Yoga – Teachers – Leaders – Sikhi


It seems that whenever I get sick I have a lot of time to think about life or whatever is on my mind. As I usually do, I write down those thoughts and share them with you all. There is something positive for me that comes with feeling terrible, and lying sick in bed. I am now at the tail end of being sick and starting to feel more normal so am able to write down my thoughts.

Even since I started SikhNet I have felt a pressure from some of the Sikh community about being a Sikh. There has always been this feeling of "us and them" because of the differences of our origins as Sikhs. After receiving so much negativity from people I am normally hesitant to post "too many" lectures/articles by Siri Singh Sahib. I think that most people don’t realize the impact that the Siri Singh Sahib had on myself and countless others who have grown to become Sikhs and are not originally from India. He shared the teachings of the Gurus, taught on just about every aspect of life, and these teachings are what have inspired so many to have healthier, happier and holier lives. Already a few generations have grown up under his guidance and leadership.

He was unique in that he was able to connect and reach out to people of many different cultures in a way that had not been done before. He is no longer here in body but the teachings that he shared throughout his lifetime are still alive in all those that he taught, and are what I share with you on this blog.

 He used to always say… "Don’t love me… love the teachings" …. or…. "I have not come to get students, but to create teachers for tomorow".

Another one of his messages which is a constant reminder to me, and check for myself in not letting ego take hold when you serve others. 

"A teacher is not a person. He is like a water pipe. A pipe brings water to you; pipe is not water, water is not pipe. They are just media. Teacher is a medium of teaching. It is the teaching which you live, not the teacher."

The thing is that it was never about HIM. It was about sharing the Guru’s light with others, and helping people to see the inner light which is inside us all. Ultimately the Guru can work through all of us. For whatever reason Guruji guided the Siri Singh Sahib to come to the west (America/Canada) and start teaching about living healthy, happy and holy lives.

One thing I see often is that people have a tendency to judge something if it is unfamiliar or different. Last week Shakta Kaur who is an author of a few great books on Kundalini Yoga (and teaches yoga for children) was invited to talk on a very popular talk radio show. This was a live one hour radio call in show on ABC with Alan Colmes. It was a debate about Christianity and Teaching Yoga to kids in school. These days many schools in America are offering children the option to do Yoga (mostly as an after school activity). One particular Christian priest wrote a book about how Yoga is the "Anti-Christ" and was on the radio show as part of the debate. He was very against Yoga and thought that it was religious and took people away from Christianity. As I listened to the dialog I realized how ignorant he was, and how he really had no inkling of understanding of Yoga. (You can listen to the whole debate if you are interested)

Why am I telling you this? I realized that this is a very similar situation of what I see happen with some Sikhs when relating to Yoga. They already have this set impression in their mind that Yoga = Bad (or against Sikhi). Or that Yoga = Hinduism, when in fact Kundalini Yoga is not of any particular religion and pre-dates even Hinduism. Of course one doesn’t have to practice Yoga to be a good person or a Sikh. It is merely a tool that one can use to help in the journey. There are many tools that God has given us and many paths to travel on. I just feel that people’s pre-judgments and mis-understandings limit themselves and slow them on their path. Sometimes you have to allow yourself to experience something for yourself. In the end we have to live our life and journey the path as best we can for our own self (not for someone else). So if something that I do or share with you on this blog doesn’t feel right for you, then by all means dis-regard it. That is your choice. Just don’t judge it or assume that someone else can’t benefit from it just because you didn’t.

The problem with religion is that everyone has their own path, and many feel that their way is the BETTER or ONLY WAY. As a result people fight within religions and between religions. If only we could all see the light and common thread the flows between all of us and focus more on that (rather than the differences). 

I realize now that all this thinking/writing is more for me to process it all and feel that I should not limit what I share because of other people’s prejudice or opinions. I know there will always be people that disagree with things, but such is life. Life is full of variety. One cannot expect everyone to have the same perspective.

I think one of the points in this all is to not focus so much on the person/personality conveying the message; but to look at what is being taught (which is what is important). Sometimes the judgment of the personality clouds your vision and you fail to even see what is being taught or conveyed. It reminds me of a person who is arguing with someone, and is so set in what he thinks that no matter what the other person says he will never change his mind. This person doesn’t even hear what the other person has to say.

May God Bless us all to challenge ourself to connect with our higher self, uplift ourselves and humanity, so that the world will be a better place. Wahe Guru!

