Bhajan Yogi’s cult is based in Los Angeles and New Mexico

by H. Singh, Friday, June 11, 2010, 12:12 (5013 days ago) @ Baldev Kaur

The Register-Guard
Eugene, Oregon

Recently, a friend who knew that I have written about Bhajan Yogi in my magazine, The Sikh Bulletin, in the past, sent me a couple of articles on Yogi’s organizations involved in litigation in Oregon, that appeared in The Register-Guard. This was no surprise to me. But the letters to the editor that followed, critical of the reporter and some implied criticism of writing negative about minorities, prompts me to briefly throw some light on the subject. Bhajan Yogi was extremely good at what he did but propagation of Sikhism it was not. Criticism of Bhajan Yogi’s cult cannot be construed as criticism of Sikhism.

Bhajan Yogi’s cult was based in Los Angeles and New Mexico but Oregon has had its own share of cults of Indian origin. Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh moved into the central Oregon town of Antelope and created a commune of free love, immigration scam, mass murder plots and 93 Rolls Royces, gifted to him by his very wealthy twenty and thirty-some things, during 1981-85, before his deportation by Presidential intervention.

Dr. Trilochan Singh, a distinguished Sikh scholar, in his book ‘Sikhism and Tantric Yoga’, published in 1977, describes Bhajan Yogi, succinctly and devastatingly, in the following words: “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 Western Hemisphere by fluke and mysterious strategy”.

There was no mystery to his strategy. All he had to do was to ingratiate himself with the Sikh Religious leadership in Panjab that was more corrupt than the Vatican during the time of Martin Luther (1483-1546), founder of the Protestant Church.

According to the Tantrics the best form of worship is the fullest satisfaction of the sexual desires of man therefore in Tantric worship sexual intercourse with any woman is prescribed as a part of worship. In the annals of abuse of women some had harems, others had concubines and Bhajan Yogi had Secretaries. The Sikh Gurus condemned the Tantrics and their practices. When I received copies of the court documents of cases against Yogi from the Federal Govt. archives in Colorado I was incredulous about one disciple of Yogi luring her own sister into a rape victim but just then news papers reported exactly a similar story where a sister conspired to have her own sister raped by her boy friend. All the cases mentioned in The Register-Guard had merit, otherwise Yogi would not have settled out of court. In some cases, such as lottery scam, some of yogi’s lieutenants shouldered the entire blame and served prison time but some innocent families were destroyed, including their faith in Sikhism (falsely taught).

Yogi devised ‘The Siri Singh Sahib Bhai Sahib Harbhajan Singh Khalsa Yogi Ji’ as his full name/title. That is eleven words. The person whose teachings Yogi was supposedly practicing and preaching had conquered his ago and used only one word in his name – Nanak. But yogi was full of it. Humility is the hallmark of a Sikh and Yogi did not have any of it. Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism, himself describes people like Bhajan Yogi in succinct language, “Nanak, those are real asses, who have no virtues but are filled with egotistical pride. GGS P. 1246.”

Sikhism is unique among the world’s religions because it is unlike any of them, except certain principles of ethics and moral norms which are common to all religions as well as the atheists. Sikhism is the only religion of The Book from the East, ‘Guru Granth Sahib’, like the three Semitic religions of, ‘The Torah’, The Holy Bible’ and ‘The Holy Quran’. But similarity ends right there; fundamental difference being the concept of God. Superficially all four religions believe in one God, but which one? God of Jews favours only his chosen people who are still waiting for their Messiah; Christian God would save only those who believe in his son Jesus Christ, the Messiah who has already come, and the Muslim God has the last word because Mohammed is the last Messiah and there shall be no more. President Bush has a different God than Osama-bin-Laden.

Guru Nanak rejected all the religions of his day, including the one he was born into. Guru Nanak’s God is the God of entire creation, “God is ONE. His name is Truth. He is the creator. He is fearless and not inimical. He is without death and without birth. He is self-existent. Humans can attune to him through Guru’s grace.” “God existed in the beginning; He existed when time started running its course; He exists even now and He shall exist forever and ever”.

When the Pope had Galileo (1564-1642) jailed for advocacy of Copernicus’ (1473-1543) theory, condemned by the Roman Catholic Church as heretical, that earth revolves around the sun, Guru Nanak (1469-1539) was postulating views on the origin of the Universe that will make the Big Bang theorists proud and stating unambiguously that there are countless Earths, Moons and Suns. He called the natural laws that govern their motions in space ‘hukam’ (Cosmic Law). Cosmos is the manifest form of God, hukam (Cosmic Law) is the invisible form that pervades the cosmos. And long before Darwin’s (1809-1882) theory of origin of species, Nanak had declared that life began in water and evolved through many life forms in the water, over and under the land and in the air with human beings the ultimate life form. Death is a loss of consciousness. When a person dies he/she does not go to heaven or hell, because heaven and hell exist only on this earth, in this life and we make them. A person gets human form only once. Upon death, the spark we call soul merges with the cosmic law/God and body turns to star dust.

Guru Nanak was born into a Hindu household but with that faith Sikhism shares nothing, not even the concept of One God. At a very young age he refused to wear the janeu (Hindu sacred thread worn by high caste males); discarded the caste system (a religiously sanctioned discrimination still entrenched in the 21st century democratic India); preached against idol worship; recognized the equality of mankind; asserted the equality of men and women; condemned the Hindu practice of Sati (live immolation of widow on her husband’s funeral pyre); instructed the women to discard veil; allowed widow and widower remarriage; rejected the then prevalent concepts of karma, after life salvation, tapasya, heaven and hell (after death), incarnation, transmigration, 84 lakh juni (8,400,000 life forms) yatra to holy places, fasting, multiple gods and goddesses; and of course, unique only to Sikhism, wished ‘sarbat da bhala’ (wishing well being of all, not just of oneself, one’s own family or one’s own country) in his prayers. His was a faith of Universal Humanism.

Sikhism has neither anything like Ten Commandments nor Sharia. Instead the Guru simply says do not commit an act that you will later regret and do not eat or drink that is unhealthy for your body and mind. Simple as that! Guru Nanak rejected the concepts of virgin birth, resurrection (death is final), specific times and facing specific direction for prayer, starving the body for a day or day time and then gorging at night fall, pilgrimage for spiritual gain and feeding the Brahman to sustain deceased relatives.

In Sikhism, no one place is holier than the other because all places are created by God and God permeates everywhere. Eugene, Oregon is just as holy as Hardwar, Banaras, Mecca, Medina and Jerusalem; no time or day is more auspicious than the other; but only that time is blessed when one remembers God/Truth; Truth is higher than everything, but higher still is truthful living because that is union with God.

Hardev Singh Shergill
Khalsa Tricentennial Foundation of N. A. Inc.
The Sikh Bulletin
May 24, 2010

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