|By Arthur Kegerreis (Librlart) on Monday, August 26, 2002 - 06:59 pm:|
So, today is Yogi Bhajan's 73rd Birthday. Until
he brought Kundalini Yoga to the USA in 1969, it hadn't been taught publicly
for ages. He began teaching it because he saw the "drug induced hippie craziness"
of the 60's and knew that it would take something as intense as kundalini
yoga to reach "these American kids". For years it was forbidden to teach
kundalini yoga, and legend had it that the person who taught it publicly would
die. In fact, Yogi Bhajan did become very sick after he began teaching it, however
it is said that he was healed by his guru, Guru Ram Das, the healing guru.
This morning we did the crazy birthday thing; all over the world, people chanted for 2-1/2 hours at exactly the same time. Mind you, they didn't all chant the same thing. (I can't quite figger THAT one out.)
We chanted "Ek Ong Kar, Sat Nam, Siri, Wahe Guru" for 2-1/2 hours at Golden Bridge. We started at 3AM and ended at 6:30AM. I know, I know. Those of you who are more mathematically inclined - or those of you with more than one brain cell left & who bothered to read this post - are thinking, "That doesn't add up..."
Well, we did a chant for Yogi Bhajan's Guru, Guru Ram Das, the guru of healing, before we started chanting the long chant. Then we did a yoga set. Then we started chanting, with 5 leaders switching off every 30 minutes.
For those of you who are interested or infinitely amused by this, I'll let you know the translation: "There is One Creator who has created all, whose identity is absolute infinite truth. Whose wisdom is infinitely beyond words!" Or another translation: "One Creator creating this creation. Truth is The Name. Great beyond description is The Infinite Wisdom."
The Sikhs believe that by chanting God's name, they are united with his (or her) wisdom and insight, and they do this by reproducing the exact same sounds that their first guru's made. These sounds stimulate acupressure points in the roof of the mouth; in fact the entire Gurmukhi language and the Sikh book, the "Siri Guru Granth Sahib," serve solely to elevate consciousness through the sound vibration ("naad") of the chanting Sikh.
Sikhs cover their heads with turbans for many reasons; one is supposed to be that the turban helps give your cranial bones a slight adjustment. Another is supposed to be that it aids meditation. Covering the head helps contain the heat and kundalini energy, helping it circulate inside the body instead of being lost through the crown of the head.
I was skeptical too. But I did this chant without a head covering, for 2-1/2 hours a couple of years ago. I'd read some rather fantastic claims as to what it could achieve. The next day all I had was a fantastic headache that wouldn't go away, and I was living a good distance from the yoga centers then. I came down to them to find out what might be the cause of the headaches, and someone suggested it might have been eating meat.
Today Gurmukh's husband, Gurushabd, said at the beginning of this meditation; "Particularly with this meditation, if you don't cover your head, instead of leaving blissed out, you'll leave with an awful headache."
BTW, my head was covered today and I didn't have a headache. Although I didn't have a buffallo burger yesterday either.
Yogi Bhajan was good friends with several other yogis who founded several of the larger yoga schools in the USA. One was Swami Satchidananda, who "left his body" this past August 18th. Swami Satchidananda founded Integral Yoga. They say that people of such highly developed spiritual nature can choose where their spirit goes when they die, unlike many of the rest of us, whose spirits get stuck or lost as they depart from their current body.
One of Gurmukh's favorite stories is about meeting a very old Indian Saint, when he came to visit Yogi Bhajan. The saint asked Yogi Bhajan to teach him kundalini yoga. He tried for a while, and finally said, "It is no use. You are too old." Shortly thereafter, the saint died. Within a short time, Gurmukh was with Yogi Bhajan when they met a baby. Yogi Bhajan said, "It is him - he has reincarnated in the baby's body." The baby had many mannerisms of the old man, and developed many of the same speech idiosyncracies. This baby went on to learn kundalini yoga and is now an advanced yogi. Gurmukh says that's the only time she met one person in two bodies.
Anyway, Yogi Bhajan's health is not terribly good anymore; he had a kidney transplant last year, and cannot really handle many visitors. He taught yoga classes at summer solstice in NM a year ago; this was unusual, because he has mostly focused on teaching meditations for the last ten years, letting his students do the yoga teaching now.
Yogi Bhajan has always said that he doesn't want followers; he wants to train teachers, to keep the yoga alive.
He is also the Mahan Tantric, of which there is only one alive on the planet at any time. The Mahan Tantric facilitates White Tantric Yoga sessions, where hundreds (or thousands, at summer solstice in NM) of people sit opposite each other and do meditations which channel tantric energy through the group to heal the planet. This is not to be confused with black or red tantric yoga or energy, which are used to manipulate others or for sexual purposes, respectively. But that's a whole 'nother conversation, and you didn't ask anyway.
So, Happy B-day, Yogiji.