Dear Members of the Khalsa Council and the Sikh Dharma/3HO Community,
Sat Nam and blessings to all. Through the grace of Guru Ram Das, the Baisakhi 2014 Khalsa Council Meetings were held on April 23rd - 26th in Espanola, New Mexico. The meetings were attended by over 120 Khalsa Council members and Siblings of Destiny from around the world. There was a joy and a sense of unity that was felt from the very first day to the closing of the meetings.
Our businesses are thriving and our non-profit entities are working in a unified and cohesive way to deliver the mission and the teachings of the Siri Singh Sahib to the future generations. We are moving forward with a solid foundation of commitment and unity. There were many special moments shared and experienced over the three days. Each of us left with an experience of hope and elevation.
The Siri Singh Sahib described the Khalsa Council as "a council which shall bring purity, piety and strength to its own future and shall dedicate and bring God's spirit and guiding spirit in such a practical way that the future will be bountiful, beautiful and blissful forever." Throughout the years, he called upon the members of the Khalsa Council to "deliver your responsibility as the council of tomorrow". He said, "You honorable gentlemen and ladies, learn to carry. It is a Sikh tradition to carry the Guru's palanquin gracefully, respectfully on your shoulders. Similarly, you carry the Dharma."
The Khalsa Council meets twice a year, bringing together Ministers and teachers from our global communities and from our non-profit and for-profit entities, and providing a unique forum for visioning, discussion, collaboration, and education. Together, we are building the foundation for our future to ensure a clear intention of purpose, strong leadership guiding the way, a sound financial foundation, and a base of trust and mutual respect for all. In between these meetings, there is on-going work by task forces in a number of areas. These task forces are open to the participation of all members of the Sangat, so please contact the facilitators if you are interested. Together we can serve this Dharma and this great mission.
Some highlights of the meetings are shared below:
Overview of the Agenda
The theme for this meeting was "Transforming from Individual to Collective Consciousness." Some key elements of these meetings were:
Highlights of Day 1 - Thursday, April 24th
Following a beautiful musical version of Japji Sahib, the Bhai Sahiba read the opening hukam.
The Secretary General, SS Gurujot Kaur, then welcomed the Khalsa Council members and spoke of the sacred responsibility of the Khalsa Council in guiding the future of our Dharma and delivering our collective destiny with grace and consciousness. She gave an overview of the agenda for the 3 days of meetings.
The Siri Sikdar Sahiba, Sardarni Guru Amrit Kaur expressed her gratitude for the prayers and support of the Khalsa Council, during her medical leave over the past year. She spoke of the importance of creating a culture of family and forgiveness.
SS Jai Singh Khalsa, the Khalsa Council chairperson, reminded the body that this was the 40th anniversary of the Khalsa Council. He expressed his gratitude for the opportunity to serve as Chairperson during this transition time and expressed how meaningful and transformative it has been for him.
The Khalsa Council members then formed into small groups for a "Check-in" process, which provides the members an opportunity to personally share what has been going on in their lives over the past few months.
Following the check-in, the council re-assembled for a video lecture from the Siri Singh Sahib. The lecture specifically addressed the role and destiny of the Khalsa Council to deliver the future of the Dharma. The lecture was divided into 3 parts, and each day, after listening to it, the members formed into small groups and discussed the "Role, Responsibility and Impact of the Khalsa Council" and the "Membership of the Khalsa Council going forward". There were rich conversations about how the Khalsa Council can serve to guide and shape the future of the Dharma and our collective mission.
Election of Khalsa Council Chairperson
There were many exceptional members nominated for the Chairperson position. After a close vote, SS Sat Nirmal Kaur from Espanola was elected to serve as Chairperson for the next two years beginning in October 2014.
