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 Guru Ram Das Ashram in LA

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PostSubject: Guru Ram Das Ashram in LA   Tue Jun 10, 2008 5:02 pm


The Siri Singh Sahib Bhai Sahib Harbhajan Singh Khalsa Yogiji, aka Yogi Bhajan arrived in Los Angeles in 1968.

It was his mission to share the teachings of Kundalini Yoga and to help people live healthy, happy, and holy lives. The Guru Ram Das Ashram was created in 1972 as part of his mission. It was here in Los Angeles that Kundalini Yoga in the West was born.


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PostSubject: Re: Guru Ram Das Ashram in LA   Tue Jun 10, 2008 5:22 pm

Guru Ram Das (Punjabi: ਗੁਰੂ ਰਾਮ ਦਾਸ) (Born in Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan on 24 September 1534 1 September 1581, Amritsar, Punjab, India) as the fourth of the Ten Gurus of Sikhism. He became Guru on 30 August 1574 following in the footsteps of Guru Amar Das.


As a Guru one of his main contributions to Sikhism was organizing the structure of Sikh society. Additionally, he was the author of Laava, the hymns of the Marriage Rites, the designer of the Harmandir Sahib, and the planner and creator of the township of Ramdaspur (later Amritsar).

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PostSubject: Re: Guru Ram Das Ashram in LA   Tue Jun 10, 2008 6:20 pm


Harbhajan Singh Khalsa Yogiji (born as Harbhajan Singh Puri) (August 26, 1929October 6, 2004), also known as Yogi Bhajan and Siri Singh Sahib, was a charismatic and influential proponent of Kundalini Yoga and Sikh Dharma. He is best known as the spiritual director of the 3HO (Healthy, Happy, Holy Organization) Foundation, which today is one of the world's largest yoga-teaching bodies, and for his outspoken defense of the holistic doctrine of Sikh Religion


Born into a landlord's family in the little village of Kot Harkarn, Tehsil Wazirabad, in the district of Gujaranwala, now part of Pakistan, 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.
Throughout his life, Harbhajan Singh continued his practice and pursuit of yogic knowledge. His government duties often facilitated his traveling to remote ashrams and distant hermitages in order to seek out reclusive yogis and swamis. Sometimes Yogi Bhajan would find them to appraise their worth, for India always had a surfeit of supposed "holy men." At other times, he would sincerely go to learn the specialized knowledge possessed by this or that sadhu.



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"



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
In New Delhi, Harbhajan Singh was faced with a stark choice: to serve his government by joining the Soviet military's psychic research program in Tashkent or leave the country. The Canadian High Commissioner, James George facilitated his immigration to Toronto, Canada in 1968.
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.
Although a promised university position as director of a yogic studies department did not materialize because of the death of his sponsor, Harbhajan Singh the Yogi made a considerable impact in the predominantly Anglo-Saxon metropolis. In three months, he established classes at several YMCAs, co-founded a yoga centre, was interviewed for national press and television, and helped set in motion the creation of eastern Canada's first Sikh temple in time for Guru Nanak's five hundredth birthday the following year.

Late in 1968, bearded and turbaned Yogi Bhajan went to visit a friend in Los Angeles, but ended up staying to share the teachings of Kundalini Yoga with the already longhaired members of the hippie counterculture of California and New Mexico. In effect, he had found his calling.

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PostSubject: Re: Guru Ram Das Ashram in LA   Tue Jun 10, 2008 6:46 pm

Yoga practice and philosophy is generally considered a part of Hindu culture, but Yogi Bhajan distinguished himself as a teacher and practitioner of the yoga of the Sikh gurus. This development would prove difficult to accept for many Sikhs who assumed yoga to be an unSikh practice leading to eventual absorption in the sea of pan-Hinduism.
While it proved somewhat controversial in some circles of Sikhism, Yogi Bhajan was adhering to the fundamental, empowering roots of Sikh teachings. He would often quote Bhai Gurdas to say, The Sikhs who are Yogis remain detached and wakeful in the world of attachments. (Var 29, Verse 15)
While adhering to the three pillars of Patanjali's traditional yoga system: discipline, self-awareness and self-dedication, Kundalini Yoga as taught by Yogi Bhajan does not condone extremes of asceticism or renunciation. Yogi Bhajan encouraged his students to marry, establish businesses, and be fully engaged in society. Rather than worshiping God, Yogi Bhajan insisted that his students train their mind to experience God.

