KUNDALINI YOGA AT WOODSTOCK, Aug. 15, 1969!
By Gurujot Singh Khalsa, copyright 2009
The untold story about Woodstock is that it opened up with Ong Namo
Guru Dev Namo.
word got out that Woodstock would be a free event and people
started storming to Bethel, NY. None of the musicians that
they would drive there could make it because all the roads were
closed. On Saturday morning the opening
act, “The Band”, had not
arrived. With a very large opening day crowd of 400,000, and the
act not there, Tom Law, a Yogi Bhajan Kundalini yoga
student/teacher and Hog Farmer! told the promoters that if they
needed someone to keep the natives from getting restless while they
waited for the opening act, that he would
be happy to open up
Woodstock with a Kundalini yoga set.
This event that changed the course of history was opened
up with “Ong
Namo Guru Dev Namo” a basic pranayam, a simple yoga set and a
meditation. Throughout the
event Kundalini yoga kept the peace....The
rest is history. It is just a history that had the main event numbed
Law had been working at Woodstock as a part of the Hog Farm
mission to teach people how to live off the land. The Woodstock
organizers had asked Lisa and Tom Law, and the Hog Farm, to lend their
expertise preparing food for large groups, and
caring for people on
drug trips (3HO style). So during the preparation for Woodstock
Kundalini Yoga classes were
being taught every day.
After opening Woodstock with a yoga set, a series of impromptu yoga
classes were conducted
on stage at Woodstock as the next act set up,
just to fill in the blanks for when there were technical difficulties
or when acts that had not arrived. This was done purely to keep this
crowd calm. The situation was anything but contained.
of the main acts (The Who and the Grateful Dead) knew that no money
was being generated and refused to play until they
were paid in
advance. This could have taken down the event and turned the
“Lovefest” into a riot. As
rumors spread thru the crowd that this
wasn’t going to be what they came for people were furious. Back stage
some near fights almost broke out among the biggest names at the event
and the ego’s were flaring. Yet each time
an act was late or something
“went wrong”, Tom Law took the stage and taught another kundalini yoga
3HO attendee said “Yogi Bhajan’s energy was all over that place.
He saw what was going to happen and made
sure he had people in place
to take care of it”.The unspoken hero’s of Woodstock were Yogi Bhajan
the Yoga of Awareness.
As one person put it.
“The baffling history of mankind is full of obvious turning
significant events: battles won, treaties signed, rulers elected or
disposed, and now seemingly, planets
conquered. Equally important are
the great groundswells of popular movements that affect the minds and
a generation or more, not all of which can be neatly tied to
a time or place. Looking back upon the America of the' 60s,
historians may well search for the meaning of one such movement. It
drew the public's notice on the days
and nights of Aug.15 through 17,
1969, on the 600-acre farm of Max Yasgur in Bethel, N.Y”.
had been billed as "An Aquarian Exposition” and what future
historians may not acknowledge ... is what really
happened. What made
Woodstock, Woodstock. .
What “Woodstock” would have been and what Woodstock would
without all those yoga classes to 500,000 restless people we can only
speculate on. Imagine an event
with 500,000 restless hippies, angry
about their friends coming home from Viet Nam in boxes. Without food,
water, rained on and muddy and without the many kundalini yoga
classes spread over 3 days.
And so this event for
profit with it’s cleaver billing as “An Aquarian
Exposition” would have been a complete catastrophe
and yet it lead the
Powers that be to believe it was shift in consciousness. That they
were absolutely not in control
this new generation of youth. That this
new generation had learned to get along and had dropped out and
going to participate in negativity anymore. It was!!!, to the
extent of what can happen if people do kundalini yoga.
perpetuated a belief that only could have been because
kundalini yoga was there and that belief propelled this generation
because they could always go back to “Woodstock” and believe that
somehow they could pull off this whole
Aquarian dream thing and yet it
should all be chalked up to Kundalini Yoga as taught by Yogi Bhajan.
our event and was dialed into the Golden Chain ala Yogi
By Yogi Bhajan’s account the Woodstock event
was the birth place of
the Khalsa Spiritual Nation. It happened 3 months shy of the 500th
anniversary of the birth
of Guru Nanak and 9 months after Yogi Bhajan
stepped of a plane in Toronto, Canada to teach hydro therapy.
Havens was not scheduled to be the first musical act but while
Tom Law was Ong Namo-ing the promoters asked Richie if
he could open
up the music and he agreed. The kundalini yoga relaxed crowd were
treated to “Strawberry Fields
Forever” (“Nothing to get hung up
about”). “Handsome Johnny”. An anti war song (“It’s
a long hard road
until we are free”). Richie Havens sang everything he had and dripping
in sweat started to
leave the stage. The promoters came to him and
told him that The Band wasn’t ready and did he have anything else.
Could he please just dig inside and come up with one more song.
Dead tired Richie Havens walked back on the stage
and told the crowd
they were making history and then he sang a song that he hadn’t
planned on. That unplanned
song became The Anthem of Woodstock and
what that generation was trying to accomplish, “Freedom”. Freedom
not just become The Anthem of Woodstock., it was the Anthem that began
the Aquarian Age in the west. Freedom
is the song that defined what we
were trying to accomplish. It was the Mitr Piare Noo of that Aquarian
A song of deep longing for liberation. To heal our wounds,
deal with our present pain and make this our last life here.
I feel, like a motherless child ....
Sometimes, I feel, like I’m almost gone ...
A long way from my home.
In acknowledgment of this song meaning so much to so many,
President-elect Bill Clinton asked
Richie Havens to sing Freedom at
his first inaugural ball after he was sworn in as President Jan 20th
Woodstock event and the song Freedom specifically were the
energies under which 3HO and Sikh Dharma in the west were
Disarray that was turned around, saved and glorified by kundalini
yoga. Woodstock is nothing that we
should look back on with
embarrassment about our hippie roots but an opportunity to honor the
energy from where
we came and to think about what can happen when you
are dialed into the Golden Chain.
We will be singing Freedom
exactly as Richie Havens sang it at
Woodstock except that we will be replacing the words “Clap your hands,
your hands”” with “Gobinday, Mukhanday Udaray Aparay etc”.
Here is the link if you would like
to see how Richie Havens sang it
near Guru Nanak’s 500th birthday to 400,000.
40 years is a big slot in development. In a walk that could have taken
3 days from Cairo to Jerusalem Moses spent
40 years dragging the
liberated Jews back and forth across the desert because he wanted to
kill off all the Jews
who had a slave mentality before entering the
Holy Land. He wanted a clean break from the past and only wanted
who were capable of conceptualizing Freedom. When the last one
person with that slave mentality died, they arrived in
what is now
40 years is a big deal and Gurudwara 2009 Aug 16th is right in the
middle of the 40th
anniversary of Woodstock. An event that could have
been a catastrophe tat is now reflected on as the American youth’s
first big step to free their minds.
10:30 AM at Gurudwara (Aug. 16, 2009 in Espanola, NM) we will be singing
Freedom. As sung at
Woodstock. Bring the lungs that God gave you and keep an open mind.