sikh Dharma of the Western Hemisphere in the 1980s.

Education

Most influential of Harbhajan Singh's relations in his early development was his paternal grandfather, Bhai Fateh Singh. Fateh Singh taught him the essence of Sikh teachings and instilled in him a respect for all religions. As a teen, Harbhajan Singh spent several years under the strict tutelage of Sant Hazara Singh who declared his student a Master of Kundalini Yoga at the young age of sixteen.[6]

Harbhajan Singh's schooling was interrupted in 1947 by the violent partition of India, when he and his family fled to New Delhi as refugees. There, Harbhajan Singh attended Camp College – a hastily put together arrangement for thousands of refugee students – and led the Sikh Students Federation in Delhi.[7] Four years later, he graduated with a Masters Degree in Economics.[8]

Harbhajan Singh years later graduated from the University of Humanistic Studies in San Francisco with a Ph.D. in Psychology with his seminal doctoral thesis, Communication: Liberation or Condemnation.[9]

Indian Civil Service

In 1953, Harbhajan Singh Puri entered the Indian Civil Service. Harbhajan Singh served in the Revenue Department, where his duties took him all over India. Eventually, he was promoted to the post of customs inspector for the country's largest airport, outside of Delhi.[8]

Yogic study in India

Throughout his life, Harbhajan Singh continued his practice and pursuit of yogic knowledge.[10] His government duties often facilitated his traveling to remote ashrams and distant hermitages in order to seek out reclusive yogis and swamis.

In the mid-1960s, Harbhajan Singh took up a position as instructor at the Vishwayatan Ashram in New Delhi, under Dhirendra Brahmachari. This yoga centre was frequented by the Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, his daughter, Indira Gandhi, and diplomats and employees from a host of foreign embassies.[11]

Migration to North America

Harbhajan Singh emigrated to Canada in 1968. According to his own account, he left India under pressure to participate in Soviet psychic experiments at their designated research center in Tashkent.[12]

Although a promised position as director of a new yogic studies department at the University of Toronto did not materialize because of the death of his sponsor, Harbhajan Singh the Yogi made a considerable impact in the predominantly Anglo-Saxon metropolis. In three months, he established classes at several YMCAs, co-founded a yoga centre, was interviewed for national press and television, and helped set in motion the creation of eastern Canada's first Sikh temple in time for Guru Nanak's five hundredth birthday the following year.[13]

Late in 1968, bearded and turbaned Yogi Bhajan went to visit a friend in Los Angeles, but ended up staying to share the teachings of Kundalini Yoga with the already longhaired members of the hippie counterculture of California and New Mexico. In effect, he had found his calling.[14]

Kundalini Yoga as Taught by Yogi Bhajan

Yoga practice and philosophy is generally considered a part of Hindu culture, but Yogi Bhajan distinguished himself as a teacher and practitioner of yoga and a Sikh. Most Sikhs do not consider yoga as part of the Sikh faith. Dr. Trilochan Singh an emminent scholar of Sikh history in his book[2] "Sikhism and Tantric Yoga" (1977)states:

[3] In their article, "The Secret Science of Yoga" (Beads, 29, 30), the theorists of 3HO say on page 37 that the steps enunciated by Patanjali "are clearly necessary ones to be achieved in order to reach a state of enlightened consciousness." And they further make a fantastic statement, "the Sikh Dharma has come about because our Gurus were the greatest Yogis." And then the writers try to prove by misquoting and misinterpreting that the Raja Yoga which they also call their own brand of Kundalini and Tantric Yoga is the one which is alluded to wherever the word Raj Yoga is found in Sikh scriptures. These writers and other 3HO exponents of the same subject deliberately misquote and misinterpret passages from Sikh scriptures. In the absurdest of their absurd mystical theories they say that Pineal glands and the Pituitary glands are the seats of tenth consciousness (Dasam Duar), and the Tantric-Sex Yoga they preach and practice are sanctioned by Sikhism. The author will decisively prove in this chapter (1) that Sikhism rejects Patanjali's 8 steps of Yoga (ashtang) and has its own distinct eightfold path, very much as Buddha had his own. The difference is in meditation technique and ethical and spiritual outlook; (2) that in Sikhism the Tenth Seat of Consciousness also known as the Turiya (Fourth State or Param pada the Supreme State) has no such physiological basis as Pineal glands or Pituitary glands; (3) that Tantric doctrines involving sex-poses or physical contact poses are extremely repulsive to Sikhism. The Sikh Gurus repeatedly ask the Sikhs to shun Tantric practices because they are based on a mentally perverted outlook of life. The Sikh Gurus ask the Sikhs to shun the very presence and association of Shakti-Cult Tantrics.

Yogi Bhajan's unique form of Sikhism would prove difficult to accept for most Sikhs who consider yoga to be an unSikh practice leading to eventual absorption in the sea of pan-Hinduism.[citation needed] While it proved very controversial in many circles of Sikhism, Yogi Bhajan would say he was adhering to the fundamental, empowering roots of Sikh teachings. He would often quote Bhai Gurdas to say, “The Sikhs who are Yogis remain detached and wakeful in the world of attachments.” (Var 29, Verse 15)[15] Other prominent Sikh scholars like Dr. Trilochan Singh argued

Bhai Gurdas says, that a Gurmukh (Enlightened Sikh) is a real Pundit (scholar) and correctly gives divine knowledge to the world: (gurmukh hoe jag parbodhe). In the following verses, Bhai Gurdas, whose writings are considered Key to Adi Guru Granth, makes it clear that sincere and practicing Sikhs alone are awakened and illumined Yogis, and their technique is not the absurd asanas and pranayama taught by Bhajan Yogi but the one and only moral and spiritual discipline of Sikh path and spiritual living through the contemplation of His Name: gursikh jogi jagde may a vie karn udasi The Sikhs of the Guru are the ever illumined and spiritually awake Yogis. They live in the world and yet are detached from Maya: material attractions. To hear with the ears the Guru's Word is their symbolic earing of the yogis. They seek the dust of true saints. Humility is their garb of holiness and poverty. Living in divine Love is their worship. Their blissful prayer is nothing but love. They are always absorbed in the Music of Divine Word. Their cave of meditation is the company of truly holy men. Thus they achieve the samadhi of the Ineffable and the Infinite. Bhai Gurdas, Var 29- pauri 15 Yogi Bhajan does not wear the earrings of the Nath Panthi Yogis, but he wears precious gold rings (sometimes two and sometimes three) heavily studded with jewels, and cannot help displaying them ostentatiously, probably as a symbol of wealth acquired through the techniques of Tantric Yoga, which he sacrilegiously identifies with the techniques of Sikh mysticism. Bhai Gurdas, however, makes it clear to all Sikhs of all ages that Yoga asanas and yoga techniques are absolutely useless and unnecessary for Sikh meditations and the spiritual path of Sikhism: jog jugat gursikh gurs am jhay a The Guru has himself explained to the Sikhs the technique of true Yoga, and it is this: A Sikh must live in such a moral and spiritual poise that while hoping and waiting he ceases to aspire or crave for low ambitions and remains unconcerned and detached. He should eat little and drink little. He should speak little and never waste time in nonsensical discussion. He should sleep little at night and keep away from the snare of wealth. He should never crave avariciously after wealth and property. Bhai Gurdas, Var 20 / 15 Yogi Bhajan's theorists of Kundalini and Guru Yoga on finding the word "Yoga" used in Guru Nanak's hymns in a number of different contexts, jump to the untenable and incorrect conclusion that Guru Nanak's teachings are in perfect accord with the Tantric Yoga taught by their Master, Maha Tantric Yogi Bhajan. The third type of hymns in which the word Yoga is mentioned are those which sum up the debates the Guru held with Yogis of various centers. It may be noted that Guru Nanak visited all the centers of Yogis throughout India and not only convinced them of the error of the Yoga system but under his influence most of them gave up Yoga practices. Bhai Gurdas tells us that Guru Nanak met all Yogis, Siddhas, and those who claimed to be avatars of ancient Yogis, and through debate and spiritual influence he scored victory over them and made them submit to his ideology. Not only that, Guru Nanak also made Babar and his Ministers to submit to his moral and spiritual sovereignty. Thus the third type of hymn in which the term Yoga is used are those in which various systems and doctrines are severely criticized by the Gurus. We shall be quoting such hymns throughout the book, and shall bring out sharp differences between the various Yoga cults and Sikhism as authenticated by Guru Granth Sahib and Sikh history. As will be shown subsequently, the word "Yogi" is used in Sikh scriptures even for God and the Guru, and this does not mean that God and the Gurus practiced the absurd asanas now taught by Yogi Bahjan.

