Dear Members of the Khalsa Council and the Sikh Dharma/3HO Community,
Sat Nam and blessings to all. The following is a report on the Fall International Khalsa Council Meetings, which were held on September 25 – 28, 2013 in Espanola, New Mexico. The meetings truly embodied the spirit and dedication of our global Sangat, and our commitment to fulfill our collective destiny with consciousness and grace. Approximately 110 members attended from our international Sangat. The Siri Sikdar Sahiba and the Bhai Sahiba, who are both recovering from spinal surgeries, were unable to attend the meetings, but were with us in spirit. We honor their service and devotion, and send prayers for speedy and full recoveries.
The Siri Singh Sahib established the Khalsa Council with the vision that it would serve as a leadership body to deliver his teachings and his mission beyond his lifetime. Over this past year, along with the victory of getting the administration of the Dharma back with the Sangat, has come the significant responsibility and work that is required to manage and guide our Dharma now and for our future. Our teachings and technology have a destiny to expand throughout the globe, and the responsibility of our leadership is to serve this expansion and hold the grace and values of this divine way of life. Those who serve as members of the Khalsa Council have a commitment to uphold the Siri Singh Sahib’s standards and to deliver his mission throughout the world, so future generations can have the blessing of these teachings and this sacred way of life.
In establishing the tradition of meeting together twice a year to focus on our collective mission, the Siri Singh Sahib recognized the importance of working together to serve our Dharma. The Khalsa Council meetings bring together Ministers and teachers from our global communities and our non-profit and for-profit entities, and provide a unique forum for collaboration, education, and coordination.
Much progress was achieved at these meetings towards establishing processes and systems for the on-going work of the Khalsa Council. Task forces in various areas were established, which will continue meeting via telephone. These task forces are open to all members of the Sangat, so please contact the facilitators in any areas in which you have an interest. The degree to which we all participate is the degree to which we collectively will achieve our goals. Participate, Serve, Inspire, lend your voice, lend your hands, appreciate the work of others, Support, Lead. Together we can serve this Dharma and this great mission.
Overview of the Agenda
Setting the Khalsa Council agenda is a collaborative effort, with input from the Sangat, Khalsa Council members, the Sikh Dharma International and Siri Singh Sahib Corporation boards, and the Khalsa Council Executive Committee. Some key elements and desired outcomes of these meetings were:
To define the processes by which the Khalsa Council can best serve our global dharmic mission.
To review and assess the expansion and impact of our yogic and dharmic teachings.
To hear reports from our non-profit and for profit entities (SSSC, SDI, SDEI, KRI, 3HO, IKYTA, Sikhnet, LYF, 3HO Europe & KIIT) about their progress, goals and challenges; including time for input and discussion.
To define the relationship of the Siri Singh Sahib Corp and the Khalsa Council.
To establish on-going task forces in areas of importance and concern to our global communities.
To hear from our global communities and provide support and inspiration.
To set themes for the coming 10 years.
Open microphone discussion, input and comments.
We incorporated our dharmic technology throughout the meeting schedule, beginning each day with a musical version of a bani and the Hukam, meditations and chanting, and a daily video lecture from the Siri Singh Sahib addressing the Khalsa Council.
Highlights of Day 1 - Thursday, Sept. 26, 2013
On the morning of the first day, after a beautiful musical version of Japji Sahib, the Khalsa Council honored our beloved sister, Sardarni Sahiba Holy Kaur Khalsa, who passed away that morning after fighting a valiant battle with cancer for the past 6 years. She was a radiant example of a noble Khalsa woman and her divine presence and grace was an inspiration to all. The Khalsa Council recited an Ardas and chanted Akal for the merger of her soul with the Infinite, followed by a Hukam.
The Secretary General then welcomed the Khalsa Council members and spoke of the unique destiny of the Khalsa Council to guide and shape the future of our Dharma and to fulfill the Siri Singh Sahib’s mission for future generations.
The Siri Sikdar Sahiba sent an inspiring opening address, which was read by MSS Krishna Kaur. She spoke of her heartfelt prayer that we stay united and “live in grace for each other”, which were the Siri Singh Sahib’s last words to us. She urged us to take collective responsibility to deliver our Dharma. “With our sadhana and prayer, we can build a frequency that can vibrate the cosmos, while we hold the values and vision of the Dharma within a shared consciousness of Grace.”
