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Kausthub Desikachar Returns to Teaching, Prefers We Forget Sexual Abuse Allegations

in Kausthub Desikachar, YD News
Kausthub Desikachar Returns

Kausthub Desikachar returns with new brand, headshots.

In the age of prominent gurus being outed one by one as power-crazed, sexual assailants rather than agents of ethics, we’ve been subjected to stories (and accusations and lawsuits) of them leading students from light to dark, not the other way around. (Sigh…we know.) But when the mighty fall, what (if any) penance should they pay to society? In the case of Kausthub Desikachar, son of T.K.V. Desikachar, grandson of Krishnamacharya accused of sexual and emotional abuse by several students in allegations that surfaced last October, a few months of silence would just about do it in his eyes. He’s back.

Following the serious accusations, the subsequent shake up of KHYF and dubious discussions of legacy, Kausthub broke his silence with an email to students on January 16th indicating his “healing” process and intention to return to teaching.

Through a journey that embraced both professional and traditional methods, I have  been able to go deep into a healing and self-enquiry process. I am continuing to make every effort to shift patterns to improve myself on all domains. I take responsibility for my actions and embrace the fact that there is no one other than me to blame for the disturbing changes that occurred.

From this quiet place, I hope to emerge a better person. Personally and professionally, I am looking to take small steps to create an appropriate and healthy foundation for future teaching.

Making good on his plans, the John Friendian Kausthub has launched a shiny new website with a new re-branded teaching style, a blog and study options including online training starting May 2013, reports It’s All Yoga, Baby. Like nothing ever happened. The first article on the site by Kausthub dated April 2 ironically asks, “Are you ready for yoga?”

Because as much as you would like to do Yoga, you must be open to let Yoga do you. Are you ready for Yoga?

We don’t know, Kausthub. Are you? (There are, of course, no references to the breach of trust and immoral acts he admitted to, nor any consequent professional help or legal proceedings on the new site.)

On one hand, rehabilitation can work and we can’t dismiss everyone as forever horrible because of past wrongdoings. We’re yogis, we forgive. We believe in the positives people possess. On the other hand, are you seriously launching back into the teaching scene full force like nothing ever happened and expect everyone to forget because you have a new brand name and headshots?

And what does this say to the victims involved?

——

Earlier

59 comments… add one

  • It’s ironic, but only in 21st-century yoga can a teacher commit documented abuses and return to teaching in less than a year. I’m sad that yoga, of all things, has lowered the ethical bar.

  • what puzzles me

    is that people will flock to study with him, just like they have with John Friend, Amrit Desai and many others. there are so many other (solid) choices. why?

  • anjali

    the aura of rockstars of the 1960`s1970`s even 1980`s with songs of wild outbreak for freedom gathered groupies….ironicly today yogagurus fill their gap, what hypocrisy, as they use yoga as a powermedium to be attractiv for woman! Where is the idea of freedom as kaivalya in the heads of woman who learn learn yoga from such teachers… anjali

  • This is horrible on many levels. Yeah, “I am looking to take small steps.” How about small steps AWAY from Yoga?

    I’m in the midst of a 200-hour training, and I have to tell you, I did a lot of research before I chose my program. He, like any other “teacher” (and I’m using quotes to indicate a global definition of “teacher” including academics, athletics, etc.), needs to be appropriately disciplined by an authority or governing body. I’m NOT ok with the “self-help” brand of rehabilitation, particularly where the documentation is outstanding and the abuse is obvious.

    Are we (the Yoga community) allowing this because of his name and heritage? Because if so, that is morally wrong. You must look at the person and the acts he committed. The nature of his offenses is criminal and I think that his ‘rebirth’ should be strongly questioned. People will not do their research and will go to him (and the others mentioned) for teaching, and I question these individuals’ ability to be a “clean” teacher.

  • per

    River,

    In my impression its important to be careful when making assessments of students based on the teacher or teachers with who they studied.

    I fully agree, there are some outstanding issues that the community may need to be addressed by this teacher, but what I don’t feel is appropriate is to automatically assume that from hence forward any one who studies with Kaustub, Friend, Desai, (or anyone else for that matter) will be “unclean” as a teacher.
    Teachers are fallible; we all should know this by now. Not because they can’t inspire us to do better than them, but because they are firstly and foremost HUMAN.
    Again, I am not suggesting we don’t hold these very human teachers up to some light and standards, but to paint all their subsequent students with the same brush of their inadequacies seems to me patently unfair and biased.
    If this is the standard we wish to gauge the success of a teacher by, I would have quit teaching a long time ago.

