In celebration of International women’s day, I would like to say that I honor all women for their strength and for their fight for equal rights. Calling out inequality is key when addressing the abuse of power in our society.
I would like to announce the recent accusations of sexual misconduct that have come forward in the Kundalini Yoga Community, in the light of the book Premka: White Bird in a Golden Cage: My Life with Yogi Bhajan by Pamela Dyson. Thousands if not more of Kundalini Yoga Teachers as taught by Yogi Bhajan across the globe is making room for open dialogue to share their personal stories in regards to this news. We have discussed and shared the importance of making space and shared empathy, support, and demanded accountability in regard to what has come up to the surface. Many women from around the globe have come forward and shared their own personal stories of pain and suffering on how they have been emotionally, physically and sexually abused by the same man, Yogi Bhajan.
I was alone, everybody that I know that went through it had to walk away by themselves. They may have had a partner, if they were lucky. A husband or a wife. You are then trashed and shunned, it’s like you are abandoned by everyone who you thought was your family. – Pamela Dyson. Excerpt from Youtube Channel: Interviews 108.
Discovering Your own True Nature
I had a talk with the Author of Premka Memoir, Pamela Saharah Dyson and asked her on her views on female empowerment and how to help women realize their own true worth.
“I feel it is so important to empower girls very early”
“I feel it is so important to empower girls very early, with regard to their own bodies, their own boundaries. Meditation and practices that guide women to discover their own True Nature, beneath the egoic identities. Basic training in self-defense techniques should also be standard instruction for women. In school!”. – Pamela Dyson.
I believe there is strength channeled through us when we are being open about our stories, through sharing the truth and through this practice of self-love we can take the power back, which once was taken away from us. When we water the seed of love within our own selves, the flower can grow beyond our expectations. We are also social beings, we thrive for a community of peers whom we can grow with and collectively share basic empathy and understanding in a supportive way. When we allow ourselves to trust the world and finally ourselves again, through these qualities of opening up to the world and to ourselves, we also invite the fullness of life back into our being which is very transformative and healing. In the midst of all the stories that I have read that have been shared of personal testaments, regarding sexual abuse in the Kundalini Yoga Community, I don’t have to look deep within myself to suffer given their quite heart-wrenching stories they provide.
There is a weighted shame amongst people that have been sexually or emotionally abused, and these forces may imprison us to lose that very foundation from which we can grow from. I emphasize that there is always a way, like in the movement that Pamela Saharah Dyson has paved for us. We can stand stronger, together within a community built on love and understanding.
Taking a stand for the victims
I would like to say that I believe all women and stories that have come forward who have shared their stories of abuse. It’s very important when accusations of sexual misconduct arise, that we take them seriously and act to help the victims. I stand for openness, kindness, truthfulness, and humanity! I stand beside the victims of abuse, It’s been shattering to my core to read about all the stories which have been told by women that have been muzzled, outcast, discredited, disbelieved through years of abuse for telling their personal testament in relation to what Yogi Bhajan has done to them.
“I stand for openness, kindness, truthfulness, and humanity!”
I can’t take a neutral stance because I want to stand for the victims that have come forth with their immense courage. I can only imagine the suffering they have gone through when they weren’t believed and nothing was done to help them. I stand for the equality between man and woman, I stand for respect and that which is ethically right to do. We need to continue our work to make our voices matter. Even though our screams will fall for deaf ears in some, let us shout that we matter anyways.
Prayer for the Victims of Abuse by Tiaga Nihal Kaur.
“Let us be in compassion, for all women and men who have not been heard. Let us be in compassion for the tremendous power of bravery of all victims of sexual abuse for coming forward. Let us be in compassion and lift each other up and help unite each other instead of making the world more separated than it needs to be. Let us be in compassion towards all people that suffer and help them awaken to the light of their own true selves. Let us be in compassion, so we can forgive ourselves that we have not been misled. But rather awakened to see a new beginning of an era that we can mindfully choose to be about Love and Unity.”
I graduated from Kundalini Yoga Teacher training after two years of training to become a Yoga Teacher. My dream had come true and I had finally earned my certificate which still sits on my bookshelf. I used to feel proud of this diploma because of the blood sweat and tears I had gone through to complete my education in Yoga Therapy. Don’t misunderstand me, I’m still proud to be an Internationally Certified Kundalini Yoga Teacher and that I have managed to learn these healing techniques, but now I feel it is very unsettling to see the name of Yogi Bhajan on my certificate since I feel committed to being in-truth to myself and my readers that I don’t accept the behavior nor the criminal actions that he has done for so many years.
Trigger Warning* I made a trigger warning for the next segment where Yogi Bhajan talks about his views on rape.
Rape is always invited, it never happens, a person who is raped is always providing subconsciously the environments and the arrangements. If you do not provide the circumstances and arrangements it is impossible. ” – Yogi Bhajan April 26, 1978 Espanola, NM
This statement by Yogi Bhajan from his lecture given in 1978 in Espanola, “that rape is always invited, it never happens” is an alarming sign that this man is an absolute psychopath having no moral compass. Rape is punishable by criminal law, and I am outraged and disgusted by his lack of principles of morality which is revealed when he blames the victim of such a vile act.
From a yogic perspective, it brings to mind the ethical guidelines from which the whole structure of Yoga is built upon, which clearly shows is not in line with how Yogi Bhajan chose to live his life in regards to equality between man and woman.
