Forty years ago, Yogi Bhajan and 3HO Foundation hosted the Summer Solstice Sadhana Celebration at Guru Ram Das Puri for the very first time. While this cornerstone event had already been running eight years strong (since 1969 when Yogi Bhajan came to the United States), it would never be the same after 1977.
In 1976, 3HO Foundation bought a piece of land in the Jemez Mountains of northern New Mexico, and Yogi Bhajan named it Guru Ram Das Puri. Before that, Summer Solstice moved from year to year, but Yogiji was ready to find a permanent home for the experience that radically transforms the lives of so many.
Guru Ram Das Puri is surrounded for miles by breathtaking mountains and forests. It’s a space where one can truly disconnect from modern society, reconnect with Mother Earth, heal wounds, grow in consciousness with a loving community, and celebrate Yogi Bhajan’s vision for a healthy, happy, and holy humanity.
In honor of Summer Solstice’s 40th anniversary at Guru Ram Das Puri, we’re excited to share photos of the 1977 event.
Join us for the 40th Summer Solstice on this sacred land. It’s the most powerful time of year to meditate, pray, and practice Kundalini Yoga together. The number 40 represents a time of creating new patterns, of transformation and regeneration. Let’s come together and create the change we wish for ourselves and the world.
All photos courtesy of The Yogi Bhajan Photo Archive.
Back in 1977, we had water. But there was no Tantric Shelter, no kitchen, no flushing toilets or porta-potties. We only had the squatters. We were mostly in our 20's and very dedicated.
All of the tenting was done at the upper camp. We had to walk the path along the creek to reach sadhana, meals, Tantric and evening programs, carrying everything needed for the day, including children.
We had separate showers for men and women, each was a large private area with a pipe running through it with several spigots for showering. There was very little shade, if any. We all wore white most of the time, and tried to keep our clothes clean in the midst of the heat, dust, and sweat. The evening cold water showers were pure bliss.
We cooked at the Ashram kitchen and rented yellow vans to drive up and down the solstice road. Karma Yogis rode in the back of the vans bumping along with the food buckets. There was no lunch served, not even Tantric Burgers on tantric days. We saved (hoarded) our bananas and oranges for mid-day snacks. No one went into town for lunch or dinner.
All the classes were given at the tiny little stage, including Yogi Bhajan's classes. We brought in bales of hay and spread them out on the ground to sit on.
We did White Tantric Yoga® under the hot New Mexico sun. We used copious amounts of zinc oxide. Everyone looked like zombies. We did five straight days of Tantric Yoga. We maintained silence except for 'Sat Nam' during the days of tantric. It is amazing what can be communicated with those two words.
Over the years, we built the Tantric Shelter, the Gurdwara, added porta-potties, flushing toilets, shower stalls, a beautiful kitchen, a few cabins and much more. But we've managed to keep the Summer Solstice Sadhana a true sadhana where the most incredible transformations towards higher consciousness can unfold for every soul attending. The essence of the Solstice experience can still be had by all.
Photo captions added by Guru Tera Kaur