Yogi Bhajan, Ditch Fate to be Destiny Great
Sat Nam, Dear Family!
What makes a person, a spiritual teacher, great? Is it the number of people who follow her? Is it the way she looks? Is it the way she talks? Is it the manner in which she carries herself? Is it her knowledge? Well, all these things can be of importance and many more as well, but the real test is not for us to judge. Let me give you an example.
Spirituality is an internal journey. Yes, there are many who are always “on stage,” but a spiritual person should not and cannot be only “on stage.” She must be real. Entry level spirituality starts with the personal recognition and experience that your life is guided, destiny is real, God exists and He’s chosen you to be on His team. It’s the biggest test and the ultimate victory.
We were driving up the mountain to our annual Solstice Celebration in late June of 1989. I can’t remember the circumstances, but the Siri Singh Sahib, aka Yogi Bhajan, and I were in my car alone, no secretaries, no guests, just he and I. That was very unusual as there were literally thousands of people up the hill at our destination waiting to hear his voice, see his presence, and experience his truth.
I could tell that he was in a reflective mood and that I could expect the unusual. I lived for these moments when I could hear what he really thought. “Hari Jiwan, people think that the more students I have, the greater the teacher I am. It’s a common thought among many people. That couldn’t be further from the truth.”
I started to interject my irrelevant opinion into his conversation with himself which I was blessed to witness. However, thankfully, I caught myself before he noticed or pretended not to notice. He continued in an unbroken flow of consciousness, “I don’t deny it, it’s good to be recognized by the thousands we’re going to meet in a few minutes. It means that I can get my message across more easily, but I know that this is all window dressing, all Guru’s Prasaad, Guru’s blessing. Numbers make no difference. I know who I must please to be bestowed what I want and it’s not those who think that I must be a great teacher because of numbers.”
He stared for a few moments in silence out the window, then he continued, “Some people can see me for who I am, and some see me for who they are. The gap is large. I am who I’ve been blessed to become by the grace of Guru Ram Das and through a lot of hard work. It’s my way and it’s worked well for me. In the true course of spirituality, the number of sincere students is always small. Many try, many fail. That’s the karma of it. So, rather than think that many students reflects a good teacher, (which he gladly received as to give everyone a chance to excel) I know that this is not usually the truth. If I have many students, I’m not being tough enough on them, but that’s my compassion, tolerance, and patience showing. I am allowed this variance. I’m allowed to give everyone a chance no matter what they’ve done in their lives. This is what I share with my students.”
I sat there driving on automatic pilot staring out the window as well in reflection of what I just heard. Then it dawned on me; he doesn’t teach, he shares his complete experience of his reality. Only someone who is a great person, a great teacher can do so. Someone who truly believed and experienced that he was Guru’s servant and this thought preempted all his actions. It’s God and only God who judges who sits in His court, who is bestowed grace which can be shared with others.
“All I need is one, just one really good student, someone who truly understands what I want carried forward. Then, my job is done.” Well, I can tell you that this statement shocked me. He was telling me that I wasn’t good enough. I wasn’t the student he was looking for. At first I was upset. Had I failed him -- again! Is this what he truly thinks of me? Have I lost my chance? Was I now relegated to the second string?
Then, I caught my senses. Well, I just have to do better. ‘I’ll pick myself up, dust myself off, and start all over again and do better.’ This has always been my formula for succeeding at anything and everything I’ve wanted. He had already provided the ability for me to overcome my karma -- the answer is sadhana. Sadhana was my ‘ace in the hole’ for ‘doing better. This is the challenge he threw at me again. I must do better at what he taught me and what he modeled for me. He knew how upset his statement would make me. I am a competitive man and I don’t like to lose. I took it personally, it was very direct. He shared his experiences with everyone who could hear. And, I might add, with too many who couldn’t hear as well.
The extra energy it takes to perpetually continue to ‘do better is the secret of Kundalini Yoga. The impossible becomes possible, the unimaginable comes into view, the dreaded becomes desirable; the view is expanded. This is how a person becomes great. This is the view of a great person. This is the view of our beloved teacher. He taught that all a student has to do is blend Kundalini Yoga with Sikh Dharma and Guru picks you up, dusts you off, and sends you off to have fun by ‘doing better.’ Guru does your karma for you. How great is that! But, it takes discipline, faith, and courage.
In the Humility of Service and Gratitude,
See Sikh Definitions.
Yogi Bhajan, The Purpose of life, No Strife
Sat Nam, Dear Family!
Have you ever asked yourself, “Why am I here? What is my life’s true purpose and how can I achieve it?” I think everyone has. It’s not this question which holds my attention; it’s the pursuit it tweaks, the sub-questions it conjures. What cost are we truly willing to pay, and what makes us think we can succeed? These are the questions which have held my attention for over forty years. Then again, for many, these questions aren’t relevant. They don’t need the answers. In some way, they are the fortunate ones, that is, if they’ve found their true destiny. Otherwise, there are a myriad of traps, misconnects, philosophies, you name it to steer you wrong as you pursue this quest.
I may have been naive in all other aspects at this time in my life, but this much I knew: I knew I would get back what I gave to my pursuit of whatever. The more commitment one makes to the pursuit of why we’re here, the more discipline one applies, the more deliverance through pure service, the more understanding becomes available. So, a daily lifestyle, naturally and typically, would be a better route to liberation than a weekly visit to church. This is the cost. Immersion into commitment beyond the ordinary was the time-honored cost. I was anxious to pay it. The promise of a life of true happiness was too alluring to pass up. I was willing to pay the price. Of course, there are many roadblocks, judgments and doubts along the way, but if the heart is pure, help is provided. It’s not easy, but it’s well worth it.
Well, that’s done. Now, “what makes us think that we can succeed? Who the hell are we?” That’s a really good question. Success is a habit and that’s a really good thing. Nevertheless, everyone’s habit of success has a limit, even for the most successful. I didn’t realize this at the time, and that’s where the problem lay. We don’t even know how we defeat ourselves, so how can we succeed in spite of ourselves? That’s another really good question. Great religions offer the way to overcome oneself. Religions offer a way to relax through life. That’s a good thing. I studied religions and I discovered that some religions offer answers as well. Some answers which make more sense than others.
I went about it as if I had no religion and had the choice to choose whichever religion I wanted. Of course, even with the best of intentions - biases, prejudices, habits, and tendencies still affect the choices we make. After a lot of study, it turned out that I didn’t choose a religion, I chose a teacher. I liked what this guy, the Siri Singh Sahib, aka Yogi Bhajan, was saying; his words when right to my head and heart at the same time. What he said made perfect sense to me. I believed in him and he hasn’t let me down. He is the way to the answers of who, what, why and how we are here.