  • Spiritual Bypass

    Your point is valid.

    And at the same time, when you look at the amount of painful self-deprogramming that students/teachers who were devoted to Desai/Friend/Kausthub and many other charismatics have had to go through, there is something to be said for being very very careful about the influence that a teacher has over you by their very example.

    While I would not label their followers as ‘unclean,’ there are many who would be the first to admit that they are pretty screwed up by their experience, and have had to put a lot of work into fixing the damage.

    Others have just found ways to rebrand and bypass.

  • Annvan

    Being “HUMAN” is no excuse for criminal behaviour.

  • stephanie herrin

    Seriously? Are you ready to let yoga do you? Yikes. There are too many opportunities for puns and sarcasm there to even assume he’s taking himself seriously. For now, I think I’ll stay far away.

  • Freedom

    Breathe In, Breathe Out!!!! It’s the “Teachings and Not the Teacher”. Having previously attended one of Kausthub’s workshops for my 500hr training, I was very sad and Yes, angry and heart broken to hear of his actions. However, I believe in Redemption. To quote, Jesus Christ………”Let he who is without sin, cast the first stone”. We are all human and the desires of the flesh and our “EGOS” can really bring chaos to our lives if we allow it. I pray for Kausthub and his family. OM Shanti, Peace to All, Love to All………….

  • Shanda

    The most ridiculous thought of all has just crossed my mind: there needs to be a system of enforcing ethics for yoga studios. Sadly, we’ll have to continue relying on the teachers themselves to practice what they preach, and on capitalism at its finest in the hopes that people don’t pay to practice with them.

  • Annvan

    Check out..International Yoga Alliance for Ethics in Yoga.

  • Elizabeth

    Without adhering to the precepts of yoga, ahimsa and satya come to mind, to quote the illustrious William Butler Yeats: ” Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold ” from his poem, The Second Coming.
    It will remain with our global yoga community to say to those who continue to abuse positions of trust both as yoga teachers and human beings, that we will not tolerate this behaviour.
    Kaustaub Desikachar’s words in his press release, along with his new head shot, seem to be adhering to the tenets of Hollywood agents, rather than any yogic principles.
    I am dismayed by the continuing scandals that emerge from the yoga world’s leaders. Our complex natures as human beings can create sad and difficult world’s to navigate, both within and without.
    There are no easy answers in situations like these. John Friend’s new work-shops are packed and he has many Anusara students that are eager to learn about his new system, The Roots. Most likely, so it will go for Kaustab Desikachar, who also has the incredible cachet of authentic lineage to sell.
    So, it remains up to us, the global yoga community, to make a decision about who and what we are willing to support, in lieu of any present global yoga oversight within our community.
    Sending healing love to the victims of Kaustab.
    Sending compassion to Kaustab and urge him to let yoga do him, utterly and completely!

  • Spiritual Bypass

    John Friend’s workshops are ‘packed’ — into very small rooms, and the ‘eagerness’ is more likely a mixture of nostalgia, curiosity, denial, and many other things.

    It’s curious how the language can be so seductive in shaping our perception of what is really happening. It is of course JF most of all who is enthusiastically telling everyone how ‘packed’ his workshops are — without mentioning room size — just as many things are going unmentioned with Kausthub’s ‘rebirth.’ Oh, how we can’t resist buying into the drama!

    It’s the PR that sells us, because we love to be sold — even on such language as the ‘incredible cachet of authentic lineage’ that somehow flows in Kausthub’s veins. Do we even stop to ask what that really means?

    It sounds so convincing and uplifting to say ‘let yoga do him’ and yet I only have the vaguest of ideas what exactly that means, or whether it will actually make any real difference with these people.

    I would submit that one of the original inspirations behind the practice and philosophy of yoga was that if we are ever to truly be empowered, we must first — through practice and contemplation — learn to stop fooling ourselves, which includes being aware of when others are trying to fool us too.

    There have always been ‘teachers’ of course who have capitalized on this, promising to tear away the veil, when in fact they make the veil all the more dense and blinding. And they are very good at what they do. In many cases, they’re so good that they’ve even fooled themselves.

