Yogi Bhajan, This Meal, The Real Deal
Sat Nam, Dear Family! Once upon a time there were two very good friends. The elder decided to throw a dinner for the other. He bought the finest food; only what his guest would like; prepared it perfectly to his guests liking; created an ambience to match the magnificence of the meal. Everything was perfect.
His friend arrived and was flabbergasted; overcome with humility; a bit shameful that he wasn’t worthy enough for this caliber of kindness; somewhat taken aback and embarrassed that he hadn’t done anything for his host; guilty that he didn’t think he deserved this much attention; and, uncomfortable because of how much effort his host had gone to. All this added up to him saying, “I can’t eat and must go.” Yes, this is the way some people are.
Naturally, his host was mortified; visibly upset; and, virtually begging him not to leave without eating something. Our guest had an epiphany on the spot. He realized that by not eating he was really hurting his host and denying him of the pleasure he created for himself in serving this meal. That wouldn’t be good manners. He must not only stay and eat, but he must truly enjoy this meal as well. And, so he did and all were content and joyful.
This is the synthesis of a story describing a great lesson from the teachings in the Kabbala. It’s a story of a mystical method toward spirituality, a universal truth which is, naturally, complementary with that of Sikh Dharma – as it is with all truthful mystical experiences. In the Kabbala, God is the giver and we, earthlings, are set to receive. That’s the relationship. But, for those blessed few who want to experience God, this relationship must be reversed. We down here must change our nature and become givers, not takers. Our caliber of giving, not taking, is the screen which separates this world from the otherworldly.
When one’s consciousness sifts through this screen, spirituality will start to begin. In Kabbala, there are four layers to sift through from the salad to desert. The deeper one goes into the meal, the deeper his spirituality goes until there is no separation between the Creator and His creation.
There’s more to this story. Remember, I said that the guest must sincerely enjoy this meal in order for the host to receive the pleasure the guest can provide. Well, that’s called spiritual giving – receive all of God’s bounty with gratitude and joy so that you can then give in His Name. You can only give what you have, so it’s a good idea to accept with an open heart all of God’s abundance in order to be able to then share more in His Name. In the story above, the guest needed to eat and enjoy the meal presented by the host so that the host could feel satisfied. That was the cost the guest paid, and, so must all spiritual aspirants pay this price – full retail!
This is why a Sikh and a Kabbalist must enjoy life; accept all that God gives; do so in His name; and, give as a way of life. This is what is so attractive about the Siri Singh Sahib, aka Yogi Bhajan. He wasn’t afraid to live spirituality and royally at the same time. He knew that his regality was a reflection of His grace, bestowed by Guru’s Grace. When he decorated himself, he did so as a representative of his Guru while he humbly recognized that His gifts were a privilege and honor to represent. And, of course, he left almost all of his decorations to this Dharma.
We are very fortunate. Our beloved teacher left us a roadmap to success: Follow the Guru. This is our way through the screen of true reality and unto Infinity. This is where this Dharma begins.
In the Humility of Service and Gratitude,
See Sikh Definitions.
Yogi Bhajan, My Intuition Was Verified
Sat Nam, Dear Family! Yesterday (December 19, 2014), I attended the retirement celebration for New Mexico State Treasurer James Lewis at God’s House Church. This venue speaks more about Mr. Lewis than anything. The Siri Singh Sahib, aka Yogi Bhajan, always showed Mr. Lewis the respect I rarely saw him show others. I didn’t know Mr. Lewis too well as I was mostly living in L.A. at the time. I had an inkling as to why our beloved teacher showed this respect. Yesterday, my intuition was verified. Mr. Lewis is the kind of man this state, in fact, this nation needs. He will be greatly missed although there are many who want him to run for Governor. He’d be a great one! More.
In the Humility of Service and Gratitude,
See Sikh Definitions.
Yogi Bhajan, Duty is Beauty
Sat Nam, Dear Family! As most of you know by now, our beloved son, brother, friend, student, and devoted husband Hari Simran Singh Khalsa passed away after a fall in the mountains of Mexico. We had the blessing to have Hari Simran work for us the summer before last. I grew to not only love him, but respect him as well. His excitement for life, positive energy, wisdom beyond his years and consciousness were a joy to witness every day.
This time of loss brings a necessary time for grieving. We remember that All things come from God and all things go to God with our every breath. We keep the name of God rotating through our consciousness. We are always remembering that everything is God’s will. Grieving is necessary and good, however, His Will must be understood, acknowledged, and accepted as well. In this case, where a great tragedy has been experienced, this test becomes the grand trial of life.
At this time we are reminded of our great teacher who used to say, “I want to die with my boots on.” He meant that he wanted to die while doing his duty, and he did. Hari Simran’s passing demonstrated the same thing. Let me explain.
For the last few days of 2014 and the beginning days of 2015, our Sangats all over the world have rallied to pray, give support and raise money for him and his family. Last evening (January 2, 2015) a Gurdwara service was held here in our temple in Espanola. The place was packed. A service was held in Herndon, VA, where Hari Simran had been living with his bride for the past two years. Others were held at Guru Ram Das Ashram in Los Angeles and also Albuquerque. Other less formal services were held all over the world in his honor: China, Latin America, and Europe. Everywhere people who haven’t been seen in ages showed up; people close to him and others who didn’t know him. It was a display of unity seldom seen in this Dharma. All who identify with Sikh Dharma and our yoga community were present. It was truly beautiful to see.
Unity has been our “Achilles heel,” our constant challenge. The Siri Singh Sahib’s last command before his passing was for us to stay together. It’s not that we’re separate, we’re just not together. We aren’t focused on the same goals. Together, we’d be dynamic, otherwise, we’re ordinary. Yesterday, I experienced the power in our unity.
Hari Simran’s passing brought us together, gave us an experience of our teacher’s command, and, again, focused us on the goal which lies ahead of us – our unity. This young man died with his boots on. He did God’s Will and his duty. He was a sacrifice so that this Dharma could be reminded and experience the goal of unity. His ticket was punched straight to liberation. There’s no doubt about it. Hari Simran was and is a great teacher. He taught us, we, who didn’t know, that we needed teaching. Thank you, and bless you, Hari Simran Singh. (Chant Akal, Akal, Akal.)
In the Humility of Service and Gratitude,
See Sikh Definitions.
Hari Simran Singh Khalsa, a sacrifice at the Guru’s will.
Sat Nam, Dear Family! Hari Simran Singh Khalsa, a sacrifice at the Guru’s Will.
