The Mother: Shakti Parwha Kaur Khalsa
Khalsa (not her birth name) moved from Minneapolis to Los Angeles with her mother in 1943. She graduated as a Valedictorian from Hollywood High in 1947. Thereafter, she attended UCLA, married at eighteen, became a mother at twenty, and divorced at twenty-two.
In subsequent years, Khalsa investigated occult and eastern teachers and traditions, including Edgar Cayce, P. D. Ouspensky, Meher Baba, Judith Tyberg from whom she learned Sanskrit, and Pir Vilayat Inayat Khan with whom she studied Sufi meditation. In the winter of 1966-67, she went to India, where she visited the Sri Aurobindo Ashram, and the centres of Swami Chinmayananda and Sri Satya Sai Baba.
Student of Yogi Bhajan
It was on Christmas Day that Shakti Parwha Kaur Khalsa first met Yogi Bhajan at the East West Cultural Center in Los Angeles run by Judith Tyberg. He correctly intuited that her son was in trouble and gave her a mantra meditation to do to resolve the situation. In fact, her son had gone AWOL from the army and been missing for weeks, but within a couple of days of meditation, he re-emerged and with Yogi Bhajan’s guidance, he was discharged from the army without legal repercussion. After that, Shakti Parwha Kaur (“Princess of the Flow of Eternal Power”), whom he named, and the yogi who had just arrived from India via Canada without a job or any financial resources, were inseparable.
Shakti Parwha Kaur at first served as his personal assistant, secretary, and driver, helping Yogi Bhajan to establish classes at YMCAs in the Los Angeles area. Within a couple of months, he also had her teaching Kundalini Yoga classes. As the yogi’s teaching mission began to flourish, she became the Executive Secretary of the 3HO (Healthy, Happy, Holy Organization) Foundation and editor of numerous publications. From the beginning, Yogi Bhajan designated his student, a real life single mom, as “the Mother of 3HO,” an honorific she eventually acknowledged. As the teaching mission gave birth to a Sikh religious ministry, Shakti Parwha Kaur joined the ministry and was soon given the senior title of “Mukhia Sardarni Sahiba.”
Shakti Parwha Kaur served Yogi Bhajan faithfully until his passing in 2004, when the Los Angeles Times came by for an interview and quoted her as saying, “He was very spectacular.” Through her numerous publications, she helped to spread and secure the legacy of her teacher. She continues as an Emeritus Member of the Board for the International Kundalini Yoga Teachers Association based in New Mexico, responsible for the transmission of Yogi Bhajan’s teachings.
- Shakti Parwha Kaur Khalsa, Kundalini Yoga: The Flow of Eternal Power, New York, NY: Perigree Books, 1998.
- Shakti Parwha Kaur Khalsa, Kundalini Postures and Poetry, New York, NY: Perigree Books, 2003.
- Shakti Parwha Kaur Khalsa, Marriage on the Spiritual Path, Santa Cruz, NM: Kundalini Research Institute, 2007.
- Shakti Parwha Kaur Khalsa and Guruka Singh Khalsa, Heroes, Saints and Yogis: Tales of Self-Discovery and the Path of Sikh Dharma, Santa Cruz, NM: Kundalini Research Institute, 2012
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