    Why do we worry so much about whether we should support such teachers, or give a ‘second chance’ once the curtain has been pulled back? Isn’t the point of yoga to DO it, rather than politicize it?

    In the end, on such issues we are continuing to fool ourselves — it’s the thrill of the PR, even more than the actual person, that we love. And we will continue to be fooled by it. Until we stop.

  • disimpacted

    Thanks, Spiritual Bypass. The whole “packed classes” bullshit is an old anusara marketing ploy, employed by many of his former anusarans. Friend learned these advertising techniques (meaning: Bullshit) in business school. It is the same fluff he used before. Fortunately, the internet has a long reach and memory (thank you, Yoga Dork!). His classes aren’t packed. John Friend is, was and always will be “packed”…

  • All about the Benjamins

    Friend, and his anusara posse, has always inflated numbers to make it appear that his “teaching” is “sweeping the globe”. If you look at his, and his underling’s marketing fodder, it often contains references to how many people attended a class, workshop etc. (as if these numbers mattered). This is simple supply and demand marketing crap. Say it’s “packed”, people are “clamoring” to get in, other such horseshit and there are lemmings who will rush to be a part of it. Walmart does the same thing. The individual attending is irrelevant to Friend. You are just a number that he can inflate and lay claim in his attempt to validate himself. I had a good teacher, years ago before yoga became all the rage. I showed up and was the only student; she said she was honored that I came and taught me a private class (didn’t try to cancel either). This kind of yoga would be impossible for friend to comprehend.

  • Elizabeth

    I wrote that Kaustab Desikachar’s “incredible cachet of authentic lineage” is something that he will be selling for his new training programs. If only that authentic lineage had been flowing in Kaustab’s veins, we would not be talking and blogging about him in this way.
    John Friend’s work-shops in and around Miami in early 2013 were held in both private homes(large mansions that were actually packed) as well as public yoga studios. I don’t agree that the attendees aren’t eager, it was my impression that JF is still their guru and they have forgiven him.
    I think that the conversation around yoga world fall-out keeps us aware of the challenges that are presented for both teachers and students.

  • Hi John

    Trolling again? Gotcha!

  • Spiritual Bypass

    Meanwhile, as part of his reentry into new age spirituality, JF is announcing an online discussion with his “dear friend and colleague” (latching on to someone else’s work again, claiming to be buddies) Marc Gafni.

    The interesting thing is that you don’t have to go far to discover that Gafni was involved in an extraordinarily similar set of scandals that led companies such as ‘Sounds True’ to refuse to publish any more of his work. Essentially Gafnia Gafni was sleeping with two women, both of whom were in a power differential to Gafni – one was a private student.

    All of this was happening while he was “partnered” with Mariana Caplan, who is the mother of his child, and who risked her own reputation to write a chapter in her book, The Guru Question, arguing for his supposed innocence regarding the Israel incident in 2006; even Publisher’s Weekly questioned that final chapter.

    As is his pattern, Gafni has sworn both women to silence (as Tami described above) – and, according to sources in contact with the victims, in this case one of the women came forward and “failed to hold that space.” If you look back through the record of allegations against Gafni, it is always the women who come forward who are to blame for not being able to maintain his bohemian, “post-conventional” lifestyle.

    Two peas in a pod. They ought to invite Kausthub in on the ‘discussion.’

    While the yoga community has difficulty in coming together to censure such behavior — as well as question their quick and easy return to selling the same product with the same gusto — these guys have no problem banding together to support their mutual agendas.

  • Spiritual Bypass

    The source/reference for the factual basis of these comments about Gafni is the integral-options.blogspot site.

  • Spiritual Bypass

    PS ‘Hi John’ — good catch on the identity of ‘Elizabeth.’

  • fred

    what amazes me about people like JF and Gafni is that they have no shame. It’s as if they live for sex and gratification. Nothing wrong with sex, mind you. But usually as we become grown-ups, we also become conscious of the effects of our choices as well as the collateral damage that often ensues. Typically, when you insert yourself into someone else’s married life, or have sex in a setting with a student, it ends badly. A good antidote for this is not to do it. Self control. Yet JF and others folks like him put themselves out there with their pious sanctity and then try to bang every available student. It’s like a switch gets flipped. JF then complains when he gets exposed that he is the victim. And he’ll do it again. Give him a wide berth.

