Harbhajan Singh Yogi
Harbhajan Singh Yogi Born on August 26th 1929 into a landlord’s family in the little village of Kot Harkarn, Tehsil Wazirabad, in the district of Gujaranwala, now part of Pakistan, Harbhajan Singh Yogi was the male heir of a family whose holdings included the entire village of Kot Harkarn. His birthdays were occasions of great celebration. Each year on his birthday, gold, silver and copper coins equivalent to his weight in kilos was doled out to the poor. Along with that, wheat equivalent to seven times his weight was distributed to the poor and needy. The young boy absorbed the teachings of his teacher Sant Hazara Singh, a renowned yogi, mystic, and Mahan Tantric. At the age of 16, Harbhajan Singh was acknowledged as the Master of Kundalini yoga by his teacher. In addition to his yogic practices (he's also a master of Hatha Yoga), he finished. At the age of 18, when India was being partitioned into India and Pakistan, he led his whole village into Northern India. He arrived penniless with the clothes on his back being his only possessions. Displaced Indians were given houses in India and soon he was able to continue his education at Punjab University where he excelled in debate and was a star athlete, playing both hockey and soccer and earning the name "China wall" from his opponents.
After graduating with a degree in Economics, he began Indian government service with India's Internal Revenue Department, and supervised the creation of the IRS building in New Delhi. Shortly thereafter he moved to the Customs Service and become head of Customs at Palam International Airport (now known as New Delhi's Indira Gandhi Airport). He married Inderjit Kaur in 1952. They had two sons, Ranbir Singh and Kulbir Singh, and a daughter, Kamaljit Kaur
Around 1960 he was assigned to the holy city of Amritsar and there his relationship with Guru Ram Das, who was to be his guiding teacher, began to unfold and expand. Then one night in the Golden Temple that Guru Ram Das built, everything profoundly changed.
“I was the very lowly of the low, and knew nothing, and the Unknown was trying to find somebody who totally knew nothing. When the Unknown almost could not find anybody who didn’t know, His eye fell on me. At that time my name was Harbhajan Singh. It turned me upside down and made me Yogi Bhajan.”
“Yogi Bhajan” vowed to teach honestly and share the wisdom and knowledge that he had acquired, with the world. He was determined to teach people the technique of Kundalini Yoga, so that they could empower themselves and wouldn't have to become anybody's disciple to progress on the spiritual path.
In the fall of 1968, he went to Toronto. En route Canada, he not only lost his luggage, when he landed in Toronto, he discovered that the professor from the University who had hired him had just died. So he had no job, only $35, and the clothes on his back.
In December 1968, he went to Los Angeles, which eventually became his home base in United States for a long time
On January 5th 1969, he gave his first public lecture in the United States. There he spoke glowingly of his vision of a Healthy, Happy, Holy Organization -- the “3HO Foundation.” He explained that it is everyone's birthright to be healthy, happy, and holy and practicing Kundalini Yoga was one powerful way to claim that birthright. And so began one of the most astonishing cycles of teachings ever witnessed by humanity. Busloads of young people from all over flocked to the East West Cultural Center when they learned of a Master from India teaching Kundalini Yoga! This was too much for the woman in charge of the Center, and she asked Yogi Bhajan to leave. One of his students, who owned an Antique Shop, offered the use of his showroom for classes. He eventually started his own ashram [spiritual commune] in a garage. Every night the enthusiastic students would remove all the furniture before class, and put it back afterwards! Soon they decided to convert the garage into a permanent classroom, and that became the first “Guru Ram Das Ashram.” Classes were packed full every night.
He insisted that his followers be strict vegetarians and follow the early morning practice of Kundalini yoga and meditation. He encouraged people to learn, and then go out and teach what they had learnt. He broke the ancient tradition of secrecy because he saw that thousands of young people were dying using drugs in search of higher consciousness. He offered an alternative to the drug culture. He knew Kundalini Yoga would give seekers a real experience of God within, and help heal their mental and emotional problems -- as well as the physical bodies that had been damaged by the use of drugs. When he became a United States Citizen in 1976, Yogi Bhajan changed his name legally to Harbhajan Singh Khalsa Yogiji
Harbhajan Singh Yogi devoted his life to the democratization of spirituality, teaching whoever is ready to listen and willing to practice. Starting with Washington DC, 3HO centers started springing up all over the country. Destiny was unfolding. There are now over 350 centers worldwide with main office at Espanola, New Mexico. The leader of Sikhism in the Western Hemisphere honored him with the title of ‘Siri Singh Sahib’ in 1971 for his extraordinary impact of spreading the universal message of Sikhism. He was honored with the title Bhai Sahib by the Akal Takhat in 1974.
He met with Pope John Paul II to discuss inter-religious dialogue and worked side-by-side with the Dalai Lama and the Archbishop of Canterbury.
For the next decade, through thousands of lectures and virtually round the clock teachings, he laid out the blueprint for a new age on the planet earth and the technique to accomplish this galactic shift in consciousness.
Harbhajan Singh Yogi, apart from being a religious leader and a spiritual teacher was also a businessman and a master of Ayurvedic healing. He earned a Masters Degree in Economics in India and a Doctorate in the Psychology of Communication in the U.S. He is the head of 14 US corporations, including the computer company Sun and Son, Yogi Tea and Kettle Chips and Akal Security, which guards the Federal Court House in Washington, D.C.
He was the only living Master of White Tantric Yoga. Through the healing that he performs as the Mahan Tantric, he assumes the karma of those he helps and rearranges the ions of a person's aura, helping them to reach their truest selves and become compassionate, kind and caring people. Yogi Bhajan teaches that happiness is the birthright of every human being. One of his favorite sayings was “If you can't see God in all, you haven't seen God at all.”
A homily for a Harbhajan Singh Yogi of our times by Dr. Jaswant Singh Sachdev, MD