The International Khalsa Council met at Hacienda de Guru Ram Das in Espanola, New Mexico on September 25 – 28, 2019. Comprised of approximately 100 Ministers and leaders from the global Sikh Dharma community, the International Khalsa Council serves as a leadership body for our Dharma. Meeting twice a year for the past 40 years, the IKC discusses issues of relevance and importance to our Dharmic mission of serving humanity, and is an advisory body to the Siri Singh Sahib Corporation and the legacy non-profit organizations founded by the Siri Singh Sahib, Yogi Bhajan.
As the Khalsa Council continues its 2 year theme of “Global Presence and Inclusion in our Khalsa Leadership”, we have been reaching out to teachers, leaders and community members throughout the world to strengthen our connections, build communication channels, and to foster inclusion and participation in our dharmic leadership.
In this session, we engaged members from Africa and Asia. Some key issues of importance are community development and building Sangat throughout the world, leadership training and seva.
Siri Singh Sahib's Lecture to the Khalsa Council
At each International Khalsa Council meeting, we listen to a video lecture of the Siri Singh Sahib.The lecture at this meeting was originally given on October 5, 2000 at the Fall meeting of the International Khalsa Council.
For the video and transcript please click here
Global Presence & Inclusion 2018-2020
Report on Dialogue with Asian and African Representatives.
SS Gurusangat Kaur, the current Chairperson of the International Khalsa Council reported on the dialogue that was held with representatives from Asia and Africa.
The key outcomes of that dialogue were:
- Request for Leadership training
- How to build Sangat/community
- Deepening knowledge of Dharmic teachings
- Seva and serving together
- Request for more information and an International newsletter
A Group Dialogue was held on the topic of “Building Sangat/Community Around the World.”
The membership discussed the following questions;
- Propose ways that we can support leaders from around the world in building strong Dharmic communities and creating global models of Leadership and Seva.
- How can we respond to their requests for resources, connection and support?
Highlights of the outcomes of the discussion were:
- We have strong leadership throughout the world. Seva and spreading the teachings are happening. How can we work together in building strong dharmic communities.
- We need mentorship, resources and relationships. We need to use technology to connect and develop our leadership throughout the world.We need platforms for people to feel connected.
- As leaders, we need to not only know the content of the teachings, but to demonstrate the content and the values of the teachings.
- Understand the culture of each country and how they connect with the technology.
- The Siri Singh Sahib did not distinguish between Kundalini Yoga and Sikh Dharma.
- A sense of community and Sangat are very important for people’s basic needs.
Office of Seva Corps
Sada Sat Simran Singh explained that the intention for developing a Seva Corps project is to unite our global community in service. Seva is our core identity. Together we can make a difference.
He shared the five pillars that the Office of Seva Corps would focus on:
- World visibility
- Leadership Training
- Bridging Communities
- Content Sharing.
He reported that the SSSC has authorized that the Seva Corps be funded for 2 years with $50,000 per year from the SSSC Special Projects fund and $25,000 from the Legacy NonProfits.
Please view the Seva Corps Presentation here: Seva Corps Presentation
Seva Sadhana Program: Yogic Lifestyle Immersion in Espanola
Ram Krishan Singh, director of the Seva Sadhana Program in Espanola, NM, described it as a pilot program that gives people the experience of “Ashram Living”.
The program began in summer 2016 and in three years there have been more than 150 participants from 27 countries, with the last group being from Mexico, Belgium, Germany, China, Denmark, UK and Colombia. 10-15% of former participants have moved to Espanola to be part of the community. 20 former participants have become Kundalini Yoga teachers. 8 former participants have gone on to take Sikh vows or receive Amrit. The Seva Sadhana Program serves as an entryway and orientation to the community.
There are now 2 Nivases with capacity for 16 people. Participants pay $34 a night or $20 a night for the 40 day programs. The Khalsa Council was very inspired by his presentation, and $2000 was raised to support the program.
The following is the outline of their 40-Day Program: Framework for Success:
Weeks 1 & 2: Orientation to 3HO Lifestyle & Community Living .
- Karma Yoga & Seva
- Technology of Sadhana
- Community Living
- Authentic Relationships
- Conscious Communication
- Conflict Resolution.
Weeks 3 & 4: Facing the Shadow
- Shadow Work- projection, judgement, and admiration
- Rebirthing Kriyas
- Shadow Integration
Weeks 5 & 6: Embodying Aquarian Consciousness
- Life Visioning Process & Practical steps
- Keeping up – Overcoming Obstacles
- Projection- Service & Embodying of Leadership.
Learn more about Seva Sadhana Here
Serving and Saving Our Planet - The Global Climate Meditation
Sat Darshan Kaur and Saraswati Kaur spoke about the Global Climate Strike which was a series of educational events and strikes around the world to advocate for policies that will protect our planet and protect the future. There were 11,000 events that were held worldwide with 4 million participants.
