GNFC circa 1983

Posing for group photos was agonizing! It always took the photographer forever to set up, and right when he’d get ready he’d say “Ready… Steady… …no hold on…” It was hot, we had be dressed in “bana”, but usually by the time a couple of frames were shot half of us were too loopy to put on “the show”. The top one was taken with Nanak Dev Singh (pictured on the far right in full regalia), and the blue outfits were part of showing off our gatka skills in pretty much every Punjabi town we showed up in. That’s him on the far right. I have some good shots of me as little little kid, where all us little kids had to form a chain circle to stop the massive crowd from encroaching into the performance area. You don’t know what a crowd is until you’ve been to India, much less a parade, or jalous in India.

The good thing is that I think maybe there’s as few as four or five people out of both crowds are still involved in 3HO. Four or five too many, but looks like natural selection will take care of that.

3 Replies to “GNFC circa 1983”

  1. …natural selection; on that note, since those who have opted for procreation, looks like they are doing the best they can to keep the numbers up! It is absolutely astonishing to me that anyone who had been sent to India would be willing and able to send their own children there. How cruel and obtuse!

  2. I was born in 1986 so my experiences will be very different from yours. I went to the school in India for 10 years and I'm still 'in the Dharma'. I hope that doesn't invalidate my perspective, because I'm genuinely interested in this dialogue.

    I would agree that 3HO Sikh Dharma was a cult pretty much until after Siri Singh Sahib died. I have done therapy and recognized some traumatic experiences as a result of having parents that blindly followed his instructions. I have a lot of frustrations with my parents and with 3HO/Sikh Dharma still, particularly around fanaticism and self-righteous pride.

    I would argue that the experience of being part of 3HO/Sikh Dharma now is very different from 10+ years ago. In Yogi Bhajan's absence, people are forced to make choices for themselves and the community has generally relaxed their judgments around people's lifestyle choices. I think it is a healthy change and I foresee it continuing that way, so long as there are sensible kids around to scoff at the notion that cutting your hair has 'serious consequences' for any given Joe. I'm not preaching, I'm just saying that things have changed considerably.

    Siri Singh Sahib was a scary guy and seemed to know everything about everyone. I witnessed him cursing and yelling at people. I heard first-hand accounts of him doing things that I would consider immoral. I remember fearing him as a child because I was afraid he would yell at me for having sexual thoughts 😛 Without him around, some people just continue to do what they always did, but plenty of people have relaxed into doing what they want to do (cut their hair, not wake up at 3am everyday, shave their legs, eat meat or eggs or whatever they were told not to eat, live somewhere else, retire, etc).

    I sincerely hope that the wounds of the past are healed and that you and others can feel empowered to speak out against the wrong things done to you in growing up in 3HO/Sikh Dharma. I hope there can be a recognition of how the community has changed over time and in the absence of Yogi Bhajan. It's a community that I'm happy to be a part of.

  3. @Anonymous (July 28, 2014):

    Your comment is heart-warming. It takes a person with character like yours to make one's community a truly better place.

    We may not all agree on what to believe in, but if we can agree on treating each other well, then we all win.

    Thank you for your kind words. Glad to hear things are relaxing more these days.


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