How Amarjit Kaur Met YogiJi

November 22, 2022 |

Categories: 3HO HistoryOur Stories

Amarjit Kaur playing kirtan at a wedding in 1975

Amarjit Kaur, a beloved Gurbani Kirtan teacher to many people in our Global Sangat for decades, passed away on May 30, 2024.  She was the first Gurbani teacher to dozens of people who were new to the Sikh way of life in the 1970s and she continued teaching Gurbani Kirtan to people of all ages until the end of her life.  She was a beautiful light who loved the Guru, lived and breathed Gurbani Kirtan and had such a love of life, it was infectious.  She was always smiling and laughing– she was a joy and will be missed by all of us who loved her dearly.

We are grateful that when it was her time to go, Guru took her swiftly and peacefully.  The last line of the Hukam read at Raj Khalsa Gurdwara the day after her passing could not be more appropriate:  “Attuned to the Shabad, one finds the Lord”. 🙏🧡🙏🧡

You can watch this Gurdwara program here, where her daughter, Sahiba Kaur played Kirtan

It is because of her chance meeting Yogi Bhajan that we were also blessed to meet her.  Here is that story as shared by Guru Fatha Singh Khalsa from his interview with her:

She met the Siri Singh Sahib and his family in 1964 when she was ten years old.  He recognized her bright soul and brilliant musical gift right away.  On the spot, he elevated Amarjit Kaur and promoted her before thousands of people.  She became friends with his family, visiting frequently.  Then, in the spring of 1973, she drilled the ladies and Bhai Sahib Dayal Singh (teaching Gurbani Kirtan) from 8am to 10pm each day for three weeks so they could play Gurbani Kirtan and wow the world – at least in Punjab – which is what they did.

Amarjit Kaur was a bright ten-year-old living in New Delhi with her parents, brother and sister.  Together, the siblings would perform the Guru’s hymns, she and her sister on harmoniums and her brother keeping time on tabla.  So it was that they went one day to perform at the Lodi Garden Park near Nizamuddin for a function of the Sikh Student Federation. 

As she was sitting in the congregation, Amarjit could not help noticing a striking-looking man as he came to bow before the Guru, followed by his sari-clad wife.  Then they turned and melted back into the burgeoning congregation.

The keertan performance went on for two or three hours, then the program ended with the usual prayer and prashaad and Guru-ka-Langar.  As Amarjit Kaur sat with her family awaiting the distribution of the Guru’s meal, she looked up.  Just a couple of rows away, was the Sikh who had caught her attention earlier.  He saw her too.

“Hey you, come here!” said the Yogi Sikh.  Amarjit defensively grabbed hold of her father’s arm and froze.  When he assured her it was okay, she slowly let go and walked over to the Sikh uncle sitting with his wife and family.  He made room and motioned for Amarjit Kaur to sit on his right, next to him.

When they had finished eating, Harbhajan Singh rose to his feet and made an announcement to the gathered host.  “Now we will have a light music program.  It will be a competition.  Anyone who can beat Amarjit Kaur, I will award a prize.”

The congregation buzzed and soon two or three groups of musicians came to the stage for the competition.  In turn, they performed the traditional ghazal and qawali forms of devotional music associated with the Sufis and familiar to everyone.  They sang.  They crooned.  They trilled.  But no one could beat Amarjit.  She had indisputably put on the best performance.

In the end, Harbhajan Singh made another announcement, “There will be keertan once a month at our house on Nizamuddin and Bibi Amarjit Kaur will do it.”

Harbhajan and Inderjit brought Amarjit Kaur and her family to their home afterwards to relax and to share their hospitality.  For her part, ten-year-old Amarjit was enthralled by all the attention, love, and respect she had been shown.  A connection, spiritual and deeply personal, had been forged between her and the tall Sardar, a bond that would endure a lifetime.

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