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