Hurricane Katrina Relief Efforts
Update from Amarjit altar
Sat Nam, IKYTA supports the works of our teachers. We encourage everyone to give where, when and however they can. We are passing these letters on to you in that spirit. If you wish to make a donation, please evaluate recipients for yourself and give where you feel comfortable.
Click here to get reports of how each of the various charities listed there is rated in meeting the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance ‘Standards for Charity Reliability’. Also click onto http://www.give.org/news/disaster_tips.asp for tips on disaster Relief Appeals. For those of us who wish to donate to help the victims of this massive natural disaster, we feel that having a reliable source of information about the standards followed by the charity or charities of our choice is reassuring.
The following posts are included full length below:
- Hurricane Katrina Helps Deepen Connection with the Teachings
- Update from Amarjit after returning home
- Update on Akal Security Employees affected by hurricane
- Suggestion Organization to give donations
- call for volunteers by 3ho, sikh dharma, and espanola community
- International Association of Black Yoga Teachers supports KATRINA RELIEF
- update from Houston 3HO Sikh Sangat
- news and how to help Kundalini Yoga teachers affected by hurricane
Hurricane Katrina Helps Deepen Connection with the Teachings
Often, as part of their spiritual practice, people pray deeply for the chance to let go of old patterns, and reach new levels of awareness. For many of the Kundalini Yoga teachers who faced the challenge of Hurricane Katrina, the devastation and upheaval in their lives came as a spiritual blessing in disguise.
Just ask Kundalini Yoga teacher Siobhan from New Orleans:
“As for Guru Ram Das - all I can say is be careful what you ask for – you just might get it. I had been asking for the death of the selfish ego for a long time, and attachment to things is a huge part of that. I have never considered myself a materialistic person. I left Ireland eighteen years ago with two suitcases - one full of books! But I've learned that those things provide a container for your life - a sense of place in the world and when they are so suddenly taken away you are very much adrift. It's very different from choosing to give them up. That said I think one has to look forward and decide to view the whole situation in a positive light. It's not what happens to you in life that matters, it's what you do with it.”
Like many in the path of the hurricane, some community members lost everything and are rebuilding their lives in a new place. For Amarjit Singh, Hurricane Katrina literally tore him from one life and put him on the path of another.
“I evacuated to Atlanta where I stayed with a friend. I only packed for a couple of days and had the most important papers and stuff with me. As the news reports came in of the damage I knew that my life would be in for many changes. My place of business was destroyed which would leave me without my usual employment, and I found out my house had been hit by at least 5 feet of water, destroying everything inside. It was definitely a sign that I should start to think about what I was going to do with the rest of my life!
I had my eye on going back to school to complete a degree in Oriental Medicine for a long time. I made a call to a school in Austin, TX, and after hearing my story, they accepted me into their program. I also have some life long friends in Austin with a big home that wanted me to come and stay with them. My new path became clear. I also found my "missing" sadhana and a connection back to my neutral mind.
So I went back to empty my house onto the front lawn as all of my neighbors had done. It was very stressful to see a suburban area in such a mess. The toll on the environment, people and animals was just unbelievable. My neighbors were visibly shaken. I tried my best to find words to comfort them but it was difficult especially when they had little to hold on to. I was able to salvage a few things and I passed these things on to my neighbors. I ended up in Austin and have just completed my first week of classes as a student of the Academy of Oriental Medicine. I have embarked on a new path and a new direction that I know will be more compatible with the path I have found in Kundalini Yoga -which is helping others. Wahe Guru!”
KRI (the Kundalini Research Institute), Ancient Healing Ways and Sikh Dharma supported many of the 3HO community members who lost everything in the hurricane by providing them with Kundalini Yoga materials, along with words of gratitude for their keep up spirit.
“The pain of your losses is felt by each of us,” the staff of KRI wrote. “Your courage in the face of tragedy honors all of us. On this path we walk together. It is our prayer that we may all experience that connection, unity and love and that you receive everything you need now and always.”
The teachers expressed appreciation for having their Kundalini Yoga teachings replaced:
“The support of my 3HO family is helping greatly in dealing with these huge life changes,” wrote Siobhan. “I keep thinking of Yogiji arriving in Canada with nothing and managing just fine! You are very kind and I greatly appreciate it.”
“Wow, this huge box arrived yesterday,” wrote Amarjit Singh. “I am very grateful for KRI's thoughtfulness! There is so much more than I lost. I especially enjoyed finding the Destiny CD and Peace Lagoon. Thanks to everyone who helped send the package.”
“Sat Nam. Wanted to let you know I received my goodies today,” said Siri Deva Kaur. “On top of having these great manuals, my heart is warmed at the generosity of KRI. It feels really good to be a part of something. Thank you.”
Update from Amarjit after returning home
I am safe at my new destination. Going back to my home and seeing all the destruction along the coast was overwhelming.
I knew everything inside my home would be a loss & it was. Everthing was wet, and covered with mold. Any paper or books were turned into a mushy moldy mass. The contents of my home were picked up and strewn randomly throughout the inside. The water level reached about five feet in depth at the peak of the storm surge. It carried a lot of swamp water with it so on top of the mold it all smelled like sulfur too.
