Yogi Bhajan was the founder of the 3HO-Kundalini Yoga global community and established Sikh Dharma in the West, uplifting many thousands with a spiritually enriched way of life. He also co-founded KRI along with MSS Gurucharan Singh, a volunteer and KRI’s first Director, in 1972.
Sixteen years after Yogi Bhajan’s death, a number of individuals came forward and reported being harmed by him. Those accounts were shared in our community and with the public. It was during this effort that more community members came forward and disclosed their own harmful experiences in our communities, including harm at our schools in India and other youth programs. We have accepted these reports with a heartfelt desire to support the healing of anyone who had any form of hurtful or damaging experience within our community.
As part of our organizational response, KRI worked in collaboration with our family of organizations to:
- Offer free counseling services to any reporters of harm.
- Hire an independent group, An Olive Branch, to collect and assess the reports of harm and statements of support about Yogi Bhajan. In the spirit of transparency, we made the report from An Olive Branch public.
- Hold multiple online meetings and listening sessions to provide opportunities for the community to share their experiences.
- Initiate a Compassionate Reconciliation project, based on the principles of restorative justice, to focus on the healing, repair and transformation of our community.
- Announce an Independent Healing and Reparations Program as a continuation of the Compassionate Reconciliation work. You can read about this program, and our continuing work to acknowledge and learn from the various experiences of harm and heal our global community, here.
All of this has deeply affected KRI and the Kundalini Yoga community, and continues to call each of us to find our truest relationship with the teachings, the practice, and each other. KRI has not, and does not, expect all community members to react in the same way, or to reach agreement on definitive determinations about historical events. But we are grateful for the opportunity to help heal the pain held in our community.
KRI has received questions about how we should treat Yogi Bhajan’s legacy. We recognize that there are a continuum of perspectives, with some wanting him to remain at the center of our organization, others who prefer we remove his identity, and many gradations in between. Each community member, including each Kundalini Yoga teacher, can, and should, make their own personal decisions, relying on experience and conscience, about Yogi Bhajan and his teachings. In our far-reaching global community, there is a place for all these perspectives, and community members will be afforded the right to their personal experiences and views of Yogi Bhajan.
KRI continues to acknowledge Yogi Bhajan as our founder and does not seek to deny the extensive good he fostered. We also acknowledge there have been reports of harm against him. We stand united against abuse of any kind, and have committed to a reparations program to offer financial assistance and healing to the eligible individuals.
We also continue to work closely with the Office of Ethics and Professional Standards (“EPS”) to set clear standards for Kundalini Yoga teachers, in both our Code of Ethics and in the 10 Rights of a Kundalini Yoga Student. EPS has a 24-hr hotline and an online, anonymous, reporting form for anyone to report breaches of our Code of Ethics.
Going forward, Yogi Bhajan’s teachings will remain at the center of KRI’s mission. We trust the collective positive experiences of thousands of practitioners, which demonstrate that our yogic technologies are powerful and effective tools to heal and uplift. We commit to live out our core values of honesty, compassion, respect, and openness to all. We acknowledge, and apologize for, the mistakes of the past. While not attempting to erase them, we are focused on building a better future.
KRI will continue to pursue our mission: to make the benefits and practice of Kundalini Yoga, based on the Teachings of Yogi Bhajan, accessible to all people from all backgrounds.