Section Meetings and Election of Section Chairpersons
In 1993, the Siri Singh Sahib established the various sections of the Khalsa Council, with the intention that they would have a specific area of service. Each section met, and elected their Chairperson for the next 2-year term. These Chairpersons will sit on the Executive Committee to assist the Secretary General in setting the agenda for the upcoming meetings. They are:
"Sarkar e Khalsa" - This section shall represent, serve, and carry out the work of the non-profit organizations and serve in relation to the function of the Khalsa Council. It shall represent the interests of the Siri Singh Sahib and the collective.
Chairperson - SS Gurumustuk Singh
Bhai Sahiba Section - This section shall serve to insure the Khalsa Council's spiritual focus based on Sikh Rehit, values and protocol.
Chairperson - SS Guru Sangat Kaur
Central Section - This section represents the base of wisdom, skills, and maturity of the Dharma. It shall discuss the main proposals in light of history and their futuristic effect.
Chairperson - MSS Guruka Singh
Financial Section - This section shall serve as a bridge of communication and synergy between the Khalsa Council and the non-profit and for-profit entities. It shall serve to ensure the financial stability and success of the Khalsa Council and its work.
Chairperson - SS Siri Vishnu Singh
Members of the House - This section shall serve to represent the global communities and their relationship with the work and mission of the Khalsa Council.
Speaker of the House - SS Siri Karm Singh (alternate: SS Jai Pal Singh)
New Millennium Generation Section - (Ages 10 - 35) This section represents the future of the Dharma.
Chairperson - SS Siri Chand Singh
Council of Nominees - This section represents the consciousness of the Siri Singh Sahib and is the neutral check and balance for the Khalsa Council. These members serve a 2-year term and can serve consecutive terms.
Chairperson - SS Nirbhe Kaur
Sikh Dharma International Presentation
SS Gurujot Kaur, SS Gurumukh Singh, SS Pritpal Singh, Himmat Singh, Dharampal Kaur, Sada Bahar Kaur, SS Seva Kaur
Sikh Dharma International's mission is to serve and hold the sacredness of our Dharmic teachings through the delivery of Dharmic programs and events. This is an exciting time of renewal, rebuilding and reconnecting with our sister non-profit organizations.
The SDI Board members were introduced, including 3 new members. They are: Siri Sikdar Sahiba Sardarni Guru Amrit Kaur, Bhai Sahiba Bibiji Inderjit Kaur, MSS Kirtan Singh, MSS Guru Raj Kaur, SS Avtar Hari Singh, SS Guru Sangat Kaur (Brazil), SS Sat Sundri Kaur, SS Guru Darbar Singh, and Sada Sat Simran Singh
SS Pritpal Singh, Director of Dharmic Education and Outreach, described some current educational projects:
Himmat Singh, Dharampal Kaur and Sada Bahar Kaur shared about the SDI Service Projects:
SS Seva Kaur, Director of Fund Development and Marketing, and the Dasvandh Team emphasized that "Dasvandh is the key to opening up the universal channels of prosperity. You're giving to God. It's the consciousness with which you give, a leap of faith, and brings prosperity."
2014 Minister's Yatra
MSS Guru Raj Kaur and SS Satkirn Kaur gave a beautiful presentation showing the journey from Amritsar to Anandpur and shared the inspirational highlights of this Sacred Yatra.
The Sikhnet presentation was given by Supreet Singh, Chair of the Board, MSS Guruka Singh, CEO and SS Gurumustuk Singh and included:
10th Anniversary Commemoration - Celebrating the Living Legacy of the Siri
MSS Krishna Kaur & SS Satwant Singh
October 6, 2014 marks the 10th Anniversary of the Siri Singh Sahib's passing. In honor of this event, the Khalsa Council and all of the Legacy Non Profit Organizations are collaborating to host a large celebration honoring the Life and Living Legacy of the Siri Singh Sahib at his Ranch in Espanola. The dates for the event are October 3 - 6, 2014.
Members of the Khalsa Council and 3HO/Sikh Dharma Communities around the world are being asked to join in this celebration through local events and by attending and promoting the large event in Espanola.
