Yogi Bhajan's picture and Hindu god ganesh in 3-HO Gurdwaras

by Gursant Singh ⌂ @, Yuba City California USA, Tuesday, February 02, 2010, 15:55 (1702 days ago)
edited by Gursant Singh, Wednesday, January 30, 2013, 15:54

Yogi Bhajan's sacrilegious teachings in the name of Sikhism are illustrated quite distinctly by pictures of Yogi Bhajan's portrait, hindu idols being displayed in and around 3-HO Gurdwaras and the practice of kundalini and sex energizing tantric yoga asanas inside 3-HO Gudwaras by Yogi Bhajan's students.
[image][image]Idolatry is forbidden in Sikhism. Why does an eight foot high image (above) of Yogi Bhajan controlling the tantric shakti "energy" adorn the 3HO Gurdwara in Espanola? You can see the menacing image of Yogi Bhajan overshadowing the Sangat on the right side of the entire Espanola Gurdwara in the photo above.

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See more photos and discussion on facebook at:
http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=108156&id=1214270541&l=5a22781e63

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Idolatry is forbidden in sikhism....why does an 8-foot high statue of the Hindu god Ganesh, adorn the entranceway to the Siri Singh Sahib (yogi bhajan) lane in espanola. This is the hindu god of "prosperity", as in the 3HO publication "prosperity pathways".Adi Shakti Chandi 3HO Tantric Deity worshipped by 3HO in songs and prayers(shown above). Read about Yogi Bhajan's Shaktiman and Shakti women.

Read these shocking fire pujas and occult numerology,(below), practiced and advertised in the latest newsletter published by 3HO Sikhs. These "kriyas" or pujas are complete rubbish,only adding to the destruction and dissolution of the Sikh faith and should not be practiced by Sikhs of the Guru. The object of these practices is to combine the Sikh faith with Hinduism; to defang, neuter and completely destroy Sikhi. The strategy is to introduce idolatry and a stratified priesthood into the Sikh Religion. Yogi Bhajan and his 3HO shakti cult followers are introducing idolatry and Hindu practices of pujas and tantra mantra into the Sikh religion. The Bhajan movement is attempting to shift Sikh worship from the commonwealth of Gurdwaras to private estates controlled by 3HO priests of Yogi Bhajan's Tantric sex cult church.
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Idolatry is forbidden in Sikhism....why does a golden statue of a yogi adorn the entranceway to the 3HO Gurdwara in Espanola. This is a Hindu practise.
3-HO Sikhs demonstrate(in the photo above)their complete subservience to false worldly material power by exhibiting the Flag of God (The Nishaan Sahib) at an even level with the flag of the United States in front of the 3HO Gurdwara in New Mexico. The Nishaan Sahib, (The Respected Mark of God under the shadow of the Sikh Broadsword) should always fly higher than the flag of all the false materialists. The Flag of the Khalsa should occupy a place of exaltation above any government's flag that temporarily inhabits the material world.

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Tantric Yoga asanas (above) taught by Yogi Bhajan
and practised in 3HO Gurdwaras

"Tantric doctrines involving sex-poses or physical contact poses are extremely repulsive to Sikhism. The Sikh Gurus repeatedly ask the Sikhs to shun Tantric practices because they are based on a mentally perverted outlook of life. The Sikh Gurus ask the Sikhs to shun the very presence and association of Shakti-Cult Tantrics." Dr. Trilochan Singh "Sikhism and Tantric Yoga"

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Tantric Asana taught by Yogi Bhajan for transmuting sexual energy:Reprinted from Yogi Bhajan’s official magazine “Beads of Truth” 11, p. 39

See how Hindu gods and yogis are displayed in 3HO Gurdwaras, (see link in blue).

See this post which exposes the most shocking relationship Yogi Bhajan had with Jagjit Naamdhari who is considered by his disciples as the 11th Sikh Guru. The Naamdhari Sikhs keep the Siri Guru Granth in a closet while they bow to Jagjit and refer to him as "SatGuru Ji" as you can see in the photos at this link.

Read these comments by traditional Sikhs. "What better way to make money: add a religious tone to the product. All of a sudden, it seems legit."


If you want to stop these degrading and sacriligious practices by Golden Temple Foods and Yogi Bhajan's cult followers; Post a letter of support on this website or write your local food stores and demand they stop selling Golden Temple Food's products. Some of the major stores which carry these products are Trader Joes, Whole Foods Market and Wild Oats but there are many many other stores who sell millions of dollars in Golden Temple Granola, Peace Cereal, Yogi Teas, massage oil and Wha Guru Chews.

Yogi Bhajan's sacrilegious teachings in the name of Sikhism are illustrated quite distinctly by pictures of Yogi Bhajan's portrait, hindu idols being displayed in and around 3-HO Gurdwaras and the practice of kundalini and sex energizing tantric yoga asanas inside 3-HO Gudwaras by Yogi Bhajan's students.
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Idolatry is forbidden in Sikhism. Why does an eight foot high image (above) of Yogi Bhajan controlling the tantric shakti "energy" adorn the 3HO Gurdwara in Espanola? You can see the menacing image of Yogi Bhajan overshadowing the Sangat on the right side of the entire Espanola Gurdwara in the photo above.

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Idolatry is forbidden in sikhism....why does a golden statue of a yogi adorn the entranceway to the 3HO Gurdwara in espanola. This is a hindu practise.