While adhering to the three pillars of Patanjali's traditional yoga system: discipline, self-awareness and self-dedication (Patanjali Yoga Sutras, II:1), Kundalini Yoga as Taught by Yogi Bhajan does not condone extremes of asceticism or renunciation. Yogi Bhajan encouraged his students to marry, establish businesses, and be fully engaged in society. Rather than worshiping God, Yogi Bhajan insisted that his students train their mind to experience God.[16]

Yogi Bhajan was a master of Kundalini Yoga, and his students referred to Yogi Bhajan's teachings as Raj Yoga which they described as the yoga of living detached, yet fully engaged in the world that typified Yogi Bhajan's life and teachings.[17]

Sikhs like Dr. Trilochan Singh countered with arguments that Yogi Bhajan's Kundalini and Tantric Yogas were not Raj Yoga, as Yogi Bhajan referred to in Sikh scriptures

Thus the word Raj jog are two different words having the same meaning as Miri (Political Authority) and Piri (Spiritual Authority). In the first verse Raj jog Takhat dian Guru Ram Das, both 'j' of Raj and *g' of Jog in Punjabi have orthographic marks called aunkad which is put below these letters. These are grammatical indications of the fact that they are both nouns and separate words. It has nothing to do with Raja Yoga of the Yogic Cults, which are in no way related to thrones or umbrellas of sovereignty.

Healthy, Happy, Holy Organization

In 1969, Yogi Bhajan established the 3HO (Healthy, Happy, Holy Organization) Foundation to further his missionary work. It served his premise that every human possessed the birthright to be healthy, happy and holy. According to Yogi Bhajan, it was only a matter of unlearning one set of habits and replacing it with a kinder, more uplifting routine.[18]

For some of the free-spirited hippies, the Yogi Bhajan's discipline was more than they could take. Others, however, took to it almost naturally. Most of them were already longhaired. Many were already vegetarian. They liked to experience elevated states of awareness. They also deeply wanted to feel they were contributing to a world of peace and social justice. Yogi Bhajan offered them all these things with vigorous yoga, an embracing holistic vision, and an optimistic spirit of sublime destiny.[19]

By 1972, there would be over one hundred 3HO yoga ashrams mostly in the U.S., but also in Canada, Europe and Israel. Student-teachers would rise each day for a cold shower and two-and-a-half hours of yoga and meditation before sunrise. Often, they would spend the rest of the day at some "family business" be it a natural foods restaurant, or a landscaping business, or some other concern. A Sikh was supposed to earn honestly "by the sweat of their brow" and many did just that.[20]

By the 1990s, there was a culture shift. On a personal level, rising early and overtly being a Sikh was considered more of an option than an implied directive. Meanwhile, the surviving communal businesses had incorporated and many had grown exponentially to keep pace with the rising demand for health-oriented products and services. This period also saw an increased interest in yoga worldwide.[21]

To serve the changing times, Yogi Bhajan created the International Kundalini Yoga Teachers Association, dedicated to setting standards for teachers and the propagation of the teachings.[22]

In 1994, the 3HO Foundation joined the United Nations as a non-governmental organization in consultative status with the Economic and Social Council, representing women's issues, promoting human rights, and providing education about alternative systems of medicine.[22]

Aquarian age timeline

In spring of 1969, soon after Yogi Bhajan had begun teaching in Los Angeles, a hit medley "Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In" was topping the music charts and being played everywhere. The performers, The 5th Dimension, happened to be signed to a record label owned by one of his students (and his green card sponsor), musician and entrepreneur Johnny Rivers.[23]

Yogi Bhajan incorporated the storyline of the dawning new age into his teachings, a case of melding Western astrology with Sikh tradition. "Guru Nanak," proclaimed Yogi Bhajan, "was the Guru for the Aquarian Age." It was, he declared, to be an age where people first experienced God, then believed, rather than the old way of believing and then being liberated by one's faith.[24]

His timeline for the arrival of the Aquarian age varied over the years, but in 1992, Yogi Bhajan fixed it at 2012 and gave his students a set of morning meditations to practice until that date to prepare themselves.[25]

Native American connections

Some of Yogi Bhajan's earliest students in Los Angeles had spent time in New Mexico influenced by Native American, especially Hopi teachings. To fulfill their wishes, Yogi Bhajan accompanied them in June 1969 to their summer solstice celebration at the Tesuque Indian reservation outside of Santa Fe.[26]

At the next year's celebration, a delegation of Hopi Indian elders arrived. They spoke of their ancient legend that before the end of the present age of darkness, a white-clad warrior would come from the East and create an army of warriors in white who would rise up and protect the "Unified Supreme Spirit." A sweat lodge ceremony was held and a sacred arrow given in trust to Yogi Bhajan. The elders explained that they had determined he was the white-clad warrior of their legend.[27]

Seven years later, Yogi Bhajan purchased a large parcel of land in the Jemez Mountains where the Hopis had indicated sacred gatherings had taken place for thousands of years. The elders had said this land needed to be prepared so "the Unified Supreme Spirit can once again be experienced by the great tribes and spread through all the people of the world." The land was named "Ram Das Puri" and annual solstice prayers and festivities have been celebrated there every summer since. Since 1990, these have included a Hopi sacred prayer walk.[28]

Pilgrimage to Amritsar

In the winter of 1970-71, Singh brought an entourage of eighty-four Americans on a pilgrimage to the Sikh holy city of Amritsar, India. The Punjabi Sikhs had never seen Westerners in turbans before, and at first, they were suspicious. The Sikh administration in the holy city of Amritsar was in a turmoil. Once they understood that the devotion of the Westerners was genuine, they approved of the visit. Of the eight-four Americans, twenty-six took vows to join the Order of Khalsa as full-fledged Sikhs.

On March 3, 1971, outside the Akal Takhat (the traditional seat of Sikh temporal authority in Amritsar), Sant Fateh Singh and Sant Chanan Singh bestowed on Harbhajan Singh a ceremonial sword and a robe of honor and a unique designation. They had reasoned that Yogi Harbhajan Singh had indeed created "Singh Sahibs" (noble lions), and to continue in his work he would need a higher designation. For this reason, they gave Yogi Bhajan the unprecedented title of "great, noble lion": Siri Singh Sahib.[29]

Inter-faith work

In the summer of 1970, Yogi Bhajan participated in an informal "Holy Man Jam" at the University of Colorado at Boulder with Swami Satchidananda, Stephen Gaskin of The Farm in Tennessee, Zen Buddhist Bill Quan-roshi, and other local luminaries. A few weeks later, Yogi Bhajan carried that inspiration forward and organized a gathering of spiritual teachers to engage and inspire the 200,000 attendees of the Atlanta Pop Festival on the stage between the performance of the bands.[30]

These seminal events served to awaken interest in inter-faith discussion such as had not been seen since the 1920s. In 1972, Yogi Bhajan participated in religious panels at Harvard University, Cornell University, Boston University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. That same year, Yogi Bhajan visited Pope Paul VI and advised him to convene a gathering of friendship and understanding for representatives of all religions. He reminded Paul VI that catholic meant "universal" and suggested that, as head of the world's largest religious organization, he would be the most suitable leader to host such a meeting.[31]

Yogi Bhajan maintained his relationship with the Catholic Church under Pope John Paul II. In 1983 and again in 1984, they met. When the Golden Temple came under assault from the Indian Army with the loss of life of many hundreds of pilgrims, the pontiff offered his official condolences.[32]

During the United Nations Year of Peace 1986, Yogi Bhajan instituted a yearly Peace Prayer Day for people of all denominations at the Summer Solstice near Santa Fe.[33]

In that same year, Pope John Paul II convened a gathering of religious representatives of the world such as Yogi Bhajan had proposed fourteen years earlier. Yogi Bhajan participated in a ceremony held the same day in Los Angeles.[34]

All through the 1970s and 80s, Yogi Bhajan actively engaged in and chaired numerous inter-religious councils and forums, including the Inter-Religious Council of Southern California, the World Conference for the Unity of Man, and the World Parliament of Religions.[35] In 1999, he gave a presentation at the Parliament of the World's Religions in Cape Town, South Africa.[36]

Gender relations

Yogi Bhajan, the son of a graceful mother, was deeply shocked and offended by the exploitation of women in America. In 1971, he taught a gathering of his female students that they were the "Grace of God." Thus began the Grace of God Movement for the Women of America. Strip clubs in Hollywood were briefly picketed, but Yogi Bhajan's real emphasis was on re-educating America's largest exploited class.