Following the Chairperson's address, the Khalsa Council members divided 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, with the other members. Afterwards the council re-assembled for a video lecture from the Siri Singh Sahib.
“Leading with our Dharmic Consciousness and Yogic Technology”, led by SS Pritpal Kaur, MSS Guru Raj Kaur, MSS Nirvair Singh and SS Shanti Kaur.
The presenters shared their perspectives on the expansion of our teachings around the globe, and the need to hold true to the integrity of the teachings and our values. Living and leading in service and unity as a reflection of the vastness of consciousness embodied by the SIri Singh Sahib is our commitment as leaders in the Aquarian Age.
MSS Nirvair Singh, CEO of KRI, spoke about the changes over the past 7 years and the growth of Kundalini Yoga teacher training and the KRI publications, and of serving the consciousness of the people who will be coming to us. The release of the Yogi Bhajan Library of Teachings will bring incredible opportunities for expansion.
SS Shanti Kaur, CEO of KIIT, spoke of the Siri Singh Sahib's way of working with our businesses in his role as spiritual teacher. Dealing with businesses was not just a funding model. He taught us to have our business models in line with our yogic and spiritual technology, because in the Age of Aquarius, there is no difference between your health, spirituality and business life. The Siri Singh Sahib gave us this model of working in business with our integrity and our nobility. People will trust us. Our businesses will promote a holistic model for our business techniques, where goodness to all guides our business dealings.
MSS Guru Raj Kaur spoke of our role as Raj Yogis. We are reaching hearts everywhere. Just as the Siri Singh Sahib made Kundalini Yoga available to the West, he also brought the values and humility of Sikh Dharma to create Raj Yogis, based on certain basic spiritual and yogic laws which are unchanging. As teachers, we deliver the individual to the Infinite, living from our authentic selves in service to others. Raj Yoga is achieved through humility, living courageously and through reverence. The souls are attracted to that reverence.
Dr. Sat Bir Singh – “Scientific Research on Yogic and Dharmic Technologies”
SS Dr. Shanti Shanti Kaur introduced Dr. Sat Bir Singh and Dr. Dharma Singh who are doing scientific research and clinical work on the effects of yoga and dharmic technology. The Siri Singh Sahib started with the goal of bringing Kundalini Yoga technology into the arena of health care as a therapeutic form back in 1986. There is a need for research to inform clinical practice. The impact of the work of these two men can demonstrate the actual scientific basis for the efficacy of Kundalini Yoga. This expands the reach of the Siri Singh Sahib's teachings into the health care arena as a therapeutic approach. Dr. Sat Bir Singh used his NIH grant money to study Kundalini Yoga's effects on sleep therapy. He has worked to bring the research on yoga to the standard of current medical science and he has single-handedly effected the approach of Kundalini Yoga in the scientific area. He is now working on getting yoga into the educational system, with the implications of reducing violence, addiction, and mental health problems.
SS Dr. Sat Bir Singh spoke about his passion and mission of Kundalini Yoga research. Yoga has become part of the international lifestyle. A Yoga Journal survey showed that in 2012, 20 million people practiced yoga. We have become a "yoga nation." Advertisers use yoga images to sell products. Yoga therapy started in India and has become a popular movement. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) did a survey of alternative health modes, and yoga and meditation were in the top ten practices. We are at a special moment in history. People are training and working to have yoga in therapeutic settings. There is a need for yoga research to reach populations that are not aware of or don't have access to practicing yoga. Most yoga practitioners are college-educated, wealthy, young women. That leaves out a large portion of society. There are two systems that will penetrate this gap: education and health care. Validation of these practices, including published research, is required to bring about this integration.
Sat Bir Singh discussed some of the clinical trials he has worked on, including SuperHealth and Yoga for Youth. He spoke of the grant process and research on mental health and Kundalini Yoga intervention for anxiety disorder. His main focus currently is on yoga in schools, and he has published three papers on mental health in the schools. Study has shown that yoga prevents deterioration in mental health. His passion is also to network and develop collaborations with other yoga researchers. He has published a book under the Harvard Medical School called "Your Brain on Yoga" and he is collaborating on a textbook for yoga therapists and a medical yoga symposium.
