Yogi Bhajan, the recently deceased Sikh "pope" of the Western Hemisphere and guru of the 3HO Organization, has been eulogized in a resolution passed by the 109th Congress of the United States. Sponsored by New Mexico senator Tom Udall, the resolution expresses the appreciation of the American people by way of their elected officials for the work done by Yogi Bhajan in America.
We imagine the appreciation of the Sikh community in New Mexico comes in handy for Udall during reelection time. Given the influence of the fundamentalist right in Congress, we also imagine that he was doing a bit of shoe lickin' in the House to get this particular resolution passed.
But there are other reasons Udall might be anxious to curry the favor of the Sikhs. Yogi Bhajan's Sikh Dharma International has been in Espanola, NM since 1972. In that time his devotees have established a network of local businesses across the northern tier of that state. Their influence has become almost family-like in some sectors. As in that kind of famiglia. They've even got muscle. Their Akal Security company is a leading national security firm.
"Family" influences aside, the bill goes a bit too far with this proclamation:
Whereas when Yogi Bhajan visited the United States in 1968, he recognized immediately that the experience of higher consciousness that many young people were attempting to find through drugs could be alternatively achieved through Kundalini Yoga, and in response, he began teaching Kundalini Yoga publicly, thereby breaking the centuries-old tradition of secrecy surrounding it.Yogi Bhajan may have broke a centuries-old Sikh tradition of secrecy, but kundalini yoga in one form has been taught in the West since Swami Vivekananda established the Vedanta Society in New York City in 1894.
But we can forgive Tom for the oversight and embellishment, which was probably the result of his eagerness to please the turbaned ones. Having such a powerful bloc of voters in his column will always help on election day, although we imagine his tongue will be blackened by shoe polish for at least another month or two.