Yogi Bhajan and His First Teacher

November 28, 2022 |

Categories: HistoryWomen's Teachings

Yogi Bhajan with his mother and father

As Yogi Bhajan often said, “the mother is the first teacher”. His own mother, his first teacher, was a woman of profound internal strength, unshakable values and loving devotion.

Yogi Bhajan’s Mother was Well Respected

Yogi Bhajan’s mother was born Leela Wanti. After she was married, she became known as Harkrishan Kaur.  She was a woman of indomitable will and unswerving adherence to righteous principles.

The people of her village recognized the strength of her values and the compassion vibrating through her. Because of this reputation of integrity, she commanded such respect and authority that there was no need to even lock the house, because no thief dared to enter the neighborhood. 

The valuable lessons Yogi Bhajan’s mother taught him exemplified her own great character and impacted him throughout his life. Here are some stories, which Yogi Bhajan shared which demonstrate some of these lessons.

Yogi Bhajan’s Mother: Do not be Egocentric

“Within my life, I couldn’t do anything wrong, because my mother wouldn’t let me.  I couldn’t become egocentric, because she wouldn’t tolerate it.  I remember one instance of my life, which was a virtual turning point. 

The time has come to decide a case.  As blunt and truthful as I was, the other party knew that the judgement would be harsh.  They couldn’t use any tactics of bribery or influence, so they sought out the weakness, and that was my mother.  They had approached her with the fear that I would be submitting my report recommending a harsher punishment than anybody else could have given.”

A Mother’s Lesson of Compassion

“That morning I was ready for duty.  I had put on my best uniform, and my orderly brought the car, and I was about to get in, when she appeared.

So she asked me if I was going to the office, and I told her that I was, indeed, ready for the office.  Then she asked me what I was going to do in the office that day; she wanted to know exactly what work I would be doing.  I said, “Well, there is an important case, I have already prepared it, and I am going to submit it.”  She asked me if it was about those particular people, and I told her that she was correct.

She looked at me, then lifted her hand and slapped me.  My turban fell off and I was stunned.  I couldn’t believe it.  Normally anybody else who would do that to a government official would have run the risk of being charged with a felony and being arrested on the spot.

Then, I asked her, ‘What was that for?’  She said, ‘Do you think it is possible that I should have a son who doesn’t know how to have any compassion which can stand above the law?’

I got myself together and went into the office and I wrote down on the case file that this party had approached my mother, and therefore, as this created a prejudicial circumstance, I could not decide the case.”

Be Honest, but also have Compassion

“When I returned home that evening, I just asked her what it was that she was doing to me that morning.  She said, ‘I did what a mother should do.  I don’t want you to be known as so honest that people should be afraid that you have no compassion left in you’. 

And it is amazing, because now I can see this same bluntness in my own life.  I also understand that there is nobody else on this earth who can have the privilege to catch me and just slap me in public and still feel it is her right.  This privilege belongs to just one person in life.”

A Mother’s Lesson to Take Responsibility and Protect Everyone

“Once in the middle of the night, I asked her where she was going.  She told me that she was going to do a job.  I couldn’t believe that at midnight she had a job she was going to do.

But about half an hour, I found three police constables walking in front of her.  She had found them asleep and brought them to me so I would stand as a witness that these people were not patrolling the area, but rather they were found sleeping.

In the morning, I said to her, ‘This is not your job. It is the job of the local police officer in charge.’ She replied, ’Well, he is my son, you are my son, and I see everybody as a son, and they are my sons too.  If their officer had caught them asleep, they would have been dismissed.  So, I thought I would catch them and give them a lesson on the spot!’”

Learn more about the Sikh way of life

Read more about Yogi Bhajan´s Life

This post has been edited by Sat Bachan Kaur (i.e., adding headings) to make easier to read in a webpage

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