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Yogi Bhajan's students are intstructed to meditate on Yogi Bhajan's picture everyday which you can see displayed in the 3HO Espanola Gurdwara in these photos.
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In a painting at the New Mexico 3HO Gurdwara(above)you can see the sacrilegious misrepresentation of our sacred Khalsa symbol "Khanda" with two swords around it. You may also observe in this painting how Yogi Bhajan is depicted on an equal level with Guru Ram Daas(the 4th Sikh Guru): Dr. Trilochan Singh recounts this observation in 1977 when he writes, "The other picture was the Khalsa symbol Khanda with two swords around it. The Khanda (double-edged sword) within this symbol was replaced by a picture of an American woman with Sari-like robes. The woman is called Adi Shakti. I saw this published in the Beads of Truth in London and have already commented on it in my book, The Turban and the Sword of the Sikhs. I told Shakti Parwha that this is the most sacrilegious misrepresentation of our sacred symbol. As usual she dismissed my opinion as unimportant."

The sikh code of conduct says food offerings to the GURU are forbidden, but there is a 'testimony' page over at sikhnet.com, a 3HO run site loaded with volumes of Yogi Bhajan nonsense talks. Yogi Bhajan instructs 3Hoer's to prepare meals as offerings at the gurdwara and calls this "a dish for a wish". This is nothing more than the Hindu practice of puja. The testimony states "a dish for a wish".
Please read an Excerpt below taken from

"Sikhism and Tantric Yoga"
by Dr. Trilochan Singh (Link to entire book)

"Yogi Bhajan is using the sacred Sikh mantras and the sacred name of Guru Ram Das as a mantle for his Tantric Sex Yoga which will inevitably lead to mental and physical debauchery of those who take his brand of Sikhism contaminated by crazy sex-energizing asanas seriously."


Yogi Bhajan studied and taught at the Sivananda Ashram in Delhi. This, in addition to his first Kundalini Yoga teacher Sant Hazara Singh. In the mid-1960s, Harbhajan Singh took up a position as instructor at the Vishwayatan Ashram in New Delhi, under Dhirendra Brahmachari. This yoga centre was frequented by the Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, his daughter, Indira Gandhi, and diplomats and employees from a host of foreign embassies.

Here's an article on Sivananda's approach to Kundalini Yoga:

www.dlshq.org/download/kundalini.htm

These are all Hindu practices.

You can also read about the Gurdwara Reform Movement which stopped such practices in India and gave the Gurdwaras back to Gursikhs.

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Gurdwara Reform Movement

A Rare Photo of Harimandir sahib in 1908 when it was under the control of the Pundits or mahants. Sadhus felt free to sit in meditation wearing only a dhoti.The Gurdwara Reform Movement (Gurdwara Sudhar Lehr) is the Legislation passed by the Punjab Legislative Council which marked the culmination of the struggle of the Sikh people from 1920-1925 to wrest control of their places of worship from the mahants or priests into whose hands they had passed during the eighteenth century when the Khalsa were driven from their homes to seek safety in remote hills and deserts.

When they later established their sway in Punjab, the Sikhs rebuilt their shrines endowing them with large jagirs and estates. The management, however, remained with the priests, belonging mainly to the Udasi sect, who, after the advent of the British in 1849, began to consider the shrines and lands attached to them as their personal properties and to appropriating the income accruing from them to their private use. Some of them alienated or sold Gurudwara properties at will. They had introduced ceremonies which were anathema to orthodox Sikhs. Besides, there were complaints of immorality and even criminal behavior lodged against the worst of them. All these factors gave rise to what is known as the Gurudwara Reform movement during which the Sikhs peaceful protests were met with violence and death and ended with them courting arrest on a large scale to gain the world's attention. Before it was all over many would fall as martyrs with some being literally blown apart while they were strapped to cannaon barrels.

‘During the Gurdwara Reform Movement, the Sikh leaders started a publication that was named Akali. From this paper and its policy the leaders began to be called Akalis, in view of which they formed the present Akali party. These Nihang Akalis should not be confused with the members of the Akali party.’ The Turban And The Sword’' , by Dr. Trilochan Singh. (Page 402)

I found this post at SikhSangat.com It exposes the most shocking relationship Yogi Bhajan had with Jagjit Naamdhari who is considered by his disciples as the 11th Sikh Guru. The Naamdhari Sikhs keep the Siri Guru Granth in a closet while they bow to Jagjit and refer to him as "SatGuru Ji" as you can see in the photos below.

The 'Namdhari' cult has been excommunicated from the Khalsa Panth. See for yourself the pictures of Yogi Bhajan depicting his close relationship with Jagjit Naamdhari.

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"However their are several instances which I find questionable about Yogi Bhajan. One includes the relationship they had with Jagjit Naamdhari (http://satguruji.blogspot.com/), and the other about an occurance that occured in the late 70's between Yogi and AKJ, where Yogi criticized Jatha for trying to "steal" members."

