Yogi Bhajan Lecture Archive
Lecture by :
Siri Singh Sahib Bhai Sahib Harbhajan Singh Khalsa Yogi Ji
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Lecture on: 01/01/1990
Category: Class Lectures
Location: Unknown

The Basic Personality of a Teacher

I UNDERSTAND THAT YOU ALL WANT TO BECOME TEACHERS. Is that true? My job is to let you know what a Teacher is. I'll define it for you, and you can understand what kind of Teacher you want to become.

In the spiritual world, a Teacher is a guide and a water bearer, a carrier of the nectar of life. Did you know that as Teachers of Kundalini Yoga we tune in and take a mental oath before we teach? I never shared this with you before. “I am not a woman, I am not a man. I am not a person, I am not myself, I am a Teacher.” [As he demonstrated the oath, Yogi Bhajan raised the left hand and sequentially touched the little, ring, middle, and index finger tips. He extended the thumb on “I am a Teacher.”] Can you believe that? Your mental status has to fit with your oath. I don't think as Westerners you can even imagine taking that oath. At that time you act as a Teacher. Your earthly attachments and obligations, and the identity from which you normally act and react, are put aside. And you become a pure, undistracted channel to bring the Heavens through you. You act to serve the Heavens and your Infinite identity.
Then, close your eyes, roll them up slightly, concentrate at the Third Eye, the Sixth Chakra or agia chakra, and chant the Adi Mantra three times: Ong Namo Guru Dev Namo. This is called Nadi Sodhana Kriya. Kriya means an action, sodhana means “to make something perfect,” and nadi means all the channels of energy in the body and mind. This is a kriya whose action is to purify and perfect the channels of the body and mind so you can become a clear channel of the teachings, and not of your own ego trip.
Actually, all teachings are there to tell you to be yourself. But in this case, I am not myself. Then who are you? You are the vehi­cle. That’s why the opening mantra of the class is Ong Namo Guru Dev Namo. We don’t say Om Namo. The difference between Om and Ong is that Om cannot be chanted, cannot be spoken. That’s why Guru Nanak put Ik before it. Ik Ong Kar. It’s the total permutation and combination to create that sound. We say, Ong Namo Guru Dev Namo. “Oh, Creative Total Self, Oh Transparent (Guru Dev).” The One who is Transparent make me the transparent. Guru means: “The one who brings light into darkness.” Namo: “I bow to you.”
As a Teacher, when you decide or deal with anything, remem­ber that you are a Teacher. Whenever you make a decision as a person, man or woman, you must remember that you are a Teacher. Whatever you say should be true. Your interest in anoth­er person should be to uplift him or her. When acting as a Teacher, it will be a deadly thing if any personal interest of your own is served, through any communication, direct, indirect, with any body signal, or any way. Do you understand? It should be totally for uplifting the other person who has given you the trust as a student. And if you care not, then remember: when you betray your student, whether he is dumb or wise, your next incar­nation is as a cockroach. You can satisfy your feelings, your dramas, your traumas, your missions, your dreams in many other ways. That’s not a Kundalini Yoga Teacher. A Teacher is one who purifies a person to help the person gain the experience of their own purity, identity, infinity, reali­ty, totality, strength, and piety. Once you serve and touch a student in a very pure manner with integrity and innocence, you ele­vate and give them their own inner experience—not yours. They will sustain that upliftment and they will be grateful to you forev­er. They will enjoy life in depth because their perception and capacity becomes greater with Kundalini Yoga.
So it is a very, very difficult job to even call yourself a Teacher, and then cheat on yourself, and not act to its fundamental rule and law.
I know in the Western world you don't even understand what I am saying. You think cheating is what suits your emotions and feelings. But remember, as a Teacher, anything and everything which you do, must upgrade the other person.
You can live your life; you can have many relationships. You may be husband and wife, but not Teacher and student. You can be father and son, not Teacher and student. You can be brother and brother, not Teacher and student. You can be brother and sis­ter, not Teacher and student. I'm not going into the philosophy of it; I'm going into the reality of it. It is a very realistic, simple thing.
In the oath, 'woman' comes first, because the entire creativ­ity of the universe depends on the female. The Teacher is a cre­ator of a creativity in the other person. You have to create, nur­ture, mature, deliver, and grace it. It's a long procedure. So you embrace a process in which you grow the Truth, capacity and Infinity in another person, up to the Infinite.

