Siri Singh Sahib Harbhajan Singh Khalsa Yogi Ji
Yogi Bhajan was born on August 26, 1929 into the Sikh faith in the area of Punjab, India, and was named Harbhajan Singh Puri. He was the son of a medical doctor. He spent his youth in Catholic convent schools and private schools, and when he was just eight years old he began his yogic training with an enlightened teacher, Sant Hazara Singh, who declared him to be a Master of Kundalini Yoga at the age of 16.
During the turmoil of the partition of India in 1947, Yogi Bhajan, at the age of 18, led his village of 7,000 people 325 miles on foot to safety in New Delhi, India. He soon established himself in Delhi, and, after graduating with a degree in Economics, he began service with the Indian government and married Bibi Inderjit Kaur in 1952. In September of 1968, he left India to begin teaching in North America, particularly in Canada and the United States, where he ultimately founded 3HO, now based in Espanola, New Mexico.
Yogi Bhajan and Kundalini Yoga.
Yogi Bhajan is credited with bringing the sacred and secret science of Kundalini Yoga to the public's attention. Kundalini Yoga is considered the most comprehensive of yogas, combining meditation, prayer, and physical movements, use of sacred sound, or mantras, and breathing exercises. "Kundalini" literally means "the curl of the lock of hair of the beloved." This metaphor is said to allude to the flow of energy and consciousness that exists within each individual, and enables individuals to merge with the universe and with their authentic self. Practitioners of yoga believe that fusing individual and universal consciousness creates a divine union, called "yoga." The Upanishads – the Hindu religion's sacred scriptures – describe and recognize the existence and practice of Kundalini Yoga in the 5th Century B.C. Because of the oral tradition associated with Kundalini Yoga, practitioners believe that it reaches back even further into history. For thousands of years, this sacred science and technology was veiled in secrecy, passed along verbally from master to chosen disciple.
Yogi Bhajan's actions of bringing Kundalini Yoga to North America broke the centuries-old tradition of secrecy surrounding the science of Kundalini Yoga by teaching Kundalini Yoga publicly. During the late 1960s and early 1970s, Yogi Bhajan's efforts to teach Kundalini Yoga and meditation offered an effective alternative to the prevailing drug-based culture facing many youths and young adults in North America at that time. Thousands of youth of that generation successfully stopped recreational drug use and substance abuse. Yogi Bhajan recognized that their experimentation with drugs and altered states of consciousness expressed a deeper desire to experience a holistic, liberating sense of awareness. Yogi Bhajan traveled extensively in the 1970s and 1980s to educate, uplift, and enlighten everyone he met through Kundalini Yoga and the tenets of 3HO's (happy, healthy and holy) lifestyle.
In addition to his efforts with 3HO, Yogi Bhajan was an ardent advocate of world peace and religious unity. Yogi Bhajan was recognized as the "Siri Singh Sahib", or the Sikh leader in the Western Hemisphere. The title "Siri Singh Sahib" was bestowed on Yogi Bhajan by Sikh authorities in Amritsar, India – the spiritual home of the Sikh religion, which is currently estimated to be the 5th largest organized world religion with a following of approximately 23 million. During his lifetime, he met with world leaders of all faiths to encourage dialog, including Pope Paul VI, Pope John Paul II, the Dalai Lama, two Archbishops of Canterbury, and other notable spiritual and secular leaders.
Yogi Bhajan authored and published more than 30 books on topics ranging from spirituality and consciousness to communication and psychology. He also founded several food companies that manufacture and distribute natural products based on these teachings.
Yogi Bhajan passed away on October 6, 2004 at the age of 75. Despite Yogi Bhajan's passing, his teachings continue throughout the world. Currently, it is estimated that there are approximately 300 3HO-associated centers or foundations operating in 35 countries.