Yogi Bhajan - The Early Years
Yogi Bhajan was the first to publicly teach Kundalini Yoga when he arrived in the West in 1968. He announced he had come to the West "to create teachers, not to gain students". Yogi Bhajan met a number of young hippies, the spiritual seekers of that era, and immediately recognized that the experience of higher consciousness they were attempting to find through drugs, could be achieved by practicing the Science of Kundalini Yoga, while simultaneously rebuilding their nervous systems.
Breaking the centuries old tradition of secrecy surrounding the empowering science of Kundalini Yoga, Yogi Bhajan began teaching it publicly. With the yogic sciences of yoga, meditation, yogic philosophy, and loving acceptance, he gave the soon to be called "Baby Boomers" an effective alternative to the prevalent drug culture. He called it the "3HO" (healthy, happy, holy) way of life. From these humble beginnings, teaching first at the East West Cultural Center and then in a student's furniture store in West Hollywood, "The Yogi" was like a magnet. Students flocked to his classes. Soon he was teaching at colleges and universities, including Claremont and UCLA, and accepting invitations to teach in other cities.
Yogi Bhajan & 3HO
In July of 1969 the non-profit 3HO Foundation (Healthy, Happy, Holy Organization) was incorporated in California. 3HO's service to humanity is through Kundalini Yoga, meditation and the Science of Humanology which improves physical well being, as well as deepening spiritual awareness.
Under Yogi Bhajan's guidance as Director of Spiritual Education, 3HO mushroomed worldwide, to 300 centers in 35 countries. In 1994, 3HO became a member of the United Nations as an NGO (Non-Governmental-Organization) in Consultative Status (Roster) with the Economic and Social Council, representing women's issues, promoting human rights and providing education in alternative systems of medicine.
Travelling, Writing & Inspiring
Traveling extensively in the 1970's and 1980's, Yogi Bhajan crusaded tirelessly to educate, uplift, and enlighten everyone he met. His basic message was "It is your birthright to be healthy, happy, and holy."
Inspired and motivated by his words and adhering to the yoga practices he taught, students created music, art, and poetry reflecting the universal wisdom he shared. Over 200 books have been written based on his teachings, as well as a wealth of Mantra CD's and Yoga Videos, as well as paintings, and sculpture. Yogi Bhajan himself wrote over 30 books including The Teachings of Yogi Bhajan, Furmaan Khalsa, The Masters Touch, and The Mind.
Yogi Bhajan as the Mahan Tantric
Becoming the Mahan Tantric - the only living Master of White Tantric Yoga - in 1971, Yogi Bhajan conducted special yoga workshops in cities around the world. In 1987 he transferred these workshops to videotape, calling them "Renew to be New" courses, which continue to be held worldwide.
Presence, Clarity & Vision
Standing six feet three, Yogi Bhajan's powerful and dynamic presence dominated any gathering. Fearless, outspoken yet humble, he could be both charming and daunting as the occasion required. His openhearted acceptance of everyone along with an uncompromising insistence upon excellence made him a formidable teacher.
His motto: "If you can't see God in all, you can't see God at all."
His credo: "It's not the life that matters, it's the courage that you bring to it."
His challenge to yoga students: "Don't love me, love my teachings. Become ten times greater than me."
81 Facets & Multifold Activity
Yogi Bhajan was a champion of women's rights, and believed that it is women who are the backbone of society. Since 1972, when he inaugurated the first of annual women's camps, he taught yoga technology to turn 'chicks into eagles.' Yogi Bhajan's teachings on women are legendary and one of a kind, including all facets of a woman's life: yoga, spirituality, relationships, marriage, pregnancy & family, career, true human potential and much more.
Yogi Bhajan fathered the science of Humanology and in 1980 he earned his Ph.D. with his dissertation titled "Communication: Liberation or Condemnation".
In 1971, at the Celebration of Life Music Festival in New Orleans, Yogi Bhajan shared the podium with Swami Satchidanda and Swami Vishnudevananda. He participated in many interfaith forums and conferences, including the World Parliament of Religions. In the early 1970's he helped organize the first 'Meeting of the Ways' in San Francisco and was co-founder of the Unity of Man Conference. He became Co-President of the World Fellowship of Religions in 1974. He served on the Board of Directors of the American Council of Executives in Religion and was a member of the Interreligous Council of Southern California, the Rotary Club, and the Los Angeles World Affairs Council.
An ardent advocate of world peace and religious unity, he was given the official title Siri Singh Sahib and met with world leaders of all faiths to encourage dialogue, including Pope Paul VI, Pope John Paul II, the Dalai Lama, and two Archbishops of Canterbury. In 1995 he received the Courage of Conscience Award from the Peace Abbey in Sherborn, Massachusetts.
In June of 1985, Yogi Bhajan established the first "International Peace Prayer Day Celebration" in New Mexico, USA. This annual day of musical celebration and interfaith prayer draws several thousand participants, including prominent national and international leaders in the realms of religion, politics, and humanity. Those honored at this event and given grants for leading the way in spreading the word of peace have included: Grandmothers for Peace and the Gesundheit! Institute.
In 1989 Yogi Bhajan met with then President Mikhail Gorbachev of Russia and established addiction treatment programs in Russia based on the 3HO SuperHealth model. Currently a pilot project of Superhealth is being formed by the Punjab State Government in India.
Yogi Bhajan & Yogi Tea
A graduate in Economics from Punjab University (1952) and a savvy entrepreneur, Yogi Bhajan encouraged his students to start their own businesses, being a yogi and a householder at the same time, sharing with others and contributing to a healthy lifestyle. One of the first businesses, Yogi Tea, brought his famous ayurvedic tea recipe into the mainstream, and it is now one of the leading organic tea companies in the health food market in the USA and Europe.