I was the kind of guy who was impatient to learn. I wanted to know the answers more quickly. Kundalini Yoga had provided me more answers than I ever expected. Now, I wanted more. Not because Kundalini Yoga was limited, it’s not - I was! It was my teacher who served me by providing the true Kundalini Yoga. So I was intrigued. What else does he have up his sleeve, which could help me with answers?
Well, he was a Sikh, so I began studying Sikhism. I loved it. It turns out that Sikhism is the basis for the Siri Singh Sahib’s teachings, and amazingly the essence of how I believed. How lucky were we? What greater answers are still available? None, that’s what! I accepted Sikhism because Sikhism and my teacher are one. If I want to become him, and I did, naturally, it’s much easier if you follow his teachings sincerely.
If the cost paid is satisfactory to the Guru, either through serving Him or His true representative, unseen obstacles are bypassed. You have help in overcoming limitations, seen and unseen. And, not just any help, you have the help of the Guru. The Guru help creates miracles. What cost could be too much if miracles come to you, miracles which propel you beyond your own awareness. Imagine miracles which not only provide understanding, but also provide the experience of the reality of this understanding. The answers become an experience as true happiness enters life. Living this joy, free of fear and doubt, is a gift from the Guru, explained by our teacher to be shared with all. We now know why we are here and what we can and will do about it.
In the Humility of Service and Gratitude,
See Sikh Definitions.
Yogi Bhajan, Remedies for Enemies
Sat Nam, Dear Family!
Many wanted to degrade the Siri Singh Sahib, aka Yogi Bhajan, and who he was, what he built, what status he possessed. It comes with the mantle of spirituality. His way of thinking was contradictory to conventional opinion. Spiritual thinking is like that. Many in the yogic world as well as many in the Sikh world wanted him gone. The challenges he faced were not available for most to see. They weren’t hidden, they just were not promoted. He was in constant battle with these elements. This was a display of his warrior side, his true Sikh side.
"It is not how spiritual one is, it is how spiritually one faces calamity.
I came to learn that these battles mostly consisted of extracting the Punjabi culture from Sikh Dharma practice. This separation made it easier for us Americans to focus on what was really important and not fall victim to unnecessary and empty rituals. Naturally, when he presented a different way of practicing Sikhism, it created instant enemies as it flies right in the face of conventional Sikh procedures. Many wanted him to disappear. He never did and is now larger than ever in his influence. But, that wasn’t always the case.
This strength of our teacher created anger, fear, jealousy, and hate in those who have been challenged. The challenge was how Sikhi (the Panjabi word or Sikh protocol) should be practiced, at least how it was to be practiced by his students. Most people are not flexible enough to meet the challenge of exploring other ways, including many smart people. Instead, the reaction is too often defense by attacking and fighting for the status quo. I was lucky enough to see it for what it was and, thus, enjoy the fight - yes, I, too, can enjoy a good fight, as long as I’m prepared.
He knew that he was on the right side of history, his life was blessed. Nevertheless, he was challenged at every turn. And, here’s the really crazy part that I learned: You can’t win. Even if you debate every issue to your satisfaction, it will never be accepted by others. It takes time, sometimes, a really long time for the truth to be accepted. And for this particular topic, it was even more difficult for truth to be recognized in Punjabi culture as it flew against their very nature. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for Punjabi culture. In fact, I enjoy it; just not when it clouds the Sikh way. I’m just grateful to the Siri Singh Sahib for showing me that you can’t win. So, there’s no sense in fighting. Relax, everything is on God’s time. Just keep up doing what you do without any attachment, whatever comes, comes. Patience pays. Bask in the process. Destiny is set. Enjoy.
Please, let me give you an example. Family in the Punjabi culture is strong. So strong that the family overrides everything. It’s a good belief; it’s a secure belief; it’s a time-honored belief. It’s afforded the perpetuation of families through centuries of everything. It’s been great. Nevertheless, the Guru teaches that you’re only true family is in the sangat. The Guru teaches that your life is greater than just your family. Don’t get me wrong, He’s not saying that your family isn’t important, He’s just saying that His family, the sangat and service to Him, must always come first. His way includes family, but in the right perspective.
All the Siri Singh Sahib had to do was remind those who believed in the family first of the relationship between Guru and family, and rejection abounded. So, instead of teaching others, he wound up teaching us, the Americans who weren’t bogged down in Punjabi culture. I mean that only in the sense that, in our innocence, we were taught and understood the relationship between us, our family and Guru early on. There was no history, no judgment, no Punjabi culture, no different expectation of anything different than what the Siri Singh Sahib gave us. Thankfully, we were an open book and infinitely thankful that our teacher led us in the right direction, the direction of the true Guru, the Guru of a Sikh, the Siri Guru Grant Sahib, the true way of a Sikh.
Guru must come first in every and all ventures. This is the only rule that must be followed. And, this includes when Guru’s will is in conflict with your family’s will. This is the only way to guarantee that your destiny is set, is real, is lived. I understood through his actions that it’s a no win situation in which we can live with dignity! Change doesn’t happen on the Siri Singh Sahib’s or my schedule. Still, we keep up, we hope, we project, we expect, we know, we live in victory. We will not take no for an answer. We keep going in service to our Guru. He carries us through it all. He sets the time schedule. We are secure. Wahe Guru!
In the Humility of Service and Gratitude,
See Sikh Definitions.
Yogi Bhajan, Mr. President
Sat Nam, Dear Family! The President came to our little town of Espanola, NM, this evening to give a speech in support of his wife, Hillary. He was most gracious in his speech, making a point of mentioning the Sikhs of New Mexico, and how he looks forward to seeing us every time he comes. Here, he stops by to say hello to Daya Singh and me.
In His Mercy,
See Sikh Definitions.
Yogi Bhajan, Living is a Dream When You Make it Seem Enchanted
Sat Nam, Dear Family!
People frequently ask me, “What was the Siri Singh Sahib, aka Yogi Bhajan, really like? What was it like to spend so much time with him? What was it like to live with him?” These questions are usually asked in passing and an answer would take days. So, over the years, I’ve been able to hone down my answer. It’s long enough to do justice to who he was, and, still, short enough to not be overwhelming and be able to answer this question in passing.
What was it like? It was a dream come true and a perpetual nightmare at the same time. And, that’s just the way I wanted it to be. Please, let me explain.
I saw him live out my dream. He created reality out of his projective mind. He projected financial prosperity when I knew he didn’t have it. When there was no hope, he was the hope. He was a king. Guru Ram Das made him so. His belief verified it. He had status, he had power, he had wisdom, he had stature, he had the image, he had protection, and he had the hand of his Guru. He just kept up, kept going no matter what the current circumstances. And, here’s the best part, he was always covered; his projection was his reality; his spirituality was confirmed time and time again.