  • Elizabeth

    Good catch on the identity of Elizabeth? I can only say that I am the Elizabeth who wrote my comments. I am not certain who you think I am, although you are making it easy to guess. It’s postings like this that make me realize how alienated our yoga community is at times, from one another.

  • Spiritual Bypass

    The behavior of the people under discussion — and their enablers — has indeed led to a good deal of alienation. True indeed.

  • Elizabeth

    I have been fortunate to have yoga teachers who are committed to guiding their students from a place of love and respect for the teacher/student relationship, not based on raging, out of control egotistical behaviour and greed. Yes, there were and continue to be enablers of these yoga teachers. Maybe that’s something that is always going to be a part of our contemporary yoga community or maybe as we all grow and become more confident as a yoga community, there will be less acceptance and space for these types of abusive teachers to thrive in. At least that’s my hope right now.

  • Spiritual Bypass

    That’s a good hope, Elizabeth.

    It’s an interesting counterpoint to your earlier observations about the eagerness of the students packed into private mansions as well as yoga studios who have forgiven JF and still consider him their ‘guru.’

    Have you reached a point of saying you don’t support that, or are you offering generalizations while subtly maintaining an exception in this case?

  • Hi John

    UR right. It IS easy to guess who you are…May you some day get a life (though I doubt in this lifetime).

  • Elizabeth

    Still Elizabeth writing. You can accept this or not. I will not post again regarding my identity, as it’s not going to change what you want to believe. I am as dismayed and disappointed as everybody in the yoga community over the scandals of the last 2 years in the yoga world. Most likely from time to time there will be more scandalous behaviour brought to light from people in those yoga communities who are courageous enough to speak out. It is my deep hope that as yogis and yoginis become more connected to one another, that teachers who engage in abusive behaviours with their students no longer feel free to do so.

  • allise rhode

    This photo of Kausthub. The ring is his grandfathers?
    Is this the ring that he wanted the abused student to wear while he penetrated her?
    I mean, I have to ask.
    Since K is sporting a ring in the photo, when he KNOWS a ring figures into the allegation/s against him (fingers into the allegations, or figures??).

    Gad. Yoga do you. Gad.
    How absolutely unabashedly does K. ‘finger’ us.

  • allise rhode

    Update. The website is now password only entry.
    So, you can’t look at it now.
    There was another picture, just of the ring. Several times actual size, and beneath this image was Kausthub in typeset. Kinda like typeset into hardened mud.

    Ruby in the mud imagery, I guess. But the sharp edges of the typeset lettering of
    K a u s t h u b
    was so cleanly delineated it appeared to be like the –imprimatur– of ‘minted’ -ness.

    Like a quality product, ‘minted’, quite valuable.

    I can certainly see why K. has closed general access to his latest web fantasia.

  • Paul

    “One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them,
    One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them.”

  • It’s not a popular point of view, but I feel that more regulation is in order. While not a water-tight solution, doctors, lawyers and other professionals have defined codes of conduct which, when breached, lead to defined disciplinary action and, where necessary, de-registration to prevent them practising under the auspices of the regulating body. In the west, we’ve reshaped yoga to fit our commercial culture, but resist professionalising in a way that would offer both teachers and students greater protection. I’m astonished by the reluctance to engage in a constructive debate about creating better infrastructure for yoga to continue to flourish into the 21st century. Nobody talks about ‘forgiveness’ when it comes to corrupt behaviour by lawyers or ‘ see the skills of the surgeon, not the abuse he has perpetrated’ in the case of medical malpractice. It’s time to step up and set some boundaries. Professional misconduct should not be tolerated and all the time we keep it in the realm of the sacred, we’re playing right into the hands of manipulators like Kausthub who have made a career out of preying on people’s vulnerabilities.

  • I agree with your comment. If yoga is ever to be taken seriously as a profession we have to treat it like any other profession. If these teachers who have violated ethical precepts and the boundaries of their students had committed these abuses in any other professional scenario, they would be subject to license revocation and would probably not be allowed to teach again. The abuses that Kausthaub and John Friend have committed are no brainers. Both of these individuals—who are just the most recent, high-profile examples in a long line of abusers—should have known better. If they truly thought what they were doing was okay, they still had a whole lot to learn about being a teacher. I agree that there should be some sort of governing body that monitors teacher behavior and ethics. Want to start one?

