We had a chance to sit down with Ram Rung Kaur (aka Martina Comstock), a ﬁlmmaker for the upcoming Yogi Bhajan documentary. Yogi Bhajan broke the centuries of secrecy when he brought Kundalini Yoga to the West in 1969. The technology of Kundalini Yoga has helped inspired and transform the lives of millions all over the world to live as their true self. Yogi Bhajan passed in 2004 and the documentary has given an opportunity for current and future students to get to know the Master of Kundalini Yoga and preserve his legacy for generations to come.
Right now this documentary needs the support from the community to get this project off the ground. If you have been touched by his life or his teachings please make a contribution towards the production of his documentary by going to www.yogibhajandocumentary.com.
Tell us about the Yogi Bhajan Documentary.
This documentary we are creating about Yogi Bhajan’s life is something that emerged about a year ago [in 2011]. I met Guru Singh at a workshop in Vancouver and showed him my ﬁlm, Pair of Opposites. He enjoyed it very much and then took my contact information because “there was a message received that a documentary was being requested to be created about Yogi Bhajan’s life”. It sounded a bit mysterious to me, but I just decided to follow it. He introduced me to Yogi Bhajan’s wife, Bibiji and Arjan Kaur. Arjan Kaur explained that she has intuitive abilities as a medium and that she receives communication from Yogi Bhajan through his subtle body. She explained that there are very speciﬁc things that were being asked. What Yogi Bhajan was communicating to her was that he wanted a ﬁlm created that would show the many different facets of who he was, not just as a teacher or a master, but also as a human. My personal interest is getting to know Yogi Bhajan more intimately, to learn his story and to know him not just from a students’ perspective, but more from his perspective about how he lived his journey.
This project sounds like a big undertaking. Who else is involved?
Terrance Black is the producer that has been attracted to this project. He has a background in producing educational documentaries for PBS and has won several prestigious awards. Arjan Kaur and her husband Sham Rang established the non-proﬁt organization that will be the ﬁnancial backbone to this project. We have decided to establish this project as a non-profit because this project is really for the community and those who would like to learn about Yogi Bhajan for generations to come. Another incredible person on this project who we feel honored to have on the board of the non-profit is GuruGanesha. He is an important person to this community as he is a remarkable musician and the founder of Spirit Voyage. He has this tremendous gift of having such a positive mind plus the pragmatism of a great business person. As Yogi Bhajan’s second student, Guru Singh is another key person involved. There is Guruka Singh, CEO of Sikhnet, who has been an important connection to the community in Espanola. He published Yogi Bhajan’s book of poetry called Furman Khalsa. Hari Singh, from Vancouver, who has had years of experience recording & producing music for this community, will be a key person help to produce the soundtrack. We also have Alessandra Dobrin-Khalsa who has 10 years of experience filmmaking in New York and has recently been producing Spirit Voyage’s DVD’s series with the likes of Gurmukh and Snatam Kaur. Satbir is another filmmaker who has been directing a film called “India Kids”, about the experience of going to boarding school in India. Then of course there is Bibiji who is the vital piece that opens us to his family lineage. She has been by his side throughout his journey and will be an essential part of this documentary.
Wow those are some amazing people to have involved! Yogi Bhajan inﬂuenced so many people and did so much, how possibly do you begin to put this project together to do Yogi Bhajan’s legacy justice?
We are continually asking for Yogi Bhajan’s guidance, and tuning into the Golden Chain throughout this process. I don’t think that anyone of us individually would be able to accomplish this on our own. We are pulling together our skills, resources, talents to bring this project together. We have started this process by creating an online fundraising campaign with a mission statement for the project and we are giving people the opportunity to contribute in various ways that can be through financial donations, skills, telling their stories, as well as personal photos and footage that they have of Yogi Bhajan. The most important thing at this stage are financial contributions of all sizes. We have created various incentives, such as receiving the film when it is completed, movie swag, and credits in the film. We will also be working towards establishing charitable status for our non-profit so that donations will be tax deductible.