In the summer of 1975 Yogi Bhajan held an eight week camp in New Mexico where he taught the psychology of a successful woman. Successive camps included subjects such as martial arts, rappelling, fire arms training and healing arts to build the character and confidence of the women in training, which is why the camps were designated "Khalsa Women Training Camps." [37] According to a 2000 MSNBC report, rock celebrity Courtney Love attended one of these camps.[38]

Although Yogi Bhajan did teach a few weekend courses for men, his emphasis was on women because he recognized in them the foundation of any society, and he wanted to fundamentally end the disempowerment of Western women and the destruction of families. In his words: "God lives in a cozy home."

While encouraging his female students to practice natural childbirth and to breast-feed, practices which were not widely adhered to in the early 1970s, Yogi Bhajan also revived the ancient Indian custom of celebrating the arrival of the new soul at the one hundred twentieth day of pregnancy. This laid emphasis on the dignity and divinity of motherhood. By adhering to this historic custom, Yogi Bhajan also encouraged his women students in family planning. (In Catholic tradition, which is very significant to this issue in the West, the belief that pregnancy actually begins at the quickening, around the fourth month, was adhered to up to the time of Pius IX.) They should only to embark on motherhood if they were fully prepared to accept the responsibilities – and if they were not, then to terminate a pregnancy before the second trimester was far preferable (and certainly not a sin) to bringing a soul into ungraceful circumstances.

Yogi Bhajan also encouraged mothers to swaddle their infants and families to sleep all together, another traditional practice, although he afterwards stated that he lost nearly a third of his students over this one teaching.[39]

As far as homosexuality was concerned, Yogi Bhajan at first was shocked by the phenomenon. Through the 1970s and early 1980s, Yogi Bhajan taught that the condition could be cured through intensive yoga and self-analysis. By the late 1980s, however, Yogi Bhajan resigned himself to the conclusion that "sometimes God goofs" and puts men into women's bodies and vice versa.[40]

Turning Yogis into Khalsa Sikhs

Yogi Bhajan in his own words: “Religion has done the worst. What religion has done is to create the mental coercive state of slaves. Religion didn't do something to free somebody. It didn't say: “Go ahead and be!” When I came to the United States and I became a Sikh and all that, religion was forced on us. You know I am very anti-religion and I studied all the religions. I know all the loopholes. And I have studied every religion.

“I said to myself, 'Why we have to be Sikhs? What nonsense is this? Forget it!' Then I looked at myself and said, 'Wait a minute. There is one way to do it: Give them Baanaa (Distinctive and Gracious Attire). Give them Baanee (Songs of Self-counsel and Inspiration). Give them Seva (A Culture of Service). Give them Simran (Remembrance of the Self in Totality). Put them out in the market. And if by self-awareness they can survive, they will automatically become intuitive.'

“I took a very calculated risk. I said, 'No Sikhs. I don't want to have Sikhs. Sikhs for what?' But I said, 'If they can stand under 250 million Americans, totally living differently, dealing differently, not saying “Hello” but saying “Sat Nam”, let us see what happens.'

“Well, some people came out really great. And it's true if you get into yourself in totality, you will have reality.” [41]

Sikh rights in North America

Yogi Bhajan played a role in having the right of practicing Sikhs to keep their distinctive turbans recognized in the United States and Canada. When, in 1973, 3 men serving in the U.S. Armed Forces took up the Sikh faith, they faced harsh discipline for maintaining their beards and turbans contrary to military regulations. Yogi Bhajan arranged for religious authorities in Amritsar to take notice of their cases, which caused the U.S. Armed Forces to change its policy in regards to the keeping of beards and wearing of turbans, so as to accommodate Sikhs in the service.[42]

This development led to a similar case launched by a student of Yogi Bhajan in 1977, a test challenge involving the Canadian Armed Forces. The Canadian Human Rights Commission decided the case in favour of the Sikhs.[43] A number of subsequent cases in Canada led to widespread acceptance of the wearing of turbans in a number of uniformed services, including municipal transit companies and police forces, most notably the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, where Baltej Singh Dhillon became the first turbaned member of the national police force in 1990.

During the "Sikh Troubles" of the 1980s

During the 1980s Sikh struggle for civil rights in Punjab, Yogi Bhajan strove for peace and attempted to mediate between the Sikh leadership in Punjab and the Indian government under Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. In 1980, he warned the Sikhs of 'terrible consequences' if they did not unite and later advised Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale to work peacefully when the Khalistan movement turned violent. He tried, in vain, to mediate peace between the members of Indira Gandhi's government and the Sikh leadership in Punjab.[44]

When the Golden Temple was attacked by the Indian army during Operation Blue Star, Yogi Bhajan uniquely advised that the Akal Takhat had martyred itself to awaken the Sikh nation.[45] He attempted to organize relief supplies for victims and still to conciliate the opposing sides, which both included Sikhs. He especially encouraged the Sikh President, Zail Singh, not to resign in protest at the sacrilege committed by the Prime Minister, for this he believed would only further isolate the minority Sikhs and lead down a widening spiral of blame and bloodshed.

As the international media and human rights observers were kept out of Punjab, indiscriminate arrests, tortures and killings by the police left an estimated 10,000 civilians dead, and hundreds more of the visible minority Sikhs disappeared or detained without charges or trial.[46] Despite rising calls for the creation of a separatist Sikh homeland, Yogi Bhajan continued throughout the crisis to press for justice, forgiveness and reconciliation.[47]

Work for nuclear disarmament

In 1982 Yogi Bhajan joined other civil leaders in demanding mutual nuclear disarmament.

Yogi Bhajan's efforts took the form of his speaking at a number of disarmament rallies and his mobilization of his students, encouraging them to talk to their friends and relatives about the dangers of nuclear war.[48]

Shortly after Yogi Bhajan began his activism again the U.S. government's defense policy, the special Sikh exemption which allowed Sikh males to serve wearing their distinctive turbans and beards was disallowed.[49]

Sikh unity

While he expanded Sikh teachings to the West he was criticized in the Punjab for his administrative titles, structures and symbols as being heterodox. In 1974 a delegation of Punjabi Sikhs toured his domain and offered their approval. The delegation consisted of Gurcharan Singh Tohra, President of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee, Mahinder Singh Giani, Secretary of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee, Sardar Hukam Singh, President of the Sri Guru Singh Sabha Shatabdhi Committee, and Surjit Singh Barnala, General Secretary of the Akali Dal.[50]

In 1979, the official Professor of Sikhism, Dr. Kapur Singh, came from Amritsar and addressed the Khalsa Council, Yogi Bhajan's governing council, and assured their practices were well within the parameters of Sikh tradition.[51]

In 1986, as the Khalistan movement (Sikh separatist movement within India) exerted an increasingly divisive role in the Sikh community, Yogi Bhajan acknowledged Bhai Sahib Bhai Jiwan Singh of the Akhand Kirtani Jatha as Jathedar (Secretary) of Sikh Unity.

Although he was instrumental in creating a new culture of Sikhs in the Western Hemisphere – Gursikh yogis speaking English, Spanish, German and Italian – Yogi Bhajan did not appreciate artificial divisions dividing Sikhs from one another, whether based on caste, race, nationality or any other grounds. He valued Sikh unity and always considered himself a Sikh first and last. This was ably and aptly reflected in the new media of Sikhnet.com which today serves Sikhs around the globe. It was begun by students of Yogi Bhajan while the internet was still in its infancy – and has since grown to be the biggest, multi-layered Sikh resource in cyberspace.[52]

Political influence in U.S.

Yogi Bhajan engaged in political functions. While he opposed the Reagan government’s regime of high debt and high unemployment, Yogi Bhajan appreciated a strong foreign policy and especially U.S. efforts to dislodge the Soviet Union from Afghanistan.

