Religion: Yogi Bhajan's Synthetic Sikhism

The leader of 3HO inspires devotion—and hostility

Nine years ago, he was an anonymous yoga teacher who owned little but a suitcase full of beads. Today he earns over $100,000 a year in lecture fees as Yogi Bhajan, the "Supreme Religious and Administrative Authority of the Sikh Religion in the Western Hemisphere." Thousands of American disciples in his Healthy-Happy-Holy Organization ("3HO") revere the robust, bearded Bhajan as the holiest man of this era. With equal fervor, opponents denounce him as a charlatan and a heretic.

The kind of Sikhism preached by Bhajan, 48, an Indian born in what is now Pakistan, is far...

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