  • Starting small is the key. As a studio owner, we have a professional standard. There are certain things that you have to do to work here.

    This includes group (peer) supervision and individual supervision — each once per month. We have on-going continuing education that is required (certain number of hours per year — and some of it we provide for free and some of it is for a cost), and we also require that teachers attend, observe, and assist each other’s classes, giving 360 reviews (management reviews, peer reviews, self evaluations).

    It certainly helps us create — internally — a high standard of care and quality of experience for our clients. There are, of course, only 8 of us, though (currently).

  • compromising away our latent spiritual potentials

    “The emotional vehicle is the most powerful (and bewildering) of all personality force fields. It needs the constant discrimination and guidance of the soul-illumined mind, or it will adhere to goals and objectives which are foolish and unworthy. Evolution proceeds in accordance with the Divine Purpose and Plan. Evolution is a directional process, and proceeds according to a divinely administered time schedule. But unreasoning faith and devotion lead astray and waste priceless time and energy. They delay spiritual progress and frustrate the Divine Intent. It is difficult enough for the human spirit to make its way through matter without clinging irratio­nally to “false gods.”"

  • d

    this man is arrogant scum. he shouldn’t be back to teaching.

  • Penbrook

    Spiritual Bypass, I agree. The Samkhya tradition, which KD’s father honored in his teaching for so many years, asks us to wake up and pay attention to the changes taking place right before us. We in KHYF thought KD was going to take his lineage responsibilities seriously. Clearly he has not, and his avidya is such, we can imagine that magical thinking and confusion pervades much of his teaching. So to all who go to his online seminars out of mere intellectual curiosity, know that you’re getting knowledge from an immoral & mentally unstable man (I stopped listening to him years ago because he was so clearly deluded). Look at his new picture on the site: he looks guardedly at the camera, with a bloated face, and literally puts the ring of his grandfather in our face. He’s more like the Godfather than the Prodigal Son. Don’t fall for the “rebranding” Same old, same old.

  • Paul

    Kausthub has openly stated that his favourite book was ‘The Godfather’.

  • Ramini

    I guess it’s true that there’s no such thing as “bad” press!! Yuckers….

  • julia

    What is the matter with the yoga community. Look what Delhi did when they had the rape case. Why don’t people rise up and stand against this revolting teacher starting up again.

  • Annvan

    or offer support to the victims so that they have all the resources to report to police.

  • iaye

    annvan – the International Yoga Alliance for Ethics offers support and resources for everyone who has been a victim of abuse @ http://www.internationalyogaallianceforethics.com

  • anjali

    it is happening in chennai, only the world does not know it. anjali

  • iaye

    It appears to me that so many in the yoga community collude with the perpetrator. It requires the voice of the entire yoga world – all three billion – to come together and to put their consensus to change. The International Yoga Alliance for Ethics is attempting to set standards. They are introducing a Code Of Ethics that should be taught as part of teacher training. Let something good come out of this catastrophe. Support the VICTIMS. Help change our world and make it safe to learn and practice. Is you school displaying its allegiance. Sign the CHARTER now at the facebook page

  • Penbrook

    This is something tangible that we can all do– and we can tell all of our many students, freshly minted from innumerable 200-hour programs that it is their first responsibility not to violate the trust that their students place in them to behave ethically, according to the code established by IAYE. And if they do violate that trist, as Kausthib has admitted to doing, then it behooves them to return to face charges (still outstanding in Austria I believe), and try to make reparation to their students).

    The same way date rape, letting your kid not wear a seat belt, smoking, drinking & driving, and letting your 85 year old half blind father drive at night are NO LONGER SOCIALLY ACCEPTABLE —so, too, we as a community must recognize that we live in a world with more people, & potentially, more damage that can be done by out-of-control gurus. It must stop. Now.

  • With all the respect in the world once they leave the Teacher training course that is too late. What needs to happens is that there is a module attached to teacher training that incorporates Ethical behavior.

    I hope you will see all the support we offer by visiting our website and take the time to fill in our Charter.

