The First Hargobind Sadan (Banananda Ashram) today

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The First Hargobind Sadan (Banananda Ashram) today

Post by oldbroom »


Just sold for $1.5 Million ... 4843_zpid/
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Re: Hargobind Sadan today

Post by KamallaKaur »

Hi Dr. Mike,

Great to see you here. Up top, on the left, you can click on the "View active topics" button and this will connect you into the conversations happening in the Now. The site is community run and I am not the moderator or administrator no mo!

Banananda Ashram? This is what it looked like?

Antion Vikram Singh

Re: Hargobind Sadan today

Post by Antion Vikram Singh »

Sometime when I was there - maybe 1974 - the owners offered it to us for $150,000. But we fooled them. Why own a property like that for $150,000, when you can rent it for $1,500 a month? (sarc)


Re: Hargobind Sadan today

Post by Archivist1 »

From: oldbroom 2/15/2002

I must say I have fond memories of Hargobind Sadan at least as it was when I first went there in 1972. First of all it was a beautiful huge house, built by a timber baron. I had moved to northern California after graduating from UCLA. I was pretty fed up with the uptight 3HO scene in LA and Hargobind Sadan seemed really loose and fun. Of course that's relatively loose - I brought a couple of non-yoga friends to visit and the place and the people freaked them out, particularly the silent meal. But it was an eclectic bunch when I arrived, lots of the beautiful people still rippling out from the 60s psychedillic scene. And it's easy to forget how hip this all was in the early 70s, many of the best and brightest were attracted to the spiritual scene and the ashram wasn't insular, there was a lot of interaction with other hip spiritual groups like the Sufis, and with musicians, and health food people and gardeners etc etc. All this changed within a year however. The Sikh hammer came down hard, and for those people that stayed life became a lot harder. The only time in my life I experienced a psychosomatic illness was while living there in 1973, I just became absolutely fatigued and unmotivated. My response? To try much harder to fit in and do things the 3HO way, which of course made me feel even worse.
Dr. Mike

From: GurubirSingh 2/15/2002

Hargobinde Sadan is where it all started for me. I graduated from Sonoma State University in the spring of 1972 and began my graduate studies in the fall. It was the fall of 1974 when I moved into the ashram. I'm smiling now as I remember some cute things that happened while I was there.

I had a blue Ford Econoline van so I was given the job of delivering those baked tasty apple treats called "Shakti Bars". The trick was to get out of the ashram as fast as you could before everyone ate all those cinnamon crunchly wonderful bars.

I had a stereo record player in my van and a guy named Daniel talked me into bringing it into the ashram and playing the Caravansarai by Carlos Santana album. Somewhere into the second song this guy comes stomping down the stairs and yells "Turn that damn thing off or else I'm going to tell Dad (YB)". It was Baba Bert aka Sat Santokh Singh.

From Hargobinde Sadan I was transferred to the Berkeley Ashram and from there I transfered myself to the Hawaiian Ashram where I remained for the next 8 years.

Guru Bir Singh

From: RoseLotus1 2/15/2002

Dear All,

My family and I arrived in the Bay Area from the Oregon 3HO Sangat in 1980 to become the Silicon Valley Sikhs. From what I understand originally there was the San Rafael Ashram, in Marin county,and I think Baba Bert (MSS Sat Santokh Singh Khalsa) and MSS Karam Jot Singh Khalsa both lived there "back when". Is this right Mike?

I have friends, Larry and Catherine who left the San Rafael Ashram when the turban thing started happening. The group wanted to name the place the Bananananda Ashram but YB vetoed that and called it Hargobind Sadan. This was a Sikh reference, of course, that didn't really compute with my friends so they left, long long ago - bless them! But they have this GREAT photo of about 15 hippies (Baba Bert is there) wearing "Yogi Bhajan Bowling Team" T Shirts! It has YB's meditation-mugshot-photo printed huge on it!

Long before I arrived in the Bay Area, SD/3HOers bought the San Franciscio Ashram building at Wall and Ashbury St. just one block from the historic Haight and Ashbury corner. And Hargobind Sadan was this huge and lovely mansion in Berkeley just blocks from the UC Berkeley campus. It has been sold now. Both these mansions were bought very cheap and they escalated in worth.

From: RoseLotus1 3/15/2002

Fall 2000:

Kamalla muses:

Guess the Berkeley Sangat sold Hargobind Sadan? What do you want to bet that they just left the countless hundreds of cases of stored wheatberries in the crawl space under that historic Ashram without mentioning anything about them to the new buyers?

Because, really, if they took them out and faced all those boxes of gut-bullets, they might have to face EATING them again.

Who says denial is such a BAD thing? AH sweet fog!


What wheatberries?

Kamalla Rose Kaur

Ken responds:

They'll be saying 'what wheat berries?' when they all sprout and lift the building up off the ground! Or maybe the rats will come first - talk about a feast!! Here's hoping the new owners have cats or snakes.

Humbly, Ken

From: RoseLotus1 1/7/2003

Yogi Bhajan says:

"Don't think in fifteen years that I've forgotten where we started. I know history very well, I know you very well. There are landmarks which remind me to remember that hope is the only way. It used to be Banana Ananda ashram, they used to talk very proudly, and we used to cater to them. We tolerated them."

- "Does Your Oyster Have A Pearl In It?"

From: oldbroom 1/8/2003

When I moved there n the summer of 1972 the Banananda vibe was still a strong undercurrent. I remember once Jiwan Jhoti (who married Bob Zweig who I guess is not the big cheese 3HO attorney in New Mexico) taught a massage class in the sadhana room, requiring us all to strip down to our underpants. No big deal. Then Baba Bert caught wind of this and came storming down and stopped the class. Can't imagine that ever happening in the other big ashrams at that time.

