Tagged: cult Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • sitting bull 5:09 on 2018-05-07 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: #meToo, , accusations, corruption, cult, , , sexual misconduct,   

    The lesser known history of Yogi Bhajan part 4 – his dark sides 

    Now that I did prepare you gently by showing you some discrepancies in Yogi Bhajan’s teachings with this article: https://www.academia.edu/4343215/From_Maharaj_to_Mahan_Tantric_The_Construction_of_Yogi_Bhajan_s_Kundalini_Yoga ,
    I want to move on to the by far the most difficult part to convey to excited followers of any teacher they revere.

    Yes it is beautiful to have ones heart opened by given inspirations, but just as the saying goes that “love makes blind”, so does unconditional Guru-worship which raises a normal human being to a god-like level.

    Spirituality is not all about love and excitement – something I can not relate to in many esoteric groups – to me it is about neutrality – the middle path between the negative and positive mind, or as it is taught in the Kabbalah – the middle pillar.

    So in order to make balance to my promoting of Yogi Bhajan’s teachings, I will also add a few sources, which indicate that his alter ego by no means was all perfect.

    Whilst I myself am not at all in the #meToo spirit, where any accusation, even when made a generation later, equals a verdict up to the point that many careers were destroyed before any legal judgment was passed;
    I merely provide the facts of my researches here and will tell you afterwards how I feel about them.

    For brevity’s sake I simply provide links so that people who are offended may skip them, and others who are inclined to research may follow up.

    1. There is a compilation of pages about the dark sides of 3HO which I had to pull from the internet archive, because the page now focusses on making money:
      https://web.archive.org/web/20130817111858/http://rickross.com/groups/3ho.html
    2. An equal compilation can be found on http://www.wackoWorldOfYogiBhajan.net
      (the website name says all about the angle they are coming from)
    3. A forum of a very disappointed former student of Yogi Bhajan who did dedicate 30 years of his life to him: http://www.gurmukhyoga.com/forum/index.php
    4. Another “dis-appointed” student (who “dissed” his “appointment” with 3HO):
      http://lukeford.net/blog/?p=8602

    In those 4 sources you will find accusations of Yogi Bhajan and 3HO having participated or silently condoned corruption, sexual misconducts and many other things.

    Here is how another student of his who still follows his teachings deals with it
    (I urge you to click the youtube button and read the comments there to see how many others also have those problems):

     

    And now – as promised my personal intake on it:

    My first encounter was when I read some of his teachings, started to practice them, and it was clear to me that this guy was spiritually very gifted and shared great insights.

    Then – just as I was doing 2.5 hours of Sodarshan Chakra Kriya daily, I had personal contact with Yogi Bhajan 24 years ago and this was my impression:

    He was extremely authoritarian and did cultivate a guru-worship which I didn’t like, but due to his unapproachable aggressive-deflective aura I realised instantly that there was no way to confront him about it in any way, because he made certain that he always had the upper hand the last word and was right in any conversation.

    So even when he did flatter me for “becoming an incredible healer and a saint”, I was in doubt whether he just wanted to suck me into his cult-like structure.

    The most honest thing I heard him say was “If you do 2.5 hours of Sodarshan Chakra Kriya then there is nothing I can teach you anymore!”, because it was the only time he made himself redundant and bowed to the Kriya which he also said would have been told to do  by his teacher.

    His dominant nature which then merciful fed (the one he just beforehand put down) some compliments was the ideal material to become a cult-leader, because it invokes the Stockholm-syndrome in which people (especially the ones searching for themselves) feel appreciated mostly by the forces which suppressed them beforehand.

    To sum up what does indicate to me that some of those accusations may bear some truth:

    • He certainly was a root-chakra guy with all the dominance involved, so sexual allegations would not surprise me, especially since he himself said that “no man and woman should be left alone in a room”.
    • When Jesus said that “you shall know them by their fruits”, I must say that I was exploited a few times by his follower -student-turned Gurus:
      • the one who passed on SCK to me sucked $2000 out of me at times when I was totally broke and had nothing and did continue this for decades.
        That Kabbalist from NYC also was a heavy womaniser and did commit adultery.
      • altogether I payed a fortune for very expensive 3HO seminars and treatments – a bit too much to leave the impression that spirituality would have been the priority. And all my requests of them employing me in order to get a US-greencard were ignored – I was too uncontrollable to them (hence Y.B. did name me “Amar” which means “free spirit”).
      • and sarcastically it was his people and himself who destroyed my new and frail practice of SCK by making me work for them for a fortnight day and night without me even being able to finish my meals, so that afterwards when they left all that was left was a bunch of tremendous anger and no motivation to continue to do kriyas.
        Y.B. on his second meeting waving me jovially into his room to have a private talk did not do the trick anymore. I simply walked away from him, because I knew that I never could have expressed my frustration to someone who wipes away anything he doesn’t want to hear.
    • Yogi Bhajan got many herbs from our Chinese Medical Pharmacy (which I did grind myself) and never payed – just as hardly any of the teachers who came flying over for a few days (regardless of environmental impact) did of course never declare any of that cash money so it seemed to me that they felt entitled to live above the law for the sake of their higher cause.
    • Once they visited the British head of 3HO to solve a some private and business issues; me, who was just beginning to stretch my head into the realm of spirituality could literally sense a spiritual war between the 3HO-Sikhs and the director of our college, a Vietnamese Buddhist monk, taking place: They walked into hour College of Chinese Medicine and with their “Kundalini Stare” literally took over the place, making it their home, so that the Buddhist monk did flee from his premises to visit a retreat. Students who studied Chinese medicine but not Kundalini-Yoga were puzzled about their fierceness and I personally was sucked straight into this invisible war by having to choose a side – something which was not at all in line with my understanding of all-embracing spirituality.
      Hence I started to drink lots of alcohol in order to numb and put a lid on myself.

    All teachings are energetically tainted by the energy of the guru – which is the reason why the 3HO leaders are so unyielding stern and hard – they simply invested and suffered half their life to live up to the calvinistic pleasure-condemming demands that all they have left now is their reputation to be senior students “who knew the master” – something they would never destroy by tainting their only source of glamorous wisdom.

