Teaching at UCLA
On this page are two stories about Yogi Bhajan (Teaching at UCLA and The Grand Hotel) and are included in his biography as written by Guru Fatha Singh. The fall of 1970 was a tumultuous time in America. It saw the passing of iconic figures of the youth culture in Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin, both 27 years old, through drug overdoses. It also witnessed the dramatic spiriting away of LSD-guru Timothy Leary from a California prison to safe haven in Algeria. Demonstrations, arrests, bombings, wiretaps, infiltrations, and all kinds of disruptive tactics and behaviors were coming to a destructive crescendo.
While there were many who advocated the complete destruction of established authorities, Yogi Bhajan instead created a new, alternative organization with a dynamic teaching and outward social expression. He was also not at all opposed to applying to the United States government for a federal tax exemption – which the 3HO Foundation was granted at the end of the year. Another significant development of that year was the introduction of an accredited course in Kundalini Yoga at the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA). The course, taught twice a week in the Adult Education Division, offered the same credit as a physics course. The historic first class was given on November eleventh.
The Master began the class, "Dear ones, there are no barriers between man and man. The only barrier is lack of awareness. As you open up inside, the outside will open up to you. There cannot be a vacuum in space. As you open up, the outside will open up to you to bring a balance.
"There are people interested in different theories on the powers of yogis and how this can happen. Some have doubts about it. Some have knowledge about it. All spiritual teachers have come here to create disciples. Let us do something different."There are thirty-three books in this country that have dedicated one or two chapters to Kundalini Yoga, warning Western people not to practice it. Actually the warning is not to practice it without a teacher. The other half of the sentence nobody has read.
"It is not true that it requires incarnations to become God-conscious. When you concentrate your mental energy on your Self, you are in a state of meditation. And the result of that meditative act is your attitude. Structure within is the same as structure without."Why study Kundalini Yoga? Man has an inborn, infinite urge to be united with the Supreme Consciousness. This urge exists in us. Our subconscious mind is aware of our reality, but our conscious mind is an imprint of our environment. When you consciously tune the subconscious mind into the Supreme Consciousness, you will see the Unseen and know the Unknown.
"The books we have given you are How to Know God – the Patanjali Yoga Sutras (with commentaries by Swami Prabhavananda and Christopher Isherwood) and Yoga by Ernest Wood. They will give you some written statement about what this world of Yoga is about, and they will tell you something about Kundalini, but they will not give you the methods.
"This has been kept secret for many reasons, some authentic and some not. The authentic reason is that if you give this knowledge out and you cannot with your psychic body control the wrong use of it, it can put you into rough circumstances. But if a man has practiced and has a mastery of it himself, then there is no limitation of time or distance, and everybody can practice it to reach to that awareness without any search, caution or danger. What appears in those books is nullified. We have worked before coming here one and a half years, and 50,000 to 60,000 people have practiced it. The results have been nothing but positive.
"Kundalini comes from the Sanskrit word "kundal" which is very romantically the curl in the hair of the beloved. Kundalini refers to that coil. Serpent has nothing to do with it. The serpent in India is known as awareness or wisdom. This animal also sits in a coiled position. That is where the term "serpent power" comes from.
"Kundalini is that divine power, that Adi Shakti, that Creative Force coiled within us. To uncoil that coiled energy is called "Kundalini Yoga". One who teaches it is called a "Yogi," and one who learns it is called a "Sikh" or "student." As all rivers flow into the ocean, allpurposes of a spiritual nature are to raise this awareness within you. All worship, consciously or unconsciously, leads to this end.
"When your prayer is not answered, it is because you are not tuned into it. You have not put in your plug. You are muttering. Your sound current is not relating to the Supreme Sound Current. Otherwise, your every prayer has to be answered.
"Once you know the art of one-pointedness of mind, you know everything. To control the mind, you have to have a hook. When you use the will of the mind, it is called "Raja Yoga," and when you use the breath, it is called "Kundalini Yoga."
"Using mind over mind is a difficult process. Breath is more practical. It is a 100% guaranteed process. Why is it not taught? Because breath is the pranic energy that leads to the universal energy and one who controls it also has to be in it.
"If through any method you can relate to your soul within this body within this lifetime, then duality, whether of God or not, will go. Coming from New York, you can stop five or six times and change flights. But there are also services that will take you directly to Los Angeles, and that is what Kundalini Yoga is.
"I felt it is necessary to teach people this hidden science. Honestly, I broke a cosmic law for which I have been infinitely rewarded. The law was: the person who will teach this science indiscriminately without first testing his students, shall not see the next sun. In other words, by this last birthday of mine, I should not have been alive..."
The Grand Host
Yogi Bhajan could be many things to many people. He could be puzzling or positively inscrutable. He could seem foreign, or just strange. He could appear to be aloof and absolutely detached. And for those who made the effort to really watch and observe him, the Master might be lovingly serviceful, profoundly engaged, and totally in command of his circumstances.
Because of his meditative practice, Yogi Bhajan's thinking tended toward originality. He did not think inside a box. He did not care for boxes at all. It meant that, from time to time, his actions might be completely unexpected, boyishly charming, and utterly disarming.
One day, Yogi Bhajan was invited to some rich person's house somewhere around Los Angeles. Inside the copious mansion, the master commenced a tour on his own. Methodically, he inspected every floor, opened every door along the way and looked inside. His hosts tagged along at a respectful distance, quietly mystified. What was their guest up to?
Finally, the Master made his way to the kitchen of the grand house. Opening the refrigerator, satisfaction gleamed in his eyes and the magnanimity of his spirit took expression in his first words, "May I serve you something?"