A spirited fund-raising Auction was held and $30,000 was raised from bids and pledges!
For more information, visit the new website: www.yogijilegacy.org
Highlights of Day 2 - Friday, April 25th
SSS Corporation Presentation
SS Gurujodha Singh, Chairman of the SSSC Board, spoke about the achievements of the Board as well as the challenges that were faced. The Board is working to refine and define the governance structure for the entire organization, including the election process for new SSS Corp members.
SS Satwant Singh, Executive Director highlighted the board's efforts including:
MSS Guru Raj Kaur reported on the work of the Organizational Interface Committee regarding the grant process for the Non-Profit entities.
Following the SSSC report, there was a open microphone session for questions and comments.
KIIT Report - SS Siri Vishnu Singh
SS Siri Vishnu Singh, Chairperson of the KIIT board, presented a short update on KIIT. KIIT (Khalsa International Industries and Trade) is the shareholder of three dharmic for-profit businesses: Akal Security, East West Tea Company and Yoga West (in Los Angeles). SS Shanti Kaur is serving as CEO, and Sukhwinder Singh was recently brought on as CFO. The Board members are: SS Siri Vishnu Singh, SS Jai Singh, SS Seva Kaur, Sat Mander Singh (VA) and Hari Amrit Kaur (NM).
Akal Security continues to hold a highly regarded reputation in the security guard industry, with over 6000 employees in 25 countries. SS Daya Singh is the President and he and SS Avtar Hari Singh are members of the board.
East West Tea Company Presentation - Conrad Myers - CEO
It was a great pleasure to have Conrad Myers, the CEO of the East West Tea Company, as well as some members of the Management team and Board of Directors, with us at these meetings to give a presentation about Yogi Tea and the status of the company.
MSS Kirtan Singh is new Chairperson of the EWTC Board. SS Daya Singh, a board member and former Chair, honored the staff, management and board members for their service including the European Representatives of the Yogi Tea Company who have served for many years; Sat Dharam Singh, Sat Hari Singh and Atma Singh. He praised each person for the high level of professionalism and commitment in serving our customers and the global community.
Conrad Meyers, CEO of the East West Tea Company, spoke about the honor and privilege of being involved in the stewardship of the legacy of the Yogi Tea Brand and being a part of the transition and growth of the company. He emphasized the importance of maintaining the values of the brand while taking advantage of the opportunities to expand the company. The company has had 18 months of excellent growth and expansion. They have an incredible team of dedicated employees.
Parampal Singh, Global Director of Operations, to the applause of everyone present, shared that the image of Yogi Bhajan was now back on the tea boxes along with his story and quotations.
Mercia Petewon, the Customer Service and Distribution Manager, spoke of the amazing loyalty of Yogi Tea customers, and read a beautiful letter from a customer about how the quotes on the Yogi Tea bags inspired her during difficult times.
Satbir Singh, who was recently rehired by EWTC in the capacity of Global Director of Community Relations and Executive Development, spoke about the tremendous employee support within the company and also the community partnerships that are strengthening the values of the company in serving its mission.
Following the afternoon session of the Khalsa Council, the EWTC hosted a "Meet and Greet" for the members of the KC and the ashram community to have the opportunity to ask questions and dialogue.
Khalsa Council Task Forces
For the past few years a very important part of our Khalsa Council Meetings has been creating Task Forces in various areas of concern, with clear intentions for actions that we can cooperatively manifest. Between meetings these groups continue to meet to move forward with actions and visioning. The following are the current Task Forces:
Communications and Connecting Our Global Sangat -
Facilitator - SS Guruka Kaur
Identified Goal: Creating avenues of connection and networks, re-establishing a Khalsa Council eGroup that will serve the work and function of the Khalsa Council, re-establishing Khalsa Council website
Business Development and Creating Job Opportunities to Support Our Future Generations -
Facilitator - Sada Bahar Kaur
Identified Goal: To create networking avenues for jobs and internships. Establishing a job board for those seeking employment.