    And on a personal note:

    In the midst whilst writing this article I suddenly became unpleasantly dizzy – nearly stopped, but deemed it important to follow Yogi Bhajan’s own words:
    “If you are depressed – press back”.
    Now, the next moring I felt very liberated, because I did realise that what he did with me was an energetic violation – not as spectacular as the sexual violations focussed on in the current zeitgeist, nevertheless a deep hidden trauma (of which we all have tons and don’t even know it).

    Ironically what Bhajan said came true for himself too:
    It is the aquarian age everything will come out – so also do his dark sides he did gloss over with overconfidence and his self-created role as a religious leader.

    “All the clever tricks you use, the countless little tricks
    – not even one will go along with you.

    Surrender yourself and walk the way of Spirit’s Will.
    Naanak – be with what is already written.”

    -Japji Sahib, Pauree 1, Guru Nanak

    <previous: how he twisted {hi(s}tory) towards Sikhism            next > Harbhajan Singh Khalsa’s biggest mistake

    Advertisements
     
  • sitting bull 2:01 on 2018-05-06 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , cult, , , ,   

    The lesser known history of Yogi Bhajan part 3 – how he twisted {hi(s}tory) towards Sikhism. 

    This is the third and last part of the article named:
    From Maharaj to Mahan Tantric: The Construction of Yogi Bhajan’s Kundalini Yoga
    Permalink: https://escholarship.org/uc/item/6r63q6qn
    Journal: Sikh Formations, 8(3)
    Author: Deslippe, Philip Roland
    Publication Date: 2013-03-14

    Sant Hazara Singh and the Title of Mahan Tantric

    In the spring of 1971, shortly after returning from the India trip, Yogi Bhajan announced to his students after his morning meditation that he had been passed the mantle of “Mahan Tantric.” According to Yogi Bhajan, there was only a single Mahan Tantric on the earth at any time, and his earlier pride meant that the title was previously passed to another student of Sant Hazara Singh, the Tibetan Lama Lilan Po, before coming to him (Gurutej S. Khalsa 1995, 15). As understood in 3HO, it is only under the watch of the singular Mahan Tantric that White Tantric Yoga can be done, a non-sexual form of yoga in which his students would sit in rows facing each other in male/female pairs, staring into one another’s eyes, and under the supervision of the Mahan Tantric, perform exercises lasting up to an hour or more.(38) Both the timing and the title were curious, since at the very least, Tantric courses were taught in both Los Angeles and Arizona in the Fall of 1970, well before the title of Mahan Tantric was bestowed, and early teachers of Kundalini Yoga also taught classes of the same type of yoga before they were told it “took too much energy out of Yogi Bhajan” (Schneider 2003, 71).(39)

    The discrepancies make sense in light of the historical housecleaning that was quickly done in early-1971 in the wake of Yogi Bhajan’s break from Virsa Singh. Maharaj Virsa Singh was struck from the record within 3HO, as were the minor living teachers that were listed in the July 1970 “Who Is Yogi Bhajan?” article in Beads of Truth. If Maharaj Virsa Singh was referred to, it was never by name and always as a type of boogey-man who in numerous recountings challenged Yogi Bhajan, tried to keep Yogi Bhajan’s students from becoming Sikhs, and was covertly responsible for any dissonance between Western and Punjabi Sikhs (S.K. Khalsa 2010). From the first India trip onwards, all of the influences that Yogi Bhajan claimed and placed with the lineage of Kundalini and White Tantric Yoga, became inaccessible: from Sant Hazara Singh to the Tibetan Lama Lilan Po to the Sikh Gurus themselves. As the former executive secretary of 3HO has described it, “All of Yogi Bhajan’s claims about lineage or teachers were not able to be substantiated since all teachers that he referred to were (conveniently) expired.”(40)

    Guru Ram Das and the figure of Sant Hazara Singh took center stage, and any deference or mythologizing given to Maharaj Virsa Singh was now cast onto them or to Yogi Bhajan himself.

    The original story of Yogi Bhajan cleaning toilets for Maharaj Virsa Singh, which was turned into washing the floors at the Golden Temple after work, was again recast into part of Yogi Bhajan’s claimed narrative of studying under Sant Hazara Singh (Yogi Bhajan 1996a, 1999). The description of the Mahan Tantric, a unique title held by only one person on earth at a time, echoed Yogi Bhajan’s previous description of Maharaj Virsa Singh as “the master of the time.” Yogi Bhajan’s dress of flowing all-white clothing and the even way he sat bore a striking resemblance to how Maharaj Virsa Singh [379] carried himself.(41) The Naam that Yogi Bhajan said he received from his former master was now referred to in 3HO publications as “our Ek Ong Kar Sat Nam Siri Wahe Guru” (Khalsa 1971a). In October of 1971, 3HO began the practice of celebrating the birthday of Guru Ram Das, and soon that annual celebration would revolve around chanting the shabad Dhan Dhan Ram Das Guru for two and a half hours just as Ek Ong Kar Sat Nam Siri Wahe Guru was chanted to honor Maharaj Virsa Singh on his birthday (Khalsa 1971b).

    While the figure of Sant Hazara Singh became central, when all of Yogi Bhajan’s claims about him are brought together, it seems highly improbable that if such a figure existed that he would not have been documented elsewhere.(42) In addition to being a master of Sikh martial arts, Kundalini Yoga, White Tantric Yoga, and someone who had memorized the entire Siri Guru Granth Sahib, Yogi Bhajan claimed that his Sant Hazara Singh organized an armed defense of the city of Anandpur during Partition, remained ageless and had over 250 students including the Tibetan Lama Lilan Po who would have been remarkably studying under a Sikh teacher in the Punjab at a time when Tibet was closed off (Khalsa 1979, 29; Yogi Bhajan 1983, 1996b). The man Yogi Bhajan appointed as his biographer, Guru Fatha Singh Khalsa, has by his own admission never found outside information on the figure of Sant Hazara Singh.(43)

    Beyond the late introduction of Sant Hazara Singh and the convenient timing of his elevated importance, perhaps the strongest evidence against his existence comes from Yogi Bhajan himself. The accepted narrative within 3HO, taken from Yogi Bhajan directly, is that he trained under Sant Hazara Singh from the age of seven until sixteen and a half, when he was declared a Master by his teacher (Yogi Bhajan 1990a).(44) However, on numerous occasions during his first years in the West, Yogi Bhajan himself dated the beginning of his yogic study to a time after he would later claim to have finished his studies under Sant Hazara Singh. Yogi Bhajan initially told reporters that he had been studying yoga “since he was eighteen” and in interviews in both 1968 and 1969, he claimed to have studied for twenty-two years, and in 1970 that number was adjusted to twenty-three years, which at 1946 and 1947, would have made him either seventeen or eighteen years old when he began to study yoga (Hampton 1968; Altschul 1969; Anonymous 1970b; Gray 1970). An early article by the “mother of 3HO” Shakti Parwha Kaur also describes Yogi Bhajan’s meeting with Virsa Singh as the apex of the former’s “22 years search for Truth,” once again placing the beginning of Yogi Bhajan’s spiritual quest at a post- Partition time following his claimed completion of studies under Sant Hazara Singh (S.P.K. Khalsa 1970b, 2).