I knew that when I started to clear the mess out of the house I would likely run into something unusual and I did! See the photo below...
I had a meditation room with a small altar in it. I placed a card with Yogi Bhajan on it. The card was given to teachers at Solstice. I also had a Kirpan and a small picture on it. The picture says "Life is Good." As I got to the area where the altar had come to rest I couldnt believe it at first. The card and picture were untouched when every other scrap of paper in the house was covered in mold. What a miracle.
Life is Good. Wahe Guru!
Update on Akal Security Employees affected by hurricane
Thank you to all of your continued prayers and actions to support those affected by Hurricane Katrina.
We wanted to update you on the Akal Security employees in Louisiana and Mississippi who have been heavily affected by the Hurricane. First and foremost, we have finally accounted for all 67 employees. They were scattered far and wide in the evacuation process so tracking them down has been difficult. A large percentage of the employees lost their homes and all that they own. All employees sustained at least some damage to their property. Many are displaced. Therefore, they are all in the process of rebuilding their lives. Understandably, this is a very stressful situation for everyone involved and the situation and conditions in the affected areas change rapidly. Akal representatives are in the region working with employees and our clients to move toward a semblance of normalcy. At this point, while there are no court operations in Gulfport and New Orleans, we have been able to sustain employment for all employees who want to work. Most are eager to be back working.
Thanks again for all of your prayers and support to the affected Akal employees and all others affected by the hurricane.
Dev Suroop K. Khalsa
Corporate Operations Officer
Akal Security, Inc.
Suggestion Organization to give donations
Dear Ones, This is one of the best places to donate for catastrophes. There is no "overhead" (nothing "sticking to the glass as its poured") as all money goes directly to volunteers/victims in spiritual service to Amma, India's "Hugging Saint." They were and still are the best help for the tsunami victims ongoing.
Amma and Her Children's Response to Katrina
Aum Amritesvaryai Namah
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Amma,
Under Amma's guidance and our experience with the tsunami, Her children are now responding to the devastation left by Katrina. Go to the below Amma.org links to learn more and see how you might also get involved.
Amma Shares the Pain
September 1, 2005
Amma has requested Her centers worldwide to pray for those who died and for those who lost their loved ones in the recent stampede in Iraq and in the flooding in New Orleans from hurricane Katrina.
Amma's calls Dayamrita Swami
September 1, 2005
"Amma called me today and the first thing she asked was about the Katrina situation in the U.S....Amma asked me to go down there and help the affected people as much as we can...."
Work in Progress
September 5, 2005
The Arkansas center has helped hundreds of victims from Louisiana. The Dallas satsang (& affiliate center) has donated a truck load of food and clothing. Relief shelters are being set up in Houston and Arkansas. A team from M. A. Center that directly helped in tsunami relief is gathering to help with the relief efforts in Houston. Dayamrita Swami is going to the Arkansas center and will keep us posted.
For more links: Hurricane Katrina Relief Efforts
If these links don't work for you, you can either paste the whole link into your browser or go to: http://Amma.org
In Her Love And Compassion,
call for volunteers
Greetings and Sat Nam,
God bless you for holding the Hurricane Katrina victims in your prayers and meditations. Through our contributions and service, we will be able to make a difference.
3HO and Sikh Dharma have searched for the most effective response to the crisis in the Gulf Coast Region and want to share some ideas:
• Funding is still one of the foremost needs at this time. We encourage you to donate to the Red Cross or other recognized charities of your choice. https://www.redcross.org/donate/donation-form.asp or call 1-800-HELP NOW (1-800-4357 669).
• Volunteers are needed! Are you interested in traveling to the Gulf Coast? We would like to send groups of volunteers each week in order to provide a strong, unified force of service.
For example, the Espanola community is sending 6 volunteers to serve with United Sikhs (www.unitedsikhs.org), who are providing 1,300 hot meals per day to the evacuees in the Baton Rouge area.
If you are called to volunteer or help send others to help, please contact Sat Purkh Kaur Khalsa at [email protected] or 505-747-4180x100. She will assist you in donating your frequent flyer miles or Rapid Rewards tickets toward this cause.
Please be aware that volunteers traveling to the area must have two things in order to serve with United Sikhs: a completed volunteer form, which is on www.unitedsikhs.org and vaccinations for tetanus and diphtheria (as recommended by the Center for Disease Control). The standing water and conditions in the evacuee camps demand this protective step.
We hope to be a continuing presence to the communities in the Gulf Coast Area throughout the long recovery process so your time and your money are welcomed and will be put to good use.
Areas in which we are already responding include:
• $10,000 dollar grant from Sikh Dharma to the Red Cross
• $25,000 worth of food donated by Golden Temple, maker of Yogi Tea and Peace Cereal
• Akal Security is donating time and money toward rebuilding families’ lives and jobs. Sixty-nine Akal employees were personally affected by Katrina, eight are still missing, and many lost their homes from Louisiana to Mississippi.
