We live in a time where secrets don’t stay secret for too long. Thankfully, this also means that the spiritual scene all over the globe has begun to face its own collective shadows, addressing allegations against some spiritual teachers who seem to have abused their powers and who seem to have violated their student’s boundaries left and right. Sadly, the Kundalini Yoga scene is no exception: About a week ago, a thorough report on Yogi Bhajan’s sexual and spiritual transgressions was released (click here for the link, if you’d like to read it). It’s quite an explicit document, and the ways in which he seems to have abused his position as a spiritual leader to manipulate and mistreat members of his personal staff become quite apparent throughout the report. The document cites both victims as well as people who are trying to rescue his reputation, and interestingly, both sides paint a similar picture, describing his domineering, authoritarian character in detail.
When I began practicing Kundalini Yoga a few years after his death, I didn’t know anything about the man, Yogi Bhajan. I had been looking for ways to deal with chronic pain, and a friend recommended Kundalini Yoga as a type of yoga “that does things to you, energetically, and it’s hard to explain. It just works.” Which was exactly how I experienced it. So, I only ever saw Kundalini Yoga as a collection of energy work tools, and I never followed the religious side of Yogi Bhajan’s teachings. Also, I guess I was lucky to receive my training from teachers who refrained from any kind of cult-like reverence when it came to him as a person.
Reading the report on his transgressions must be hard for those who saw him as their personal guru. Apparently, he was one of those spiritual teachers who didn’t live by his own teachings, and I feel for those who are now questioning everything.
Sexual violence is a beast, and unfortunately, Yogi Bhajan was one of many spiritual teachers who were fascinated by its darkness. I’ve worked with several clients over the years who suffered from abuse at the hands of their own spiritual teachers, and clearly, there’s still a lot of work to be done if we truly want to transmute the energies of sexual violence on this planet.
My heart goes out to all who trusted their spiritual teachers and had their trust betrayed. Life is not fair, sometimes.
Image: A card drawn from Danielle Laporte’s Truthbomb Deck Vol. 1: “Freedom worships inquiry”