I was born and raised in 3HO Sikh Dharma Kundalini Yoga, a religion / organization that I consider to be a cult.
When I was little, I remember being told that our group was superior from everybody else. We were told that we had been given a special ‘set of tools’ and a ‘technology’ for living in the world. But the reality was that we were being treated carelessly and casually like communal property. When I was seven I was child-swapped to an inexperienced, negligent and abusive couple. After that I was sent away, along with a group of other 3HO children to the GNFC boarding school in India. I was eight years old, and I was to live the rest of my childhood separated from my parents in a far away place under “guidance” of appointed members in 3HO and boarding school staff.
When I returned to the U.S. from the boarding school in India, I was expected to immediately cowtow to Yogi Bhajan and his inner circle. I was discouraged from college and told to work for $5/hr at one of the 3HO businesses. The routine reinforcement was that my life was not my own. I was expected to sacrifice my future for their mission.
So I left at age 18. Well, I was kinda kicked out. … like, a soft excommunication sort of. So without any help or support from my family, I set off to live my life the way I wanted to live it.
I have made an okay life for myself. But when I was in my thirties the early childhood and India memories just came flooding back. I started experiencing anxiety, sleeplessness, intrusive thoughts, and even panic. Turns out these are symptoms of PTSD. I called a Therapist for the first time and got help.
And then, I just decided to start writing. Sometimes my posts are polemical, while others are just about memory, or about the things that trigger a specific memory. Sometimes my posts are just a “rage pile” or a place to vent frustration.
As a survivor of this cult I feel it’s my responsibility to speak authentically to this experience. Simply put, it matters. And I take it seriously. Being honest is a form of optimism, and I will never give up hope, or my agency in my life, my future, or the futures of other survivors. I am happy with who I am today because I am a person that gets to experience the full breadth of what life has to offer. This is just one of the ways I choose to express myself.
Permissions and Usage:
This purpose of this website is to serve as a platform for survivor advocacy through personal story-telling. All written content on rishiknots.com is the sole expression, opinion and property of myself, the author and the respective guest blog authors, many of whom wish to be anonymous. No content or portion of this website may be borrowed or reproduced without the express written consent of the author(s) herein.