    With decades to solidify, this shift has become the accepted standard within 3HO today, where nearly all practitioners know of the claimed connections the practice has with Sant Hazara Singh and Guru Ram Das, but hardly anyone is aware of Maharaj Virsa Singh or Swami Dhirendra Brahmachari.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dhirendra_Brahmachari

    Conclusion

    When viewed openly, the early history of 3HO is remarkable in the extent that it was so thoroughly revised and replaced as the organization aged, with a figure so initially revered as Maharaj Virsa Singh eliminated and a theoretically essential figure as Sant Hazara Singh introduced only after a year and a half of going unnoted. One explanation [381] of the successful revision of Kundalini Yoga’s history is simply timing. Since these changes occurred in the first two years, there was less of a past to revise, and the passing of time helped to further solidify the new narrative as many of the earliest people in 3HO cycled out of the group. In later years, many students who joined after the first two years were recognized as “old-timers” with decades of experience, and their understanding was given merit even though they were ignorant of 3HO’s earliest and most formative years that often contradicted its later understanding of itself.

    The most significant aspect of the hidden history of Yogi Bhajan’s Kundalini Yoga, is the central epistemological problem at the foundation of 3HO’s understanding of Kundalini Yoga and its own lineage. Like a small restaurant that places mirrors on opposing walls to create the appearance of depth, it is from the singular person of Yogi Bhajan that all information about the lineage and practice of his Kundalini Yoga originates. From the lectures of Yogi Bhajan and notes taken in his classes came the instruction manuals, books, and 3HO periodicals such asBeads of Truth and the later Aquarian Times that elucidated the practice of Kundalini Yoga. In time, despite contradictions within Yogi Bhajan’s statements and a lack of supporting evidence from secondary sources, outside writers and scholars relied on 3HO’s own materials to describe the composition and lineage of Kundalini Yoga to wider audiences, creating a long and citable bibliography that seems to verify the claims made about the practice.

    Yogi Bhajan was free to revise the understanding his students had of Kundalini Yoga, its origins, and his own personal lineage, since like many other charismatic leaders within New Religious Movements, his word was accepted prima facia by his followers without any need for outside confirmation. While Yogi Bhajan himself can be seen as the primary editor of the understanding of his Kundalini Yoga and its claimed lineage, this filtering was reinforced by figures close to him who wrote and edited 3HO’s periodicals and literature. By eliminating certain events and quotes and emphasizing others, they often revised history and gave a more consistent form to the narratives within 3HO. Shakti Parwha Kaur would say in late-1972, despite everything she wrote in Beads of Truth about Maharaj Virsa Singh in 1970, that when she first met Yogi Bhajan “he had placed his total faith, his total dependence” on Guru Ram Das (Khalsa 1972). With more rank-and-file members this process of resolving conflicting and disparate information could be more subtle, even to the point of being unconscious. An unwitting description of this approach can been seen in Ravi Har Singh, who in describing the process of writing a book based on Yogi Bhajan’s “non-linear and multidimensional” lectures recently admitted, “I found that he (Yogi Bhajan) rarely develops a concept completely in one place, at one sitting. Instead he often delivers fragments of concepts across a wide number of lectures. It is up to the researcher to apply a good dose of intuition to bring these fragments together into a coherent whole” (Khalsa 2011).

    Adding another dimension to Yogi Bhajan’s role as the filter of knowledge in the earliest years of 3HO were the barriers of language, culture, and personal experience. On the first trip to India none of Yogi Bhajan’s students spoke Punjabi or were familiar with Sikh customs, let alone Indian culture at large. While some of Yogi Bhajan’s students would describe firsthand his break with Maharaj Virsa Singh or the events at the [382] Golden Temple in 1971, it is doubtful that they themselves understood what was occurring at the time independent of what they were told via Yogi Bhajan. Even a student who was nearby when Guru Ram Das supposedly appeared to Yogi Bhajan on the 1970-71 trip and reverentially verified his story, did not see the fourth Sikh Guru with her own eyes, and could only find proof through her own interpretation of what she saw in Yogi Bhajan and what he related (Khalsa 1978).

    A close inspection of the events between 1968 and 1971 suggest that Yogi Bhajan was acutely aware of the ways he was presenting his yoga and often reimagined it to suit his audience: at times for long term goals and at other times to suit immediate needs. The figures of Sant Hazara Singh, and to a lesser extent, Lama Lilan Po, were used to cover for the actual personages and influences of Maharaj Virsa Singh and Swami Dhirendra Brahmachari, giving a provenance to Kundalini Yoga that also secured Yogi Bhajan’s possession of it. Without the lineage that he claimed and without creating Kundalini Yoga out of whole cloth, Yogi Bhajan is best thought of as neither a lineage holder nor inventor, but a bricoleur who brought together elements of different practices and presented them to his students as a distinct entity with a romantic mythology surrounding it. Perhaps this says as much about Yogi Bhajan as it does about the expectations and hopes of those who believed him.

    While this paper suggests a radical shift in the accepted understanding of what Kundalini Yoga is and who Yogi Bhajan was, in one sense it also suggests a lateral shift. When the popular mythology of Kundalini Yoga is inspected and dismantled, an ancient lineage of Kundalini Yoga and the figure of Sant Hazara Singh are lost, but we are still left with esoteric yogic practices and a powerful teacher in the Sūkṣma Vyāyāma of Swami Dhirendra Brahmachari and the figure of Maharaj Virsa Singh. This provides both a truer sense of Kundalini Yoga and a more realistic explanation of why it works as it does for its practitioners.

