SGA Stores: An Open Letter

Dear Community,

Like many of you, I’ve been really shocked at all the truth that has come out recently in our community. I’ve started to realize that although our community has some really wonderful people in it, I feel like it has big and widespread flaws that began with YB but definitely haven’t stopped with his death. From reading posts on these Facebook pages and also from seeing our community’s more recent history regarding some of its “famous” teachers I’ve started to see that, thanks to all of you who have had the courage to share your stories. I feel it’s important that we see things for what they are, and for our community to move forward we need to acknowledge our past and have the courage and willpower to change what needs to be changed.

To give some context I’d like to point out that all of us who attended MPA or the other schools, and were brought up the way we were, we were taught in one way or another to revere these teachers such as YB and all the other “Big Names”. Somehow, even people who didn’t grow up the way we did, are still to this day idolizing some of the current “teachers”. I remember at the time I was at school in India, that I too really greatly looked up to these teachers, such as Yogi Bhajan and many of the other teachers who frequently visited. 

One of the years I was there I obtained a set of files, (in theory, of only YB video lectures) that were being passed around a lot of students and probably other people who weren’t from the school also. I wanted to take the opportunity of having more of the teachings and I was one of the many who got these files. Little did I know, they came with more than what I was expecting. I found that out a while after having the files on my computer. While I was searching around I discovered something mixed within them that started to shatter this delusion that we were imprinted with of the “saint teachers”, which are at best flawed human beings like everyone else, and at worst, as we have seen; sociopaths, abusers, rapists and con artists. It’s a tough process to go through, especially after all that we were taught to believe for such a long time. Overall it’s an incredibly disheartening thing to come to terms with. I’ve been struggling with this, as probably many of you have.

What I found was a screenshot, an image of a computer’s desktop, and of an open Skype conversation window. In the main image of the conversation (i.e. from the computer the screenshot was taken from) was a fully naked, sitting woman, her face and body completely visible. Her Skype name unfortunately completely identified her as well. In the small image within the Skype frame (i.e the image of the person who took the screenshot) was an image of a man from his gray beard down and also with a naked chest. I don’t recall if he was wearing kacheras or not. Both were sitting in cross legged positions. 

From this image a few things stood out.

First, the fact that from the size of the main image in Skype we can deduce who was responsible for taking the screenshot. The man was.
Second, as you’d expect from someone who knew the image was being taken, they hid their face, one can assume with the objective of not exposing themselves. The woman unfortunately was completely exposed.
Third, the person who kept the image (we can only speculate why they kept it) was responsible for it spreading around to probably many people (basically anyone who copied those files). They were careless at the expense of this woman’s image, honor, and reputation.
Fourth, the rest of what showed up in the desktop of that computer pointed at to whose computer it was and therefore who was responsible for taking said image. Many files on the desktop were organizational files for the Re Man course, and, as all of the MPA senior students knew from experience, the Re Man course was led by none other than ▊▊▊▊ ▊▊▊ ▊▊▊▊▊ SNR. 

Following that clue, I searched around Facebook and my own images from the Re Man Course to try and establish who it was for sure. The first thing, although not really substantial evidence, is that to me the beard in the screenshot and in the images of ▊▊▊▊ ▊▊▊ SNR from his Facebook page seemed to match. But a lot of 3HO men have/had at that time gray beards.. Since I had the name and could see the face of the woman, I did find more about her that reinforced my suspicion, but unfortunately I cannot say more about that as details relating to her could expose her further. I also don’t have the image anymore and would never think of spreading it around, unless any and all that would identify the woman would be blacked out, but unfortunately I thought about this only now, many years after having deleted the image. At the time, I believed that by deleting the image I was protecting her reputation.

What I found was deeply disturbing. At the time I didn’t have the understanding I now do to recognize how wrong it was, and I feel ashamed about the fact that I remember thinking of it as “it can’t have been something that was forced upon her” and “to happen like that it must be with consent”. Now my eyes have been opened by the disturbing truth that has come out about our community and its founder. Especially after reading the AOB report, something that stuck out for me was the statement that was made about consent: for there to be true consent, both parties have to be of equal standing. The way that these teachers have been framed in our 3HO society as “great spiritual teachers” makes it so that there cannot ever be true consent (this was a real eye opener for me regarding what I’m about to discuss). Besides that, the fact that any sexual interaction with their students is a complete hypocrisy of what they have been teaching. 

So in realizing this, I’ve been waiting for someone to bring up the truth about this one teacher (although I’m sure there are others), following the pattern that has been taking place. But I recognize that since I have this information, some might even still have this information with them but have not come forward, since these files had been passed around through a couple of circles without restriction. I believe it’s my responsibility to step up since I feel this way, and hopefully others will recognize this responsibility as well. Even if late, I guess it’s better than never. I feel regretful that it’s taken me this long to come to terms with this as it was/is difficult, but I guess I needed the AOB report to come through in order to recognize certain things. 

Having an interaction with someone in that way, with complete carelessness, disregard, and ultimately exposing a woman like that, is not okay. As we have seen, there is a pattern of this type of behavior in our community. It wasn’t a “one time thing”, a “one teacher thing”, a “one student thing”. It’s not even an “only our community thing”. I feel the only hope is to expose this sort of behavior so it does not repeat. 

I take my inspiration in writing this from all of those who have come forward bringing up these facts, for giving yourselves the power of truth. I admire You, I admire Your courage. And if anyone reads this who knows about said file let us know, if anyone has more accounts with suspected teacher or other teachers let’s deeply listen to them. We need to recognize. We need change. We need to free people from the delusions that have led them to idolize and deify these “spiritual teachers”. My heart goes out to all of you.

A note from Rishiknots:
The writer of this letter has requested to remain anonymous. But has consented to commenting. Please comment if you have information about this particular incident. I’ve made the decision to redact the name of the person of interest, for liability purposes only.