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.
Yogi Bhajan became known as a master of Kundalini Yoga, but it was actually Raj Yoga, the yoga of living detached, yet fully engaged in the world that typified his life and teachings.

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PostSubject: Re: Guru Ram Das Ashram in LA   Tue Jun 10, 2008 7:50 pm

On January 5th 1969, in Los Angeles 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.


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 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.

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.
For some of the free-spirited hippies, the Yogi Bhajan's discipline was more than they could take. Others, however, took to it almost naturally. Most of them were already longhaired. Many were already vegetarian. They liked to experience elevated states of awareness. They also deeply wanted to feel they were contributing to a world of peace and social justice. Yogi Bhajan offered them all these things with vigorous yoga, an embracing holistic vision, and a spirit of sublime destiny.

By 1972, there would be over one hundred 3HO yoga ashrams mostly in the U.S., but also in Canada, Europe and Israel. Student-teachers would rise each day for a cold shower and two-and-a-half hours of yoga and meditation before sunrise. Often, they would spend the rest of the day at some "family business" be it a natural foods restaurant, or a landscaping business, or some other concern. A Sikh was supposed to earn honestly "by the sweat of their brow" and many did just that.


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PostSubject: Re: Guru Ram Das Ashram in LA   Tue Jun 10, 2008 8:44 pm

The Sadh Sangat of Sikh Dharma held its first celebration of Baisakhi in Los Angeles in April, 1970. In December of 1970, 84 Western Sikhs traveled on a yatra to India with Yogi Harbhajan Singh.
It was the greatest test of his teaching in the winter of 1970-71, when he brought an entourage of eighty-four Americans on a pilgrimage to Amritsar in India. These were American youth in their early twenties, inspired to live as Khalsa as a result of their deep respect for and aspiration to live to the example of Yogi Harbhajan Singh.
It was a hard, grueling trip. The Punjabi Sikhs had never seen Westerners in turbans before. At first, they were suspicious.


For their part, once Yogi Bhajan's students had overcome their hardships, they felt a real kinship with Sikh culture and embraced it. Twenty-six of them took vows to join the Order of Khalsa as full-fledged Sikhs.
The Sikh administration in the holy city of Amritsar was in a turmoil. Once they understood that the devotion of the Westerners was genuine, they reflected on the best way to honor Yogi Bhajan for his most unexpected harvest.
On March 3, 1971, outside the traditional seat of Sikh temporal authority Akal Takhat, Sant Fateh Singh and Sant Chanan Singh bestowed on Harbhajan Singh a ceremonial sword and a robe of honor and a unique designation. They had reasoned that Yogi Harbhajan Singh had indeed created "Singh Sahibs" (noble lions), and to continue in his work he would need a higher designation. For this reason, they gave Yogi Bhajan the unprecedented title of "great, noble lion": Siri Singh Sahib.


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PostSubject: Re: Guru Ram Das Ashram in LA   Tue Jun 10, 2008 9:52 pm

In the early 1970s, the Khalsa Sikhs of Sikh Dharma were avidly learning about the Khalsa lifestyle and growing into their Khalsa identities.


On Baisakhi Day, April 13, 1974 Sant Mihen Singh and his followers, while visiting Los Angeles, distributed Amrit to Western born Sikhs at Guru Ram Das Ashram. An Amrit Sanchar was held every year thereafter on Baisakhi in Los Angeles.
Beginning in the mid '70s, the newly formed Sikh Dharma Khalsa Council of the Western Hemisphere began to hold its annual spring meetings the week of Baisakhi in Los Angeles. The Sadh Sangat would come to Los Angeles from all parts of the world where Sikh Centers were being established: Central and South America, Canada, Europe, Africa, and Asia.

When he became a United States Citizen in 1976, Yogi Bhajan changed his name legally to Harbhajan Singh Khalsa Yogiji.

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PostSubject: Re: Guru Ram Das Ashram in LA   Tue Jun 10, 2008 10:25 pm

Guru Ram Das Ashram video:


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