'A yogi's requiem' (Link) appeared in the Los Angeles Times two weeks after Yogi Bhajan died from a heart attack at the age of 75 on October 6, 2004.
It includes many interesting stories even if some are outdated.
Bhajan’s legacy wasn’t immune to controversy. While many see him as a tireless missionary whose only goal was to serve humanity, others considered him a brilliant cult leader and masterful con man who lived the life of a rock star by exploiting his followers.
Over the years, Bhajan became a generous political donor to both parties and established strong ties to the New Mexico governorship. Richardson considered him a trusted advisor and loyal ally.
“Besides his wonderful spiritual side,” Richardson says, “there was a very pragmatic political operator who was always protective of his Sikh community.”
“People basically deferred their critical thinking to Yogi Bhajan and leaders of the group,” says cult expert Rick Ross, who has counseled former Bhajan devotees and has posted lawsuits filed against the yogi on his website. “The litany of complaints that have surrounded the group regarding abuse go back to the ‘70s: sexual, financial exploitation and allegations of child abuse. This is a group that has a deeply troubled history.”
Guru Jot Singh Khalsa, who managed Bhajan’s Virginia ashram, and Guru Jot’s son-in-law Albert Ellis, were convicted for importing tons of marijuana into the U.S. from Thailand during the 1980s. Guru Jot entered an Alford plea, which meant he admitted no guilt, but acknowledged the prosecution could likely prove its case.
Mark Baker, once the director of training for Bhajan’s Akal Security -- which guards airports, federal courts and military installations -- sued the yogi for intentionally misleading government officials to keep Baker from becoming a New Mexico state trooper when he suspected the drug trafficking. His case was settled out of court.
Be aware that these are only fragments of the truth.
Many more stories are out there, told and untold.
Telling these stories is needed. It is a prerequisite for justice and reconciliation.
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