Sat Darshan Kaur reminded everyone to be more conscious of our impact on the earth.
Some meaningful personal actions we each can take are:
- Solar power for your home
- Electric or hybrid cars
- Flying as little as possible
- Consciously deciding how many children to have
- Getting out of one’s comfort zone and being more aware.
They proposed some collective actions we can take as a community:
- Divest all community funds from fossil fuels
- Mandate a 10% reduction per year in carbon footprint from all for-profit and non-profit organizations under the SSSC umbrella and hold organizations accountable for change
- Speak out politically as a faith organization to state and national government officials
- Establish non-profit programs and efforts to support climate refugees and migrants
Global Climate Meditation
The Khalsa Council joined the Global Climate meditation by each day chanting 11 repetitions of the Kalmal Ho-ee Maydnee Shabd.
Click here for 40 Day Prayer for Mother Earth
Free Gift; Sat Purkh Kaur’s version of the Shabd, here called Gaia Shabd Click Here to Download Shabd
Zoom Room Dialogue
Zoom Dialogue with African and Asian representatives -Sharing the Teachings of Sikh Dharma around the World
SS Guru Sangat Kaur shared that prior to our meetings, a group of Khalsa Council members met with leaders from Asia and Africa to hear about the issues relevant to their communities. Their input became the basis for the following discussion questions for the Zoom dialogue groups:
- As an Aquarian leader, how can you serve the growth of building a worldwide Dharmic Community, deeply rooted in service and our yogic and Dharmic technology?
- What are the core components and values that provide the foundation of a Dharmic Community? Are there some examples in your locale that you see as successful? What resources would be valuable for growing a stronger Dharmic connection among the members of the community?
- What does our Dharmic Global Community look like in 10-20 years? How are we addressing issues of cultural and global diversity and inclusion? How are we known for our service
The members formed into 6 discussion groups, after which the facilitators of each group reported back to the entire council. Some highlights from the discussion were:
- The unification of our Yogic and Dharmic teachings
- Seva is the anchor between the yogic and dharmic technology.
Seva is the container for all the community work that we do.
Seva and Sadhana are the foundation
We have to be an example of leaders of service
- Serve through example. Seva, Raj Yoga, meditation
- Kindness and humility. Be heart-centered. Human touch.
- Share the Seva Sadhana model.
- Growing and learning together.
- Following the Siri Singh Sahib’s example of traveling and teaching. Sharing the essence of his teachings.
- Seva projects
- Evolution. Grass roots. Social action.
- Center of everything is Guru Ram Das. Guru Ram Das will come through in service.
Focus more on the power of a warrior through Guru Gobind Singh because that is the energy of what we will need for what is coming.
Legacy Organization Reports - Beads of our Divine Mala
The Legacy Organizations began a new practice of recording their reports to be viewed prior to the meetings. This allows more time during the meetings for dialogue and discussion. Please click on the links to the video reports below;
Siri Sikdar Sahiba, Guru Amrit Kaur
3HO and LYF
Gurusadhana Kaur, the Executive Director of LYF and Pritpal Kaur, the CEO of 3HO jointly presented about the project to create permanent structures at Ram Das Puri. As a result of the weather incident at the last Summer Solstice, there has been a decision to build permanent structures, rather than to continue to rent tents. The SSSC has committed to loan $2.2 million for the construction and the work has begun. They are projecting to have the new structures in place for next year’s Summer Solstice.
SDEI, Miri Piri Academy
Saraswati Kaur reported about some of the new developments at Miri Piri Academy. There are about 90 students attending this year. 30% are from China, 20% from Russia and 40% are from US and Europe. Amrit Singh and Ananda Kaur are no longer at the school, after 20 years of service to MPA, and Japjeet Kaur the new Director of Student Life, is bringing a new eye and structures to this position.
There are more students in the 6th, 7th, and 8th grades as well as increased staffing. The Girls’ Dorm has all new staff.
Light of Guru Nanak Yatra
2019 marks the 550th Birthday of Guru Nanak Dev Ji and this momentous occasion will be commemorated around the world. As part of our celebration, 3HO and Sikh Dharma are joining together to take a Yatra with about 100 sangat members to India. The Yatra is from November 5 – 17th, and will include a Japji Course in Anandpur Sahib, attending the huge historic celebration in Sultanpur Lodhi, and visiting the Golden Temple in Amritsar.
Sardarni Guru Amrit Kaur shared about the gift that will be given from the Sikh Dharma and 3HO Sangat during the Yatra.