When he passed, he left companies worth hundreds of millions of dollars. He left jobs for sangat members. He left a legacy of tolerance, patience, perseverance, forgiveness, sacrifice, surrender, perpetual endurance. This is who he was. It was a blessing to view and recognize these virtues through his action, through his projection, and through his mind. I saw this in 99.9… percent of his actions. Yes, and I saw the other .0…1 percent as well. I saw him play out his ‘old self’ as well. That’s how he left us room to be ten times greater than he. His inconsistencies were pure fun, they meant nothing. He’d be the first to state that he wasn’t perfect. I loved his humility as well.
I saw him betrayed time and time again. I saw him not react to it. I saw him lied to but always forgive. I saw him cheated and, still, serve the cheater. In fact, I saw him rely on his awareness that he and his Guru were one, so, in spite of his pain, he just kept moving forward without any anger, any vengeance, any fear. I saw him set the example, the standard, for who we must be.
Watching him was wonderful, but experiencing him was the greatest blessing of all. Through my service to him, I got to ride on his coattails a bit. I drifted on his faith. I believed that he would take care of everything for me, make everything good; all I had to do was to keep up serving him as he willed. I did and he did, it worked. He was and is the real deal. He had full entry into my life knowing full well that everyone has a limit -- even those students who are the most committed.
His entry into my life only made my life better. He wanted my life to be grand. He wanted every student’s life to be grand. I answered the challenge and let him do as he willed with my life. He made me a prince, a spiritual prince. A prince who knows both worlds, this world and Guru’s world. A world where the goodies of this world are accepted as a reflection of Guru’s will. I further understood the experience of where, why and what these gifts were meant for and how they were to be used. It was a reverent experience. Serving someone who makes your life better in the best ways is the blessings of blessing.
On the other hand, I had to be willing to live any nightmare. I had to practice going through and living out any and all fear, anger, judgment, hate, jealousy, any insecurity. At different times, all these insecurities would rise up and bite me. I had to deal with each of them. I couldn’t avoid them, delay them, deny them, divert them or deflect them. I had to deal with them, do what he willed. Oh, I got away with delaying some, but not for long.
Whether it was going deeply in debt and facing my fear of financial insecurity, or driving to Yuba City ( six hour journey both ways) at 1:30 AM to pick up some Punjabi fellow he wanted to have for lunch the next afternoon, through all these tests I had to face my comfort level. There were all sorts of pulls on my time and resources. Yet, at the same time, I was blessed with a very successful business, a wonderful family, an elevated status, most of the rewards this world offers. I had a wonderful life juxtaposed against my challenges. It’s not that all lives aren’t faced with challenges; it’s just that mine were exaggerated and immediate. And, that’s just the way I liked it.
I failed many times; I still fail. That’s part of the process. I didn’t get bogged down by it. I focused on the benefits, the rewards, not the cost. The secret is to just keep dealing with any and all insecurities without attaching yourself to them, while still being focused, one-pointedly on the process of overcoming them. What matters is not giving up no matter how many failures there are or how much time it takes to overcome each. The goal was to have no nightmare affect me. It doesn’t happen all at once, but, eventually, little by little, I was able to handle more and more. And, at some point, Guru takes over and insecurities I previously couldn’t handle, miraculously, were under my control. This is the point where life truly becomes worthy of living.
I’m not saying that there isn’t more work to do. There is more to do than ever and it never ends. But, he was and is always there to remind me of the view that I must take in order to conquer any and all insecurities. A word here, an example there, and I was back on track in overcoming the discomfort of anger, fear, judgment, you name the insecurity. I was never alone: the Siri Singh Sahib was always there for protection, comfort, and inspiration. I was always covered by his relationship with his Guru. I was led to the court of God Himself whether I recognized or acknowledged it at the time. I got what I asked for, I got what I wanted. I got the Siri Singh Sahib on my side. I was really lucky and I am deeply greatly grateful for this opportunity.
All his students had and still have his protection, his teaching, his love. The only difference in living with him was that it afforded me a daily, real-time (and sometimes ‘in your face”) example of his grace, courage, keep-up, and faith. My nightmares were mitigated through his example and larger than life presence as he relentlessly modeled, with nobility, how to go through life’s challenges. He did not just take the high road; he took the golden road. The path he forged gave a new dimension of hope, unity, inclusion and expansion! This is what it was like living with the Siri Singh Sahib. And here’s the good news. All his students had, and still have, his protection, his teaching, his love. Experience it yourself. Follow his teachings, read his words, and live his example. You will be happy!
See Sikh Definitions.
Yogi Bhajan, No Monochrome at Home
Sat Nam, Dear Family!
St. Louis, Missouri is my hometown. The Siri Singh Sahib, aka Yogi Bhajan, was scheduled to teach a meditation course there in the fall of 1984 so off to St. Louis we went. My parents were still living there and we could make it also a visit to my family as well. The anticipation of an interesting weekend had begun.
The drive from the airport to the St Louis ashram flooded my memories with familiar pictures. It was good to make this return visit. I had had a pleasant upbringing in this midwest city, so re-visiting the past was comforting. The ashram was located in an old Italian neighborhood called “The Hill.” It was largely working class, but there was a real pride in how their houses looked. There homes were clean, well-kept, and well-manicured. Yogi Berra and Joe Garagiola, a Hall of Fame baseball player and announcer, grew up there. They were tough and loving Sicilian people. They were the livers and lovers of life. The ashram was in good hands.
After dropping the Siri Singh Sahib at the ashram, my wife, and young daughter and I went off to stay with my parents. By this time, my parents had moved out of the big house I had grown up in and into a new gated condominium development. The condo, which was actually a duplex, they now lived in was as large as the old house but it was new and beautiful. My mother’s adventurous taste was all over it. She always did unusual things. She was her own woman while still maintaining her graceful feminine nature. She provided a good image for me. The new condo was large and beautiful overlooking a large lake.
From the early 1970’s until 1986, the Siri Singh Sahib Ji, Yogi Bhajan taught whole weekend White Tantric Yoga Courses! He would usually fly to the city on a Thursday or Friday and lead the Course Friday night, all day Saturday and Sunday afternoon. This year my birthday happened to fall on Saturday, the day following our arrival. “Have you arranged a birthday party for your husband,” the Siri Singh Sahib asked my wife as we met for dinner.
“No,sir, but I will.”
