The 3HO Sikhs have inspired me for countless years as a Punjabi Sikh in the United States; however, a simple google search opens the door for heated controversy and debate. Is 3HO a cult?

“The 3HO Foundation is a Global Community of people who practice and share the teachings of Yogi Bhajan so that they may serve, inspire, and empower humanity to be healthy, happy, and holy. 3HO’s Global Community is comprised of people who are dedicated to living a life that uplifts and inspires. Over the past 40 years, 3HO has become a vibrant, dynamic community of leaders, teachers, students, and seekers practicing the time-proven technology of Kundalini Yoga and Meditation as taught by Yogi Bhajan grounded and centered in a philosophy of compassion and kindness. People from all walks of life and on every continent share this technology and are experiencing their potential, realizing peace in their inner world, and participating in a healthful lifestyle.” [www.3HO.org]

I have been well aware of the 3HO organization for years, and I have been inspired by the lifestyle as well as the authenticity. Living in California and attending the annual Sikh parade in Los Angeles, I would see the grace of the 3Ho community serving side by side with native Sikhs and non Sikhs alike. Many men and women have joined the Khalsa brotherhood which abolishes all caste, creed, and economic class. In reality there is no Punjabi or 3HO Sikh, because Sikhism is an experience for humanity and in no way exclusive to any one group, race, or people. Sikhism carries a universal message of compassion, service, and selflessness.

Yoga is an intrinsic pillar in the lives of most 3HO Sikhs as taught by Yogi Bhajan decades ago in America. Kundalini Yoga is a powerful experience with chanting, stretching, and breathing exercises which serve to increase both energy and self-awareness. Many people find peace, relaxation, and profound changes within themselves after such revitalizing yoga. I have not had the chance to partake in Kundalini Yoga as of yet, but I am waiting to experience it for myself. Today many “Sikhs” are blind sighted by anything that seems to have any relevance with Hindu practices after years of turmoil in India; hence, many are skeptical of the merging of Sikhism with yoga. However, they are missing a fundamental part of Sikhism in that analysis. Meditation and naam jaap are vital to reaching the gates of God in Sikhism. The balance of Miri Piri ensured by Guru Hargohind Singh Ji made a profound impact on the physical upkeep of the body. Spiritually, socially, mentally, and physically one must remain balanced.

Exercise releases endorphins which are just as powerful as many anti-depressants prescribed by doctors. In the book, Spark, Dr. John Ratey expands on amazing research showing how the brain is directly affected by exercise. Memory is increased, mental strain lessened, stress decreased, and neurological pathways strengthened. Exercise acts as a fertilizer to create new branches and strengthen old ones in the brain. In addition with all the mental benefits the physical ones are apparent and well known. Now combine exercise with mental discipline and you get yoga. Whether the person takes it spiritually or religiously is solely up to them, but the benefits are undeniable and should not be tossed aside with misconception and ignorance.

One Sikh cannot tell another that jogging or cardiovascular exercise is not apart of the Sikh religion or philosophy prescribed by the Gurus, and in the same way one Sikh cannot tell another that yoga is not a part of Sikhism. Both induce better health and have only positive effects on the body. Hence, yoga is a great vehicle to get in shape physically and mentally and should be given a chance and practiced with spirituality in mind.

Rick Ross has created an internet site where he cites the danger of various cults, and the 3HO is one of his “concerns.” Rick Ross himself has had a rocky life and has been arrested, sued, and indicted for many false accusations causing him to file bankruptcy in his latter career. Although these statements about the man may be personal, it is important to get his perspective of who he is and what he has been through to see where he is coming from. His advocation against “cults” began after his own religion, Judaism, was influenced by a church and many converted out of it. He felt that he needed to stop the church, and hence began his short lived career of “intervention.” Perhaps his narrow-mindedness can be found in his fear of losing what he finds himself so close to – his faith Judaism.

Rick Ross assumes many things about the 3HO organization, but has done very little to hinder the Sikh lifestyle in America. The attack leveled against the organization is pointed more strongly at Sikhism than the organization himself. His misunderstanding of the Sikh faith has skewed his perspective on what Sikhism is all about. It is not simply a religion, instead Sikhism is an intense voyage of experience lived through a discipline lifestyle. Sikhs believe in destroying the ego while surrendering to a merciful God who has created the entire Universe with love, compassion, honesty, and humility. Sikhs believe in prayer, mediation, faith, and One God above all. Sikhs believe in raising a family, and living in the world of possession with a great sense of detachment. Sikhs believe that the Khalsa is an order of brotherhood where Truth is to be upheld by justice. Sikhs are seekers of truth that walk a lonely path, not seeking approval by all, but only of the one and only Lord of all. Sikhism is open for all who are trying to find themselves within themselves. God = Truth.

A letter from John Smith of the Atheist Society expresses the universal appeal of Sikhism:

” Dear Ali, please help us. We were very impressed with your website and agreed that religion in general is no longer needed, we can all be humanistic and live in peace and harmony. We are in the process of making a website which will hopefully help to destroy the religious doctrines which divide humanity. We were doing great with knocking out Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Baha’i, even Buddhism but we have gotten very stuck with Sikhism. This religion is (to put it nicely) “a big pain in the <admin-profanity filter activated>” (Please pardon the language) We have only found one site which tries (very poorly) to argue that even this religion is not needed, but the argument is irrational and very unscientific unlike the very rational arguments you use.