The biggest resistance to moving yoga research forward is funding. He spoke about the time and energy required to obtain grants. He is currently collaborating with the Kundalini Research Institute, consulting with teachers and developing Kundalini protocols for specific populations. He also shared a concern that as teachers of Kundalini Yoga, we need to expand our presence on a global level, to help develop awareness of the impact of this technology. He spoke of the importance of being involved in the leadership of collaborating with other yoga researchers internationally. He recommended that we develop a funding office to fund research and other projects. We need to be more represented and recognized internationally.
Dr. Dharma Singh – “Alzheimer’s prevention using our Yogic Technology”
Dr. Shanti Shanti Kaur next introduced Dr. Dharma Singh and his role as a bridge between the medical world and Kundalini Yoga. He has done groundbreaking work on the impact of Kundalini Yoga on Alzheimer's with compelling implications, as well as writing books for the mass market on Kundalini Yoga. He reaches a broad base and delivers techniques that reduce health care costs and improve outcomes. He has focused on Kirtan Kriya and its ability to alleviate brain disease, imbuing the practice of medicine with the Shabad Guru.
Dr. Dharma Singh spoke about the Siri Singh Sahib's influence on doing scientific research on the benefits of Kirtan Kriya in 1993. In 2003 he received funding for his first study. At that time there was little belief in the possibility of effecting the brain in a positive way. He started to receive funding from the University of Irvine, and since then he has received private funding for designing studies at a number of important medical schools. One study is to show that Kirtan Kriya can prevent a form of Alzheimer's. He spoke in detail with a slide show about the impressive results of studies on Kirtan Kriya. Doing Kirtan Kriya for 12 minutes a day improves brain function and has powerful effects on cognitive function as well as mood and depression.
"Rebirth of Sikh Dharma – Report from Sikh Dharma International" - SS Gurujot Kaur, Sada Anand Kaur, OngKar Kaur, SS Pritpal Singh, SS Seva Kaur
This is an exciting time of rebuilding and development for Sikh Dharma International, focusing on the expansion of its programs of service, support of sangats around the world, development of dharmic education programs, and collaboration with the other non-profit organizations. SDI is building a dedicated staff who are committed to serving the sangat and spreading the sacred teachings of Sikh Dharma.
SS Pritpal Singh, Director of Dharmic Education and Outreach spoke about the need to redefine the relevancy of our dharmic teachings as a core centerpiece of the legacy teachings of the Siri Singh Sahib. He shared about the various classes and programs being developed by Sikh Dharma International, including: general Sikh Dharma educational courses, specific training in procedures and protocols, SD course for KRI trainers about the synergy of Kundalini Yoga and Sikh Dharma, Spiritual/Dharmic leadership training, Minister training, Youth Camp facilitator training for MPA students, and launching a Mul Mantra course as a first step to a Japji course and book. SDI looks forward to working with Khalsa Council members, and is reaching out to our sister non-profit organizations to work in cooperation and collaboration. We are looking into doing an exclusive Sikh Dharma event, like a "Gurbani Fest" of multiple days, with kirtan, classes on Sikh Dharma studies, Gurumukhi and more. SDI is looking forward to reestablishing the presence of Sikh Dharma at our annual events.
Ongkar Kaur shared about the SDI Outreach programs:
SDI partnered with Sikhnet this summer to facilitate Sikh youth camps around the country and is collaborating with Sikhnet on other projects.
We developed a seva program with 3HO Europe to send youth to do seva at Chateau Anand, and then attend the European Yoga Festival.
We participated in the one-year commemoration of the tragic shooting at the Oak Creek Gurdwara.
We are setting up an on-line job board where employers can post job and internship opportunities, and people can post their resumes. Please visit: jobs.sikhdharma.org
We are also creating learning tools for new students and emerging communities. After completing our "How to do an Akhand Path" video, the sangat in Iceland held their first Akhand Path!
Dasvandh donations support the work of Sikh Dharma. The Dasvandh team is initiating a Ten Percent Club to inspire the sangat to donate their full 10%. We are striving to have the Khalsa Council lead in Dasvandh participation and be at 100% participation (we are currently at 48%).
