Dear Sat Hari, you teach Kundalini Yoga and are the founder of the GuruRam Das Aquarian Academy, as well as former CEO of Yogi Tea, the popular tea variety founded by Yogi Bhajan in the 70s.
Is it true that you brought Yogi Tea to Germany?
It already existed in America, and I helped it to become known here. At that time, we had the Golden Temple Restaurant at the Eppendorfer Baum and had to add another Open a branch of business, otherwise we would not be able to feed our ashram. Then it was said – Sat Hari do Yogi Tea and I just said no! (laughs). At that time, we used for 1500 DM per month Tea sold, of course, no one could live on it. Then I said I’d stay half in the restaurant and the other half I would do Yogi Tea. In 1986 I started to develop the professional site of Yogi Tea in Germany.
Does the classic recipe of Indian Yogi Tea consist of a specific spice mixture?
This is always claimed by some tea specialists, but in reality, no recipes are passed on at all in Ayurveda. The Ayurvedic doctor looks at you and depending on what you have, for example, he prescribes a ginger root, five tablespoons of cardamom and three teaspoons of cinnamon, it is your individual recipe.
When Yogi Bhajan (Kundalini Yoga Master) came to the West, he brought the recipe with him because he felt that people needed something for the nerves, for digestion, circulation and naturally essential oils for the higher frequencies. And the people who weren’t so familiar with it then claimed – we got the recipe from India; it’s been around for a thousand years. That’s nonsense, of course. Every Indian housewife has her own masala recipe or spice recipe, and this is the Ayurvedic tradition in India.
Do you still run the Golden Temple Teehaus on Grindelallee in Hamburg?
I gave up the management of the teahouse when we went to Boizenburg five years ago, where we founded the Guru Ram Das Aquarian Academy.
How long have you been practicing yoga?
“I don’t know how many incarnations there are, I haven’t counted that” (laughs).
But in this lifetime, the sky fell on my head around 1979. At that time, I developed a different body awareness, also through the encounter with women. At that time, the Sannyasins offered many workshops and seminars. I lived with a woman in a small apartment in Hamburg Eimsbüttel and she went to a seminar every weekend. We had got to know each other at an organic agriculture and horticulture project in Poppenbüttel. She wore red and I liked it. In addition, I have a few lessons a day with my Dutch teacher Robert van Heeckeren. Those were the beginnings for me.
… and discovered Kundalini Yoga for you?
No, it was more the general Hatha Yoga. I discovered Kundalini Yoga differently. I left the city and spent a year with a guitar and a beautiful pink Cloth jacket with a rainbow on it traveled through Europe. Then the question arose – God, where do you want me? Our search back then, with my partner Sat Hari Kaur together led us to Greece, where we lived for a while and again and again the questions arose – where do we want to go, where is our place, our spiritual place? It was then the Guru Ram Ashram in Isestraße, for Kundalini Yoga and Sikh Dharma.
Can you describe your childhood to me?
Oh, it was beautiful. I was born in Rostock and in 1952 my parents moved west via Hamburg to Hildesheim and then to Bad Salzdetfurth. The first time I I really remember myself when I went out on the street when I was four or five years old. With other children we sat on an iron bar at the neighboring house and I I said the memorable sentence – I’m here now, too. That was the beginning of my human career (laughs).
Would you say that through Kundalini Yoga you also discovered your spirituality?
No. Spirituality has always been there. It is another name for God. In itself, the word is not wrong. At a certain point in life, I was and learned in a special moment that I was actually always in a relationship with my higher self, but not consciously. And at some point I realized that I have always been in this relationship with my higher self. There is a picture – if you want to look into the valley, you have to climb a high mountain. Only from up there can you can see the valley. When you’re in the valley, you don’t see it.
At what particular moment did you learn that you had always been in a relationship with your higher self?
Like many others, I learned especially through pain and above all through crises in love relationships. Like my little 8-month-old husky dog who loves female dogs I have stormed into relationships again and again, without being able to imagine that it takes more than goodwill and a deep feeling to live a love. So felt in the end, a relationship for me felt like a deep sense of abandonment, which became so deep in 1978 that only something deeper could catch me. And that was what I called my higher self or God. The jumping bed that caught me from the depths and gave me the familiar message that we have always been united.
What illuminates the soul?
It is self-luminous. It is the everlasting light, it is the everlasting sound, it is the everlasting life and everlasting love. There is nothing that has been added or must be taken away.
Yes, but it is not always recognized.
That is another matter. This has nothing to do with the soul, but with the head. The head is quite stubborn, that’s true. The soul is simply the being that works for remains eternal.
What is the significance of the Aquarian Age we are currently in?