Those in our community who participated in any manner in this blessed events surrounding Hari Simran’s passing experienced what spirituality is about. That cannot be denied. All the efforts in the search for him, through his passing and his memorial (Oh, and don’t let me forget Facebook); this grand amount of support, communication, devotion, elevated consciousness changed everyone. Look at what one young man can do in fulfilling our Guru’s direction. He changed us en mass.
That’s not all he did. He offered an opportunity from the Guru. What greater service can one pray for? He offered another chance to act in unity and elevation in all we do. He showed us how powerful, devotional, and conscious we can be. He gave us a preview of who we’ll be so that we’d be inspired to do what we must to get there sooner.
That’s not all he did. He extended the opportunity, for those who need to be encouraged, to take the next step in further commitment to this lifestyle through sharing the experience of reality of this dharma with them. Hari Simran’s passing saw us at our best; showed our devotion; showed our reality; showed our compassion; showed our following our blessed teacher and our beloved Guru’s direction. This blessed young man gave us the opportunity of experiencing this – and we did.
It is my prayer that all who participated and experienced this event take advantage of the opportunity Hari Simran is giving us by taking the next step in commitment because we’ve experienced what commitment to this lifestyle can deliver. If you don’t know how or what “more commitment” means, ask someone, we’re all well trained.
This is what Hari Simran’s passing has done: he offered us the opportunity to experience the truth in this lifestyle. We took advantage of this blessed opportunity. We miss him. But, for me, he leaves a legacy which will be written about. He did what no one else did and he took on the ultimate sacrifice to create our blessing. What more is there to say. I’ll leave it to those who write about him in the future.
Please let all who participated but don’t receive my letters know of the reason for Hari Simran’s passing. I know that Hari Simran would want his message delivered to as many people as possible because that was his mission: helping others become happier and sharing his great compassion – which is our Guru’s mission, also.
See Sikh Definitions.
Yogiji Bhajan, Nuts for Guts
Sat Nam, Dear Family! “When your flow of thoughts becomes complementary, not contradictory, life comes to a state of real relaxation,” the Siri Singh Sahib, aka Yogi Bhajan, answered me driving back from a dinner function at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. It was one of those balmy L.A. nights when, even the smell of the ocean traveled all the way to Beverly Hills. For a guy like me from St. Louis, this smell was always romantic and intoxicating. It produced a feeling of well-being in my consciousness.
It was spring of 1988 and we were beginning to spread our wings spiritually, socially, and business-wise. An added perk for me was that Beverly Hills was our jumping off point! On this occasion, we had just come from a big party for the U.S. Marshals Service. This is the United States law enforcing arm working in many areas for the U.S. Government.
The Siri Singh Sahib Ji often relaxed in the afternoons by visiting Artin’s Jewelry Shop in the heart of Beverly Hills. A colorful varied cast of people visited this shop: tourists, Hollywood stars, executives, Hollywood want-to-be’s, businessmen, etc. frequented this lively shop. It was like the social salons of the olden days! Notably, this is where we forged many new relationships. Fortuitously, one gentleman we met happened to be closely tied in with the U.S. Marshal’s Service. He promoted events like this dinner which raised money for the Marshal Officers who needed more help than the Government provided. It was a noble cause and a genuine seva, selfless service.
I attended this gala event with Yogi Bhajan along with two of his secretaries. Our security team remained in the lobby as dinner seats were at a premium. The audience was also filled with many movie stars and movers & shakers - big wigs from every professing vying for their place in the social status of Beverly Hill. Our host’s wife owned the Hollywood Reported, the newspaper bible of the Hollywood entertainment industry. Beverly Hills is a relatively new city, so money and celebrity status can do there what it can’t do in many other places and the money and prestige of the industry people was present everywhere. This was a very very successful event. Bob Hope, Jimmy Stewart, and Donald O’Conner entertained – old Hollywood at its best! Our host and promoter of this event was the gentleman we had met at Artin’s.
As we entered the large ballroom, fashionably late, we were escorted to the front table with our host. I could feel all eyes on us as our presence spoke before we did. Our beloved teacher had done it again. We were dressed beautifully in bana** (our spiritual clothing). The best Beverly Hills could provide accented our appearance – jewelry, purses, shoes, manners, grace were all provided for us through our teacher’s grace. We were not only comfortable in this environment; we were respected and even celebrities among the celebrities! Because of our bana, everyone noticed us. And, do you know who was the most pleased, our host, that’s who. Our relationship was bonded.
The following week, we met our host again at Artin’s. He, again, was greatly appreciative of our appearance at the gala and then mentioned something very auspicious to our teacher. He told him that the bidding process for the security industry for some venues of the Marshal’s Service was coming up and we should submit bids. Just one of these contracts can be worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Our host offered to do whatever he could to help us in this process, and he did. We had a small security company in New Mexico at the time. Just the process of getting ourselves into position to bid was a miracle, but that’s another story.
This giant step was the beginning of the ascension of Akal Security, our business which, today, is one of the largest security companies in the world. All this was because of our teacher. He delivered. I was just lucky to tag along. This is just a part of his grand legacy. It’s up to us to continue to grow it.
Anyway, back to his answer to me in the car on the way home from this grand gala affair. I half wondered and half asked him, “Sir, you have more guts than anyone I’ve ever seen. Where does this confidence come from? Were you always this way?” He chuckled, smiled and said, “When your flow of thoughts becomes complementary, not contradictory, life comes to a state of real relaxation.
It took me a while to figure out what he was saying. I understand it now. His answer had several meanings as usual. First, it meant that confidence and relaxation go together. If you’re not relaxed about who you are the confidence you have will not be experienced by others. And, it’s confidence which attracts others, including big wig movers and shakers. Confidence trumps all other attractiveness. Our teacher’s confidence was displayed and experienced by those present at this event.
Next, the key to his confidence was his complimentary flows of thought. What he meant by this is that insecurity no longer haunted this process. Fear, hate, jealousy, anger and frustration were no longer interferences. There is always more to learn, more awareness to behold, but as we learn more, we do so without insecurity getting in the way; we don’t have to overcome our previous thinking anymore. Thoughts then become building blocks for growth, not issues to overcome and discard.
Finally, his intuition took him up the golden chain of spirituality, the Golden Chain of Raj Yog, of Guru Ram Das. His flow of thought was consistent with Guru Ram Das. He was connected straight to his Guru. He had the confidence of his Guru. He was protected, guided, and blessed by the Guru. Thus total confidence and relaxation was the result. Wherever he went, he was Guru’s representative. He was set. He was a king.
However, the most I learned about his statement was that we lived off of his blessings. He was the reason for our growth, individually and collectively. This story is just one example of how I saw his life create who we are. We can’t deny this because we saw how he opened up for us all such a life of spirituality, health, service and fun!! And he took us where our “guts” weren’t prepared to go, at least at this time. And he not only led this way, he was this way. His Guru made him so. So, once again, on this evening he delivered what his Guru wanted: another brick in building this Dharma.