    Some critics and ex-members of 3HO try to dismiss the practice of Kundalini Yoga entirely, often basing their view on contradictory evidence within Yogi Bhajan’s claims or by contrasting the practice with accepted Sikh orthopraxy. But with vast numbers of teachers and students of Kundalini Yoga over the decades, it is unrealistic to think that all of them were deluded, found no benefits through its practice, or did not have profound experiences through it. Kundalini Yoga was often described by Yogi Bhajan and 3HO as “The Yoga of Experience.” When viewed critically and historically, perhaps the individual experience of its practitioners, and not the figure of Yogi Bhajan or the mythology of the Golden Chain, is the most honest and fruitful vantage from which to view it.[383]

    ~~~ End of article ~~~

    < previous: his Janus-face between Sikhism and Yoga
    coming up: the dark side of Yogi Bhajan

    My personal 2cents:

    1. Maybe Y.B.’s transformation towards Sikhism had something to do with the US-laws which grant religious workers green cards.
    2. The ones who don’t believe this article may the read how he came to his conclusion by reading the entire original here,
      or simply look at the extensive research done as documented in the Footnotes and References below:

      Footnotes:

    (38) Yogi Bhajan originally taught these White Tantric Yoga classes in person, and later with declining health the courses were done through video tapes and in-person representative “Tantric Facilitators,” a format that continues today, years after Yogi Bhajan’s death.
    (39) Interview with Antion Vic Briggs, telephone, 5 July 2011. Interview with Jack Sokol, telephone, 7 September 2011. Sokol was an early student of Kundalini Yoga and studied under “Baba” Don Conreaux at Arizona State University in early 1970 before teaching and going through a ten-day teaching training in Los Angeles in the summer of 1971.
    (40) Interview with Pamela Dyson, telephone, 23 September 2011.
    (41) Interview with Antion Vic Briggs, telephone, 5 July 2011.
    (42) There were notable Hazara Singhs who were outside the timeline Yogi Bhajan gave for his claimed teacher: a Bhai Hazara Singh who was killed in 1921 and made one of the first two martyrs of the Gudwara Reform Movement, and a Baba Hazara Singh Sevawale, who supervised the building of the Gudwara in Taraori, north of Karnal, in 1970. If there was in fact a reality-based source for Yogi Bhajan’s early teacher, the most likely suspect who comes remotely close to the timeline that Yogi Bhajan established for him was a Sant Hazara Singh from the village Chhote Ghuman. According to the author Dr. Kulwant Singh Khokhar, who frequently met with him and mentioned him in the acknowledgements section of his 1999 book Way of the Saffron Cloud, this Sant Hazara Singh was an uneducated, retired farmer who lived very modestly and barely spoke, a sharp contrast with the tales Yogi Bhajan told of his Sant Hazara Singh.
    (43) Correspondence with Guru Fatha Singh Khalsa, email, 15 June 15, 2011.
    (44) This contrasts with the earlier claim in the July 1970 issue of Beads of Truth that this mastery was obtained by Yogi Bhajan at the age of eighteen.

    References:
    3HO (Healthy, Happy, Holy Organization) 1970. Display ad. Beads of Truth, March, vol. 1 no. 3. Altschul, Marty. 1969. Tense housewives, businessmen try relaxing Hindu way. Los Angeles Times, June 22.
    Anonymous. 1970. Guru & mantra yoga. Beads of Truth, March vol. 1 no. 2, 1.
    Anonymous. 1970. Yogi on yoga. Santa Fe New Mexican, March 20.
    Anonymous. 1970. Television notice. Arizona Republic, November 28.
    Anonymous. 1971. Yogi bailed out, flies back to US. Hindustan Times, March 20.
    Aquarian, Isis [pseud.], ed. 2007. The Source: The untold story of Father Yod, YaHoWa13 and the Source Family. Los Angeles: Process Media.
    Brahmachari, Swami Dhirendra. 1970. Yogāsana Vijñāna: The science of yoga. New Delhi: Asia Publishing House.
    Brahmachari, Swami Dhirendra. 1973 [First English edition published 1965]. Yoga: Yogic SūkṣmaVyāyāma. New Delhi: Indian Book Company.
    Claiborne, William L. 1970. Yoga students set India trip for drug study. The Washington Post, December 23, B2.
    Fisher, Mary Pat. 1992. Everyday miracles in the House of God: Stories from Gobind Sadan, India. New Delhi: Gobind Sadan.
    Gray, Brett. 1970. World must purify self soon, yoga warns. Orlando Sentinel, May 31. Hampton, Edna. 1968. Yoga’s challenges and promises. The Globe and Mail, November 28.
    Khalsa, Gurucharan Singh, ed. 1975. Kundalini meditation manual for intermediate students. Pomona, California: Kundalini Research Institute Publications.

