“You should make yourself so happy, that by looking at you, other people become happy.” Yogi Bhajan
Yogi Bhajan, a Master of Kundalini Yoga by the age of 16 (iitself a rare feat), gave his first lecture at a Los Angeles high school gym on January 5, 1969. Then a 39-year-old recent emigre from India, he left behind a government career in order to realize the vision of bringing Kundalini Yoga to the West. No matter that not a single person was present that evening; he came to teach and he proceeded to speak to the empty hall.
In the turbulent, drug culture of the 60’s, Yogi Bhajan first reached out to the youth. He recognized their experimentation with drugs and “altered states of consciousness” expressed a deeper desire to experience a holistic, liberating sense of awareness and a longing for family, for connection with themselves and one another. Soon realizing that pharmaceuticals provided, at best, a cheap imitation to the peaceful, inner euphoria they could get naturally from Kundalini Yoga, and at worst, had debilitating physical and mental side effects, young people began flocking to his classes, arriving by the busloads. He created a family, known as 3HO (Healthy, Happy, Holy Organization) and soon 3HO teaching centers began springing up across the United States and throughout the world.
He sparked a movement whose many tendrils have wound their way into our culture. Yogi Bhajan blazed a trail, which today, after more than 30 years of determined effort on the part of 3HO and the Kundalini Research Institute, yoga and meditation have gained widespread acceptance in the West. This popular attention speaks not only to the proven benefits of yoga and meditation, but to the increasing public interest in spirituality and a healthy lifestyle.
Born Harbhajan Singh in what is now Pakistan, to a family of healers and community leaders, Yogi Bhajan studied comparative religion and Vedic philosophy in his undergraduate years, going onto receive his Masters in Economics with honors from Punjab University. Years later, he earned his Ph.D. in Communications Psychology from the University of Humanistic Studies in San Francisco.
He emerged as a religious, community and business leader with a distinguished reputation as a man of peace, world-vision, wisdom, and compassion. Yogi Bhajan authored and published more than 30 books on topics ranging from spirituality and consciousness to communication and psychology. He founded several food companies that manufacture and distribute natural products based on these teachings. He even fostered economic development in every community in which he participated and annually conducted business seminars. As the Siri Singh Sahib, or the Sikh leader in the Western Hemisphere, 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 to foster world peace. Yogi Bhajan died on October 6, 2004 at his home in Espanola, NM surrounded by family and friends.