    Namaste

  • Annette

    I heard whisperings about Kausthaub years ago, and had an inkling about John Friend also , so he was not surprise to me either. I have known of priests that were defrocked and they go and open new churches, and people come to them. Doctors, accountants and attorneys who lose their credentials, find their way into related fields doing lab work for drug companies, or as internal accountants at some big company or as some sort of paralegal. It is what they know. To me if someone is too charismatic it is a RED FLAG. I don’t know if that means I see it unobscured or I am a cynic.

    I’m sure some of what these people have to teach people is useful knowledge. But the student will have to separate the chaff from the wheat. The more things change, the more they stay the same. People need to research who they are studying with. Your education is an investment. But there is even a latin phrase for this dilemma sit emptor cavete, let the buyer beware.

    This is not to say that I don’t think we need a code of ethics or that I think these people should be excused for their wrong doing. I am just saying that it is the same as it ever was, so why are we so surprised?

  • Spiritual Bypass

    It is indeed no surprise; and people do need to take a good look at who they are studying with. But charismatics and sociopaths are good at hiding the truth and seeming like great people — or else they would not be successful sociopaths. So it is imperative that those who DO know the truth call them out on their BS.

    They have the strength of their conviction that if they keep at it, they will win new followers and get back in the saddle in no time. People who care about the integrity of yoga and the well-being of others have to maintain the same strength of conviction, if not more so.

  • Annvan

    Does anyone have recommendations for the victims about how to heal from this kind of abuse?
    Support groups? Switching to tai chi?
    How to find a good teacher? how to interview a teacher to see if her/his ethics can help or do
    they blame the victim(eg..the terrible phrase that “it takes 2 to tango has retraumatized many).

    In my experience the legal route is terrible as it can’t hand out justice.

    Ideas?

  • Cyndi

    Standards for the field of yoga with a governing body who could impose disciplinary action if needed. The field of Yoga therapy is doing this right now.

  • Penbrook

    Cyndi, some of the people articulating these standards are enablers of abusive gurus. I know at least one personally. How will that be addressed?

  • Cyndi

    These people are sociopaths. Sociopaths show up in all professions, yoga is no exception. They do not have a conscience, and manipulation is their game. That is why it is so easy for them to come right back after a scandal and act as if they did nothing wrong, because they really don’t believe they did anything wrong. They are great salespeople, and will blow smoke up your ass and talk around in circles to justify their behavior. They will apologize if they feel they need to to be socially appropriate. They do tend to be very charismatic, so if you pick a teacher who is very charismatic, be careful and watch their ethics closely.

  • He needs help.....

    The latest from K’s website…..

    The Kapalika-s (Sanskrit कापालिक) are one of the two main sects of Siva follows, who follow a a non-Puranic or tantric form of Saivism. Some of their members were considered to have written the Bhairava Tantra-s, including the subdivision called the Kaula Tantra-s.

    They are called Kapalika-s literally meaning the ‘skull-men,’ because, they carried a skull-topped staff and a cranium begging bowl. Differing from the more respectable Brahmin householder of the Saiva Siddhanta, the Kapalika ascetic imitated his ferocious deity, Lord Siva, and covered himself in the ashes from the cremation ground, and propitated his Gods with the supposedly impure substances of blood, meat, alcohol, urine and sexual fluids from intercourse unconstrained by caste restrictions. Flaunting such rules that were considered impure by the more orthodox Brahmin-s, the Kapalika-s went against Vedic injunctions, and hence were considered a Tantric sect. Their main aim was power through evoking powerful deities, especially the Goddesses.

    They also have had a significant influence on Yoga, especially Hathayoga. Evidence of this can be found through texts such as Hathayogapradipika, which list some of their eccentric practices. This apart the main texts of their lineage the Bhairava Tantra and the Kaula Tantra offer many Yogic practices as part of their teachings.

    Bhairava Tantra is a key text of of Kashmir Saivism. It is presented as a discourse between Lord Siva and his consort Sakti. The text talks about 112 meditation methods, known as dharanas, which include pranayama, concentration on energy centres of the body, non-dual awareness, chanting, visualisation and contemplation through each of the senses. A an important aspect discussed in these texts is the prerequisite to success in any of the 112 practices, which is a clear understanding of which method is most suitable to the practitioner.

