3HOHistory.com Presents A
firsthand account of the early days of
3HO, the Healthy, Happy, Holy Organization According to Singh Sahib SatHanuman Singh Khalsa
SatHanuman Singh Khalsa
Healthy-Happy-Holy Organization The
not-for-profit corporation dedicated to sharing the
technology of Kundalini Yoga as taught
by Yogi Bhajan
in order to help people live Healthy, Happy, Holy lives.
Sat Nam. In the summer of 1970, I was stationed at Tyndall AFB (Air Defense Command/NORAD) where I was a Sergeant in the Personnel Section of the USAF. I went to my second Rock (Pop) Festival in two years. I had been to my first on Labor Day weekend in New Orleans where the same groups had traveled down from Yazgar's Farm in upstate New York (Woodstock Music Festival) and played again in the deep south. A fellow airman from San Francisco had inspired me to attend with him. Jefferson Airplain, Richie Havens. Janis Joplin, Iron Butterfly, Jimi Hendricks, Its a Beautiful Day and more were there for the weekend. Now, in the summer of 1970, the Second Atlanta Pop Festival came to Georgia. It was here that I first saw the 'long tall' Yogi named Bhajan. He was about 6' 4" and had a commanding presence on the stage. I noticed him, listened to his Indian accented English as he admonished the youth to get off the drugs and learn other techniques to conquer the evils of the world we were currently facing.
I was discharged two months later on October 16th as a "Conscientious Objector" with an Honorable Discharge. I left the base after seeing the movie "Woodstock" the night before at the Base Theater.
I then moved to Manchester, New Hampshire and began the re-entry into civilian society. On the last weekend of April 1971, I hitchhiked with a girlfriend to Washington, DC to take part in the "Non-Violent" Peace activities on May Day (5/1/1971). Since I had served during the Viet Nam War and saw the culture around me I decided to work for World Peace. On April 30th at Georgetown University, I managed to connect my girl friend to some college students from NH and asked her to leave.
The next day on May Day, 1971 was my baptism of fire. I was arrested on the 14th Street Bridge on the way to the Pentagon. Next to me was Dr. Benjamin Spock (the Baby Doctor, whose book my mother and every other 'Baby Boomer" parent used). He was interned with thousands of others in RFK Stadium before being released on misdemeanor charges. I was not so lucky. I was selected by riot police who had corralled us against the railing, tear gassed us and at gun point threw me into a small wagon with about 20 other protesters. We were taken to Central Locke-up at DC Metropolitan Police HQ. We were put into jail, wreaking of mace and tear gas, tired, hungry and pretty unsure of our fate. Twenty five hours later, we were brought individually in front of a Court Magistrate. I pleaded "guilty" and paid a $25 fine and was ordered to leave DC immediately.
I hitchhiked back to New Hampshire. After settling my affairs in Manchester, and reluctantly leaving this wonderful young lady, I hitchhiked to Titusville, Florida where my mother resided with my siblings.
It was now the July 4th weekend and my younger sister begged me to take her to the next Pop Celebration, the "Celebration of Life", which ironically took place on the Mississippi outside New Orleans.
The life of this young 21 year old was about to take a turn in the road of life. There, walking among the throngs of young people, many strung out on LSD, mescaline, hashish, pot, was the "Long Tall Yogi", I had seen the year before in Atlanta. This time I was free to explore, so I followed him to the stage where he and another Swami would ascend the stage to speak to the hundreds of thousands waiting to hear musicians whom many had missed by not being old enough or unable to attend the original Festival at Woodstock in 1969.
I remember standing next to the "Yogi" and feeling very cool as the temperature outside his aura was about 105 degrees and very humid. That was an amazing experience for me. I had been smoking pot so I wasn't sure it really happened.
Two days later, I felt compelled to drive back with my sister and two other friends to Florida.
As we traveled south on US highway 92 out of Tallahassee, Florida, I was sitting in the front seat of the VW "Bug". I was asleep, as were the fellow passengers in the back, along with my sister's Samoyed dog.