MSS Kirtan Singh, President of the SDI Board, honored SS GuruKirin Kaur Khalsa, former CFO of Sikh Dharma International and Sikh Dharma Worldwide for her many years of service.
Community Report – Herndon, Virginia
SS Guru Sangat Singh presented a report on the Herndon, Virginia Sangat, and the building of their new Gurdwara, Raj Khalsa Gurdwara.
Highlights of Day 2 - Friday, Sept. 27, 2013
Siri Singh Sahib Corp Report
The Siri Singh Sahib Corporation presented its report to the Khalsa Council. SS Gurujodha Singh, President of the board, noted that is has been about one year since the SSS Corp was installed. There have been some changes to the board membership: Mukhia Jethadar Amrit Singh (NM) has replaced Shanti Kaur who resigned to serve as CEO of KIIT, and SS Simran Kaur (LA) is on the board as the Chairperson of SDEI. The full board meets weekly by phone. Additionally, the five permanent committees meet on a regular basis and the SSSC meets three times per year face-to-face.
The Corporation presented the following summary of achievements for the time period 11/26/12 to September 23, 2013:
- Maintained the grant structure to the non-profit entities and ensured timely payment of grant funds.
- Face-to-face meeting with the non-profits in April 2013 to better understand and support their efforts.
- Devised and implemented a board population process to solicit sangat participation to ensure an inclusive governance structure.
- Consistent dialogue and cooperative relationship with the European Community. SSSC board members have traveled to Europe to meet and partner with them on issues and projects such as Chateau Anand.
- Worked to ensure industry standards in corporative structure, including voting to dissolve SDS (Sikh Dharma Stewardship).
The Corporation listed some of the challenges it is facing:
- Funding the Dharma to meet the needs of the non-profits and for profit entities.
- Sangat security, including the physical security of our properties and communities, and cyber security to protect the brand identity of the Siri Singh Sahib, the Dharma and the teachings.
- Continued resolution of litigation issues.
- Refinement of governance to hear and implement policy recommendations and ideas from sangat to ensure inclusiveness
Executive Director Report
SS Satwant Singh spoke about his gratitude to be serving as the Executive Director of the SSSC. He is involved in all aspects of the board's functioning and has seen the dedication of the members in serving the Siri Singh Sahib's mission. One of the important tasks of the board is to approve the directors of the various boards. This repopulation process is currently in progress.
KIIT CEO Report
SS Shanti Kaur, former SSSC board member and current KIIT CEO, spoke about the system of checks and balances built into our governance process and the need to address the "ripple effect" of the changes that had been made by the former Unto Infinity Board and the legal and tax issues that arose from their restructuring. Changes have been made in the funding structures to avoid these issues in the future. She identified a vehicle called "Donor Advised Funds" that are set up as charitable funds by various organizations to allow legitimate, tax-deductible donations, which can be directed to the various non-profit organizations. Merrill-Lynch Bank of America has been selected as the repository for these funds. Shanti Kaur noted that the funds can then be used to fund our 501(c)3 non-profits. This may not be a long-term solution, but it will support the current needs. We may eventually open our own philanthropic corporation to handle the funding of the non-profits.
SS Dharam Singh Khalsa shared about the European community and the property which will be the home of the European Yoga Festival. He spoke about the Chateau Anand project and the efforts to support this project, which can serve as a place for the global community to host various yogic and Sikh Dharma events.
Grants to the Non-Profits
MSS Guru Raj Kaur spoke about the grant process for non-profits. Grants provide seed money for our non-profit organizations. In 2013 the grant funds totaled $2 million, and a similar amount will be available for 2014. Grant approvals will be completed by the first of December.
SS Viriam Singh, SSSC Secretary, reported that there have been 48 board meetings since it began. There is a diversity of opinions on the board which gives it a richness of perspectives. There is currently a 2/3 quorum required to conduct a meeting and to pass motions, which is sometimes difficult to achieve. The board has implemented various technologies to manage its documents. Legal issues still take up a significant amount of board time.
SS Amrit Kaur, Sikh Dharma Chancellor spoke about some of the corporate restructuring and bylaw revisions. She detailed the organizational structure of the profit and non-profits and some proposed changes. She talked about the goals of tax restructuring to preserve public charity classification and tax compliance issues. She also announced that there is a new staff member in the Chancellor's Office, Siri Chand Kaur, Attorney at Law.
