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Breaking: Kausthub Desikachar ‘Sincerely Sorry’, Finds ‘Legal Closure’ in New Letter Addressing Sexual Abuse Allegations

in YD News

image via Kausthub.com

Just over two years ago, well-known yoga teacher and spiritual leader Kausthub Desikachar (son of T.K.V. Desikachar,  grandson of Sri T. Krishnamacharya) was accused by several students of sexual, mental and emotional abuse. What unfolded afterwards was a spiral of sad details, new questions about the power play between teacher-student relationships and what would happen next. What we do know happened a few months after the allegations came out was Kausthub Desikachar’s return to teaching with a new website after some time off for personal “healing.”

In this latest message written by Kausthub Desikachar, sent out October 10 via email as well as posted to his new rebranded website, the troubled guru outlines the events of the past two years, offers an apology, and declares “legal closure” after a series of “legal procedures” have found him in the clear now that the Austrian authorities have formally dropped all complaints.

The full message:

Dear Friends,

It is with a great sense of responsibility that I am writing to all of you today. In September 2012, a few of my students in training complained to the Austrian authorities that I had emotionally, sexually and spiritually harassed them. Considering the serious nature of these allegations, I resigned from all positions of professional responsibilities, with the hope that the organizations I represented would not suffer on account of these charges. I also initiated a sabbatical from teaching to begin a journey of self-inquiry and healing.

I am sincerely sorry for any hurt this situation caused. The situation called for me to look deeply into my patterns and myself. Through a journey that embraces both professional and traditional methods, including Yoga, Psychotherapy, and Vedic healing rituals, I have been supported in transforming myself in many positive ways. I would also like to apologize sincerely to all my students, for I know you have suffered during this difficult time and have had to face the reactions from others because of my alleged actions.

I also sought immediate local legal counsel whose advice at the time was to wait to hear from the Austrian authorities officially, before responding, as it is normal procedure that the accused is contacted by the authorities with a detailed account of the complaints, and a demand for a statement of response. This is one of the reasons why, despite many strong urges to respond, I remained mostly silent when many people were actively discussing such allegations on internet.

In April 2014, having heard nothing formal from the authorities in Austria, I decided to approach this issue in a different manner in order to know clearly where I stood. I hired an attorney based in Salzburg and, in May 2014, for the first time I actually saw the formal complaints that had been filed with the authorities. Consequently, a series of legal procedures were completed, including presentation of my own statement of response with the relevant evidence that I had. As a result, on 23 September 2014, I heard from my lawyer that there were no legal proceedings initiated against me and that the Austrian authorities formally dropped all complaints.

This official closure has brought great relief to me, my family, many well-wishers, students and colleagues. I would like to express my profound gratitude to those who have supported me through this challenging period of time.

While I am relieved about the closure, I will always remember that the lessons we learn in our life must be integrated and are there to remind us that our journey towards positive transformation never ends. With this reminder, I humbly continue the dharma entrusted to me by my father and teacher, in sharing the Yoga tradition of my grandfather and father worldwide.

Kind regards

Kausthub Desikachar

But we’re still left wondering what actually happened. What about those who made the accusations? Have they found closure as well?



14 comments… add one
  • I agree. Clear as mud. It would be nice to hear how those that filed the allegations are fairing. I don’t get the sense that there is any acknowledgement of wrong doing here. Perhaps there wasn’t any wrong doing. Very confusing.

  • Um. Great? I’m glad that this all worked out really well…for him? :-/

  • Grand Wazoo

    Nicely sanitized. Wondering what Leslie Kaminoff has to say about this. He is of the Desikachar lineage, but was publicly silent during the whole debacle.

  • Northern Harrier

    Sounds like he is saying he did something wrong enough to do some self reflection but not enough to be convicted so therefore its ok to go back to being a guru right?

    The thing about the legal system is that a dismissal may have nothing at all to do with actual justice. Crimes of the heart, spirit, and well, the woman’s body, are very hard to prove after the fact when alot of the evidence there is to rely on is he said, she said. I also wonder what kind of legal precedent there is in the Austrian system that accounts for undue influence, which is how such a case would be most effectively dealt with in the states. Sounds to me like the Austrians were left scratching their heads about how to prosecute so let it go when the Guru claimed he had done nothing wrong, along side a rich, powerful law firm.

    I don’t think 2 years of reflection (or legal strategizing) is enough to account for the healing and evolution out of being an abuser it takes to become someone who lives healthy human relationships. I also think someone who wants to be a guru is too power hungry to recognize what a healthy human relationship is in the first place, so does not miss it.

    Hopefully this complaint has at least served to put up warning flags and more speculation around this lineage.

  • elle

    The father hands the family bussiness to the son.
    A teacher and leader him does not make.

    All Indian Yoga teachers raking in the dough from American students… how about the next teacher in the lineage be the most qualified.

    • I think the most qualified teachers are carrying on the lineage with or without the blessings of the teacher. A living tradition cannot be killed by the actions of an individual/individuals; what is valid and useful will be carried on.

  • There is no such thing as a Krishnamacharya or Desikachar lineage. They are simply modern teachers, and what they offer is a style of yoga like anyone else. The sooner we accept the notion that “lineage from great masters” is not what it used to be in ancient times, but something more like a marketing slogan, the more likely we are NOT to be taken in by personages such as the subject of this article, who owe’s his position to nepotism. Take note that the history of the children of celebrities is much more often than not a sad tale of debauchery and personal failure. This fellow is just the latest example.

  • Well said, Bradd. And, I agree that yoga is not what it used to be. While there are many yoga teachers and therapists who share and teach the spiritual principles and practices, far too many are teachers are focusing primarily on the physical and material aspects of yoga. A great deal of reverence for the spiritual teachings of yoga has been lost in the fog of commercialism, the ego of excessive flexibility, and fame.

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  • Jessica

    Why don’t you provide dates on your articles?

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