Yogi Bhajan wore huge gemstones for their so called “yogic energy and power". Yogi Bhajan adorned himself with these yogic rings and precious gems for different days of the week. Yogi Bhajan covered up the fact that these days are represented by different Hindu deities and the practice of wearing these yogic rings is really only the Hindu idea of pacifying the various gods and goddesses. Not only this, Yogi Bhajan used astrology and numerology in choosing these yogic rings. Yogi Bhajan believed the gemstones had "energy affects" and influenced our destiny, thinking and actions.
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Yogi Bhajan shown here on Sikhnet wearing a yogic ring for power

Around the year 2000, Yogi Bhajan tried to personally sell me a yogic ring for several thousand dollars. We were at Hari Jiwan Singh's house in Espanola where HJ keeps a vast collection of gems worth millions of dollars. Yogi Bhajan told me. "You're naked." And he stated I needed a ring with a particular stone to protect me.
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Yogi Bhajan’s wearing and promoting yogic rings is yet another Hindu practice camouflaged in the sheep’s clothing of "Aquarian or New Age spiritual thinking”. These things should not be practiced by Sikhs of the Guru. As Sikhs we should rely on the Guru alone for strength as Guru Arjan so beautifully states:

I have learnt the technique of true Yoga from the divine Guru. The True Guru has revealed this technique with the Light of the divine Word. Within my body He has revealed the Light that pervades all the regions of the earth. To this Light within me I bow and salute every moment. The initiation of the Guru are my Yogic rings and I fix my mind steadfastly on the One Absolute God.i,

A. G. Guru Arjan, Gaudi, p 208

The following is taken from "Sikhism and Tantric Yoga" by Dr. Trilochan Singh.

We quote Yogi Bhajan on Precious Stones and rings, which for him are his status symbol, and for possessing which he expends quite a lot of his energy and ingenuity. He says in Beads, Summer 1972, "Precious stones are not precious because the rich wear them and the poor do not. Rather, they are precious because when cut in the proper way they concentrate sun energy and can transmit to the individual through the skin. Hence most rings are worn on the ring finger. The quality of energy channeled by each stone differs and so does its effect on the individual. Stones also correspond to the planets and serve in mediating the scattered energy which comes from retrograding planets."
Yogi Bhajan has given the following comments on stones.
Ruby (Sun) concentrates the heart of the sun's rays.
Moonstone and Pearls (Moon) help balance out too much sun energy. They are commonly worn by Libra.
Diamond (Venus and practically everything) can concentrate miles of sun rays into one beam. Recently in Los Angeles someone was robbed of 100,000 worth of jewel within 72 hours.
Emerald (Mercury) has wonderful effect on the brain and is a cooling stone. Good luck for everyone.
Coral (Mars) is for balancing positive and negative forces.
Topaz (Jupiter) is a good luck stone.
Blue Sapphire (Saturn) can give so much energy to a person that he becomes negative. Those who are interested in details can read the Journal Beads, Summer 1972, p. 16. I do not know what is the opinion of the Jewelers on these statements but from the point of Sikhism these notions are worthless absurdities.
Yogi Bhajan does not wear the earrings of the Nath Panthi Yogis, but he wears precious gold rings (sometimes two and sometimes three) heavily studded with jewels, and cannot help displaying them ostentatiously, probably as a symbol of wealth acquired through the techniques of Tantric Yoga, which he sacrilegiously identifies with the techniques of Sikh mysticism. Bhai Gurdas, however, makes it clear to all Sikhs of all ages that Yoga asanas and yoga techniques are absolutely useless and unnecessary for Sikh meditations and the spiritual path of Sikhism:
jog jugat gursikh gurs am jhay a
The Guru has himself explained to the Sikhs the technique of true Yoga, and it is this: A Sikh must live in such a moral and spiritual poise that while hoping and waiting he ceases to aspire or crave for low ambitions and remains unconcerned and detached. He should eat little and drink little. He should speak little and never waste time in nonsensical discussion. He should sleep little at night and keep away from the snare of wealth. He should never crave avariciously after wealth and property.
Bhai Gurdas, Var 20 / 15

We still have very eminent scholars and saints who practice and live according to the Essentials of the Sikh Path with utter humility and devotion. They do not wear long robes. They do not wear gold and diamond rings. They do not contaminate Sikh doctrines and practices with practices of creeds and cults which are repulsive to Sikhism and strictly prohibited. There are piles and piles of correct interpretations of the Sacred Writings of the Sikhs written first by the great contemporaries of the Gurus like Bhai Gurdas, Bhai Mani Singh, Bhai Nand Lai, and our own contemporaries like Bhai Sahib Randhir Singh and Bhai Vir Singh. They not only interpreted it but lived it and suffered for it like living martyrs, never seeking anything but the Grace of God and the Gurus as a reward.
See an excerpt from a meditation taught by Yogi Bhajan listed on one of his student's websites promoting yogic gems at "YogaGems.com".

"Each finger represents a planet, whose energies we imbue with grace within ourselves and through our projection:

The little finger is Mercury, enhancing communication.

The ring finger represents the sun, empowering our physical bodies with healing and grace of motion.

The middle finger stands for Saturn. We strengthen virtues of patience and self-discipline.

The index finger is for Jupiter. We enshrine the light of wisdom within us.

The thumb represents the earth, ego, “dragons head and dragons tail.” We bring grace to the ego, so it supports our spirit.

I brought this realization of grace through the beautiful Light that had descended with me, wherein I experienced each finger’s cosmic connection—to the planet Mercury, the shining Sun, ringed Saturn, luminous Jupiter, and lastly, Earth—wherein dragons symbolize the spiraling DNA of creation, all these energies equally a part of my soul."

See these links by Yogi Bhajan's students promoting "Power necklaces".

Please read an Excerpt below taken from

"Sikhism and Tantric Yoga"
by Dr. Trilochan Singh (Link to entire book)

"Yogi Bhajan is using the sacred Sikh mantras and the sacred name of Guru Ram Das as a mantle for his Tantric Sex Yoga which will inevitably lead to mental and physical debauchery of those who take his brand of Sikhism contaminated by crazy sex-energizing asanas seriously."