    Khalsa, Gurucharan Singh, and Rama Kirn Singh. 1976. Yoga: The origins and development of yoga and the science of Kundalini Yoga as taught by Yogi Bhajan. Kundalini Quarterly, Summer, 2-8.
    Khlasa, Gurutej Singh. 1995. Khalsa is born in the west. In The history of Sikh Dharma of the Western Hemisphere. Edited by Shanti Kaur Khalsa, 1-25. Espanola, New Mexico: Sikh Dharma International.
    Khalsa, Krishna Kaur. 1978. Guru Guru Wahe Guru Guru Ram Das Guru. Sikh Dharma Brotherhood, Winter, 8-9.
    Khalsa, Premka Kaur [Pamela Dyson]. 1979. Early history. In The man called the Siri Singh Sahib, edited by Premka Kaur Khalsa et al. Los Angeles: Sikh Dharma.
    Khalsa, Ravi Har Singh. 2011. Becoming Aquarian: How a book deal changed my sadhana and me. 3HO Foundation Kundalini Yoga News. Posted July 21.http://www.3ho.org/ecommunity/2011/07/becoming-aquarian-how-a-book-deal-changed-my- sadhana-and-me-2/
    Khalsa, Shakti Parwha Kaur. 1970. High times. Beads of Truth, March, vol. 1 no. 2. Khalsa, Shakti Parwha Kaur. 1970. Who is Yogi Bhajan? Beads of Truth, July, 2. Khalsa, Shakti Parwha Kaur. 1970. High times. Beads of Truth, September. Khalsa, Shakti Parwha Kaur. 1971. High times. Beads of Truth, Autumn.
    Khalsa, Shakti Parwha Kaur. 1971. Guru Ram Das Ji’s birthday celebration. Beads of Truth, Autumn, 48.
    Khalsa, Shakti Parwha Kaur. 1972. Lecture at Grace of God Course in Tucson, Arizona, November 10.
    Khalsa, Shakti Parwha Kaur. 1996. Kundalini yoga: The flow of eternal power. New York: Perigee.
    Khalsa, Shakti Parwha Kaur. 2003. Kundalini postures and poetry. New York: Perigee.
    Khalsa, Shanti Kaur. 2005. My teacher’s teacher. Aquarian Times, Winter, 38-41.
    Khalsa, Shanti Kaur. 2010. Lecture at Gudwara in Espanola, New Mexico, August 7.
    Schneider, Carrie. 2003. Krishna Kaur. In American yoga: The paths and practices of America’s greatest yoga masters. Edited by Carrie Schneider, 68-75. New York: Sterling.
    Sharma, Suresh. 1971. Warrant issued against Yogi. Hindustan Times, March 19.
    Singh, Bhai Himat. 2009. A brief biography of Bhai Himat. Posted December 10.http://www.bhaihimat.com/bio1.htm
    Singh, Bhai Kirpal [AKA Major Sahib]. 2010. Major Sahib’s own story. Gobind Sadan USA. Accessed December 11. http://www.gobindsadan.org/usa-website/41-gobind-sadan- institute/scholars/131-bhai-kirpal-singh.html
    Singh, Ralph. 2008. A path to follow: Reflections of a student at Gobind Sadan. New Delhi: Sterling Publishers.
    Yogi Bhajan [pseud.]. 1969. Class lecture in Los Angeles, February 8. [Reprinted in Beads of Truth vol.1 no. 7]
    Yogi Bhajan [pseud.]. 1972. Mantra: From lectures by Yogi Bhajan. Beads of Truth, Summer, 7. Yogi Bhajan [pseud.]. 1983. Ishnaan, The science of hydrotherapy. Class lecture at unknown location.
    Yogi Bhajan [pseud.]. 1987. Class lecture at Ladies’ Camp in Espanola, New Mexico, July 31. Yogi Bhajan [pseud.]. 1990. What it means to be a teacher. Class lecture in Los Angeles, March 23.
    Yogi Bhajan [pseud.]. 1990. The meaning of dharma. Class lecture in Los Angeles, April 8.
    Yogi Bhajan [pseud.]. 1995. Addresses the healers. Lecture to Khalsa Chiropractic Association, August 2.
    Yogi Bhajan [pseud.]. 1996. What is happiness? Class lecture at Master’s Touch course in Espanola, New Mexico, July 20.
    Yogi Bhajan [pseud.]. 1996. The golden rules of a teacher. Class lecture at Master’s Touch course in Espanola, New Mexico. July 22.
    Yogi Bhajan [pseud.]. 1999. The experience of your self. Class lecture in Johannesburg, South Africa, December 12.
     
    • David 1:45 on 2018-07-17 Permalink | Reply

      decades, it is unrealistic to think that all of them were deluded, found no benefits through its practice, or did not have profound experiences through it. Kundalini Yoga was often described by Yogi Bhajan and 3HO as “The Yoga of Experience.” When viewed critically and historically, perhaps the individual experience of its practitioners, and not the figure of Yogi Bhajan or the mythology of the Golden Chain, is the most honest and fruitful vantage from which to view it.[383]
      The last paragraph says it all for me – in the end, it doesn’t matter much, its your individual experience with your local Kundalini teachers that is most important. I still believe that much of the yoga we practice is derived from rituals thousands of years old before they were written down.
      This story reminds me a bit of the exploits of Joseph Smith and Brigham Young, who founded and spread the Mormon faith in our country and now around the world.
      Thanks to Thilo for posting this

      Liked by 1 person

    • David 2:07 on 2018-07-17 Permalink | Reply

      And the video was fascinating!

      Liked by 1 person

  • sitting bull 3:00 on 2018-05-05 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , cult, , , ,   

    The lesser known history of Yogi Bhajan part 2 – his Janus-face between Sikhism and Yoga 

    This is part 2 of the article
    From Maharaj to Mahan Tantric:
    The Construction of Yogi Bhajan’s Kundalini Yoga Philip Deslippe
    which you can read in full here: https://escholarship.org/uc/item/6r63q6qn
    (the first part can be read here)

    The Construction of Kundalini Yoga

    When placed alongside the teachings of Swami Dhirendra Brahmachari and Maharaj Virsa Singh, it becomes strikingly apparent that at least in its earliest years, Yogi Bhajan’s Kundalini Yoga was not a distinct practice, but essentially a combination of yogic mechanics learned from the former and the Sikh-derived mantras and chanting from the latter. Sometimes these two practices would be juxtaposed, and Kundalini Yoga students would chant Naam immediately following a yoga set. They were also frequently intertwined, and rhythmic yogic exercises were coordinated with mantras such as “Sat Nam” and “Wahe Guru,” and the chanting of “Ek Ong Kar Sat Nam Siri Wha Guru” was done with deep breathing and the application of internal body locks known as bandhas. Yogi Bhajan himself acknowledged this coalescence in an early lecture, saying

    There are two ways to find the Divine. One way is that you open the solar plexus and charge your solar centers. You get direct with the Divine. The other method is [374] that you concentrate and meditate and get this sound (Ek Ong Kar Sat Nam Siri Wha Guru) in you, and it directly charges your solar centers and in this method you get the Divine light to you.