He wanted to see the environment that I grew up in. He wanted to spend time with my parents. He wanted this experience to expand and verify his intuition. Now he had the opportunity. So, we had a birthday party at my parents’ house the next evening after the Saturday Course. The Siri Singh Sahib and his entourage, his staff, all the people from the ashram and my family, parents and relatives all attended -- 40 people total. It was a joyous night with lots of food brought in from our favorite Italian restaurant and of course, a beautiful cake!
My teacher and my father seemed to get along just fine. I wasn’t worried about my teacher, but my father can be very direct. And, I knew that he had his doubts about what I was doing and what this teacher of mine was about. They had met previously a couple of times, so the huge shock had worn off. To my amazement and delight, there were no more challenges thrown by my father. Communication was mannerful, graceful, light and charming. It turned out to be a grand party. My father and my teacher were actually getting to enjoy one another. After all, I knew that since my father and I were so alike, when he’d get to see the Siri Singh Sahib with the same eyes I had, he’d appreciate the same things I do about him. My father would find a lot of himself in the Siri Singh Sahib. That’s just what happened.
As he was leaving the party, I walked the Siri Singh Sahib out to his awaiting car. The door was opened for him and I helped him slide down into the seat and attach his safety belt. “Now I understand your pain,” that’s all he said and they drove off. I’ve been thinking about this statement for decades. The meaning has changed. Not that what I thought originally was wrong, it just wasn’t enough.
At first I thought that he understood the sacrifice that I had made in giving up so much security to join him. But, I knew that this wasn’t the real reason because what I had with my old life wasn’t enough. So, it wasn’t the great sacrifice that it appeared to be. The Siri Singh Sahib had given me hope, hope in the relevance of life, and that is worth anything. I really gave up nothing because I wasn’t content.
Finally, I realized that he understood the pain of ignorance which I suffered. Yes, I had a most graceful life, but even with most everything this world has to offer, I was still bogged down in the pain of not knowing who I was, who we were, and where we’re going. He got it right. I knew that there must be more. It’s very painful to not know where to turn to best relieve this gnawing discomfort. I knew this much, that it wasn’t the next thing I bought or the next compliment I received. He recognized the awareness and gratitude that I had acquired through serving him and finding the correct remedy. On this day, through his grace, he verified a lot about me.
See Sikh Definitions.
Yogi Bhajan, The Sublime Bath of Destiny’s Path
Sat Nam, Dear Family!
“Warm and Fuzzy” just wasn’t my strong suit, still isn’t. I have to force myself. I saw the Siri Singh Sahib, aka Yogi Bhajan, demonstrate “Warm and Fuzzy” fabulously. With him it came naturally, not so much with me. Many times I have to force myself to be gentler. It’s against my habits, still it must be done. I’ll tell you this: these kinds of pursuits which go against one’s natural grain in order to grow, definitely keep Alzheimer’s away. Focus is a must!
The Siri Singh Sahib set a high standard. I saw him “Warm and Fuzzy” when I knew that he was hurting deeply. I saw him spending most of his time in his bed as he was leaving this Earth and in great discomfort, yet, still, everyday there was a procession of students ushered into his bedroom who were in need of his counseling and comforting. He gave his all to all. After one of these sessions I asked, “Sir, don’t you just need to rest?” Once again, his answer verified his grace, “Son, if you want to relieve your own pain, help someone else relieve their own.” That said it all. That’s who he was in a nutshell.
One of the great tests you can give yourself is to see how giving you can be when you definitely don’t want to. That will tell you a lot about yourself if you analyze yourself neutrally. That’s the trick. Where is neutrality found? Will it affect my needs? How much pain will I go through to get to a neutral place?
His example taught me that “Warm and Fuzzy” works. People need it. It’s the job or a spiritual teacher to serve the needs of others - and mean it. You can’t get away with just looking good, you have to truly be good. You can’t fool Mother Nature. I give myself no other choice. I’m smart enough to know that any other thought or action outside of the choice of being “Warm and Fuzzy” won’t be acknowledged by my Guru, my God, and others. So, “Warm and Fuzzy” it is.
The process I’ve been blessed to receive was already designed for me. In fact, it’s already designed for every soul. One way to conquer life is to master the way in which your destiny is designed. You may not know it or acknowledge it, but there is a designed destiny path for each life in order to overcome death. As the Guru says, (paraphrased) “To be alive while dead is the essence of life.” When this conundrum is answered and lived, life is truly worth living. It’s up to each of us to find it and master it.
Mastering your destiny path can be accomplished in this lifetime, or not. It’s the ‘or not’ that bothers me. The thought of losing the opportunity to eliminate lifetimes of misery is almost too much to bear. The purpose of life is happiness. Pursuing your destiny is the way to true happiness. If we refuse to see this, or can’t see it, or deny or avoid seeing it then, unnecessarily, lifetimes of suffering will definitely be the result.
So, be smart and be ahead of the curve. Practice pursuing and mastering your destiny’s path. My advice is: the sooner the better. There’s already enough suffering on everyone’s plate, so why create more when it’s so needless. Stop it now; especially since you have the opportunity to do so.
The question arises: How do I find my destiny path and how do I master it? These are very good questions. People do ask the right questions, it’s just a lot more difficult to do the answer than hear it. So, be prepared engage this answer, not just fake it, explore it, try it, whatever it. The pursuit of serving the truth is a lifelong pursuit. It never ends. At some point, the pursuit becomes effortless, then it becomes joyous, it becomes grateful, it becomes an intoxication in pursuit of the truth, then obedience to the truth becomes automatic and devotional, then it becomes the surrender to His will, it becomes you.
Practice the truth in whatever form it may be, Sikhism, Christianity, Judaism, you name it and it will lead you to your destiny’s path. Practice until true intuition takes over your life. It will happen. Don’t give up. Practice the parts of the truth you don’t want to practice, like “Warm and Fuzzy.” Practice when you don’t want to; practice when it’s inconvenient; practice beyond comfort. Your destiny will be revealed. Your intuition will lead to a place of “santokh,” contentment. Your life will become “sukh sahej”, peaceful and easy.
Practicing the truth in any form a wonderful path; it’s the path to merger with God, with Infinity. And, here’s the good news: all it takes is keep up in practicing to get better. It sounds simple, but it’s been my experience that it’s not easy at all, at least for me it wasn’t. And, for me, it was as easy as I could have ever possibly imagined, but, still, at some point or points, it’s hard for everyone to keep up.
Everyone is tested at their most vulnerable points. Believe me, these points are treacherous, in fact, these points are extremely perilous because many times they aren’t even noticeable - how do you practice something you don’t know about! And, even if we are lucky enough to see it, many times all we’re able to see is the insecurity these tests impart, not the opportunity they bring. But, that too, is part of the process.
