At the time he was fired
from Capitol Records, Vic was at one of the lowest places of his life. In spite
of the fact that he had made more money in the previous year than he ever had
with The Animals he felt absolutely empty. He had achieved so many of his
goals, yet there was no joy within him. His experiences, first with the
Animals and then with the LA music scene, had left him emotionally exhausted,
with no hope that he could ever trust anyone ever again. At only 24 years old,
he could feel that he was losing his health and was even wondering about his
In fact, the firing had not
come in a vacuum. For more than six weeks Vic had been practicing daily
meditation and had been praying for a change in his life. Still, this new turn
of events came as something of a shock.
“On the way home after I had been fired, I was devastated.
How was I going to maintain my lifestyle without my salary from Capitol
Records? And yet, after reaching home, I began to feel an enormous sense of
relief. No longer would I have to go and work in this awful, constricting
That week the LA Free Press
carried an interview with Richard Alpert. He had been one of the notorious LSD
researchers at Harvard with Timothy Leary and had co-authored “The Psychedelic
Experience”. But in the intervening years he had gone to India, met a
Guru and become Baba
Ram Das , the first American spiritual teacher of the Psychedelic
Age. He was giving a lecture that Friday at Beverly HillsHigh School.
"I was fascinated by his story. I also was hungry to
hear anyone who had direct experience of Indian mysticism. So I went.”
When Ram Das spoke Vic was deeply moved yet, at the same
time, excited. He was beginning to see what he wanted for his own life. Within
a few days he became a non-drinking, non-drug taking vegetarian. Asking himself
what he wanted to do most, he realized that he wanted to study Indian music. He
bought a Sarod, the Indian instrument popularized in the West by maestro Ali Akbar Khan
, and began to spend his days practicing Indian Classical music.
On January 22nd, 1970 Vic saw an ad for a yoga class in the Melrose –Robertson area
of LA. It was that night that he met Yogi
Bhajan , who was to be his spiritual teacher for the next twenty
“Yogi Bhajan was an imposing man,
more than 6 ft 4 ins in height who carried himself like he was king of all he
surveyed. I was quite overwhelmed with his personal aura that was extremely
He asked me if I had any question about my future life. I
told him about the sarod and how my ambition was to be a great sarod player.
His answer shocked me.
“When you sing,” he said, “ people will come for thousands
of miles to hear you. The dead will rise from their graves when you sing.” My
first thought was that Yogi Bhajan did not speak English well and that he had
no idea what a Sarod was. But I didn't have too much time to think about it
because he literally zapped me with energy from across the room, causing my
third eye to open and for me to go into samadhi for a few moments. At that
point, I allowed him to become the spiritual and temporal father that I never
From that point on, Vic began to strongly practice a yogic
discipline, rising every day at 3.30 am for 21/2 hours of yoga, chanting and
meditation. He would attend at least one and sometimes two yoga classes every
day. The sarod started to fall by the wayside in the face of this intense spiritual
Yogi Bhajan was sending people out to cities across
the US and Canada to open yoga centers and
teach. It came to Vic in meditation that there was a great opportunity to start
a yoga center in London.
Yogi Bhajan was delighted at the idea and in December of 1970, Vic rented a
basement flat in Notting Hill and began to teach Kundalini
Although Londoners were starting to take an interest in
yoga, it was still considered rather a hobby for the lunatic fringe so times
were very difficult. There were hardly any full time yoga studios in London at the time. Vic
quickly discovered that he had become very Californian in his attitudes,
finding that the cold, damp and gloomy London
winter made him long for the sunshine of Los
Because Yogi Bhajan was a Sikh, Vic began to visit with the
Sikh community in London,
which, even in those days, was very large. The Sikhs took a liking to him and
began to call him Vikram Singh, a Sikh name similar to his birth name. The more
Vic found out about the Sikh approach to spirituality, the more it inspired
him. In November of 1991 he was baptized as a Sikh, taking the name Vikram
The great saint Guru Nanak, born in India in 1469,
founded the Sikh
way of life . It is a simple, spiritual way of life that involves
meditation, working righteously and sharing with others. After Guru Nanak,
there came nine more human gurus who worked to expound the teachings of Guru
Nanak and solidify the Sikhs into a community. Starting at first as an almost
pacifist community they were forced by Mogul persecution to take up arms. The
last human guru, Guru Gobind Singh (who died in 1704) gave the Sikhs the
distinctive identity of uncut hair and turbans.
Vikram was very impressed with the music at the Gurdwaras
(Sikh Temples) in London.
He began to study the music which is essentially vocal music generally sung to
the accompaniment of a harmonium (a small, hand pumped organ like instrument)
and tabla drums. The shabds (hymns) that are sung are based on Indian Classical
Ragas, just as the sarod is so it was not hard for Vikram Singh to become
proficient as a ragi (singer) quite fast. The British Sikh community was quite
amazed. to see a young white man singing their own sacred music in such an
accomplished manner and Vikram soon began to be invited to Gurdwaras all over England
Meanwhile he was till
teaching yoga, although now doing it wearing a turban in the Sikh tradition.
One day a young woman came in to his class. She was stunningly beautiful.
Vikram Singh, being the devoted yogi that he was, pointedly ignored her. Or, at
least, pretended to. Her name was Kirsten Lindholm and she was making as career
as a model and as an actress, having already appeared in several Hammer Films
horror movies. After a few months she and Vikram fell madly in love with each
other. Each one realized that something had to give. Vikram would not have
anything more to do with the entertainment business, while Kirsten did not want
to leave her rich and famous lifestyle.
Finally, love won out. Yogi
Bhajan called Vikram to come back to California
(for which he will always be grateful) and Kirsten came with him. Soon they
were married, becoming Vikram Singh and Vikram Kaur Khalsa. (Male Sikhs all
have Singh, meaning Lion, as part of their name; female take the name Kaur
Back in California,
the couple settled in MarinCounty near San
Francisco where they soon had their first child. MarinCounty
is the home of the Ali Akbar Khan College of Indian Music and
Vikram Singh was able to fulfill his ambition to spend sometime studying with
the master sarod player. In 1975, they moved back to Southern
California. where Vikram Kaur gave birth to their second daughter
In 1977, Yogi Bhajan appointed the couple as co-directors of the Guru Ram Das
Ashram of San Diego,
where they ran a yoga center, trained yoga teachers and were the minister for
the Sikh Community of San Diego. During their years there, the Sikh Community
grew and eventually a non- profit organization was started in order to build a permanent Sikh Temple in the San Diego area.
Vikram was one of the founding members of the organization.
Vikram became the President
of Sikh Dharma of San Diego, which was the religious non profit corporation,
and also the representative of the 3HO Foundation which was the educational non
profit set up to teach Kundalini Yoga.
Khalsa Family 1978
During this time Vikram had not neglected his musical
studies. He continued to sing for services in the San Diego
community, as well as traveling to Gurdwaras in other parts of the US and the
world to sing.
In 1979, he went to India. Singing in Gurdwaras all
over the North of India, he was invited to sing in the most revered Sikh
shrine, the Golden Temple of Amritsar, becoming the first non Indian to do
so. In 1980 he had the privilege to repeat this pleasurable task.
Today Vikram, now Antion Vikram Singh, still follows the
Sikh way of life, rising early in the morning to meditate and basing his life on
Gurbani, the message of Guru Nanak.