Afternoon - Day 2
Siri Singh Sahib Corp Report - Continued
In the afternoon, members of the SSSC presented a report on the current pending litigation between Bibiji and our various dharmic entities. Understanding the sensitivity of this issue, the SSSC board presented this topic with respect, while fulfilling its legal and ethical responsibility to report to the Khalsa Council on the current status of litigation.
The report included a summary of the cases that are still outstanding, and a summary of the mediation efforts to globally resolve litigation by the mediation team, which included members of the SSSC, the Sangat, and Judge Hogan, but which did not reach resolution. The report also included an estimate for future legal costs related to these matters of approximately $2 million dollars. Finally, the members of the SSSC requested that the Khalsa Council join in prayer and meditation to create a frequency of elevation for an outcome that will serve the highest good of the entire mission.
An open mike session followed the SSSC report. The discussion was lively, informative and robust, with participation from SS Kulbir Singh who responded to a number of the points that had been presented in the report.
Note: The Siri Singh Sahib Corporation will be sending out a Quarterly Report to the Sangat in the coming weeks with more details on these matters.
Relationship of the SSSC and the Khalsa Council – SS Gurujodha Singh & SS Gurujot Kaur
The current SDI by-laws state that the Khalsa Council serves as a “permanent committee advising the Member (SSSC) and the Khalsa Council Adh Kari (SDI Board of Directors) on matters of significance to the corporation." In order for the Khalsa Council to function in an advisory capacity, and possibly assume additional responsibilities in the governance of our Dharma, it needs to establish a defined methodology for deliberating on issues and for decision-making. This process should include:
- a communication process between the KC and the SSSC between meetings to stay abreast of important issues under consideration
- an internal process within the Khalsa Council for education and analysis of important issues
- a process for interaction with the Sangat which includes education and discussion on issues of concern
- a voting process to gauge the support and importance of items
- a defined process for the delivery of advice and recommendations from the KC to the SSSC
As part of this process, the Khalsa Council established Task Forces on specific areas of importance and concern to our Sangat. These groups met at the Khalsa Council meetings and will continue to meet by phone, and are open to all interested Sangat members. The task forces will bring information and proposals back to the Khalsa Council for its deliberation, discussion and voting process at the next meeting. The Khalsa Council can then provide meaningful recommendations and advice to the SSSC on specific subject matter areas.
Seven task forces met for about an hour and a half to begin the process of creating an action plan for their areas. The following are their reports:
Corporate Structure and Governance - Facilitator - SS Kirpal Singh - This group was tasked with developing the model and methodology for how the Khalsa Council can advise the SSSC, including the elements that were described above. They committed to meet regularly and to have a proposal to present before the April 2104 Khalsa Council meetings.
Global Service & Seva Projects - Facilitator - Ongkar Kaur - This group was tasked with identifying 1 - 3 global service projects that the Khalsa Council and the non-profits can deliver. SS Gurunam Kaur is spearheading a project to serve young Espanola women who are at high risk of suicide, with MPA graduates doing fiber arts. SS Gurudarbar Singh is spearheading building an improved langar facility at Hacienda de Guru Ram Das Ashram.
Senior Retirement and Financial Security - Facilitator - SS SatSundri Kaur - This group was tasked with addressing the issues of caring for our aging population now and into the future. This includes housing and sangat-based retirement centers and shared housing models, healthcare, end of life care and financial security. The group wants to research what other religious organizations do to provide for their elderly.
Communicating and Connecting our Global Sangat - Facilitator - MSS Guruka Singh - This group focused on improving the communication between the Khalsa Council and the Sangat. They discussed the original structure of the Khalsa Council being a representative body from our world-wide communities. They discussed how to get people involved with the Khalsa Council and helping more people to attend.
Building & Growing Dharmic Businesses to Support our Future - Facilitator - SS Siri Vishnu Singh - This group discussed ways for businesses to network, to offer resources to existing businesses and build new businesses for our Dharma. They proposed to send KIIT a request to develop a business association with a website, and to build connectivity and opportunities for jobs, coaching, mentoring or other business-related services.
