Yesterday I had a conversation with a woman I love. Someone else we know had found some scary things online about Kundalini Yoga. So this woman I love googled Kundalini Yoga and found scary things too. In the end she chose to trust my judgment and not worry about it. I’m glad she did.
Of course, I’m not surprised. I already knew there were all kinds of interesting things about Kundalini Yoga online. I knew that some people call Yogi Bhajan’s teachings and related organizations a cult. Some claim that Yogi Bhajan was corrupt and took advantage of his female students. People have been calling Kundalini Yoga “dangerous” for a long time. None of these rumors are new to me.
When I began hearing about these accusations, I felt some degree of commotion in my heart and mind. What was I going to do with it all? How could I reconcile it? Fortunately, processing through it has been a smooth and relatively painless experience.
I think one reason it was easy for me was because of Joseph Smith and Mormonism. I have been a member of the Mormon Church (A.K.A. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) all of my life. Many generations of my ancestors were devout members of the Church. But what would happen if you googled Joseph Smith or Mormonism? It’s probably safe to say that there is far more on the Internet slandering Joseph Smith and Mormonism than Yogi Bhajan and Kundalini Yoga. I have spent my entire life dealing with heated accusations and criticism about my spiritual leader(s) and faith.
Has there ever been a powerful, influential, or great leader who has not had accusations of evil spoken about them. Power and influence can and do corrupt even good men and women. But it is also quite common that rumors and accusations are used by critics to falsely defame influential leaders.
Life is in balance. The swings in the mind are there to give you the experience, and to let you discover the you within you. For all those who will praise and recognize you, there may be an equal number who want to slander you. That balance and swing lets your standard be tested. You cannot hold to something external. You must find your own depth and test it, confirm it. So calamity is not bad. It is right, to test you. -Yogi Bhajan
Good people make mistakes all the time (God knows I do). Sometimes they make big mistakes. Do their moments of weakness discount all the good that they have done? If we only allow ourselves to learn from perfect people, where does that leave us? I think we would be hard-pressed to find an influential historical figure who didn’t have some skeletons in his/her closet. Do we not all have things that we would wish to be left safely in the past? Things we have regretted and repented of? Things God has promised to “remember no more.”
Let he who is without sin cast the first stone at Yogi Bhajan. Or Joseph Smith. Or Gandhi. Or Thomas Jefferson. Or anyone.
In this age of information we have access to so many secrets. We are bombarded in the grocery store line with the personal failings of celebrities. In the news media, we face a deluge of humanity’s foibles and potential for evil. What will we choose to focus on? What will we choose to magnify? Will we dig for the dirt, expose and lament the failings of others? Or will we say, “No. I refuse to give up on you. I know there is good in you. I know I have things to learn from you. I choose to look for the goodness and lessons and light in humanity.” Will we choose to perceive the world through a lens of compassion or criticism?
The only way I know of to test someone’s teachings is to apply them and live them and see what happens. This is what Jesus urged: “If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself” (John 7:17).
Last year I came to know (far more intimately than I ever wanted to know) what darkness feels like, what evil thoughts sound like, what kinds of choices and actions come from that darkness and evil. The word guru isn’t just a word to describe someone who is a teacher or expert. Gu= darkness, and Ru= light. A guru is someone or something that leads you from darkness to light. When I was in a pit of absolute darkness and despair, practicing Kundalini Yoga and Meditation helped to lift me out of the darkness and into a radiant light I had feared I would never have the privilege of experiencing again. Kundalini Yoga was a guru for me, delivering me to my true self and the light that was always within me.
Is Kundalini Yoga (as taught by Yogi Bhajan) dangerous? I am confident that staying in that pit of despair and darkness I was inhabiting would have been far more dangerous than trying Kundalini Yoga. Am I being deceived and brainwashed? Aren’t we all being brainwashed every day of our lives? By the media, popular music, retail marketing, the government, corporations, etc. etc.? If Kundalini Yoga is dangerous, it is because it liberates you from the chains of the manipulative brainwashing you are bombarded with daily. If Kundalini Yoga is dangerous, it is because it strengthens your neutral mind, enabling you to see through the lies and distortions to the pure Truth. If Kundalini Yoga is dangerous, it is because it empowers you to discover how to break through the blocks in your life, overcome your fears, and prosper on all levels.
Here’s the bottom line for me: I wanted to die. I started doing Kundalini Yoga and Meditation every day. I didn’t want to die anymore. If Kundalini Yoga keeps me on this planet, that’s a danger I’m willing to risk.