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Ashram Shambala


News Summaries from ICSA Periodicals

Child-abuse Royal Commission: Children lived in fear of yoga ashram leader

“The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has examined the handling of complaints made against the former spiritual leader of the Satyananda Yoga Ashram, at Mangrove Mountain on the New South Wales Central Coast, Swami Akhandananda Saraswati, and his former partner Shishy. The allegations were made over a period of 40 years and related to sexual abuse that occurred in the 1970s and 1980s. During public hearings in October 2014, six survivors each called for a $1 million compensation payment… The ashram is now called Mangrove Yoga, having previously traded as the Satyananda Yoga Academy. The commission said the case study would help identify the potential problems with power imbalances involving a charismatic leader at an isolated institution; the isolation of children from their parents and the community, and meeting the needs of survivors of child sexual abuse.” (ABC Online, 09/14/16) [IT 8.1]

Konstantin Rudnev, leader of the Ashram Shambala in Novosibirsk, Siberia, has been convicted in a closed trial of rape, drug trafficking, sexual assault, and “creating an organization that infringes on people’s personality rights.” He is said to have talked converts out of their personal property in exchange for esoteric and occultist teachings and the opportunity to “clean their energy channels” in mystical rituals. Shambala, founded in the 1980s, grew to number 20,000 at ashrams across Russia. Followers, some of whom thought they were signing up for yoga classes, were urged to use drugs; take part in orgies centered on Rudnev; reject conventional lifestyles of work, study, and children; sell their apartments and cars; give him their cash; and break with their relatives. Originally arrested in 1999, Rudnev escaped from a psychiatric hospital after having been sent there for evaluation. He was detained again in 2005, but followers refused to give evidence against him. When he was arrested again, in 2010, 15 devotees decided to speak out. He has been sentenced to 11 years in a high-security prison and ordered to pay £80,000 compensation to victims. The money will come from selling his eight cars and two houses, which the state has confiscated. He says he’ll appeal. (Telegraph, 2/8/13) [IT 4.2 2013]

Ashram Shambala - Supplemental News