Suddenly I was awakened to my face and head crashing through the windshield of the car. We had hit at small pick-up truck stopped in front of us at the crest of a small hill. I was bleeding everywhere. My sister was crying and screaming, thinking I was going to die. I told her to get the ace bandage which was in the front (trunk) and wrap it tightly around my head. Then I said, go call the ambulance and police. I then noticed the driver had splinters of glass in his face. We were both in shock but I was more alert than he was. I reached into his top shirt pocket and retrieved two MJ 'joints' and tossed them into the woods.
After spending a week in the hospital, I was flown back to Orlando by the insurance company. I had white bandages, resembling a white turban over my right eye and over my entire head. Weeks later, it was removed but many stitches remained. With some coaxing from a cousin I took the GI Bill and entered BBC, Brevard Community College, in Cocoa, Florida. During the later part of August, 1971, I began taking Kundalini Yoga Classes by a yogi named "John" from Orlando, Florida. He and his wife Soorya would drive over on Saturday evenings to Cocoa Beach and teach a two-hour class at someone's home.
In November of 1971, while attending a World Religion Class with Dr. Lin Osborne at BCC, the professor invited his students to attend the lecture by a Yogi who had arrived from California with some staff. I had seen the pictures of the "Yogi" at BCC and realized I was taking yoga classes from one of his students, "Yogi John" Twombly. During the lecture, another student of the "Yogi" asked me if I wanted to come to her home and personally meet this amazing spiritual teacher, whom I first saw back in 1970 in Atlanta, a few months before my accident in New Orleans. I was about to have a vegetarian meal and sit at the same table with this "Yogi". We called him "Yogi" because no one had explained his full name (Harbhajan Singh Puri) to any of us.
I realized then that the saying was: "When the student is ready, the Teacher appears." After all, we had crossed paths three times. I was beginning to get the message.
On April 1st 1972, I took my Sikh vows and committed to live the path of a "house-holder" and keep my hair and beard unshorn. I wore a steel bracelet on my right wrist. I was given the name "Hanuman" (Singh) though I didn't know what it meant.
In the fall of 1972, after a long depression of losing the woman I felt I would share this spiritual life with we moved out to our new home in Orlando, Florida, a 26-acre piece of land in Pine Hills. We had discussed getting married and Yogi John and Soorya Kaur were going to perform the ceremony.
In August, she left one day because she didn't feel the same longing I had felt towards this new path. I felt sad but knew this was the path I was destined to follow. In September, Yogi Bhajan's wife (Bibiji Indirjit Kaur) and her three children arrived to stay with us until Yogi Bhajan arrived from Los Angeles for the second annual Winter Solstice Sadhana.
A young lady in the Ashram was arranged by BIbiji, John and Soorya to marry me in November of 1972. It was our innocence and trust which brought these two people together. Purusha Kaur Chronister would marry Hanuman Singh Erickson on Thanksgiving Day (11/23/1972) at Baba Siri Chand Ashram in Florida.
Two years later the first of two daughters (Satpavan Kaur) would be born in Altamonte Springs, the new home of Baba Siri Chand Ashram. In the cold winter of 1976, after spending 9 months in Cleveland, Ohio as the Director of Guru Ram Das Ashram, I was transferred to Boston, where our second daughter, (Siriswami Kaur) would be born at home on a Sunday evening. In December of that same year, I would petition the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to change Kathleen Chronister Erickson and my name legally to: Satpurusha Kaur Khalsa and SatHanuman Singh Khalsa, thereby changing our daughters last name to Khalsa.
In May of 1980, we moved back to Altamonte Springs, Florida where we would eventually move into the house next to the Ashram on a dirt road. In 1983, Satpavan Kaur would accompany her closest friend, Sat Bachan Kaur (one year younger) to Mussoori, UP INDIA to attend school at Guru Nanak Fifth Centenary School at 8,000 feet in the Himalayan foothills. A year later, her younger sister, Siriswami Kaur would fly back to India with her to attend the school.
My recollection of the attack on the Golden Temple, 1984
After 9 years, not without challenges, our two daughters graduated from schools in India and went to live with our Teacher, now Siri Singh Sahib Harbhajan Singh Khalsa (Yogiji) in Los Angeles, CA and eventually Espanola, New Mexico.
