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When the Teacher IS the Teachings, Part 2

Since early 2020, Kundalini Yoga entrepreneurs worldwide have faced the fear of displacement and even permanent unemployment. But their employment challenges had little to do with the pandemic. They had everything to do with the publication of a book about their teacher, Yogi Bhajan.


Pamala Sahara Dyson published a memoir in January 2020 that recounted an inappropriate relationship with her teacher, the married Bhajan. It masterfully revealed the subordinate role of women in his growing organization as he continued to seduce female followers and control his followers with lies, bullying, and shameless abuse. That book led to a flood of revelations and survivor stories, and it exposed the yoga that Bhajan shared with his followers – the yoga that these Kundalini Yoga entrepreneurs teach to millions every year – as little more than a clever tool to build Bhajan’s cult. This put many Kundalini Yoga entrepreneurs and students in a difficult position.[1]


Source: Taran Kaur's YouTube, My Response to Premka and Yogi Bhajan Abuse Allegations


An article has recently been published that positions former Kundalini Yoga teachers and students in three camps: defenders of the teacher, opponents of both the teacher and the teachings, and defenders of the teachings. Many of the Kundalini Yoga entrepreneurs vacillate between the "double-down" camp, which is described in the article as "those who have denied or dismissed claims of abuse and reaffirmed their beliefs in their late spiritual leader," and the “harm calculus” camp, or those who criticize the teacher but not the teachings.[2]


An unending series of lies and abuses led to this split, and an independent investigation concluded that “Bhajan used his power as a spiritual leader to perpetrate a range of abuses against women and female minors that included rape, sexual battery, sexual abuse and sexual harassment." The Double Down camp consists of a shrinking community of believers, many joining this movement more than 50 years ago, and that group will eventually be virtually buried by the weight of evidence that continues to appear, or literally buried due to old age, sadly.[3]


But the Harm Calculus camp is active and growing, and it needs to be addressed. The teachings in this case are inseparable from the teacher. The reason for this is simple: Bhajan made up the teachings. Yes, he incorporated postures and meditations he learned growing up in India, and yes, he built his meditations around Gurbani passages found in Sikh scriptures. But persuasive academic research has revealed that creativity rather than posterity was the main ingredient in the yoga he presented,[4] and his use of Sikhism was opportunist, ahistorical, and sacrilegious.[5]


TO BE CONTINUED...

[1] Dyson, Pamela (2020). Premka: White Bird in a Golden Cage: My Life with Yogi Bhajan. Maui, Hawaii: Eyes Wide Publishing. ISBN 978-0-578-62188-3. [2] Deslippe, Philip (2021). How the Model of Money Laundering Can Help Us Understand Abuse within 3HO [3] An Olive Branch (2020). An Olive Branch’s Report on Yogi Bhajan [4] Deslippe, Philip. (2013). From Maharaj to Mahan Tantric: The Construction of Yogi Bhajan's Kundalini Yoga [5] Singh, Trilochan (2019). Sikhism and Tantric Yoga: A Critical Evaluation of Yogi Bhajan's Tantric Yoga in the Light of Sikh Mystical Experiences and Doctrines

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