During the first several Summer Solstice Sadhana Celebrations, there were five days of White Tantric Yoga (at least), everyone observed silence during the entire ten days of solstice, we were encouraged to travel to and from solstice in caravans, there was no Oasis selling treats, no lunch was served, nor were there any food options other than the solstice diet, and no one left the site until the end of Summer Solstice. In this lecture, Yogi Bhajan explains why he encouraged us to observe silence and travel in groups, and the benefits gained from attending Summer Solstice.
Excerpts from a lecture by Yogi Bhajan given at Summer Solstice, June 18, 1973
At a solstice you have to break your patterns. You are here to go through certain changes. And you cannot live intellectually all your life. You have to live by the power of your soul.
For some of you it may be difficult to be in silence. But the art of silence is the greatest art. Actually we are not silent; we are praising the Lord. We have dedicated these days to Him. Just to be silent is virtuous. To be silent for eight days in your life is not asking too much. And in fact, it is not silence. All the time we chant; all the time we say Sat Nam. It is the energy of physical vibration that has to be diverted to one area—the soul—so that you may face the world.
We are here to prove to ourselves who we are and what we will be. We are practicing a way of life here; we are practicing a strength in us. We are trying to prove to ourselves whether we can relate to soul or not. It is not a drama and it is not a favor to anybody.
And we are not going to cater to anybody's ego. He may even be a god; we'll kick him out. You must be very clear on that attitude. We come here to give our ego up; we don't come here to demonstrate our ego. And we're not going to tolerate that under any environmental circumstances, whether you like it or you don't like it. Either you undertake the responsibility and be what you should be, or you can never break the patterns. And there's no choice between the two. It would be very silly to come here and not test yourself.
That is why we go to a wilderness where there is no public around; there is no habitation, no homes, no shops. So then we can do what we want to do, away from civilization, away from the concrete jungle. We should test ourselves. There are very comfortable environments this year. Next year we should not have it like that. We should just be left alone. Why not? Are you not people? Don't you have the strength in you? Where has the soul gone to? Has it gone on holiday? Can we prove to ourselves that deep, deep in us we have the strength and are capable to do anything we want to do? For eight days can we channelize our total energy to God who gave us the power to speak?
This is not a psychology class at U.C.L.A. where we talk to people about the messy human scene. Forget it! It is a self-observation and it is a self-discipline. It is a test—whether you communicate with your ego, or your ego communicates with you. It's a simple, natural human phenomenon. Stay clear in your consciousness on that.
When you all came you were welcome. When you go, we will welcome you to go. We welcome you anyway. But here it is a workshop; here each one has to cater to himself. It is a self-catering process, it is a self-disciplining process, it is a self-meditation into the total activity. If we never learn in our lives to break our patterns of life for ten days, we will never learn to live happy. It's a fundamental necessity; it is a must of the human life.
We are getting to be a sick nation and we can't afford that. I have studied all civilizations on that subject. In all those civilizations there were certain patterns where people have festivals which relate to the soul, and those festivals were beyond the pattern of normal life. Nations were healthy, people were beautiful, people were great.
The Roman Empire would never have fallen in history; there was no way they could have been defeated. But instead of continuing their festivals as spiritual gatherings, they became sexual. The nation fell. The civilization fell. The Egyptian civilization was the strongest civilization, but when their gatherings became naked dances and booze, and finally they gave themselves to peyote, they fell. In the Indian civilization, when their dances were spiritual and done in temples, they were a God-fearing people. When their feasts and festivals were related to the physical as spiritual incarnations of God, they were the healthiest of people. But when they fell from that and became ritualistic, they suffered slavery and came under brute rule for thousands of years. When the Chinese got into the ritual of opium, a handful of Japanese made them slaves and took away all of Manchuria from them.
Study the human race and study the basic human nature. The human psychology must be studied. You have to become strong, and you have to become self within Self, and this is the only way you can do that.
We have lived a very organized and pressured life. We talk, talk, talk like ducks all the time. We prove to each other that we are beautiful by how much we know. Now these eight days are given to you and you don't have to prove anything to anybody except yourself. Can you remain silent, and if you have to speak, can you project your magnetic field in a vibratory effect so that the other man understands you before you speak? Can you overcome your needs? Are you powerful enough to exist under any circumstances worse than these? Do you have the guts to carry on your life under all environments?
We are building a future. While building a future, care has to be taken that the foundation is basically strong. It is those foundations on which the future has to be laid.
If we think that we are men, let us be graceful men. If we think that we are women, then let us be graceful women. Let us be Grace of God. Let us understand who we are. Some people think that this Solstice is a festival where things will be catered to their fancies.
