Letter from a dedicated student given to Sir in 2007
This is a letter presented by a very brave woman who dared to stand for her principles. Respect!
Copy of a letter to Sir. It was hand delivered to him on 25th July 2007 at KYM.
My Most Respected Teacher,
It is with much pain I write this letter to you, to the person I hold in such high esteem and reverence ever since I met you as a twenty one year old novice seventeen years ago. But things have come to a point that I have to speak my heart. I hope my teacher will reflect on this deeply because it concerns the future of KYM, KHYF and the future of your father’s teachings.
I have decided to leave KYM and this tradition. I made this decision about 10 days ago. I had submitted my resignation to Kausthub and SS Sir citing reasons for doing so, largely based on my family circumstances. While all that I communicated at that point is the truth, the real reasons for my wanting to leave this tradition after 17 years of 200% loyalty to the teacher and teachings was not revealed because I was not ready to do that yet. Now I am ready to speak, from my heart, for myself and for so many people who have been loyal to this tradition and you, and who now feel completely disillusioned and cheated.
Sir, you have always said that you are proud of the KYM team that is so dedicated and strong. I have been a member of this team till today and feel privileged to have been a channel of healing for many people while healing myself and evolving as a better human being. The abundant care and generosity you embody, the valuable teachings you have shared with us, and the strong example of Vairagyam you stand for have actually kept all of us bound to you, as if, for eternity. But there comes a point when the very teachings and practices you have empowered us with have woken us up from a very deep slumber… Many people in this tradition, just like me, have woken up to a very harsh reality – in the form of your prodigal son. This may also be your wake-up call.
I come from a humble background but my parents taught us to live a life of honesty and integrity. At many points in these 17 years I have been confronted with dishonesty, lies, lack of transparency, control, authority, and immense fear! Perhaps that was the way it was meant to be in this tradition – a teacher student relationship where Sraddha is rooted in fear and attachment. We were taught not to question the teacher, we had to “demonstrate” loyalty and Sraddha and believe that WHATEVER the teacher does to you is for your good. Every action of your teacher is going to take you to less Avidya and more clarity. The teacher is always right and if we question or doubt it, our perception is faulty or we do not have enough Sraddha! I have lived my life in KYM for these long years following this dictum to the letter. I do not regret my decisions or beliefs because what I have gained from you in the form of teachings and healing is immeasurable. But looking back, I do see some very dark holes… and there is so much pain because I have been in a spell of illusion, especially in the recent years. I now choose to disbelieve the “belief” that “the teacher is always right”, “the teacher can never be questioned”.
I have now come to understand – the unarguable truth – from many people who have been exploited by Kausthub in the Sanga. Actually there is no Sanga! The real connection in this Sanga is based on fear and delusion. The truth is that this Sanga has some of the most unhappy people who feel trapped in the “Spider’s Web”, full of fear, insecurity and rage. Some are still so blind and deluded to believe that with all the “pushing of the buttons”, “all the pressure”, the carbon will one day turn into diamond! Stepping back, I am able to see the extent to which SO MANY people have been brainwashed to believe and blindly follow this young, reckless “saviour of lives” whose behaviour is a perfect antithesis to the tenets of yoga. Have I misunderstood the meaning of the Sutra “tatra dhyanajam anasayam”?
I have been listening to some of the women students of Kausthub and the atrocities committed by him, to what extent he has transgressed their personal boundaries and invaded their lives – in the guise of a teacher trying to “solve” their emotional problems. These poor, gullible students have been forced, manipulated and seduced to believe that all that he did to them was in their best interest. I have seen you “demonstrate” Aparigraha but Kausthub has clearly demonstrated “parigraha” and is reinventing the meaning of the word “Brahmacarya”.
Some have woken up and some are still in a slumber. Perhaps, they have much in stake: fear of authority, financial entanglements with KHYF, true thirst for knowledge which they still “believe” can come only from being in Kausthub’s Sanga and above all, blind faith in this teacher because he is Sri Krishnamacharya’s grandson and Sri Desikachar’s son!!
What I see in all this is that Kausthub needs HELP! He, more than any of his sick students, needs therapy. Please help him Sir, refer him to a good therapist who can save him from moving at raging speed in this path of self-destruction! He is so young; the mantle is too heavy for him. Thirst for money, power and women are ruining him. His shadow is now overpowering his light. Save that brilliant mind and save this great lineage. World over, people have so much respect for these teachings, and it is this respect that has earned him so many wonderful, faithful students. It is indeed very unfortunate that while so many of us have been inspired by your teachings to walk in the path of truth, honesty and integrity, you have not been able to inspire your son in any manner.
I also take responsibility for this situation. People like me have often felt uncomfortable with the very obvious inconsistencies in Kausthub but remained silent with a hope that he will one day become more mature and evolve! But how long can students wait for the teacher to evolve? By condoning his actions, I have also been responsible for perpetuating the suffering of so many students, especially women! I have so often questioned my own value system and even felt a loss of self-respect and dignity. Probably it is the fear that has been so deeply instilled in all of us, or the attachment to you, my teacher. Also, Kausthub has always treated me with great love and respect and I have always treated him like my younger brother. But that is not an excuse for me to remain blind and silent.
Today, many people like me feel disappointed, manipulated and a deep sense of despair. I am moving out. I may even be blamed and branded as an “unfaithful”, “ungrateful” student. You may even want to send me on a pilgrimage for the sacrilege I am committing by writing this letter. But I am writing this with the hope that some change will come, for the good of this Institution, your father’s teachings, your reputation and for Kausthub. I feel the future of this living tradition lies only in your hands, your discretion and fair judgment.
You may want to consider these suggestions:
- Taking moral responsibility for all that is happening (in the name of teacher-student relationship & “heart-to-heart” connection), you may want to consider whether Kausthub should continue as Executive Trustee. KYM is a 31 year-old healthy adult, well nourished by you and the excellent team of teachers and staff. KYM can continue independent of KHYF and evolve as a model Institute for this tradition.
- Evolve strict codes of conduct for all teachers and students of KHYF that has to be communicated to all the KHYF members. Very specific rules that cannot be twisted or turned in any manner by whomsoever concerned.
- Ensuring the one-to-one healing environment is absolutely safe for a female student if the mentor is a man.
- Demystifying the concept of “rituals” that is so much used and misused in this tradition.
- Contextualising healing – to happen only in class room situation.
- KHYF should have a Redressal Forum consisting of senior members of this tradition who have clean reputation, high level of honesty and integrity, who can address any issues brought to them by any member of the KHYF with fairness; where people can seek justice without fear.
Decentralisation can be the only solution if authority cannot be handled with responsibility and maturity.
These are only my humble suggestions. You may be aware that things have gone too far, and will take their own course. Before you take any action, you may want to reflect and see what you would do if any teacher belonging to KYM or KHYF is alleged of such a behaviour. As a person coming from this tradition, I would not want people to point fingers at you for following double standards.
I thank you for all the generosity and care you have showered on me through all these years. My path is now different; my conscience does not permit me to stay here any longer. I will continue to allow myself to be guided by the teachings and practices I have received from you Sir and remain, forever, grateful to you.
In deep gratitude,
July 24, 2007