See Sikh Definitions.
Sat Nam, Dear Family! Singh Sahib Guru Bachan Singh Khalsa, our dear spiritual brother, a great teacher of the heart, and a beloved son of the Siri Singh Sahib, needs your prayers. He has been in and out of the hospital for the past five weeks with concerns over his blood platelet levels. His greatest wish is to be able to continue to serve, and share his love of Guru Ram Das and the Siri Singh Sahib. To pray for a man like this, who’s given his heart to so many others, is a blessing for everyone.
See Sikh Definitions.
Yogi Bhajan, Affective Collective Connective Perspective
Sat Nam, Dear Family! “View life from an altitude of 35,000 feet up as if from a jet plane,” the Siri Singh Sahib, aka Yogi Bhajan, said this to me one Saturday afternoon in July, 1992 as we were driving into Santa Fe to go to a movie. “Usually, what appears one way can be viewed in the opposite direction, a perspective which will then save a lot of pain and can even create great opportunity,” he continued. At first glance, this seems self-explanatory. View things in their proper perspective. But how does one know the proper perspective? I mean, is it a matter of understanding facts or an expanded consciousness. Let me give you an example.
Let’s say that there’s a forest fire. From one perspective this appears very bad; animals were killed or displaced, smoke polluted the environment, trees were lost, some houses were destroyed, I could go on. Needless to say, it appears to be a great tragedy.
Now, on the other hand: inhibiting undergrowth was removed, the soil was regenerated, an overgrowth of trees was pruned, the sunshine was once again allowed to purify the earth, a greener more supportive forest would eventually emerge.
So, it appears that our view of the forest fire from 35K feet up is kept in perspective when viewed from above allowing our time log of the experience to be expanded. When seen from the time of the fire, it was a great tragedy; when viewed from twenty years out, the fire appears to have been a great boon to the environment.
As hard as if may be, if a spiritual aspirant continues to see the positive 35,000 foot view in all situations, his/her life will dwell in continuous happiness.Yes, there is time to feel pain, but behind the pain is this elevated view so even the pain is understood and thus mitigated.
The first thing which should be recognized is that opposites create perspective: without down there is no up; without sad there is no happy; without evil there is no good. So, this is what is meant by the expression that life is a relative perspective. Otherwise, down, sad, evil have no meaning without up, happy, and good. From 35K up, all life on earth is suffering when compared with an elevated position?
As the Buddha said, “All life is suffering; if you get what you don’t want you suffer; if you don’t get what you want you suffer; even if you get what you want, you still suffer because it’s in time and space and your desire will leave when you get it.” Naturally, the Buddha saw life form 35K up and explained this perspective in his four great noble truths.
An elevated perspective from 35K up is the antidote. Sikh Dharma, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, all the great religions, lifestyles, and teachings provide a view form this altitude. The trick is to understand enough of the truth in the teachings and have the consciousness to apply it to all situations. Then, all suffering departs. The spiritual aspirant must see from this altitude to begin this process.
Most of the world looks for this expanded life experience in the myriad of ways this world offers; wealth, glory, fame, power, liquor, you name it. A few look for this expanded awareness through faith, faith in something greater. Kundalini yoga is our ace in the hole. It’s the yoga of awareness. This yoga elevates the consciousness to see from above the earth. When combined with Sikh Dharma, awareness becomes an elevated perspective. Faith is experienced. The subtlety of life is known. Life becomes more and more secure.
Faith in the Infinite provides the altitude to experience life from another perspective. Your perspective is a byproduct of how high your faith will allow you to go up. Most are stuck on at ground level, but just a view from anywhere above this earth provides another deeper experience of life. And, here’s the best news, it only gets better from there. Stay tuned.
See Sikh Definitions.
Yogi Bhajan, God's Banker or Spiritual Tanker
Sat Nam, Dear Family! "God’s Banker" is a new book which just came out earlier this week. It depicts great sins committed by the Vatican Bank since its inception in 1942. The book reads like fiction. It’s fascinating, but, for me, that’s not the story. What’s wrong with someone or something is not nearly as important as what’s right with that person or entity. I know Catholics need contrition to experience redemption so books like this one serve as a necessary catharsis. This is how their religion relieves their sins. I have no problem with this process, it is just not the way of a Sikh, and, for that, I am very grateful.
The story behind this story, the one from 35,000 feet above, the story between the lines, is much more fascinating and extremely educational as well. The nucleus of this story is: What happens to a great religion as time progresses? How are sins (their word, not mine) overcome? What greater model to study is there than the Catholic Church? Two thousand years of history is a great frame of reference. Books like this one fill in some of the holes in understanding what the Church has gone through and what they have done about it, or not! Why is this important? Here we have an opportunity to learn from the mistakes of others so we can avoid them as we build this dharma.
First, let me define corruption from a spiritual perspective: spiritual corruption is when someone acts or something is done which benefits anyone or anything in lieu of the mission. The story of this bank reads like a complete corruption of the values of the Church. Yes, this happens in all religions because religions are made up of people, some holy, some not, and many in-between. The “some not” people are the problem. A small number in positions of power can corrupt any religion, state, or community. It doesn’t matter whether it is a Democracy, an Aristocracy, a Dictatorship, or what! This is what happened at the Vatican Bank.
The Vatican Bank is not only the bank of the Vatican, but the bank of the Vatican state, the country, as well. It’s autonomous in its own right as the Vatican sets all the rules for the state. Ownership is in the sole name of the Pope. He owns it all, the country and the religion; he controls it all and he is the final decision maker. That is, if the question gets to him. There is a grand wall around the Pope. The foundation (the Pope) is strong, but the walls built around the palace has cracks. There are some in the curia (high priests who make up the central government of the Church) who are in the “some not” category. They hold up various pieces of this wall. Corruption occurs when a piece of the wall is not being supported through the will of the Pope, but, rather, someone in the “some not” category!
The “some not” deception in the Church, as well as the bank, is systemic. It started with Judas’s betrayal in the religion and continues through the beginning of the bank. And, since it started with the inception of the bank, it has become the bank’s culture. To this day, someone (in fact, many) in the “some not” category control the bank. Laundered drug money, illegal passports for Third Reich war criminals, hush money for egregious cases of pedophiliac priests, no scrutiny, no taxes, and no accountability: these are normal course of business. This bank has been a vehicle for this and many other corrupt practices.
