Sent March 2, 2020
I am writing to you as the team tasked with navigating the difficult process of reaching the truth of the sexual allegations that have been made about Yogi Bhajan. I am deeply grateful that the organizations who have been stewards of Yogi Bhajan’s teachings have taken the brave step of creating this team and pursuing an independent investigation.
In the last 2 weeks, I have personally heard from 7 women whose stories of being abused by Yogi Bhajan have been heartbreaking. They are horrifying. Having been raised in this Kundalini Yoga community, many of the women who have come forward are my childhood friends. I believe most of them would never have shared their stories in order to protect those they loved. Pamela’s book started this, but this is not about her story alone. More women are now rising up to support truth by sharing their stories. Truth is truth and can be uncovered no matter how much time has passed.
You all know me. You know that Yogi Bhajan was like a grandfather to me. In my life, he gave me so much kindness, direction, discipline and love. He visited my room during my first 40 days of life. He officiated at my wedding. He supported me in my divorce. He held my family in his protective shield through so many challenges. I come to you as someone who has always loved him with a pure and open heart.
As a child of this community and these teachings, I was raised to believe that we are here to protect each other, to protect those that cannot protect themselves. You are now being asked to step up and help provide protection to women from our own family who have come forward with stories of serious sexual abuse. I pray you are up for that task.
Yogi Bhajan passed away almost 16 years ago. Since well before that time, yogis around the world have made Kundalini Yoga’s teachings their own, have been healed by them, have been transformed by them, have begun teaching them and sharing the incredible medicine that they contain.
Kundalini Yoga is medicine to me. Kundalini Yoga’s music is what has made me believe in the Divine within myself. The Kundalini Yoga community is my family.
These last few weeks, as I heard the stories of women who were abused, I questioned everything I was raised to believe including my practice of Kundalini Yoga. I reached out to a dear friend of mine. She said, “Karan, I didn’t start doing Kundalini Yoga because of Yogi Bhajan. I’m certainly not going to stop because of him.” That simple statement gave me comfort and gave me permission to keep practicing. I believe these teachings will fulfill their destiny of transcending any teacher. We are all part of its creation story. Our experiences are what make it real. We are all its teachers now.
As you know, I am not only a student of Kundalini Yoga, I also own multiple businesses that share its teachings. I have been so proud to be a woman-owned and woman-run business sharing Kundalini Yoga. After learning of these allegations, I can no longer connect to Yogi Bhajan when I practice. I will no longer be responsible for sharing his name and likeness with the world. Yogi Bhajan may have been the vessel that carried these teachings to the west, but I believe it is time for me to remove him from the Kundalini Yoga shared at Spirit Voyage, Sat Nam Fest and Kundalini Yoga U.
My team and I are embarking on the task of removing him from our various websites and social media. It is both an emotional clearing and a statement of sovereignty from him. People have warned me that I may be destroying my business by doing this. I am willing to take that risk. Kundalini Yoga is a practice of yoga that belongs to all of us. It is not an individual. I believe this is part of its real lesson to all of us.
I know that you and the organizations you represent must wait for the outcome of the investigation to take your next steps. There is so much at stake right now for our community. The world is watching us. Tens of thousands of people are engaged in daily conversations about these allegations. If you are not members of the online forums, you might not know how far-reaching the impact of these allegations goes.
If we as a community can show the world that we are ready and willing to openly acknowledge these allegations and enter into a process to restore truth and justice, only then will our community survive.
My request to you is that you will ensure that no abuse, sexual or otherwise, is tolerated in our community. I am asking you, as the CRT, to ensure the following in this investigation and in the future:
- You will make it very easy for people to report abuse.
- Where abuse occurs, you will stop it and a full investigation will be completed.
- The results of the investigation will be open and transparent.
- Reparations and healing including therapy and counseling to victims for full and complete recovery will be provided.
- You will offer support groups at all Kundalini Yoga events until the effects of these current allegations are healed.
We will stand up for the truth, always. This is my greatest prayer for all of us.
CEO, Spirit Voyage
More Information about the Collaborative Response Team of the Siri Singh Sahib Corporation can be found here: https://www.ssscresponseteam.org/