Six years after the death of spiritual leader Yogi Bhajan
, three legal battles are under way in Oregon and California over the use of the name “yogi”
in food products and ingredients.
In the late 1960s, India-born Yogi Bhajan founded a Sikh community
in the United States, which created Golden Temple, a cereal and tea producer in Eugene that became an anchor of the local natural foods industry.
In May, Golden Temple sold its cereal division to Hearthside Food Solutions, a manufacturer based in Illinois. Now Golden Temple officials say their sole focus is on growing Yogi Tea
, a natural tea business with 50 employees in Springfield and about 100 employees in Europe.
But the outcomes of the trademark disputes could throw a wrench in those plans.
See also: Yogi Bhajan’s legacy in question
, and The Disturbing Mainstream Connections of Yogi Bhajan
In an article in the Santa Fe Reporter, “Khalsa vs Khalsa
,” journalist Corey Pein reported on the dramatic schism
erupting between the students and family of the late Yogi Bhajan
, who are feuding
in Oregon courts over control of Bhajan’s religious and financial empire.
The group’s largest company, Akal Security
, has reportedly earned billions in contracts relating to U.S. security. There has recently been a debate in the news about the wisdom of outsourcing security contracts to private entities. Looking closely at Bhajan’s organization
, one can’t help but wonder why our government officials have not more thoroughly investigated a group with such questionable history. An article
by cult expert Steve Hassan
A judge in Oregon will soon decide who should control the late Yogi Bhajan’s Sikh business empire
, including the omnipresent Yogi tea brand and what may be New Mexico’s largest private company, Akal Security.
Will control remain with the coup leaders—the Sikh Dharma Stewardship and its parent company, Unto Infinity of Oregon—whom Bhajan left in charge of the sect’s business side?
Or will it go to the former SDI board, which includes Bhajan’s widow and others entrusted with religious matters?
Neither side can claim total purity, says the Santa Fe Reporter.
Several former members of Yogi Bhajan’s organization say they aren’t surprised by events unfolding now, six years after his death. Legal disputes threaten to splinter the community. Allegations of the yogi’s past wrongdoing are resurfacing. And the future of the Sikh
organization’s businesses are in question.
The outcome will ripple far beyond the religious group, whose companies have become intertwined with the local economy and business community.
Flags flew half-staff in New Mexico on Friday in honour of Yogi Bhajan, a Sikh spiritual leader who died in his sleep at his home in Espanola on Wednesday at age 75. New Mexico governor Bill Richardson, a former congressman and Energy Secretary, ordered the tribute in a gesture aimed as much at Yogi Bhajan’s economic contribution to the state as his spiritual success. At a time when many Americans are gnashing their teeth at news of Indians taking away their jobs, Yogi Bhajan’s remarkable success in reconciling religion and commerce while creating employment is worth relating. Born Harbhajan Singh
Saturday October 9, 2004 3HO
Yogi Bhajan, an Indian-born guru whose arrival in the United States gave birth to Eugene’s now-thriving Sikh community, has died. Local faithful gathered at the Sikh Dharma gurdwara in south Eugene on Thursday to remember and celebrate the 75-year-old leader, who died Wednesday evening in New Mexico of complications from heart failure. Most of the gurdwara’s adherents are American-born Sikhs who converted to the faith after Bhajan arrived in Los Angeles in 1969 with a brand of Sikhism emphasizing kundalini yoga. By the mid-1970s, converts in white turbans became a familiar sight at the Eugene gurdwara and surrounding neighborhood –
Tuesday September 21, 2004 3HO
Copy of a message posted to the apolotalk discussion list: From: “Anton Hein” Date: Fri Sep 3, 2004 6:04 pm Subject: Heads up regarding Religion News Blog List, Several decades ago, I wrote a satirical piece about David who, having just finished writing Psalm 150, enthousiastically shows it to his neighbor. But instead of rejoicing with David, the neighbor complains about the inclusion of the trumpet. The next neighbor doesn’t like the harp, and his wife can’t stand the tambourine. Their friends have theological problems with the clash of cymbals, and so on. At first, David accomodates them, until all
Saturday February 21, 2004 3HO
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Friday January 30, 2004 3HO
Norah Jones : Feels Like Home Looking for news items? Click here for the latest headlines The information on this page helps support Religion News Blog. Norah Jones’s “Come Away With Me“ is on the fast track to sell 10 million copies in the United States, still a rare accomplishment, considering that fewer than 100 albums have reached that level and that some major artists — the Rolling Stones, for example — never have, except for hits compilations. If Jones’s new album, “Feels Like Home,” follows suit, she will join an even more elite group: only a handful
Saturday August 16, 2003 3HO
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