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13.03.2014
The first time I saw Bhai Sahib Dyal Singh was some time in the spring of 1975, the night that I moved into Adi Shakti Ashram in West Hollywood. We got to know each other as we all lived in the ashram, went to sadhana, did seva, and went about our daily lives. As I learned Gurmukhi and kirtan and got more comfortable with all of our daily practices, Bhai Sahib told me that his favorite shabd was Arti. Instead, he coached me in the evenings after work and slowly but surely, I got better and better at it.
I did learn the Arti and played it for the Bhog after our Akand Path – and have continued to play it nearly every week since 1975. I don’t think about Bhai Sahib much since those early days, but every time I sit down to play the Arti, as soon as I touch the first note on the harmonium, he just pops into my head and I feel his presence. A loud buzzing noise intrudes into my world, literally yanking me out of the sky, where I am flying above the clouds and into the stars, and snaps me forcefully back to earth, to my little apartment on Preuss Road across from Siri Gurbani Sadan (an ashram where several families live together), and to the snug coziness of my comforter. The bracelet was made of American Indian turquoise and other semi-precious stones, set on a silver band. That bracelet holds memories of my wedding at Ladies Camp sixteen years ago, and of a friendship that ended abruptly with someone that is no more.
Being from North Italy Guru Meher Singh was a little stiff and a little shy, but soon we formed a very funny group of individuals…very strange for the typical Italian standard.
The second floor of the ashram, a 17th Century three-story building, was rented by the brother of GuruMeher Singh and his wife. It’s been six weeks since the inauguration of the True Tales blog, sharing stories of our way along the spiritual path.
Whether wea€™re telling it from the present tense or from the perspective of looking back in time, we also must deal with and contemplate: what is truth for the purpose of the story? This is all to say that we hope that the stories here will be engaging, fun, inspiring, thought provoking, and not be embarrassing to anyone.
We snap our heads to the right, adjusting ourselves ever so slightly so the only thing I see is my own shoulder and the next persona€™s body at firm attention.
Every day, the select team, those fifteen of us that got to use the parade rifles, work with Hari Singh for an additional two hours. I wrote this poem in June 2005, after a visit with Sat Dharam Kaur, who was spending her final days at home with her family. I tried to write this story from the perspective I had at the time and because of that I’ve used the names of people as they were then known.
Danny and I got married by a judge downtown on July 2, 1971, while Yogiji and everyone from the 3HO L.A. Hari Arti Kaur, who was head of the Olive Branch Ashram, still kept in touch with me, and Danny and I went down for sadhana most mornings. As it turned out, they asked me to come every Tuesday for two or three weeks, and then they asked me to come every day. One morning I saw him sitting on the hardwood floor in the hallway, with his legs stretched out in front of him, leaning back. One afternoon he was so tired, he called to me as he was entering his bedroom and said, “I am going to sleep. The garage was lit by a bulb in the ceiling and was stacked with the past of all Yogiji’s staff.
By this is meant the yogic traditions, technologies, and practical philosophies passed down since ancient times. It is also noted that most of the Guru Granth Sahib is written in Raag, and whole Guru is written in 'Naad'. There are passages of the Siri Guru Granth Sahib that are discouraging to the practice of yoga for the purpose of attaining miraculous powers. This author would like to conclude by saying yoga is a tool and not the end to the means of finding God. There were a few of us who were blessed to live with him and share our daily lives at Adi Shakti Ashram in Los Angeles. But I would look at him acting all silly with everyone and he seemed so very young and innocent to me.
I remember one time I hid the transliteration behind the Gurmukhi words to the Arti so I could cheat. You know, when there is a profound experience in your life, the memory of it is so clear, like it just happened and you can remember every detail.
I hope that we can keep sharing all of these stories and remember him and be inspired by his innocence and pure love for the Guru – he was our Bhai Sahib and the kid brother I never had.
Har Pal Singh and Har Pal Kaur bought it at the after-Solstice Bazaar in Espanola in 1988 as a gift for my wedding. I flash back to my life 26 years ago, at Guru Ram Das Ashram in Via degli Spagnoli in Rome, near the Pantheon. After taking some classes at the Ashram I was completely sold into the idea of living there, doing sadhana every day, karma yoga and learning to be a vegetarian. He was very sick, so I left a message and a photo of myself and my baby, whom he had never met, with his secretary. Siri Ved Kaur and I are more than thrilled with the response of those who have visited the site and grateful to Guru Mustuk Singh at MrSikhnet who was generous enough to share True Tales with his readers.
Wea€™ve found that writing a story in the present tense is an effective way to go back to the feelings and perceptions that we had at the time, how ever long ago. We want to write an engaging story, and of course not all of the dialog and details are exactly remembered. We are to line up by height and I think I should be before Prem Siri Kaur but her turban is such a smokestack it makes her about an inch taller than me.