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21 Responses to “Yoga – Teachers – Leaders – Sikhi”

  1. WGJKK, WGJKF

    Gurumustuk Singhji,

    I do agree with what you have said in the post. but I think the peoples reaction toward western singhs is not because of the difference in origin but its more due the religious envy. When they see you they feel jealous because even though they are born Sikh to sikh parents most of them are not even 1/3rd the sikh you are. SO they end up showing their grudges and ignorance. They should be on the other hand be thankful to Siri Singh Sahib for being able to show others the path of the Guru and to the western sikh (I am sorry but I don’t like using this term, cos a Sikh is a Sikh he cant be western or eastern. According to our Gurus “Manas ki jaat Sabhai, Ekay Pehchaan bo”). so we dare not start discriminating among our own family. I consider Sikh in the West as Role Models for the current generation of Sikhs who have disregarded the teachings of the Gurus and for the generations to come.

    I just pray to the Guru and almighty Waheguru to bless us all with the Wisdom of oneness and Harmony.

    Jasvinder Singh

  2. Shalu Mata says:

    Hi Gurumustak,
    The people out there who criticize, create differences and think that they are true upholders of Sikhism and can’t see/understand what legacy Yogi Bhajan has left behind in the form of true, abiding Gursikhs irrespective of their color and creed are completely ignorant.People who are so engrossed in the play of their petty minds and have forgotten what truth is and what really matters; their opinion, criticism, views should not matter at all.They are of no significance.Waheguru bless Sikhs like you who are embracing, upholding and living Sikhism truely and honourably and uplifting everyone around yourselves.

  3. Gurdeep says:

    Gurumustuk Singh,

    I do not know what is up with people that have this hatred in themselves. It makes me really happy seeing Sikhs that are not from Punjabi origin. Equality is what I always wanted since I was a kid. My friends were both “white and brown” but I never saw them like that. If people make you feel like “them” instead of “us” then I say ignore them. They do not know what they are talking about.

  4. Amarjot Singh says:

    It’s the ego which makes us do/act/react in a certain way or should I say in a negative way. Trying to find differences and ways to support/prove these differences; that one is superior to other is an age long act which people have been playing over and over again throughout the history of mankind.

    I am going cite here the examples of brothers and sons of our Gurus who thought they should have been given the Gurudom. Like the son of Guru Angad Dev Ji, Datu who got physical and even kicked Guru Amar Dass Ji when He was bestowed as the third Guru, older brother of Guru Arjan Dev Ji, Prithi Chand who tried his level best to kill Guru’s son Hargobind Ji.

    The people who are trying to distinguish in terms of “us and them” are no different than the people I have cited above. This struggle to prove oneself better, the ego; has its roots deeper in our personality than we can imagine. So if the sons and brother of our Gurus, who were flesh and blood of the Guru, could not overcome it, we should not expect any less but rather accept it as a part and parcel of being a human. The people who are finding differences of “us and them” and trying to argue/prove it using “the differences of our origins as Sikhs”, if call themselves as Sikhs need some refresher course on Sikh history. They don’t even know the fundamentals of Sikhism, the teachings of Guru Nanak and what our Gurus stood for and died for.

    What Siri Singh Sahib did was not only introduce the manual, on how to live a Sikh life, to the souls of western hemisphere but instructed and taught to live it by example. It’s the practice that makes you different from the every one else, otherwise manual is just a book of instructions which anyone can have, read it, recite it but never live it. It’s like having a chemistry/physics lab manual; one can never experience the experiment and see the results by mere reading it. It is when you actually do the experiment by following the instructions you become a Sikh.

    So Gora, Kala, Hara, Neela, or Peela who ever and what ever you may be you are not a Sikh till you live as a Sikh, and when you commit to live and live as a Sikh in every moment then you become Khalsa.

    So Gurumustuk keep it up, you have more people supporting you than you can imagine and even if there are a very few then remember… it’s the quality that matter not the quantity, and all that quality comes with the grace of the Guru.

    Satnam!!

  5. Nandeep Singh says:

    i really admire you guys for taking sikhi to a new level. It is a universal religion, and we should accept all that choose to follow the path of out gurus.

    You guys put us to shame with your dedication to sikhi. (i know its starting to sound like us and them, and we are trying to move away from that, as suggested in the earlier post).

