With the shocking public revelation of sexual abuse by Swami Vishnudevananda, founder of Sivananda Yoga Organization, by Julie Salter, a former Executive Board Member herself, the time is now to make sweeping changes to the internal structure of the organization.
Since its inception, the organization has faced numerous charges of sexual, mental, and emotional abuses by its followers. More details are now finally being revealed about Swami Mahadevananda, also a former EBM member and former Senior Acharya for the organization's largest and most profitable 'ashram' in the Bahamas and his disturbing sexual misconduct with numerous women. These allegations were dismissed by the EBM over a decade ago. (See: Project Satya Investigation Report #1)
Also coming to light are the disturbing details of yet another EBM member and Senior Acharya of Sivananda Organization's headquarters in Canada, Prahlad, who is facing allegations of sexual misconduct with a child during the Ashram's youth programs.
Yet despite widespread reports of abuse of power, sexual misconduct, and abusing actions in general, no major changes have occurred because the abusers have been either committed by or enabled by the Executive Board members themselves. Without reforms made to this inner circle, these extreme abuses of power will only continue to plague the organization. Its executive members operate without oversight, without being elected, without term limits and without clear guidelines to the reach of their absolute power over its devotees. Enough is enough.
Evolving the organization in a positive direction can only begin with proper leadership. Leadership that the EBM has failed to provide. It is time to formally demand the resignation those who have abused and/or allowed these abuses and coverups to continue. The following are five clear and decisive actions to facilitate the beginnings of proper change and allow the teachings of Yoga to continue in a proper manner.
1. Formal resignation of EBM members.
2. Dissolution of the Exective Board
3. Election of new committee that has clear guidelines, term limits, and better represents and protects the Sivananda community
4. Continue independent investigations into the allegations of abuse and sexual misconduct by Swami Vishnu and former EBM members.
5. Reforming the karma yoga and residential program. Using unpaid volunteers to work 7 days a week, 12 hours a day is indentured servitude, not selfless service.
May Truth and Peace Prevail
Om Tat Sat