Your destiny path is the ultimate spiritual challenge; it’s a test to overcome doubt leading to judgment. Keeping up, especially when you don’t want to, makes a person strong. Doubt and judgment no longer are in control. A big chunk of life has been challenged and defeated. Life has a different flavor. It becomes more expansive, sophisticated, sensitive, grateful and elevated. Practice following God’s true teaching and see what happens. Stay tuned.
See Sikh Definitions.
Yogi Bhajan, Cruel Ridicule of a Jewel is a Fools Drool
Sat Nam, Dear Family!
I had an interesting question asked of me as I was teaching as Solstice last week. “How did the Siri Singh Sahib, aka Yogi Bhajan, handle criticism or ridicule? I know every one of his stature must deal with it. Please let me know how our teacher handled it.”
Now, that’s a question which people don’t usually ask. It’s legitimate, but it relates to a negative rather than a positive. I actually loved it. Most don’t. Most only want to hear good things. I understand this, and it’s good to be always positive, at least initially. It eliminates any chance of doubt, and that’s a really good thing too.
Nevertheless, I have a very good negative mind; in fact, I may have an overactive negative mind. But, we know that a negative mind is a great thing so long as one can elevate out of it; being stuck there sucks. But, when used properly (rather than be used by it), a good negative mind is a Godsend in granting the ability to venture through this world correctly. Yes, intuition can be used as a substitute, but, intuition can be misleading until it’s mastered. In addition, the Siri Singh Sahib taught, it’s always better to use both (deductive and inductive input and see if they match up) as this world is traversed. It compensates greatly for the trap of any ego getting in the way of decision making. With a good negative mind answers are sought. Not as a challenge to the teachings or teacher, but as an understanding of where the teachings lead. It’s a positive use of a negative mind. It searches for the truth in faith. It’s a very comforting experience. It’s the experience of your belief as reality. This is a great experience and understanding.
What does this have to do with the Siri Singh Sahib and criticism? Well, everything, that’s all. Please let me explain. Way back when, one instance stands out for me when the Siri Singh Sahib was criticized by a student. This student stated that our teacher should sell his jewelry and give the proceeds to the poor. It sounds good. It serves those who we, as Sikhs, are sworn to serve. Isn’t this criticism legitimate? Many thought it was. Many joined this student’s voice.
The Siri Singh Sahib didn’t budge. He never acted, reacted, nor responded. He knew that a true student doesn’t act so ill manneredly. Lesson number one is that a true student doesn’t tell the teacher what to do. That understanding is elementary along a spiritual journey. A gross violation of this principle immediately lets Guru Ram Das know that his ward, in this case, the Siri Singh Sahib, was under attack. Guru Ram Das did and does take care of attacks like this one when one of his devotees is involved. You don’t want to mess with Guru Ram Das, he always wins.
Let me tell you how this works and how it also relates to a good negative mind. I came to understand why he didn’t budge. Yes, the obvious answer is that our teacher represents our Guru, and, as such, he decorates himself with all the splendor of a true spiritual king. This is part of the deal and his decoration actually belongs to the Guru. It’s not for sale. The Guru is no joke. The Guru was and is a true king, a spiritual king. Guru represents and is the prosperity of God. In fact, he is the personification of God. He is this because he deserves it. Those that serve Him to His contentment are totally protected by Him. Our teacher was in this small circle.
There’s more to this story, here’s how he did it. The Siri Singh Sahib was special. He displayed prosperity wherever he went. He was served, he was catered to, he was respected, and he was loved. He was noticed wherever he went. He was unique, yet conventional at the same time. He looked different, but he represented many of the same values, virtues, and desires that this world beholds. Jewelry is one of those things which represent prosperity. Everywhere we went, he was the show. And, here’s his secret: he earned it. So, he was decorated and adorned with the accouterments of honor and humility, he was the personification of prosperity. Everyone recognized his presence. He wasn’t insecure about anything. If you truly have Guru Ram Das’ back, He truly has yours. This reciprocity created a “no fear” attitude in every venue. The only thing he had to do to retain this relationship was to keep serving his Guru - everything would continue to be set. That’s exactly what he did and it was.
His decorated presence spoke more about us than a thousand books could have done. He was a walking PR (public relations) machine for Sikh Dharma, for the American Sikhs, for Kundalini Yoga, and for humanity itself. His decoration served all of us in an elevated way. He was a walking miracle providing great blessings to each of us without us even knowing. He made a tremendous positive impact wherever he was and he was at a lot of places. He gave and left us with a tremendous head start and we didn’t even know it. His legacy is our current reality - respect, prosperity, honor, positive recognition, and so much more are all his doing. I want to let him know how grateful I am for this blessing and how apologetic I am about my, and others, previous ignorance. I am truly grateful to him for never giving up on me, or on anyone for that matter.
There’s more. The Siri Singh Sahib taught that prosperity is necessary. That challenged a lot of student’s thinking. But, he is the teacher. Then he taught why prosperity is necessary: prosperity is necessary because, as Sikhs and as conscious people, we give, we share with those less fortunate. In order to give, you must have. Now, this made sense. There is a magnanimous explanation for prosperity. I felt a lot better, one less change I’d have to work on.
Wait, there’s more. He taught his students by example. He exemplified prosperity. He was prosperity. His view, his projection, his creation was of pure prosperity. His students learned more prosperity from his example than they would have from a million books, blogs, or anything. So, we learned, we shared, we grew. I can state categorically, that, for me, his prosperity was necessary for my growth. I was able to give and give a lot. Yes, he had to often encourage me, but I was a willing participant. Prosperity allowed me to learn how to give more and more. One of the variables which life as a Sikh must be achieved, prosperity, was covered. Prosperity makes giving much easier.
So, his decoration worked twice: once for others in his PR roll, and once for his students in expecting, creating, and accepting prosperity. So in his wake he created exponential prosperity from which so many benefited. It worked on many many people. Many more than the few a sale of jewelry would have served. It’s not even close. He was right again. What appears the best approach may not hold true. He’s the best approach and don’t judge him. This is how a true spiritual teacher must be viewed. That’s the best approach; obedience is the preferred course when you are so blessed to have a true teacher.
See Sikh Definitions.
Yogi Bhajan, Convention May Not Lead to Ascension
Sat Nam, Dear Family!
There is a division of Sikhism called Namdhari. All major religions have divisions, Sikhism is no different. The Namdharis practice Sikhism differently than convention would dictate. This is a great disadvantage in that almost all other divisions of Sikhism have shunned them, specifically, for having a living Guru. They consider themselves a sect of Sikhism but insist that the line of Sikh Gurus did not end with Guru Gobind Singh – it was continued through the Namdhari leaders.