In parade stance, with my feet firmly planted, shoulder width apart I hold the rifle with both hands diagonally across my chest.


At attention, we all listen as he praises my steadfastness, my focus, and how I caused the gangster, low riders to retreat since they knew they had no chance against a strong Khalsa woman.
I was very much feeling the loss that day and still struggled with the flood of emotion I knew would come if I allowed the tears flow. I lived there for four months, doing sadhana every day and taking at least one yoga class a day. She called me one morning to say that they needed help over at the Phyllis House (where Yogiji lived). He raised his legs up and held his arms out parallel, doing a sort of push pull with his legs, holding the posture. His secretary Susan had boxes of old stuff, clothes, old jeans that she was saving just in case they ever fit again, record albums, furniture, God knows what. I stepped into the bedroom, still filled with his presence, and laid myself down on the bed where he had slept, and stretched my arms up in the same place where his had stretched, closed my eyes, and tried to imagine what it would feel like to be him, in that blissful space, and I found myself drifting away with these thoughts. Siri Singh Sahib ji came to America to teach yoga with a bold mission statement "I am here to create teachers, not students". It is a combination of yogic poses, mantras (chants), breathing techniques, mudras (hand positions), mental focus points, and exercises.
He was known for visiting schools of yoga as a guest and subsequently teaching the teacher something. One can easily be led astray by doing anything out of ego, including things the Guru's practiced such as charity, righteous action, sermons, and taking vows. He was standing in the doorway and he said that he had signed up to read in the Akand Path from midnight until 1:00 AM and he still was not packed. I still have it, even though I don’t wear it that often, as it is missing a stone… it looks toothless!
Paolo was a Gemini and wanted very much to try the mysterious and powerful sadhana, but had to compromise with his wife.
He wrote me back that he was so happy for me, that I looked very happy holding my beautiful baby, GuruFateh Singh. Ita€™s easier to remember dialog, sights, smells, sounds, the environment, and other details that bring a story to life. Sometimes memories of different events that occurred around the same period of time start blending together.
We want to give the full picture and show the highs and the lows, and the thread of Gurua€™s Grace that has brought us through everything along the way. Only fifteen ladies from the whole camp will work with Hari Singh for hours each day, learning tight maneuvers and fancy steps, how to follow orders on the clip, turn on a dime, and handle those beautiful white parade rifles.
I look straight ahead, focused on the horizon, down the street towards the intersection with the highway. We will probably have more writings on Sat Dharam Kaur and other beloved souls who have touched our lives and gone. I looked up into the sky and felt the blessing of the rain upon my face; the heavens shedding the tears I cannot. Then, when everyone returned and Yogiji was back from his summer travels we got married again, along with three other couples; this time by Yogiji. There he was, standing in the doorway, his hands pressed up on either side, standing over me!
He began teaching Kundalini Yoga when he arrived in the United States because he saw the state of condition of the people.
As the Siri Singh Sahib said, the teachings have been tried and tested by, "the sages of the ages". Because of all of it's aspects it is the quickest way to get the effects of a yogic practice.
History tells of Baba Siri Chand bowing to Guru Ram Das on behalf of himself and all the schools of yoga. There are also accounts of Guru Gobind Singh practicing yoga, and passages in the Sarb Loh Granth describing some of his own yogic practices.
The purpose of yoga is to prepare your body and mind for the powerful energy of Shabad Guru, which is a yoga in itself.
I’ve been going to school two nights a week at UCLA Extension and just finished the graphic design program.
After spending eight years in the USA pretending to study at the College, but mostly doing kundalini yoga with Yogi Bhajan, he was sent by il Maestro with a mission: go to Rome and open an ashram so that people can experience kundalini yoga and do sadhana. If you are one of those people we encourage you to do so, and further to share it with your family, your friends, and if you’re willing, send us a copy to post on True Tales.
Maybe someone else who was there will disagree with the chronology, or remember the event differently. Every morning after sadhana, for the first week of camp, all the ladies march in formation to the call of Hari Singha€™s cadence. I dona€™t really get much out of the discussion groups with the other ladies either, they are always talking about how their husband does this, or their husband does that.
A few years later in 1987, I met and married Gurujodha Singh, and that’s another story (soon to come).
Once married, it was just the two of us, way up on a hilltop in Laurel Canyon, in a little studio apartment under his parents’ home, surrounded by trees and greenery, with his parents upstairs. I’d been to his UCLA Extension classes at the ashram on Melrose, taken a White Tantric Yoga course in the Spring and then, of course, he married Danny and me.
In that same hallway sometimes he would stand on one end, and I on the other, and we would stretch and roll his turban. Kundalini Yoga is the most powerful form of yoga and is often wrongfully thought of as dangerous.
