Message #12305Re: Ownership of ancient knowledge???
Sat Nam, Santjeet Kaur - I understand your questions, and I have a fairly lengthy response to offer.
"Kundalini Yoga as taught by Yogi Bhajan" is a synthesis, synthesized by one whom you might describe as a "Grand Master" of this art and ancient science for these times and the Aquarian future. Why would he do that? Why is necessary? Because all authentic human sciences are evolutionary and must evolve as humanity and human needs evolve. That's pretty simple.
Ptolemaic astronomy predicted the positions of planets in their apparent motion as "epi-cycles" quite accurately. The only problem was that sometime after the Greeks, then Copernicus, Galileo and others "discovered" ("realized"?) that our little corner of the galaxy is "solar centric" not "earth centric." Hence, an upgrade for all our systems of astronomy was in perfect order and necessity. Similarly, Raja Yoga is an essential aspect of Kundalini Yoga AND Sikh Dharma teachings, AND Patanjali's Yoga Sutras are definitely the most thorough "published" expressions of this timeless art. HOWEVER, Patanjali states that the proper Name of PURUSHA ("G.O.D.") is OM and that repeated chanting of thisname (with proper awareness) will lead to Enlightenment.
Guru Nanak famously pointed out (stated also by Yogi Bhajan) that since OM is Absolutely Formless and we are in the finite realm of relativity and Form, you cannot, ever, ever "Get There From Here." In other words, as Patanjali explained, Raja Yoga really CANNOT work. On the other hand, Guru Nanak NEVER used OM as a sacred sound in Gurbani. Neither do we, as kundalini yogis ("as taught by Yogi Bhajan"). We replace the Brahmin term OM with EK ONG KAR, wherein OM is grammatically transmuted (by the same rules of Sanskrit grammar) into ONG, and in this expression of Infinity and Formlessness, "FORM AND FORMLESSNESS ARE NOT ABSOLUTELY SEPARATE, THEY ARE INSEPARABLE."
In this manner, the evolutionary narration and synthesis of Raja Yoga according to Guru Nanak, makes the "teaching" of Raja Yoga actually viable and useful for the very first time. The earlier (Brahmin, Vedic) teachings did not do justice to the actual practices of Sages, Rishis, Yogis for thousands of years. With Guru Nanak's "insight" Humanity, Language, and Teaching thus made a quantum evolutionary resolution of an ancient, previously unsolvable problem. "OUR" practices of Kundalini Yoga are consistent with Guru Nanak, and in this way different from many, many others schools and teachings of kundalini yoga now available in the world.
At the same time, IF Yogi Bhajan had not defied the Brahmin rules of secrecy about Kundalini Yoga, not one of us would have any knowledge of it (HE broke the seals and silence of a previously elitist, brahmin based "system of social and spiritual advantage" held for the dominant benefit of a "few" to the exclusion of ALL of us. That is one of the most profound steps forward that happened in all of the 20th century, right up there with Einstein, the discovery of DNA, quantum physics, etc. Without mastery of Kundalini (as the primordial "core" of all awareness and basis of all knowing) ALL OTHER SCIENCES WOULD BE SUSPECT, BECAUSE Kundalini is the basis of all human experience and knowledge.
So, this is what we mean specifically when we say "Kundalini Yoga as taught by Yogi Bhajan." Any "Yogi Bhogey" can make any synthesis they want, and that would be called "kundalini yoga as taught by Yogi Bhogey." That would be a different school, not THIS school.
Many questions on this website are somewhat "naive" from the frame of teaching that many of us received sitting at the feet of Yogi Bhajan, paying close attention, and practicing deeply for more than 40 years now. The one criticism I feel compelled to make about the Kundalini Yoga Institute (KRI) is that many, if not most of its newly trained teachers are not being fed the whole sandwich. I suppose this is because of an assumption (presumption) that most people in our society may not be ready for "the real nitty gritty" or subtle nuances of many of the teachings that Yogi Bhajan taught. I honor all the work that KRI has done, and it seems like a very good "high school education." But it's not a "master's degree" or a doctorate that KRI is offering.
I personally sat in all the same classes of Yogi Bhajan as did Gurucharan Singh (lead teacher of KRI), and so did many others of us (Guru Singh, MSS Krishna Kaur, Guruneil Singh, and many others) just to name a few of us who have dedicated our lives to practice and mastery of these teachings. Yogiji used to cite that Shakyamuni Buddha taught 84,000 different teachings of Enlightenment to satisfy the incredible variety of 84,000 types of humanity. Perhaps the KRI school needs to open its focus significantly in order not to become myopic to a narrow scholastic bent or approach of mind. This is difficult because KRI is the source of many teachers and also the Certifier of what the teaching standard is. I'm not sure that KRI would actually certify the real Yogi Bhajan today (in the way Yogi Bhajan actually taught all of us), in the same way that the Christian church establishment might reject Jesus as a defective possible church "member." Doctrinal dogma and over simplification is a real problem here.
