Yogi Bhajan's favorite saying: "Fake it and you'll Make it"!

by Gursant Singh ⌂ @, Yuba City California USA, Thursday, April 29, 2010, 05:08 (4235 days ago)
edited by Gursant Singh, Monday, June 13, 2011, 08:38

Here is an article about YB from an Indian Sikh and the related blog site.


Fake it and you'll Make it

By Devinderjit Singh

In the light of Yogi Harbhajan Singh’s recent death in Espanola, New Mexico, USA, and the associated eulogies, I felt that it might be interesting to hear about my experiences with that community. Although I was never a member of 3HO (the ‘Happy, Healthy and Holy Organization’), I was a bemused, bewildered and often irritated bystander at Espanola for a year or so in the late 1980’s.

I’m an English Sikh, with Punjabi ancestry, and worked as a Post-Doctoral Fellow at the Los Alamos National Laboratory for three years. Finding a community of Sikhs nearby (and in the desert at that!) was a pleasant surprise, and I was naturally drawn to attend the Sunday Diwans and participate in the Kirtan. The discipline and dedication of the Epanola Sikhs was very humbling, and I was also impressed with the tradition of distributing Shabad sheets so that people could join in the worship more easily; it was certainly much better organized than the general chaos I’d been used to at most Gurdwaras. I made several good friends there, whom I still remember with fondness.

These were all the positive aspects, but it didn’t take long for me to start having my doubts too. My parents had brought me up to pay homage only to the Guru Granth Sahib, and so I found the constant mention of Yogi Bhajan in the Ardas quite annoying. I was particularly irritated by the deference shown to him through the title of Siri Singh Sahib, and the assertion that he was the supreme Sikh authority of the ‘Western hemisphere’. What did that mean, if anything? I’m as western as anybody in my upbringing, attitudes and outlook (even live West of the Greenwich meridian, if only by 1.25 degrees!), and YB certainly had no authority over me. Besides, who was the equivalent for the Eastern (Southern and Northern) hemisphere? Nobody — it was complete nonsense!

I also found many practices taking place, such as astrology, which perplexed and horrified me greatly. Not only were they inconsistent with my training as a Mathematical Physicist, with a background in Radio-Astronomy, they were at odds with my understanding of Sikhism; and yet these were being encouraged. Even worse, YB was misrepresenting Gurbani: ‘If you recite this Shabad so many times, it will bring you so and so.’ This is totally against Gurmat: it’s simply meaningless chanting, and even that for worldly ends, rather than reflective contemplation on the Guru’s message about the Love of the Almighty.

I did try to raise my concerns with some of the people in Espanola, but it wasn’t very fruitful; usually I just ended up in a heated debate. I remember once asking about the Solstice events, trying to make sure that they were just convenient times of year to get together rather than having Druid significance. I was told that they had some Yogic, or astrological, meaning. When I tried to point out that acting on such (supposed) attributes was at odds with Gurmat, I had the Baran Mahan, and some quotation like ‘Raj jog takhat dhian Guru Ram Das’, thrown in my face. Hum! My view was that while Sikhism and Yoga were not mutually exclusive, they were not synonymous either; my 3HO friend disagreed. In a way, this example illustrates the conclusion I came to: the 3HO crowd and I might have been doing the same things, such as keeping Kesh, reading Gurbani, and so on, but we were doing them for entirely different reasons. When my 3HO friend read the Baran Mahan, he saw the mention of the seasonal months as a cue for astrology. When I read them, and other time-related passages, I got completely the opposite message. Namely, that it doesn’t matter what month of the year, day of the week, or hour of the day it is: if we remember God through loving devotion, it’s time well spent; if not, it’s a wasted opportunity.

Despite my misgivings, I was quite keen to see and hear YB in person. After all, he must have some unusual charm, or charisma, or something, to be able to influence so many people is such a profound way (I usually count myself lucky if I can persuade my undergraduate students to do their sums properly!). When I did get to meet him at a Diwan in Albuquerque, I was disappointed: he was rude, crude and not very good. His hour-long sermon was nothing more than incoherent rambling, mostly twaddle, with a light sprinkling of Gurbani to add a veneer of respectability. I was dumbfounded — I just couldn’t understand what people saw in him; it’s still a complete mystery to me. My 3HO friends kept saying how wonderful he was, and how much love they got from him, but I could only wonder how deprived their former lives must have been. If YB had been my introduction to Sikhism, or anything else for that matter, I would have told him where to go and run away a mile myself. YB was very smart, of course, and avoided locking horns with anyone he thought was likely to stand up to him. He was always very polite to me on the odd occasion that we were both at the same place; I think he knew that he’d get some lip back if he tried any nonsense on me.

