Allegations against Nanak Dev Singh
As a result of the new findings and investigations about Yogi Bhajan, many speak up, and thank God, a wide variety of issues become clear that have so far been kept secret and also covered up. Independent investigations of such statements are now pending. Many Kundalini Yogis, who simply used the techniques and knew nothing about all of this, realize that such statements should have been listened to long ago, and should have long been honestly checked for their truthfulness. The truth has many facets and layers; So far we have unfortunately heard too many positive ones in 3HO; now the narrative turns into the opposite, and we have to start sorting who says what, and what motivates them to such statement. Of course, among current publications we also find those that present all negative, possibly exaggerated allegations ever stated, at face value. A differentiated, true picture will only emerge over time.
Now, allegations have also been made against my late gong teacher, Nanak Dev Singh Khalsa. It is said that he maltreated adolescents as a moody teacher in an Indian boarding school to which children of the Kundalini Yoga community were sent in the 1970s. This was supposedly done in an already often strict, disciplinary and humiliating atmosphere of this school, which certainly did not meet Western educational standards, not even then. A particularly drastic story does not come from the person concerned, but from third parties.
The fact that there seems to be reason for such stories makes me very sad and confused. I very much hope that these claims will be cleared up, along with all the other reports that have emerged from the Kundalini Yoga community. It is very important that these stories are taken seriously. I hope that those affected, and direct eyewitnesses, will have their say. May the truth of all sides come to light.
If only I could ask Nanak Dev Singh directly about it! I remember that he mentioned the time in that school. He must have been in his late twenties, still living very much under Yogi Bhajan's authority, who sent him to India for this purpose overnight. Without wanting to downplay anything: he to my knowledge did not have any pedagogical training, but was an athlete and seeker of meaning. I should think that an overwhelming system, in which a person was offhandedly installed somewhere, plays a role in the narrative (but of course completely unclear for the children in his care). So were the children overwhelmed, many of whom had been sent away from their parents far too early. I still remember how Nanak told us that he was very relieved to have discovered teaching them Gatka (martial arts) in order to be able to offer the children a helpful tool for orientation and development.
In many of my own stories, in my flyers, notices and this website, I have repeatedly referred to Nanak Dev Singh, who was a very important teacher to me; from whom I learned all the basics for my work with the gong (apart from my psychotherapeutic knowledge) and also a lot of wisdom. He was a father figure to me and I loved him very much (no, without sexual component). The above reports are so gross that as a healer, after erasing Yogi Bhajan's name, I will also be taking references to Nanak out of my publications. Unlike with Yogi Bhajan, it is hard: like this, he is somewhat dying a second time for me. Nevertheless, I keep all good memories and inspirations in my heart. Nanak never asked me to call my gong meditations "as taught by Nanak Dev Singh"; on the contrary, he wanted me to teach through my personality and to be an open channel for the flow of energy.
At the time when I knew him (since 2001), Nanak never claimed, or had the air of, being a saint. I knew him as completely unpretentious, direct, human. In his late years, he was very committed to healing traumas, especially wounds from childhood. The Gong Rebirthing concept, which he taught us the year before he left his body, was especially designed for this. I hope, if the above reports are true, that he has been able to achieve some balance.
Immediately after hearing about these stories, I turned to Nanak's widow. She feels similar to me: In the 70s, she was not there and cannot know what actually happened. So she cannot rule it out. She does mention how Nanak painfully put away delusions and idealizations from that time. And nonetheless, the narrative does not match the personality she later knew in him. The two have no common children; but she writes to me that she would have entrusted her children to him any time. And she does not regret a minute that she has spent with him. She also sends me good wishes: may my students never put me on a pedestal; because it is difficult to live up to idealistic ideas, since we all have our shadows.
For my work with the gong, I no longer need to refer to a teacher, but exclusively and directly to the truth and infinity. 'The truth', Nanak said in his last year on the European Yoga Festival stage, 'is the only force that is stronger than time. Because it outlasts the times. So you better become a person of truth.'
May the truth be revealed. May we all stand up for knowledge and truth. May we disclose the motivations for our words and for our actions, to the best of our knowledge. May old wounds heal.