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Controversial Sikhism And Yogi Bhajan's Solstice Tantric Yoga Sadhana

Discussion in 'Hard Talk' started by SPN Reporter, Jul 15, 2016.

  1. SPN Reporter

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    Everythings 13 - Basics of Sikhi's, Jagraj Singh, attends Yogi Bhajan's "Solstice Tantric Yoga Sadhana"



    Waheguruji Ka Khalsa, Waheguruji Ki Fateh,

    My name is Gursant Singh. I have advocated for many Sikh causes over the past 35 years and dedicated myself to educating the Sikh Panth and the world in general about the organizations founded by the late Yogi Bhajan that are known as 3HO and Sikh Dharma International. I was a member of this group for 30 years so I know in great detail what really goes on there.

    kundalini.jpg

    There has been a great deal of misunderstanding about the purpose of these organizations and how they operate, mostly caused by a deliberately falsified image which Yogi Bhajan - and the present leadership of the organizations - have been putting out to the world for almost fifty years now. My purpose in everything that I post on Facebook or in other social media is to shed light on their mendacity and bring the truth about these groups to the world. "My 30 years in the Yogi Bhajan 3HO kundalini yoga cult"



    Recently SikhNet – a website that is part of the Yogi Bhajan empire - put out a video entitled Basics of Sikhi talk with Mr Sikhnet on judgement among Sikhs.

    https://www.facebook.com/sikhnet/videos/vb.49643819225/10153751144359226/?type=2&theater


    For those who may not know, Basics of Sikhi is an organization based in the UK and mainly run by a young Sikh named Jagraj Singh.

    Now Jagraj Singh has apparently dedicated his life to parchaar, by propagating Sikhi mainly in English, with a specific target of young Sikhs who have been born in the Sikh diaspora, particularly the UK, USA and Canada.

    This is an admirable goal and he is fulfilling a tremendous need, particularly since the SGPC and most gurdwara committees have no idea how to approach this group of largely disenchanted young Sikhs.

    Jagraj Singh speaks eloquently and often passionately about many issues of interest to young Sikhs.

    For example, on a recent video, he talks about Sikh Rehat Maryada and says:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GJfAYhHNocg

    10:21 “When you get a diaspora growing you need more clarity; otherwise things just go all over the place.”

    And in the same lecture he very wisely says:

    (Same video link)

    11:10 “And obviously as we talked about, when new people come into Sikhi they need some guidance as well.”

    Exactly, Jagraj Singh, they need some guidance, just as we all need guidance from Guru Sahib.

    Jagraj Singh then goes on to say:

    (Same video link)

    15:49 “At a panthic level we all have to agree; we all have to unite”.

    It’s obvious that Jagraj Singh feels very strongly about the importance of the Sikh Rehat Maryada

    Recently he visited the 3HO Summer Solstice tantric yoga Celebration in New Mexico, USA where he participated in the various activities they do there. Sadly it seems that he has chosen to not only ignore the un Sikh like practices of 3HO but to condone them.

    Let me explain about the 3HO Summer Solstice tantric yoga gathering. In 1969 a large group of American hippies gathered in the mountains of New Mexico. Summer Solstice, usually June 21st, is the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. It is considered by many indigenous people to be a mystical and auspicious time. "Reflections on 30 years of Yogi Bhajan tantric & kundalini yoga at "Summer Solstice Sadhana""

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JYrM9FNRi5U


    Of course Sikh Rehat Maryada states that Sikhs should not believe in auspicious times, but let’s leave that for now.



    In 1969, Yogi Bhajan was invited to teach yoga at this first Summer Solstice hippy gathering.

    The following year, in 1970, the first official 3HO Summer Solstice gathering was held, also in New Mexico. This was essentially a hippy gathering, however no drugs, alcohol, tobacco or meat were allowed. The teaching was mostly kundalini yoga with some Native American rituals thrown in for good measure.

    The gathering has been held every year since then at the same time, the last part of June, almost exclusively in New Mexico.

    Starting in 1971, the practice of Yogi Bhajan’s Tantric and Kundalini Yoga became the main focus of this Summer Solstice gathering; this is still true today. From 1972 onwards – Yogi Bhajan gradually allowed elements of Sikhi to be taught and included in the program.