Dr. Mike


Re: Hargobind Sadan today

Post by Archivist1 »

From: RoseLotus1 5/30/2004

Hi Mike,

You wrote:

"Graham & Barbara, moved from San Rafael to Monterey. He was British, a jack-of-all-trades with whom I worked on a lot of construction jobs, very even-tempered guy but a real true believer. She was very airy, and had been in the Sufi Choir. "

An SS (Secret Source), assures me that you are indeed talking about the Sat Kirtans of Monterey CA, who have recently finally broken up

SS was also part of the San Raphael Ashram scene. Describe yourself and your "duties" there, he wants to see if he remembers you.

From: oldbroom 6/2/04

"My duties"????

Well, according to my super ego it was the same as everybody - get up early, work hard, follow all kinds of stupid rules. But to be honest in that ashram my true motivations were to get enlightened (or get really really high, whichever came first), meet a girl (we called them Shaktis as I recall), and find delicious snacks, especially late at night.

But seriously I had two tenures at Hargobind. Summer of 1972, a really fun summer, after which I went up to Humbolt State for one school year. Then back to San Rafael from June 1973 until winter of 1975, at which point Bhajan sent me to New Mexico. During this latter stay, I went from being Michael Turner to Guru Jwala Singh as I was part of the first group to take Amrit. During this time I also became a minister, I forget what they were called. In other words I was really trying (and failing miserably) to fit in with the changes going on in 3HO. The pitiful results of this effort is that I got to lead sadhana once a week (including those 2.5 hr long chantathons) and had my own room - a dusty cave down in the basement, right next to Graham and Barbara. But sadly for me, no enlightenment (quite the opposite in fact),and even worse, no girl friend.

It was not entirely a bad life, but boy do I kick myself when I think of what other 25 year olds were doing in Marin County in 1973. I missed out on lots of opportunities, but only have myself to blame.

I'm sorry, what was the question?

Dr. Mike

From: RoseLotus1 6/2/04 3:59 AM
To: oldbroom

I think the question was: "Can you paint us a picture of life in the early days of Hargobind Sadan; AKA Banananda Ashram, AKA the San Raphael Ashram?"

Your answer was "Yes I can!"

Did everyone sing together a lot? Did everyone attend the yoga classes? Did you have booths at festivals? What about the bowling team? Who wore turbans? Did you starch them? Did you "keep up" through those 2 i/2 hour LONG



SAT!!!! Nummmmmmmbbbbbbbb

Sssssss..siri! wwwwwwwWHA!

goo rooo



Oh and by "duties", I merely wished for you to share any memorable aspects of the role(s) you played back then, to help others who were also there, recognize you. For instance, GuruBir mentioned his car, and his role delivering "treats". You remember him?

From: RoseLotus1 6/2/04

Regarding our missed youth, I find I am extremely grateful that I didn't take the secular route back in the 70s. Missing the late 70s, particularly, seems like such a blessing now. I was saved from having to have copious amounts of sex with strangers, salad bowls of colorful pills displayed on the buffet tables of trendy parties, really strange clothes with platform shoes yet, cocaine...I might well have gotten involved with any or all of those sorts of scenes.

Though it is hard to imagine I would have gone for disco....

From: oldbroom 6/2/04
To: RoseLotus1

Nah I wasn't talking about the stereotypical "sex, drugs & disco" 70s. I'm talking about a world of wider possibilities, as a single example I think it would have been really great to travel the world in the 70s, instead of being cooped up in a stifling hermitage.

When I arrived in San Rafael in 1972 it was no longer Banananda, there was no bowling team (never heard of it before), no more naked sunbathing on the deck. But it was fun, poles apart from the frigid unfriendly scene happening down in West Hollywood. No turbans. No Sikh wannabe-ism. My college girlfriend even came up and stayed with me, cool with everyone as long as she took yoga classes. The food was great, thanks to John Pierre (whatever happened to HIM?) People were still playing rock lp's in their bedrooms, giving massages, the whole New Age lifestyle as it was practiced then by the young and affluent.

When I came back 9 months later, all was changed. On the one hand there was Baba Bert/ Sat Santokh laying down the law. He drove out a lot of people, but attracted very few as he was personally not respected. He over-estimated of his own intelligence and was usually unable to clearly rationalize his dictates and would end up shouting people down. I must say that Vikram, even though he had little or no day-to-day authority was the biggest influence on people - he was charismatic, bright, and really did work by the sweat of his brow. He also was a complete, total true believer. And he had a devastating sense of humor, I remember him poking fun of somebody who was walking out of the ashram wearing a leather coat with his hair down. That person is still a white-garbed Sikh to this day.

In 1972 the yoga classes were very popular, as were the ashram feasts and celebrations. very much a Marin in-place. In 1973 the ashram was walling itself off, and by 1974 it was an insular place full of kooks.

Dr. Mike

From: Aliveandwel1 6/3/04
To: oldbroom

I was too much of a hippie to fall pray to the serious disco scene. What I missed in those years was just figuring out how the world worked from the perspective of a young adult. Those were the years when the transition from teenager to young adult to adult were to be made. To be so cloistered just prolonged my childhood, and even now that I am almost 50 sometimes I marvel at what I didn't know. Maybe silly things like how much driving one does in the suburbs, or how much work a 1/2 acre yard can be, or even negotiating check out time at hotel when my husband's course doesn't end until a few hours after that time. We missed the stock boom, being yuppies, all the trappings that young adulthood of those years conferred. I had to relearn how to put on make up because I put it on like a 15 yr old. For you, it was just a few years, for me it was 20. Oh well, I had experiences that no one else could have had.

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