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Yogi Resigns After Admission of Affairs

>From News India Times (From MNS)

      Yogi Resigns After Sex Scandal


       LENOX, Massachusetts: A world famous Indian spiritual leader
       who advocated celibacy,  resigned as the spiritual head of a
       yoga center October 31 after admitting that he engaged in at
       least three extramarital affairs with followers.

       Yogi Amrit Desai, the 62-year-old saffron robe clad founder
       of the Kripalu Yoga Center, stepped down from the position
       of the Spiritual Director at the urging of the board of
       directors. Also known as "Gurudev," Desai agreed to publicly
       acknowledge his inappropriate behavior and to pay for any
       therapeutic help the women might need, according to commune

       Desai, who is married and has three children and two
       grandchildren, "confessed to the board that he had sexual
       relationships with three female commune members at various
       times between 1974 and 1986," Jonathan Foust, interim public
       relations director, told News India-Times.
       "Gurudev," who condones sex only within marriage had
       voluntarily taken a much publicized vow of celibacy to set
       an example for his followers. Spiritual devotees, in the
       grounds of the set in the picturesque Berkshire Mountains,
       western Massachusetts, were disturbed by the news. Many
       followers had also taken the vow of celibacy, encouraged by
       the master, as a way to focus energies on yoga and to learn
       the art of self-containment.

       "My first reaction was shock," said Foust, who remained
       celibate for what he described as "difficult" six years
       before he married four years ago. "I felt betrayed because
       celibacy is no easy practice," he added.

       "He had been teaching very strict standards around celibacy
       since the very beginning, so he essentially went against the
       teachings of the fellowship," said Michael Risen, Kripalu's
       president and chief operating officer.           Foust told
       this weekly that one of the women with whom Desai had been
       involved was the center's former chief executive officer who
       resigned  a year ago. "Gurudev" also had a two-year affair
       with another woman staff member and a brief relationship
       with a third. Two of the women came forward and went to the
       board last month.

       The yogi acknowledging the allegations as being true arrived
       at a decision with the board to give up his $150,000 a year
       job. A news release issued by the commune stated that the
       decision was based on "Gurudev's years of silence and
       denial, the suffering of the women involved, impact on the
       families of the women involved and the undue accusations
       made against one of the women who had the courage to speak."
                In a public confession Desai asking for forgiveness
       and prayers from his followers said, "I deeply regret any
       suffering I have caused to the people directly involved and
       the Kripalu family. This has been a time of deep self-
       reflection. It is the integrity of our community and our
       commitment to truth that has allowed the process of healing
       to begin. I am deeply grateful to the board and the Kripalu
       community for sustaining an environment of trust, compassion
       and honesty."

       The former spiritual leader is currently taking time off
       from the center with his family. Asked if the yogi will be
       expelled from the community itself, Foust said that he could
       not speculate on the issue. "Right now Gurudev is taking
       time for self-reflection and sadhana. I cannot say anything
       beyond that because I do not know what is going to happen
       next," he said.           The 320-acre ashram  was founded
       by Desai in 1972 and now has an annual budget of $8 million.
       With 275 residents Kripalu Center provides refuge for 14,000
       meditation-seeking guests each year.

       Risen said Kripalu which has a network of about 200
       certified teachers in 25 countries teaching yoga will be
       affected by the scandal. But he expressed confidence that
       the center will be able to weather the controversy and
       continue its programs on routine.          Calling itself
       "the largest residential facility for holistic health and
       education in North America, the center offers weeklong stays
       at the ashram for $240 to $540. The stay includes "high
       energy dance kinetics with beating drums, intense yoga
       sessions and all-you-can-eat vegetarian fare.

       Even though the future relationship of the yogi with the
       center is undetermined, the board said that it "has no
       intention of repudiating Gurudev as a teacher and he will
       always be our founder."

       In a statement to the members of the commune the board
       stated, "Your personal relationship with Gurudev will be
       based on your personal choice. The mutual agreement only
       involves his resignation from his formal role as Spiritual

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