When we read the following from your website, we found what you said to be amazingly interesting: “Doubt Everything Find Your Own Light.” “Last Words Dear friend, if you look for meaning in life, don’t look for it in religions; don’t go from one cult to another or from one guru to the next. You can expend all your life or look for eternity and will find nothing but disappointment and disillusionment. Look instead in service to humanity. You will find “meaning” in your love for other human beings. You can experience God when you help someone who needs your help. The only truth that counts is the love that we have for each other. This is absolute and real. The rest is mirage, fancies of human imagination and fallacies of our own making.” By Ali Sina Why is this interesting? Because we found this religion of Sikhism to be in agreement with you! This is why we have a problem. We tried to look at their holy text (Adi Granth) but didnt find the usual absurdities we found in the other religious books. In fact its refreshingly inspiring and very good!? Maybe you can have some better luck.

We tried to visit a couple of websites and got more of a shock. Did you know that they believed in Democracy, freedom of speech, choice, expression, freedom of religion, pluralism, human rights, equality between men and women, equality of all people regardless of race, religion, caste, creed, status etc. 300 years before the existance of the USA! Theirs is the only religion which says in their religious scriptures that women are equal in every respect to men. They even had women soldiers leading armies in to battle against “you know who” (The usual suspects – Muslims!) Their history is a proud one, they fought in both World Wars. Even Hitler praised them for their bravery and Aryan heritage! Dear Ali, this religion is hard for us to try and criticise but you are an expert and may find some faults overlooked by us. In their holy book, there is a round earth, water is made from chemical elements, there is even mention of the evoution process, big bang and life on other planets! This is pretty crazy and amazing stuff, who would have thought that these New York taxi drivers (There are lots of Sikh taxi drivers in NY) would have such an amzing faith? We read up some information of what Bertrand Russell had to say about Sikhism, this is the man who destroyed Christianity (same applies to Islam and Judaism) and exposed its absurdities, but even this great man got stuck when it came to Sikhism! In fact he gave up and said “that if some lucky men survive the onslaught of the third world war of atomic and hydrogen bombs, then the Sikh religion will be the only means of guiding them. Russell was asked that he was talking about the third world war, but isn’t this religion capable of guiding mankind before the third world war? In reply, Russell said, “Yes, it has the capability, but the Sikhs have not brought out in the broad daylight, the splendid doctrines of this religion which has come into existence for the benefit of the entire mankind. This is their greatest sin and the Sikhs cannot be freed of it.”

Please bear in mind that Bertrand Russell was a great philosopher and free thinker. We have been trying for weeks now to find a way to fairly and rationally criticize and find fault with this religion but have failed. We even found out that there are many people converting to this religion in the USA and Europe as well as Russia (Mostly well educated and affluent white people). We tried to find some of their literature and see what kind of claims they make, but unfortunatley they have no missionary material as they do not have missionsaries! People become Sikh by learning usually by chance or by coming in to contact with them. They are currently the 5th biggest religion in the world and growing quite fast in the west and Russia. Please help us as we are stuck, to give you an example of they are all about we found the following websites: http://www.sikhnet.com (This is a pretty good site and helpful) http://www.hope.at/sikhism (This site is very easy to follow, check it out, they have a Womans section and a Martyrs section, it looks like that you are not the only one trying to expose the falseness of Islam, Sikhs scholars did it hundreds of years ago and got killed for it!) http://www.sikhs.org (This is the site that was on CNN when Sikhs in the USA were mistaken for Arabs and Middle Easterners and were attacked by mindless morons)

Please help us out, we cant make our website about religion being the cause of war and disharmony when we have this one and only religion which makes a hell of a lot of sense! lol (I thought Atheism had all the answers but were kind of stuck now.) We look forward to hearing from you, we respect your great views and want to promote them to everyone, thank you for your time, take care.

Dr. John Smith “

Those who do not understand the basic tenets of the Sikh lifestyle and perspective cannot try to expose what they know nothing of. This is exactly what happened with Rick Ross and his blind-sighted plunge into defeating something that was different. These white people look different with turbans and beards. They get an overflow of energy from this yoga and chanting, so something must be wrong. There must be some kind of trance that is changing these people in such dramatic ways. Different does not mean wrong or weird, because to me difference is beautiful. In the Guru Granth Sahib, the Guru compares the religions and philosophies of the world to a gorgeous and vibrant garden. Each flower bringing uniqueness and beauty.

Some find so much happiness that others begin questioning how and why. Some find so much faith and love in God that people ask who has changed them into a different person. Some fall in love so much with life and surrender to His will that people ask if they were manipulated. Some find another path to lead them, so people ask if they were converted. Are we as humanity so limited that we fear for change in our own lives, but even more in the lives of those around us. Why can’t people be happy if people have found their happiness elsewhere. All paths lead to the One God, so what is there to fear.

Be open. love life. Accept Others. I believe the 3HO organization put it right when they came up with “Healthy, Holy, Happy” Its a great motto for a great life.

Those who do not understand the path will mock it, and call it oppressive to free thinking. They love their ego too much to see how it is suffocating their real soul which is infinite beyond life and death. Yogi Bhajan said that people do not rebel against religious institutions, but instead they rebel against self discipline in their lives. Religion gives us that self discipline, and those who cannot sit with themselves and realize this, run from religion outwardly but from themselves inwardly. Yogi Bhajan also said that religion is not for everybody, but it is for anybody. We all awaken at our own times in life, and we will be on different levels when we do. We all will march together toward the light as ONE.

-GOD BLESS

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