    The first gurdwara was set up in 1973 and there has been a gurdwara at the Summer Solstice tantric yoga gathering ever since. This gurdwara has always been essentially a sideshow, a smaller room attached to the much larger structure used for large diwaan services with the Siri Guru Granth Sahib Ji in prakash & the same space is used for Tantric and Kundalini Yoga along with bhangra dancing and other activities.

    This large structure seats at least 1500 people and is used for the Tantric Yoga practices which take up 80 percent of the time during the gathering.

    At one end there is a stage which is usually adorned with huge pictures or videos of Yogi Bhajan.

    The room where Guru Sahib Ji is in prakash and successive akand paths are held throughout the tantric yoga practices, has a roll-up garage type door which is opened for about half an hour in the early morning at the end of what is called The Aquarian Sadhana – more on that shortly. After one shabad, anand Sahib and Ardas, the door is closed again and kept closed until the following day. There is no public ceremony of Rehiras Sahib or Sukhasan.

    In the recent Sikhnet video, Jagraj Singh says: -32:02 “Solstice has a lot of Sikhi going on.”
    https://www.facebook.com/sikhnet/videos/vb.49643819225/10153751144359226/?type=2&theater

    Does it? Well, there is the short morning kirtan program, there is daily recitation of japji Sahib, there is one evening of the week devoted to a rehnsobai kirtan and there is an amrit sanchar. There are also a few lectures on Sikhi, or “Sikh Dharma” as the Bhajanists call it.

    But even Jagraj Singh admits: (Same video clip)

    -4:24 “Normally not many people come to Sikh Dharma class.”

    In fact, Sikhi is a minor part of the Summer Solstice event. If you examine pictures of the diwaan services and the tantric yoga, you'll immediately see that the Gurdwara services are sparsley attended whereas the tantric yoga has more than one thousand people participating. It is a fact, that the majority of time is spent in the practice of Tantric or Kundalini Yoga. There are also supplemental classes, the overwhelming majority of which are devoted to Yogi Bhajan’s teachings on non-Sikhi related topics.

    Jagraj Singh participated in one of these classes.

    In a speech given at the Solstice program he said:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pO4spir5OdE


    -1:00 "I want to invite you all if you have some time to come to the Sikh Dharma tent today. I am giving a talk about Sikhi in this world in the Aquarian Age."

    “Aquarian Age?” Why is a Sikh, who spends so much time promoting Sikh Rehit Maryada, talking about “the Aquarian Age”?

    Jagraj Singh ji, have you forgotten that Sikh Rehat Maryada states that Sikhs should not believe in auspicious times?

    Are you simply sucking up to your hosts because they are looking after you so well or do you really believe this stuff?

    I also have to ask you about something to which you did not refer directly but of which you spoke quite positively.

    That’s the daily amrit vela program that all Bhajanists practice.

    In 1992 Yogi Bhajan ordained that all of his students - non-Sikhs AND Sikhs – begin an early morning practice he called the "Aquarian Sadhana". This was to be done "forever'. In other words, it’s a permanent part of Bhajanism and will not be changed unless some individual arises who has equal or even superior status to YB. This is unlikely in the foreseeable future.

    The "Aquarian Sadhana" is a curious mixture of Gurbani, manufactured mantras that are almost Sikh like – although definitely not Gurbani - and at least one Hindu Sanskrit mantra. "An excellent explanation of why the Yogi Bhajan prescribed daily "sadhana" for all 3HO members is not part of Sikhi!" http://www.gurmukhyoga.com/forum/index.php?id=820

    Jagraj Singh ji, in the Sikhnet video you said:

    https://www.facebook.com/sikhnet/videos/vb.49643819225/10153751144359226/?type=2&theater

    -17:00 “When I’m in the amrit vela program there at Summer Solstice, people are chanting God’s name. People are saying Waheguru, Waheguru, Waheguru, Wahe jio. That’s actually from Gurbani.”

    Then you said:

    (Same video clip)

    -3:36”Those people are chanting Japji Sahib, they are chanting Rakhe Rakhanahar.”

    And these statements are absolutely true. Japji Sahib, the shabad “Rakhe Rakhanahar” and the Gurbani tuk “Waheguru, Waheguru, Waheguru, Wahejio” are all part of this “Aquarian Sadhana”.

    What is both surprising and disturbing is what you DON’T say, Jagraj Singh Ji. You neglect to mention the other kachi bani that is an integral part of the “Aquarian Sadhana”.