    I think it is much better to be a non punjabi sikh, as punjabi sikhs (like myself) are often bogged down by the cultural rituals which have somehow tagged onto our religion. Whereas the non punjabis, do not have this issue, and are dedicated to the cause.

    Full respect to you guys. And i look forward to seeing some of you guy if you come to tour the uk.

  6. Tikka Singh says:

    As Guru Nanak had said, “Truth is high, still higher is the truthful living.” One only needs to look at actions of individuals to see the spirit of Sikhi in them. Collectively, Sikhs in the west are a far better representation of Sikhi than the Sikhs in Punjab from the recent past.

    Do I even need to mention the likes of Bibi Jagir Kaur, Badals and other Sikh leaders from Panjab who couldn’t be further away from Sikhi?

    The SGPC can not even keep an Internet Radio Server up and running reliably with its multi-million dollar budget yet SikhNet has shown that it can be done with a lot less money.

  7. Antonia D'Onofrio says:

    Gurumustuk Singhji

    You have such a good heart! You write often about the anger and dislike of those who express their Sikh identity or spirituality differently, and it is sad. Is it part of the human condition to make oneself unhappy through suspicion and animosity?

    It is a good thing that from time to time you point the way. When the time is right for individuals to read what you have written and change, that is what will happen.

    I listened to the Alan Combes debate. Shakta Kaur was calm and rational. And she was also accurate in her account of yoga. Her opponent was lost in his rigid way of understanding god and spirituality. Shakta Kaur cared about children. Her opponent only cared about being right; and he never understood that he was lost.

    How many times have we heard in the Hukamnama that when one’s heart is closed then that person is lost and cannot find his way back to God?

    So, everyone who was ready to hear her did so at the right time because of your message.

  8. Leah says:

    Let me preface first, that I am white, just so you know where this is coming from.

    I think that for some distrust of white converts is only natural, because there are many white people out there who naturally seek to fill the empty hole that much of Western maya (if you will) is with something better. The only problem is, that we often pick and choose like at a buffet table (I’m sure you’ve seen this), or alternately, convert to something we don’t fully like and try to change it to suit how we think it should be, instead of becoming part of an existing community/sangat/congregation and working from within. In addition, there is the history of colonialism, especially in India, such that the Anglos game and took what they thought the best parts of Indian culture were, while disregarding the people.

    There are white converts to a lot of religions that historically come from people of color. Many white converts have not shown they can stay the course and that they are true adherents of these faiths. But, those that do, get respect with the test of time.

    So, it is unfortunate that truly dedicated people must suffer because of the actions of their brothers and sisters in history. However, I think of that as our karma. If we want to reverse it, we have to be actively anti-racist and anti-colonialist. It’s a small burden for being born at the top of the world’s hierarchy at this point in history. And certainly, I can’t blame people who mistrust white people, when so many have broken that trust through meaningless cultural appropriation (which isn’t what you are doing, obviously, but the knee jerk hurt reaction is to view both things which look the same only from the outside as being the same).

    This was rather long winded, but I hope you understand my point. Basically, the way to fight racism isn’t to forget that you are white, but to use that fact to build a better world.

  9. Gurpal Singh says:

    Waheguru ji ka Khalsa
    Waheguru ji ki Fateh.

    I have been an ardent visitor to this site and I have always found meaningful and soul satisfying material from this website. You guys are doing great job – A SIKH is always SIKH and there is nothing as Eastern or Western one. I was born in East but studied and now working in West. I found you guys more devoted, sincere and people who have actually learnt what it means to be a SIKH. Message of GURUS is much more perfectly implanted with in your heart and it shines more day by day. I remember our Teacher use to say that a ‘’ Tree with more fruits attracts more stones”.
    There may be a bunch of people who may discriminate on color but all my friends and family love and adore you guys.

    Keep your site lively with more inspirational bits and pieces

    Ang Sang Waheguru

  10. Simrit Kaur says:

    A Sikh is a Sikh. If a person believes with his or her heart that they are a Sikh, then they are. Who has authority over anyone but themselves? Who has the authority to tell or judge someone by how many this they read or what they wear? The most devoted soul could be right next door to you or next to you in a shopping line or in the car next to you or with you. How can we truly judge someone? Who says skin color or country of origin are determining factors of who is who? Who is to judge a person? Not me, and the true teachings of the Sikh Gurus are non-judgement. The true teachings of Budha and Christ are non-judgement. There are many other Teachers who’s teachings are non-judgement. I believe with every ounce of confidence that we create our realities. I believe that when one truly feels that they are something, then they ARE that something.