“Amid the legal infighting following Yogi Bhajan’s death, critics are offering another portrait of the Sikh leader.”
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3HO Sikhs are now fighting amongst themselves in a lawsuit over the millions of dollars in profits made from using the sacred Sikh religious symbols and scriptures for their own personal gain.3HO Sikhs, who follow Yogi Bhajan, funnel the money to support Yogi Bhajan's tantric cult church which 3HO Sikhs have deceptively camouflaged using names like "Sikh Dharma International", "3HO foundation", "Sikh Dharma Stewardship","SikhNet.com","Sikh Dharma Worldwide", "Unto Infinity Board","Khalsa Council" and "KRI(Kundalini Research Institute)". See "Sikhnet's" and "Sikh Dharma International's" slick new websites which were produced with the millions in ill-gained profits using the name of the Golden Temple, names and images of the Sikh Gurus, and sacred Sikh shabads for profit in commercial enterprises.


Read the full front page article about Yogi Bhajan's lust for power and greed of his 3HO Sikhs in Today's Eugene Register-Guard:

""Yogi's Legacy in Question"".[/link]

"New lawsuit hits Golden Temple with fraud!"


Read about the infighting in 3HO and Sikh Dharma--
Today's Eugene Register-Guard:

""Rift in 3HO Sikh community threatens business empire""


LETTERS IN THE EDITOR’S MAILBAG: Friday’s paper
Appeared in print: Friday, May 28, 2010

"Bhajan was a leader ‘by fluke’

Recently, a friend sent me articles from The Register-Guard on litigation involving Yogi Bhajan’s organizations in Oregon. The letters to the editor that followed, critical of the reporter, prompt me to throw some light on the subject. Bhajan was extremely good at what he did, but propagation of Sikhism he was not. Criticism of Bhajan’s cult cannot be construed as criticism of Sikhism.

Trilochan Singh, a distinguished Sikh scholar, in his 1977 book “Sikhism and Tantric Yoga,” describes Bhajan devastatingly: “Yogi Bhajan is a Sikh by birth, a Maha Tantric by choice but without training, and a ‘Sri Singh Sahib’ and self-styled leader of the Sikhs of the Western Hemisphere by fluke and mysterious strategy.” There was no mystery to his strategy. He ingratiated himself with the Sikh religious leadership in Punjab, which was more corrupt than the Vatican during the time of Martin Luther.

According to the Tantrics, the best form of worship is the fullest satisfaction of the sexual desires of man, therefore sexual intercourse is prescribed as a part of Tantric worship. In the annals of abuse of women, some had harems, others had concubines and Bhajan had secretaries. The Sikh gurus condemned the Tantrics and their practices. All the cases mentioned in The Register-Guard had merit.

Humility is the hallmark of a Sikh, and Bhajan had none of it. Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism, describes people such as Bhajan succinctly: “Those ... who have no virtues but are filled with egotistical pride.”

Hardev Singh Shergill President, Khalsa Tricentennial Foundation of North America Editor-in-chief, The Sikh Bulletin El Dorado Hills, Calif.

"Sikhism and Tantric Yoga"
by Dr. Trilochan Singh (Link to entire book)

"The book Sikhism And Tantric Yoga is available at: www.gurmukhyoga.com.This website which is operated by a genuine White Sikh is highly recommended. Gursant Singh was a member of the Yogi Bhajan Cult (3HO and the Sikhnet Gora Sikhs or White Sikhs) for over 30 years and has intimate knowledge about the inner workings of this cult which attempts to miscegnate Sikhism with Hindu idolatry. I downloaded the book from Gursant’s website and found it to be absolutely compelling. I read it in one compulsive and sustained draught. It is a study not only about cults in Sikhism but about the miscegenation of the Sikh Religion by Hinduism. It is a classic work rendered in beautiful English prose and it is patently the work of a profound intellectual scholar with a deep knowledge of Sikhism."
Quotation taken from: http://www.sikharchives.com/?p=5513&cpage=1#comment-2011

You may also view individual chapters to "Sikhism and Tantric Yoga" at these links:

Sikhism & Tantric Yoga A Critical Evaluation of Yogi Bhajan
http://www.gurmukhyoga.com/forum/index.php?id=192

Sikh Doctrines and Yogi Bhajan's Secret Science
http://www.gurmukhyoga.com/forum/index.php?id=193

Yogi Bhajan's Adi Shakti Shaktimans and Shaktis
http://www.gurmukhyoga.com/forum/index.php?id=194

Yogi Bhajan's Clap Trap Theories of Kundalini Yoga
http://www.gurmukhyoga.com/forum/index.php?id=195

Yogi Bhajan's Ego Maniac Utterances
http://www.gurmukhyoga.com/forum/index.php?id=205

Yogi Bhajan's Seven Years in America and His Tinkling Titles
http://www.gurmukhyoga.com/forum/index.php?id=206

Yogi Bhajan's Arrest and Release on Bail
http://www.gurmukhyoga.com/forum/index.php?id=207

Yogi Bhajan Becomes the Only Maha Tantric in the World
http://www.gurmukhyoga.com/forum/index.php?id=208

Sikh Leaders without Conscience
http://www.gurmukhyoga.com/forum/index.php?id=209

Call to Truth and Authentic Sikhism
http://www.gurmukhyoga.com/forum/index.php?id=210

Please read an Excerpt below taken from "Sikhism and Tantric Yoga"

The Name of Golden Temple and its Murals

"In England last year a firm advertised some blue jeans as Jesus Jeans. The whole religious world of England rose in one protest and stopped the manufacture of these jeans. The word Golden Temple has become an instrument of commercial affairs of Yogi Bhajan He has now even named shoe stores as Golden Temple. I was given a "Wha Guru Chew.""

