Dear members of the 3HO community,
In March of this year, an independent investigation was initiated into allegations of sexual misconduct by Yogi Bhajan. This investigation was conducted by a neutral, third-party organization called An Olive Branch, and was not managed or influenced by any of the organizations founded by Yogi Bhajan. The sole purpose of the investigation was to seek the truth. An Olive Branch has since gathered accounts from nearly 300 witnesses, maintaining the confidentiality of all, including those supporting allegations as well as those refuting them.
In full transparency, we share this detailed report with you today. The findings are deeply disturbing and challenge many of the assumptions we carried about Yogi Bhajan. We at 3HO stand with all who are shocked and saddened by the findings of this report. We commend the courage of those who came forward and are grateful to them for bringing this truth to light. As difficult as it may be to assimilate this information, it provides an opportunity to confront the shadows of the past and to consciously serve the needs of the future.
As revealed in this report, the actions of Yogi Bhajan directly contradict his own stated values, the principles upon which this organization is founded, and the basic human right to integrity and respect. 3HO Foundation condemns these actions on the part of our founder.
Yogi Bhajan was a revered spiritual teacher and guide for countless people. His words and teachings inspired many, which makes this even more difficult and confusing to process. The techniques of Kundalini Yoga have proven profound, inspirational, and life-changing for people around the world. At the same time, the image that many held of him has been shattered, and his actions caused pain and damage for many of our brothers and sisters, spiritual family and friends.
It will take time and work to process this challenging news and heal our collective pain. While we have put measures in place over the years to prevent and respond to abusive behavior, we remain committed to a thorough evaluation of our organizational policies and practices to ensure that our community is one where every individual feels safe, heard, and respected.
We believe our responsibility at 3HO is to boldly confront the wrongs of the past, and to work alongside you to create a future we all can believe in. What we gain from this is the empowerment and freedom to create a new future for Kundalini Yoga, not tethered to one individual, but shaped by our collective power.
We cannot undo the past, nor can we undo the actions of a man we trusted as a spiritual teacher and guide. We can, however, commit to transforming our organizations so that we truly embody our core values.
No matter how flawed the personal actions of Yogi Bhajan might have been, we believe in the power of the people who practice Kundalini Yoga to bring change, healing, and a path from doubt and confusion to clarity and authentic awareness. We are here to do our part.
From the bottom of our hearts, we thank you for being an essential and heartful part of this community. We are holding each other through this challenge, walking hand in hand toward the light of a new paradigm - one where each voice is valued for the wisdom it brings to the whole.
Please click here to read the report in its entirety. Please be aware that the report is a difficult document to read, and contains graphic descriptions of sexual misconduct and strong language that may trigger you as a reader.
Actions Being Taken
3HO is here to hold the space for healing and understanding, with complete respect for wherever you are in your personal process. We have scheduled a number of sessions over the coming weeks to assist us in processing difficult emotions, and centering the heart of the community that brought us together. We have planned for listening circles, Q&A sessions, and forums through which you can share your thoughts with us as we work to implement change at the systemic level.
Visit www.3HO.org/listening-tour for the most up-to-date information and schedule of events.
Information & Processing Sessions
These calls, co-hosted by 3HO and KRI, are an opportunity to hear about the report released by An Olive Branch about the allegations toward Yogi Bhajan. There will be small group shares and check-ins, a short presentation explaining the process used by An Olive Branch to determine their findings, and time for questions and answers with a panel of representatives from 3HO, KRI, and 3HO Europe. Visit www.3HO.org/listening-tour to sign up for a call and see the full schedule of upcoming sessions
Our organizations are embarking on a program of Compassionate Reconciliation based on proven principles of Restorative Justice. We are currently in the process of selecting a professional consultant to work with our global community, including reporters of harm, to design and implement such a program.
Professional and confidential counseling has been made available to any individuals reporting harm from the reported misconduct. https://www.concernhealth.com
Ethics and Professional Standards
We are committed to taking steps to ensure that our organization provides safe and protective environments for all community members, and responds appropriately and quickly if allegations of harm are reported.
The Office of Ethics and Professional Standards was established in 2014 to address ethical, environmental, or professional difficulties within the Teaching Community. This office has recently engaged an external consultant to examine its policies and procedures to ensure that they are in compliance with industry best practices as EPS works to maintain the ethics and integrity of the 3HO community and Kundalini Yoga Teachers. This assessment is ongoing.
If you have experienced misconduct by a teacher of Kundalini Yoga or are facing other ethical challenges, you can contact the 24/7 helpline below, or visit the EPS website to know your rights and receive assistance.
24/7 Helpline: 1.888.805.4888.