As a Teacher you are not responsible to a student just here and now, tomorrow or yesterday. It's a relationship, from now unto Infinity and beyond. Nobody becomes the student of anybody without the direct Will of God. Period. Especially in Kundalini Yoga, we do not even initiate a student. Never have, never will. And whosoever shall do it, will have the wrath of God. You never initiate. Never, ever. If a person is that dumb, that much of an idiot, that he or she cannot initiate themselves, they are not worth initiating. That's the process. The student has to come to you.

You think a Teacher does nothing. Actually nothing happens without a Teacher. A person who doesn't have a Teacher has no life. Period. Whatever is the frequency, scope, and ultimately the standard of your Teacher shall be yours. Otherwise, there is a per­manent Teacher called Mr. Time.
The psychology of a Teacher is that he or she is a vehicle, a person who has totally dissolved himself or herself to let the nec­tar of life flow, in order to nurture another human being, so that being can understand the love and the realization of Infinity with­out any reference to fear.
Sometimes Teachers become show pieces, like in a business. "How many students have you got? How much money is there? How many ashrams are there?" That is not how a Teacher is judged or understood. You have the right to meet your Teacher, to quiz him, answer his ques­tions, and get your doubts cleared at that time. You have one chance in life. God promised you two things. When the soul was asked to go to the Earth and take a body, the soul cried and asked God, "In this separation, suppose I leave my attachment to You and get into the cycle of life and birth? I don't want to. This is my final trip. Why do I have to lose my sight of that?" At that moment God gave the Mind. The human mind is absolutely impulsive, and very, very intuitive.
You have been given the sense of intuition for your protec­tion. Animals have a sense of impulse. You don't have that. You are impulsive for actions only, not for strategy. You have intuition for strategy. Therefore your mind is intuitive and impulsive both.
Whereas an animal's mind is impulsively intuitive and intuitively impulsive, that is a combination you don't have. You are two sep­arate areas. So you intuitively can think and guide your life. That's your personality. But without intuition, you are just in a rut like a herd of sheep going in the wrong direction. You cannot sepa­rate yourself. You have no hooves, no claws, no horns, no skin, no kicking power—nothing. You cannot defend yourself. The human skin is a very sensitive, breathing, and vulnerable. It has no protection. That's why we always have to protect ourselves. Throughout history we have worn armor and that sort of thing.
Even today we require different kinds of suits to protect our­selves, and different types of clothing to show our sensuality and sexuality, or to impress. Perawa, they call it. You can absolutely project yourself by what you wear. Perawa is very important to a human; it is ingrained in us. What you wear as a behavior, what you wear as clothing, what you wear as a habit. You can make yourself disciplined in any way you like.

The personality of a Teacher is above Time and Space. Never say something which only suits or pleases “now.” Sometimes you have to say things which are hurtful and very, very painful. The only thing you can do is say them with a smile. A Teacher is responsible for the growth of the student. All a student can do is to accept you as a Teacher. That's it. You are stuck. Thereafter he has no obligation except obedience. If you see your student doing wrong, and you don't have the guts or the courage to say, "You are doing a dirty job, you idiot. You are going to end up in hell," you have goofed—he has not.
Sometimes you don't know your responsibilities. You think a Teacher comes to a yoga class, puts his legs up, or head down. No my dear, that is just a moment in the exercise. You have two options. When a student accepts you as a Teacher, you have an obligation to see that his morals, his ethics, and his understand­ing become Infinite, not universal. It is only under the Infinite cir­cumstances that the person will be kind and compassionate, courageous and noble, gracious and giving. You can only achieve that by being direct. In other words, whatever you have to say psychologically, say it simple, straight, and with a smile—no mat­ter how ugly it is.
You are in a business, but you are not in show business, where you have to act like somebody else. You have to act as you, and from the very soul of you, with a definite honest grip. You cannot say, "This is a rich student, this is a poor student, this is an ugly student, this is a beautiful student." You are not dating or marrying somebody. You are teaching. For you, you are a Teacher, and everybody's a student, irrespective of their class, creed, color, money, status, or anything. You shall not differenti­ate or diffuse. If you don't know the destiny of a person, just help him to find it himself or herself. If you know it, say so and stick with it.
But people come and go. You must understand they come by the Will of God, and they go by the Will of God. This is how it happens. God has promised every soul that they shall meet their Spritiual Teacher once in their lifetime. He didn't promise that Teacher will accept him. He didn't promise that he will recognize him. There were only two promises: The soul got the mind, and it will meet its guide. Period. Until you meet your guide, you can­not graduate in this lifetime. That's the law—just how people might go to school, and sell drugs, or stay in their dormitory, and never show up for school or attend a single class. So on Earth, we do the same things. Sometimes we go AWOL, or like in school, become truants, or drop-outs.