In 1992, Satpurusha Kaur and I, after much counsel with the Siri Singh Sahib Ji agreed to an amicable divorce. Both of us would remarry in the summer of 1992.
She would remain on Center Street in Altamonte Springs, now paved, down the street from where we first brought Satpavan Kaur's soul into the world.
I would, with the Siri Singh Sahib Ji's blessings, marry Amrit Kaur Khalsa, on June 14th, 1992.
It's now 22 years later, our Spiritual Teacher has transitioned into the realms of Sach Kand (heaven) and my partner and wife, Amrit Kaur, live just two hours from Eugene, Oregon, where both our daughters (now almost 40 and 38) reside with their spouses of 20 years, each with a daughter and son. Our eldest grand daughter, Shiv Antar Kaur will be 17 on June 23rd, 2014. She will have finished her junior year at Miri Piri Academy, just outside the city of Amritsar in Punjab, India.
What a life, we all have been blessed to live. So many blessings, they are uncountable.
I thank God, I was injured in 1971 in that car accident. I thank God for Dr. LIn Osborne, for Yogi John Singh Twombly and his wife Soorya Kaur. I thank Guru Ram Das for bringing Yogi Bhajan, Siri Singh Sahibji and Bibiji and my siblings, Ranbir Singh, Kulbir Singh and Kamaljit Kaur into my life. See family photo.
I thank the Guru for the twists and turns of my life. But most of all, I thank the Guru for my commitment, I took in April of 1972, (42) years ago this coming Tuesday (4/1/2014) when I bowed my head to the Siri Guru Granth Sahib.
Somewhere in 1999, my brother and friend of 42 years, SS Gurubachan Singh Khalsa, told me to say a prayer, the Siri Singh Sahibji said daily: Thanks Gurubachan Singh, I have only missed once, since 1999.
Ad Sach Jugad Sach, Hebi Sach, Nanak Hosi Bi Sach. God Bless Guru Ram Das, Be Kind to me Oh Lord, this day. You, who rotate this Universe, rotate my Routine.
Sat Nam. In 1971, I began my Kundalini Yoga practice and Sadhana. Rusty (Rama Singh Khalsa) was sent to teach weekly Kundalini Yoga classes in Cocoa Beach beginning in August of ’71. Initially the Directors of Baba Siri Chand came to the coast of Florida and began the process. Soorya Kaur was married to the great Kundalini and Hatha Yoga instructor (John Twombly), later named Gurujohn Singh Twombly when Siri Singh Sahib ji met him in Atlanta back in the ‘90s.
In November of 1971, Yogiji came to Brevard Community College and met with Dr. Osborne. All students were invited to come to SSSji’s lecture in the afternoon at the college and attend his class in the evening. I was also invited to dinner with him and some other students. John and Soorya, and Premka Kaur was there with Yogiji. In January of 1972, I began a regular Sadhana on the banks of the Indian River in Cocoa, but I was longing for more.
I was attending Brevard Community College and attended a World Religion class taught by Dr. Lin Osborne. Before I enrolled in those classes, I had begun hitchhiking from Cocoa out to the beach every Friday PM to take Kundalini Yoga classes from Rama Singh ji. He drove 60 miles every Saturday from Orlando just to teach us.
In April of 1972, there was a weekend Intensive (Sasheen as we called it then) at Baba Siri Chand. John and Soorya taught a great intensive with “silence” and a cleansing diet.
In September of 1972, the Siri Singh Sahib’s family (Bibiji, Rambir, Kalbir and Kamaljit Kaur) arrived at JFK in NYC. They flew to Orlando and stayed at Baba Siri Chand Ashram for the next 6 months. In 1973, at the Winter Solstice Sadhana, they returned and stayed again at Baba Siri Chand Ashram.
Bibiji told stories about Baba Siri Chand and also about Hanuman ji. There is a (I would learn many years later) a strong Yogic and Spiritual connection between Baba Siri Chand and Hanuman ji.
Baba Siri Chand loomed big for all of us back then. I took my Sikh vows at Baba Siri Chand on April 1st, 1972 in Pine Hills (Orlando).