If you have further questions or thoughts, you can reach us at [email protected]
3HO Foundation International
5/27/21 3HO Releases 2020 Annual Report
2020 brought challenges none of us could have ever imagined. As difficult as these challenges have been for our organization both financially and emotionally, we recognize that this has been a precious time and a chance to re-envision the future, to redefine and align with the core values of our organization, and to create new pathways forward. We invite you to read more and connect with us in our 2020 Annual Report.
4/2/21 Update from Just Outcomes
We are happy to provide this biweekly update on our work with the 3HO, Kundalini Yoga and Sikh Dharma communities. For background about the Compassionate Reconciliation Project, please feel free to visit the project website here. Thank you for your time and interest in reading this update.
A Word About Trust
One of the opportunities of Compassionate Reconciliation is to build (or re-build) relationships of trust. In this update we would like to explore the issue of trust, which can be simply defined as a belief in the reliability and integrity of others.
The surfacing of varied experiences of harm within your community has brought about deeply painful questions about trust for a great many people. For some this is a crisis of trust in Yogi Bhajan/Siri Singh Sahib as a spiritual teacher. For others it is about trust in organizational leadership, or in the foundational norms of the community. Some have experienced a crisis of trust at an interpersonal level: among Sangat members, co-workers, friends, and within families. Many are sitting with inner conflict and unsure about what to trust within themselves.
For some, the crisis of trust occurred long before this current moment. They have long awaited signals and actions from the community and its organizations that could signify a recognition of, and reckoning with, harms that occurred in the community. Others have left the community on their own accord or have experienced being compelled to leave.
In this context there are naturally many questions about the trustworthiness of the Compassionate Reconciliation process itself. Whose interests is it meant to advance? Is it really intended for authentic dialogue and change? Will it privilege harmony over meaningful justice? Will I/we be silenced or have a voice? read more here
4/1/21 3HO 2021 Online Events Calendar
Since we can't host our events in person because of the Covid-19 pandemic, we're offering lots of great events online. In addition to Summer and Winter Solstices and the Spring and Fall Equinoxes, we're offering themed one-day workshops that focus on areas of special interest.
Life is busy. And that's why we wanted to be sure to let you know in advance about all of our amazing upcoming events. We are passionate about each one of these donation-based offerings and we hope you will be too! These events are being planned to help support your yoga practice, cultivate community, and promote healthy living all year long. see the calendar here
2/4/21 3HO Update
Sat Nam 3HO Community,
We are all on a journey of powerful transition and change. This year brought with it a global pandemic, the cancellation of our live events, and the shattering reports of sexual misconduct by our founder, Yogi Bhajan.
We would like to inform you of how 3HO is navigating these challenges, responding to the independent investigation and report of the sexual misconduct, and moving forward in the wake of it all. As difficult as it has been, we're starting to respect this time as a precious chance to re-envision the future.
● 3HO believes in the legitimacy of the investigation conducted by An Olive Branch. We carefully considered and researched the concerns about An Olive Branch's qualifications and agree with our sister organizations that it was the appropriate organization for the job. You are welcome to read the detailed explanation of An Olive Branch's qualifications and process here.
● 3HO accepts the report's finding that "it is more likely than not that Yogi Bhajan engaged in several types of sexual misconduct and abused his power as a spiritual leader."
● We stand in support of all who reported harm, and with those who may have been impacted yet have chosen not to come forward at this point. We are joining our sister organizations in hiring an independent organization to conduct a process of Compassionate Reconciliation. The process will be specifically tailored to those who have reported harm related to sexual misconduct by Yogi Bhajan, to our second generation who attended our schools and programs for children, and to the larger 3HO community.
● We are committed to increasing the diversity of our Board of Directors so that it is representative of the global 3HO community. We are actively interviewing prospective board members that represent the very people we need to hear from, learn from, and engage. We recognize the need to make our board more inclusive of the BIPOC, LGBTQIA, and international communities specifically, and we wish that we had done so sooner.
● We do not plan to erase Yogi Bhajan, but to present a historical representation of him as the founder of 3HO. He is no longer the figurehead and moral compass of our organization. This change will be reflected in all our communications, including our website and social media channels.
● We are looking forward to revealing in the near future a project that has been in the works for quite some time-- an entirely new website which will center on Kundalini Yoga and our community, rather than Yogi Bhajan. We believe in the power of Kundalini Yoga, and we believe in this community. The practice will not change, but our viewpoint will.
● We are working with a team of editors to cross-reference and corroborate the teachings of Yogi Bhajan with the rest of the yogic world. Our intention is to find the scientific overlap, and verification for that which we know from experience to be true. When possible, we believe it will be helpful to have evidence, not just Yogi Bhajan's word.