    How about the mantra Ek Ong Kar Sat Nam Siri Waheguru? Even though the separate words may be found in Gurbani, this combination does not occur in Siri Guru Granth Sahib. It is kachi bani.

    How about the mantra that begins “Wah Yantee”. This is supposedly a mantra given by the Hindu sage Patanjali and is in Sanskrit. Why are people who call themselves Sikh chanting a Hindu/Sanskrit mantra? Why don’t you talk about this?

    What about the mantra “Sat Siri Siri Akal, Maha Akal Maha Akal, Sat Nam, Akal Moorat, Waheguru.” What kind of nonsensical mishmash is this?

    You don’t talk about when they chant “Guru Guru Waheguru, Guru Ram Das Guru” – which is a creation of Yogi Bhajan and certainly not Gurbani.

    So, Jagraj Singh ji, I have to ask you, how can you ignore a group of people who are supposed to be Sikhs chanting and singing what is not Gurbani during a time that is traditionally reserved for Nitnem Bani or Asa Di Var?

    You are well known as a kathakaar and your lecture on Sikh Rehat Maryada has been viewed over 40,000 times. So it is very disturbing to me that you choose to promote the fact that they chant certain parts of Gurbani while ignoring so much that they do which is non-Sikh.

    In the video you made with Sikhnet, you talk about how you should gently inspire people if you find that what they are doing is not correct according to established traditions of Rehit.

    So I have to ask you, Jagraj Singh Ji, did you talk to the Bhajanists about their use of Kachi Bani and Hindu/Sanskrit mantras in their so-called “Aquarian Sadhana”? If you did, you certainly have not mentioned it anywhere in any of your videos I have seen.

    Did you talk to them about the practice of Tantric and Kundalini Yoga which is certainly against the Sikh Rehat Maryada?

    Do you know that the former Jathedar of the Akaal Takhat, Sadhu Singh Bhaura condemned Yogi Bhajan for his teachings, claims and actions that Sikhs consider blasphemous, or “bayaadhbee.”?

    Do you know that Jathedar Sadhu Singh was on the point of excommunicating Yogi Bhajan because of his unSihlike activities when he was forced from his post, very possibly because of political pressure that Yogi Bhajan applied to Gurcharan Singh Tohra? "American yogis distort Sikh scripture"

    SIKH FREE PRESS

    Do you consider 3HO and Sikh Dharma to be part of the Khalsa Panth?

    If you believe it is, do you accept their Tantric and Kundalini Yoga practices? Do you believe that these practices are part of Sikhi? "3,500 Sikhs petition Akal Takhat against Bhajan’s yogis"

    SIKH FREE PRESS

    Do you approve of their wild tantric dancing in what amounts to be the Darbar of the Siri Guru Granth Sahib Ji that interrupts Akhand Paaths and drowns-out the Gurbani experienced when I myself read many times in Akand Paaths at the same Bhajanist solstice gatherings from 1980 until 2007?

    "SikhNet yogis must stop tantric yoga & dance in the Darbar of Siri Guru Granth Sahib Ji!" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pO4spir5OdE

    Do you believe their so-called “Aquarian Sadhana” is a legitimate practice of Sikhi?

    Do you believe – as the Bhajanists do – that Guru Nanak practiced Kundalini Yoga?

    "Yogi Bhajan's Big lie that "Guru Ram Das ji held the throne of Yoga" is misleading yoga students!"

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CJAjpXUXLSw


    In the Sikhnet video, you have expressed concern for the many innocent people who come to 3HO, not for Sikhi but to learn yoga.

    Do you believe that they should be exposed to the lies that are a part of 3HO dogma?

    •That Yogi Bhajan was a master of Kundalini Yoga by the age of 16.

    •That Kundalini Yoga as taught by Yogi Bhajan is an ancient science.

    •"Academic study shows the Kundalini Yoga of Yogi Bhajan is a fraud!"

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DOp0O05dLrY


    •That the Sikh Nishaan Sahib is a symbol for the Hindu Goddess Adi Shakti

    •That Yogi Bhajan was celibate as were his female staff members who lived with him.

    •That Yogi Bhajan was given the title of Siri Singh Sahib by Jathedar Sadhu Singh Bhaura at the Akaal Takhat in March of 1971

    Others have asked you these kinds of questions and you have refused to answer them.

    If you are teaching what you call Basics of Sikhi, all Sikhs have a right to know what it is you actually believe.

