When an Indian yoga teacher came to give a class at his Los Angeles high school in 1970, Dale Sklar recognized at once a calling from out of the ordinary. He quickly attached himself as a devoted student to Yogi Bhajan and the fledgling American Sikh community a few miles’ bike ride from his home. For his sheer focus, love and devotion to his new path, Dale was recognized as “Bhai Sahib” – a religious title meaning honoured brother – “Dayal Singh” – a spiritual name meaning lion of compassion, before his 18th birthday. Towering above fellow Sikhs ten and twenty years his senior, Bhai Sahib lived an exemplary life of service and good humour until his passing in a car crash – on the way to India – at the age of 19. This is his story told in the words of people who knew, loved and respected Dayal Singh, and in nearly 100 photos of his brief life as a Sikh in America and India in the early 1970s.
Siri Singh Sahib Ji’s words about Bhai Sahib Dayal Singh Ji:
“I put in about forty and some hard years to become Bhai Sahib. He came to me at fifteen. He left us when he was twenty-one or twenty-two and he is a hero, a spiritual hero, immortal. It took him five to six years to become immortal. And he is a legendary in obedience, in acknowledging the knowledge, in learning, in experience, in dedication. He is a man who walked in and walked through, but left such a deep mark.
Some of you are old, some of you are more knowledgeable, some of you are more experienced, some of you are more rich and anything. But whenever the name of Bhai Sahib, Bhai Sahib Dayal Singh comes, you all have nothing but reverence, have you noticed this? Have you also studied it, how he earned it and how fast?
Don’t misunderstand me that Western hemisphere and the Sikh history of the hemisphere will not become as it is the Sikh history of today. He didn’t do anything, he didn’t sit in a fire burning fire and didn’t get burnt, he didn’t jump into the ocean and didn’t drown, he didn’t fly, he didn’t walk on water, he never even went on cross, he never got nailed, he never put hot sand on his body, did nothing. But he left such a deep mark in you of him and of his spirituality, that you all whether you like it or not, you have to have reverence for him.
Why? He dived deep in himself and he reached to his spirit and he conquered his own soul. He was an undisputed, spiritual leader. Undisputed.” ~Siri Singh Sahib Harbhajan Singh Khalsa Yogiji, December 5, 1982
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