If you’ve been shunned by conventional Sikhism, it takes great true security [sense] to not be in any way affected through this isolation. Enter the Siri Singh Sahib, aka Yogi Bhajan. Just because you’ve become a rogue Sikh division shouldn’t be grounds for banishment. Yes, he understood the sin (yes, Sikhs have created sin) of anyone claiming the crown of another living Sikh Guru. He knew of the conventional condemnation. He also knew the Guru’s truth of wishing well to all. And, in wishing well to someone worthy, he wouldn’t just wish well, he would interact. He didn't judge; he didn’t shun; he didn’t join in the condemnation. He didn’t compromise his virtues either in the process. He gave; he served; he loved. He was doing Guru’s work. (See Tribalism.)
I’m not really interested in discussing the Namdharis per se any further. I’ve found them to be different, but sincere, devotional, respectful to our teacher and us. I have great respect for their disciplined nature. In fact, I have much more respect for them than I do for many of the conventional Sikhs who talk a lot but do little else. Of course, they don’t practice Sikhism the way I do, but then again, who does? And, that’s fine. I don’t have to practice like they do to have a relationship with them.
The Siri Singh Sahib had the courage to do his Guru’s job. He didn’t listen to conventionality. He suffered an unbelievable amount of discomfort for his actions. That comes with the turf of being real and a spiritual leader. He was attacked from all sides for many of his actions. The Namdhari experience was just one grand example.
How did he manage a relationship without compromising his values or the Namdhari values as well? The relationship basically revolved around his relationship with the Sat Guru, their living Guru. It was delicate, but, naturally, he pulled it off. His actions were so subtle that I wasn’t even aware of them at the time, and I was pretty attentive.
Let me give you one example of his creativity as Guru’s servant. He hosted the Sat Guru at my house. I didn’t know why at the time, but it is obvious now. I have a large living room, large enough to accommodate the Siri Singh Sahib, his entourage, the Namdharis, and their Sat Guru. The chairs and large chaise lounge are perfect for what he wanted to do. He sat at the same height as the Sat Guru. That is a no-no from their prospective. It shows disrespect for the Sat Guru. And, they’re right, again from their view.
The large chaise lounge is big enough to be decorated and made royal. He did so for the Sat Guru. It’s at the same height as the chair our teacher was seated in, yet much larger and still pays great homage to the Sat Guru without showing judgment. He created a like relationship where both parties respected one another. He reached this honorable state with the Namdharis. Our relationship flourished and it still continues.
This was another example of how the Siri Singh Sahib didn’t go around announcing how he was serving his Guru. He kept it to himself. He left it for us to figure out. His life was of perpetual service. The test is: the more a student is aware of his service, the subtler the student is; the more she understands him; the more she models him. And, here’s the best news, the more a student passes this test by being aware of his subtle service to his Guru, the more the student sees that Yogi Bhajan’s entire life was in service of one kind or another. It’s a comforting, verifying, elevating experience and conformation that we’re on the right path.
See Sikh Definitions.
Yogi Bhajan, The Promotion of Devotion
Sat Nam, Dear Family!
“Whatever you do, do it in devotion. And, I mean whatever with no judgment attached.” We were having lunch at our usual spot on Canon Drive in Beverly Hills. On this early spring day in 1989, two guests joined us. In attendance was the usual crowd of three secretaries, the Siri Singh Sahib, aka Yogi Bhajan, myself and our guests, a couple who were the head of another spiritual organization. Our security was seated at another table in full sight.
The Siri Singh Sahib was always accommodating, respectful, and serviceful to other spiritual leaders and followers. He was also fascinated by their perception of reality, or not. I was as well, so his meetings with other spiritual heads was always captivating. How others believe was and is always intriguing.
We, as Sikhs, have been blessed with a teaching that allows a comprehensive understanding for those who practice it sincerely It affords the opportunity to see the truth in many things, religions, philosophies, ideas and practices. Therefore, we can also see the falsehoods, and all the shades in-between. At this time, even though I hadn’t been blessed with a full spectrum view, I was able to enjoy these meetings because I could ride on the coattails of the Siri Singh Sahib.
His subtle questioning of others, like these guests, unexpectedly and imperceptibly tweaked questions in them which revealed a lot about themselves. It was masterful; it was fascinating; it was beautiful. Every question, no matter how digging it may have appeared, ultimately led to a place where he could be of help in their lives. Of course, not all guests took advantage of his compassion, but, that too, was a defining moment.
The key to success in anything, including spirituality, is flexibility. No one’s perfect, so in order to succeed at anything, you must be willing and able to change. Without change, everything stays the same including you. Well then, why are people so abhorrent to change? That’s a good and fair question. It’s the fear of the unknown; the fear that change may lead in the wrong direction; the fear that it will take too much work. Basically, it’s fear.
The Siri Singh Sahib was and is a Yogi, The Mahan White Tantric, a teacher, a Bhai Sahib (man of wisdom), and the Siri Singh Sahib (a priest of the highest order). In addition, he was beyond these titles. He was a true man of God. After enjoying a California chopped salad, he asked a question which provoked the gentleman guest to ask this question, “What do you teach so one can avoid unwanted habits which can’t be avoided.?”
Now that’s a fair question as well. It’s a great question. Not one usually asked by another spiritual leader. In fact, unless our guests were trying to play a mind game with us - which they weren’t - this question displayed humility on the part of our guests. It showed the flexibility and humility to listen to the way another deals with important and unresolved issues. It also showed a limitation in their way, but that’s O.K. Remember, I said that this is how he got others to introduce themselves without them even knowing it. In this case, his message had a chance to be heard - humility and flexibility affords this blessing. He’d have stated it even if it didn’t, but it was always more fun to teach those who could benefit.
Yoga, in the traditional sense, is taught teacher to student. Yes, there are schools which teach in a certain vein, but, typically, yoga is an individual pursuit within an exclusive environment - it’s like a country club for yogis. Sure, there are exceptions. That’s always the case, but the essence is Brahman (priestly caste) exclusivity in the Hindu religion.
On the other hand, Sikhism is inclusive to everyone and every caste. That doesn’t mean that one’s right and the other’s wrong, quite the opposite. Both, if karma allows, can lead to merger with Infinity. It means that both lead to the same place. It’s just that one is open to more people to join in the pursuit. Thank God because I wasn’t born in India and, thus, cannot be a part of the Brahman caste. I would have not been allowed to join their exclusive yogic country club. Therefore, the Siri Singh Sahib taught everyone in the name of Guru Ram Das. He interacted with the world. In addition, when yoga is blended with Sikhism, it’s exponentially elevating to everyone and anyone who practices. I love the Sikh way. It eliminates nothing. It’s a devotional, real, elevating, and a fun lifestyle.