"Yogi Bhajan is using the sacred Sikh mantras and the sacred name of Guru Ram Das as a mantle for his Tantric Sex Yoga which will inevitably lead to mental and physical debauchery of those who take his brand of Sikhism contaminated by crazy sex-energizing asanas seriously."

Read about the "war between 3HO Sikh's Unto Infinity Board and Yogi Bhajan's Sikh Dharma". Yogi Bhajan set up all these organizations and installed their leaders. Decide for yourself if the Tantric Sex Yoga which Yogi Bhajan taught inevitably leads to mental and physical debauchery.

Many of these 3HO profiteers have cut their hair and renounced Sikhi! See these pictures below of Kartar Khalsa CEO of Golden Temple Foods and chairman of Yogi Bhajan's "Unto Infinity Board" who has cut his hair and is no longer a Sikh.
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(Is it any wonder that Kartar and Peraim, Controlling members of Yogi Bhajan's "Unto Infinity Board",are wearing circus masks in the above photo?)http://cirrus.mail-list.com/khalsa-council/Kartar-Peraim.2-10.jpg

See these articles in today's Eugene Register Guard which shows the greed surrounding this dispute:

"Money trail at heart of Sikhs’ legal battle."

Wha Guru being used sacriligiously for huge profits by 3HO Sikhs
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"What did the magician say to the Wha Guru Chew? Open sesame."

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Yogi Bhajan used the sacred name of the Golden Temple, names and images of the Sikh Gurus, and sacred Sikh shabads for commercial enterprises to make millions of dollars. Wha Guru is even used as the name of a candy bar by Golden Temple Foods!Links appearing on the internet advertise Golden Temple along with wine and alcohol such as in this Google search link: "Golden Temple Granola - Food & Wine - Compare Prices" Other internet links associate Golden Temple massage oil with sex and sensual massages as in this Google search: "Sensual Soothing... Golden Temple Soothing Touch Massage Oil."

See for yourself the pictures below of the Darbar Sahib(Golden Temple) in Amritsar and Guru Tegh Bahadar featured on yogi tea boxes:
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3HO Sikhs are associating yogis, ashrams, tantric sex yoga rituals,drinking of wine and magicians of the occult with the Sikh Gurus and the Golden Temple See the Rare Photo (above) featuring the Harimandir sahib in 1908 when it was under the control of the Pundits or mahants. Sadhus and yogis felt free to sit wearing only a dhoti and no head coverings.The Gurdwara Reform Movement stopped such practices in India and gave the Gurdwaras back to Gursikhs.

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Tantric Asanas taught by Yogi Bhajan for transmuting sexual energy:Reprinted from Yogi Bhajan’s official magazine “Beads of Truth” 11, p. 39

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Yogi Bhajan illustrated here controlling tantric shakti "energy". Notice the depiction of Shiva,above Yogi Bhajan's head, Shiva is the god of yoga for Hindus. The illustration also shows Kundalini Yoga Asanas taught by Yogi Bhajan for transmuting sexual energy

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Yogi Bhajan's students are intstructed to meditate on Yogi Bhajan's picture everyday which you can see displayed in the 3HO Espanola Gurdwara in the photo above.
The Register-Guard
http://www.registerguard.com/
Yogi’s legacy in question |
Former followers say he abused his position for power, money and sex
By Sherri Buri McDonald

The Register-Guard

Posted to Web: Sunday, May 9, 2010 12:14AM
Appeared in print: Sunday, May 9, 2010, page A8

A slow, painful awakening led Premka Kaur Khalsa, a top secretary in Yogi Bhajan’s Sikh organization for almost 20 years, to leave the religious group in 1984, she said.

Premka Khalsa, 66, said she could no longer participate because of the inconsistencies she said she had witnessed between the yogi’s behavior and his teachings — the deception and abuse of power.

In 1986, she sued Yogi Bhajan and his Sikh organizations, settling out of court. In court papers, she alleged that the married yogi had sexually and physically assaulted her, that he was sexually involved with other secretaries and that, as the head of his administration, she worked long hours for little or no pay.

The organization’s religious leaders vehemently deny those allegations. Its business leaders did not respond to requests for comment for this story.

Kamalla Rose Kaur, 55, another former member of Yogi Bhajan’s 3HO (Healthy, Happy, Holy Organization) who wrote for a grass-roots newsletter in the community, said a light switched on for her when she was researching and writing about religious groups and thought, “Hey, we’re acting a lot like a cult.”

Former member Guru Bir Singh Khalsa, 60, who had been appointed a “lifetime minister” by Yogi Bhajan, said he received a wake-up call in the early 1990s, when Sue Stryker, then an investigator with the Monterey County District Attorney’s office, laid out evidence linking members of his spiritual community to criminal activity. Stryker, now retired, said a member of Yogi Bhajan’s Sikh community pleaded guilty and served time in prison for a telemarketing scam that bilked seniors out of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

These and other ex-members of Yogi Bhajan’s organization say they aren’t surprised by events unfolding now, six years after his death. Legal disputes threaten to splinter the community. Allegations of the yogi’s past wrongdoing are resurfacing. And the future of the Sikh organization’s businesses are in question.

