You may be firm with the psychological term “alter-ego”, but there is an aspect I see which seems not to be recognised too often:
The alter-ego of any winner are the losers s/he did need in order to succeed.
Same applies to anyone claiming the astrological sun-aspect for themselves (which is often taught in 3HO. (This did suit the “american dream” or “reinventing” oneself and “help yourself then god will help you”.)
However, when there is an overbearing and ever gloating member in your circle of friends or your family you usually end up being the one pushed down the gutter of marginalisation for not being able to live up to it. And this is why there are quite a few frustrated enemies of 3HO out there who were used, pushed aside, or their realm (like the Sikh religion for example) was claimed by 3HO.
But you may be surprised that not the dark sides of Yogi Bhajan are adressed here, but a huge lost opportunity which did nullify much of what could have been accomplished.
It is about what was written in this previously reblogged article, or Turning Yogis into Khalsa Sikhs (as found on thefullwiki.org):
Yogi Bhajan in his own words:
“Religion has done the worst. What religion has done is to create the mental coercive state of slaves. Religion didn’t do something to free somebody. It didn’t say: “Go ahead and be!”
So he exactly saw and knew what kind of disasters were and are created in the names of religion – from crusades up to todays terrorism, from the Israel-Palestine-conflict up to the plenty of wars which today are held in the disguise in religion – he knew it and saw it clearly! Yet he continued to precede to contribute towards this problem. This in my eyes is terrible and like someone without even the excuse of having another belief or being in ignorance continues to damage people all for the sake of his own benefit.
It’s like some of the senior 3HO teachers recognising how our earth is destructed but still continue to create huge ecological footprints by flying over to India in the morning, lecturing there, and flying back in the same evening in order to avoid a jetlag. Do they really think that a Westerners lectures on yoga are the only valuable ones in India?
Harbhajan Singh Khalsa (Yogi Bhajan) btw, used his extensive flights around the globe (all as a first class VIP with special treatments) to excuse the fact that he – despite knowing all those health-promoting yoga-exercises: – got a heart disease which made him – the teacher of prana – require a protective respirator.
(And I don’t say this out of spite, but simply to scale his fruits with the many healthclaims of Kundalini-Yoga practicioners.)
When I came to the United States and I became a Sikh and all that, religion was forced on us. You know I am very anti-religion and I studied all the religions. I know all the loopholes. And I have studied every religion.
So by the “country of the free” he felt pushed into a position in which the US-laws of “religious freedom” would give him most power (to become a Minister), and also the freedom (to also get green-cards of foreigners). He opportunistically “used the force” – and here is how he did it:
“I said to myself, ‘Why we have to be Sikhs? What nonsense is this? Forget it!’ Then I looked at myself and said, ‘Wait a minute. There is one way to do it: Give them Baanaa (Distinctive and Gracious Attire). Give them Baanee (Songs of Self-counsel and Inspiration). Give them Seva (A Culture of Service). Give them Simran (Remembrance of the Self in Totality). Put them out in the market. And if by self-awareness they can survive, they will automatically become intuitive.’
“I took a very calculated risk. I said, ‘No Sikhs. I don’t want to have Sikhs. Sikhs for what?’ But I said, ‘If they can stand under 250 million Americans, totally living differently, dealing differently, not saying “Hello” but saying “Sat Nam”, let us see what happens.’
“Well, some people came out really great. And it’s true if you get into yourself in totality, you will have reality.”
“Calculated risk” are the keywords here: It seems that he knew the tricks of giving Americans what they liked in order to make them oblivious for the fact that he threw them out of the frying pan of orthodox Christianity into the fire of breath (and the next religion.
He therewith did miss the probably biggest opportunity to loosen spirituality from its religious chains and therewith really create a “new age” just as it is done in Auroville for example.
Facts are that:
- Original Sikhism as such does not promote yoga – something many orthodox Sikhs are now angered about when they are overflooded by 3HO instead of Sikh websites;
- Sikhism also does not call to wear all white – their rule actually is to wear white underwear which is why traditional Sikhs wear all kinds of coloured clothes and turbans.
- Kundalini Yoga first was mentioned first around the year 700 and therewith is by no means thousands of years old; (source: https://youtu.be/Zwzt9XtSq5Q )
Yes, the vedic or tantric roots are, but that should be distinguished properly in order to avoid confusion.
- What Yogi Bhajan taught is NOT traditional Kundalini Yoga, but a mixture of Yoga he learned from his Hindu-Yoga teacher or mere Tantric teachings – teachings which originally was not at all connected to the overly rigid lifestyle he did attach to it. (source: http://yogamag.net/archives/2007/cmar07/tamin.shtml )
In fact there is no other source to his kriyas than Yogi Bhajan’s. Something which should make one suspicious about the originality of such exercises.
