Introduction by Shakti Parwha Kaur Khalsa
“It’s not the life that matters, it’s the courage that you bring to it.”
When Yogi Bhajan first started teaching in the United States in 1969, he emphasized certain principles from which he has never wavered.
“I’ve not come to get students, but to train teachers.”
With an endless flow of inspiration, his words always carry right to the heart of each listener. The same themes appear over and over throughout the years, yet always freshly presented and always expanding greater self-awareness for the student.
“Don’t love me, love my teachings.”
He created the 3HO Foundation to fulfill his vision of a Healthy, Happy, Holy Organization—a “family” of people who live consciously, and successfully, not just with each other but for each other.
“Any country in which woman is not respected is doomed to failure.”
He emphasized the need for recognition of the power and potential of women as the “Grace of God.” He began a training camp especially for women.
His lectures and classes always include encouragement to do a regular, consistent, daily sadhana, pointing out that the first step toward happiness is commitment.
He defined “holiness” as practicing the Golden Rule while receiving each breath gratefully, recognizing that it is a gift from the Giver of all life. He quotes from Guru Nanak who taught that there is One God who breathes in all of us.
He explains that how you choose to worship that One God is your religion, whereas Kundalini Yoga is a science, a method by which anyone can experience that God within.
“Value your breath; it is the direct link with your Creator.”
He trained teachers, providing an alternative lifestyle to the Seventies’ prevalent drug culture; uniting spiritual teachers; promoting world peace; honoring woman as the mother of all mankind; these have been his main points, as he traveled the world setting an example of selfless service and personal sacrifice.
“If you can’t see God in all, you can’t see God at all.”
There is no way to fully encompass the vast library of Yogi Bhajan’s teachings. In each era, he has given us something unique. In that spirit, we offer five slices of his wisdom, one from each decade that he’s been teaching, preparing us to consciously enter the Age of Aquarius.
The Sixties: Breath: The Charge of the Divine
Excerpts from a lecture by Yogi Bhajan on March 23, 1969
We are not conscious of the breath, which gives us life. If we do not breathe, we are dead, and yet we are not aware of our breath because it is automatic. When we automatically breathe, we breathe no more than three hundred cubic centimeters (cc) lung capacity. When we breathe consciously we breathe not less than five hundred cc.
Unconsciously, we take fifteen breaths a minute. Consciously, we should take one breath a minute. Breaths have been allotted to us because of previous karmas. If we extend our breath, and multiply mathematically, we will see how much longevity we will have if we breathe consciously.
You must learn to increase your lung capacity. Without this, you are just using the credit of your last karma and you are going to be caught by one thing or another.
Guided Meditation (6 minutes)
Sit in Sukhasana (Easy Pose*). Sit in a very calm, solid position and apply the locks (bandhs*). The spinal cord should be straight like an arrow. Close your eyes and go deep into your mind.
In your mind there are many thoughts but now the thoughts you are going to search are, “Have I realized the Divine? If I am not the manifestation of the Divine, then what is the Divine? Isn’t it the charge of the Divine through breath, which prevails through me? Isn’t all this His gift, which comes to me without any trouble? Am I not all the time unconscious of this breath? If the breath brings me the charge of the Divine, why I am looking after other things? Why can’t I concentrate that each breath has a charge and each charge is a blessing of the Divine and this blessing is continuous as kiss after kiss after kiss after kiss after kiss. When He is hugging me constantly why am I negative? Why do I not have confidence that I am the child of the Divine? Why do I forget Him? When each breath is the message, each breath is the life, each breath can improve me, each breath is a new hope, why then am I forgetting this valuable and beautiful process of life?”
Mentally say, “I, so and so, do hereby promise and pledge on this sacred time of the day that I will always try my level best to meditate on each breath of mine and will think of it as a gift of the divine. I, so and so, do promise and pledge I will not live in the past because each breath, which has passed, has passed and the present breath is the present blessing and the future is a new love and hope. I, so and so, do pledge and promise, within myself, with my honor that I shall always live with a new hope of love. I shall always seek help, I shall always be happy for seeking it and I shall try to be holy with the principle: I shall not do to others, which I’ll not like to be done to myself.
Breath of Fire (5 minutes)
I realize breath is the direct message of God. God is not beyond vibration and each breath brings the divine vibration and charges my body. Therefore, I am going to realize this fact, I am going to breathe sincerely for five minutes the Breath of Fire.* Now continue, breathe.
Now meditate on each breath as the charge of the divine force in you. Concentrate on each breath as a gift to you. Do not just feel that you are breathing for the sake of an exercise. Inhale all the vital energy to you and exhale all the negativity. With this fastness and rapidness, feel that you inhale the life force and exhale all what is not required.
Each breath is from Divine force. It is love, which shall never end. It is a gift, which He has sent. Breathe then. Every effort to breathe is an end within itself. It will increase the circulation. It will make the blood purer. It will give strength to the weak nerves.
[After five minutes] pass the energy within the spine now, time is up. (Inhale and hold for up to one minute.) Relax the breath and meditate on the energy in the spine. Breathe and concentrate on that energy.
Your contact with the divine is the breath. Each breath is the message of love and the charge of the Divine. Therefore when you breathe, feel it is a Divine gift to you. Feel it comes to you from the Divine. Feel it is energy. The very conception of this feeling will make you Divine.