    I, for one, cannot see how any person can be a proponent and supporter of Sikh Rehat Maryada and at the same time support the unSikhlike practices of 3HO/Sikh Dharma.

    So, Jagraj Singh ji, my humble request to you is that you respond to the questions above. None of them are unreasonable. None of them are unfair. Anyone who sets themselves up as a parchaarak, becomes a public figure and the sangat has a right to know where they stand on the important issues of the day.

    Jagraj Singh ji, the ball is in your court. I and many others look forward to your response.

    Let me just say one more thing. These issues are not going to go away. You can try to ignore this message like SikhNet does when they block me on social media and delete my questions when the have the ability to do so but, if you do the same, the whole Panth will be watching. And I, and others, will continue to ask these same questions.

    This is not about hate. This is about concern for the future of the Panth. In the past Sikhi became corrupted by Hindu practices. No true Sikh wants to see this happen again.

    Waheguruji Ka Khalsa, Waheguruji Ki Fateh,
     
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  3. Ishna

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    Perhaps Jagraj was just speaking to the audience using terms they understood (a bit like we see in Gurbani)? We don't know what he said to those who he may have enticed to the "Sikh Dharma" tent with his words familiar to them. Much of Jagraj's prior work in the UK and with his Basics of Sikhi channel has been OK and, whilst at times a bit new-agey, mostly grounded in sensible Gurbani and regular Sikhi. I would give him the benefit of the doubt and trust that he used his time in the Sikh Dharma tent to deliver real parchar about actual Sikhi, not the random YB version.
     
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  4. Original

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    Sikhism substantative n procedural does not confine to any particular set of principles, but rather, promotes and appreciates the divirisity in creation. If anything is a must, it is the "how" factor of living well. That by implication is an ethical take on life in general and is clearly demonstrated in its 3 pillars, namely:
    • Kirit kar - honest earnings of livelihood
    • Vand shak - be of charitable disposition
    • Nam Jap - remember the creator and be devotional
    The net result of which should mould an ordinary human being into a righteous human being, meaning, sachira. And, unlike other religions where the emphasis is on symbolism n daily practices of rituals n rites, Sikhism veers off to the profound values of human civilisation. These values are the founding principles of Sikhism, one of which is civil society. Both cooperation and participation in civil settings is considered to be an obligation and not a concession. It's inalienable marriage between religious life and empirical life is demonstrative of the want of participation but also, conferring as it were, total social responsibility on the individual in all walks of life. If this be correct, then any form of segregation or alienation from mainstream society must be considered a cult. And, since Sikhism is a religion and not a cult, any affiliation or association thereof, must by virtue be termed incidental and not actual.

    In conclusion it must be said that although the destination is one [God] and paths many, Sikhism promotes inclusion and not exclusion from mainstream society. These little pockets of cults n indigenous social groups and gatherings of a particular kind, such as this American, are at the very least, progressive and meaningful to those participating, but are nevertheless, relegations and contrary to Sikh belief n value.

    Many thanks
     
    #3 Original, Jul 16, 2016
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2016
  5. Ishna

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    What do you mean by "indigenous social group"?
     
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  6. Original

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    ...it is to be read in the wider and general context of the word "indigenous" to cover, say, North American Indians, South American Incas, Australasian Aborigines, Sentinelese of the Andaman Islands of India, Tribal regions dotted around the globe, etc...
     
  7. Ishna

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    Can you please extrapolate on your conclusion, because I don't quite understand it. What about indigenous social groups is contrary to Sikh values and beliefs?
     
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  8. Admin Singh

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    Ishna ji,

    Has Jagraj Singh posted/commented anything anywhere about it to substantiate your idea?

    Thank you
     
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  9. Original

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    ...okay ! Take for example, some of the African tribes and their customary practices involving polygamy. Clearly, these are contrary to Sikh belief n value. The same could be said of a particular socio-religious group, Moslems. Although, it is perfectly legitimate and acceptable as a norm from a customary Moslem perspective, it is nevertheless, considered both illegal and immoral within mainstream Sikh Society.

    The point in question with which I'm militating is the practices and the attitudes that go on to constitute the institutional framework of Yogi Singh's runaway version of Sikhism. It is neither a limb nor an organ of Sikh the religion and thus, I've used the word "progressive", meaning, the wannabe Sikh.
     

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