It is a new frequency, a new life. My teacher once said that nothing will remain as it is. If you get up at two at night and go out on the street, nothing is like it. normally. You can dance on the sidewalk, and there is a silence around you that you don’t otherwise perceive. And when the birds start singing a little later, everything is different again. and yet it is the same environment. So it is with the Age of Aquarius. It’s the same environment and yet everything is different. We notice, we are shaken, torn apart, put into a greater quality.
Even without the pandemic…
Yes, that’s just the crowning glory on top.
I also practice Kundalini Yoga myself and singing is an important part of it. I think it’s a good balance to the dynamic exercises.
We have in our Jap Ji (Jap Ji is a prayer at the beginning of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib, which is considered the holy scripture of the Sikhs), which we read in the morning, a passage that translates as much means like – God, where are you? Then he answers, she, it: Where I am, there is always music or instruments, there are always great symphonies, an orchestra. Da singen everybody, there sings gems, planets, the choirs of angels, the dwarves, the nymphs, the stones, the jewels, there all sing. That’s my place, that’s where I’m at home.
Yoga is always the combination of Atma (the individual divine soul) and Paramatma (the all-encompassing divine soul). This connection can also be found on different levels. In the body, there are certainly some possibilities. But singing is the most beautiful.
How do you personally achieve inner peace?
Inner peace is one of the most precious things of all. Inner peace is only with God. There are different forms of divine consciousness. Life itself is a form of this consciousness. Divine love is a form, and joy is also an expression of it. You could go through all these gates and if you have gone through and need nothing more, then you could say, now I am at peace within.
What has changed for you since you founded the Guru Ram Das Aquarian Academy in 2015?
I would say I have found a home. We have been looking for this place for a very long time and today I am allowed to embody the entire Dharma, yoga, there. We give kirtan there every day, Sadhana (Sadhana is early morning yoga and meditation when the angle of the sun to the earth is most suitable).
(Our community has) a very large library, if anyone needs a library nowadays (laughs).
The Academy is a temple in that sense.
In 1997/98 I told Yogi Bhajan, I have to stop the Yogi Tea Business, I don’t earn enough here. I need a temple now and start my own business. At that time, I still had the drive to do that.
Then he said to me as I sat in front of him and he was lying on a massage bench massaged by a masseuse who had come specially from the Canary Islands: “Son, first of all–this is your business”. I was ready. The presence of a Master is hard to bear, especially when he speaks directly to you.
And then he said: “You do not need to build a temple. Build a Gurdwara. Are two hundred thousand bucks enough?” I was pretty much done with the nerves and when I said goodbye to Yogi Tea, I got exactly these two hundred thousand dollars and put them into the academy.
That’s a great story. It is certainly a big change when you implement and build your own project.
I’ve always loved building something. We have always tried to change something or put it into practice. This was also the case with the Sikhs, always according to the motto “Create, create”, whether it now was the Tea House or the German Yoga Festival or now the Academy.
Guru Ram Das – This is the namesake of the academy. Can you explain who he is?
Guru Ram Das is the fourth Guru Nanak (founder of Sikhism, the religion of the Sikhs) and was the one who has brought the Dharma to the fourth level, the level of the heart. He was not just a historical person. We can also see him as an impersonal high understanding vibration quality.
He is Ram, which means the unity of Ra Ma, sun and moon. Ram is commonly referred to as God and means to serve. Guru means from darkness to light. Translated, if you are able to serve God in everything, then you will find a way from darkness to light.
Kundalini Yoga has this quality when we say: Aad Guray Nameh, Jugaad Guray Nameh, Sat Guray Nameh, Siri Guru Devay Nameh. That is, we bow before this spiritual force, this uplifting force, which we live in infinity and everywhere in the higher dimensions. They also work in the here and now, in these historical moments. Guru Ram This is the place to go in this Dharma, this Yoga. I believe there are in all ways these interfaces in the upper world, which look after the individual souls, so to speak. People have different sources of transformation. Personal and impersonal sources. For us it is Guru Ram Das and we meditate on Guru Ram Das and feel very connected to him, which is one of our roots to the spiritual world.
Awareness is an inner journey. How do I achieve more awareness or awareness in life?
You can call it consciousness or alertness. Whenever I talk to people and tell them – get up a little earlier in the morning, I often hear – no, I have to sleep. Then I say – Buddha is not called thesleepy, but theawakened one. Awareness is awakening and ultimately one awakens to the higher frequency. Awareness is your Arrive in the here and now. You can accomplish this by listening through conversations or seeing God in everything.
Last year you celebrated your 70th birthday. Are you satisfied with your life or is there still a wish you want to fulfill?
I still have many wishes. I would like to write a book about the Aquarian Age. I’m currently writing two other books. What we achieve In this life, with our small desires, we can do God’s will. That’s all I want.
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