Whenever the Siri Singh Sahib attended these historic events, he would bring a gift that reflected the majesty and dignity of the Khalsa in the West. To continue that tradition, we created a volume of 19 translations of Japji Sahib from our communities around the globe and bound it with a spectacular cover of silver filigree and precious gem stones. Each of the 400 pages is artistically designed and bordered. This will be presented to the Golden Temple Museum where it will reside.
For those who wish to be a part of this historic project, you make a donation to help fund the creation of this beautiful piece of legacy art. For donations of $550, a person will receive an appreciation gift of a limited Hardcover Edition of the volume.
Office of Public Affairs
SS Shanti Kaur and SS Sada Sat Simran Singh reported on the work of the Office of Public Affairs which was formed by the KC in 2016. They have been posting articles and information on the OPA Blog at www.dharmic-opa.org. They encouraged individuals to take information from the blog and share it.
The mission of this office is our outward face to the public, including the Indian population, the political population and our yoga population. The OPA blog has been successful with about 600 people subscribing. There has been extensive press in India, with 28 articles in the past 6 months.
Please watch the OPA Video Report here: OPA Report
Prior to the meetings the Siri Singh Sahib Corp posted a Video Report highlighting the work that was done over the past 6 months.
View Report here SSSC Video Report
SS Gurujodha Singh, President of the SSSC, and Satwant Singh, Executive Director of the SSSC gave an overview of some of the highlights.
- Issues regarding Akal and ICE – The SSSC issued a statement in September after considering this issue for many months. There continue to be varying perspectives among our community members, and issuing the statement was a step in addressing this issue.
- Amrit Vela Kaur: SSSC Elections 2020. The SSSC elections will be held from March 9 to 22, 2020. November 1st is the lfinal day for applications to be part of the Electorate. Nominations opened on September 15 and ended on October 15, 2019.
- Talent Pool Project: We are creating a database of contact information for potential board members and employees of our legacy organizations. The objective is to engage new, diverse, potential participants, design a relation building process within our global community, and to engage and connect our youth to our organizations.
Guruprakash Kaur presented the new members of the KIIT Board and gave an update on current activity. The members are: Sat Mandir Singh, Hari Amrit Kaur, Guru John Kaur, Sahaj Singh, Guru Sangat Singh, Viriam Singh, Daya Singh, Nam Sadhana Singh and Guru Sevak Singh..
Akal Security: Akal is putting much of its focus on branching out into new areas and enterprises: Lion Leasing, Coastal and Xiartech, an IT security company.
KRE: KIIT Renewable Energy is serving non-profits and businesses through commercial solar finance solutions. KRE has created over 12 MW of energy over the past two years. Omnisole and KRE were in the top ten in a bid for a grant and received $150,000 and lab vouchers, along with making great connections.
Manifesting our Khalsa values in our Business Actions and Decisions
SS Sahaj Singh led a process on manifesting our Khalsa values in our business actions and decisions. The goal of this process was to gain understanding, clarity and consensus on what values our community holds sacred and how those values are expressed in our for, and not-for-profit businesses.
The Khalsa Council broke into 6 groups lead by Next Generation facilitators to discuss the following questions.
- What values does our community hold sacred?
- How do those values manifest in business decisions?
- How do we balance the need for funds (Miri) with our spiritual values (Piri)?
- How do the values of ‘Bana, Bani, Seva and Simran’ manifest in our businesses?
- What Non-Dharmic businesses can we look to for inspiration? What aspects of those businesses can we incorporate to strengthen our own?
Some of the group’s responses to these questions were;
- Honor diversity, Eliminate bias,
- Uplift people.
- Envision where humanity will be in 50 years and set your goals to meet that.
- Delivery of positive life-affirming products and technology. Earn in an environment where values are celebrated rather than diminished.
- Provide good will to the community and world.
- Lead with our values.
- This topic needs to be systematically embraced, not just a conversation.
Minister Skill Enrichment – Leadership Training Introduction
SS Gurusangat Kaur, Introduction to the On-line Leadership Training Program
This Aquarian Leadership training was developed by the Brazilian Sangat and has been taught for the last 7 years to large Governmental and Medical Community groups. Teaching this course brings in the funds to support the other Sangat projects. Gurusangat Kaur has agreed to translate the course into English, and it will be made available to Khalsa Council members online.
The following are some highlights of her presentation:
- Anxiety and depression are affecting a huge portion of the population world wide. The US and Canada have the highest rate of cancer. Many diseases are causes by lifestyle issues.
- People are looking for Yoga to handle the pressure of the times and bring their mind into balance.
- The relationship between yoga frequency, mindfulness & psychological well-being is being studied by the medical community.
- One must understand the soul-ego paradox. Use your ego for success. Create a presence that communicates.
- Conscious communication is knowing the other.