The outcome will ripple far beyond the religious group, whose companies have become intertwined with the local economy and business community.

In Multnomah County Circuit Court, the group’s religious leaders are suing the group’s business leaders over control of the community’s multimillion dollar businesses, including Golden Temple natural foods in Eugene and Akal Security in New Mexico.

“Organizations/cults that have charismatic leaders and their followings, once their charismatic leader dies, this is generally the kind of thing that occurs,” Premka Khalsa said.

“It’s the meltdown of a cult,” said Kamalla Kaur, who spent nearly 20 years in 3HO, and now runs an Internet forum for ex-members. “They actually kept it together longer than we expected.”

Steven Hassan, a Massachusetts-based author, counselor and former leader of the Moon cult in the 1970s, said he has counseled about two dozen former 3HO members, including leaders, over the years.

“The group, from my point of view, was always about power and money,” he said. “(Yogi) Bhajan is the consummate … cult leader. By not specifying someone to take over, there often are these kinds of political battles and meltdowns — people basically being greedy like Yogi Bhajan was and wanting more of a slice for themselves.”

Attorney John McGrory, who represents the religious leaders in the Multnomah case, said his clients strongly disagree with the description of their organization as a cult. They “believe very strongly that it’s a religion,” he said. “They practice and follow it, and they are ministers.” The proof, he said, is in the thousands of adherents who still practice it.

McGrory said the real source of the discord in the community appears to be that the assets Yogi Bhajan built up over the years are being taken for private use, with the blessing of the managers the yogi appointed to safeguard them.

Gary Roberts, attorney for the business leaders, has said they’ve done nothing wrong and have acted in the interests of the Sikh community.

When a founder of an organization, or the head of a family, passes away, disputes among successors are common, said Krishna Singh Khalsa, a Eugene Sikh for 40 years.

“There’s nothing spiritual or charismatic or cultlike about that,” he said. “It’s simply where interests clash.”

Religious leaders voice concerns

A year before he died, Yogi Bhajan established the “Unto Infinity” board to oversee the network of businesses, property and educational and spiritual nonprofits. Members include Golden Temple CEO Kartar Singh Khalsa and three of the yogi’s former secretaries: Sopurkh Kaur Khalsa, Siri Karm Kaur Khalsa, and Peraim Kaur Khalsa. Kartar Khalsa and Peraim Khalsa are domestic partners.

In the years leading up to the Multnomah lawsuit, the group’s religious leaders expressed concern that the business leaders, the Unto Infinity members, had abandoned the group’s orthodox beliefs, which include not cutting one’s hair, eating a vegetarian diet and abstaining from alcohol.

In court documents, the religious leaders allege that the Unto Infinity members acknowledged in 2008 that they no longer practiced those core beliefs.

Unto Infinity members did not respond to Register-Guard interview requests. But in March 2009, when the Khalsa Council, an international group of Sikh ministers, asked them whether they had cut their hair, were no longer vegetarians, and drank alcohol, the business leaders responded by letter, according to the Khalsa Council.

The letter said, among other things: “The questions raised are irrelevant to our roles and responsibilities in the organization. We are not the religious leaders of the organization; we were given administrative and financial authority and responsibility.”

The Unto Infinity members wrote that they had made many sacrifices while the yogi was alive and that now they’re applying “more kindness into our personal lives.”

“We have learned the importance of factoring back into our lives more joy and balance as we continue to serve this mission for the rest of our way home,” they wrote.

The Unto Infinity members wrote that if the religious authorities decided to narrowly define what a Sikh Dharma minister is, “we may not continue to qualify.”

However, they noted, “many current ministers in Sikh Dharma have broken their Sikh or minister vows, marital vows, and the laws of our country and have remained ministers,” adding that that had been true even while Yogi Bhajan was alive.

Watching the business leaders back away from the group’s religious practices, some former members said, reminds them of what they experienced when they decided to leave the group.

“You go through stages of discovery of how you gave away your power and were deceived,” Premka Khalsa said.

“Once the person who is defining your reality — the charismatic leader — once he’s not there continuing to enforce the beliefs, then your eyes start to open,” she said. “You see things in a different way, and it can be disillusioning.”

Premka Khalsa said that’s especially true for the yogi’s secretaries, such as herself, who sacrificed much of their lives to serve him.

“I met him at 25,” she said. “I was 41 by the time I left, so my life of family, child bearing and (being) productive in the world, that whole piece was gone. Nothing was put into Social Security, and I walked out with the clothes on my back.”

The women in his inner circle “were denied having a personal relationship with any other men,” she added. “Some of us wanted to get married and have children, but we got sidetracked into agreeing to forego that with the intention of serving something bigger than us. Sacrifice, sacrifice, sacrifice.”

Flaws noted by former members

The group’s publications and Web sites praise Yogi Bhajan as an advocate for world peace and as a spiritual teacher who has helped improve the lives of hundreds of thousands of people worldwide.

A resolution passed by Congress in 2005 after his death recognized the yogi as “a wise teacher and mentor, an outstanding pioneer, a champion of peace and a compassionate human being.”

But Yogi Bhajan also had flaws, former members said.

“He was a phenomenal yoga teacher, a phenomenal spiritual man,” said Guru Bir Khalsa, the former “lifetime minister” who left the group after 18 years. But the yogi “sabotaged his own dream,” he said.

Imposing at 6 foot 3 inches and 250 pounds, Yogi Bhajan claimed humility, but had a weakness for expensive jewelry, luxury cars and custom-designed robes, former members said.

