Siri Pritam Khalsa

Siri Pritam with her husband, Pritam S. Khalsa, and children, Hargobind Sadan Ashram, Berkeley, CA, 1979.

Siri Pritam Kaur Khalsa grew up in the 1950s in a small town in post-war Germany in a Catholic family.  She came into this life as Gisela Gehret.  Her father was drafted into the army in Nazi Germany, and became a prisoner of war in Russia.  At the age of twenty-one, she left for the United States where she eventually embraced the Sikh faith.  She has been an important part of the Punjabi Sikh American community in Yuba City for decades.

Siri Pritam’s spiritual awakening began soon after she arrived in San Francisco, California in 1971.  Amidst the consciousness raising and free love in America in the sixties, she moved to an ashram near San Rafael north of the Bay Area.  Thirty people formed a spiritual community in which they studied and practiced kundalini yoga, meditation, and the teachings of Yogi Bhajan, a spiritual leader from Punjab, India.   

“I feel very blessed… that the Sikh community has accepted me with open hearts. I also feel very blessed that in this lifetime I met a teacher who took me to the feet of the Guru and I had the wherewithal to accept it.”

In 1973, Siri Pritam met Yogi Bhajan, the founder of the 3HO Foundation which is dedicated to fostering a healthy, happy, holy lifestyle.  From living with him and his students in their California ashram, she gained a deep knowledge of the essential truths of the Sikh dharma (faith or righteous living) as taught by Yogi Bhajan.  For Siri Pritam, her spiritual teacher “taught us about life [and] about spirituality, and he connected us with his Guru… his way of communicating, his way of sharing his lineage, his way of sharing his spiritual experience with us… that’s how he absolutely reached us.”   

Siri Pritam feels completely accepted by the local Punjabi Sikh community: “I feel the tremendous support… this is an absolute blessing.  I feel the whole heart of the community… This is my home.”  She was one of the founding members of Yuba City’s Punjabi American Heritage Society in the early 1990s.  For decades, she has performed community service, most recently in Yuba City’s Sikh Community Center.

She has three children and four grandchildren.

Siri Pritam with her grandchildren, Espanola, New Mexico, 2016.

Siri Pritam with her husband, Dr Pritam S Khalsa, Chiropractic Clinic, Yuba City, 1986. 

Siri Pritam with her son, Harsimran, Yuba City, 1990.

Siri Pritam (back row, fourth from left) and other members of the Punjabi American Heritage Society, Marysville, CA, 2014.

Yogi Bhajan speaking (center) to a group of students with Siri Pritam (then Gisela Gehret in back against cabinet), Hargobind Sadan Ashram, San Rafael, CA, 1973.

See also Siri Pritam Khalsa’s life story in her own words [link]. 

“Sikh Team Use Multimedia Approach to Educate Community on Religion and Chiropractic Services” Yuba-Sutter Business,  January 22, 1988 [link].



Sources: Siri Pritam Khalsa, interview by Nicole Ranganath, December 16, 2017.