  11. Simrit Kaur says:

    I believe that when one is not sure of him/herself, then it is very hard to be comfortable with others. When one is sure of him/herself, then it is only natural to be comfortable with others.

  12. Balbir Kaur says:

    I fully understand what you are talking about. There is so much misunderstanding amongst Sikhs in general and I think that they are throwing a precious gift of Siki, it is a beautiful loving religion if practiced like the Guru’s meant us too.
    Since I have been visiting you website I have learned so much in the past year. Thank you for doing such a wonderful job. I don,t see you are a Gora Sikh but just a kind wonderful human being.
    I am of Indian origin and did not know much about Siki until I started reading your website, so thank you for bringing the Guru’s back to me.
    May Waheguru bless you all.

  13. mandeep singh says:

    Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa, Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh

    I listened to the interview and was amazed to hear the Christian man talking about something along the lines of being taken over by evil sprits etc by doing yoga and there are thousands of victims to this? I myself am a Punjabi Sikh I don’t practice yoga myself but don’t see the problem if other Sikhs do. Like Siri Singh Sahib says it’s a simple science of union and it will be advantage to know yoga not a disadvantage.

    Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa, Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh.

  14. Just to highlight EXACTLY the type of person that I am referring to in this post. A person last night posted the following same comment about 10 times on a new video that I haven’t yet posted on the blog where Siri Singh Sahib Shares about Japji Sahib.

    The User Nicknamed “AlKhalsa” wrote a comment on a youtube.com video that I just posted: “no matter that Yogi Bhajan is a fuckn criminal, cult master, rapist and he will pay for it when he faces the almighty; he is still a very interesting character. his wit and charm beguiles many innocent americans/whites and his command over the whites charms the diasporic Sikhs even more. but the sin of misinterpretation, abuse and commercialization of GUrbani and addition of Kundalini yoga (“serpent’s way”) cannot be forgiven and we its not forgotten.

    So you see this is the type of mis-informed, hateful messages and people that myself and many other Sikhs in our community have to deal with. It makes me wonder where people get so much hate like this (specially so called Sikhs). In any case…watch the video. As the SSS videos normally are it was very inspiring. May God Bless this person and all those others who have hate, to overcome this and feel at peace with the world and all those in it.

  15. Also…to clarify one of my points in the blog post. I don’t feel prejudice because I am white. Most of it comes from being of a different culture and because we might do some things differently than other Sikhs (like Kundalini Yoga). Most of the Sikhs that I know who have adopted Sikhi…started in this direction because of what Siri Singh Sahib taught.

  16. Ravinder Singh says:

    Gurumustuk Singh,

    I imagine it must be difficult at times to deal with such people but you stand out and above these people. You are an inspiration to alot of people.

    I used to think as well coming from a Punjabi Sikh background, what is all this yoga that is mixed in with Sikhi, is it not diluting the teachings of Sikhi or creating a mish mash? Then i started exploring Sikhism, and subsequently yoga and began to understand that yoga is a tool that can assist with reaching the union / that oneness with God.

    I was born in Singapore and haven’t lived in India so i didn’t have the spiritual environment around me (like one does in India, but this is changing these days). For some yoga helps in this regard.

    My thoughts are that this stems from the following:
    – ignorance in the fundamentals/philosophy of Sikhism and/or seeing Sikhism as a black and white religion (that is you only do this and never do anything else)
    – ignorance in the teaching of Yogi Bhajan and Kundalini yoga. This stems from being comfortable in your knowledge and not seeking to expand it, therefore dismissing everything new or different to the persons beliefs.

    I can say i used to be like this to a degree but over time i changed and that was only done when i decided i had to understand rather than just judging things and dismissing anything i did not know or understand. I then also started to understand Sikhism and love Sikhism so much more than what i used to.

    There is nothing wrong with progression and like Gurumustuk said yoga was around before Hinduism. It comes down to having a different mindset and understanding that as a Sikh you are a learner and learning how to connect with God and life in many ways. Let’s move forward and create a better world and be at peace with ourselves and others.

    I am sure that my dad too would be happy that you have shown me the way as for countless others.

    Leadership takes guts, and you have the guts to stand out and make a difference, i respect you for this as i am sure lots of others do too.

