SSSC AOB Report Letter

Dear Members of the Sikh Dharma, 3HO and KRI Communities,
​Sat Nam. Early in 2020, multiple allegations concerning sexual misconduct by our founder Siri Singh Sahib Bhai Sahib Harbhajan Singh Khalsa Yogiji (Yogi Bhajan) came to light. As a non-profit religious organization with a commitment to high ethical standards, the Siri Singh Sahib Corporation (SSSC) took formal steps to address the allegations. We directed the formation of a Collaborative Response Team (CRT), which was tasked with responding to the allegations in a transparent and timely manner. The SSSC then commissioned an independent organization, An Olive Branch (AOB), to conduct an independent investigation into the allegations. As the allegations were made posthumously, efforts were made throughout the process to ensure that Yogi Bhajan’s students and supporters had the opportunity to speak on his behalf. Neither the SSSC, the CRT, nor any of our affiliate organizations have had any influence over An Olive Branch’s process or its report. The SSSC Board would like to express our deepest gratitude to An Olive Branch and to all who participated in this process.
We share the report here unedited and in its entirety. The investigation concluded that much of the alleged conduct more likely than not occurred. As described in more detail at the end of this letter, SSSC and its related organizations are taking immediate action to address the findings of the report, assist reporters of harm, and promote healing in our community.

The report is a difficult document to read. Please be aware that the report contains graphic descriptions of sexual misconduct and strong language that may trigger you as a reader. Please click here to read the report in its entirety. https://epsweb.org/aob-report-into-allegations-of-misconduct/

We hope the release of the report can advance the healing of those who experienced harm. As an organization, the SSSC is presented with many challenges as a result of the findings in the report, but please know that providing support for the reporters of harm will be our highest priority. As noted below, one of the steps we are taking to provide that support is to embark on a program of compassionate reconciliation based on principles of restorative justice. We will provide further details on this program as it is designed and implemented.

We acknowledge the reporters of harm for their bravery in sharing their experiences. We also acknowledge those who suffered harm but did not come forward to report their experiences. We extend our hearts and want to provide them a place of safety so healing can happen. The difficulty in reading the material in the report cannot compare to the experiences described by those who have reported harm. Their courage helps us all walk a path of truth, change, and reconciliation.

The SSSC has heard the voices from all segments of our community, and we thank you for your heartfelt and passionate expression. We have been present on the Khalsa Council and Listening Tour calls. We have conducted Zoom calls of our own to hear from the community. We have read and considered the emails, petitions, and text messages that we have received. We have in many instances made our best effort to respond to many of your questions and concerns through CRT communications and FAQs. However, we understand that the subject matter and gravity of this report is enormous and that strongly held viewpoints may remain and may not be amenable to rapid resolution. We accept and understand the magnitude of the task before us and, given the challenges that likely lie ahead, we accept and understand that it will take time, and all of us working together, to advance this mission.

We recognize that it will take time for ourselves, and for the members of our organizations and community, to absorb, process and integrate the implications of the report. While the teachings of Yogi Bhajan are valued and deeply appreciated around the globe, we understand that it may be difficult to reconcile the report’s findings with the man who inspired thousands during his lifetime. We seek a path forward that rebuilds the faith and trust of those who look to our organizations and teachings for upliftment and inspiration.

Rebuilding faith and trust requires us to take a close look at ourselves and our organizations. The conduct described in the report does not conform with the values of our organizations. The SSSC and all of its affiliated organizations stand united against sexual abuse and abuse of any type. As we move forward together, we do so with a zero-tolerance policy for any conduct that harms or exploits anyone. We are committed to creating and maintaining a safe environment for everyone who participates in any of our activities. The SSSC is committed to further strengthening the ethics, compliance, and enforcement policies and programs of our organizations and is taking steps to do so. All of our organizations take seriously our responsibilities to ensure a safe and respectful place for everyone who comes to learn about and practice the yogic and dharmic teachings that are the basis of our spirituality and the foundation of our communities.

Although the results of this investigation affect us deeply, both individually and collectively, the future of our community depends upon a clear understanding of our past. We recognize that the last few months have been very painful for members of the community and have resulted in a certain degree of polarization. Just as these allegations have created strong differences of opinion within the community, they also have created those same differences within the SSSC Board. Not every board member views An Olive Branch’s process or report the same way. Likewise, each person in our community will have his or her own response to the report.

We understand that the investigative process raised issues for many in our community. Some community members have been deeply concerned with elements of the process. The SSSC will shortly publish a letter which will comprehensively address those concerns. The report is the beginning of an effort to search for the truth about the history of our community. And there certainly will be much more work to be done in the future.

Many members of our global community have also expressed concern that these allegations happened decades ago, before their involvement in 3HO, KRI or Sikh Dharma. Many students and teachers have come into our organizations after Yogi Bhajan left his physical body in 2004. They have a powerful positive experience of the spiritual practices that Yogi Bhajan brought to the West and have built wonderful programs locally based on these teachings. We honor and respect that, as our community moves forward, the body of work he left behind will continue to be validated by people’s experience of the practice.

We also recognize that an entire generation lived, worked and served Yogi Bhajan directly. This Legacy generation built the foundation of our global community and of our organizations. The devotion and dedication of this group of people, over the decades, came from a genuine inspiration to do what they could to help make the world a healthier, happier and more elevated place. We recognize the path forward will need to honor their service while simultaneously re-examining the past and coming to a deeper understanding of it.

The SSSC is committed to creating an environment where all feel welcome to participate in the dialogue about the past and the future. By providing a safe space, we hope that community members with differing views will be able to talk and feel heard by one another. It is our prayer that our collective dialogue will illuminate the path to the future.

In beginning our healing process, we recognize that we have a lot of work to do, and we do not yet have all the answers. The steps we are taking to meet the challenge are as follows, and we invite the active participation of all community members in this process:

We are embarking on a program of Compassionate Reconciliation based on the proven principles of Restorative Justice. We are currently in the process of selecting a professional consultant to work with our global community, including reporters of harm, to design and implement such a program.
We are examining the totality of our policies and activities of all of our constituent organizations, events and teaching environments to ensure they live up to our stated values of being open, welcoming, respectful and safe for all.

The Office of Ethics and Professional Standards (EPS) recently engaged an external consultant to examine its policies and procedures to make sure they comply with industry best practices as EPS works to maintain the ethics and integrity of the 3HO communities, Kundalini Yoga Teachers, KRI Teacher Trainers, and Sikh Dharma International Ministers. The assessment is ongoing and we will implement any recommended changes.

We acknowledge and will continue to examine our past to understand what present changes need to be made. We will continuously assess the improvements we have made and make changes if necessary. Finally, we are committed to taking the necessary steps to ensure that our organizations provide safe and protective environments for all community members and respond appropriately and quickly if allegations of harm are reported.

We will also continue to reach out to our global community to provide spaces so that we can hear from the community and get feedback through the Listening Tour forums for discussion and healing, and create long term mechanisms to receive feedback. We are expanding our ability to hear more from the community.

The path forward for our community and organizations will take time to discover. It will require deep and authentic conversations across our global community. Please hold all those who have been harmed, the entire community and the future in your prayers. The consciousness of Guru Ram Das is within each and every one of us. We trust that Radiant Consciousness will continue to guide our collective steps forward.

Sincerely,
Siri Singh Sahib Corporation