• The Houston community is active in supporting the Red Cross during the evacuee crises at the Astrodome. For more information and stories from the field, please visit: http://tinyurl.com/c646a
We must be prepared to act quickly in case of future disasters. Therefore, 3HO is developing an Emergency Response Team so that we can respond more rapidly and effectively in future emergencies. If you are interested in participating in this effort, please contact Sat Mitar Kaur at 505-367-1307 or [email protected]
As we help humanity, we are manifesting the essence of what the Siri Singh Sahib taught us: “Live for each other…We have come here to serve each other.” Let us all continue to project healing energy to all those affected by Hurricane Katrina.
In gratitude to all,
3HO, Sikh Dharma International, and the Espanola Community
International Association of Black Yoga Teachers supports KATRINA RELIEF
There are many efforts being made in our communities around the country to assist people that have been devastated by the Katrina Hurricane and the lack of timely and appropriate response that followed. Having just returned from Ghana, I am only now being made aware of the level of death and destruction being suffered by mostly black and poor people in New Orleans, Mississippi and Alabama. We urge you to send your heartfelt support through channels you can trust that will make sure the people who really need your help will actually get it. If you haven’t found a channel you can trust in which to contribute, please note the following:
KRST Unity Center – LA is sending a 53 foot truck that can carry as much as 40,000 lbs of cargo directly to the people who need it the most. This truck will be leaving LA on Friday, September 16th.
What’s mostly needed:
· Sanitary napkins and tampons
· Tooth paste and tooth brushes
· Diapers and baby bottles
· Deodorant, soap and body oil
· Hair combs and brushes
· New packages of underwear & socks (not used)
· Rubber flip-flops or plastic shoes
What not to send:
· Used items including clothing
Drop off or mail supplies to 7825 So. Western Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90047
· Make tax deductible contributions to IABYT- Katrina Relief, or “Say Yes to Life” and mail c/o IABYT, P.O. Box 360922, Los Angeles, CA 90019. No amount is too small!
Use the mantras, say the prayers, open a sacred space for the healing to take place!
It is on us now! Let’s take care of our own….
Peace! Krishna Kaur
update from Houston 3HO Sikh Sangat
Hari Kirn asked me to write to you to help bring some information to light. As you know, thousands of evacuees from the hurricane have come on their own or have been brought to Houston for shelter. The whole city of Houston has come together so far with an enormous response of volunteers and supplies. The Astrodome and George R. Brown Convention Center have been turned into well organized shelters and are covering many, many needs including providing medical care, meals, clothing and supplies, telephone banks, etc.
The Houston 3HO Sikh Sangat is very small but at least five of us have spent time volunteering at the Astrodome working in whatever capacity was our expertise or where we were needed. We have been well received and they are grateful for the help. There are two categories of volunteers: medical and non-medical. In the medical area a volunteer is utilized according to how they are licensed. In the non-medical area a call for a job to be filled is made and volunteers who can fill those jobs are sent there.
The Sikh Center in Houston is also sending volunteers to the Astrodome. In my humble assessment, it is not really an issue here in Houston that the city has a lack of hands to do the work. Houston is a very large city and has the man-power. What is important though, is that there be a strong Sikh presence. The Siri Singh Sahib said we must be known for our service so anyone who wishes to come and serve is welcome.
There is another need for service. United Sikhs has organized a lungar kitchen in Baton Rouge and they are in desperate need of volunteers. That city, from what I understand, has nearly doubled their population with hurricane evacuees. You should call Kuldip Singh with United Sikhs who is coordinating volunteers at 404-550-8356. Also, this is the email address of Mejindarpal Kaur who is the point person for that lungar seva in Baton Rouge [email protected] They will be most grateful for any extra hands. You can see what they are doing on their website www.unitedsikhs.org
Keep us informed of any plans that may be made within the Espanola sangat.
love and blessings,
Guru Gian Kaur
News and how to help Kundalini Yoga teachers affected by hurricane
Everyone has been writing asking how they can help. I had a thought this morning in sadhana.
I believe some of our brother and sister KY teachers here in the south, may have lost their homes.
Importantly, they may have lost their yoga teaching tools, like their IKYTA manuals, their yoga books, their CD's....perhaps the Kundalini Yoga community could find a way to pool resources together and get these people some replacement materials so they can continue to teach and spread the light?
We had 6 teachers in the region that are displaced:
In New Orleans:
Dena Hatton aka Har Kaur
We had one in Covington, LA - not sure of his status: (parts of this area were very badly hit)
We had 1 in Ocean Springs, Mississippi: (this area was devastated)
I have been trying to reach them to find out people's status:
I heard from Brian Bush - our 1 IKYTA teacher in the state of Mississippi (!) that state is empty yet again.... He is moving to Austin - his home is was under 6 feet of water - so most probably all his teaching stuff is lost or destroyed. I have connected him up with Mehtab and I know they will welcome him there. Brian can be reached by email [email protected]
I have heard from Siobhan - she is in DC with family. She lived in N.O. - not sure the status of her home - but they were struggling finacially before all this happened - I know this is a devastating blow for them.
I have not heard from the others...Amy just recently had a baby. I will continue to try to locate them. Just thought I'd throw out this suggestion of one way the community could help it's own.
love and sat nam