As early as 1970, Yogi Bhajan was known to call on members of Congress in their Washington offices. He also befriended successive governors of the state of New Mexico. Yogi Bhajan was known as a Democrat. Since 1980, he was both friend and adviser to Bill Richardson, who served variously as New Mexico governor (2002–present), U.S. Energy Secretary (1998–2001), U.S. ambassador to the United Nations (1997–98), and member of the U.S. House of Representatives (1982–97). Bill Richardson was a candidate for the Democratic Party's nomination to run for the office of U.S. President in 2008.[53]

Healing arts

When U.S. President Nixon called drugs America's "Number one domestic problem," Yogi Bhajan launched a pilot program with two longtime heroin addicts in Washington, D.C. in 1972.[54] The next year, a full-blown drug treatment center known as "3HO SuperHealth" was launched in Tucson, Arizona. The program used Kundalini Yoga, diet and massage therapy to cure the addicts. It distinguished itself in 1978 as being among the top 10% of all treatment programs throughout the United States, with a recovery rate of 91%.[55]

Early on, when the term "stress" was still practically unheard of, Yogi Bhajan warned his students a tidal wave of insanity would soon engulf modern industrialized societies.[56] As a remedy, Yogi Bhajan taught hundreds of techniques of yogic exericise and meditation. Many have been catalogued by their traditionally known effects in calming and healing the mind and body. Some of those techniques have been scientifically studied and applied in clinical practice with favorable results.[57]

One of the most noteworthy successes has been achieved by Dharma Singh Khalsa, M.D., whose holistic treatment of Alzheimers disease using yoga with other therapeutic modalities has been lauded by the U.S. Surgeon General.[58]

Business life

Yogi Bhajan encouraged his students to go into business and served as a trusted adviser to a number of profitable enterprises. The best known of these are the Yogi Tea Company which packages and markets his tea formulas, Golden Temple Bakery which specializes in natural cereal products, the Soothing Touch health and beauty care products company, Akal Security and the Yoga West Center in Los Angeles.[59]

Ten percent of the profits of Peace Cereals go to the annual Peace Prayer Day, held at Ram Das Puri, near Santa Fe, New Mexico.[60]

Miri Piri Academy

In 1998, Yogi Bhajan founded the Miri Piri Academy at a short distance outside of Amritsar, India. The distinctive boarding school offers studies in a regular curriculum, plus Sikh studies and a daily regimen of yoga, meditation and service. Currently, students of seventeen nationalities are enrolled.[61]

Notable students

Alfredo Sfeir-Younis formerly worked at the World Bank as its first environmental economist and as special representative to the United Nations and World Trade Organization. He met Yogi Bhajan in 1996 in New York City. He presently serves as President of the Zambulung Institute for Human Transformation.[62]

David Shannahoff-Khalsa is a clinician and researcher at the University of California, San Diego using Kundalini Yoga to treat psychiatric disorders. He is the author of Kundalini Yoga Meditation: Techniques Specific for Psychiatric Disorders, Couples Therapy, and Personal Growth (2006)[63]

Dayal Kaur Khalsa (1943-89) joined the 3HO Toronto community in 1979, and went on to a prolific career as an author-illustrator of ten children's books. Her acclaimed titles include: Tales of a Gambling Grandma (1986), I Want a Dog (1987), How Pizza Came to Queens (1989), and Cowboy Dreams (1990).[64]

Guru Singh is a teacher of Kundalini Yoga, musician, and sound therapist based in Los Angeles. He has a number of albums to his credit, including A Game of Chants, a collaboration with Seal. Guru Singh has influenced celebrities Carrie Anne Moss, Pierce Brosnan, Jane Fonda and Steven Tyler.[65]

Gurutej Singh Khalsa always had an interest in policing work. When he graduated from a New Mexico police academy at the top of his class, and the local police chief would not hire him because of his turbaned and bearded appearance, he took Yogi Bhajan's advice and started his own company. Akal Security, Inc. is today one of the largest security contractors in the United States, keeping safe government buildings, airports and military installations, contracts worth about $350 million per year.[66]

Krishna Kaur Khalsa began studying with Yogi Bhajan in 1970. He directed her to serve her community of Afro-Americans in Los Angeles. Krishna Kaur is the founder of Yoga for Youth, an organization dedicated to at-risk young people, and a founding member of the International Association of Black Yoga Teachers.[67]

Sat Bir Singh Khalsa is an Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. He has conducted neuroscience research for over 25 years. Sat Bir Singh serves as Director of Research for the Kundalini Research Institute and the Kripalu Centre for Yoga and Health.[68]

Shakti Parwha Kaur was Yogi Bhajan's first student in America. She worked supporting his fledgling organization, first financially, then through her administrative and financial acumen. Shakti Parwha Kaur is the author of three books based on Yogi Bhajan's teachings: Kundalini Yoga: The Flow of Eternal Power (1996), Kundalini Postures and Poetry (2003), and Marriage on the Spiritual Path (2007).[69]

Snatam Kaur Khalsa is a popular composer and performer of meditation music. She has recorded ten albums for adults and children. Since 2003, she has given concerts from Los Angeles to Moscow and points in between, mostly with her Celebrate Peace Tour.[70]

Soram Singh Khalsa MD is the director of the Khalsa Medical Clinic in Beverly Hills, California and the Medical Director of the East-West Medical Research Institute. He is a founding member of the American Holistic Medicine Medical Association and contributes to several other medical boards and associations.[71]

Media coverage

Outspoken and quotable, visually striking and iconoclastic, Yogi Bhajan received his share of coverage in the North American media, particularly in the early 1970s when yoga was still a matter of general curiosity. Moreover, Yogi Bhajan's message of no drugs, family values and healthy living struck a chord with the Western psyche. The dozens of stories were overwhelmingly positive, serving not only to educate the public, but also to publicize the work of the 3HO Foundation. Some focussed on the lifestyle, others on the inspiration behind the organization.[72] Others focussed on Yogi Bhajan's holistic approach to drug addiction.[73] Some writers reported on Yogi Bhajan's officiating at picturesque marriages where several couples would be betrothed and everyone wore white.[74] Others zeroed in on the issue of Sikhs up against the US Army dress code.[75]

One reporter, James Wilde, with Time Magazine wrote an article critical of Yogi Bhajan. His piece, published September 5, 1977 under the title “Yogi Bhajan's Synthetic Sikhism” was followed by emphatic rebuttals from Gurcharan Singh Tohra, the President of the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee, the leading Sikh organization in Amritsar and other authorities based in India. There was also a demonstration held outside Time's London office and a detailed demand for a retraction published under the title “Time Will Tell” in the 3HO publication Beads of Truth, Issue 36, Fall 1977.[76]

Yogi Bhajan bears mention in a range of reference works, including the New Age Encyclopedia, ed. J. Gordon Melton (Detroit: Gale Research, Inc., 1990). Western scholarly appraisal of his work may be found in Hew McLeod's Who is a Sikh? (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1989) and Sikhism (London: Penguin Books, 1997), and in Verne A. Dusenbery's article "Punjabi Sikhs and Gora Sikhs: Conflicting Assertions of Sikh Identity in North America" published in Sikh History and Religion in the Twentieth Century, eds. Joseph T. O'Connell, Milton Israel, Willard G. Oxtoby, W.H. McLeod, J.S. Grewal (Toronto: University of Toronto Centre for South Asian Studies, 1998).

BBC interviewed Yogi Bhajan at the 300th anniversary celebration of the Baisakhi holiday at Anandpur Sahib, India in 1999.[77]

Yogi Bhajan is also featured in a couple of books featuring the successes of Sikhs who had migrated from India to the West. They are Dr. Surjit Kaur's Among the Sikhs: Reaching for the Stars (New Delhi: Lotus Collection, 2003) and Gurmukh Singh's The Global Indian: The Sikhs (New Delhi: Rupi and Co., 2003). These provide valuable perspective on the immigrant Sikh who made good as a yogi in America and beyond.

The 1973 documentary Sunseed stars a number of teachers of eastern wisdom, including Yogi Bhajan. The Sunseed crew accompanied him to India in 1970-71 for the filming.

Litigation

There were several law suits in the course of his life in the US. Among these, there were a number of child custody challenges involving divorcing parents, where one of the parents wished to leave the 3HO/Sikh Dharma lifestyle. Not all of these cases were successful.