We do accept the findings of the report by An Olive Branch and do not condone the behaviors of Yogi Bhajan that were described in the report. We applaud the courage and resilience of the survivors of harm and are committed to supporting their healing. In light of the report's findings, we are working hard to make personal and organizational changes so that our identity reflects the power of the practices and the community. We welcome your questions, concerns, and we thank you for your understanding as we undergo this transition.
Finally, we are committed to remaining as objective as possible. Because the information in the report has hit each of us in such unbelievably personal ways, we thought it could be helpful to hear directly from Pritpal Kaur, the CEO of 3HO, as to how she has been navigating these difficult times. Teachers around the globe are sharing their personal statements in the wake of the AOB report. Here is hers.
From Pritpal Kaur, CEO, 3HO International:
To the 3HO community
These last nine months have been some of the most challenging and most illuminating times of my life. Like so many of you, a solid foundation that I had stood on for so many years has shown deep cracks. It has left me questioning many aspects of my life.
My experience with the practice of Kundalini Yoga began 50 years ago. It had been a way of life and practice for me that seemed to be almost idyllic. Soon after I began my practice I met Yogi Bhajan for the first time. He was a giant of a personality. I soon immersed myself in the Kundalini lifestyle and community. It has been my home, my journey and my spiritual path for most of my life.
Nine months ago, when the allegations of sexual abuse by Yogi Bhajan began to surface, I was deeply shocked and it rocked me to my core. At first I disbelieved that any of this could be true. I wanted to turn away from these stories. I did not want anything to shake what I saw to be a perfect way of life. And then, I heard the stories of abuse from people whom I dearly respect, love and trust.
Like many others, I held Yogi Bhajan on a pedestal of perfection. That facade of perfection is no longer a reality for me.
It has all been so difficult to reconcile. How could a man who shared such amazing teachings and powerful practices that have helped to transform so much darkness into light for so many, have used his power to cause harm?
It has taken me many months of processing to arrive at a sacred space of my personal truth. Kundalini Yoga and Shabd Guru are a lifeline of my life. I will hold onto the experience of consciousness awakening that they bring to me and so many others. Teaching, sharing and celebrating these technologies is a gift that I will embrace now and into the future.
What my psyche has experienced over these last nine months is a rebirth, a paradigm shift, a letting go. It has been hard work to dismantle years of deification of a man whose words and actions I revered. I will continue to recognize the great gifts and wisdom he shared with me and thousands of others through his teachings. I also will not be afraid to speak out in support of those who have reported being harmed by him.
One of the greatest joys that I have had in my life has been to serve this community of Kundalini Yogis around the world. You are an incredible light to me. I recognize that not everyone shares my beliefs or my views. To each person in 3HO, I open my heart in love, service and respect. My views and my experiences are mine. I honor each of you for your truth and what you hold as sacred.
It will take our collective wisdom and courage to craft and navigate the way forward. It is a blessing to serve together and I value each of your voices in this challenging time.
Pritpal Kaur Khalsa
Independent Investigation Findings
Dear Members of the 3HO Community,
In March of this year, an independent investigation was initiated into allegations of sexual misconduct by Yogi Bhajan. This investigation was conducted by a neutral, third-party organization called An Olive Branch, and was not managed or influenced by any of the organizations founded by Yogi Bhajan. The sole purpose of the investigation was to seek the truth. Read more here.
In the wake of the heartache and hardship that’s challenged our community as of late, 3HO is hosting a Listening Tour, with a series of calls to facilitate brave spaces for community dialogue, emotional processing, and sharing. As we begin to envision the future of Kundalini Yoga, we call upon the wisdom of the global sangat to heal as we process together and initiate this change.
Please visit www.3HO.org/listening-tour to participate and for more details.
Social Justice Resources
We Must Do Better
As a predominantly white organization, 3HO acknowledges the culture of white privilege and implicit bias that has existed within our community. We are now doing the deep work necessary to change—to raise awareness and educate ourselves and our 3HO community in support of anti-racism and social justice. Our hope is that by sharing these resources, we can help to inspire our spiritual community to join us as we work towards a world of true equality, equity and justice for all. https://www.3ho.org/anti-racism
As members of a spiritual community, we place a high value on righteous action and truthful living. We are committed to upholding these principles, in practice and policy, at all levels of our organizations and to strengthen our organization to meet these commitments. Our goal is to seek the truth and move toward healing. We open our hearts and prayers for justice and healing for all people.
There have been allegations concerning sexual misconduct by Yogi Bhajan. The Collaborate Response Team (CRT) was recently formed by the SSS Corporation to follow the best practices for organizations receiving such allegations. This involves respecting and listening to reporters of harm, witnesses, and those who refute them. As a result, the CRT has hired An Olive Branch to investigate the allegations. Additionally, the CRT has developed a program to provide counseling for those who report harm. Information can be found at www.ssscresponseteam.org and on the FAQ page.