Now, here’s the interesting thing. The current Pope is changing the culture in the Bank. This is not easy to do. There are a lot of “some-nots” holding onto their piece of the wall because, they believe that their security depends upon it and they have don’t want to fall off the wall. It’s a tough sell, but the Pope is doing a marvelous job. I commend him for doing that which previous Popes could not. It cannot be expected that the corrupt will police themselves. For those who do (very rare), it’s a ticket straight to Catholic heaven. For those who don’t, well, it’s up to the Pope supported by his flock to do this nasty job.
Here’s the story and the challenge: What happens when the current Pope dies? Does the new bank culture continue, or does the bank revert back to its old ways? History, and the history of the Church as well, tell us that the old culture will return. So the ultimate question is: What will the Pope do to avoid history repeating itself? I’m watching. So far, he’s done a lot but he hasn’t dealt with this specific issue. It will be his legacy. Can he really change the culture of Catholicism at the very top? Can this cultural change hold? What’s his strategy?
These are the same questions we must ask of our dharma: we’re in a unique position to create our own culture. What culture are we creating? Are the standards imbedded in our structures those created by our beloved teacher? How do we know? Are we creating our own ‘Vatican Bank’ of spirituality,? Will the “some-nots” among us overwhelm us or wear us down? Or, will we stand up to the culture the Siri Singh Sahib established? Sikhs believe in a panj, five sincerely good Sikhs, to make this determination. Where’s our panj? How do we assure that no one in our panj is corrupt?
Here’s the kicker, corrupt people usually don’t know they are corrupt, or at least have some justification for it. So, it’s hard to weed them out. Naturally, corrupt people try to hide their corruption. It’s their way of getting some false sense of self-esteem in order to be able to live with themselves. In fact, corrupt people can be very charming and likable. Typically, they can fool those who are in-between the holy and corrupt category to trust them, Then, corruption sets in.
This is the story of the Church, and, in microcosm, the Vatican Bank. Will this be the story of Sikh Dharma? I know this is an uncomfortable and touchy subject because most people do not want to believe that others are corrupt. Or, if they do sense corruption they so often feel impotent to do anything about it, or else are apathetic and won’t take action. But, this question must be answered by everyone who considers themselves a part of this dharma in order to guarantee the rightful progression of this dharma. It is the duty of the sangat, the congregation, to vest themselves in this process.
Here’s the answer we can glean from this study of these issues, both for our Dharma and the Vatican: Stick to the teacher’s teachings. For Christians, it’s Christ; for Sikhs, it’s the Siri Singh Sahib’s. The more one’s practice leads away from the teachings, the more corrupt the entity is.
Therefore, the way to keep Sikh Dharma pure requires that we all stick to the teachings: assure that our organization follows the way our teacher set it up, do sadhana, serve in bana, and deliver higher consciousness. This is our duty. This is also our blessing. This is how we assure the flourishment of our beloved Sikh Dharma. Sikh Dharma, as a mission without corruption, must build a strong wall to guarantee our prosperity. Yes, the Catholic Church is a great teacher, have we learned anything? Stay tuned.
See Sikh Definitions.
Yogi Bhajan, Patriarchal Cross Is Our Boss
Sat Nam, Dear Family! It was warm summer evening in September of 1990. The Siri Singh Sahib, aka Yogi Bhajan, was sitting in my chair in my living room, legs stretched out and hands behind his neck. He was relaxed. I was so lucky; our beloved teacher visited our house every evening. At least that had been his routine over the past few years. My experiences with our teacher went in cycles usually lasting seven years. This story takes place in the middle of one of these phases.
I was lucky again. My kids were literally raised at the “Master’s Feet.” My youngest daughter, Sarab Shakti Kaur, and I share a unique personality trait. We are both very direct. It works to both to our advantage and disadvantage, but, that’s not the issue here. Evidently, this trait starts at a young age. I’ll tell you how I know this.
On this particular evening, our teacher was giving me some direct and heavy instructions. Sarab Shakti Kaur caught wind of our discussion. Mind you, she was just five years old at the time. But, because of her familiarity with our teacher, she talked to him just like you would a father, and always with respect. As our conversation waned, Sarab Shakti moved right in, looked the Siri Singh Sahib straight in the eyes, and said, “Are you my Papa’s boss?” I will tell you this - that direct question took him by delightful surprise. His slight hesitation revealed his reaction. Quickly, he gathered himself, nodded, and answered, “I am.”
It wasn’t just his words which struck me so hard, it was the way he said them. This affirmation also had a great effect on my daughter. He looked right back at her with his penetrating eyes, smiled gently, lovingly, confidently, firmly, and affirmatively, all at the same time. His soft nod offered additional assurance as he answered her in these many ways.
She heard him. It gave her great security to know that I wasn’t the final word. That was really important for her to hear. She gained great security that day. I was as happy with his answer as she was. I was reminded that even with all my shortcomings as a father, my daughter knew that we were both covered by our relationship with our teacher. I was more than just me. We both had someone we could trust to lead us in a direction which was right for us. I love this day, it was a watershed event in the lives of both myself and my daughter.
See Sikh Definitions.
Yogi Bhajan, Walk The Walk
Sat Nam, Dear Family! The Siri Singh Sahib, aka Yogi Bhajan, was one of many Indian spiritual teachers who came to America in the 1960’s. There were yogis and swamis, Hindus and Buddhists, rishis and sadhus, and more. Probably, the most famous of these was Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. He taught Transcendental Meditation to people of all persuasions and became teacher of the famous band the Beatles. As a side note, the Beatles helped turn many young people on to Eastern spirituality.
Most of these newly arrived teachers attempted to appeal to as large an audience as possible. Yes, even spirituality has marketing issues! The larger the audience, the more money, status and power is gathered. However these rewards also became their tests as teachers. Not all of them passed. Money is a great test; status is a greater one; and power, well it’s off the charts. Oh, and I left out sex.
So, a teacher of any ability whatsoever, if he/she kept up long enough, could attract students . However with this also came great challenges as a teacher carries the karma of his/her students. They had to rise to the occasion or they might crash. Being a spiritual teacher is no joke. Many, and I mean many, of these teachers crashed under this heavy load. Here in America it was the test of sex that did most of them in, but all these tests provided challenges as well.
I was blessed to accompany our beloved teacher on numerous journeys to locations were many other teachers also gathered for conferences. From San Diego to the Poconos, we spanned the country attending these events. One thing was always evident: Our teacher was always the leader, the teacher, and the most confident. Now, that was usually not acceptable to other teachers. But, he saw a bigger picture; one that they wouldn’t see unless he took the risk of challenging them to see another perspective. He challenged them to follow his advice without the need to defend themselves (yes, teaches can be just like us) because it was right, period. A few did, many didn’t, but they all had to at least make a conscious choice and maybe an adjustment.