In the Federal Court of Canada in 1979, Yogi Bhajan instigated a test case against Maharishi International Trade Mark Corporation, contesting Maharishi Mahesh Yogi's claim to proprietary use of the term "transcendental meditation". The decision of the court however supported the organization's trade marking of the term.

A high profile case was taken up in 1984 contesting the US Department of Defense's removal of the exemption from the regular serviceman's dress code, permitting Sikhs to retain their traditional beards and turbans. Unlike the British and Canadian armed forces, the US refused to make allowance for practicing Sikhs. This policy is currently (in 2010) under review with a view to possibly reinstating the exemption first accorded the Sikhs in 1974.[78]

The third lawsuit was a complaint over defamation among many other wrongs. The plaintiff was Mark Baker, and he had left Akal Security in order to become a law enforcement officer with the state of New Mexico. It seems that Yogi Bhajan or Harbhajan Singh had made allegations that Mr. Baker was a danger to the man's life. Harbhajan's complaint was made to the state of New Mexico which resulted in Mr. Baker being dismissed from the police training program. In the end Harbhajan's insurance company made a settlement check to Mr. Baker for the sum of $250,000 in order to have the lawsuit dismissed.[79]

An Abstract of the Suppressed Public Record of Lawsuits

There were three prominent law suits against Yogi Bhajan. The lawsuit with the most emotional impact for the Yogi Bhajan community was the Kate Felt lawsuit. This lawsuit alleged that Mr. Harbhajan aka Yogi Bhajan had raped and forcefully sodomized Ms. Karta Purk Kaur aka Kate Felt. Further the complaint alleged that Mr. Harbhajan had ripped a mole off of Ms. Felt's backside. There were also allegations of false arrest and false imprisonment of Ms. Felt. The plaintif was represented by Messers Peter N. Gorciades, Esq. from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and Gordon Reiselt Esq of Singer Smith and Williams from Albuquerque, New Mexico. A second lawsuit had been initiated by Premka Kaur for rape, and assault and battery. An affadavit by Manmohan Singh will attest to the fact that Harbhajan Singh and Pritam Singh had met to discuss a settlement for both lawsuits. Harbhajan Singh had expressed the sentiment that the lawsuits would be damaging to the Sikh religion in public opinion. The third lawsuit was a complaint over defamation among many other wrongs. The plaintiff was Mark Baker, and he had left Akal Security in order to become a law enforcement officer with the state of New Mexico. It seems that Yogi Bhajan or Harbhajan Singh had made allegations that Mr. Baker was a danger to the group leader's life. Harbhajan's complaint was made to the state of New Mexico which resulted in Mr. Baker being dismissed from the police training program. In the end Harbhajan's insurance company made a settlement check to Mr. Baker for the sum of $250,000 in order to have the lawsuit dismissed.

[80]

Obituaries

Yogi Bhajan died of complications of heart failure at his home in Española, New Mexico, on October 6, 2004, aged 75. He was survived by his wife, sons, daughter and five grandchildren.[2]

The Los Angeles Times said:

"On the eve of his memorial, they recalled the early days when Bhajan was a good-looking Indian mystic in his 30s, who wore a turban, a long black beard and black velvet shoes turned up at the toes. "He was very spectacular," says Shakti Parwha Kaur Khalsa, one of his original students. Like other hippie gurus of the late 1960s, Bhajan claimed to possess the ancient wisdom to soothe their drug-addled minds. He told them he'd come to "the City of Angels" because it was the natural home of the Aquarian Age and a place of ideas that inspired the world. "I didn't come to gain students," he famously said. "I came to train teachers." But students flocked to him. Women so adored him, it became an honor just to wash his feet. Men longed for his approval. They trusted him to arrange their marriages and select their careers. Within a few weeks of arriving here, Bhajan had a green-card sponsor in singer Johnny Rivers, who then introduced him to an antiques store owner. That West Hollywood shop became the site of Bhajan's first classes. Soon, he was a regular at local love-ins, telling the hippies there, "I can get you high -- high on your breath." He brought to America his version of the Hindu practice of kundalini, a rigorous yoga involving meditation, chanting and repetitive movement coupled with breathing exercises believed to harmonize the body's energy centers."[81]

The SGPC, Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee, the foremost governing body for Sikhs closed its offices in the Punjab to commemorate Yogi Bhajan's death. Bibi Jagir Kaur, President, SGPC, Punjab Chief Minister Capt. Amarinder Singh, Dr S.P. Singh, Vice Chancellor, Guru Nanak Dev University, Mr Parmjit Singh Sarna, president Shiromani Akali Dal, New Delhi, and the then Punjabi University Vice Chancellor Swarn Singh Boparai offered their condolences over the death of Yogi Bhajan.

The Vice Chancellor said simplicity pervaded the life of Yogi. Describing the Yogi as a missionary, he said the latter had always preached the unadulterated wisdom and ideals of Sikh religion which inspired transformation of many modern minds across countries. Mr. Boparai said the Yogi had built bridges of understanding between the East and the West through the preaching of Sikh values.[82]

The State of New Mexico honored him with the naming of a highway after him. It is called the Yogi Bhajan Memorial Highway.[83]

There was an obituary notice for Yogi Bhajan in the Yoga Journal. The journal said, "In time, he became an influential figure in modern yoga, attracting a large and devoted following; today there are more than 4,000 Kundalini Yoga teachers at 300 centers in 35 countries."

The PR Newswire service in Europe mentioned Yogi Bhajan's many achievements in its obituary notice. The article mentioned his various achievements: his promotion of Yogi Tea, his teaching of Kundalini Yoga to 1 million students, and his leadership role to the hippie movement.[84]

The Times of India titled its obituary for Yogi Bhajan, "The Capitalist Yogi":

"At a time when many Americans are gnashing their teeth at news of Indians taking away their jobs, Yogi Bhajan's remarkable success in reconciling religion and commerce while creating employment is worth relating. Born Harbhajan Singh Puri in what is now Pakistan, Yogi came west during his mid-life after a fairly privileged childhood. His father was a doctor and Singh studied in private schools in the hills. A life-long yoga practitioner, he came to Canada in 1968 after holding government jobs in revenue and customs. He drifted down to Los Angeles at the height of the flower power, and eventually settled down in New Mexico where he founded the Sikh Dharma, a slight variant on the Sikh religion. He professed to teach Kundalini Yoga and his followers - converts to Sikh Dharma - were almost all white. As can be expected, he had his share of spooked critics - "Bogi Yogi," some folks called him - and there were the usual charges of cronyism, moral turptitude, etc. But is was his business enterprise, as much as his religious teachings, that was striking. And we are not talking of the mandatory workshops, books, tapes, etc. And economics graduate from the Punjab University, Yogi Bhajan (he changed his name when he settled down in New Mexico) encouraged his followers to start their own businesses. He saw no conflict between spirituality and prosperity. One of his first enterprises was Yogi Tea, now a leading brand in the health products section. That was just a dip in the kettle compared with what followed. Sikh Dharma's main business arm today is Akal Security, a firm that specializes in protecting government sites, military installations, missile ranges, civil amenities and even airports across the US. It is an enterprise of staggering proportions."

In conclusion the Times of India article said that the United States had seen many spiritual gurus, but Yogi Bhajan was one of a kind.[85]

The New York Times titled its obituary for Yogi Bhajan, "Boss of Worlds Capitalistic and Spiritual, Dies":

"Yogi Bhajan, whose full name was Harbhajan Singh Khalsa Yogiji, introduced and ancient and arduous form of Indian yoga, Kundalini yoga, to Americans. It is more active than the more common Hatha yoga practiced by thousands of people across America. He also introduced Sikhism to this country, but with twists that startled Indian Sikhs. For one thing, yoga is a Hindu practice, not a Sikh one. For another, he insisted that his followers be vegetarians, though Sikhs are renowned as meat eaters. But he more than retained the Sikh tradition of being superb warriors: he mobilized his followers into a security company that guards federal courthouses and Army bases and takes in more than $1 billion a year. Others of the 17 businesses he helped create included yoga centers and real estate concerns, as well as his Golden Temple natural foods company, Yogi herbal teas operation, Soothing Touch health and beauty products and Peace natural cereals. One of his nicknames was "the Boss", The Miami Herald reported in 1998. "The whole point of these ventures is not for an individual to get rich, but to perpetuate the mission of the community," Avtar Hari Singh Khalsa, chief executive of Yogi Bhajan's 3HO Foundation, said in an interview with the New York Times last month. Mr. Khalsa had previously been a television executive in Hollywood, home to not a few of the guru's disciples. One of them, Gurmukh Kaur Khalsa, has drawn attention for teaching Kundalini yoga to pregnant celebrities like Madonna, Rosanna Arquette, Melissa Etheridge and Cindy Crawford. Partly because of his great visibility, Yogi Bhajan inspired critics, including traditional Sikhs; the cult expert Rick A. Ross who called him an "absolute authoritarian figure"; and people concerned with his sometimes explicit sexual instructions. Sikhism originated in Punjab in the 15th century and preaches the commonality of all religions, the virtue of hard work and a believe in one god. Sikh men in India carry side swords, and so do Yogi Bhajan's disciples, most of whom are Americans, not of Indian descent. Yogi Bhajan met with two popes, two archbishops of Canterbury and the Dalai Lama. In New Mexico he was important not least as a substantial contributor to both the Democratic and Republican parites; Gov. Bill Richardson ordered flags flown at half-staff in his honor."[86]

