It is often the case that grandparents are very important figures in a person’s life. Grandparents can be very influential in imparting values, wisdom and spirituality, as a legacy to their grandchildren. That was the case for both Yogi Bhajan´s grandfather and Yogi Bhajan’s grandmother.
Yogi Bhajan´s grandfather was Sant Bhai Fateh Singh, from whom he learned the Sikh path in a very practical and deep way.
Values Taught by Yogi Bhajan’s Grandfather
Yogi Bhajan’s saintly grandfather was the most influential teacher during his formative years. Sant Bhai Fateh Singh, who used to take the young Harbhajan Singh on his lap and tell him inspiring stories, always encouraged him to live righteously, pointing out that true spiritual strength is to renounce the animal nature and the life of the passions when one is still young.
“Of what value is it for the toothless wolf to cry out, ’I am vegetarian!’ when he has lost all of his teeth and has grown too old to hunt?”
Yogi Bhajan Remembers His Grandfather
Yogi Bhajan learned many life lessons from his venerable grandfather, including these experiences he shared about him on January 15, 1978:
“A lot of years have passed sinch Bhai Fateh Singh, my grandfather, left his body. But his concept has not left me. He was a grand old man, standing straight for the dignity of the human being and the divinity of his reality of religion. He lived straight, he walked straight, and he talked straight.
Concept of Oneness Taught by Yogi Bhajan’s Grandfather
One day I went with him to Gurdwara. We called it Dharmsala – a house where dharma is taught. That was the original name for the Gurdwaras. I remember that before proceeding that day, I had to go with him early in the morning, outside to the well to take a bath. He did his Nitnem, and I listened. And then I did my Nitnem, and he listened. And that was the first day I learned because he taught me that Nitnem is an individual thing. He said, ‘We are two Sikhs, so you do your Nitnem, and I’ll hear it. And then I’ll do Nitnem, and you’ll hear it.
And just look, the difference of age was tremendous, but there was no ego involved. There was a concept of oneness, unison.
The Guru in You and the Guru Outside You as Described by Yogi Bhajan’s Grandfather
“Then we dressed up and I remember that day he corrected my cummerbund, because it was a little crooked. He held one end of that length of cloth, and I turned around and around and around. And he made certain that one pleat over the other pleat has a perfectly equal distance between them. I said to him, ‘Grandpa does the Guru see this?’ It was a very simple question. And he said ‘Yes, Ang Sang Wahe Guru. Guru in you is seeing how you are preparing, and Guru outside is watching how you look and how finally you come out.’
Yogi Bhajan’s Grandfather: “In Gurdwara, we feel the Blessings of the Bliss”
“He said, ‘My child, we go to Gurdwara much differently than we go to church or a mosque. They may be located in the same place, but I want to teach you the difference today. In a mosque you go and then pray. In a temple, you go before the face of Bhagavan and then you pray. But, in the Gurdwara, you are not going there to pray.’ It totally stunned me. I said, ’My God, I have been going to Gurdwara all these times to do the prayer before the Guru. Isn’t Siri Guru Grant Sahib our Guru and are we not going to pray before Him?’ He said ‘No’. It took me aback.
I said, ‘Grandpa, if Santji will hear you, I think he will punish you.’ He said, ‘Well, what I am telling you I’ll tell you, and when Santji comes next time, you tell him, because he has to learn a lot of things through you.’ I said, ‘Really? But you respect him so much.’ He said, ‘Yes, I respect him, and I teach him through you’. I said, ‘All right, let me learn now. Now, what do you want me to say to me?’
He said ‘Look, Bhajan, when a Sikh goes to the Gurdwara, he goes to offer himself. Guru Gobind Singh did not give us the Amrit as the first thing when we gave him the head. He first gave us the Baana. Amrit was given later. He glorified the man into Godhood. This is the day of offering when we go to the Gurdwara. We offer our beings, offer ourselves, and then we listen to the Word of the Guru. In Gurdwara we don’t go to offer the prayer. In Gurdwara we receive. It is a selfish trip. In Gurdwara we feel the blessings of the bliss.’”
This is how Yogi Bhajan´s grandfather talked to him, and the conscious communication which was shared with him in his early childhood.
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