His answer was perfect, “Whatever you do, do it in devotion, And, I mean ‘whatever’ with no judgment attached,” said it all. He taught this couple that there should be no guilt associated with unwanted habits. He taught them not to fight these indiscretions. Yes, keep working on them and don’t ever give up, but don’t fret about them; fretting only creates insecurity. He taught them to do everything, including indiscretion, in devotion to God, devotion in the love that God will take care of everything so long as devotion and work continues. He taught them that their indiscretions are God’s also, so, you’re doing your work by being devotional and dutiful, now it’s God’s time to come through. The only caveat is that you’re not allowed to judge the time it takes. You must just continue in faith, belief, devotion, and discipline. Then, it’s God’s turn. And, here’s the best part, he did it with only one sentence. He was pure joy to watch in action.
See Sikh Definitions.
Yogi Bhajan, True Living is Giving
Sat Nam, Dear Family!
A guest arrived. This wasn’t just another guest; this gentleman was different, different in a political way. Almost all students in our organization were liberals, were Democrats. In fact, quite a few were on the cusp of socialism. Our guest was a Republican. He is a former Governor of the great state of New Mexico.
Our guest boldly walked into the living room at the ranch in his typical larger-than-life manner. I think that this is what the Siri Singh Sahib, aka Yogi Bhajan, liked most about him. They were genuine friends. They were genuine friends because our teacher saw something in him that he liked very much. The former Governor’s confidence was contagious. This is how he became Governor.
One of the games the former Governor would play with our teacher is that every time he visited, he’d bring along a ‘change of party’ application. He knew that our teacher was a solid Democrat, but he, playfully, would plop this application down in front of the Siri Singh Sahib while making a big fuss about it. Both would laugh. It was their way of hugging one another when hugging was not what two men did. It was a show of deep affection which made the former Governor our friend whether or not he was a Republican. And, I might add, our teacher had many Republican friends and acquaintances. He got along with all. If one didn’t get along with him, and there were enemies, it was their choice; the Siri Singh Sahib was always available, amiable, and graceful.
Many students, who were former hippies, (there were a lot around) had an issue with a relationship with Republicans. ‘How can the Siri Singh Sahib get along with a man who thinks like the former Governor does? Doesn't he know that this man’s thinking is the reason we left society? I thought he understood what we wanted. This is confusing; in fact, it may be a deal breaker.’
Some students left. They didn’t even understand the elementary rule of a student-teacher relationship: the teacher sets the rules, not the student. And rules are not to be questioned because all questions have already been answered. The only question left is how much time it will take to become serviceful enough so that this awareness becomes effortless.
The primary reason students left over this issue was because they weren’t getting what they wanted. Actually, they were spiritual crybabies. I’m sorry to tell them that pursuit of spirituality is not all about them. Well, maybe it is, but it takes selflessness, sacrifice to overcome this initial test. Spirituality is about conquering yourself, not catering to yourself. Well, it can be about catering, but that is only for those are catered to by His grace and not their own actions.
Anyway, unfortunately for them, they left too soon. Many didn’t even wait for an explanation. He was merciful and offered one to those who wanted to hear, “No one comes to me without issues or problems. I don’t distinguish one problem from another. They’re all just problems to be dealt with and delivered. Democrats have problems; Republicans have problems; Independents have problems; Sikhs have problems; Christians have problems; Jews have problems; rich people have problems, poor people have problems. I deal with problems, not politics or religion.”
It was easy enough to understand. He didn’t carry any prejudice. A person was a person whether or not their identify was real. There identity (Democrat or Republican, Sikh or Jew) was only a bridge into their psyche, not a pigeonhole to keep them trapped. Their identity was a clue to their thinking, not a limit to their potential. He believed that he could be a help to anyone and everyone by giving to all and seeing their potential and the best in everyone.
In addition, it was good public relations to have a real relationship with state leaders. These relationships served us well. And, here’s the secret. He never asked anything of any state leader, he only gave. As an example, one of the Governors we had a relationship with would plead with the Siri Singh Sahib Ji to put a student our teacher had sent to the Governor’s office on the Governor’s pay roll. The Siri Singh Sahib Ji had sent her to work for the Governor free of charge. Her salary was covered by the Dharma and that was the way he liked it. He constantly refused to have her paid by the State and she continued to work in the Governor’s officer productively for many years.
He never asked or expected anything in return. It was a selfless act which really worked out well for us. Rather than ask of others, others gifted him on their own accord. This is really the best form of receiving as it’s done in true love and respect. These state leaders became better students than some of us as they learned the grace and art of giving out of love and respect, and expecting nothing in return.
One honor gave a Highway his name “Yogi Bhajan Highway.” Another gave him entry into the highest levels of New Mexican power, from bankers to justices and all stops in between. Still another, gave respect which reverberated throughout state.
After his passing Siri Singh Sahib Ji was given the honor of a bipartisan Congressional Resolution honoring his life and influence through unanimous passage in Washington, DC. In the history of the U.S. Congress, only a handful of spiritual leaders have ever inspired a Joint Resolution honoring their life and work. They include Martin Luther King Jr., Pope John Paul II, Mother Theresa, and now, Yogi Bhajan.
Yes, in spite of what some wish to believe, dealing with Republicans, or anyone regardless of issues, can have tremendous positive consequences.
See Sikh Definitions.
Yogi Bhajan, Training is Gaining or Draining
Sat Nam, Dear Family!
Every once in a while the Siri Singh Sahib, aka Yogi Bhajan, would have to train a new resident secretary. His energy was so all consuming that there was a shelf-life (Usually not more than 7 years) of those who served him in this capacity. He rotated his secretaries around so they wouldn’t burn out. Some did anyway, but most kept up.
Being a secretary to the Siri Singh Sahib wasn’t easy. It meant that the identity of each secretary must switch to his direction by putting aside their own. Those who did this the best prospered the most. So, the training of a new secretary took great patience and great teaching ability.
I marveled at his ability to patiently and productively train each one. It was a lesson in flexibility; flexibility in teaching each in the unique way to best affect their change. In my innocence, I actually felt sorry for him. Why should a man like him have to do menial labor? Why was his life so difficult? Weren’t we doing all this spiritual discipline to make life easier? What’s the deal?
The deal that I didn’t understand at the time, was that he was content in training others, so his training of new staff was a wonderful duty. Sometimes he taught with the tolerance of a priest. Other times it was with the sternness of a father. He taught with all the tools of a yogi; all the awareness of a Sikh; and, all the deliverance, all the success of Khalsa.