Security & Preparedness - Facilitators - SS Ram Dhan Singh & Gurumustuk Singh - In the aftermath of the tragedy at Oak Creek, Wisconsin, an ad-hoc security advisory group of Sangat members formed, called the Sant Sipahi Security Advisory Team, with an interest in serving Sikh Dharma in matters of security. SS Ram Dhan Singh was invited to attend the Khalsa Council meetings to facilitate this task force with the goal of developing a set of recommended guidelines and protocols for the safety and security of our communities, Gurdwaras and events. This team welcomes interested sangat members, and also invites members to contact them for assistance at: 800-528-0413 Ext. 354 (Eastern time)
Himmat Singh expressed the need to continue to build bridges and attend local events and be a visible part of the community where we live. We need to offer security training to our communities as well as how to effectively respond to slander on the Internet. SS Gurvinderpal Singh shared that we can answer hatred with love. "PR is Pyar." This is the gift of our lifestyle and the Guru's teachings. We react with love and compassion, not fear or revenge. SS Jot Singh shared that Siri Singh Sahib taught that we must be both saints and soldiers. We are all responsible for paying attention to the security of our environments.
Commemoration of the 10th Anniversary of the Siri Singh Sahib's Passing – Facilitator - SS Sarb Nam Kaur - October 6, 2014 marks the 10th anniversary of the Siri Singh Sahib's passing. On the first day of the Khalsa Council meetings, we asked the council for ideas on how we could celebrate this special occasion. A task force was established to help get the ball rolling. Some of their ideas are:
- a 40-day celebration of service, sadhana and meditation beginning at his birthday and leading up to a globally- broadcast event hosted in Espanola, with local communities telecasting their events online on October 6, 2014.
- creation of a full-size bronze statue of the Siri Singh Sahib to be unveiled at the October 6th event.
- Non-profits (KRI,3HO, IKYTA and Sikh Dharma International) to plan various events and commemorative activities, including books, videos or websites commemorating his legacy and sharing how we are continuing to carry the mission.
- a New Mexico sangat task force to arrange a “Yogi Bhajan Honoring Day” at the New Mexico State Legislature, with demonstrations of Bhangra, Kundalini Yoga, healing arts and 3HO/KIIT products and services.
- possibly move the dates of the Fall 2014 Khalsa Council meeting to October 2 - 4 to coordinate with the celebration, so Khalsa Council members can be part of the celebration in New Mexico.
This task force will make a presentation in the next month at a meeting of the managers of the non-profits to see how they would like to work together on planning this event.
Highlights of Day 3 - Saturday, Sept 28, 2013
Beads of our Divine Mala - Reports from our Non-Profit and For-Profit Entities
The focus of the Saturday meeting was primarily about our Non-profit and For-profit entities. Each entity was invited to make a presentation to the Khalsa Council to include: their successes and challenges; avenues of participation and channels of communication with the Sangat; efforts at collaboration with the other non-profits; and the vision of their organization for the future. The presentations were informative and incredibly inspiring. The expansion and growth in each of the non-profits is remarkable and it was so inspiring to hear and see the Siri Singh Sahib's mission thriving and spreading across the globe.
The following entities gave a report.
- Sikhnet – SS Gurumustak Singh & MSS Guruka Singh
- KRI – Library of the Teachings – MSS Nirvair Singh
- IKYTA –Ethics - SS Guruka Kaur
- 3HO Europe – SS Sat Dharm Singh
- 3HO – Jaap Kaur
- SDEI - Saraswati Kaur
- LYF – SS Jai Singh
- KIIT - - SS Shanti Kaur
Sikhnet - SS Gurumustak Singh & MSS Guruka Singh
Sikhnet serves those people who are drawn to the Sikh experience and the Sikh way of life. They spoke of the hukam to Khalsa Council from the Siri Singh Sahib, to serve the Sikhs of Indian heritage. They encouraged Khalsa Council and Sangat members to watch the 2013 SikhNet film festival entries on the topic of "On Kaur”, noting that 85% of the film entries were from India. The majority of SikhNet users are also from India.