In 1973, we had to move from the property and found an old property off SR-50 in east Orlando where actually Gurukirn Kaur and Fred Gahr (Gurukirn Singh Khalsa) were married in a Sikh Wedding. John and Soorya Kaur presided as Ministers. Siri Guru Granth Sahib and Lavan of Guru Ram Das were used. It wasn’t a traditional Sikh wedding but it was all we knew back then.
In the Spring of ’72, I was with John and Soorya when we met with the retired U.S. Postman who wanted to sell his home for $75,000. Kalpa (Mahan Kalpa Singh) got a loan from his dad and Satpurusha and I contributed $4,000 for the downpayment.
I never got to move in because Satpurusha Kaur (Purusha then) was sent up north. In May of 1973, after we moved into 400 Center Street, a split-level home on a dirt road (35 of us), the Director sent Kathy and me to DC to work at Golden Temple Conscious Cookery and live at Ahimsa Ashram on Q Street in Washington, DC.
In the latter part of June (1973), Soorya Kaur called me at Ahimsa Ashram and said, John had left Baba Siri Chand as director and went to India! John was the first gay Kundalini Yoga Teacher and first Director of Baba Siri Chand. The entire community was devastated as half of the community left the ashram and the other half struggled to survive.
I didn’t realize it then but John's vibraton as a KY Teacher was attracting many gay men to 3HO. The mural at Baba Siri Chand of the Golden Temple was painted by a gay student who payed his rent by doing that painting. I hope it's still there in the foyer of Baba Siri Chand ashram.
Deva Singh and Deva Kaur showed up in DC to also attend Teacher Training. Once John's departure was learned, Deva and his wife (also married at Baba Siri Chand Ashram) and Satpurusha and me were sent back to shore up the Ashram in Altamonte Springs.
Sampuran Singh and Swaran Kaur were sent from Hartford, Connecticut to be the new Directors and Soorya Kaur went to L.A. to join the Siri Singh Sahib ji.
We were all broke! No income, no jobs, nothing! Siri Singh Sahib ji heard Sampuran was selling anything he could to pay the mortgage of $60K so we could continue to reside there on Center Street in Altamonte Springs.
Siri Singh Sahib sat down with the Ashram members (Sampuran, Swaran, Kalpa, Deva’s, Satpurusha, me and a few others and told us this was a very special Ashram and there is a special reason he named it after the elder son of Siri Guru Nanak Dev ji. He explained it was a living Ashram and that it should be protected and respected forever.
Shortly after the Siri Singh Sahib ji left (Winter Solstice) Deva Singh, Mahan Kalpa, myself and a couple more men started Nanak’s Landscaping. Eventually, in the late 1970’s the Devas would relocate to Miami to take over Guru Ram Das Ashram there and start up a Nanak’s Landscaping Company.
Sampuran Singh and I didn’t get along so well so he wanted me to leave Baba Siri Chand ashram. In the summer of 1974 at Hemez Springs, NM, SPS tried to send me to Espanola. I wanted to move to Denver, Colorado and live with Hari Singh and Hari Kaur Bird (Directors), formerly from Orlando, Florida.
The SSSJi met with Satpurusha Kaur and me and said our child must be born at Baba Siri Chand Ashram in Altamonte Springs. So we returned and I picked weeds and mowed lawns with other men in the Ashram to pay the mortgage on Baba Siri Chand Ashram. The SSSji also told Satpurusha Kaur that when our child is 6 months old, we would be the Directors of another Ashram and to remain patient. I wasn’t at that meeting. I was returning dishes and other things to Albuquerque when that appointment with Yogiji took place, but when Satpurusha told me, I never forgot!
In October of 1974, Satpavan Kaur was born at Baba Siri Chand ashram on Center Street. By May of 1975, Sampuran Singh sent me back to Ahimsa Ashram in DC. I guess it was Karma between us.
While working in the DC Restaurant, MSS Lehri Singh and MSS Gurujot Singh decided to send me to be the Director of the KY Center in Cleveland Ohio. Satpurusha and Satpavan Kaur (6 months old) remained at Baba Siri Chand for 40 days.
