By Hari Kaur Khalsa, New York, USA
In our heart of hearts we all long for peace—a deep longing for personal peace of mind and a collective longing for peace in our communities, in our nations, and in the world.
Yogi Bhajan understood this, and he also recognized that conflict is not just external but is often present in the deepest parts of our minds. He spent his life teaching how to meet the challenges of conflict and how stand for truth and develop lasting peace within our hearts and in our world. Yogi Bhajan’s life was an action for peace.
In order to find peace, each person must find the truth. Kundalini Yoga and Sikh Dharma are living paths of truth, living technologies to make the shadow visible, to heal the inner anger and conquer fear, to bring the human to the heights of awareness, to experience and act from reality and truth. Peace is an experience of truth in action; personal, cultural, and universal truth is a living concept—Sat Nam—our very essence and identity is truth.
Your personal yoga practice is the greatest vehicle to help bring peace to this troubled planet. You must start with yourself. This is the heart of Yogi Bhajan’s teachings. Start by finding peace of mind. Through that peace of mind, the awareness of universal truth will shine, reality will not be a mystery to you, and conflict will not disturb you. When conflict does not disturb you, fear dissolves and courage reigns. With unflinching courage you walk a path of truth, you become a living truth, and your presence will illuminate the path toward resolution and peace.
Yogi Bhajan taught us to fight for this inner peace every day by applying the pressure of sadhana and never giving up on ourselves or on each other. To “fight for peace” is the paradox of our existence. Understanding this paradox—to stand for truth and peace in the presence of fear and conflict—leads to the courage that Yogi Bhajan asked us to find in ourselves.
Amidst a world of conflict Yogi Bhajan stood for truth and acted for peace:
- In 1986 Yogi Bhajan established the first International Peace Prayer Day, a day for people of different faiths to collectively pray for world peace. June 19, 2010 was the 25th anniversary of this event for peace.
- He worked side-by-side with the Dalai Lama and the Archbishop of Canterbury to foster world peace.
- In 1969 Yogi Bhajan formed 3HO NGO in service to the United Nations’ work for peace in this world. 3HO supports the goals and work of the United Nations through sharing the technology of living a healthy, happy, and holy lifestyle.
- In 1995 he received the Courage of Conscience Award from the Peace Abby in Sherborn, Massachusetts.
- In 1999, at the 300th anniversary of the founding of the Order of Khalsa in Anandpur Sahib, India, Yogi Bhajan was awarded another rare honorific, the title "Panth Rattan"—Jewel of the Sikh nation.
- At his passing, Yogi Bhajan joined a select few: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Mother Theresa, and Pope John Paul II when members of the United States Congress passed a bipartisan resolution honoring his life and work, "an individual who was a wise teacher and mentor, an outstanding pioneer, a champion of peace, and a compassionate human being.”
- In April 2005, New Mexico Highway 106 was renamed the Yogi Bhajan Memorial Highway.Yogi Bhajan has transformed thousands of people’s individual lives through his teaching of Kundalini Yoga and Sikh Dharma worldwide.
Yogi Bhajan was a devoted teacher, leader, husband, father, and living truth. He was a galaxy of love in a world of confusion and conflict. His very presence cut through the pain of this world and he was a lighthouse for all. He worked tirelessly to uplift people towards their personal inner peace.
Using yoga and meditation, he confronted us so that we could see the truth about ourselves—our shadow and our light. And he accomplished this with compassion, always reminded of the words of the Shabd Guru: See the faults of others and choose to unsee them. He had that rare ability to see the light in all, to expand that light in all, and to stand for that light.
In honor of our beloved guide and teacher, let’s create actions toward peace today. What actions can you do that will bring more peace to your mind, your relationships, your life, your community, your world? What can you do right now that will help the light of peace shine on your face and guide others toward that enlightenment? Act now, from the truth, and honor our teacher. Through your courage, through bringing hope, through kindness, through your grace, become a light of peace today.
Give me within me the purity and piety, values and virtues.
Give me compassion and make me kind, always to serve.
May I prevail like Thee, all around, everywhere.
Give me the essential features in my character so I can understand Thee and Thy Universe.
Make me so peaceful and kind that I may not disturb anyone for any reason.
Oh Lord, my Creator!
Oh Lord, my Consciousness!
Oh Lord, my Love!
Make me the best of me.
Yogi Bhajan, Dec. 4, 1999, Cape Town, South Africa
Hari Kaur Khalsa directs and teaches Kundalini Yoga Classes and Teacher Trainings, Level 1 and Level 2, in the U.S. and abroad. She is founder of Village Yoga (yoga classes in the beautiful sanctuary of St. John’s Church) in partnership with Pastor Lyndon Harris. Hari and Lyndon Harris work together to bring healing and arts to the West Village in NYC and create breakthrough paradigms for yoga classes in sacred spaces in NYC and beyond. Married to jazz musician Dave Frank, Hari and Dave make their home in New York City, bringing music and yoga to uplift the spirit. Hari is co-author of A Woman's Book of Yoga: Embracing Our Natural Life Cycles (Penguin 2002) and author of A Woman's Book of Meditation: Discovering the Power of a Peaceful Mind (Penguin 2006). www.reachhari.com