Students have the right to goof, to do whatever they do. You shall not respond, except with what is in the best interest of the stu­dent. You will never deal with a student at his same level. You will never react to a student. If a student abuses you, if for two hours the student calls you names, you shall answer as if noth­ing has happened. You have no right of vindictiveness, and you have no right of revenge. Nor can you throw a student away, because you are debarred from any reaction whatsoever.
Just look at your oath: "I'm not a woman, I'm not a man, I'm not a person, I'm not myself." So what are you? "I'm a Teacher." Can you believe this? So you give up all your known and unknown rights as a human to begin with. The forklift fits my definition of what I understand is a Teacher. The guy goes to ground-level with his prongs, picks up the thing, puts it on the line, gets hold of it, burns his own gas, keeps his things moving, oils his pulleys, levers, and chains, and gets the job done.
It's a very unique relationship. It is what love actually means. These sexual, sensual, personal gains and losses are beautiful. I appreciate you can have them all. But they are on this Earth. They don't go with you as a Teacher.

The question is very simple—you are the shoeshine man, and you have to shine the soul of the person. I have seen in the airport, how all the person does is sit in that chair and put his shoes out. Right? The man doesn't even ask, "What do you want?" He
knows what to do. That is the status of the Teacher. He doesn't care if a black person sits down; he doesn't care if a white per­son sits; he doesn't care if you have dirty shoes; he doesn't care if you have ordinary shoes. If you simply have sneakers, he knows that he is not going to polish sneakers. He knows it. He'll just dust them and let the guy go.
If somebody's full of shit, and you see it, you can't say it. Let me tell you in American language. It's not your job to find out a person's mistake and tell him, “Your are dirty, you are ugly, you are low down, you are a whore, you are a pimp.” All those obvious abusive languages you can use as a human; but you cannot tell any such defect, no matter how truthful it may be, to your student. No way! You are supposed to correct it! By saying it, you are bringing to somebody's notice. It’s a responsible talk. Otherwise you are causing confrontation. And you shall not be in confrontation with your students, doesn’t matter what it costs you.

Anything said in confidence between you and your student should not be revealed, even at the point of your death. You shall carry a certain nobility. Whatever a student gives you, you shall not use it for personal purposes, but for prayer purposes. Everything that comes to you as a Teacher, comes to God direct­ly. You are the custodian. And whatever defects you see in a stu­dent, it is your job to correct it —not confront it, not to lay it out. You cannot curse your student, it doesn't matter how deadly wrong they are to you.
This is your prayer, so please write it down:
"Those who I was supposed to teach and am unable to, for my faults or for their faults, I ask Thee, Oh Lord, to forgive me, and serve them in my place. Protect them and grace them by Thy visit. Help them and elevate them by Thy spirit. And make them prosperous and happy so they can recognize Thee."
That is your prayer. This you say every day. You may pray for yourself or not; you may pray for your student or not. That has nothing to do with this prayer. This prayer is a part of you, because you are nothing but a human being, used for the well­being of a person who calls himself “student.”