So anyone can help?
We are making it as inclusive as possible. For now we are accepting contributions, and story material and allowing the story to take form. Once we get more funding, there is going to be a considerable amount of time dedicated to research, going through the library of teachings and lecture archives. One thing I want to do is begin to make a timeline of Yogi Bhajan’s life and map out signiﬁcant events that happened to him from birth to his passing. I am sure there is going to be a lot of input there. So it is important to ﬁnd speciﬁc people that can talk about those areas which can bring his story to life.
With the stories you are uncovering, from your perspective what can we expect from the documentary?
For me, the thing that keeps coming up is humor. As much as this is going to be an educational piece for people who didn’t know him, it also going to be entertaining.
Oh Yeah? That is interesting because when you watch some of Yogi Bhajan’s lectures humor isn’t always the ﬁrst thing to come to mind. Have you uncovered any Yogi Bhajan stories you want to share?
I was recently taking the Conscious Communication Level II course and you know Yogi Bhajan’s sense of humor sometimes totally pops out of nowhere. Something he said really struck me and I thought it was so funny. He said, “Never trust your Teacher, God knows what he’s doing. The most dangerous man in your life is your Spiritual Teacher. His job is to catch you; your job is to keep free. That’s the game, the relationship between cat and mouse.”
Wow. You never hear teachers say that.
Yeah, that was so interesting. To me the teacher is within you and that was what Yogi Bhajan taught.
Absolutely! So how are you going to tell Yogi Bhajan’s story?
Of course we will use elements to his lectures that will tie into the story line. Part of what we are going to do as well is to get some of the footage taken outside of the lectures like interviews that were captured during his lifetime. For example, there is footage from when Yogi Bhajan originally came here in the sixties, and various television shows that have featured him & his teachings over the years, so we need to track the footage down. There will also be interviews with those that knew him, were around him and were personally touched by him. We will use the music from the [3HO] community here. Right now it is all like a beautiful collage because there are so many facets of who he was and my intention is to harness that and to give all this material a form.
Very cool! What part of this Yogi Bhajan’s story appeals to you most for this project?
I am interested in learning about the things in his life that really tested him to rise to his caliber. What were those things he had to work through? What were the relationships like with the people that were close to him? How did he relate as a husband, father, etc? We see him so much in the role as a teacher, but there are so many more aspects to him.
How has Yogi Bhajan personally affected you?
The ﬁrst time I had an experience of Yogi Bhajan when I was 11 years old at Peace Prayer Day [at Summer Solstice in New Mexico]. I was dragged there by my parents. Ironically years later, I came back to Ram Das Puri for Summer Solstice and Women’s Camp. It was at Women’s Camp that I really started to understand my creative potential as a woman and just how sacred this is. That really reached me on a deeper level and so I decided to become a teacher, and took my training at Yoga West in Vancouver. Simultaneously, I was doing my ﬁlm schooling and it is such a blessing that they have all merged as one through this project. I am very grateful for that.
I am really looking forward to seeing this documentary. Until then what can we do to help?
Financial contributions are the most essential at this time. If you have been touched by him or wish to see his life and message live on into the future, make a contribution to the project. Go to our website www.yogibhajandocumentary.com to learn more and make a donation. We are creating a community to help support this project. There is already a large existing audience for this documentary, but we need to make it visible. We encourage everyone to share the message and like our facebook to spread the word. Make a post on your facebook, newsletters, blogs, share the links and videos. The more we get the word out, the more support we can raise for the project. Furthermore we will become applicable to receive funding through additional avenues such as broadcaster and distributors by showing them that this an important documentary to be made, that there are already thousands of us who are waiting for it. So the top two things anyone can do is #1) make a donation, and #2) help us spread the word online and to your community. If everyone does both of these things, step by step, we will come closer to our goal of completing the documentary.