    Kaula or Kula describes a kind of Hindu Tantrism, more associated with the Kapalica sect of ascetics. The concepts of purity, sacrifice, freedom, the spiritual master (guru) and the heart are core concepts of the Kaula tradition. Similar to other tantric schools, the Kaula-tantra adopts an approach of positive affirmation, rather than prescribing self limitations and condemning of various actions. Thus it embraces acts such as sexuality, love, social life and artistic pursuits as important domains of spiritual evolution. The main approach of Kaula-tantra is practical methods for attaining enlightenment, rather than merely engaging in complex philosophical debates. The main means employed in the Kaula practice are spiritual family, initiation into rituals, sexual rituals such as maithuna, spiritual alchemy, controlling or energy through mantras and other mystical methods, and the realisation of individual and universal consciousness .

    The Kaula lineage is closely linked to the Siddha and Natha traditions. Owing to this fact, their influence on the Yoga tradition was quite significant, as the Natha lineage is an influential lineage of Yoga teaching. It is highly possible that Svatmarama and others in this lineage belonged to the Kaula tradition, and perhaps even to the Kapalika sect. It is perhaps the reason for some of the mysterious practices that form part of texts such as Hathayogapradipika.

    Many conservative Yogin-s were disapproving of their methods, and shied away from their practices. Yet the Kapalika-s and their mysterious methods have endured till the current day. Visitors to Varanasi, the ancient and holy city on the banks of the river Ganga, can very often come face to face with such ascetics.

  • Spiritual Bypass

    A 13th century text called the Dattātreyayogaśāstra was the first to teach a systematized hatha yoga (according to scholar James Mallinson). In it we find the following statement:

    Whether a Brahmin, an ascetic, a Buddhist, a Jain, a Skull-Bearer or a
    materialist, the wise man who is endowed with faith and constantly devoted
    to the practice of yoga will attain complete success.

    The ‘Skull-Bearers’ were included in this; but the overall gist is that hatha yoga is a practice that stands apart from any particular sect, religion, or set of beliefs. It is empowering and leads to success in your path, even if you are an atheistic “materialist.” Later texts may have drawn upon practices (especially regarding the ‘bindu’ in the Hathayogapradipika), but the overall purpose and intention of the practice stands apart from endorsing a particular set of beliefs over others.

    But wholly apart from that matter, Kausthub comes from a lineage entirely apart from that; he comes from a tradition of orthodox Vaishnavites and Brahmins. For him to even suggest that his behavior is justified as reflecting the ‘Kaula’ tradition — into which he was never initiated, and none of which has he shown any evidence of having mastered in any sense — would draw nothing but derisive laughter from the tantrics of the actual tradition. Though he talks the talk, he has not even mastered walking the walk of his own tradition, much less the ‘Kapila’ tradition to which he now appeals.

    Same thing for ‘Johnny boy’ mentioned by ‘jf exposed’ down below; he masters a push-up handstand and a few backbends as well as picking up some quasi-philosophical sloganeering and jawboning, and suddenly he is a self-proclaimed tantric master.

    These guys have some success at this because the people to whom they are talking often did not have enough background to know better. But times they are a-changing.

  • Spiritual Bypass

    Considering the history of yoga from Vivekananda onward, for Kausthub to claim that the ‘Skull-bearers’ and tantrics of the Kaula lineage to whom he refers have ‘influenced’ yoga and hatha yoga is like saying the KKK has ‘influenced’ the history of civil rights and the wording of the Civil Rights act of 1964.

    At the time of Vivekananda, India was frankly embarrassed at the degenerative condition of the tantric sects, and endorsed Patanjali as a more respectable representative of yoga philosophy, even if he wasn’t necessarily a full or comprehensively accurate representative of the tradition. Kausthub’s grand-dad was a part of that reformation.

    Later hatha yoga texts may have referred to or drawn upon tantric practices such as Vajroli, and certainly some hatha yogis may well have practiced the kinds of sexual rituals that are described from Wikipedia in the ‘He needs help’ post below. But that does not mean that hatha yoga endorsed those Kaula practices in the way that the Kaula tantrics did them.

  • He needs help.....

    See below from Wikipedia on the Kaula tradition…. If you look at the wikipedia you will see that Kausthub’s website and Wikipedia have very similar descriptions of Bhairava and Kaula…so either he wrote the Wikipedia descriptions or he copied almost word for word certain sections.