Now, on to the ethical guidelines by Patanjali on the Eight Limbs of Yoga.
Moral Ethics: The Niyamas and Yamas:
The structure of Yoga is comprised of eight limbs which were classified by the sage Patanjali. Yamas is a form of moral imperatives, commandments, rules or goals.
1. Ahimsa: Which is non-violence
2: Satya: Truthfulness
3: Asteya: Not stealing
4: Brahmacharya: Sexual restraint, marital fidelity, chastity
5: Aparigraha: Non-possessiveness.
The second limb of Yoga is Niyamas which are recommended activities and habits for healthy living.
1: Saucha: Purity, clearness of mind speech and body.
2: Santosha: Contentment, acceptance of others and of one`s circumstances as they are, optimism for self.
3: Tapas: Self-discipline
4: Svadhyaya: Study of self (Self-reflection) Introspection of your thoughts, speech, and actions.
5: Isvara Pranidhana: Contemplation of the Supreme. (God) or True Self.
The Ancient Roots of Kundalini Yoga
The foundation of Kundalini Yoga is found in many religious branches throughout the world in all continents; Buddhist Tantra Tradition and Tantric traditions of Hinduism.
The Greek Philosopher Plato also discussed something similar to the doctrine of Kundalini and even in the earliest known recorded literature, one can find art of kundalini being represented by The Egyptian Staff of Osiris which is found in the Sumerian culture dating back to approximately 1224 BC.
“Modern scholars and philosophers have noted the staff’s symbolic parallels to the Indian Kundalini; a spiritual energy in the body depicted as a coiled serpent rising up from the base of the spine to the Third Eye (Pineal Gland) in the moment of enlightenment.
Awakened Kundalini represents the merging and alignment of the Chakras, and is said to be the one and the only way to attain the Divine Wisdom bringing pure joy, pure knowledge, and pure love. – Ancient-wisdom.com
I stand for keeping the yoga tradition sacred. Kundalini Yoga predates Yogi Bhajan by thousands of years and he was a man who didn’t act on what he taught in his teachings. Yogi Bhajan was one of many “Guru′s” who sexually abused their students which have stained the appearance of the true Yogic Traditions. There have been many sexual abuse cases amongst Yoga Gurus through the years who has exploited their position for example; Bikram Choudury, founder of the California-based Bikram Yoga and Krishna Pattabhi Jois who popularized Asthanga Yoga amongst many others.
It has been earth-shattering to me in so many ways. Because when a single man taints the teachings which I hold so precious to me, it brings questions to mind, “how could someone pretend to be so spiritually awakened only be in it for the power?” If we view Kundalini Yoga separate from this man, which doesn’t have any authority on this sacred practice of Kundalini. Since Kundalini is the divine energy that lies within all of us, that we can awaken with the guidelines provided for us in the eight limbs of yoga. Absolutely everyone has the ability to work on this wonderful science to gain liberation and awaken their consciousness.
Below is The Eight Limbs of Yoga which was outlined by the sage Patanjali, his classification of Yoga became ways to give rise to human enlightenment.
“Through practice of the limbs of Yoga, whereby impurities are eliminated, there arises enlightenment.” Yoga Sutras of Patanjali 2:28
To the Kundalini Yoga Teachers: Don’t lose faith.
Having no teacher from now on has made me realize that I am an independent Kundalini Yoga Teacher who has to rely on my own wisdom, and summon my own inner knowledge through the union of the Divine knowledge. Many teachers in the Kundalini Community feel lost since they are also taking a stand against Yogi Bhajan when they first heard about the allegations and how serious they were.
I would like to say to you that you should not stop believing in yourself no matter what happens. Don’t lose faith in the teachings of Kundalini, because they are still authentic now as they also were thousands of years ago, and will continue to be thousands of years ahead of our time.
It’s important to embrace your own inner-knowing in regards to building a solid fundament so that you can teach from the essence of this sacred teaching. To think for yourself, meditate and experience the wealth of knowledge you have within and make up your own awareness and experience of what the essence of the origins of yoga means to you personally, because when we begin to listen to our own inner voice and strengthen our own minds with the absence of others opinions we give rise to something much wiser which is the basis of all progress for self-development and new awakening.
As a final note;
I will end with a text derived from a discourse on The Buddha’s Charter of Free Inquiry which is found in the Kalama Sutta. It is also known as a tool for advocating reasoning for inquiries in the practice that relates to the discipline of seeking truth and wisdom.
The criterion for rejection
“It is proper for you, Kalamas, to doubt, to be uncertain; uncertainty has arisen in you about what is doubtful. Come, Kalamas. Do not go upon what has been acquired by repeated hearing; nor upon tradition; nor upon rumor; nor upon what is in a scripture; nor upon surmise; nor upon an axiom; nor upon specious reasoning; nor upon a bias towards a notion that has been pondered over; nor upon another’s seeming ability; nor upon the consideration, ‘The monk is our teacher.’ Kalamas, when you yourselves know: ‘These things are bad; these things are blamable; these things are censured by the wise; undertaken and observed, these things lead to harm and ill,’ abandon them. – Kalama Sutta
If we don’t stand for something we will fall for anything. – Alexander Hamilton
Thank you for reading!
With love and compassion,
Tiaga Nihal Kaur.
Om, Shanti, Shanti, Shanti ॐ