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By Shakti Parwha Kaur
“Put the cloves in the boiling water first, and watch them pair up and dance together!” Little did I know in January of 1969 when Yogi Bhajan taught me how to make Yogi Tea, that it wouldn’t be long before there would be pots of Yogi Tea boiling on stoves all over the world! Soon his Kundalini Yoga students began taking cold showers in the ambrosial hours, chanting God’s Name before the dawn and wearing white clothes, “So that people would know who to go to for help.” Yogiji committed himself to training teachers, healers, and leaders in preparation for the chaos he knew would come as the Aquarian Age struggled to be born.
From the very beginning, Yogi Bhajan emphasized his intention to create a 3HO Family. He taught the value of living for each other, not just with each other and definitely not at each other. He envisioned an ideal family, where everyone is accepted, appreciated, and included. He said, “Children are the future, they are not furniture.” And he taught us how to raise them with respect, preparing them to be the leaders of tomorrow, independent, self-confident. He said, “Old is gold,” so at our functions, people of all ages sing, eat, laugh, and meditate together. He gave us a treasury of words to live by, truth in capsule form, “God lives in cozy homes, not in crazy homes; it’s not the life that matters, it’s the courage that you bring to it; patience pays.”
He was an idealist—and at the same time a practical realist. He knew that although the guidelines for being human that he taught, Humanology, were perfect, we would have to struggle and grow in consciousness to live up to them, as people in any family struggle to get along. He wanted us to understand and accept one another as Divine beings in human form. “If you can’t see God in all, you can’t see God at all.” Recognizing that we each have different strengths and weaknesses, he challenged us as a family to support and encourage each other, rather than compete and complain.
For practical legal reasons, 3HO was incorporated. But Yogi Bhajan never wavered from his heart-centered vision of a 3HO Family, a vision that gave birth to such songs as “We are the people, the people of love, let us people love today. Sat Nam, Sat Nam….”
Musicians such as Guru Singh, Livtar Singh, and Guru Das Singh, inspired by the Master’s soul-to-soul teachings, put his words to music. It has been said, “God respects me when I work, but He loves me when I sing.” And sing we did! In 1979, for its 10th Anniversary, 3HO produced an amazing music and mantra double CD.
Within that first decade Yogi Bhajan revealed ancient mantras, kriyas, and techniques for living that changed our lives. And for two more non-stop decades, he kept on downloading a legacy of guidance and inspiration to serve the whole human family for generations to come.
With Aquarian foresight he set up groups of people within 3HO to handle the administrative details of the growing organization. He trained and groomed his staff and students to excel in business; he encouraged people to return to college and earn their degrees in fields he saw matched their destiny.
In less than 36 years the 3HO family Yogi Bhajan created has spread throughout the world. We are now at home in 35 countries with 4100 certified Kundalini Yoga Teachers.
Second and third generations of the 3HO Family are now enjoying Yogi Tea. Some still count out the spices; personally I buy it prepackaged, but I must admit, I miss watching the cloves dance!
Shakti Parwha Kaur Khalsa is the author of Kundalini Yoga: The Flow of Eternal Power, Tool Kit for Teaching Beginners,and Kundalini Postures and Poetry. Shakti was Yogi Bhajan’s first student in the United States and has been teaching Kundalini Yoga since 1969. She produced the 3HO Newsletter, The Science of Keeping Up, for over 30 years. Ordained a minister of Sikh Dharma in 1973, she lives in Los Angeles, California.
 Two and one half hours before dawn