Yoga is not about culling out spirits or surrendering one’s individual will power to a teacher who assumes the role of a yoga-sorcerer. No teacher in the world has a right to demand authority over others. The goal of yoga is Kaivalya, independency and not wrong devotion. —R. Sriram
There is another scandal in the yoga world due to a famous yoga teacher abusing his position as a teacher and authority figure. This time the teacher is Kausthub Desikachar, son of TKV Desikachar and grandson of T. Krishnamacharya, one of the most important yoga teachers of the 20th century. Kausthub is accused of systematically intimidating female students into believing that they are unwell and need his help, and then sexually harassing them.
By now it is not news that yoga teachers, like many other authority figures, can succumb to the temptation to abuse their power. But I think it’s worth reading about this case because of the way it is being handled, at least by one person. R. Sriram, a student of Sri T.K.V. Desikachar for almost 30 years who also studied with T. Krishnamacharya himself, has released a letter to his yoga community in which he unreservedly condemns Kausthub’s behavior, refers to the women who spoke out as “brave” and encourages other affected people to speak out. He forthrightly says:
The details lead us to the conclusion that Kausthub is developing psychopathically, needs perhaps professional help on a long term basis and should be stopped from further activity in the yoga world. It is awful to say this, since I have seen Kausthub’s astuteness in teaching theory. But his continuation poses a threat not only to women but also to the right awareness for the teachings of the two masters.
R. Sriram also advises people to boycott the Krishnamacharya Healing & Yoga Foundation. Although the details are disturbing, I encourage you to read the entire letter here.
|Reflections by Brad Gibson|
“The means to liberation is uninterrupted discriminative discernment.” —trans. Edwin F. Bryant
And never follow anyone blindly. As R. Sriram points out, “The goal of yoga is Kaivalya, independency and not wrong devotion.”