As you may have guessed the sole purpose of Kundalini yoga as taught by Harbhajan Singh Yogi is to help people grow to live happy, healthy, and holy lives.


Guru Gobind Singh found a way to utilize the power of Naad when he installed the Khalsa with the practice of reading banis daily.
The Siri Guru Granth Sahib describes to do this kriya inhale your breath through the left nostril, hold the breath and chant 'Waheguru' 16 times and then exhale the breath through the right nostril. For the last year I have kept my waking hours so full that I allowed barely a moment for the Universe to speak to me and none at all for my Self to listen. When GuruMeher Singh would arise in the amrit vela he tugged the string and woke his brother without disturbing his wife.
We also realized that the tales told here were a part of a larger one, the voyage of our souls from individual to group to universal consciousness. For instance, Siri Atmaa€™s story about KWTC Drill Team in 1978, when she was 12 years old, and my story about serving Yogiji at the Phyllis house in 1971 when I was barely 19, were both written in this way. All the more reason for more people to write their storiesa€¦ so we can have a more well-rounded view! But sometimes the subject matter is so personal that the writer may not really wish to publish it here.
The Siri Singh Sahib says we should master this marching to get our minds disciplined and clear so we can follow orders precisely, without hesitation. She came out and joined me under my umbrella, helping me to adjust one of the tips that had come loose.
I was really not much help with this, since I had never done it before, but he didn’t complain or make me do it over. Quickly sitting up, I was half awake, half in dream, half in shock that he had caught me napping and was trying to understand what he was saying to me. In other forms of yoga a serious practitioner would devote his whole life to his practice, and if serious there was little time to spend on anything else.
When Bhai Sahib was done, he sat with me and explained sukhasan and prakash (the opening and presentation of the Siri Guru Granth Sahib).
While wea€™ve learned from these difficult experiences (and this includes things like divorce, relationships, challenges with other people, and other traumas) and the lessons are clear in the stories, wea€™re not necessarily inclined to hang out our dirty laundry in a public blog (even if wea€™ve cleaned up our act now). It feels so great to know that Ia€™m looking good with my Khalsa sisters, so beautiful in our white bana, standing tall like soldier saints.
Our eyes connected…with a knowing, a shared pain, and so many years together on this path.
I stayed up in Laurel Canyon, playing house, playing the guitar, playing with Pookie our Siamese kitty, alone with the fungus growing under the sink, in an ex-bachelor pad with no furniture, half under the ground, hardly a window, and the smell of old plumbing. 3HO launched the first program of its kind called Teachers Training, which is an intensive designed to grant its participants with a certificate to teach kundalini yoga upon completion.
A serious Kundalini yoga practitioner is encouraged to spend 1-2 hours a day, and thus it becomes practical for common working people. I had just started attending Sunday gurdwara, but we were still using the 8-volume set of the Guru (with English translation). We want to avoid sugar coating anything, and at the same time do this without venting or being mean spirited. I hear them groan and moan about the forced marches, sometimes at double time, up Shady Lane and down the dirt road from the ashram, over the dead frogs squashed by the tractor and through clouds of red dust. One day, Hari Singh has us marching up and down Shady Lane, even though it was the middle of the day, (not early morning after Sadhana, when there arena€™t any cars). Sometimes he came into the kitchen and made something or showed me how to make a dish he wanted. I can still remember the feeling of love and light that flooded that room, which turned out to be a small, beautiful gurdwara.
I go to the beach to enjoy a sunset by myself and ignore that whining little voice in me that bemoans its loneliness, begging for a daddy, a husband, a man, something male that it must have.
Instead, we want to present it as we experienced it, and let you come to your own opinion and feelings about what occurred. His sister was visiting for a while, and she showed me how to make a really, really delicious lentil soup called dal. It was like he was talking to a part of me that was not on the surface and no matter how hard I tried I could not hold on to the meaning of his words. 3HO is the organization Siri Singh Sahib created to organize, maintain, and spread 'The Teachings'.
For the writers and readers of True Tales we only desire that you come with an open mind and heart. I revel that I can do this; that I can push through the heat, the sweat, the exhaustion, and the challenge. After what seems like an eternity the purple car backs up, does a quick U-turn and speeds out of there leaving a cloud of dust. It was obvious to me at this first encounter that this was a man who truly loved being a Sikh.
I also answered the door, answered the phone, took messages, and was available for Yogiji if he needed anything at all. The phone always seemed to be ringing, either the pay phone in the kitchen, or his private line, and he took every single call, even when he was in the bathroom.
Maybe thata€™s why they dona€™t like it, because they have to take orders from a man during these sacred, women-only weeks.



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