One of my biggest disappointments was that Bhai Jiwan Singh, to whom I was told he was greatly indebted for getting him out of a serious bind, did not get him to buck up his ideas. But then Bhai Sahib is too much of a saint to cast the first, or any, stone; he tries to associate with just the good aspects of people and avoids dwelling on their shortcomings. As for the Jathedhars of the Akal Takhat and such like putting YB straight, it was never going to happen. Most of them are quite corrupt themselves, and pandered to YB (on seeing his wealth and status) instead of admonishing him. The sad fact is that there are numerous self-styled saints whom the Sikh masses follow (because it’s far less effort than studying the Guru Granth Sahib, and contemplating the Guru’s message) who wield considerable sway over the Sikh hierarchy (which shouldn’t be there, as such, in the first place anyway); compared to some of them, YB’s antics paled into insignificance.

I posted the above account of my observations about YB and the 3HO Sikh community on an e-forum for former members a few months ago, and received the following confirmation of my analysis.

What you expressed is what I have been wondering might be the opinion of Sikhs of Punjabi descent. Most are too polite to say it directly when speaking with a 3HO Sikh, like I used to be, but would hint at it. I also found that when I began to get serious about Sikhe, I realized 80% of what 3HO did was contrary. My experience mirrored yours when I went to Harmandhir Sahib — we all wore beards and kirpans, but that was where it ended. I found so many of the Sikhs there so devout and humble, and without the superstition I had been surrounded with in 3HO. . . . I also agree with your assessment of the Jathedhars, as I have seen them scramble for the 3HO money time and again. . . . Again, thank you for finally posting a traditional Sikh viewpoint based on having experienced 3HO firsthand. Many Punjabi Sikhs are so happy to see Americans in turbans they overlook everything else. They often are never exposed to day to day 3HO.

When I was in Espanola in 1988, I ascertained that there had been about four or five thousand 3HO Sikhs during its heyday. Roughly half of them had left a few years earlier, but nobody seemed willing to talk about it much. Now that I’ve been able to befriend some former members, I’ve learnt how badly exploited they felt when they eventually saw through YB’s veil of deception. They are convinced that YB’s outfit was nothing more than a cult designed for his personal betterment, with the Sikh facade merely providing a convenient cover. All but a handful have given up being Sikhs, although they harbour no ill will towards Sikhism itself; indeed, most retain a great deal of respect for Gurbani. One of the few who has remained a Sikh is Amar Prakash Singh, and his eulogy for YB is as follows: "I have met many good Sikhs, some great Sikhs and maybe even a couple of Saints in my life, but Harbhajan Singh Puri was not one of them.... My whole experience with Harbhajan Singh can be summed up in a quote from Farid (Guru Granth Sahib, p. 1384): "

I considered him a saint having swan-like purity,

That is why I sought his association.

If I knew he was a hypocrite like crane,

I would have kept away from him all my life.

This seems like a fitting epitaph for YB to me. An alternative would be one of his own favourite catch phrases: “Fake it and you’ll make it!”
Posted by Gurmat Prakash Publications at 10/13/2006

Re: Yogi Bajan and 3HO

Well, continuing to explore this site -
Please see:

Yoga Photo Yogi Bhajan

At the bottom you see:

" If you would like to make an offering/donation in exchange for receiving your spiritual name, please click here:"
Read More:: Sikh Philosophy Network http://www.sikhphilosophy.net/showthread.php?t=19093 (Yogi Bhajan and 3HO)

Why would you make an offering to someone who is not a teacher or guru?

This guys, is now starting to sound like a cult.

Now, to get onto that numerology i was talking about.
Read More:: Sikh Philosophy Network http://www.sikhphilosophy.net/showthread.php?t=19093 (Yogi Bhajan and 3HO)

All it is basic math - and tries to define you loosely. I suggest you all try it and see how rue it is. However, all of it seems to be the same thing ,recycled over and over - no matter what info you put in.

Link: Tantric Numerology

Next day is Gurbani to refute Yogi Bhajans ideas.

See more photos and discussion on facebook at:

“Amid the legal infighting following Yogi Bhajan’s death, critics are offering another portrait of the Sikh leader.”

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