He forced this upon them as the protector of his beloved India. It didn’t matter whether or not he was authorized...he was self-appointed. He appointed himself as protector of the image of India as a country of a rich, giving, spiritual history, not as an exploiter. Our teacher took it upon himself to exalt the best of India. This wasn’t a small job. And, this was just one of the many jobs to which he was self-appointed. This is who your teacher was. He was sovereign, self-contained, and blessed by Guru Ram Das personally. This is what he delivered to humanity. He was a man who stood for the truth and was willing to do what was necessary to build that in others. He was a warrior, a true spiritual warrior.
His message to all these teachers was always the same. “Don’t fool with Mother Nature, it’s not worth it. Leave well enough alone. Do your job. Earn your money. Teach your great teachings, have your fun. Just, please, don’t exploit. Americans are innocent. They weren’t raised in a country rich in millennia old traditions steeped in spirituality. America is only a few centuries old. Each of us represents more than ourselves. We represent India; a whole great nation; a deep history. We are the true diplomatic core of India speaking to the youth, the next generation of Americans. We hold the responsibility of representing our country and we must do that or leave. India won’t tolerate her beautiful legacy being besmirched for any personal gain. We must represent ‘doing right,' not nonsense. So, don’t be caught in the exploitation game and everything will be O.K.”
Direct, yes. Truthful, devastatingly so! But, he had his shot and he took it. He knew that many would resent him. All that mattered was that those who could hear him would do so. Over the years I’ve watched what has happened to India’s great legacy. With all the mischief done, India has kept her virtuous reputation. So, our teacher , as always, did his job. and more than his job. Quietly, unassumingly, at great personal cost, both financially and politically, he followed Guru Ram Das’ will. I saw it.
Stories like this one are not part of his teachings. This is how he acted privately when no one was watching. This is how he lived his Guru’s will. This how he lived the truth. This is way I loved him so much. Stay tuned.
See Sikh Definitions.
A Meal That Will Heal
Sat Nam, Dear Family! Once upon a time there were two friends. The elder decided to throw a dinner for the other. He bought the finest food; only what his guest would like; prepared it perfectly to his guests liking; created an ambience to match the magnificence of the meal. Everything was perfect.
His friend arrived and was flabbergasted; overcome with humility; a bit shameful that he wasn’t worthy enough for this caliber of kindness; somewhat taken aback and embarrassed that he hadn’t done anything for his host; guilty that he didn’t think he deserved this much attention; and, uncomfortable because of how much effort his host had taken. All this added up to him saying that he couldn’t eat this meal and he must go.
Naturally, his host was mortified, visibly upset, and, virtually begged him not to leave without eating. Then, our guest had an epiphany. He realized that by not eating he was really hurting his host and denying him of the pleasure he had created for himself in offering this gorgous meal. That wouldn’t be good manners. He must not only stay and eat, and he must truly enjoy this meal as well. And, so he did and all were content and joyful.
This is the synthesis of a story describing one of the teachings in the Kabbala. This story describes a mystical method towards spirituality, a universal truth which is complementary with that of Sikh Dharma – as it is with all truth-seeking mystical experiences. In the Kabbala, God is always the giver and we, earthlings, are set to receive. That’s the relationship. For those blessed few who want to take the fast track to experience God, this relationship must be understood fully and then expanded. Earthlings must then also become the givers like God. This is the first step towards experiencing spirituality - acting Godlike.
In the Kabbala, the mundane world is separated from the spiritual by an invisible “screen.” Through giving this screen is pierced. Above the screen there are four levels of deeper experiences. In other words, this story is analogous to the four levels: from the salad, to the soup, to the main course, and to the dessert. The deeper the guest and the host goes into the meal, the more both enjoy the experience. Therefore, the deeper the spiritual aspirant goes into being Godlike (giving), the more spirituality is experienced until there is no separation between the Creator (God) and his creation (the spiritual aspirant).
You can only give what you have, so it’s a good idea to accept with an open heart all of God’s abundance in order to be able to then give more. In the story above, the guest needed to eat and enjoy the meal presented by the host so that the host could feel satisfied. That was the cost and the guest paid full retail for this meal...full, complete acceptance of the gift, the enjoyment of the dinner! So must all spiritual aspirants. When you’re given, offered, shared, etc., don’’t deny it because you don’t think you’re worthy. Accept God’s gift, enjoy it, and share it with those who need it. That’s the message in this story and the message in Sikh Dharma as well.
This is why a Sikh, a Kabbalist and all spiritual seekers must enjoy life; accept all that God gives; do so in His name; and then also give as a way of life. Yes, the there is usually sacrifice accompanying this action, but that’s part of the process.
This is one of the qualities which attracted me to the Siri Singh Sahib, aka Yogi Bhajan. He wasn’t afraid to live his life as spirituality royally! He knew that his regality was a reflection of His grace, and at his Guru’s pleasure. When he decorated himself, he did so as a representative of his Guru, at the same time humbly recognizing that it was a privilege and honor to do so. And, of course, he left almost all of his decorations to this dharma.
Every day I continue to thank Guru Ram Das for letting me spend so much time with our teacher and being so blessed to follow his teachings. We are all so very fortunate. His example and his teachings are there for all to learn how to enjoy life as regal students of Guru Ram Das while living life to the fullest, in joy and Cherdhi Kala (rising spirit)! Our beloved teacher left us a roadmap to success. This Dharma is his gift for us all to live a Healthy, Happy and Holy life in prosperity and grace. Stay tuned.
See Sikh Definitions.
IDA, A Movie Review
Sat Nam, Dear Family! Last night (February 22, 2015), the Film Academy got it right. The best foreign film was Ida. It’s a great film, which I wrote a review of almost a year ago. Since it will be shown nationwide now, and not just in art houses, I’ve republished the review for those who may have missed it, or those who may want to know what to look for when viewing this exquisite movie.
I appreciate a movie with an elevating allegorical subplot. With all its grand tragedy, this movie is about hope. Hope that there is meaning to life and its known where that hope can be found. That's real hope; that's worthwhile hope.Ida is a young woman in her early twenties. She grew up in a convent in Poland after World War ll. She speaks little, moves gracefully, acts reverently, and provides a beautiful and haunting image.
Ida is preparing to take her final vows when she is called into Mother Superior's office and told that she still has one living relative and she must see her before taking her vows.Ida leaves the convent for virtually the first time to meets her aunt. She acquaints herself with her history. She learns that she was born to Jewish parents. During the War her parents and cousin (her aunt's son) were brutally murdered by a neighbor during the tumult of the holocaust period. Questions must be settled.
