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Syndicated Loan Market Commentary 07/06/2010
Sikhs alarmed about Use/Sale of the Golden Temple Brand
Sikhs are dismayed over Hearthside Food's use of the Sikhs' central place of worship, the Golden Temple, for commercial profit.
July 13, 2010 (MMD Newswire) -- The recent sale of the Golden Temple brand to Hearthside Foods with $700 million in total revenue, ignites Sikhs' unease over what they claim was Yogi Bhajan's commercialization and trivialization of their religion. Amidst the complex battle between Bhajan's family and students in Oregon courts over the control of Bhajan's empire, the Golden Temple name and logo recently sold to Hearthside Foods upsetting many mainstream Sikhs. Hardev Singh Shergill, editor of the Sikh Bulletin explains:
"The Golden Temple is the English name for Darbar Sahib located in Amritsar India. The Golden Temple is a central Gurdwara (house of worship) for Sikhs everywhere. Yogi Bhajan was dead wrong to use the Golden Temple to sell breakfast cereal, to feed his wallet and ego. Sikhism teaches to never mix faith with commerce. Sikh teachings are offered freely. No one should profit when sharing the Sikh religion. And no one should trivialize other's religious traditions, much less profit from cheapening us. The executives at Hearthside Foods are innocent and ignorant. They know nothing about Sikhism. They are just more victims of Bhajan's cult."
"We ask Hearthside Foods to respect Sikhs and stop selling the Golden Temple brand. We've started an online petition to ask Hearthside to stop using the Golden Temple brand name," says Gursant Singh, editor of Gurmukhyoga.com, a former Yogi Bhajan student who left Bhajan's group after travelling to India and meeting with mainstream Sikhs there. "I didn't know I was in a cult. Yogi Bhajan was more like Jim Jones than a Sikh. It is important to repair the damage he caused. "If a company used a brand name like "Vatican Vermicelli" or "Paul's Last Supper Wine", you'd find religious people everywhere rising up in protest. Give the Golden Temple back. Sikhs welcome Hearthside employees to visit Darbar Sahib, or any Gurdwara, where people are fed delicious food free of charge daily. Eat at the Golden Temple. Don't eat The Golden Temple."
"The Golden Temple should not be branded. Gurdwaras, including The Golden Temple, are places of worship; they are to stay open, and to feed people," says Harmander Singh of Sikhs of England, coach of Fauja Singh, 99 year old marathon runner, and London's 'Sikhs In the City' team. "Many Sikhs have arrived in the West since 1984, escaping from religious persecution and genocide in India. We feel shame over how Yogi Bhajan conned young people - we Sikhs live by the principles of remembering God, working hard and sharing with others - nowhere is there any promotion of sex tantra and yoga gimmicks in the Sikh scriptures. Rather, for Sikh's perhaps the most sinful act imaginable is to fleece innocents in the name of the Divine."
Back in the early 1970s when Yogi Bhajan and his students named their Eugene Oregon bakery, The Golden Temple and started selling Wahe Guru Chews (Waheguru is Sikh's primary word for the Divine, literally, 'wondrous teacher') there were few Sikhs in the West to protest. Dr. Trilochan Singh in his book Sikhism and Tantric Yoga written in 1977 stated, "In England last year a firm advertised some blue jeans as Jesus Jeans. The whole religious world of England rose in one protest and stopped the manufacture of these jeans. The word Golden Temple has become an instrument of commercial affairs of Yogi Bhajan."
Dr. Iqbal Singh who lives a few miles from of the Golden Temple in India and has written five books on Sikh history agrees, "The Golden Temple is not a brand name for any trade. This is the Almighty's temple...a place of devotion, equality, love, service, and protection for all, not to be used for commercial profit."
Hardev Singh Shergill
London UK Ph. 011447507897373
Harmander Singh from Sikhs in England
Jul 17, 2010. 10:41 PM
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