    (Yogi Bhajan 1972, 7)

    While this mélange was presented as a seamless form to students of his Kundalini Yoga, Yogi Bhajan was radically combining two disparate practices and making significant modifications to each. Maharaj Virsa Singh did not believe in yoga as a spiritual path, and his followers at Gobind Sadan did not practice any form of physical yoga. Yogi Bhajan’s references to Maharaj Virsa Singh as the inspiration under which he learned “Nam Yoga, Laya Yoga, and Mantra Yoga,” were rhetorical, trying to include Maharaj Virsa Singh within his system by way of a very broad definition of the word “yoga” which itself was never used at Gobind Sadan (Khalsa 1970b, 2).(17) Similarly, Swami Dhirendra Brahmachari’s teaching of yoga and Sūkṣma Vyāyāma was done firmly within the context of the Yamas and Niyamas, or the codes of conduct found within the Hatha Yoga Pradipika, particularly complete sexual continence and a strict interpretation ofMitahara or diet that would have forbid the “trinity roots” or garlic, onions, and ginger that Yogi Bhajan promoted to his students. In the process of combining the teachings of Maharaj Virsa Singh and Swami Dhirendra Brahmachari, Yogi Bhajan also made his Kundalini Yoga more palatable and appealing to his young audience in the United States.

    While Kundalini Yoga comingled elements from both Maharaj Virsa Singh and Swami Dhirendra Brahmachari, each these two figures were represented in distinctive ways that point towards a conscious and deliberate construction by Yogi Bhajan of himself as a leader and Kundalini Yoga as a distinct practice. For Yogi Bhajan’s initial students, Maharaj Virsa Singh was openly acknowledged as the teacher of Yogi Bhajan and a powerful, mythologized touchstone for their practice. Many early students, unaware of one another, echo the claim that the early years of 3HO were “all about Virsa Singh.”(18) In stark contrast, these same students knew little about Swami Dhirendra Brahmachari, hearing about him as an associate of Yogi Bhajan or the head of a yoga center Yogi Bhajan taught at, if at all. To an outside audience, it was just the opposite. Yogi Bhajan’s connection to Maharaj Virsa Singh was never mentioned to the press or public, while he constantly used the professional credential of being of Swami Dhirendra’s “House of Yoga of Vishwayatan Ashram” and pointed out its two most famous pupils, Indira Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru.

    The reasons for claiming Swami Dhirendra Brahmachari publically and Maharaj Virsa Singh privately make sense in the context of the time. The respectable and professional credential of the former would make Yogi Bhajan look more serious and noteworthy for newspaper readers and the general public. For his young students, most of whom were primed on the lore of Carlos Castaneda, Paramahansa Yogananda’s Autobiography of a Yogi, and tales of Zen masters, a teacher who was a student of a great teacher had a stronger claim to spiritual knowledge and power than an “orphaned” or “self-realized” teacher without a pedigree that pointed to an established lineage or antiquity. Yogi Bhajan would paradoxically be more significant as the student of a great master than as the head of his own singular and contemporarily constructed practice.

    But lineage was a double-edged sword. Most spiritual teachers who came to the United States from the East in the late-1960s had received their position after the passing of their own teacher, and mundanely speaking, risked none of what they built in the [375] West by praising their forbearers. As attested to by the students of Baba Ram Das who went to India to find his teacher Neem Karoli Baba, or the readers of Carlos Castaneda’s works who ventured into the Mexican desert to find his alleged and elusive Yaqui guide Don Juan, a living teacher of a teacher who was even remotely accessible could prove to be a legitimate rival. Yogi Bhajan was in the awkward position of having not one, but two of his teachers alive, well, and available to his own students. Additionally, there were serious disconnects between what he taught his students and what his claimed teachers taught. This tension would grow within the rapid expansion of Yogi Bhajan’s first two years as a teacher in the West, and would foster a radical shift in how he portrayed himself and his students understood him in the wake of a catastrophic and dynamic three-month trip Yogi Bhajan took with his students to India in late- 1970 and early-1971.

    The longterm-anger of the traumatised student in this ^ video  (who isn’t the writer of this article) shows how domination or misdirection of  innocent seekers can damage people’s lifes. Gurusant could never totally shed Yogi Bhajan’s conditioning, so he kept the traditional Sikh-religion, but threw Yogi Bhajan’s Kundalini Yoga over board.

    The Raising of Kundalini Yoga and the India Trip of 1970-71

    The late-Sixties were an incredible boom time for Eastern spiritual teachers in the West. For someone like Yogi Bhajan, charismatic, physically imposing, and offering the secrets of the mythical and dangerous kundalini energy, Los Angeles in 1969 was the right place at the right time. While Yogi Bhajan’s initial plans in America were to sell items to Hippies as part of an import/export business (fitting for a customs officer), he quickly made yoga his business.(19) There seemed to be no limits to his growth among Hippies as a teacher in his own right, and with an almost franchise-like pattern, Yogi Bhajan offered an accelerated teacher training program consisting of only a few weeks, and then quickly dispatched his newly minted teachers across the country to open satellite 3HO ashrams. Soon, there were Kundalini Yoga teachers in a rapidly expanding list of college towns and major cities.

    In this atmosphere of seemingly limitless possibilities for a yoga teacher, Yogi Bhajan’s view of himself and role as a teacher began to quickly shift. As the year 1970 unfolded, Yogi Bhajan began to modify his previous claims and distanced himself from Maharaj Virsa Singh in three main ways: the reverence of Maharaj Virsa Singh was diluted as he became the most important teacher within an ever-expanding list of teachers Yogi Bhajan claimed, the figure of Guru Ram Das, the fourth Sikh Guru, was introduced as Yogi Bhajan’s “personal Guru,” and Yogi Bhajan himself was increasingly placed in the role once reserved for Maharaj Virsa Singh, often in the same terms.

    In July of 1970, Beads of Truth published a one-page article titled “Who Is Yogi Bhajan?” which reads as part biography and part resume, with a lengthy list of the teachers that Yogi Bhajan studied with. This article, nearly a year and a half after Yogi Bhajan began to teach Kundalini Yoga in the United States, appears to be the first mention in print of the figure of Sant Hazara Singh, who in two brief lines is mentioned as the teacher of “Kundalini Yoga and other various yogas.” The list continued with Yogi Bhajan’s grandfather Bhai Fatha Singh, Sant Ranjit Singh who taught “universal spirituality” and comparative religions, Swami Devmurti under who Yogi Bhajan obtained “mastery of Hatha Yoga and Raja Yoga,” Acharya Narinder Dev of Yoga Smitri in New Delhi who taught Yogi Bhajan hatha yoga and “the impact and balance of the nervous system,” the Sivananda Ashram in Rishikesh where Yogi Bhajan “was able to drink deep and fill his mind and heart with the Sanatana Dharma,” and Swami Dhirendra Brahmachari [376] who taught “Yoga Therapy” and at whose ashram Yogi Bhajan claimed to be “Senior Professor of Yoga.”(20)

    The early account Yogi Bhajan offered of washing the bathrooms for Maharaj Virsa Singh was changed to him “finishing his duties at the airport” and going “directly to the famous Golden Temple at Amritsar where his wife would bring food and with the children, join him for dinner, before he started his daily routine of scrubbing the floor of the temple” (Khalsa 1970b).(21) While Maharaj Virsa Singh was still revered as “Master,” he was viewed more as a capstone to Yogi Bhajan’s lifetime of spiritual searching, which was curiously a process of searching that now had mastery of Kundalini Yoga at its mid-point.