Supreet Singh, a member of the board spoke about new ways of building content and creating a bridge for outreach to sangats and their donor base. He encouraged our legacy organizations to work together to create a robust ability to share our technology of health and wellness as well as Sikh Dharma technology. SS Gurumustak shared about their donor management system, and the possibility of an integrated financial donor system for all of our non-profits. He also shared about some of their new mobile apps.
KRI – Library of the Teachings – MSS Nirvair Singh
KRI presented a demonstration of the newest version of the Library of Teachings website. The Phase I beta test is completed and they are now in Phase II of testing new features with about 20 serious beta testers. The financial model is that this will be accessible by donations and by passive ways of receiving income, including linking to KRI products and courses as well as to 3HO. The Joti Software team (Fateh Singh) demonstrated the features of the website. A steering committee will convene to review the content for the initial release.
IKYTA –Ethics - SS Guruka Kaur
Guruka Kaur spoke about the process of handling complaints about teachers and teacher trainers. She noted that this past year more complaints have been submitted than in the past. She has also been working on a Code of Ethics and Professional Standards for teachers to insure that as we expand our numbers of teachers and teacher trainers, our standards and values are maintained. She has contacted the other non-profits to make them aware of the complaint process. She has taken mediation and restorative justice training, to enrich the resolution process whereby all parties take responsibility to create the agreement on how to resolve the issue. She invited Khalsa Council members to let her know if they would like to be involved in the process of creating an Ethics and Professional Standards committee and solicited input from people who are committed to the teachings to help provide different perspectives.
Guruprakash Kaur from IKYTA spoke about support for newly graduated teachers through a program of teaching coaches to help new teachers to feel supported in starting their teaching career. Coaches will be compensated with CEU units and matched with new teachers for a six-month period after graduating from Level I, starting in January 2014.
3HO Europe – SS Satya Singh
SS Satya Singh spoke about Chateau Anand and 3HO Europe. He expressed gratitude and noted a new energy and the beginning of a healing process surrounding the European Yogi Tea company. The visit by SS Jai Singh and SS Siri Vishnu Singh, on behalf of the SSSC, brought many positive changes for the European non-profits. He spoke of the need for redefining the two 3HO organizations in Europe, and the need for two boards. The Chateau Anand Association is responsible for the hosting of the European Yoga Festival and the overall project of Chateau Anand. They have hired the first paid staff person in 3HO Europe and they are working on building donations. He showed the following video about Chateau Anand and invited the International Khalsa Council to take place at the Chateau Anand sometime in the future. http://www.vimeo.com/yogiteafrance/chateau-anand
3HO – Jaap Kaur
Jaap Kaur shared a short video with testimonials of people who have been touched by 3HO and shared a PowerPoint presentation about the history and mission of 3HO as it celebrates its 45th anniversary. In examining the identity of 3HO, they saw the need for policies, practices and procedures to help guide the integrity of the culture of 3HO, and of choosing values over popularity. 3HO's Outreach Dept. is filtering all activities through 3HO's Principles, Policies, and Procedures, to bring them into alignment with Yogi Bhajan teachings about Kundalini Yoga and Sikh Dharma. They are looking forward to collaborating with Sikh Dharma in delivering their content, and moving to an Aquarian business model.
Anand Singh, Director of Events for 3HO, is working with the 3HO United Nations program. He spoke about the goal of raising 3HO to a consultative status to the various UN Commissions, which would give it greater voice in a variety of global issues.
SDEI - SS Simran Kaur
Simran Kaur showed a slide presentation about Miri Piri Academy. There is a great trend to a diverse international student body representing 23 nations from many backgrounds and cultures. She spoke about the academic program and the KRI Teacher Training program, as well as the alumni support for the school through the staff. She noted the great work of the Chardi Kalaa Jetha in the promotion of the principles of the school. The model of Miri Piri Academy is being codified for use around the world. She introduced SS Harimander Jot Singh as the new MPA Development Director, working on recruitment and fund development. The Chardi Kalaa Jetha will be doing fundraising kirtan tours to do outreach and identify potential donors.
LYF – SS Jai Singh
LYF currently manages the dharmic properties in New Mexico and Los Angeles. Jai Singh noted shifts in staffing and a goal of building a museum at the Ranch housing all the archives of the Siri Singh Sahib. LYF will soon be dissolved as a corporation, and its functions will be rolled into another property management corporation.
