By Sue Beck(Karta Purkh) and Dan Retuta
One week after attending my first Kundalini Yoga class in Aspen, I received an unexpected phone call. The man had a commandingly booming voice with a thick New York accent. He identified himself as Dyal Singh Khalsa: “Sat Nam. I’ve already called my travel agent. You are to fly to Miami for Tantric, and then to Boston to meet Yogi Bhajan, and then to Uniondale here in New York to live in my basement and learn to teach.” It was pure grace that directed me to follow these assertive instructions from a complete and perfect stranger. On that afternoon in 1996, I began my relationship with Dyal Singh who firmly set me on the path to learning and teaching the profound technology of Kundalini Yoga. With his encouragement and support, I was blessed to attend the 1997 Master’s Touch Course. In the years that followed, Dyal Singh nurtured the vision for what was to come, training teachers of Kundalini Yoga, as transmitted by Yogi Bhajan.
In 2004, the Crestone Healing Arts Center hosted Colorado’s first Level I Aquarian Teacher Training with Dyal Singh as Lead Trainer. He would teach with unwavering exactitude and devotion, the way his beloved teacher, the Siri Singh Sahib (Yogi Bhajan) had instructed him to teach. Dyal Singh would drive over 2000 miles from New York to Colorado three times a year to serve a small handful of students awaiting the blessing of his wisdom and teaching. In the eight years that followed he successfully completed seven Level I Teacher Trainings. His influence as a teacher made an indelible and lasting impression amongst the students in these trainings.
Dyal Singh was a storyteller. The yoga students would hear tales of how he would share the benefits of his headstand chair with random truck drivers at rest stops, convince strangers in need to receive Yogic Neuromuscular bodywork in gas station parking lots, teach stress management and long deep breathing to police officers who stopped him along the way, and how Reiki treatments would work its healing wonders amongst recipients near and far. Dyal Singh’s precious stories of his many experiences with the Siri Singh Sahib were the ones he treasured the most.
Dyal Singh’s kindness and generosity made a lasting impression on our family and the entire Crestone community. He always responded to my calls giving advice regarding family, friends, situations, and life direction. He contributed his energy and resources to sharing yoga especially in our local charter school. Crestone Charter School is now in its 10th year of including Kundalini Yoga in its curriculum. He assisted our daughter, Ariel, and one other community member in attending Miri Piri Academy in India. Dyal Singh offered healing and bodywork to individuals who often could not afford to pay for treatments. He established the Siri Singh Sahib Memorial Temple, dedicating himself to spreading Kundalini Yoga to whoever came to his door for teachings, counseling or advice.
In the last few weeks just prior to his April, 2012 car accident, it was clear that Dyal Singh was happier and more content than Dan and I had ever seen him. He came to our office with that same booming voice to joyfully sign the certificates for what was to be his last group of teacher trainees. We had a lot of laughs that day about life and about our memories from previous trainings. He told us how much he loved living here in our secluded mountain town. He will be remembered by many as a great teacher, a selfless healer, and a unique human being. Dyal Singh will be greatly missed. He resides in our hearts always.
One of the graduates of this most recent teacher training expressed respect and regard for Dyal with these words: "Today I chanted ‘Akaals’ for Dyal on a cliff overlooking the Pacific ocean, sun gleaming off the water, waves frothing around the rocks below. It seemed especially fitting to be at the boundary between the known and the vast expanse of the unknowable. While explaining my connection with Dyal to someone a few days ago, I realized I can count on my hands the number of days I was with him in Crestone, and borrowing another hand covers the days in Lakewood. His presence in my life seems unbound by the time and space that we physically spent together. I'm sure this is true for all of you and so many others, and I'm equally sure that it will continue to be true in his passing. He will live on in many hearts. I wish I could be at the ceremony in Crestone tomorrow morning. Instead, I will again be at the Pacific, chanting ‘Akaals’, perhaps burning a small fire as a tiny echo. Much love to each of you, I look forward to seeing you again soon."
Dyal Singh Khalsa passed from this world and on to his next dharmic destination on May 3, 2012. The cremation ceremony took place during the morning of the full moon on May 6, 2012. Thank you Dyal for all the good you shared with us “Seen and unseen.”
Sue Beck/Karta Purkh and Dan Retuta are the Directors of Crestone Healing Arts Center & Kundalini Yoga of Crestone.