    In the spring of 1970 photographs began to be sold of Yogi Bhajan, clad in all white, seated in full-lotus with his palms together at his chest, staring deeply into the camera lens (3HO 1970).(22) Around the same time, an enthusiastic Kundalini Yoga student encouraged readers of Beads of Truth to “meditate on your Guru’s picture, see through his eyes,” and another student who taught Kundalini Yoga in Memphis remembers being told to bow before the picture of Yogi Bhajan and seek guidance from him before teaching each class (Anonymous 1970a).(23) By the summer of 1970 Yogi Bhajan was regularly flanked in print by the titles “spiritual guiding force of 3HO” and “Master of Kundalini Yoga.” The sandals of Maharaj Virsa Singh no longer had their place on Yogi Bhajan’s bed; in both a literal and symbolic sense, that space was now his.(24)

    In the last few days of 1970 Yogi Bhajan took a group of approximately eighty students for a three-month spiritual pilgrimage to India. Yogi Bhajan told a reporter shortly before the trip that the group was on a fact-finding mission in India to research how to best get the youth of America off drugs via yoga (Claiborne 1970). For those within 3HO, the point of the trip was to visit and stay at Gobind Sadan, “home of Yogi Bhajan’s beloved master, Maharaj Virsa Singh Ji”( Khalsa 1970c, 11). Yogi Bhajan told Jim Baker, one of his senior students in Los Angeles, to come on the trip for the purpose of getting the blessing of his teacher (Aquarian 2007, 46).

    The trip would end up radically shifting its focus and on the group’s return three-months later Maharaj Virsa Singh would be persona non grata, the figures of Sant Hazara Singh and Guru Ram Das would become central, and Yogi Bhajan would audaciously claim titles of Sikh administrative authority over half of the globe and Tantric mastership. In light of his growing following and shifting view of his role as a leader, even if Yogi Bhajan did in fact leave India in the fall of 1968 as a devout student of Maharaj Virsa Singh, then it is doubtful that he returned to India two years later as one, given the shift in the portrayal of himself and Maharaj Virsa Singh.(25) It is also doubtful that he would not have foreseen a conflict with the major differences in what he was teaching his students and what Maharaj Virsa Singh was teaching at Gobind Sadan. If Yogi Bhajan was not intentionally looking for a break from his master, then it was a development he would have welcomed.

    Almost immediately upon arrival, the jetlagged group was welcomed by Indira Gandhi at the gardens of the prime minister’s palace, where one of Yogi Bhajan’s students, Andrew Ungerleider, demonstrated hatha yoga postures for her and Swami Dhirendra Brahmachari. Indira Gandhi, moved by the interest the young Americans had in India, spoke to the group, and then they all held hands and chanted “Om” together.(26)(27) The group then went outside the city to Gobind Sadan, but in less than [377] a week, Yogi Bhajan dramatically broke from Maharaj Virsa Singh and the group quickly left Gobind Sadan and relocated to a mango farm. One American student remembers the group being suddenly told that Virsa Singh was not Yogi Bhajan’s teacher and that the departure was political, with Maharaj Virsa Singh wanting Yogi Bhajan to support someone politically, although it is hard to imagine Yogi Bhajan, a mid-level customs officer over two years removed from India, having any amount of political influence worth fighting over in the elections that were taking place at the time.(28)

    Yogi Bhajan would later claim that he left because Maharaj Virsa Singh wanted to be recognized as Yogi Bhajan’s teacher, which seems strange since Yogi Bhajan claimed as much time and time again. Yogi Bhajan insisted in later retellings that the fourth Sikh Guru, Guru Ram Das, was his true teacher. According to Yogi Bhajan, Maharaj Virsa Singh asked if in keeping with having a guru, if Guru Ram Das gave Yogi Bhajan a mantra, and the next morning during his personal meditation, Guru Ram Das tangibly appeared in front of Yogi Bhajan and gave him the mantra “Guru Guru Wahe Guru Guru Ram Das Guru.”(29) The story was frequently repeated by Yogi Bhajan over the years and seemed to serve several ongoing purposes simultaneously: solidify the claim of Guru Ram Das as Yogi Bhajan’s personal Guru, position Guru Ram Das as the patron saint of 3HO, further link Yogi Bhajan and Kundalini Yoga to the Sikh tradition, and put distance between Yogi Bhajan and his previously claimed devotion to Maharaj Virsa Singh (Yogi Bhajan 1987, 1990b, 1995).

    Those who were closest to Yogi Bhajan and Maharaj Virsa Singh recount much more material and directly embarrassing reasons for the former breaking from the latter. Early devotees of Maharaj Virsa Singh recall him telling the group of students in front of Yogi Bhajan that he never taught anyone yoga and that yoga had nothing to do with Sikhism. Rather, for Maharaj Virsa Singh, Gobind Sadan and its inspiration from Guru Nanak and Guru Gobind Singh was the model for the spiritual path: hard work, remembrance of God, taking money from no one, and sharing with others in need. Yogi Bhajan’s secretary during the trip, Premka Kaur, said “he had to be in a lineage… he couldn’t let someone else have it anyway because he would lose that control.”(30) Another person present recalled Yogi Bhajan wanting a type of territorial agreement in which Yogi Bhajan would “keep” his students and Gobind Sadan would become a type of “3HO East.”(31) Yogi Bhajan’s proposal was laughed at by Maharaj Virsa Singh and with self-induced pressure, Yogi Bhajan left soon after in a huff.(32)