© YB Teachings, LLC 1969
The Seventies: Being Real
Excerpts from a lecture by Yogi Bhajan on July 31, 1975
Even though we don't mean to hurt anybody, sometimes we do. The reason is very simple. There are two energies, two polarities in a human mind. One is when you say something to cover the time and the space; and second is when you say something beyond time and space. When you say something to cover time and space, you are not real, because you are living to the moment. But when you say something beyond time and space, you are real.
Just for example, say that someone complains to me, "Yesterday you didn't love me. You didn't talk to me, you didn't say hi to me." I will not say to him, "Oh, I am sorry," or "Oh, I must have been spaced out.” I'll not make or cook something up. I will be direct and say to him, “I didn't see you.” In the future if he wants me to say hello, he knows he has to make himself shown to me. Follow the attitude? The fact is I did not see him and I didn’t communicate with him. That is the basic reality.
Accept yourself as you. Live within yourself so that the without can relate to you. Out of you can spring beautiful thoughts. Out of you can spring beautiful radiance. Out of you can come peace. Out of you can come God. But before anything can come out of you, it must be there. It will be there when you are there. When you are not there, how can anything be there? If you are not in the house, how can a guest be entertained? My friends, we have to learn to live with ourselves. When you live consciously, then it will not mean any pain to you because you are living it. There is no human who can live without reality. Reality is living with yourself, accepting yourself, and being within yourself. That is the secret of prosperity.
© YB Teachings, LLC 1975
The Eighties: Sacredness
Excerpts from a lecture by Yogi Bhajan on June 21, 1985
The purpose to visit planet Earth is not to find God, neither to announce God nor to denounce God. The purpose of coming to planet Earth is to find the sacredness in you and live it. Go to the English dictionary and find out the meaning of sacredness, and then make a program how you are going to find your own sacredness. Then whatever you see, whatever you feel, whatever you want to deal with, whatever you want to talk about, keep it sacred, make it sacred, and whatever is sacred right or wrong, don’t bother, that is God.
What is not sacred is worth nothing. “Give me the sacredness.” This is the prayer you have to pray from today onwards, “Give me the sacredness or give me death.” If you do not prefer sacredness over death you have not learned the secret of life. You have to understand it with your own consciousness and this should be your prayer, “Give me the sacredness or give me death,” and then leave it to God.
Do not follow anybody, do not listen to anybody, do not look for anything, don’t hear a thing, don’t worry about anything—all you have to do is to find in you your own sacredness: look sacred, be sacred, talk sacred, eat sacred. It will take one man, one woman, one sacred thought, one sacred act to give this Earth a sacred message—only one sacred person and one sacred prayer to save the entire Earth. You want to know what God can do for you. Just know what your own sacredness can do for you and this planet Earth can be saved even now, there is still time, little time, but there is time.
© YB Teachings, LLC 1985
The Nineties: The Power of Woman
Excerpts from a lecture by Yogi Bhajan on July 1, 1994 at Women’s Camp
When a woman conceives any idea, it grows, and her mind becomes pregnant with that idea. A woman will deliver no matter what the pain. What about men? Men do not have the capacity of conceiving, maturing, and delivering. Men have the idea to "go and get it." They are go-getter people. They are totally different than women. If a woman has any idea that she has the faculty of a man in any proportion, she is wrong. The Creator took it upon Himself to create a woman with a faculty that she can continue the race or keep the race going with grace.
Men need discipline, I agree, but woman needs sixteen times the discipline. When somebody tells woman that she has sixteen times the faculty of man she feels very happy. But remember she also has sixteen times more destructiveness and she affects sixteen times more. Everything in the case of woman will be sixteen times, both plus and minus.
Technologically, as a woman you have a God-given faculty, and you have the capacity to nurture and deliver. And your effectiveness is in your discipline. There are four points you must know. The first thing is that you should be your own disciple. Secondly, you must conquer your mind and act only through the neutral mind. Thirdly, you must know that every action has a reaction. But in your case it is sixteen times more. The fourth point you must remember is that when you are out there, incomplete and not ready, you are sixteen times more vulnerable than a male.
Remember, man will live with a mistake for the moment, but you will live with your mistakes for the rest of your life. Because woman's mistaken moments are in her aura and arc line. Woman has a double arc line while man has only one, from ear lobe to ear lobe. Female also has an arc line across her breasts. So your actions cannot be wiped out. Whether or not you like these things is not the criteria here. The character is the question. The best idea is for you to be prepared and meet everything head on.
© YB Teachings, LLC 1994
The New Millennium: The Aquarian Age
Excerpts from a lecture by Yogi Bhajan on June 17, 2002
Now our lives are at a crossroad. On one side we are part of the material America and on the other side we are looking to the spiritual side of ourselves in the United States. Question is, do you go with today’s trends or do you adopt your own way of life and come out of it and be so? This is what this time demands. This is what the Age of Aquarius is all about.
You shall not follow the trends other than those which make you graceful and divine, and you will identify yourself as contented and prosperous, and in the status of an individual in bliss, through the beauty of your character and characteristics.
Your fashion shall be saintly, your life shall be virtuous, your word shall be effective and you shall speak with honor to honor every word you speak. That’s the way life is to be.
Tomorrow you have to have character to make an impact as a role model. You have to show people the way by helping, uplifting, and making people healthy, happy, and holy, with no thought of return. It is our time to walk on this path in spite of our handicaps.
There is a lot to do and you are a part of it. So welcome to the new times, new era, new space, and new humanity in which we will all survive—loving, respecting, and helping each other. The time doesn't want things, which are shallow, and which are temporary, and all of you I know have to make one sacrifice or the other. So see that you live a clean life with clarity of mind, and with an exalted purpose of life.
© YB Teachings, LLC 2002