Corporate Structure and Governance -
Facilitators - SS Kirpal Singh, SS Viriam Singh
Identified Goal: Designing Khalsa Council Governance Procedures
A "Process for Advisement" motion was presented to the KC for approval. The Governance task force will be addressing the topic of the membership of the Khalsa Council; discussing who should serve on the Council in the future and defining the process for determining membership, with the goal of greater worldwide representation.
Preparing for our Senior Population -
Facilitator - SS Sat Sundri Kaur
Identified Goal: Developing strategies concerning our aging population including housing, health care, end of life care and financial stability.
Security and Preparedness -
Facilitator - SS Jot Singh
Identified Goal: Recommended policies and procedures for the safety and security of our Ashram Communities and Gurdwaras
Action: Developing a community resource list and strategy for different communities to create security plans for their individual needs. Possibility of using the model of the Espanola Task Force Group to help in this process.
10th Anniversary Commemoration -
Facilitator - MSS Krishna Kaur
Identified Goal: Planning for the Commemoration events in Espanola and in our communities around the world.
Actions: To facilitate worldwide participation in the 40-day period from August 27 - October 6th to chant together daily and do seva projects.
October 3rd - 6th Event in Espanola - Most of the events in Española will take place at the Ranch. There will be several days of activities from Friday Oct. 3rd - Monday, October 6, including an Akhand Path, music, stories, yoga, meditation. Monday morning will be a bhog of the Akhand Path. There will be a website dedicated to the commemoration and will show all the events taking place. This is an opportunity to share about Siri Singh Sahib and who he was.
There are numerous ways to support this special event. Many members of the Khalsa Council pledged donations to sponsor a specific aspect of the event: such as meals, prasad ingredients, rental of needed equipment, etc. There is still a need for funds to successfully host the event. Khalsa Council members were requested to solicit donations from members of their communities. Donations are requested by June 15th. Checks should be written to LYF, and sent to: PO Box 1910 Santa Cruz NM 87567. Or you can call 505-367-1380 to pay by credit card.
3HO Europe and Chateau Anand Presentation - SS Satya Singh shared an update on the Chateau Anand Project in France. The property is still being worked on and the projected date for the European Yoga Festival to move to this facility is August 2015.
Yogi Tea Foundation of Europe Presentation - Sat Dharam Singh from Hamburg shared the role of the Foundation as the funding contributor for the CCC Grants from the East West Tea Company in Europe. He spoke of some of the community projects funded by YTF and its commitment to serve the spreading of Kundalini Yoga in Europe.
We ended the day by practicing a beautiful Group Solidarity meditation in a powerful circle of unity.
Highlights of Day 3 - Saturday, April 26th
Beads of our Divine Mala - Reports from our Non-Profits
3HO Foundation International - Jaap Kaur, the CEO of 3HO, highlighted the diversity of people from around the world practicing the 3HO lifestyle through yoga classes, festivals and events. She shared the mission of 3HO: To inspire everyone, everywhere to live a Healthy, Happy, and Holy life through the teachings of Yogi Bhajan." The staff of 3HO is committed to serving the amazing work being done throughout the world, through product development and greater avenues of connection. A new website is being launched which will serve as a portal for the various activities and 3HO Communities.
IKYTA - SS Guruka Kaur shared information about a new office established as part of IKYTA -The Ethics, Professional and Spiritual Standards Office. The purpose of this office is to educate our non-profit communities in values and ethics, and to provide resources for resolving conflicts and investigating complaints against yoga teachers, teacher trainers or Sikh Dharma Ministers.
Ravi Kaur, recently-appointed IKYTA Contract Manager for US and Canada shared their work in creating an in-depth survey of Kundalini Yoga Teacher's needs and a plan to create a supportive network of teachers.
