US Congress Gives Sikh Leader Rare Honor

Missionary who brought Sikh Dharma to the West Honored in Joint Resolution

In the history of the US Congress, only a handful of spiritual leaders have ever inspired a Joint Resolution from US Congress honoring their life and work. Including Martin Luther King, Pope John Paul II and Mother Theresa.

In early April, the late Siri Singh Sahib Bhai Sahib Harbhajan Singh Khalsa Yogiji, also known as Yogi Bhajan, joined the ranks of those who have received such an honor.

On April 5 and April 6, the US House of Representatives and the US Senate respectively passed a Joint Resolution praising the life and work of Yogi Bhajan. The Resolution read, in part

“The (US) Congress—(1) recognizes that the teachings of Yogi Bhajan about Sikhism and yoga, and the businesses formed under his inspiration, improved the personal, political, spiritual, and professional relations between citizens of the United States and the citizens of India; (2) recognizes the legendary compassion, wisdom, kindness, and courage of Yogi Bhajan, and his wealth of accomplishments on behalf of the Sikh community; and (3) extends its condolences to Inderjit Kaur, the wife of Yogi Bhajan, his three children and five grandchildren, and to Sikh and 3HO communities around the Nation and the world upon the death on October 6, 2004, of Yogi Bhajan, an individual who was a wise teacher and mentor, an outstanding pioneer, a champion of peace, and a compassionate human being.”

The House Resolution (H. Con. Res. 34) passed by a recorded vote of 405 – 0. It was sponsored by US Representative Tom Udall (D-NM). The Senate Resolution (S. Con. Res. 6) passed by unanimous consent. It was sponsored by U.S. Senators Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) and Pete Domenici (R-NM) and co-sponsored by John Cornyn (R-TX).

“Whatever your faith, Yogi Bhajan had the right words, the right lesson, the right message,” Udall said in a statement issued by his office on April 5. “He spoke to us all. He inspired us. Around the world he was a powerful voice for peace. I am pleased that he has been honored by Congress today.”

“Yogi Bhajan was the beloved spiritual leader of thousands of Western Sikhs,” Bingaman said in a statement release by his office. “This Congressional resolution recognizes his distinguished life and the importance of his teachings.”

“This is a lasting tribute to an influential spiritual leader who contributed greatly to the promotion of peace. Yogi Bhajan was an inspirational figure and a proud legacy for New Mexicans who remember his hopeful message and practice his teachings of humanity,” Domenici said in a statement released by his office.

“The passing of Yogi Bhajan last October was a loss not only to the Sikh-American community but to the entire Nation,” said US Representative Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) in comments made on the House floor.

Yogi Bhajan died of on October 6, 2004. A master of Kundalini Yoga and the Siri Singh Sahib (Chief Religious Administrative Authority) of Sikh Dharma International, Yogi Bhajan spent his life teaching and improving the lives of thousands through his teachings on yoga and Sikh Dharma. It was through his efforts that Sikh Dharma became a tax-exempt, recognized religion in the United States. In addition, Yogi Bhajan founded the 3HO (Healthy, Happy, Holy) organization. With over 300 centers in 35 cities, 3HO uses Kundalini Yoga to help people improve their physical well-being and deepen their spiritual awareness.

Yogi Bhajan also founded a successful drug rehabilitation program to address the national crises in drug addiction. Called 3HO Super Health, the unique program blends the ancient teachings of yoga with modern technology to treat drug addiction.

“I’d like to thank the US Congress, and especially Representative Tom Udall, Senator Jeff Bingaman and Senator Pete Domenici, for such an honor,” said Inderjit Kaur, wife of the late Yogi Bhajan. “We feel very honored and touched by the resolution. My husband dedicated his life to humanity and peace. We’re grateful the US Congress has recognized him.”

“Guru Nanak’s message 500 years ago of embracing all people, all faiths as brothers and sisters in Spirit, is more relevant than ever,” said Daya Singh Khalsa, a spokesperson for Sikh Dharma. “This value lies at the very heart of the Sikh faith. It is also one of the fundamental freedoms upon which the United States stands. In honoring Yogi Bhajan, the US Congress also honors the very foundation upon which this great nation was built.”

Sikh Dharma and Yogi Bhajan’s family also extended its heartfelt thanks and appreciation to those Congressional leaders who had the vision to create this resolution and worked to see it passed. Their thanks go to US Representative Tom Udall (D-NM), U.S. Senators Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), Pete Domenici (R-NM), and John Cornyn, (R-TX), to Immediate Past GOP Co-Chair of the India Caucus Congressman Joe Wilson (R-SC), International Relations Committee Ranking Member Tom Lantos (D-CA), and Rep. Thad McCotter (R-MI).

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