“If You Come Empty-Handed, You Shall Go Empty-Handed”
There is a toll road in Kundalini Yoga. You pay first, then you enter. Itarashtam tithar kashtam. If you ever come empty hand­ed, you shall go empty handed. It's a law which should never be broken. You should share freely, but never receive the student empty handed—that's the law. A student must not come to you empty handed. He may bring a leaf, or he may bring a million dollars. But he must not come to a Teacher without an offering.
If a person shall come empty-handed, he may sit there for six hours and do all kinds of yoga, but the moment he goes out of that door, he’ll go empty-handed. That’s the only condition, and it’s not up to you or me.
And that offering is not for you. That offering must go on the altar, and you must pray. It means for the sake of that gift you are hired. It is not your personal prop­erty. Never was, never is, never shall be. It'll be always used for noble causes. Do you understand? It is called gurudakshina. At the sight of the Teacher, before uttering a word, you give, you offer a present.
Why? I have figured it out. It is the most selfish thing a stu­dent can do. When you bring him a present, he has to receive it. It's obligatory. He has to see it. That is darshanee. He has to speak something. That is baykaree. And that can only be a bless­ing: "Bless you, thank you." So you meet him under a very ele­vated state. And that gift does it.
When I first started teaching in Los Angeles, there used to be the kind of students who didn’t believe in money and never had any. I used to have some rich students, also. The rich were very rich, and the poor were very poor. That's the kind of class I used to have. So how did I fulfill the law? I used to take money from our account, cash it into coins, and throw them around in the parking lot. So when those students came to the door, they would say, "Hey man, I can't pay. I don't believe in this. What is this? He is spiritual. How can he ask for money? Why should we pay?" They were angry and abusive. But the man at the door would say, "Why don't you go out and find some money?" They would say, "Where am I going find it?" And the man at the door would say, "No, no, no. Just look around. Try to find it." They would go out, they would find about two, three dollars. It was $1.50 for the class. They'd put that money in the basket, and the rest of the money they would keep in their pockets.
So this is how we stuck with that principle. You must understand, fifteen such people out of fifty would be in the class, would use the f ilthiest language, abusive connotations and insults, and still it used to be a privilege to stand at the door. But we kept our rule, calmly, quietly, and without reaction.
One man took hold of me after class, and said, "I under­stand, man, you are a big macho dude." I said, "What is the problem?" He said, "You throw the money on the ground and make us pick it up and pay you. What is going on?" I said, "It is not for my sake. It is so that you can have a grace that you earned the teachings."

You have to be very diplomatic. Dip-low on the mat. Don't break your bones. Be nice to these people. The student has the right to be angry, to be nasty, to be abusive, to be treacherous, to betray, to be violent. He has all the rights, and you have no rights, except one. Write it down and remember it forever:
The Rule of the Teacher is: You shall elevate the students’ consciousness. You shall not protect yourself— let the Hand of God protect you.”
That's it. The student can accuse you, abuse you, tell you what he wants, do whatever he wants. If you ever raise your hand, you will raise it to bless him—that's the obligation. That's the first standard rule of a Teacher. You shall not protect yourself; you let the Hand of God protect you. If you don't believe in that, forget it. Is that clearly understood? And you shall cause no harm and injury indirectly or directly. You shall not reveal any secret given to you in confidence by the student, and you shall always uplift the spirit, the surroundings, and the environments of your student, without any cause of injury to his and her future, pres­ent, or past.
It will be very foolish on the part of a Teacher if he expects anything from the student. You have the right to expect from God, whose servant you are. Ask God. Let the Hand of God pro­tect you. If you protect yourself, if you interfere with that Hand, you protect at your level, your capacity, your frequency, and your power, which is too meager. It's not worthwhile. This needs faith. It needs trust. It needs a will to sacrifice, no matter what. It happens. You shall not fail if you understand this principle.
Just remember: every noble cause has its own power to solve itself. You are just a vehicle. Your touch is required. Don't worry, it's all pre-destined. Goodness does not need recommendation. Remember this: Good behavior, good personality, good manners, good methods, good speaking; all that is good contains God in it. G-O-D. God. G-O-O-D. Good. It's just God plus “o.” You sim­ply have to organize on the Earth so it can be just nice.

