In the 1990s His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Yogi Bhajan me in Santa Fe. Both leaders felt a spiritual connection to the capitol city. The Dalai Lama visited Santa Fe twice and Yogi Bhajan settled here in 1969 where he founded Sikh Dharma International. The yogi introduced Kundalini yoga to the area. In teaching this practice he also introduced Sikhism. Within a year, yoga was being taught by newly trained teachers to a small group of inspired students. Later he moved to Española in Santa Fe County, where the ashram spiritual center and Sikh Dharma International are located today.
Golden Temple in Santa Fe
The Golden Temple restaurant began soon after the yogi’s arrival. Today, Cafe Pasqual’s on Don Gaspar occupies that space just off the Santa Fe plaza. Yogi Bhajan became an American citizen in 1976. Under his guidance the Sikh community in northern New Mexico grew, attracting people from all over the world. In 1971 Sikh Dharma became officially acknowledged as a religion in the United States. Shortly thereafter, Yogi Bhajan received the title of Siri Singh Sahib, Chief Religious and Administrative Authority for the Western Hemisphere. As he traveled the world spreading Sikh Dharma, he caught the attention of many world and spiritual leaders, including Pope Paul VI, Pope John Paul II, and His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
Five Centuries of Faith
Sikhism, began in the 16th century in Punjab. Sikhi comes from the word sikh, meaning disciple or learner. The founder of Sikhism was Guru Nanak, who shared his message of integration and universalism and traveled to Bengal and Assam during the first half of the 16th century. He continued on his mission to Ceylon, Kashmir, Ladakh, and Tibet. As he grew older, his two sons, Sri Chand and Lakshmi Das, carried on his work.
Highway Named for Yogi Bhagan
Yogi Bhajan died of heart failure at his home in Española on October 6, 2004. His vision to spread Sikhism throughout the Western Hemisphere flourishes today, with more than 200 books in print about Sikh Dharma. New Mexico Highway 106 became Yogi Bhajan Highway in honor of the yogi who introduced Sikhism to the Western Hemisphere from Santa Fe.