Why did Yogi Bhajan use the word "Dharma"?

by Gursant Singh ⌂ @, Yuba City California USA, Sunday, April 25, 2010, 16:44 (4234 days ago)
edited by Gursant Singh, Monday, June 13, 2011, 08:39

The word "Dharma" has its origins in the Hindu tradition. "The term dharma (Sanskrit: dhárma, Pāḷi dhamma) is an Indic spiritual and religious term that means one's righteous duty, or any virtuous path. A Hindu's dharma is affected by a person's age, class, occupation, and gender. In modern Indian languages it can be equivalent simply to religion, depending on context. The word dharma translates as that which upholds or supports, and is generally translated into English as law." Hiro G. Badlani Hinduism: Path of the Ancient Wisdom. 2008, page 18 Carol Henderson Garcia Culture and customs of India. 2002, page 31

You will never find the word "Dharma" used in traditional sikh teachings. Instead, the word "Dharam" is used by traditional Sikhs as shown at this link.

"Dhaul dharam daya (compassion) ka putu;
Santokh (being content or satisfied) thap rakhiya jin suti."
(Stanza 16, Japuji)

"This universal message contain two words: compassion (daya) and contentment (santokh). The righteousness is born out of compassion and contentment upholds the order of nature (Dhaul dharam daya ka poot; santokh thap rakhiya jin soot). The implication is: "Be compassionate to others; Be satisfied within yourself!"

So here's an interesting question; Why did Yogi Bhajan use the Sanskrit and traditional Hindu term "Dharma" for his organization as in "Sikh Dharma"? Why didn't he call it "Sikh Dharam"?

Yogi Bhajan's surname is Puri. His father's name being Dr. Kartar Singh Puri.

Wikipedia(Puri Family Name)"Puris are staunch Hindus and have been associated with struggles and revolts against numerous invasions for the protection of the Hindu Dharma.The Vaishno Devi Shrine is of particular importance as it is with other Hindu Khatri clans. Puris, like many other Punjabi Hindu (Khatri) clans, supported the revolt inititiated by Guru Gobind Singh.As was common among Punjabi families, many gave one of their sons to the Guru's army in the war against the atrocities of the Mughals.

D. D. Kosambi (1996) in his book An introduction to the study of India history writes: The Puru tribe seems to have been as Aryan as any. It survived in the Mahabharata story, and to Alexander's time (perhaps in the modern Punjabi surname Puri)"

Summarized in a (Census report, 1881, ~ 284, 265): "Others, again, while they revere the Granth, yet revere Brahmans also, worship idols now and then, do not abstain from tobacco, and shave their heads. Some of these call them-selves Nanak-panthi Sikhs, and others Nanak-panthi Hindus; so that there is no clear line of distinction between them."

"Seventy years ago Yogi Bhajan was born an Indian prince. He was the male heir of a family whose holdings included the entire village of Kot Harkarn, now part of Pakistan. His birthdays were great celebrations. Each year his weight in kilos was doled out to the poor in gold, silver and copper coins.
Harbhajan Singh was born on August 26, 1929 into a Sikh family in Kot Harkarn, district Gujranwala, in the province of Punjab (British India). His father, Dr. Kartar Singh Puri, served the British Raj as a medical doctor. His mother was named Harkrishan Kaur. Theirs was a well-to-do landlord family, owning most of their village in the foothills of the Himalayas."

Wikipedia(Yogi Bhajan article) "Throughout his life, Harbhajan Singh continued his practice and pursuit of yogic knowledge. His government duties often facilitated his traveling to remote ashrams and distant hermitages in order to seek out reclusive yogis and swamis.

In the mid-1960s, Harbhajan Singh took up a position as instructor at the Vishwayatan Ashram in New Delhi, under Dhirendra Brahmachari. This yoga centre was frequented by the Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, his daughter, Indira Gandhi, and diplomats and employees from a host of foreign embassies."

The following is an excerpt from an interview conducted on Ek On Kaar Kaur, the communications director for Sikhnet, an online web community for 3HO Sikhs under the auspices of Yogi Bhajan.

When Yogi Bhajan was a young man, his grandfather wanted him to study Kundalini Yoga, and so he became a Kundalini Yoga master at the age of fourteen.

When he was eighteen and the partition happened between India and Pakistan, the Punjab was affected, and Yogi Bhajan had to lead his people out of Pakistan into India.

When he came to the West and started teaching yoga for a couple of years, his students became fascinated with the turban and the beard and the Sikh tradition, and started to question him. Then one of his long-haired students got taken into police custody, and the police were going to cut his hair. So the student said, "You can't cut my hair because I'm a Sikh."

The judge called up Yogi Bhajan and asked if it were true that this guy was a Sikh. Yogi Bhajan said yes, and the judge said he needed him to come to the court right now with a signed document confirming this.

So a bunch of students put turbans on their heads and created some stationary that said "Sikh Dharma of the Western Hemisphere," and they went down to the courthouse and said, This guy's a Sikh, so you can't cut his hair.

And that's how Sikh movement of Yogi Bhajan got started in the West.

See more photos and discussion on facebook at:

“Amid the legal infighting following Yogi Bhajan’s death, critics are offering another portrait of the Sikh leader.”

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