Thailand’s Agama yoga school to close after sexual assault asserts

Koh Phangan retreat will closed for restructuring after allegations, revealed in the Guardian, against its leader

The world’s biggest tantric yoga school has said it will close down until the end of the year after the Guardian published allegations by 14 females alleging rape and sexual abuse over a period of 15 years.

Sixteen former staff and pupils of the Agama school on the Thai island of Koh Phangan alleged in interviews with the Guardian that it facilitated rape, sexual assault and misogynist teaches at the hands of its leader Swami Vivekananda Saraswati, a Romanian whose real name is Narcis Tarcau.

The complainants be argued that hundreds of women were conditioned into believing that sexuality with Tarcau would heal them physically and spiritually.

The school says it is conducting an independent inquiry into the allegations. In a statement released days after the Guardian published the allegations, Agama said it” sincerely apologise[ s] once more for any damage that any Agama teacher may have caused” and announced that the committee “wouldve been” closing the school until December to carry out a “restructuring”.

Tarcau is understood to have left Koh Phangan in July, when several females went publicwith the allegations of abuse at Agama, and is no longer in Thailand. He could not be reached directly for comment.

In additional to the sexual assault accusations, the 16 former pupils and staff have also claimed that Tarcau convinced them of “dangerous” hypothesis which had long-term health implications, including that following Agama yoga teaches meant you would not get cancer, as well as actively condemning the use of condoms as they” interrupted the flow of energy” during sex.

Chlamydia was allegedly rife across the school, with multiple females saying they contracted the infection there. One female told the Guardian she spent more than PS2 00 on STI tests during her day at Agama.

Swami
Swami Vivekananda Saraswati, real name Narcis Tarcau. Photo: Retreat.Guru

Another, Nancy Miller, who was a educator at Agama, said she had procured a clump in her breast but did not follow it up.” I actually guessed’ I’m an Agama yogi, this is impossible’ so didn’t go to get the mammogram ,” she said. It was the discovery in 2012 that she did have breast cancer, which led her to have a mastectomy, that prompted her to sever ties with the school.

Agama refuted allegations its teachings had been damaging to students or that the school was a sex cult. It described the teachings of Agama as” the blending of traditional and modern, with a constant interest toward science and the new research on yoga and spirituality “.

” Information taken out of context can be distorted and construed in all possible ways according to individual interest ,” it said in a statement to the Guardian.” This is what we are presented in the allegations on our teachings with the intent of building in the eye of the public the image of a cult and destroy our school and business .”

Tarcau is also alleged to have asked devoted pupils for fund for projects which never materialised, specifically a haven in New Zealand for Agama after he had “prophesised” that the third world war would occur in August 2005.

One member recollects Tarcau asking pupils to pay an initial $300, and then another $700 to fund a group that had gone to New Zealand to set up a” safe place “. For those who took longer than a month to pay, they allege that the fee went up to $4,900.

Read more: www.theguardian.com

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