August 26, 2020
Sat Nam, dear family and friends
These are very special times for all of us. My prayer is that you are managing yourself well despite everything that is going on. The struggle for me over the past several months has been trying to reconcile the reports of sexual abuse, along with my direct experience with Yogi Bhajan as my teacher. For me, I see that these times have become a very important piece in my personal life’s journey. It is a test for me to make sure I’m able to apply the teachings even when I am experiencing deep levels of sadness and grief. Thank God my sadness doesn’t define me. Rather, it informs and reminds me that my teacher is everywhere and in every situation I encounter. Grief is tough. It can make you forget what you know and believe if you hang out in it for too long, and I’m not letting that happen to me. Wahe Guru!
As an elder who has been around since the 1970’s, and even spent several years living in the same ashram with Yogi Bhajan and his staff, I never saw, felt, or heard anything that even hinted that any of these allegations were taking place. I was mostly in the field teaching and serving our Sangat, still, I have repeatedly asked myself, “How is it that I didn’t know?” Well, I didn’t know. And though I have found the allegations difficult to believe, I have come to accept that something was going on that I wasn’t aware of.
I have listened for many hours over the past several months, to the heart felt stories of abuse experienced by our 2nd Generation and adults who reported harm by Yogi Bhajan. I’ve also listened to the voices of some of the youngsters who attended our schools in India years ago who were abused by the staff there. No one should ever have to withstand what they each have gone through. Reading the stories again in the AOB report was even more painful. But I read it all in entirety. I have to admit, it was difficult. But there it was. It is official. And I have accepted the AOB report as validation of the harm that was reported.
I believe that when the grief, sadness, anger and doubt quiets down, it may be easier for us to recognize how important these months have been. I believe they will have served as a catalyst for open, critical thinking, honest communication and a prayerful place in which to hold each other. I know without a doubt that I have benefited greatly from the life-giving tools of kundalini yoga and meditation. I will always practice and teach this critical technology to whoever needs or wants to learn them. Today there are hundreds of thousands of students and teachers of Kundalini Yoga in the world from Latin America, Europe, Scandinavia, China, Viet Nam, West Africa, South Africa, Brazil, to North and South America and more that are thriving as they continue to practice and share these teachings.
My heart is open to you all. I love you, I support you no matter what. Thank you for listening.