Honors

As well as his title "Siri Singh Sahib" awarded to him at the holy Akal Takhat in Amritsar in 1971, Yogi Bhajan was also designated "Bhai Sahib" in 1974.[87]

The Peace Abbey of Sherborn, Massachusetts awarded Yogi Bhajan the Courage of Conscience award on November 17, 1995.[88]

In 1999, at the three hundedth anniversary of the founding of the Order of Khalsa in Anandpur Sahib, India, Yogi Bhajan was awarded another rare honorific, the title "Panth Rattan" – Jewel of the Sikh nation.[89]

After his death, Yogi Bhajan joined a select few – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Mother Teresa, and Pope John Paul II – in having members of the U.S. Congress pass a bipartisan resolution honoring his life and work.[90]

Publications

  • Yogi Bhajan, The Teachings of Yogi Bhajan, Santa Cruz, NM, Kundalini Research Institute, 1977.
  • Siri Singh Sahib Bhai Sahib Harbhajan Singh Khalsa Yogiji (Yogi Bhajan), Furmaan Khalsa: Poems to Live By, Columbus, Ohio, Furman Khalsa Publishing Company, 1987.
  • Yogi Bhajan, The Master's Touch, Santa Cruz, NM, Kundalini Research Institute, 1997.
  • Yogi Bhajan with Gurucharan Singh Khalsa, The Mind: Its Projections and Multiple Facets, Espanola, New Mexico, Kundalini Research Institute, 1997.
  • Yogi Bhajan, The Aquarian Teacher - KRI International Kundalini Yoga Certification Text and Manual, Santa Cruz, NM, Kundalini Research Institute, 2003.
  • Yogi Bhajan, The Game of Love, A Book of Consciousness: The Poems and Art of Yogi Bhajan, Sikh Dharma, 2007.
  • Yogi Bhajan, Man to Man: A Journal of Discovery for the Conscious Man, Santa Cruz, NM, Kundalini Research Institute, 2008.
  • Yogi Bhajan, I am a Woman: Book and Yoga Manual, Santa Cruz, NM, Kundalini Research Institute, 2009.

Further reading

  • The Man Called Siri Singh Sahib, ed. Sat Kirpal Kaur Khalsa, Sardarni Premka Kaur Khalsa, Los Angeles, Sikh Dharma, 1979.
  • Shakti Parwha Kaur Khalsa, Kundalini Yoga: The Flow of Eternal Power, New York, Perigree Books, 1998.
  • Shameel, Balraam: Singh Yogee - Pachhmee dhartee dee sikh lehar. Bhaaee Harbhajan Singh Yogee Jee dee roohaanee jeevan, Lokgeet Parkashan, Chandigarh, 2005 [in Punjabi]
  • Guru Fatha Singh Khalsa, Five Paragons of Peace: Magic and Magnificence in the Guru's Way, Toronto, Monkey Minds Press, 2006.
  • Laue, Thorsten: Kundalini Yoga, Yogi Tee und das Wassermannzeitalter. Religionswissenschaftliche Einblicke in die Healthy, Happy, Holy Organization (3HO) des Yogi Bhajan, Münster: LIT, 2007, ISBN 3825801403 [in German]
  • Laue, Thorsten: Kundalini Yoga, Yogi Tee und das Wassermannzeitalter. Bibliografische Einblicke in die Healthy, Happy, Holy Organization (3HO) des Yogi Bhajan. Tübingen: 2008. Online abrufbar unter: http://tobias-lib.ub.uni-tuebingen.de/volltexte/2008/3596/ [in German]
  • Harbans Lal, "Celebrating the Life of Yogi Harbhajan Singh Ji", Kolkata, The Sikh Review, October 2007.
  • Guru Fatha Singh Khalsa, The Essential Gursikh Yogi: The Yoga and Yogis in the Past, Present and Future of Sikh Dharma, Toronto, Monkey Minds Press, 2008.