- Emotions are the fuel to power the strength of the spirit. One of the greatest reliefs for humans is to know that we need not be recognized for our characteristics but for our character.
Diversity and Inclusion Training
A Practical Application of Global Presence & Inclusion in Khalsa Leadership.
SS DukhNiwaran Kaur & SS Awtar Kaur
The Diversity & Inclusion Committee’s focus is on anti-racism. They developed a presentation with the understanding that this is a sensitive topic and discussions about it are more successful when approached collaboratively, gradually and with grace.
SS Awtar Kaur from San Francisco and SS DukhNiwaran Kaur of Chicago developed this presentation as a way to open up the creative thinking of Khalsa Council members as we all work together to bring the Global Sangat into our leadership body. The topic invites an exploration of the issues – personal, organizational, structural and social – around inviting ministers from outside North America into our Khalsa Council. The intention wss that this will be an accessible way for Khalsa Council members to begin to look at experiences of discomfort with cultural differences and possible dynamics of privilege in these experiences.
Members of Khalsa Council formed two concentric circles, one facing faced, the other facing inward. Each member faced another member in the other circle. A discussion topic was presented for each pair to discuss and then members rotated. The topics became increasingly and subtly deeper and more meaningful. This process enabled members to explore a topic within themselves while sharing their thoughts with another person. It was an equalizing process where everyone got to talk with other people about their ideas in a safe, low-risk neutral setting.
LGBTQ+ Task Force
SS Viriam Singh and SS Dukh Niwaran Kaur reported on the work that has been done by the LGBTQ+ Task force, which continues to meet monthly with a very dedicated group of members. They distributed a briefing to the International Khalsa Council summarizing current changes and news about LGBTQ+ topics, including World Topics, USA topics and Dharmic information.
The Task Force members have been attending Pride Celebrations and had a booth for the HGRD Ashram at the Santa Fe Pride Parade. Changes are being seen within our 3HO infrastructures and the first training on LGBTQ+ issues occurred at Solstice, our first transgender woman took Amrit at Solstice and gender neutral showers were added to the Solstice site. The Task Force has been working on a Minister Survey as it is important to find out the needs of our ministers in order to serve this population. Sikh Dharma of Southern California offered diversity training to members in LA. SikhNet continues to post videos on this topic in order to help with the process. A second conversation about LGBTQ issues with the SGPC happened in Espanola at the time of the SSS’s birthday party. SS Dukh Niwaran Kaur met with Dr. Roop Singh about what is happening in the Punjab regarding the LGBTQ population.
Eugene Oregon Community Report
SS Gurumukh Singh and SS Viriam Singh shared the rich history and vibrancy of the Eugene, Oregon Sangat which was started in 1970. Kundalini Yoga has been taught at the University of Oregon continuously since 1970 and many people in the Dharma got their start through these classes.
East-West Tea Company (aka Golden Temple Bakery) started in Eugene in 1971. Under the early leadership of Nirvair Singh, the company manifested a retail bakery store and Shakti Shoe outlet in addition to the manufacturing facility. Wha Guru Chews were conceived by the Nirvairs and in the early 90’s, and Eugene became the corporate manufacturing center which included cereal, Sunshine/Soothing Touch oils, Herb technology, Yogi Teas, and Ancient Healing Ways.
After 9-11, Sangat members started the religious non-profit, Interfaith Prayer Service International. Since September 2001, there has been an Interfaith Prayer Service held monthly in Eugene where all faith and religious traditions participate. It is the longest running interfaith service in the United States.
The current building which houses the Guru Ram Das Gurdwara and Yoga West Yoga Center was acquired in 1979 and is now being upgraded to add two unisex bathrooms, a secondary large langar hall, kitchen, and a Nivas for visiting Sangat. The plan is to break ground on this new addition on September 1, 2020.
Food 4 Kids Seva
At the end of the first day of meetings, the Khalsa Council members participated in the seva of packing bags for Food 4 Kids NM, a non-profit organization started by SS Guru Simran Kaur.
SS Guru Simran Kaur runs Food 4 Kids as a way to give back to the Espanola Community and support the children who, without these bags of food, have no food over the weekends. The Khalsa Council whole-heartedly supports this worthy and much needed service.
Learn more about Food 4 Kids here
The Khalsa Council Statement
As Sikhs, we believe in the equality and dignity of all human beings. Sikhs stand for truth, social justice and freedom for all.
The International Khalsa Council, a body of Sikh Ministers and leaders, stands united with all people of love and consciousness to:
- Honor and protect the right of each human being to live a healthy, happy and fulfilled life.
- Respect the equality and dignity of all living beings.
- Welcome and embrace the diversity of all humankind.
- Honor the dignity, divinity and grace of women.
- Protect and care for the environment
Together we are working towards a more loving, just and peaceful world.