Poems for the Teacher

April 16, 2007 |

Categories: Our StoriesPoetry

This article was written by Hari Bhajan Kaur of Los Angeles and shared on April 16, 2007 on the “Our True Tales” website.

Over the years of being in the presence of Yogi Bhajan I have seen his amazing facility with language and emotion to reflect the consciousness of whomever he is teaching at that moment. I remember being the object of his intense “fire” energy many years ago when my marriage was going through a difficult period and I just couldn’t get it through my thick skull that my husband needed me right then to come through for him. He minced no words (words I won’t repeat here) and made it very clear that I needed to wake up and act with compassion and commitment or there would be great loss for all concerned.

I also can see him back at one of the early years of KWTC when we went to Abique Reservoir for a picnic, all the women traveling on the yellow school bus, with our swimsuits on underneath our bana and how he and his family and staff came later and he had us get in a big circle and play a version of “duck, duck, goose,” urging us to “Run, run, faster, faster” as we careened around the circle in the blistering heat laughing hysterically. Later he played cards with a few of us and refused to be subject to any rules of the game, insisting that we “go with the flow,” chuckling as he always came out the winner, of course. There were times when the incredible depth tenderness and compassion of this man, our teacher, was laid bare, always with dignity, always with grace.

I’ll never forget the day that his dear friend, and my riding teacher, Lillian passed away and he came to her house where a few friends had gathered and for the first time I saw his tears flow freely as he grieved her passing. I came a little closer on that day, and every day I was privileged to be in his presence, to understanding the meaning of being a hu-man–a source of light in this world. He was forever an enigma, as a spiritual teacher must be, but his stance that to live at each other or with each other would never pass muster with the All-Knowing–but that we must live for each other with every step, with every breath. For this, and a thousand other things, I am grateful.

The first of these two poems written about Yogi Bhajan was inspired by the portrait my friend, Seva Kaur painted of him a few years ago (shared above).

The second poem is from a dream I had over twenty years ago. I remember it as if it was yesterday.


An orange turban like a
long, fine fingers,
pink under the nails, a heart
pumping determination,
tenderness, the will
to kill if required.

The roar of a howler monkey
through the jungle,
trees shake, leaves whirl,
skittering creatures bound for safety,
the curious poke their heads out
to see what’s coming next.

Sapphires and diamonds
on golden chains
rise and fall with his heart
like dancing angels.

Tears, molten tears
flow his cheeks,
course the creases of faith,
slip into folds of compassion,
drenching each fearful soul
with hope.


You appeared
an old man, peanut shell
face and yellow teeth.
I shrink against
the stark white wall.
You place your palm
on my forehead.
Take care
of my children, you say,
I’ll be gone soon.
Our embrace is tight.
You wince and walk
away until your back
is small on the horizon,
I stand alone,
holding the message.

About Hari Bhajan
Hari Bhajan Kaur was born and raised in Oregon, where, in 1972, she began practicing kundalini yoga and Sikh Dharma, both of which profoundly changed the course of her life. She moved into an ashram, married and had a son before moving to Southern California in 1976. She has worn many turbans over the years, working in various Khalsa businesses (Sunshine Oils, Yogi Tea, etc.) and in 1987 established, with her husband Hari Bhajan Singh, Khalsa Health Care, a chiropractic healing center. Currently she is a Life Coach, workshop facilitator, writer and poet who continues to live in L.A., as well as spend time in her cozy summer home in the woods of Central Oregon.

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