People are those who change environments to increase the beauty and comfort for each other. People are not those who make wars, who commit tragedies, who create destruction. That is the animal nature of people. You are peaceful, strong, honest people. That is the life we are going to practice. And we must experience it. Otherwise suppose I go on teaching and telling you, “Da da da da”--it is all a surface. It doesn't mean a thing. My word will never reach your heart. You have to experience the spirit.
You have to have stamina as people, as human beings, as graceful people, so that you can stand. And what is the stamina? When you can stand against every eventuality.
Here the purpose is to prove the self. You have not come here to rap with each other. You have not come here to talk. You have come here to learn to control. I know some are not very successful in that. But we feel that gradually, one after the other, time after time, perhaps they may pick up the tabs, and they may become what they should be.
You don't know how much you are trying to talk, how crazy it makes you not to talk. Many people tell me, "Yogiji, we want to talk to you. When are we going to talk to you?" Well, I know that you want to talk to me. I'm not such a fool. But I want that I should be in you, and then you should not need to talk to me. That is something special. To be with me and to talk to me is a very common thing. I know you love me. That will make me happy—that you follow the teachings, not me. To follow me is to talk to me. Teaching is when I may talk, you say Sat Nam. The future is safe, the nation is built, the foundation has been laid. Then there is a chance.
I'll be happy to see in you the strength of your personalities, and that's why we are here. That's why after the first summer solstice we decided that the first eight days we'll do nothing but we'll chant to God during this time. You know the people that are working, they have to run the administration. They have to talk. They're not as privileged as you are. This is a sadhana.
We have to draw the line. Are we committed to the truth? And do we want to give ourselves a try this way? And do we want to realize during this lifetime the basic truth for which we have come on this Earth? Or do we just want to do what an ignorant man wants to do? One way is to live consciously. One way is to live unconsciously. Both ways are living.
There are teachers who will make you great disciples. There are teachers who will be friendly with you. There are teachers who will have absolute patience and will be just like vegetables. If you'd like those teachers please come to me, I'll give you their address. They are our teachers. I love them. They are doing what they are doing; it is the finest job. But we are not here to create disciples. Neither are we here to create vegetables. We are here to create teachers. And a teacher is a person who has to teach wisdom in all eventualities. So he has to totally be the finest, self-built man. He has to be pure, 24 karat. And the gold only becomes 24 karat when it goes through the heat of quite a big furnace. All other metals burn out and what remains is gold. That's why it is a precious metal. For thousands of years carbon remains under pressure and weight. It becomes priceless. Otherwise, who cares for the carbon? Charcoal is also pure carbon. It's black. And for $10 you can buy 10 pounds of charcoal. It's pure carbon. A diamond is nothing but pure carbon. Glass can shine like a diamond, but glass is not a diamond because it's not that hard. Nothing can cut a diamond and nothing can subdue a teacher. And it will take time to build your facets.
We are not a bunch of disciples getting together. This is a bunch of teachers who are undertaking to know their potential personality through their spirit and through their soul.
We come here to test our capacity to survive. That's why I always choose a place away from civilization—so that we should be only we, and we should help each other with the vibrations and keep the way up. After a couple of years of this practice, you may practically face those times. That's why I always want you to come in caravans. Yatra is a holy migration. I want you to migrate together—twenty to thirty cars. Cars will break down. Terrible things will happen on the way. I want you to learn to do that. I don't want you to come, “Wheeee!” like that (in an airplane). That's nothing.
We want strength once a year to prove to our own selves how much we love each other. We want our gathering to be together. This is our yatra. That is the purpose of it. We want to see each other. We want to meet each other. We want to sing together. We want to face each others' difficulties. We want to help each other. We want to love each other. We want to understand each other. We want to be each other. We don't care if God comes, "Thank you very much." We want to deserve. We don't want to desire anything. We have come here to deserve everything. And when you deserve, your desires are fulfilled automatically.
We want to practice the mantra, Keep Up. We want certain things to keep our life together. For certain days we want to know each other together. We don't want to live in a steel jungle during these days. Is it clear to you? That is what we want.
So keep your belt tight. And keep your spirit high. And keep up. If you want to freak out, tell your ego, "Should I freak out?" And if your ego is freaked out, there's no harm that you should freak out too.
You have come here to build what we have lost. We want to build a nation which we have lost. We want to lay the foundations of the new future. That is the purpose of us being here this day: to prove to ourselves that we have the spirit to survive through every obstacle.
© The Teachings of Yogi Bhajan