In January of 1976, MSS Gurushabd Singh asked the SSSji if I could be relocated with my family to Guru Ram Das Ashram in Dorchester, Massachusetts. We lived and worked there for 5 years. In May of 1980, after discussing with SSSji, we relocated our now two daughters to Altamonte Springs. Siri Singh Sahib requested that Sampuran Singh purchase the house next to Baba Siri Chand. He named it Guru Nanak Niwas.
The house Satpurusha Kaur and Gurukirn Singh resided in was named the House of Guru Ram Das and of course Gurukirn Kaur once resided there too! Baba Siri Chand ashram has probably had more folks come into 3HO and remain over the past 48 years since the Siri Singh Sahib ji first blessed all of us with that name than any other Kundalini Yoga Center. It is the only Ashram named for this great Yogi and saint!
Here’s a few of the names who passed through Baba Siri Chand’s doors and still are around.
Mahan Kalpa Singh
Hari Singh and Hari Kaur Bird (resided in their own home)
Gurumeher Kaur (Mataji)
Rama Singh and Kaur
Deva Singh and Kaur
Harisimran Kaur and Devi Dyal Singh
I am saddened to hear that Baba Siri Chand is no longer has the identity at 400 Center Street where by Guru’s Grace, so much prosperity has occurred. The house which was once bought for $75,000 is now worth over $1,000,000 with paved road and an attractive space to practice Kundalini Yoga and meditation. --
Sat Nam. Diversity is celebrating our humanity. Accepting all Hues of the Human Race, all cultures are precious, all paths to the Divine are sacred. Before Unity, one has to forgive one's prejudices, insecurities and fears of those who may appear different. Accepting the diversity begins the process of acceptance. Growing up with Diversity and among different People of Color and religions seemingly different from my own gave me awareness of the presence of the Divine Light in all. I was taught before you seek peace in the world, find it within. Before one can see the One in everyone and everything, one must see and know the One is me. From this awareness one knows the One in everyone. By Grace and good fortune one rises beyond one 's fear and conquers the demon of duality. --
Jailhouse Diversity Training
One week in 1974, a letter arrived from a prison inmate to the Director of Baba Siri Chand Ashram in Altamonte Springs, Florida. It was a request for Kundalini Yoga classes to be taught at the Sumter Correctional Institute in Bushnell, Florida. I was assigned the job of teaching the classes, and tasked with making the long drive.
I arrived that first Friday at 7:00 pm. I was patted down and then allowed, under escort, to meet the inmate who wanted to learn yoga and meditation. I spent about an hour with him. I informed him that he had to organize a larger group since it was 80 miles each way to the prison. He then informed me he would NOT do any yoga with Blacks. Actually, he used a different word to refer to People of Color. I then told him that there had to be 6 more students in addition to him, and 4 had to be Blacks. I told him it was his choice and that I was doing the classes out of seva (service), that I was not being paid, and that the Ashram was paying for the gas. He reluctantly agreed. Years later, he admitted he was grateful that I acted firmly with him.
So the next week I drove the 1-1/2 hour drive through orange groves and back country roads, through Mount Dora to the Sumter Correctional Institute. When I arrived I was informed by the prison guards that there were about 20 students registered for the class. More than half were Black inmates.
Several weeks later, I got there late. I was told to enter the compound and to go to the back. I brought my guitar and walked across a large open area to a building where I was also informed the inmates were already doing some yoga. As I got closer, I could hear powerful "Breath of Fire". I mean, I could feel the building move. It was amazing. The person leading the set was the young White man who had asked me to teach him but with no Blacks. As I walked into the room, he told the students to inhale and relax. I was so in awe of what I was experiencing. It was only the 3rd or 4th class. But after six months of teaching, the class grew to 65 inmates.
Over half were Black. By now, about 9 had asked Yogi Bhajan, aka Siri Singh Sahib, for a spiritual name, and converted their prison diet to vegetarian (as best they could). They traded meat for more veggies and salad. Some were getting up early and chanting in their cells. Well, more like softly chanting. One inmate, a Black, man, loved the yoga so much, he told his fellow inmates to turn off the TV and join him, one Friday night. I noticed that night he was missing. I was informed he was clubbed with an iron bar and was bandaged up in the infirmary. The following week, he sat in the class with white bandages wrapped over his head. He was smiling from ear to ear. He told me he was wearing a turban, like me.
