By Satya Kaur and Shiv Charan Singh
WITH TROUBLED HEART – THIS PAINFUL OPPORTUNITY – A MOMENT OF PRAYER
Karam Kriya is the Spiritual Science of transforming karmic patterns from tragedy to triumph.
Our approach to teaching and counselling is oriented by this understanding
Note: we use the term ‘allegations’ because that is the term used in the AOB report.
AOB = An Olive Branch; YB = Yogi Bhajan; KY = Kundalini Yoga; KRI = Kundalini Research Institute.
2020 has been a year of real and major changes in the world. What we were taking for granted is being totally challenged. This year’s changes have affected most areas of life including what held our community together. We refer to the report, from An Olive Branch, of the allegations against YB, which, though destabilizing, serves to move us on from whatever was outdated and no longer tenable.
Collectively we find ourselves in a moment of profound introspection; stay home -in our house and inner being. Though we do not wish to add to the noise of reactionary comments flooding the social media, yet, as directors and founders of the Karam Kriya School and the Guru Ram Dass Ashram, we have a duty to re-evaluate and clarify our understanding and position.
The Report from ‘An Olive Branch’
We recognise, acknowledge and are grateful for this third-party report and the allegations. The report reflects some people’s experience and some aspects of the culture around the inner circle of YB’s students and staff. It does not necessarily reflect the entire culture of 3HO and the global KY community in the ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s; as we experienced it.
In spite of the shock, pain, sense of betrayal, and confusion the report has stirred in the community, it motivates us to look deeper at our own practice and professional contribution to the sharing of Kundalini Yoga.
Though we do not know their names or faces, we respect and honour the courage of those women who came forward, and spoke out after a long period of silence, and include them in our compassionate understanding.
We accept and trust that they have shared their current personal truth and memory of their experience. The sharing of these stories reinforces our ongoing commitment to work towards change.
May those women transform the sense of victimhood and rise above revenge, to find the path to heal. May they take the opportunity to pass on the lessons learnt through their experience and so inspire other women and children towards their own empowerment.
The pain of abuse is a pain we each will know from our own lives. We let this pain rest within us as a building block of character and compassion.
We are not able to hold YB accountable. He is not here to speak for himself, to give expression of his interpretation of events. Therefore, we are not in a position to defend, accuse, judge or forgive. We cannot understand the intention of YB behind his alleged behaviour. We are left with a gap and the challenge to hold all possibilities in the container of our heart -the cup of prayer.
YB may not have been conscious and ethical in all his behaviour, in how he managed his private space, or the institutions that he set up.
We acknowledge the likelihood (probability) that YB had sexual relations with a number of his students/staff. To whatever extent this took place and given the Code of Professional Standards that YB himself laid out, we consider this a violation of the sacred contract between teacher and student.
The report refers to a personal and private part of the life of YB when compared to the vastness of the teachings he shared, the community he brought together, and the benefits that the world enjoys as a result. We understand and agree to the necessity of repositioning YB, e.g. ensuring that he is removed from any pedestal and deification.
There are plenty of references in the Library of Teachings confirming that YB never saw himself as a Guru and that the students should relate to the teachings rather than himself.
I came to make teachers, not to collect disciples
Don’t trust me –love the teachings
It is time for women to stand up.
Our focus is on self-initiation and self-becoming.
YB’s teachings have and continue to, serve us in many ways. We are grateful and indebted to his incredible dedication. We value and appreciate the teachings he passed on to us. We will continue to practice and share his unique synthesis of KY. We remain open to embrace new research that casts greater light on the history of KY, on the science of Humanology, as well as KY’s possible relation to, and distinction from, Sikh Dharma.
Our personal experience, observation and impression
YB came to teach in Europe for most of the years that we knew him. i.e. from 1980 to 1998.
Our direct experience of YB was of his compassion, self-sacrifice, and applied intelligence.
We did not witness anything that would suggest abuse.
What we did witness was a lack of transparency amongst an inner circle, consisting mostly of women, who had a tight control over YB’s space; maintaining a centralised power, exclusivity and secrecy.
We did not consider ourselves with either the power, or the ability, to challenge that set up, nor was there any overt door into that space.
Perhaps without that dynamic, nothing would have become established. As the nature of the business, religious and political worlds at the time was such that it was not receptive to the emergence of a powerful movement of awareness and transformative technology.
The sense of disappointment and betrayal that deconstructs one’s projection on the spiritual teacher is an inevitable turning point bringing one to a solitary, singular, inner, true self.
We are thankful that we followed YB’s directive to focus on the teachings more than the man.
We observed many students eager for the teachings, occupied by their own needs and desires and influenced by the imbalances, and wounds they came to work out. These factors may have led to projections which surpassed the students own ethical principles and common sense.
Through all that we have witnessed and shared we wish to be clear that we do not condone, in any way, such behaviour as has been reported, and consider it the duty of every teacher to remain neutral under all circumstances.
The way ahead
We welcome the opportunity to be conscious of our own shadow and refine our ways and structures.
This is part of the transition to a truly Aquarian and Humanitarian world. We pray and work towards building a safer and healthier place for future women, men and children of all races, all religions, all ages, all sexual orientation, and the planet as a whole.
We appreciate and support the efforts of KRI and 3HO to truly listen, to invite healing, to seek reconciliation, to re-evaluate the systems in place, to take every step possible to ensure that teachers of the future embrace diversity and maintain the highest ethical standards.
Therefore, we see the need to also focus on changing attitudes and the culture of our communities. We all need to change as individuals but with a sense of community and shared responsibility.
Our commitments as teachers and trainers of KY as taught by YB:
Complimentary to the inward journey of self-realisation of the yogic teaching, and in the light of lessons being learn, we commit to:
• A model of community living that is sustainable and brings the forces and priorities of the World of Nature into the domain of yogic practice and philosophy.
• Continue to acknowledge YB’s contribution to the Golden Chain and as the originator of KY as we know it; maintaining its integrity.
• Continue collaboration with KRI in its efforts to become more democratic and contemporary. As well as further research into the truth behind the lineage, the history of KY, etc.
• Uphold, and pass on, the Code of Professional Standards of a KY teacher and the 10 rights of a KY student.
• Honour all other paths of wisdom as equally valuable. Prioritise the individual’s own pace and path of growth over the fundamentalist and dogmatic interpretation of the dharmic teachings.
We respect and fully support the student’s choice of identification, or non-identification with the Sikh Dharma aspect of the teachings.
• Include the Divine Feminine in our awareness, language and devotional practice. Acknowledging that the future must be led by the feminine intuitive consciousness, which embraces the sense of human community.
• Continue to run Red Tents for women where they become empowered and develop solidarity with each other. Through disclosure, any ongoing secretive and abusive relationships women may be entangled with, will be heard and support immediately provided.
• Be transparent within our organisations and community. Including:
Addressing inappropriate behaviour and communication in their context.
Referring cases to the EPS (Ethics and Professional Standards Committee); https://epsweb.org
Avoiding, resisting and negating the idolisation of any individual.
Challenging mob consciousness while also being available to be challenged.
Let your experience teach you, and act upon what you are learning.
Take responsibility for your own experience, actions and environments.
Breathe, meditate and be conscious.
Spend more time in nature and human community, Sangat.
Let your heart lead you to love yourself, be yourself, take care of yourself.
This document is written by Satya Kaur and Shiv Charan Singh. It does not necessarily express the position of every teacher or trainer within the Karam Kriya School and community. Please read this response as one whole and not take any part of it out of context.
Here is a link to our response to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) in relation to the future of KY as taught by YB: FAQs re YB and KY October 2020 – by SCS at KKS