So very briefly, I am just giving you the A-B-C's of a Kundalini Yoga Teacher. Kundalini Yoga is a source of life and hap­piness, prosperity, nobility, and courage. It's effective; it's practical; it does change a per­son. But there's a little trouble. It widens your scope; it makes you big. It's as simple as that. It makes the dormant active; that's what kundalini does. It uncoils your watch of time to tick right. It's the ultimate sci­ence. There's no discipline in it that you have to be celibate the rest of your life or you cannot marry, or not have children. Actually it is a yoga for a householder who wants to be a saint and a soldier, and pros­perous and successful at the same time, taking care of everything. It has created miracles in the last twenty years in the United States. This is what I see is true:
Dhan Dhan Ram Das Gur, Jin Siriaa Tinai Savaariaa, Pooree Hoee Karaamaat Aap Sirajanaa Haaray Dhaariaa. “Great, great is Guru Ram Das.” Jin Siriaa Tinai Savaariaa. “Whosoever has heard him, has become perfect.” Pooree Hoee Karaamaat. “The mir­acles have perfected themselves.” Aap Sirajanaa Haaray Dhaariaa. “God Himself has come in and prevailed through this manifestation.”
This is not gossip. This is not to inspire you. It's not to butter you up. It's not to cheer you up. This is the truth.

So please remember, no matter how beautiful you look in your mirror, either to boyfriends or girlfriends, to husbands and relatives, or to your state and environ­ment, that's all you. But as a Teacher, you have to only look to one commitment: you are a forklift for that space, for that time, for that person who is before you. There's nothing wrong with becoming emotional, commotional, a little angry sometimes, yell and scream in order to do one thing--your job is to keep the person awake. That’s it. It’s yoga of awareness. Keep him awake.
Like what they do in the hospital. They start slapping the patient’s cheeks. “Hey John, look at me! John, look, please, open your eyes! Do you hear me?" A Teacher is nothing more than that. They know if for another ten minutes this guy does not close his eyes and doesn't sink in, he's going to make it. This moment confronts a Teacher all the time. You know those emergency para­medics? You are the paramedics of the soul to deliver it to its own glory. It’s own Glory! You control nothing, and you claim nothing. Whenever you will control or claim, you'll be blamed and disreputed. All the doctor wants is for somebody to go home to his family and say, "Hello." The patient may then do whatever he may have to; he may go and dance and drink and party, all of which is anti-medical advice. But all the doctor wants is for his patient to go home. He doesn't want a person to remain in the hospital for the rest of his life and die with bedsores. Do you follow?

And there should be no ego. "I am a Teacher!" No. You are just a messenger of the teachings, whatever they are. Has the postman always delivered letters and come into the living room and had intercourse with your wife and slapped your kids, eaten your food, and stolen your things? Why do you think you have the right? You have absolutely no right. You have one privilege, that you will deliver the message as the postman delivers it. There is already a stamp on it. It is none of your business. God is sending it to you. And also remember, it is not only for the student; it is your test, too. Don't feel superior. Superior is the student who has come to you. Superior you are when you deliver him. So baby, you have a long journey to go. Take the honest responsibility.
Have you seen me teaching? I just see when the arcline becomes gold and blue, and the crystal clear white comes through. It doesn't matter where I am—I just stop it. That's enough. But I must deliver a person to that point. And I have done it when I am very, very sick myself, and all I wanted was to go home and sleep. “Thou shalt answer the call of duty.” You have not said, "I shall..." That's one place where you are God. “Thou shalt answer the call of duty,” and you'll do it beautifully.

NOW AFTER THIS INTRODUCTION, how many of you want to be Teachers? [Laughter.] I just want to be very sure that you understand what is involved in being a Teacher. And I want to assure you, that once you develop this personality, there is noth­ing you will not enjoy. Your life shall be fulfilled, and you shall enjoy every bit of it. That is the real life. The rest is a hassle.
If the Hand of God has guided you to become a Teacher, take this privilege and carry it on to the hilt. And don't stop for any other temptation. A human has his mission, his manners, and magnitude, and that has to be complete.
Normally as human beings, we become very personal in things. We involve ourselves, over-involve ourselves, under-involve ourselves. We have judgement, hatred, love, affection. All those human weaknesses are in us. But that you can only use as human. Just keep that out of your role as a Teacher. It's just like when you wear the gown and wig of a judge, and you sit and listen, listen, listen. You let everybody have a fair trial, a fair chance, and then you deliver the judgment.
So it is very important that a student can run away and come back, run away and come back. Say and not do, do and not say. It's all admissible. But for you, you have only three things. As they say in real estate: location, location, location. For you the three things are: be consistent, be consistent, be consistent. You have absolutely no option to vary yourself.

Above Article Copyright © Yogi Bhajan 2002. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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