I viewed him train all very well. They were all trained to be serviceable and that’s what they came to become. Don’t misunderstand that they were perfect, only God is perfect, but they knew what he wanted and that meant serving his needs at the surrender of their own. Do you know how difficult it is to train someone, anyone, to sacrifice their needs for another? Well, this is why he had only woman who were able to commit to this extent. One time he said to me, “I want you to have only women around you?” “Why, sir,” I countered? “Because they are more loyal. Their ego doesn’t get in the way of their identity like it does in men. They are more flexible.”
I was as close as any man could get, yet there was always a separate identity. Yes, it is male ego. Women have the innate compassion to surrender, not judge. And, that’s either a good thing or not, depending upon what you surrender to. If surrender is to God, Guru, or a true teacher, you’re blessed. If surrender is to anything less, you’re depending upon someone else for your survival, your security, and that’s usually not so good.
One choice means becoming dependent upon God and independent from the pain of this world. The other choice is become dependent upon some other person or thing. Do they have your best interest at heart? I doubt it. Here’s the easy test: Does the person or thing you’re following sincerely represent a time honored method of elevation? If the answer is yes, feel confident. If the answer is no, have the guts to get out of it.
There is a way out for men. Chant, chant God’s Name. I’ve learned a trick. Well it’s not really a trick, it’s a shortcut. Let me give you an example. Hari Krishna followers chant God’s Name. It’s wonderful. But, it’s the whole deal. It is all consuming. Sikhs have a shortcut. We chant the Nam perpetually as we live in this world, as house-holders. We don’t do one to the exclusion of the other. We don’t let it get in the way of our duty in this world, We enjoy both. It takes practice, but the results are well worth it. Life becomes a flow, there’s no more worry.
See Sikh Definitions.
Yogi Bhajan, Let It Be
Sat Nam, Dear Family!
In the 1960’s, the Beatles had a hit song written by Paul McCartney, “Let it Be.”It’s a beautiful song. It’s even devotional for me. Every time I hear it, I choke up. Not because the song is beautiful, it is a very beautiful song, but because it reminds me of the Siri Singh Sahib, aka Yogi Bhajan, and my duty. Please, let me explain.
Paul McCartney wrote this beautiful song about hope, and “hope” is the sexiest thing on the planet” according to our beloved teacher. Thank God he was right again. This song was written for humanity and the hope, which is needed. It’s actually a Christian Hymn translated into rock music. The words are very uplifting, very faithful, very hopeful, with a lovely melody as well. It is all about hope, leading to faith, leading to belief, leading to a happier life. It’s the best of Christianity in a nutshell. It’s beautiful. It offers a reason to pursue, to keep up! It is a prayer to manifest. Yes, hope is the sexiest thing on the planet!
I was raised as a Jew. In a broad sense, Jews are different from Christians even though they spring form the same source. Christians focus on faith; Jews focus on duty. It’s not that one is right and the other wrong, both are right, but to me neither are the whole package. Christians are willing to sacrifice this world for the next; Jews focus on this world borne out of necessity. One religion focuses on faith; the other on duty.
Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of faithful Jews, just as there are many dutiful Christians. But, basically, conventional Judaism and Christianity focus on one or the other. As a Jew, I was taught about faith, but it was a limited view. God became a tool to pray to for things rather than the truth to be served selflessly. So, devotion, which leads to compassion, which leads to a happier life was ‘off the board’ for me. Faith was an imagination, not a reality. I could see it, I could appreciate it, I could even desire it, but it just wasn’t me. So, the job of the Siri Singh Sahib was to teach me devotion, compassion and belief. Please, let me share with you how he did it.
My nature was to be very attentive to this world. So much so that it affected every aspect of my being, from insecurity to devotion, and all stops in-between. When insecurity prevailed, I became ‘out of balance.’ I became emotional, complaining, competitive, worry filled. Our beloved teacher had the power to redirect my negativity. He would order me to maintain myself when no one else could, including myself. His job and my luck was for him to teach me to ‘maintain’ when he’s gone. Here’s how he did it.
From my former perspective, there was a lot to complain about. I have an overactive negative mind; it comes with ‘dutiful’ training. Often, things which not only affected me, but, indirectly affected the Siri Singh Sahib as well, I used these issues as reason to complain. And I did; I took full advantage in displaying my negativity, my worry, my fear. I spent a lot of time with him, so I had plenty of opportunities.
When my negativity was starting to go too far, our beloved teacher would softly say to me, “Son, let it be.”
Now, that caught my attention straight away. It reminded me of this beautiful song. I understood immediately what he meant by ‘Let it Be.” Let God take care of it. Let faith, belief be a stopgap to end worrying. That didn’t mean that I was to become a fatalist (one who ignores help from the helicopter as he is stranded on the ocean in a life raft). Actually, just the opposite. Everything was to remain the same except worry – that was to be eliminated.
I grew up in America, so I’m very familiar with Christian culture as well as my training as a Jew. I’ve grown to appreciate it at its highest level. This song reminds me of just that. How did he know that I’d know what he meant? Well, that’s the beauty of a real teacher, intuitively, he knows how to teach. He didn’t sit down the night before thinking of just the right thing to say to me, it just happened. And mercifully I saw it happen all the time.
The intuition he displayed was verification of the gifts Guru bestowed upon him because he could ‘Let it Be.’ He knew that Guru Ram Das had his back; he knew that he was covered. Here’s the deal, his experience makes ‘hope’ a thing of the past. Hope is gone, his experience transcends hope.’ Let it Be’ was a trigger for remembering and practicing to believe that everything is God’s Will, so, relax, just do your duty and leave the rest up to God. Hope, turned to faith, turned to belief, turned to a relaxed reality is the result. Yes, hope becomes a distant “hope” of the past.
This awareness brings Christianity and Judaism together forming a Sikh’s way. Faith and duty are equally important. For me, it meant adding 50% more to my game. If I wanted more out of life, I had to become more. I needed to become more Christian: more loving, more compassionate, more devotional and reverent, and more serviceful. Luckily, I had always been serviceful but still it left a lot to be challenged. I have always enjoyed a challenge, especially one in I could win, but only with a lot of work. This was just such a challenge.
‘Let it Be’ reminds me of his priceless teaching that dependence on God is the answer and the reality. Dependence upon God’s Mercy through service, devotion, and love of the Guru is the cost of experiencing the experience of ‘Letting it Be.’ This becomes the experience of the beauty of this world and the next. He laid the total package at my feet. I cannot begin to express my love and appreciation to our teacher for this lesson. I pray that my sharing my experience with you will help others to practice “Let it Be.”
See Sikh Definitions.
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