KIIT - - SS Shanti Kaur
SS Shanti Kaur shared about the for-profit arm of the Dharmic organizations. She shared the example of Guru Arjan Dev who brought the teaching of having businesses that support dharmic activities. This is what the Siri Singh Sahib taught us. Prosperity is our destiny and holds a very high vibration when done in the Guru's way. KIIT is the holding company of the Siri Singh Sahib Corporation. As we move forward, there has to be a division between the non-profits and the for-profits, to protect the ability to donate to the non-profits. Three companies are currently under KIIT - Akal Security, Yoga West (Canada) and Yogi Tea. We used to have 13 corporations and constant entrepreneurial activity with KIIT. Since the Siri Singh Sahib’s passing those businesses were systematically stripped off. Now we are igniting the entrepreneurial spirit again. It came from the Siri Singh Sahib and now it will come from us, to create new businesses at the highest vibration to fund the dharma.
She introduced the KIIT Board of Directors and spoke about the goals and priorities. We are starting over again and discussing how KIIT should form and formulate itself. KIIT is looking at the 100-year horizon and beyond. Businesses have always funded Sikh Dharma enterprises in our tradition. We have to maintain a business environment of the highest vibration and excellence in business as taught by the Siri Singh Sahib. KIIT is governed by the basic principles of Sikh Dharma. Our mission is to share, create prosperity through righteous living, and work for the goodwill of all people.
Panel of Non Profit CEO/Managers –Dialogue with the Sangat – MSS Guruka Singh
Following the individual reports, there was a panel of the non-profit CEO/Managers. Guruka Singh shared that the CEO/Managers of the non-profits used to meet together on a regular basis, which ended when the lawsuit began. These meetings have started up again to share strategic plans, to support each other, and to identify core projects and services to consolidate our efforts. There was then an open mike session for the KC members to address the panel and share ideas on how the non-profits can work together more effectively through synergy.
Millis – SS Manjit Kaur
SS Manjit Kaur presented a report and a slideshow about Guru Ram Das Ashram in Millis, MA.
Oak Creek Report – SS Gurujodha Singh, MSS Kirtan Singh, Himat Singh
MSS Kirtan Singh shared about his experience of attending the one year memorial celebration at the Oak Creek Gurdwara. He was incredibly inspired by the grace and integrity of the community and their example of how Sikhs respond in this type of tragedy. The whole community of Oak Creek came out for the event to support the Sikhs. Himmat Singh and SS Gurujodha Singh also shared about their experience in Oak Creek, and the the amazing courage and compassion of the community in facing this tragedy.
Sikh Studies at Northeastern University - SS Siri Karm Singh
SS Siri Karm Singh spoke about the Sikh Studies program at Northeastern University. He is helping to create a chair in Sikh Studies and is working with Supreet Singh who is a professor at Harvard Divinity School. This chair is in the Religion Dept. and will include the teachings of the Siri Singh Sahib and his mission.
Khalsa Council Themes for next 10 years - The following list are the themes that were voted on in order of the number of votes.
Community and Facility Development - 39
Caring for our Elders - 26
Role and Structure of KC - 24
Education for Youth/Schools - 24
Sikh Dharma teachings and Ministry - 22
Indian and Sikh Relations - 19
Fund Development for our Dharma - 19
Expansion and Collaboration of our Non-Profit Entities - 16
Leadership for our Future - 14
Spreading the Teachings - 13
Service Projects /Seva - 13
International/Expansion & Collaboration - 13
The meetings ended with an open microphone session for closing comments and reflections on the meetings. We closed with a group solidarity meditation and then our closing ceremonies, Ardas and Hukam.
The experience of a Khalsa Council meeting is hard to describe in words. It is a 3-day experience of elevated group consciousness in service of our mission. These few precious days of meeting together as a leadership body of the Dharma are dedicated to carrying on the legacy of the Siri Singh Sahib and fulfilling our collective destiny. It is truly a blessing.
Please join us at the next meeting, which will be April 23 - 26, 2014.
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. May the divine guidance and protection of Guru Ram Das be with you always.
Blessings to all,
SS Gurujot Kaur Khalsa
Sikh Dharma International