When Kausthub Desikachar was accused of shocking sexual abuse by multiple students over multiple years and multiple locations, a key tool he was reported to have used was teachings on the granthis. Granthis are supposed to be knots or blockages in energy.
Quoting ancient texts (likely incorrectly) and claiming authority from Krishnamacharya, he is alleged to have used “granthi treatment” to forcefully physically abuse women in a sexual manner.
“A woman of a European country: She has a history of abuse and had lost her parents in a young age. She is at the seminar in Austria with her 15-month old baby. In a private class he forces her to believe that her parents had been killed by a spirit and that the spirit is still lurking around and would affect her and would come to take the child. He tells her that her husband is not good for her and unsuited to deal with this, but he, Kausthub would be able to heal her and remove the spirit. He cajoles her into submitting to a long “granthi” treatment where he presses the feet and the belly with his fingers. The treatment gives her excruciating pain. At the end of it, he puts his tongue violently into her so that she almost gets choked. During the rest of the seminar session he calls her repeatedly into his room with pretexts and tries repeatedly to kiss her and force her into submitting to his sexual approaches.”
“A woman of USA : During a private teaching session he performs a “granthi” treatment on her. She has writhing pain but trusts that he is doing something beneficial for her. At the end of the painful treatment he embraces her and kisses her on the mouth before she leaves his room. A few days later she develops massive convulsions. He repeatedly maintains that she has been sexually abused as a child, probably by someone very close to her like her father. She tells him numerous times that there was nothing of that sort in her history that she remembers, but he continues, “Come on, own up, you have many signs of someone who was sexually abused, be honest about it, tell me what happened.” Kausthub talks about his opinion to others in the group without her permission.”
This was in 2012.
In just a few years, Kausthub Desikachar is back to talking about granthis (the video below was posted by the KHYF in April 2017 to their official YouTube channel):
From the video:
“So, granthis can actually locate itself in any part of the body depending on the nature of the same. Now, all these are very important parts of yoga but have not been really understood by many people especially in the modern era because many people in the modern era relate to yoga purely from a physical form and therefore ignore the energetic forms of yogic practices. Whereas, a closer look at some of the older yoga texts and the older yoga teachings very clearly reveal that energetic knots are very important parts of the yoga’s practices to address them, to look at them, understand them and actually reduce them so that we can become much more free, we can become much more spontaneous in our life. So, to understand where the granthis are today, we need to have good training from competent teachers who understand these practices. Yoga suffers from two extremes of practitioners. One are practitioners who are very physical in nature and the other extreme is those who are very superficial and very flaky. So, we need to find a balance to go and look for genuine honest practitioners who understand the science of energetic part of yoga. There are fewer and fewer such practitioners and it is my hope that through proper guidance many more will embrace this remarkable and subtle aspect of yoga.”
Kausthub Desikachar is now teaching on the same topics again, implying that he is an expert in this topic of granthis, and that these are a “remarkable and subtle aspect of yoga.”
Why would any teacher with a history of numerous allegations of sexual abuse by his students promote, praise, and teach the same topics that he was accused of using for his sexual abuse?
What would an ethical teacher who cared for the safety of his students and the reputation of yoga do? One would expect that he would stay far away from such topics for the rest of his career.
So, why does Kausthub Desikachar return to this in just a few years?
Is he unable to stop himself?
Do you think this is safe or ethical? Do you support this?