    A side note is that on the Internet i could assume the identity of anyone and pretend to be a Sikh/Khalsa/Whatever and actually not be a Sikh at all if i wanted to. It may be true for the people who have written the posting you provided above or the people that show hatred.

    Well brother Gurumustuk, i have never met you, but will stand side-by-side with you anytime..

    Your friend and brother,
    Ravinder Singh

  17. gs says:

    Dear Gurumustak ji,

    It is distrubing and painful to know about the comments left by “alkhalsa” regarding someone.

    But remember these kind of people want attention by throwing mud at other people and I think we need to ignore these kind of “psycopaths” and keep on walking towards our destiny with dignity and grace.

    We will find these kind of people in all cultures and walk of life. They have only one objective to GET ATTENTION and how can they cash on it.

    Its a shame that this person labels himself/herself as khalsa, yet don’t even have slightest idea of sikhi in his/her cortex. These kind of people have very limited development in every aspect of their lives.

    So lets not waste our time in vain, but keep on spreading the fragance of TRUE khalsa

  18. Bachan says:

    Wahe Guru,

    Thank you Gurumustuk Ji and to all of us,

    God bless us. We are chilren on the path of becoming ourselves, which is recognizing EK ONG KAR and that we are one with God …ALL the time…and the rest is all the silly things that just make our vision blurry and us not able to see. I am grateful for this opportunity for you to be “sick” and have the time to reflect. I often feel in a lot of respect for the challenging role you are living in this world, as like the Siri Singh Sahib and all great souls and teachers who rise to the leader within themselves…there is a lot of pressure from many angles.

    This is where I am grateful for the insight that came to you about not trying to fit to what you think others want to hear. Particularly as we are shifting into a more global consciouness (Age of Aquarius) we all have to be very aware of our beliefs which limit us to the false thought that we are separate from eachother…as we are all parts of eachother.

    The hardest part I find is finding yourself in that hatred reflected outside and EVEN embracing and understanding that in some way.

    UNDERSTAND THROUGH COMPASSION OR MISUNDERSTAND THE TIMES!! -YB

    We are not here to be anything but ourselves. If we do not listen to our own experience, to our soul, and TRUST in that when relating to the world…WHOEVER they are…then we will lose our True self, and lose God. But only for a moment…because EK ONG KAR!

    God bless us to have the humility AND the courage to be ourselves and serve this world and these crazy times with love and authenticity.

  19. Manjit Singh says:

    Don’t worry about all the negative Gurumustuk Singh Ji, truth, love and compassion will always prevail over hatred from some within your own faith and some of outside faith. I tell you, every Punjabi should listen to the Siri Singh Sahib’s lectures. They sure are uplifting and at times very funny. I rather see a picture of Siri Singh Sahib than Maharaja Ranjit Singh in my home or in a Gurdwara. Gurbani tapes and records have been around before Siri Singh Sahib came to the United States. As far as Kundalini Yoga is concerned, everybody is doing yoga when they are sitting in a langar, in a gurdwara or in a kirtan darbar because they already are sitting in the gyan mudra pose (chaukri mar kay baithna). Everyone knows that Sikh dharm is dharm of saints, rishis and mahanpurakhs. It is so easy for this guy to sit on youtube or internet etc. and preach hate. Anybody can do that.

  20. Parwinder Singh says:

    VJKK VJKF
    Gurmustak Singh ji, you probs wont read this because your too busy but all i want to tell you is be strong. I love you guys, you are the role models for the panth.
    God sends people to earth to do nindiya of great gursikhs, when a saint is born, then nindaks are also born, in our history and in Gurbani , bhagats beg the nindaks to do nindiya of them, because they wash away your sins. we should pray that they (nindaks) see the way before its too late. In the mean time, you should not worry about us pappi punjabi background sikhs, i mean who are we to judge, have you seen the state punjab is in because of the pakandis, who are only interested in power and money and have no real concern for the economy. no disrespect to the gursikhs, sants, mahapursh etc because they do alot of parchar and are the ones keeping things going and they do not discriminate. But there are alot of sour apples in every country we need to rise above it, but the case u highlighted on here, i think thats some one with too much time on their hands, you keep up the good work. and delete the filth.
    Sat Nam
    Parwinder, UK

  21. Maninder Singh says:

    Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa, Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh,

    I don’t know what problem do people have with Yoga. Sikhism also promotes a healthy way of living and yoga is one way of achieving good health (and mind)!!