At Hridaya, we valued Agama for its teachings on Hatha Yoga, kundalini shakti, yoga therapy, and spiritual traditions such as Kashmir Shaivism. This doesn’t mean that we agreed with the sexual misconduct and abuse of which Agama is now accused. While there were people who had uplifting experiences there, there were also many shadows that have now become very obvious.
Any form of aggression or manipulation of women is a very serious violation of authentic spirituality. Additionally, in yoga, the grasping for power is traditionally seen as a significant obstacle to spiritual evolution. We consider that Self-Enquiry is not only a very potent path to Self-realization but also an effective tool for purifying such tendencies. It is a way of witnessing any energy arising from yoga practice and detaching from egoistic tendencies.
If even one of the accusations that were recently made about Swami Vivekananda and Agama is true, this is a very serious issue. We express our support and compassion for the suffering of these women. While the Hridaya vision of sexuality and women is totally different from that in which such situations arose, we apologize for any confusion that could appear through the relationship that existed between Hridaya and Agama. If any inappropriate behaviors or disrespect towards women were expressed in Hridaya as well, we deeply regret this and are willing to support and assist anyone in need.
Going forward, we will be very vigilant not to allow such tendencies in our school. To support this, we are updating our sexual behavior guidelines for teachers and administrative staff to reinforce the Hridaya values and try to eliminate the potential for misconduct and suffering. We are also updating the Hridaya Yoga Vision on Tantra and Sexuality to more clearly express these concerns.
We have created a “Sacred, Safe Space” in which a woman who is a long-time member of the community and has the spiritual maturity to manage such situations will be available to confidentially receive any information, complaints, or requests for support or guidance in relation to sexual misconduct, and channel and respond to these requests accordingly. We trust that through empathy, care, love, Self-Enquiry, and opening our souls to each other, our traumas and suffering can gradually be healed and dissolved in the purity of the Spiritual Heart.
From any mistake, one may learn how to transform for the better. The Hridaya Community should place great value on taking care of such aspects so that our school will more and more be a real realm of sacredness, spiritual aspiration, trust, safety, purity, and love.