In the autumn, just before the Winter Solstice, Yogi Bhajan came to Central Florida. With the help of the Junior Chamber of Commerce and the State of Florida Corrections system, two chosen inmates, with escorts, were allowed to come to Baba Siri Chand for a banquet to honor Siri Singh Sahib ji. They presented him a leather flag, hand painted to match the Sikh Dharma Flag. Hanging from the bottom it said, "Siri Singh Sahib Yogi Bhajan", and the Siri Singh Sahib ji wept."
In the spring of 1975, I was called by nine inmates who were in a "work-release" program. They were first time offenders and had for almost two years been model inmates in the Correctional system. They were to be released. It was inspiring and humbling. One was the original student, and there were two more young White men. The remaining inmates who were released were Black. One of them was my white-bandaged warrior, who found the Light within that healed his mind, his heart, who then took responsibility for his life. Twenty years later. the original student, the young White man who didn't want to do yoga with Blacks, was out of prison and living in New Zealand. He called me to say, "Sat Nam!", and to thank me.
"Wahe Guru", is all I can express. It was an experience as a Teacher I will always treasure. My thanks to MSS Hari Singh Bird for leaving me with the Orange County ('Thee Door') drug rehab center, Kundalini Yoga classes in Orlando when he and the Birds were sent to lead the House of Guru Ram Das ashram in Denver. I thank Siri Singh Sahib Bhai Sahib Harbhajan Singh Khalsa, my Teacher, and I especially thank Guru Ram Das for guiding me safely home those many Friday evenings when I was exhausted from work and teaching." -- More.
Amrit Kaur and SatHanuman Singh Khalsa
Sat Nam. My wife Amrit Kaur and I moved from Millis, Massachusetts in the late fall of 2005 to Troutdale, Oregon, 15 miles east of Portland. I had been in Natural Products industry for 18 years on the east coast, helping to found a brokerage company which both of us served on the management team of until we retired from this company in 2002.
It happens that on September 11th, 2001, due to circumstances never expected I was in NY city to see the late (Doctor) SS Dayal Singh Khalsa. I had driven down the night before and arrived shortly after midnight. Due to the horrific day of destruction and death, Dr. Khalsa and I hunkered down at his home until I was able to leave on 9/15 and drive home to Boston.
In May of 2006, after waiting over six months to be hired by Whole Foods Market, I took the tests and passed to take a job as Federal Security officer at Portland International Airport (PDX) working as the first turbaned wearing Sikh for the Transportation Security Administration. This for some seemed strange for person who had been in sales his entire adult life and was closely aligned with yoga, meditation, Gurdwara Seva, Natural Foods, but I felt this was an important decision which my Guru Sahib had called me to serve. It paid very little but that was not as important as being seen with a full Daastar, beard in a Department of Homeland Security (TSA) uniform each day at an International Airport where I currently reside.
SS SatHanuman Singh with Bhai Sahiba Bibiji and Kulbir Singh at Portland International Airport
During the almost six years I served, I was chosen by the Oregon Federal Security Director to train every officer at seven airports in Oregon, consult with DHS and TSA in Washington, DC to help bring an awareness of how to treat Sikhs wearing Turbans, what Kirpans and other aspects of Sikhi are with regards to Security and air travel.
In 2008, I was appointed to the TSA National Advisory Council in Arlington, VA, where I served for 2 years. I was promoted in 2008 as a Lead Security Officer and went to additional training. In 2010-11, I joined the ranks of Union to organized Collective Bargaining rights for TSA and to get out the vote. I had kept a close relationship with TSA management but I am sure this ruffled some feathers in the upper leadership ranks within TSA.
Sat Nam. My decision to work for the Transportation Security Administration, TSA, for the 6 years I was there was guided by our Beloved Teacher, Yogi Bhajan. The moment I returned to Boston on September 15th, 2001 from NYC, I knew I was destined to serve something greater than myself.
