by SS Simran Kaur Khalsa, Hamburg, Germany
Sikh Dharma Newsletter Team Member SS Sangeet Kaur (Espanola, NM) had an opportunity to interview SS Simran Kaur, from Hamburg, Germany, while she was in Espanola, NM for meetings of the Teacher Training Executive Committee in April 2011. Please enjoy her words of wisdom!
Q: In these Aquarian days of extraordinary change, please talk about how things are the same and perhaps different, in your day-to-day life and work.
My daily work is primarily teaching Kundalini Yoga and Nonviolent Communication. Every weekend I hold a seminar and I teach many classes during the week. Nonviolent Communication is a wonderful tool for learning to love unconditionally. And Kundalini Yoga is that, of course – you know that!
To me, Nonviolent Communication is a yoga of communication. It’s about awareness, empathy, compassion, understanding that we are one, as in the sutra “Recognize that the other person is you.” You can find Siri Singh Sahib ji’s sutras in Nonviolent Communication. It is wonderful how these teachings fit together.
That has been my work for the past eight years. My impression is that people have changed. I find that people are really starting to ‘chew’ on the concept that we are co-creators of our own destiny and that of our planet. Kundalini Yoga gives the tools to really understand and experience that.
Frankly, to me Sikh Dharma and Kundalini Yoga are intertwined. You might say I teach Sikh Dharma when I teach Kundalini Yoga and Nonviolent Communication, without using the words Sikh Dharma, and without referring to the Gurus, other than Guru Ram Das, because he is my connection. I feel that I am under the protection and guidance of Guru Ram Das. He can do the work.
Q: I have heard that in Europe there is resistance to the form of Sikh Dharma among students. Does the fact that you wear bana influence whether or not students come to you?
It does and it doesn’t. Many people come because their friends recommend me. They may say, “She’s a great teacher. You need to know that she wears a turban. But don’t worry about that.” Business people may call about trainings for their business. I make sure to tell them I wear a turban, but that I don’t teach about Sikhism.
Several times they respond, “Well, can you recommend somebody else?” (She laughs) My impression is that more and more people in the center of society, not just on the spiritual fringe, are coming. There is a growing feeling in society that things are going to change. So my focus, especially when I teach Conscious Communication (a module of Level Two Teacher Training), is to have people understand that God is not separate from them, that we are God. And how do we bring our consciousness up to that level? By living this unconditional love.
Q: Is that something that came naturally to you, even as you were growing up?
No. With my parents there was no spirituality. My parents were not really compassionate people. They were a little indifferent towards their children, not interested in what was happening inside us. So with my own children I wanted to create a real relationship. I always know what’s going on with them, and am really there for them.
What finally led me to understand why learning to love unconditionally is so essential is the experience I had with the Siri Singh Sahib ji. I had a conflict with someone in our sangat, and I knew that this person was talking to the Siri Singh Sahib ji about the situation.
At that time I did not have a connection with the Siri Singh Sahib ji, and I realized that I was afraid of him. So I made an appointment and told him: “Sir, I realize I am afraid of you. What can I do?” You know what he said? “Drop it!” (She laughs) He gave me such unconditional love. It was one hundred percent accepting me the way I am. It was the first and only time in my life that I felt one hundred percent accepted. No other human being was capable of that. And that really made a big, big difference in my life.
When I got married I had studied the teachings, that you marry because marriage is a carriage to God, it’s the highest form of yoga, and the toughest one, and it’s so difficult to stay married. I learned all these things from my teacher, Tarn Taran Kaur. Without the teachings of the Siri Singh Sahib ji I would never have gotten married! (She laughs) They really saved me. But in the beginning I was very idealistic.
I had this theory of learning to love unconditionally and using marriage as a tool to move the ego. But I didn’t feel it in my heart yet. ‘This is how you should do it – you should become one soul in two bodies and you should see your husband as a project, and you should, should, should…’ (She laughs)
It was helpful for quite a while but it didn’t really change the thing. But when I had this crisis, and received this healing from the Siri Singh Sahib ji, I finally understood what it means to love unconditionally. It has affected my marriage, my relationship with my children, and my teaching. I’m not afraid anymore.
About the Author
SS Simran Kaur Khalsa became an ordained Sikh Dharma Minister since 1993. Simran Kaur began studying with Yogi Bhajan in 1981. Originally a high school teacher for German and Geography, she runs a yoga center in Hamburg together with Satya Singh, her husband of 32 years. She is a KRI certified Kundalini Yoga mentoring lead teacher trainer for Level 1 and Level 2 and offers classes and trainings in Germany and other countries. Since 2004 she is also a CNVC certified Trainer for Nonviolent Communication and founder of the Hamburger Institut für Gewaltfreie Kommunikation.