Many of us have realized stages of mastery while working in restaurant kitchens, or construction work, or filthy factories, or dangerous security jobs. Whereas now the standard KRI audience seems to be conceptualized as "urban, upscale, sophisticated, college educated, and currently or formerly corporately employed." By the evidence of questions on this site alone, somehow we're currently producing a school of yogis that often seem to have more wit than grit. In another area, KRI is often not offering the teachings of relationship and sexuality in the breadth and depth that Yogiji taught us originally. I know this personally because I was personally coached in a very challenging marriage for almost 19 years, and living a marriage is much different than talking about it, in the way I'm hearing about it today in our various publications.
Teachings are being sanitized and made palatable for school children and the affluent middle class. These are both very worthy audiences but combined they make up only a very limited segment of the total humanity. The teachings have to be spoken to the audiences we're in front of, and there are many important audiences that are not being reached by our current rather narrow focus, in my opinion. So, personally, I tend to reach to audiences and focus on aspects of the teaching of Yogi Bhajan (that I experienced directly from) that others are not currently addressing. Otherwise who will preserve these other aspects of the teachings?
So my complaint about the current state of teaching Kundalini Yoga as taught by Yogi Bhajan is that whoever YOU learned from apparently is not adequately available to you for asking this very question in order to receive a really competent answer. So that you can be satisfied in the way in which you learn and grow personally. I might not be that helpful to you, but someone else might be. But as a teacher I also know that there are many people that I DO reach in the way in which I personally have come to teach.
There is a problem here, not in the Teachings of Yogi Bhajan, but in the way his teachings are currently being taught as a more limited model for (apparently) greater consumer acceptability, whereas the real and actual practices of Kundalini Yogis who are actually mastering the art, are not necessarily very "CONSUMER FRIENDLY" and may require much more work and a much different attitude than most "consumers" are willing to extend. John Dillinger said he robbed banks becaue "That's where the money is." I suppose one reason we like to offer the teachings to consumer audiences is out of compassion, that the consumer lifestyle is probably becoming a stereotypic dead end, but also probably because consumers have more money that allows yoga teachers to support themselves. But if the standards of consumerism limit the scope of what and how we teach, then OTHER channels and venues of teaching are deeply needed in order to deliver "the whole enchilada" (in a composite, collective way) of what Yogi Bhajan really taught.
These statements are somewhat of an open challenge and manifesto directed at KRI to expand itself into more openness and rigor in dealing with the needs of its students for crossing the "terrible world ocean in our times." Less of a presumption that the KRI way is the singular gold standard of the correct way and the only correct way. There must be more realism, in regard to what real practitioner actually received and practiced in the guidance of Yogi Bhajan's mastery. And it appears to me that naivete about that is creeping in. So I am concerned - not that Yogi Bhajan was not a master exponent of Kundalini Yoga (as you suggest) but rather that you have not been provided with the proper framework and tools for asking a better question. That is not your fault, it's a shortcoming in the direct way you were taught, and of those who taught you, and did not provide for you a personal channel in which you could dialogue and learn.
On this website there are very often many questions like "What KRIYA or MANTRA should I use to fix this or that SYMPTOM of my life that I don't like?" I read this kind if question all the time, which to me seems very similar to the allopathic/pharmaceutical symptom chasing medical model - "what pill should I take so that the doctor can fix me?" Kundalini Yoga as taught by Yogi Bhajan, is a very different kind of model for causality, wherein "if one manages the causes properly, and one does not cause "Negative Causes" then the results will all be positive" and eventually negative effects will never arise again. But we naively assume (in a very consumer-like way) that there must be some secret kundalini "button" that we can find and learn to press in order to get what the ego wants. And if it doesn't happen, it must be because the system doesn't work.
I sincerely wish that you could have more realistic and insightful opportunities to ask questions like the ones you've raised, because an email based, blog-like forum like this is really not an adequate venue to provide the satisfaction you really need and obviously would like to receive. But this problem pervades all education when education gets reduced to simply knowing the right answers without having the skills of critical thinking, investigation and discovery of verifiable insights via personal experience and self-awareness, and responsibility for our own karmic conditions. I would suggest that if we possessed and used these skills of critical thinking, investigation, discovery, and a deeper sense of owning our own quotients of knowledge and ignorance, we could answer truly most of our own questions, or consult more effectively with those who could help our needs specifically. Yogiji once said that generally questions of "WHY?" tend to be childlike ("childish"?), and perhaps ultimately unanswerable. Whereas a competent adult will ask "WHAT? and "HOW TO?" and then get the job done.
I'm not scolding you or anyone for doing the very best that you can do with the teachings that you happened to have been provided, but I do have a certain sense of scolding or criticism for the teachers who are not teaching you better. We have a lot of work to do in order to synthesize the vastness of Yogi Bhajan's teachings in order to provide adequacy and satisfaction in your capacity to practice and live these teachings.
Perhaps this is more than enough for now. Others may see it differently -that's what makes real life so wonderful. I hope that you might find at least some benefit in what I've shared.
for many Blessings, Krishna Singh Krishna Singh's Bio this site
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