When I left Boston in October of 2005, 10 year ago, I thought I'd be working for Whole Foods, since my career with SGN, Inc. (Yogi Tea, Golden Temple, Soothing Touch) and all the rest, was history. I asked Guru Ram Das to guide my affairs. He said, "Yes, but you will take some time to serve in a different way. You will start part-time at $15,000 per year as public servant and I will show you your purpose. You have been trained for this moment, trust me!" I knew this was it!
It's funny. Guru Amrit Kaur once passed through Portland International. She saw me and asked if I worked for AKAL? I said, no ji, I'm not qualified to work for AKAL! I work for UNCLE SAM! She said, "Who is that?" I said, "The Transportation Security Administration. "Wow," she said! "Great! Best of luck, ji!"
Sardarni Guru Amrit Kaur Khalsa
Now all this is behind us, our history is part of this story. We continue to serve our Teacher and try and heal this 'family' of sleeping yogis and disciples of Guru Gobind Singh Ji. WE must continue to be patient and kind. We are walking the Path of Nanak! --
Along the way, I was asked by Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund (SALDEF) and Sikh Coalition to help change a garb law on the books in Oregon which had prevented qualified Teachers in Public Schools from teaching due to the wearing of religious garb, This affected Sikhs, Muslim women and Orthodox Jews. On April 1st 2010, the law was signed by the Governor of Oregon.
Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski made history April 1, 2010 by signing a
landmark bill that allows public school teachers within the state
religious clothing required by their religious faith in their classrooms.
In late November of 2011, I retired from TSA and decided to retire. That lasted 1 year and now I am back serving as natural food broker merchandizer in Portland, Oregon. By Guru's Grace I continue to serve as he directs.
Everything is Chardi Kala! --
SS SatHanuman Singh Khalsa as Lead TSA Officer at Portland International.
First turban wearing Sikh within the Department of Homeland Security and TSA
SS SatHanuman Singh and Ronbir Singh at Portland OR airport
SS SatHanuman Singh Khalsa with co-workers, Portland, OR
Sat Nam. The reason these folks are all smiling is I helped them finally win union representation.
The folks I worked with in Portland for six years are good souls. They treated me with respect and honor. I am grateful for the time spent with them serving our nation and working with the folks in Arlington, VA, at TSA headquarters, training FBI and Oregon State Police personnel and the TSA officers and managers in Oregon airports from Portland to Medford, from Bend to Klamath Falls.
National Advisory Counsel, a group of Security officers, Lead Security officers, Supervisors,
Managers, Asst Security Directors from 700 airports at TSA headquarters, Arlington, VA 2009
The entire body covering is called the burqa,
whereas the head cover is the niqab, or face-veil.
Now, Muslim women with hijab, Orthodox Jews wearing yamaka, and Sikh men and women wearing turban can teach, if qualified, in public schools and don't have to compromise their religious mandated identity. I am blessed to have been able to make a difference in the culture of security and the role of Sikhs in America. --
Bhagat Singh Thind, top center, with his battalion
at Camp Lewis, Washington, November 18, 1918
Canadian Sikhs, early 20th Century
Canadian Sikh soldiers during World War I
NOTE: Bhagat Singh Thind, arrived in the U.S. from Punjab in 1912 and went on to Seattle on July 4th, 1913. He then moved to Astoria, Oregon where he married an American woman and worked on railroads and in the logging industry. He joined the U.S. Army in 1917 and held the rank of Sergeant. Dr. Thind passed away in 1967, in Los Angeles. He left his American wife, Vivian, and two children who were also Americans.
Another young Sikh served in the U.S. (Union) Army during the Civil War. He came from India originally and then migrated to Canada where he joined the U.S. Army. He is unidentified by name but is seen in a photo with other White "Brits" who served during the Civil War cheering U.S. Dough boys as they marched off to France in WWI.
Unidentified Sikh with Canadian soldiers, bottom row, seated right, 1913
As for Bhagat Singh Thind, he would go to the University of Southern California, Berkley where he received a Ph.D. He was not allowed to get U.S. citizenship until the 1930s (after three attempts) in New York state because of the Immigration Act which prevented Indians and other Asians from getting citizenship. He taught Yoga and meditation as a Sikh. There is at least one video of his teachings on diet, meditation, pranayama and asanas. He wrote several books on the links between the teachings of Jesus and Guru Nanak Dev.