“He was a big dichotomy,” Premka Khalsa said. “He was tremendously charismatic. It just drew you in. You felt held and you felt loved and you felt embraced and felt part of something that was magnificent and bigger than you, and always yummy.”

“On the other side, he could be devastatingly harsh and make decisions that seemed so contrary to what he would preach and teach,” she said.

“He was all about power and he became a victim of that experience,” she said.

Lawsuits on assaults, inheritance

With his long white beard, white turban and white robes, Yogi Bhajan advocated for world peace, founding an annual Peace Prayer Day in 1985. But his saintly public image contrasted starkly with his private behavior, Premka Khalsa and other former secretaries said.

In her 1986 lawsuit, Premka Khalsa alleged that Yogi Bhajan repeatedly physically and sexually assaulted her from November 1968 to November 1984.

McGrory, the religious leaders’ attorney, said his clients deny all the allegations in Premka Khalsa’s lawsuit, which “were never verified or substantiated.”

In court papers, she alleged that the yogi was sexually involved with various female followers, and that he ordered her to coordinate his sexual liaisons, including orgies, with other secretaries, which she refused to do.

The head of Yogi Bhajan’s administration, and an editor and writer for his publications, Premka Khalsa said she worked on average 10 hours a day, five days a week. She alleged that she was paid $375 a month — only in her last three years with the group.

“It was another part of how he kept us bound,” she said. “We didn’t have independent resources. He had a fleet of cars — one of which was mine to drive. And he had properties to live on, but they weren’t mine. You had few independent resources, so it made it hard to live out on (your) own. He did that with lots of people.”

Premka Khalsa alleged in her lawsuit that Yogi Bhajan called her “his spiritual wife, destined to serve mankind by serving him in a conjugal capacity.” He said if she did so, he “would care for her for all of her natural life,” she alleged.

When Yogi Bhajan died in 2004, his wife Bibiji Inderjit was to inherit half of their community property, and he designated that his half go to Staff Endowment, a trust to support 15 female administrative assistants. To receive her share, each assistant had to live in accordance with the yogi’s teachings and the Sikh Dharma Order, according to court documents. If she didn’t, her interest would be cut to 2 percent, the court papers said.

Among the trust beneficiaries are Guru Amrit Kaur Khalsa, a plaintiff, and Sopurkh Khalsa, a defendant, in the Multnomah clash between the religious and business leaders, according to court papers.

McGrory said his clients deny that the Staff Endowment was in return for anything relating to Premka Khalsa’s allegations.

Yogi Bhajan’s estate still isn’t settled. In legal proceedings in New Mexico, the yogi’s widow argues that she was not aware of large gifts and expenditures her husband made while he was alive, and she wants an accounting of them, which could result in a determination that she is entitled to more of the remaining estate, said Surjit Soni, the widow’s attorney.

He said the yogi’s widow “does not begrudge or resist in any shape or form the bequest of Yogi Bhajan to his assistants … We just have to figure out what’s hers and what’s his and move on down the road.”

Soni declined to comment on the sexual abuse allegations.

Responding to the unpaid labor allegations, he said that many people volunteered their time to build the organization.

“It started with little or no sources of income and took the effort of a lot in the community lovingly coming together to provide their services,” he said. “They were doing it voluntarily. Nobody held a gun to their head.”

Another sexual abuse case against Yogi Bhajan, also settled out of court, was filed by the younger sister of Guru Amrit Khalsa, one of the yogi’s long-time secretaries.

Today, Guru Amrit Khalsa is one of the group’s two chief religious authorities, as well as one of the religious leaders suing Golden Temple CEO Kartar Khalsa and other business leaders.

Through McGrory, her attorney, she denied all allegations in her sister’s complaint.

The Register-Guard’s policy is not to name sexual abuse victims without their permission. Guru Amrit Khalsa’s sister’s whereabouts are not known, and she could not be reached for this story.

In court documents, she alleged that Guru Amrit Khalsa began trying to “entice” her into Yogi Bhajan’s organization when she was 11, and succeeded when she was 14.

She said she was with the group from 1975 to 1985. In her 1986 lawsuit, she alleged that starting in 1978, Yogi Bhajan repeatedly physically and sexually assaulted her.

The lawsuit alleged that the yogi was sexually involved with Guru Amrit Khalsa, as well as various other members of his administrative staff.

Guru Amrit Khalsa’s sister also alleged that Yogi Bhajan did not compensate her for skin and hair care products and snack foods she had developed and turned over to him in 1983 and 1984, after he had promised her an ownership stake or other payment.

“Truth is your identity”

The allegations in these lawsuits contrast with the public image of 3HO Sikhs in Eugene, who are widely regarded as devout, hard workers who have built a successful company that is a cornerstone of the natural foods industry here.

Firsthand knowledge of the abuse was confined to the yogi’s inner circle, Premka Khalsa and other former members said.

“The Eugene community, in general, is innocent and quite well intentioned,” she said.

Premka Khalsa said she sued Yogi Bhajan to try to expose what she called his lies and force him to change his behavior.

“The greeting we all have is Sat Nam, ‘Truth is your identity,’ and I wanted him to stop lying,” she said.

Premka Khalsa said she also wanted the rest of the community to know about the abuse, and she wanted to lend credibility to the complaint filed by Guru Amrit Khalsa’s sister because she said she was appalled by how badly she had been treated.