This unlikely pair journey to the countryside where they were raised to find answers to these questions. Amazingly, they learn the details of the death of their family and where their bodies were buried. Jewish burial laws are quite extensive and specific, so learning this sad history was an essential task. They are able to collect the bones and rebury them properly. Parenthetically, an attractive and talented young musician enters the picture. He is playing a gig at the hotel where Ida and her aunt, Wanda, are staying. Ida and he connect. It's an innocent relationship, Ida's first interaction with a man.
Wanda, is hard on the outside, but warm inside. She is an unhappy woman with no hope .She likes alcohol. Her life is occurrence after occurrence with no rhyme or reason. It appears that this journey and the answers it provided were the only meaning to her existence no matter how painful the experience was. Remember, her only son was a victim of this brutality as well.
After the journey, life returns to normal, well sort of. Wanda retreats to her old self with one exception. She can no longer stomach living her life devoid of meaning or joy. She continues to cover up with liquor, unrequited sex, anger, and depression. Unfortunately, this led to her committing suicide. It's a shock reflecting the hopelessness of her life.
Ida returns to the city for her aunt's funeral. Afterwards, she goes on a worldly binge journey filled with liquor, a sexual relationship, dressing up, you get the idea, all within a short time and in a protected environment. She searches to see if another existence is worth living. Therefore, she experiments with the accouterments of life as taught to her and left behind to her by her aunt. She appears as devoid of excitement in experimenting with these toys as she was when she first arrived.
Her convent life is regimented, ruled, and regulated. The security and devotional experience that the convent bestows has now cracked open to let judgment creep in. She sees an alternative available to her. She sees that her live has also been a limited experimental existence.
As a sidebar, there's another reason for this experimentation. At one point her aunt says to her, "you should have worldly experiences (she means sexual experiences) in order to have something to sacrifice, otherwise what have you given up for convent life?" She says this rather sarcastically, but Ida takes it seriously as sarcasm is not part of her awareness.
The film doesn't exactly paint a rosy picture of convent life. This film is shot in black and white, on a square screen format, reminiscent of the bleak time period, and has a depressing view of Poland and its people.The convent is shown in a very "Dickensoneon" way. So, Ida's judgment is limited to these two differing life experiences.
The beautiful telling line comes as Ida and her lover are lying on the bed. The young man says, (paraphrased) "come to the beach with me and we will walk together."
"Then what," Ida asks?
"We'll get a dog. We'll get married, we'll have kids, we'll do the usual," was his answer.
"Then what," Ida asks again? The blank look on her face tells it all. This experimental life didn't lead anywhere better than what she had and her lover had no answers beyond what she had already experienced. There was hope in her old life; there was none here.
So, back to the convent she went. As she entered the gates, a smile of hope was gently displayed on her lips. There's so much to this story that I've only discussed the major issues. There are other issues like this film's attempt (and, in my opinion successfully) at dealing with Poland's unattractive part of its past.
Ida lived a sheltered life. She only had two choices – that can be a good thing or not. In this case, it was very good. As drab, isolated, and restricted as her convent life was, nevertheless, it gave her an experience which, when weighted against the experimental worldly one, proved to be elevated and hopeful.The worldly experiment offered her nothing more than an immediate experience, while the convent afforded her security, relevance, reverence and hope for much more.
There are very few films that elicit such gratitude in me. So often films are only looking to elicit emotion. This movie is a rare exception. It's a masterpiece in this respect. Gratitude is the great physical expression of love and devotion and this is the highest spiritual path. This movie took me to this most sacred place. Yes, Wanda is a tragic figure and we know, sadly that the world is full of very sad Wanda's. The world is not full of Ida's. She follows her higher self and that's unusual, to be respected, and, if we're lucky, to provide an experience of gratitude.
See Sikh Definitions.
Life with Yogi Bhajan, Important Short Story
Sat Nam, Dear Family! “System” is a funny word. It means so many things. It can be the specific way a sport is played; it can mean the way a computer is structured; it can mean the way education is taught, and on and on. The Siri Singh Sahib, aka Yogi Bhajan, had another meaning for it, one which took me a while to get behind. A lack of understanding can do that!
Our beloved teacher began using this word as a teaching tool in the mid 1990’s. It was a bit alarming to me as I had been under the thinking that future “Siri Singh Sahib’s” would make important decisions regarding this dharma. It turns out that I wasn’t wrong; I was just a bit upset for no reasons. Ignorance can do that.
‘Why do we need a system in the first place if our future leaders are conscious,’ I asked myself? Why can’t they or he or she just do what’s right? Well, it turns out that “conscious” is the operative word as “consciousness” is layered unto Infinity. A system would obviate the risk that leadership wasn’t peeled as deeply as necessary. A system would carry us through periods where our leadership awareness is too limited. Our limitations would be compensated for even if we didn't like it, didn’t agree with it, or didn’t want to acknowledge it.
So, he drummed the “system” into all of those around him. Brilliant! He created a method to help us when we couldn’t or wouldn’t help ourselves. Can there be any doubt about his creativity? Maybe there’s another “system” around the earth which is so elevated, I don’t deny that, but I know this one is unique in my experience and, therefore, it’s all that’s necessary. All that identify in any way with this dharma should feel good about their relationship to this system. You’ve picked a winning system and that’s exceedingly rare. Don’t let it go to waste.
He set up a system for teaching Kundalini Yoga. He set up a system for Sikh Dharma. He set up a system for all the non-profits. He set up a system for the profits business as well. He set up a system for personal growth. He set up a Gurdwaras protocol. He set up a system for Governing. He set up systems to obey. The systems he established require compassion, duty, devotion and faith.
He set up a corporate system for the profits; he set up a system of compassion for teaching; he set up a system of service for Sikh Dharma; he set up a system of devotion for our Gurdwaras (temples). And, he set up a legal system for governance. He set up failsafe systems where the only variable is the people governing the system. If they are not real, the system will fail. If they’re real, this dharma will prosper, flourish, excel, and lead the Aquarian Age.
Well, how will another person or group of persons ever be our true leadership again? Who has the right to change or go beyond the system? As a result of the aforementioned systems, those who follow the system the best, are the best. This will be recognized by even those who don’t follow the system. That’s how true leadership is born. Our beloved teacher followed the system the best; that’s how he was able to create it. Obey, Serve, Love, Excel, this was the system he taught to attract God’s attention. First, obey the system. It all starts here. Without obeying, no deliverance of excellence can follow.
Our leadership must demonstrate compassion, service, and devotion. Leadership must show the corporate spirit and, finally, leadership must govern as the system was set up. Our leader or group of leaders must follow the system, not change it. Yes, I know there are exceptions, but they are rare not commonplace. Obey, obey obey.
