Yogi Bhajan of 3HO may only be a relatively obscure “cult leader” to most folks, but to the people of Milford Massachusetts he is “the head of the Sikh religion in the Western Hemisphere,” reports the Milford Daily News.

It doesn’t seem Daily News reporter Aaron Gouveia did much research for his story “Pretzel Logic,” which reads like a promotional press release from the guru and his group. This must have made the yogi happy, but probably not many mainstream Sikhs who often see him as an embarrassment and say his teachings are spurious.

Sikh historian Trilochan Singh once called Yogi Bhajan’s teachings “a sacrilegious hodgepodge.” And his supposed title of “supreme leader” is non-existent. Such titles are not historically conferred by Sikhs.

Instead of leading Sikhs throughout the Western Hemisphere, Bhajan actually is the leader of a relatively obscure group known as “3HO” that is located largely within three states in the US—California, New Mexico and Arizona. The dwindling sect reached its peak in the 70s and now has perhaps 2,000 members.

3HO devotees are rarely Indian Sikhs. Instead they typically come from white middle-class backgrounds and were recruited as converts by the guru in the 70s. And 3HO members virtually worship Bhajan, which is typical for “cults,” but not for Sikhs.

Bhajan himself is a former customs agent from India with a history of sexual misconduct allegations. And 3HO has been plagued by scandals, including a drug bust by DEA that ultimately put one of the group’s top leaders in prison.

Aaron Gouveia is not the first reporter to apparently be duped by Bhajan & Company. CNN was also taken in, they featured him as a Sikh spokesman after the murder of an Indian Sikh in Mesa, Arizona. That man was mistaken for a Muslim in a hate crime shortly after September 11th.

Whatever happened to fact checking?


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