The suits were settled for undisclosed amounts, and they didn’t surface again until Guru Bir Khalsa, who had become disillusioned after learning of the group’s ties to telemarketing fraud, retrieved them from the archives of a New Mexico courthouse and put copies on the Internet in 2002.

“Sikh means seeker of truth and therefore I was just a seeker of truth,” he said. “The reason I wanted to put those documents on the Internet was to just turn the light on in the closet.”

“Yogi Bhajan had a dark side, and I think a lot of people don’t want to see it because of what that means about him,” Guru Bir Khalsa said. “I know, for myself, I wasn’t ready and didn’t want to see it. It’s kind of tough when you think you’ve invested as much as you have into something.”

Most of the former members quoted in this article asked to be referred to by the names they were using at the time they were part of the Sikh community.

“You go through stages of discovery of how you gave away your power and were deceived.”

— PREMKA KHALSA, A FORMER top secretary to Yogi Bhajan (SHOWN IN A 1973 PHOTO)

The Register-Guard
http://www.registerguard.com/
Rift threatens business empire
Posted to Web: Saturday, May 8, 2010 11:55PM
Appeared in print: Sunday, May 9, 2010, page A9

When India-born Yogi Bhajan came to the United States in 1968 to teach kundalini yoga, a revolution was sweeping the nation. Young people were rebelling against the status quo, protesting the Vietnam War, and experimenting with free love, psychedelic drugs, Eastern religions and communal living.

(Entire article continues below)

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Idealistic young Americans flocked to Yogi Bhajan’s classes. Ashrams focused on his teachings began to pop up across the country, including in Eugene, Los Angeles, and Espanola, N.M. — the group’s main compound.

Soon after his arrival, he founded a nonprofit group 3HO (Happy, Holy, Healthy Organization) and began blending in Sikh teachings and practices.

In 1972, members of the fledgling Eugene ashram launched a tiny bakery in Springfield, which they later donated to the Sikh community. It grew into Golden Temple, an anchor of Eugene’s natural foods industry, and a major local employer and charitable donor.

The Eugene ashram grew steadily, becoming the Northwest hub for Yogi Bhajan’s brand of Sikhism. His adherents, with turbans, flowing robes and leggings, became a common sight.

Over the years, members of the ashram married, bought homes, sent their children to local schools and became part of the larger community.

In 2004, Yogi Bhajan died after devising a succession plan that split control of the community’s religious life and its business life — including Golden Temple, now a lucrative international producer of natural cereals and tea based in Eugene.

Six years later, a dispute over who owns and controls the multimillion dollar businesses has erupted into a court battle that is fracturing the community. The fight in Multnomah County Circuit Court has centered around the shift in ownership of Golden Temple.

In 2007, CEO Kartar Singh Khalsa and five other Golden Temple managers became majority owners of the company, which previously had belonged to the larger Sikh organization.

Last week, sources confirmed that Kartar Khalsa and the other owners plan to sell the cereal business to a Chicago company.

Compounding the woes of the community — and its businesses — are legal claims by the yogi’s widow that have delayed the settling of the yogi’s estate and that threaten Golden Temple’s continued use of the “Yogi” brand.

Amid all the rancor, many wonder whether Yogi Bhajan’s brand of Sikhism will survive, and what will happen to the businesses it spawned.

Membership declining

At its peak in the 1970s, the Sikh community that Yogi Bhajan inspired had up to 10,000 members, according to published reports. Eugene was the Northwest hub of the community, although smaller than other centers in New Mexico and Los Angeles. Today, although down from those peak numbers, it still has several thousand members worldwide, the group’s religious leaders estimate in court papers. The group has about 100 adherents in the Eugene-Springfield area, one local member estimates.

Connie Elsberg, a sociology professor at Northern Virginia Community College who studied 3HO and wrote a book about female members, said the court battles now being fought are a turning point for the community and its businesses.

If Unto Infinity, the community’s board of business leaders, maintains control of all of the businesses, then “I think there will be a great deal of bad feeling and little willingness to compromise on either side,” she said. “There will not be much funding for the religious arm, and the religious branches will dwindle.”

But if Unto Infinity agrees to provide sufficient funding to the other branches, the organization may continue relatively unchanged, with some decline in numbers, Elsberg said.

Krishna Singh Khalsa, a longtime Eugene Sikh, said Sikhs are learning from this experience.

“We’re developing new approaches and new methods of governance,” he said. “This won’t happen again, and we’ll continue to develop and create success. There’s no question about that, and there’s no fear about that.”

Things were much simpler when Yogi Bhajan first gathered his American flock, many of them hippies engulfed in the drug culture.

“We stopped smoking marijuana and started getting high on breathing,” wrote photographer Lisa Law, whose exhibit of ’60s photos at the Smith­sonian includes a shot of Yogi Bhajan teaching yoga outdoors in New Mexico. “Enough of being potheads. Now we could be healthy, happy and holy.”

Yogi Bhajan’s converts were attracted to a variation of Sikhism that he created, incorporating kundalini yoga and vegetarianism — typically Hindu practices. He taught them how to do a form of yoga and meditate. He gave them Sikh names — “Singh” the middle name for men, “Kaur” for women, with the last name of “Khalsa.” He encouraged them to start businesses and “work by the sweat of their brow.” In some cases, he told them where to live, arranged their marriages and named their children.

His 3HO foundation describes its mission as to “practice and share the teachings of Yogi Bhajan so that they may serve, inspire, and empower humanity to be healthy, happy, and holy.”

Yogi Bhajan’s charisma and the teachings he brought from India were “very appealing an


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