Humanology & Health Science, Inc. - SS Sat Nirmal Kaur gave a report about the growth of White Tantric Yoga around the world. She described that through this powerful technology, students who never met the Siri Singh Sahib personally are having deep experiences and connections with the Siri Singh Sahib through his subtle body.
Kundalini Research Institute - KRI - MSS Nirvair Singh, CEO of KRI, joyously shared the announcement of the launch of the Yogi Bhajan Library of Teachings. There is a "how to" video on the KRI website to assist in using search features on the website, as well as how to access all the lectures, videos and audio assets. Some of KRI's goals are to translate the website information into other languages, have all the kriyas online and to create more content through donations. The site has been viewed by people from 70 countries. The cost of the Library of Teachings thus far has been about $2 million.
Another long awaited project of KRI - the launch the Level III Teacher's Trainer's Course is very close to being ready for a roll out. There are three "nadis" -meditation, seva and spiritual maturity which are components of the Course as well as a component of a 1000-day practice.
SDEI - Miri Piri Academy - SS Jagat Guru Singh, the Executive Principal of MPA, shared that he has been in service to the school in India for over 20 years. The school is opening communication channels for Sangat members who have concerns and questions. He spoke of the academic and spiritual programs at the school. The school is currently at a crossroads of deciding ways to grow, while being able to hold to the core values and mission of the school. The demographics of the school have changed and there are students from 24 countries from different cultures and backgrounds.
Legacy of Yogiji Foundation - LYF - Siri Karta Singh, a member of the LYF board, introduced Mukhia Jethadar SS Amrit Singh, who is the property manager and Kartika Kaur, who is the President of LYF. LYF is a property management organization entrusted to preserving the legacy of the Siri Singh Sahib's properties. There are various events taking place at the Ranch, including Teacher Training, Ranch Tours, International Women's Camp visit, Siri Singh Sahib's Birthday and 10th Anniversary Commemoration.
Miri Piri Brazil - SS Guru Sangat Kaur from Brazil reported on the opening of Miri Piri School in Brazil in August 2014. The school is for children aged 2 - 9 years, based on the values and teachings of Yogi Bhajan.
Sikh Dharma Ministry - SS Dr. Sat Kaur Khalsa, Secretary of Religion, shared a presentation: "Ministers in Action" representing the various ways Ministers around the globe are serving, followed by a slide presentation about the global ministry.
Following the reports, an open microphone session was held, for questions and comments by the KC members to a panel consisting of representatives from each of the non-profits.
Community Report - Chile
Sat Sansar Singh from Chile gave an inspiriting report highlighting the victories and challenges of the Chilean Kundalini Yoga and Dharmic community.
Motion from the Governance Committee - "Process for Advisement"
Members from the Governance Committee presented a motion on the floor of the Khalsa Council defining the procedure by which the Khalsa Council acts to formally advise the Board of Directors of the SSSC and/or the associated non-profit organizations. Following discussion on the motion, a vote was taken, and the motion passed.
Installation of New Chairperson
On behalf of Khalsa Council, the Secretary General, presented outgoing Chairperson, SS Jai Singh, with a gift honoring him for his five years of service as Chairman. The newly elected Chairperson, SS Sat Nirmal Kaur, was officially installed for the coming two-year term.
The upliftment of these meetings is beyond description. It was a 3-day experience of elevation, group consciousness and dedication to our mission. It was a blessing to meet together in unity and solidarity of purpose in carrying on the legacy of the Siri Singh Sahib and fulfilling our collective destiny.
With gratitude to God and Guru, and with deep appreciation to all the members of our global Sangat who are serving to uplift humanity through the sacred technology of Sikh Dharma and Kundalini Yoga, we wish each of you the divine guidance and protection of Guru Ram Das.
Blessings to all,
SS Gurujot Kaur Khalsa
Sikh Dharma International/Khalsa Council