    Keeping the mango farm as a base, the trip dramatically shifted and despite no previous mentioned intention of Sikhism being a focus on the trip, day after day the group went to one Gudwara after another. Students were dressed in white Punjabi clothes, performed basic kirtan, and were told to not mention yoga. One participant remembers being told, “If Indian Sikhs ask you anything about what you’re doing, just say ‘Naam Japo.’”(33) The idea of American “Gora Sikhs” was unimaginable in the Punjab, and Yogi Bhajan’s students drew large crowds where they went. The buzz around the group grew and in early March they were hosted at the Golden Temple in Amritsar where Yogi Bhajan presented himself as a Sikh missionary and was feted. Some members of the group were married and others took Amrit, although it is doubtful that they knew the details or larger implications of what they were doing. One recalls that they were told what to do and how to carry themselves. “Basically none of us knew what we were even doing… we were just silent pawns in however we wanted to be portrayed… just following the instructions of (Yogi Bhajan).”(34) In a bizarre crescendo, the India trip [378] ended with Yogi Bhajan being arrested on charges of defrauding a man named Amarjit Singh for 10,000 rupees, quickly being bailed out, and then fleeing the country with his students after being nearly stopped at the airport (Sharma 1971; Anonymous 1971).(35)(36)(37)

    <Kundalini Yoga is not what he taught           how he twisted {hi(s}tory) towards Sikhism >

    Footnotes:
    (17) If the practice of Naam was common among both students of Yogi Bhajan and Maharaj Virsa Singh, the mechanical and technical practice by the former clearly set it apart from the devotional and emotional practice by the latter.
    (18) Interview with Antion Vic Briggs, telephone, 5 July 2011. Interview with Ron Brent, telephone, 6 January 2011.
    (19) Interview with Warren Stagg, telephone, 8 June 2011
    (20) There is also evidence from a student who spoke at length with Yogi Bhajan for the very logical possibility that Yogi Bhajan’s knowledge of yoga, meditation, and related subjects were not entirely based on these teachers but also heavily supplemented by books and other minor figures. See Harrysingh1 (pseud.), comment on “The Sikh Connection,” The Wacko World of Yogi Bhajan, comment posted on February 8, 2005, http://forums.delphiforums.com/KamallaRose/messages?msg=579.39.
    (21) Considering the 300 miles that separates the airport in New Delhi from the Golden Temple in Amritsar, the possibility of such a commute is extremely unlikely.
    (22) This photograph was also sold in a cropped version with only Yogi Bhajan’s face in what seems to be a prototype of the “Tratakam” portrait of him.
    (23) Interview with Jim Migdoll, telephone, 7 September 2011. Migdoll was involved in 3HO from early to late-1970, and was sent to Memphis, Tennessee during that time to teach the flagship Kundalini Yoga classes there.
    (24) An account of Yogi Bhajan’s sleeping habits was given by early students of his in Florida in their account of an early 1970 visit. See “Early History of the 3HO Foundation According to Hari Singh and Hari Kaur Bird Khalsa,” last modified July 19, 2012, http://www.harisingh.com/3HOHistory.htm.
    (25) In the commemorative book The Man Called The Siri Singh Sahib, the Punjabi-born and London-based journalist Gurucharan Singh Khalsa, described meeting with Yogi Bhajan at Swami Dhirendra Brahmachari’s Vishwayatan Ashram in early 1968, well before supposedly being told to go to the West by Maharaj Virsa Singh, in which he heard from him that inspired by “some mysterious call from within” he “was planning to leave his job and go to foreign countries as a yoga teacher.”
    (26) Interview with Andrew Ungerleider, telephone, 23 June 23 2011.
    (27) A photo of Yogi Bhajan, Indira Ghandi, and Swami Dhirendra Brahmachari at this gathering was reprinted in the December 1972 issue of Beads Of Truth, page 28.
    (28) Interview with Rahmaneh Meyers, telephone, 18 August 2011. Meyers was involved with 3HO during its earliest years and was a participant on the 1970-71 trip to India.
    (29) The most striking element of Yogi Bhajan’s claimed encounter with Guru Ram Das is how closely it paralleled the story that Maharaj Virsa Singh told of receiving Naam from Baba Sri Chand and Guru Nanak, a story that Yogi Bhajan was doubtlessly aware of and his students almost certainly were not.
    (30) Interview with Pamela Dyson, telephone, 23 September 2011. Also known as Premka Kaur Khalsa, Dyson was involved in 3HO from 1969 until 1985 and was the tour secretary for the 1970-71 trip to India. Highly significant in the growth and history of 3HO, Dyson compiled English translations of Sikh sacred writings, wrote numerous articles both for and on behalf of 3HO, and was the editor of Beads of Truth for a dozen years, Secretary General of the Sikh Dharma Brotherhood, Vice President and Director of the 3HO Foundation, and a high-ranking minister, with the title of Mukhia Sardarni Sahib.
    (31) Intriguingly, this idea is echoed in the January 1970 issue of Beads of Truth, in which Shakti Parwha Kaur hopes to publish an account of the trip in the next issue and refers to Gobind Sadan as “3HO India.”
    (32) Interview with Ron Brent, telephone, 6 January 2011.
    (33) Interview with Rahmaneh Meyers, telephone, 18 August 2011.
    (34) Interview with Pamela Dyson, telephone, 23 September 2011.
    (35) Interview with Antion Vic Briggs, telephone, 5 July 2011.
    (36) Later, the blame for the arrest was implicitly laid at the feet of Maharaj Virsa Singh and the debacle was cast as the negative work of “the jealous egos of so-called ‘holy’ men in India (who) created almost insurmountable barriers to Yogi Bhajan’s safe return to America.” See Shakti Parwha Kaur, “Guru Ram Das Ji’s Birthday Celebration,” letter dated September 23, 1971, printed on page 48 in the Autumn 1971 issue of Beads of Truth.
    (37) An intriguing possible connection to this event, or perhaps Yogi Bhajan’s initial trip West, can be found in Khushwant Singh’s 2005 collection of obituaries titled Death at My Doorstep, in which he described Yogi Bhajan being confronted at a gathering by the daughter of a man who twenty years earlier loaned Yogi Bhajan Rs. 10,000 “to pay for his air-ticket to Canada… when fleeing from India” (114).

     
c
Compose new post
j
Next post/Next comment
k
Previous post/Previous comment
r
Reply
e
Edit
o
Show/Hide comments
t
Go to top
l
Go to login
h
Show/Hide help
shift + esc
Cancel