Yogi Bhajan, spiritual leader of Sikh Dharma in the West and founder of Golden Temple Natural Foods, died Oct. 6 in New Mexico after a long struggle with heart disease. He was 75.
Siri Singh Sahib Bhai Sahib Harbhajan Singh Khalsa Yogiji started brewing spice tea for his Kundalini yoga students in Los Angeles in 1969. Golden Temple vegetarian restaurants around the country built a following for the aromatic brew, made with ginger, cardamom, black pepper, cinnamon and cloves.An active promoter of religious unity and world peace, Bhajan occasionally met with political and
religious leaders, including the Dalai Lama and two popes.
Bhajan was born in 1929 in what is now Pakistan. The son of a doctor, he fled to India with the rest of his village in 1947. When he was a young man, he received an economics degree from Punjab University. He left India in 1968 to teach yoga, emigrating first to Toronto, then to Los Angeles. There, in 1969, he established the nonprofit 3HO Foundationâshort for ?happy, healthy, holy organization?âto promote spiritual awareness through healthy living as an alternative to taking drugs.
The Yogi Tea Co. became a separate business in 1984 specifically to sell the tea through naturals stores. Since then, the business has expanded to include Golden Temple bulk granolas, Peace Cereal, Wha Guru Chew candy bars, Sunshine Spa body care, Soothing Touch massage products and Herbal Gems encapsulated herbs. Manufacturing takes place in a 150,000-square-foot complex in Eugene, Ore.
Bhajan?s other ventures, under the umbrella of Khalsa International Industries and Trades, include Akal Security Services and a computer systems company, Sun and Son.
After memorial services in Espanola, N.M., Bhajan was cremated. He is survived by his wife, Inderjit Kaur; two sons, Ranbir Singh and Kulbir Singh; a daughter, Kamaljit Kaur; and five grandchildren.
Natural Foods Merchandiser volume XXV/number 12/p. 7