References

  1. ^ Biography - Sikhnet
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  3. ^ Yogi joins Mother Teresa, Pope in US list Press Trust of India
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  5. ^ Beads of Truth magazine, Fall 1978, 39:6-9; Beads of Truth magazine, Spring 1981, II:7:28-33.
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  13. ^ Source: Messenger from the Guru's House, Issue 14, May 2007, the biography of Yogi Bhajan written by Guru Fatha Singh Khalsa. "As the thousand, nine hundred and sixty-eighth year of the Christian era drew to a close, the small community of East Indians in Toronto felt a deep sense of pride. Next November, they knew, would be Guru Nanak's five hundredth birthday celebration. There was even talk of buying and renovating a building in the great Guru's name. The Yogi himself took the initiative by contributing a dollar. The rest of the community raised another seven thousand to buy and renovate a building, thereby creating the first Gurdwara in eastern Canada. Yogi Bhajan had accomplished much during his brief stay in Toronto. He had given the science of yoga national publicity. He had co-founded a yoga centre. He had taught large classes at the House of Yoga, and at four YMCAs. For everyone with eyes to see, Yogi Harbhajan Singh was a new, different kind of Sikh. He had shown himself to be out-going, self-confident, and deeply devoted to the form and spirit of his faith. The Yogi lived his religion and, rather than being sucked into the vortex of money-based Western culture, he had managed to successfully share the sacred teachings of the East with the people of a cosmopolitan North American city." This narrative is substantiated by the following article - Edna Hampton, “Yoga's Challenges and Promises”, The Globe and Mail (Toronto), November 28, 1968, p. W11. - and by interviews of people who remember Yogi Bhajan's time in Toronto, also by his own accounts in various lectures.
  14. ^ Sardarni Premka Kaur Khalsa, "Early History," The Man Called Siri Singh Sahib, eds., Sardarni Premka Kaur Khalsa and Sat Kirpal Kaur Khalsa, Los Angeles, Sikh Dharma, 1979, pp.32-33; Edna Hampton, "Yoga's challenge and promises," The Globe and Mail, November 28, 1968, p. W11
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  56. ^ quote: "So normally on this Earth, 90% of people will be crazy. I am not making a prediction. It is a truth that will be seen by any of you living to that age. Everybody will be funny, you know. You will never be in a position to determine why somebody is angry, why somebody doesn't want to see you, why somebody doesn't want to love you, why somebody has come and given you two or three slaps and kicked you out of the house... nothing you will be in a position to imagine. Unpredictable actions of the human being will be the common trend in social living. This will be the new human race." Yogi Bhajan lecture April 12, 1973, published as "The Blue Gap" in Beads of Truth, Issue 22, March 1974, p. 25
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  61. ^ Miri Piri Academy
  62. ^ http://silentpeacemeditation.com/about-alfredo/
  63. ^ http://www.integrativepsychology.net/Shannahoff-KhalsaBio.htm, http://www.theinternetyogi
  64. ^ http://www.nytimes.com/1989/07/21/obituaries/dayal-kaur-khalsa-author-is-dead-at-46.html, http://epe.lac-bac.gc.ca/100/206/301/lac-bac/celebrating_dk_khalsa-ef/3/7/index-e.html, http://www.chicsikh.org/books/dayal_kaur_khalsa_writer_illustrator_of_magical_childrens_books.
  65. ^ http://www.gurusingh.com
  66. ^ http://www.nytimes.com/2004/09/28/business/28sikh.html?pagewanted=print&position=
  67. ^ http://www.blackyogateachers.com/Krishna_Kaur, http://www.yogaforyouth.org, http://layogamagazine.com/issue12/departments/sitdownwith_krishna.htm
  68. ^ http://sleep.med.harvard.edu/people/faculty/240/Sat+Bir+Khalsa+PhD , http://www.yogatherapyconference.com/presenters.html
  69. ^ http://www.layogamagazine.com/issue12/departments/teacher_shaktiparwha.htm, http://www.kriteachings.org/KRI_Board.htm
  70. ^ http://www.snatamkaur.com
  71. ^ http://www.internationalspeakers.com/speaker/bio_proposal/1421?template=isb, http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G1-126195693.html, http://www.khalsamedical.com/about_dr.asp
  72. ^ Edna Hampton, “Yoga's Challenges and Promises”, The Globe and Mail (Toronto), November 28, 1968; Marty Altschul, “Tense Housewives, Businessmen Try Relaxing Hindu Way---Yoga Lessons”, Los Angeles Times, June 22, 1969; Bret Gray, “Yogi Bhajan: Time Running Out For Purification”, Orlando Sentinel, May 31, 1970; Barbara Hansen, “Yogi's Birthday Party a Mind-Expanding Experience”, Los Angeles Times, September 2, 1971; Stephen Gayle, “Inside the Ashram: A Talk With Yogi Bhajan”, New York Post, December 12, 1972; Ann Bishop, “Festival Explores Man's Needs, Frustrations”, The Denver Post, June 7, 1974; Kathryn Helms, “Principle of hard work basis of good life, Sikh explains”, Deseret News (Salt Lake City), June 8, 1974; Jocelyn Fuji, “Yoga from the Master, Bhajan”, Star-Bulletin (Honolulu), June 10, 1974; “Interview: Yogi Bhajan, The Mahan Tantric”, The Movement Newspaper, September 1974; Susan Cheever Cowley, Martin Kasindorf, Laurie Lisle, “Sikhdom, U.S.A.”, Newsweek, April 21, 1975; Barbara Riker, “Sikhs Have Undaunted Faith in Their Leader”, Los Angeles Times, June 15, 1975; Fred Robledo, “The Aztecs Meet Yogi”, Los Angeles Herald-Examiner, July 30, 1975; Stanley Williford, “Yoga: Something for Everyone”, Ebony Magazine, September 1975; John Amodeo, “The Inspiration Behind 3HO”, Yoga Journal, 1979?; Carol Cheetham, photo essay: "At the Feet of a Master", Los Angeles Times, July 16, 1995.
  73. ^ Craig Miyamoto, “Relaxing with breath exercises: YMCA yoga teacher feels it is the answer to drugs”, The Post Advocate (Alhambra), January 27, 1970; William L. Claiborne, “Heroin Treatment: Garlic Juice, Yoga”, The Washington Post, March 22, 1972; James Graham, “Is Yoga and answer for addicts?”, The Detroit News, April 3, 1972; Renee Calderon, “Yoga Is Better Drug Use Cure Than Methadone Treatment”, Arizona Daily, April 11, 1972; “Yogi claims heroin cure with no withdrawal pain”, Tucson Daily Citizen, April 11, 1972; Mark Sanchez, “Yogi seeks drug solution”, The New Mexican, June 24, 1973.
  74. ^ Muriel Marshall, “Yogi performs rites uniting 15 couples near Hotchkiss”, Delta County Independent (Colorado), June 21, 1971; Douglas Glynn, “A mass yoga wedding without any frills”, The Globe and Mail (Toronto), March 27, 1972; John Stanton, “At triple ceremony, Yogi tells newlyweds union goes 'to infinity”, Palo Alto Times, March 1, 1973.
  75. ^ “Army Judge Acquits Sikh Wearing Turban on Duty”, The New York Times, January 8, 1974; Richard Dalrymple, “Religious Dress Custom Is A Problem For Sikhs – And Others”, Los Angeles Herald-Examiner, June 1, 1974.
  76. ^ Time Will Tell: September 5, 1977 Mr. Henry Anatole Grunwald Managing Editor Time Magazine Time Life Building Rockefeller Center New York, N.Y. 10020 DEMAND FOR RETRACTION Your article in the September 5, 1977, issue of TIME entitled “Yogi Bhajan's Synthetic Sikhism” was a scandalous attempt to besmear the reputation of one of the world's major religious leaders. A copy of said article is enclosed as Exhibit One. It was based on ignorance of the teachings and practices of the Sikh faith, statements that TIME knew before publication were false and wholly without basis in fact, and a reckless disregard of the truth about the Siri Singh Sahib's teachings and personal lifestyle. While the publication of this article around the world has caused irreparable damage to the Siri Singh Sahib, a retraction given at least the same prominence in your next issue may do some good in remedying the harm already inflicted. The title of the article is one of the most serious misstatements that was published. The article, to a large extent, tried to justify the impact of the title. As you know, neither Gurcharan Singh Tohra nor Jaswant Singh made the statements attributed to them in TIME; furthermore, the statements themselves were totally false (“scandalous lies” according to Jaswant Singh). Copies of their cables after publication of the article are attached hereto as Exhibit Two. What is especially shocking is that weeks ago I had given TIME a letter written by Gurcharan Singh Tohra in 1974 in which he wrote that “the S.G.P.C. Appreciated the work done by 3HO and the Akal Takht decorated the leader as Siri Singh Sahib Harbhajan Singh Yogi and recognized him as head of the Sikh Dharma mission in the Western Hemisphere. We have observed during our tour that he had been doing this noble work admirably well.” While Trilochan Singh does not think yoga has a place in Sikhism, I explained to your correspondent, Mr. Wilde, that the July 1977 issue of The Sikh Review carried a full page response to the question and concluded that yoga was not anti-Sikhism. A copy of said article is attached as Exhibit Three and was, of course, given to you before the article went to print. In addition, you were given a lengthy article from Beads of Truth (Issue 29-30) tracing the practice of yoga in Sikhism throughout Sikh history with references to the Holy Scriptures of the Sikh religion (Siri Guru Granth Sahib). A copy of said article is attached as Exhibit Four. Your statement that “the kind of Sikhism practiced by Bhajan...is far different from that practiced by ten million Indians”, and that “although Indian Sikhs are renowned meat eaters, Bhajan has insisted that his followers be strict vegetarians” are totally false. I explained to Mr. Wilde (and your correspondent in India must surely be aware) that the diet taught by the Siri Singh Sahib is that of the Golden Temple in Amritsar. Further, as I have explained to you, all actions taken by the Siri Singh Sahib concerning the growth and direction of Sikh Dharma in the Western Hemisphere have been studied and approved by the duly appointed representatives of the Sikh Religion in Amritsar. Your attempt to portray the Siri Singh Sahib as the head of a personality cult rather than the Chief Religious and Administrative Authority of Sikh Dharma of the Western Hemisphere (“Sikhism...is practical-minded, allows democratic election of its priests, and abhors personality cults. Bhajan's powerful personality is central to his cult”, “...the discipline of Bhajanism” and the many references to his “disciples”) was done when you knew and your correspondends knew it was not true. I spent considerable time with Mr. Wilde explaining the structure of Sikh Dharma in the Western Hemisphere. TIME knew that there was an elaborate check and balance system set up in the dharma. I explained to Mr. Wilde that the office of the Siri Singh Sahib was similar to that of an executive. I explained that the Khalsa Council was similar to a legislature... I also, in great detail, explained that no one in the Sikh religion occupied a position like the Pope in Catholicism on spiritual matters since the only Guru of the Sikhs is the Siri Guru Granth Sahib portrayed in the article. The statement that Sikhs in America “often work twelve hours a day on low salaries and skimpy diets at 3HO small businesses...” was equally slanted. First, as you know, there are no 3HO businesses. Across the country, people have gotten together and started some small businesses – usually 2-3 person operations. Some are now at that level, and some are becoming very successful (such as the Shakti Shoe Company, the Sunshine Brass Bed Factory, and Golden Temple Foods). Many of these have proceeded into formal corporate structures. The money earned and the hours worked by the people involved in the businesses is commensurate with any other small business getting started in America. Further, the safety standards used at the businesses have been applauded by OSHA investigators. The Sikhs in America are also among the healthiest people in the country. While meat-eaters would think that vegetarian diets are “skimpy,” it would be difficult to remain slim eating at any of the ashrams or restaurants without exercise and good hard work. Many references to questionable sexual practices in the article were especially distasteful and libelous. Tantric yoga as taught by the Siri Singh Sahib, for instance, does not include the sexual tantra that has sold so many books in this country. The description of tantric yoga taught by the Siri Singh Sahib is: “a science and an art that can never be taught and never be learned; it must be experienced. Each course given in Tantric Yoga is a reflection of that particular moment of time. So, each course is unique and the opportunity to experience its effects comes only once. Each course emphasizes the clearing and development of some particular part of your being. In Tantric Yoga, you experience the union of male and female principles of the universe. These two polarities exist throughout creation...” The breathing techniques of Kundalini Yoga as taught by the Siri Singh Sahib improve a person's life – his (or her) ability to work, concentrate, relax, play, as well as having a healthier sex life. The reference in your article that “he reveals breathing and massage techniques said to improve sexual performance” was clearly a sordid attempt to present these teachings totally out of context. The references at the end of the article to statements allegedly made by Colleen Hoskins were done with reckless disregard for the truth. I know that Mr. Wild interviewed women who are now Sikhs and who have left Sikhism and was told that the allegations were totally false and slanderous. I was also present when he interviewed three of the Siri Singh Sahib's secretaries that have been with him since his earliest days in this country and he did not attempt to verify any of the allegations with them (this was after I had given him a formal legal notice not to publish the allegations and told him that Mrs. Hoskins' allegations were vicious lies by a woman who was in the midst of a very emotional divorce with her husband). Mr. Wilde was also informed that Don Conreaux was something less than a civic-minded citizen spontaneously giving TIME an unbiased statement about the Siri Singh Sahib. He was told Mr. Conreaux had been paid a large sum of money to help “deprogram” a young man away from Sikhism, and that he wanted a negative article in TIME in order to approach parents of other Sikh men and women with hopes of receiving large fees for similar deprogramming efforts. Reference to his allegations were also surprising since Mr. Wilde had scores of lecutres of the Siri Singh Sahib over the past several years (as well as his recent book, The Teachings of Yogi Bhajan) which consistently refuted Conreaux's claims that the Siri Singh Sahib “teaches only obedience to him.” Finally, the aspects of the lifestyles of the Sikhs in America that have been inspired by the Siri Singh Sahib that were not covered in the article were conspicuous by their absence... I, of course, have no control over what you print, and the above list is only an indication that all positive aspects of Sikhism brought to the United States by the Siri Singh Sahib were deliberately left out of the article... Sincerely, Guru Terath Singh Khalsa Chancellor to the Siri Singh Sahib, and Minister of Sikh Dharma
  77. ^ http://www.mrsikhnet.com/index.php/2006/04/27/bbc-interview-with-yogi-bhajan-in-anandpur-sahib-1999/
  78. ^ http://www.sikhcoalition.org/army.asp
  79. ^ Litigation Against 3HO and/or Leaders
  80. ^ Litigation Against 3HO and/or Leaders
  81. ^ A Yogi's Requiem, http://articles.latimes.com/2004/oct/23/entertainment/et-yogi23
  82. ^ The Tribune- India, http://www.tribuneindia.com/2004/20041008/punjab1.htm
  83. ^ State of New Mexico Document, http://docs.google.com/gview?a=v&q=cache:WTbKfRwvUqgJ:www.nmshtd.state.nm.us/upload/contents/436/Yogi%2520Bhajan%2520-%2520Press%2520Release.pdf+yogi+bhajan+death+new+mexico+memorial+highway&hl=en&gl=us
  84. ^ The PR Newswire, http://www.prnewswire.co.uk/cgi/news/release?id=131778
  85. ^ http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/880032.cms
  86. ^ Boss of Worlds Capitalistic and Spiritual ,http://www.nytimes.com/2004/10/09/national/09bhajan.html
  87. ^ Harbhajan Singh Yogi
  88. ^ The Peace Abbey Courage of Conscience Recipients List
  89. ^ Mahan Pattar Given to Bhai Sahib Harbhajan Singh ji Khalsa from Keshghar Sahib
  90. ^ SSS Yogi Bhajan Honored at National Ceremony, http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d108:H.CON.RES.521:

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Quotes

Up to date as of January 14, 2010
(Redirected to Harbhajan Singh Yogi article)

From Wikiquote

Happiness comes out of contentment, and contentment always comes out of service.

Harbhajan Singh Khalsa Yogiji (26 August 19296 October 2004), born Harbhajan Singh Puri, also known as Yogi Harbhajan, Yogi Bhajan, and Siri Singh Sahib, was a charismatic spiritual leader and successful entrepreneur who was prominent in promoting Sikhism and Kundalini yoga.

Sourced

If you can't see God in All, You can't see God at All.
Everybody is a candle, true. But not everybody is lit.
You can literally wake up another person with your glow.
A true spiritual man is one who lives for Infinity, and whose presence creates peace. If your presence doesn't work, nothing works.
  • Everyone is master of his own destiny. Those who do not know how to be commanded do not know how to command. Temptation is the law of Maya (illusion). One who can withstand it knows the law of life: assess your 1) stamina 2) potential 3) basic flexibility, and know where your emotions are.
    • Remark (23 June 1972), as quoted in Transitions to a Heart Centered World : Through the Kundalini Yoga and Meditations of Yogi Bhajan (1988) by Guru Rattana and Ann M. Maxwell, p. 107
  • Leave the result to God. From God you have come and unto God you shall go. In between is a temporary passage through time and space. But you are never subject to time and space — you just pass through it. With Guru's blessing, you'll find the guide and the guidance.
    • Remark (14 July 1975), as quoted in Transitions to a Heart Centered World : Through the Kundalini Yoga and Meditations of Yogi Bhajan (1988) by Guru Rattana and Ann M. Maxwell, p. 134
  • Life is like a movie. You go to a movie, give them your money and they give you a seat and start the film for you. Between eating popcorn and drinking Coca cola, you fall asleep. Now, you didn't pay your $5.00 to sleep in that chair did you? In exactly the same way, through previous karma, life is gained here. It is paid for! (You have earned it!) With Guru's grace, you did the Bhakti, and then God granted you a human body. It is earned, paid for and the title is clear. You can make it or mar it. It's your business. You've paid the money and now you are seated at the opera and the performance has begun. If you sleep and snore through it, who cares?
    • Remark (14 July 1975), as quoted in Transitions to a Heart Centered World : Through the Kundalini Yoga and Meditations of Yogi Bhajan (1988) by Guru Rattana and Ann M. Maxwell, p. 107
  • Take new values : Leave behind a legend to be followed by those who follow you. Be a yogi — don't be an ordinary person.
    • Remark (9 January 1978), as quoted in Transitions to a Heart Centered World : Through the Kundalini Yoga and Meditations of Yogi Bhajan (1988) by Guru Rattana and Ann M. Maxwellm, p. 107
  • If you can't see God in All, You can't see God at All.
    • As quoted inKundalini Yoga : The Flow of Eternal Power‎ (1998) by Shakti Pawha Kaur Khalsa; also in Education as Transformation : Religious Pluralism, Spirituality, and a New Vision for Higher Education in America (2000) by Victor H. Kazanjian and Peter L. Laurence
  • Happiness comes out of contentment, and contentment always comes out of service.
    • As quoted in Treasury of Spiritual Wisdom : A Collection of 10, 000 Powerful Quotations (2003) by Andy Zubko, p. 71

The Eight Human Talents (2001)

Quotes of Yogi Bhajan from The Eight Human Talents : Restore the Balance and Serenity within You with Kundalini Yoga (2001) by Gurmukh, and Cathryn Michon
  • Everybody is a candle, true. But not everybody is lit.
  • You can literally wake up another person with your glow. When you are with somebody, that person should feel comfortable.
  • Not to recognize the effect of the aura is the greatest tragedy. Your radiant power has more power to repel negativity than anything your brain can think of.
  • A true spiritual man is one who lives for Infinity, and whose presence creates peace. If your presence doesn't work, nothing works.
  • People lie. Auras never lie.
  • Not to recognize the effect of the aura is the greatest tragedy.
  • Your shallowness or greatness of the soul shows up in your aura.
  • The entire human psyche is part of the entire universal electromagnetic field and it is nurtured by that frequency and that touch.

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