Blessings to you all. My prayer is that we all do what’s best for us (all?) and best for our future and not let convenience overrule our devotion. May our devotion lead to the blessing of having Guru Ram Das provide for our life so no convenience is necessary.
See Sikh Definitions.
Yogi Bhajan, Magnetism to Ferromagnetism to Electromagnetism
Sat Nam, Dear Family! What separated the Siri Singh Sahib, aka Yogi Bhajan, from others was his magnetism. Just being around him made everyone feel better. He was the provider of all that was desired. He was the real deal. In the future people will ask, “How do you know he was the real deal?” Why should I believe you?” These are fair questions which I’m prepared to answer.
First, I was blessed to bear witness to his life on a daily basis for many years. His presence was amazing. There was a feeling that so long as you were in his presence everything would be alright. It’s like trying to tell someone who has only eaten bananas all his life, what an apple tastes like. There’s no frame of reference. There is no frame of reference for the experience of just being around our beloved teacher. It’s an experience of deep security and a smart student will pay any price to live in that experience.
Wherever we went, people treated him with respect. Sure, there were exceptions, but they just made the other experience deeper. He showed respect to everyone. He put on the flexible face necessary. He could be the teacher; he could be the friend; he could be the confident; he could be the shoulder to cry upon. He could be whatever he needed to be. Therefore, he was always in a position to teach and elevate.
People outside our family loved our teacher just as we do. Everyone has their own unique and private way of worship regardless of their religious association. His magnetism worked outside our dharma. I saw it happen a thousand times. People came to him in all states of mind. Some came to him with skepticism and some came to him with devotion, they all respected him. His sincerity was experienced whether you liked him or not.
Every Governor of New Mexico, both Democrats and Republicans, since 1972 came to the ranch multiple times to visit him. And, that was just the tip of the iceberg. Business leaders, religious leaders, Hollywood stars, you name it, requested his help in all sorts of ways. He was a sort of spiritual “Godfather” of New Mexico and Beverly Hills. He attracted them all and it was absolutely obvious that his magnetism worked. Stay tuned.
P.S. That's my older daughter above, Hari-Amrit Kaur, with President Obama when she was interning in Congress.
See Sikh Definitions.
Yogi Bhajan, Betrayal Ain't No Kale
Sat Nam, Dear Family! “You should look forward to betrayal, insults, and abuse from people around you. You should just not react. You should relax instead,” the Siri Singh Sahib, aka Yogi Bhajan, said to me as we were walking out of a movie in Westwood on a late afternoon in 1979.
What was he talking about? How can I relax in such a circumstance? What didn’t I understand? One of my employees had just embezzled from me and I’m sure he was somehow relating to that incident. It wasn’t my habit to ask him what we meant; it was for me to figure out. So, I began to study how he dealt with betrayal. It was all around him. Those closest to often lied, cheated, stole, you name it.This is not unusual; it comes with the turf of being a great spiritual teacher. I just wasn’t used to it.
I don’t mean to say that all were like this, definitely not. But, there were enough incidences to allow me some case studies. And, here’s the kicker, everyone, and I mean each and every one of his students, including me, let him down at one time or another. And, here’s the further kicker, many times the student didn’t even know he/she was doing this. As a matter of fact, this awareness comes with time and an elevated perspective. Actually it’s part of the growth process. This was the first lesson I learned.
This is one of the unfortunate roles of a true spiritual teacher. Our beloved teacher used to say, “I’ve got scabs like a peanut.” Invisible as they might have been, he was totally scarred by betrayals, insults, and abuses he endured; but, he never showed it. This was the next lesson I learned; keep up with perpetual endurance. But, the big lesson was still to come.
Not only did he not show his scars, he kept giving without vengeance or remorse knowing that more scars were on the way. This was the great lesson of this day. He used to further say, “What separates me from others is not that I forgive everyone, but that I forget as well.” The common saying is ‘I forgive him, but I’ll never forget what he did to me.’ He transcended this idiom.
Furthermore, the Guru says, “Those who slander you and betray you, pay off your karma.” So, the other great lesson is to not look for betrayal, it will happen without any action on our part, but when it happens realize that the betrayer is paying off some of your karma; be grateful. This is a high spiritual lesson delivered directly from the Guru.
I learned that I shouldn’t “get even” with people who hurt me, let alone feel hurt! I should “get ahead.” This is accomplished through continuing to serve, give, and love those who betray, insult, and abuse. This is a tough lesson. It’s easier to understand than do and it’s not easy to understand. With practice it does get easier and easier giving great benefits. So, the practice of not letting anyone “rain on my parade” began for me through his above statement. Holding grudges is not good for a spiritual aspirant. Following our teacher’s example is a lifelong practice which, by Guru’s grace, becomes part of who we are bequeathing infinite spiritual progress.
See Sikh Definitions.
Yogi Bhajan, Don’t Take the Hate Bait
Sat Nam, Dear Family! “I hate that,” I blurted out during one of our conversations in the car on the way to lunch. Jason’s Falafel Shop in Westwood was a favorite of ours, especially before a movie. This incident was so long ago that it was only the Siri Singh Sahib, aka Yogi Bhajan, and me in the car. In the much earlier days like this one, there was no security, no secretary, no entourage, no anything. It was just him and me. I really could say anything that popped into my head. In fact, that allowed him to work on me much more easily. I was a “no brainer” for his teaching at times like this. As he used to say, “with Hari Jiwan, what you see is what you get, he’s straight."
As I let this stupidity out of my mouth, he immediately countered, “Hate’s a strong word.” That’s all he said. When he contradicted me so directly, my ears perked up. I knew he was saying what I needed to listen to. My first thought was why is saying that if I hate someone or something that it is wrong? I needed to figure out this question. I loved his teaching because, with me, it was direct and challenging. He had challenged me to not only to quit saying “ I hate anything”, but to understand why? He used me against myself for the best of reasons. I allowed him to do so; I prayed for him to do so; my life depended upon him doing so.
So, as a first step I stopped saying that I hated anything. The Guru talks about Man, Bach, Karm: Mind, Word, Deed. Everything starts with the Mind and then comes out in the Word and finally escalates to Action. Yes, I occasionally slipped up and uttered this phrase ,but when I did, I was well aware of it and didn’t make the same mistake again. It took me a long time to figure this out. The understanding came in waves. Not saying that I hate anything makes a big difference right away in life. This grand experience made me want to understand even more.