What first started as a cultural imposition on behalf of Yogi Bhajan, did end as a cultural appropriation by non-indian members of their self-created Sikh-branch.
Step back for a second and look how many white Western people, how many black members and how many Indian Sikhs are in 3HO. I only so far saw 3 not-all-white people and no Indian whatsoever. (And I am saying this being white myself, btw.)
Doesn’t that make you suspicious that no single Indian Sikh ever joined 3HO?
I saw him coming over to Great Britain, holding a lecture in two original Sikh Gurdwaras and since I drove them around in London for a week, I did what 3HO did – rushed into the religious ceremony – us white dressed paler than pale people standing out – then waiting until he held his speech – and then leaving in the midst of this ceremony in a fashion which might be common in India but considered to be respectless in the West.
He then would could sit in an separate room with religious leaders whilst the common Indian Sikhs ate down in the hall (where I also ate out of embarrassment of 3HO’s elitism.
If I was cynical I even could draw a comparison to a German national leader in my grandfathers times who also came from another nation, was dark haired, used ancient Indian wisdom and spirituality to worldly enforce changes, and denied half of is own past in order to lead people who were not of his liking.
But a nicer comparison would be that to Einstein, Heisenberg and Bohr which at the same time discussed the uncertainty relations. Einstein could not endorse it because he said: “That God would choose to play dice with the world is something I cannot believe.”
And therewith Einstein held back science as much as Yogi Bhajan held back the human spiritual liberation by not having been ready to disassociate spiritual self-realization from religion.
Recently a huge doubt came up when I did watch the above recommended discourse about Kundalini Yoga and it was said that the Kundalini energy would connect one to one lineage by uncoiling. It then dawned upon me that there is something else going on which we as practitioners of his ways are sucked into without even being aware of it:
We are “tuned in” (by the means of the “tuning in” with “Ong Namo Guru Dev Namo”) to the Sikh lineage, which undoubtedly acts as a constructive mind-calmer, but also sets us of into the direction of his lineage which by birth never was ours to begin with.
This made the tune-out song “may the longtime sun shine upon you…” seem like one of those Tibetan monks chanting under the black sun in the Third Reich.
Maybe – only maybe – my tremendous troubles which came up when doing Sodarshan Chakra Kriya were (& are) not all related to my own bad Karma being washed out, but partly due to the fact that
- just like in this game where a child is blindfolded, spinned around –
we are actually set into a total different direction than the biography we were on beforehand.
I am not certain whether a Guru-worship will give the Guru power beyond his death, but most certainly people are conditioned to experience visions of the saints and teachers of the lineage they were conditioned to. Hence abrahamic saints may see Jesus, followers of Yogananda may have contact with Mahavatar and Hindus may have visions of one their thousands of sub-divisions of the OM.
So I did ask a senior yoga practitioner from the before mentioned Auroville if this could mean trouble,
and I want to share the wise answer from this seasoned man with you below: (If anyone wants to be connected to JV from Auroville just contact me, and I will forward your mail or comment to him).
“In my opinion, spirituality needs to be distinguished from religion. Though religion may be rooted in spirituality, it diverged form the core axioms, principles and goals of spirituality. For example, One-ness is a core axiom of spatiality but religion are divisive.
Yoga is essentially a practice-based approach to spirituality, the goals being Self-realization and Union with the One. At a more understandable level, it is the alignment and integration of the 5 koshas (sheaths) of Human Being.
Anna-maya Kosha ( physical or food-based sheath)
Prana-maya Kosha ( Energy sheath)
Mano-maya Kosha (mind)
Gnana-maya Kosha (wisdom)
Ananda-maya Kosha (Bliss)
Kundalini Yoga is one branch of Yoga. Once you make some progress, who you were in the past doesn’t matter because you are moving towards One-ness. So, in my opinion, Yoga is open to all. Familial, social, religious and cultural conditioning will be of no consequence as you proceed in your journey.”
JV from Auroville
This gave me great comfort and reminded me
of Adyashanti’s analogy in his talk “the welcome mat” that
“Religions are like welcome mats which should guide us as into our own home,
but unfortunately most people get stuck on worshipping the mat itself
instead of entering through it into the realm of their own divine self.”
And in the book “Trailanga Swami and Shankari Mataji” in the preface (p.9) is a quote from a kriyayogi about the woman – who supposedly influenced Paramhansa, Ramakrishnadev and Vivekanda:
“Shankari Ma in my opinion is not a follower of Bhakti Yoga, but is trying to solve the problem of life through complete surrender of the self to the Guru, not blindly, but with a rationalistic analysis of the problems of our lifes in its various aspects, believing that religion is an individual problem.”
previous: < part 4: his dark sides next part 6: my week with Yogi Bhajan