    I am sorry to say, but I don’t think he is done abusing people sexually….just found a convenient way to justify it…..I really hope that his family can get their heads on straight and take him to a mental facility so that he can get the help he so desperately needs.

    Yamala – the tantric couple
    Abhinavagupta: “The couple (yamala) is consciousness itself, the unifying emission and the stable abode. It is the absolute, the noble cosmic bliss consisting of both Shiva and Shakti. It is the supreme secret of Kula; neither quiescent nor emergent, it is the flowing font of both quiescence and emergence.” (Tantraloka)[57]
    The sexual practices of the Kaula schools, also known as “the secret ritual”, are performed with a so-called “external Shakti” (sexual partner)[58] as opposed to the purely meditative practices which involve only one’s own spiritual energies (the “interior Shakti”). The role of the sexual Kaula ritual is to unite the couple, yogini (initiated woman) and siddha (initiated man), and induce one in the other a state of permanent awakening.[59] This achievement is made possible by the intensity of their love.[60]
    In their exalted state, the two become absorbed into the consciousness of the Self. Becoming united on all the levels, physical, astral, mental and even in their consciousness, they reconstitute the supreme couple of Shiva and Shakti.[61]
    The Kaula sacrifice is reserved for the few, the elite who can maintain a state of Bhairava (spiritual illumination) in sexual union.[62] Other couples, even if they reproduce the ritual to the letter (as perceived from outside), if they do not attain Bhairava consciousness, are merely engaging in a sexual act.
    “Initiation by the mouth of the yogini (yoginī-vaktra)”, is a method by which the adept unites with a purified yoginī and receives the unique experience of the illuminated consciousness.[63] He is to see her as both his lover and guru.
    The energy generated during the tantric sexual act is considered a form of “subtle emission”, while the act of ejaculation is considered a form of physical emission.[64] In Kashmir Shaivism, the energy of emission (visarga śakti) is considered to be a form of ānanda (bliss).

  • Annvan

    It’s interesting that perpetrating a crime is sometimes seen as a sickness. It’s not..
    it’s a behaviour where one person exerts power over another person. This is unethical, entitled, patriarchal, hierarchical and perhaps even evil.

    It is not a mental illness but a mental deficit. They choose to abuse.

  • jf exposed

    sounds like the kind of horse puckey johnny boy would expound in order to get laid.

  • Religions respect the individual’s autonomy.
    Cults enforce compliance.

    Religions try to help individuals meet their spiritual needs.
    Cults exploit spiritual needs.

    Religions tolerate and even encourage questions and independent, critical thinking.
    Cults discourage questions and independent critical thinking.

    Religions encourage psycho-spiritual integration.
    Cults “split” members into the “good cult self” and the “bad old self.”

    Conversion to religions involves an unfolding of internal processes central to a person’s identity.
    Cultic conversion involves an unaware surrender to external forces that care little for the person’s identity.

    Religions view money as a means, subject to ethical restraints, toward achieving noble ends.
    Cults view money as an end or as a means toward achieving power or the selfish goals of the leader.

    Religions view sex between clergy and the faithful as unethical.
    Cults frequently subject members to the sexual appetites of the leaders.

    Religions respond to critics respectfully.
    Cults frequently intimidate critics with physical or legal threats.

    Religions cherish the family.
    Cults view the family as an enemy.

    Religions encourage a person to think carefully before making a commitment to join.
    Cults encourage quick decisions with little information.

  • cmoral

    All of these individuals named (and those like them that we know to exist) are psychopaths, plain and simple. They cannot be rehabilitated because they have no conscience. They have no empathy, guilt or remorse as represented by their re-branding strategies. That’s what a psychopath does. Destroys and goes out to do it again. They have contaminated the very essence of yoga to the point that these scandals represent the systemic infection so prominent in what we see every day in the business of yoga. The nature of the community of love, light and forgiveness provides them with rich hunting grounds while allowing them to hide in plain sight to carry out their sick behaviors. Ethics are attempted to be taught, but you cannot teach it; it is innate within a sound mind. They are forgiven by those that simply refuse to see them for what they truly are. Yoga will never be safe while they are still in it and we risk them “training up” those that have the propensity to become like them.

    Without Conscience, Snakes in Suits and the Sociopath Next Door should all be required reading.

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