I had heard him say many times, “Hate is the closest thing to love. He wasn’t the only one to say it. It’s a spiritual rule of thumb. ‘I asked myself why do I hate things?’ Well, because I am not loving. But, what does loving mean? He often said “love was the experience of selfless within oneself.” So, then the question arises, what do I need to do to experience true love? It turns out that the answer to this question is the ultimate answer to a spiritual quest.
For a Sikh, love is selfless service to the Infinite. This service is defined in the Siri Guru Granth Sahib, the teaching of pure devotion. Devotion is gained through the repetition of the Nam, the Name of God. For a Sikh, the Nam commands duty, so both are necessaryh for true love. It's a complete circle, a spiritual marriage: Devotion is the Father and duty is the Mother: devotion is love; duty is continuing to love and serve the right thing, keeping up, never giving up, and don’t worry about whether you think you can do it, that’s devotion’s job.
It’s amazing what four words did to my life.
See Sikh Definitions.
Yogi Bhajan, The Splender of Surrender
Sat Nam, Dear Family! “Why shouldn’t I just look to myself; isn’t that a show of self-esteem? Haven’t I practiced long enough to be able to depend on myself? I won’t be tricked again into listening to someone else and be taken advantage again.”
This was the statement of a long time student. We were in the long room of the Estate in New Mexico. Snow was falling gracefully on this winter day in 1997. It was a surreal experience as if looking out a cave in the Himalayas with a fire warning us comfortably. My experience was of a yogi, a student, a Sikh, and of being blessed to be in the trusted company of my true teacher, all in one.
This student’s statement brought me back into my body. The statement was so shocking that it demanded my immediate concentration. My first thought was, ‘how is our teacher going to respond to this ego? Yes, they come in all colors, sizes and shapes. God is a “full service” ego provider. Everyone is where they are because of their karma. I know this because our teacher reminded me of this fact everyday for decades. This awareness is necessary so that a true teacher can deal with each accordingly, that’s the non-judgmental flexibility it takes to be a true teacher.
Our teacher’s response demonstrated this flexibility. It didn’t matter that this student was disrespectful. This student didn’t know it. Our teacher was a teacher to all, no judgment attached.
“If you just look to yourself, you’ll always be limited by you,” the Siri Singh Sahib said.
The student cut in, “But, what if we look to God, how can that be limited, how can we be wrong?”
The Siri Singh Sahib smiled. That was a sign he was eager to answer. “We are all limited, only God is perfect. Even the greatest saint is limited, and, if you ask that true saint, he/she will tell you that they’re limited to God’s will. Humility demands so.”
He was teaching this student to look outside himself. That’s a difficult task. Our security is dependent upon what’s inside our self, not outside! He was asking this student to surrender his security. The ultimate answer to his question was for this student to have the guts to see what he could become and act accordingly. He shouldn’t be fooled by his own impression of who he was, and what he is or isn’t capable of. He could be much greater than his thinking of himself.
This student began to see things in a different perspective again. “You’re right sir. Thank you for reminding me once again. I know that my complaint wasn’t about self-esteem. It’s about surrendering in faith and having the faith that I’m doing the right thing. Thank you again for reminding me. You are the blessing in my life even when I act stupidly. Thank you for not giving up on me even when I pretend to give up on myself.”
So, it turns out that this student wasn’t as stupid as I first thought. Actually, he was very smart - he just needed reminding occasionally just like we all do. Evidently as I do not just occasionally, but on a daily basis. This event made me more grateful for the daily reminding experiences I was blessed to have with our beloved teacher.
See Sikh Definitions.
Yogi Bhajan, Sublime Time
Sat Nam, Dear Family! “Why are you being so sentimental,” the Siri Singh Sahib, aka Yogi Bhajan, said to me one afternoon in May as we were standing over a case of watches and jewelry in our friend Jerry Artin’s shop in Beverly Hills. ‘What!’ I thought to myself. ‘I thought sentimentality was a good thing.’ He continued by mocking me in a gentle, teasing, comforting way, “I know it’s one of your father’s watches. So what!”
I had just been looking at a watch that Jerry had recently purchased. It was what I had always wanted. It was a Patek Philippe perpetual calendar chronograph watch which was one of the great watches in the universe at the time. It had a price to match its greatness. It was so complicated, only a master watchmaker could make a watch of this caliber. In the world on complicated watches, “caliber” is how watch movements are defined.
Jerry had made me an offer which would allow me to purchase this watch. “HJ,” he said. “If you trade me that watch you are wearing, I’ll drop the price of the Patek to something you can afford to spend.” My thought was, ‘I can’t do this. My watch means something to me.’ But, it was so tempting. I was standing speechless not wanting to give up my watch, but, at the same time, wanting this Patek badly. I just couldn’t let go.
Finally, our beloved teacher’s statement gave me the permission I needed; permission to drop the past and embrace the future without any remorse or guilt. He wasn’t laughing at sentimentality as much as seeing it get in the way of the future. Sentimentality has its place, like emotions, but they must be our slaves, not our master.
He knew that I couldn’t resist his permission to make Jerry’s offer real. It gave him the opportunity to teach me that giving up the past can have tremendous benefits. Sacrifice is not just an empty gesture, and, although anything can happen when God is in charge, nevertheless, he taught me to always expect the best out of surrendering the past. In fact, he gave me a preview and experience of exactly this issue. My self-esteem, my caliber, increased exponentially right on the spot as did the caliber of my watch collection. And, that increase was only the beginning.
Now this great watch was mine. And, here’s the best part, my father would have been very happy to be have been a part of all of this. That’s the kind of father he was. He would have been grateful that I could transfer any sentimentality to the Patek. And so I did. Now every time I wear this watch, I think of him dearly and, I now note happily, much more often than I did with his watch. So, I received five things: the watch, an upgrade to my watch collection, the deepened connection with my father, a priceless lesson from my teacher and an increase in personal caliber just like a sophisticated grand complication watch.
This is what my teacher afforded me on a lazy afternoon in 1992. This is what any afternoon spent with Yogi Bhajan can bring. He is the Mahan Tantric; he is Yogi Bhajan a Master of Kundalini Yoga; he is the Siri Singh Sahib. He found the way to bridge all gaps in these titles. As a giving, loving, compassionate teacher, he taught us through our desires. Our path is through this world, not around it.
Because of him, my sacrifices yielded great boons. I love him infinitely. He is still with me. I won’t let him go. I can’t! The Siri Singh Sahib would be the first to say that he’s not the destination; he’s just a path to the Guru. This much I can say: he may not be the destination, but what a grand path he laid. Like a perpetual calendar watch, it’s a path worth perpetually walking. It’s a path too good to ever give up.
See Sikh Definitions.
Memories, Moments, and Missives
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