36: Guru Jagat’s Pandemic Brandwash (w/Philip Deslippe & Stacie Stukin)

January 28, 2021 Derek Beres, Matthew Remski, Julian Walker
36: Guru Jagat’s Pandemic Brandwash (w/Philip Deslippe & Stacie Stukin)
Show Notes

What happens when a charismatic yogalebrity rises to prominence in LA’s fashion and wellness scene, gets exposed as an inheritor of a notorious cult, and then gets sideswiped by a pandemic? Meet Katie Griggs, aka “Guru Jagat,” who, instead of reassessing her channelled “downloads” from the charlatan rapist Yogi Bhajan and lending a hand to public health, has chosen to boost her online game with COVID contrarianism and by platforming David Icke. 

Our guests this week are Philip Deslippe and journalist Stacie Stukin. Philip’s penetrating and bulletproof research into the dodgy history of Kundalini Yoga and its criminal founder Yogi Bhajan shook the modern yoga world in 2012. Stacie’s 2020 LA Magazine feature investigation into Kundalini corruption and abuse gathered decades of buried evidence. Together they paint a lucid, non-sensationalized picture of how a high-demand religious group navigates new opportunities for manipulation.

The larger picture is that COVID has been a challenge for the brick-and-mortar assets of cults, which, like every other business, rely on pedestrian traffic and the “retail space” of ritual conversion. But in other ways, COVID is the best thing that could have happened to cults. 

Kundalini Yoga was built on promising perfect health, the conversion of fear into love, and a golden age free from atheistic biotech. For people like Griggs—and her ex-con mentor Harijiwan—COVID is an opportunity to hide dirty laundry and market the same empty promises with heightened panic and passion.

02:52 Jagat’s Pandemic Brandwash

1:21:56 Interview with Philip Deslippe & Stacie Stukin

All music by EarthRise SoundSystem

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Show Notes

From Maharaj to Mahan Tantric: The Construction of Yogi Bhajan’s Kundalini Yoga” for Sikh Formations by Philip Deslippe (2012)

Yogi Bhajan Turned an L.A. Yoga Studio into a Juggernaut, and Left Two Generations of Followers Reeling from Alleged Abuse” by Stacie Stukin for Los Angeles Magazine (2020)

Yogi Bhajan, yoga guru and founder of 3HO, ‘more likely than not’ sexually abused followers, says report” by Philip Deslippe and Stacie Stukin for Religion News Service (2020)

Text of Katherine Felt’s 1986 lawsuit against Bhajan for assault, battery, false imprisonment and more

Text of Pamela Dyson’s 1986 lawsuit against Bhajan for assault, battery, false imprisonment and more

“Wacko World of Yogi Bhajan” archived here

Be Scofield’s work on KY/3HO

Pamela Dyson’s memoir, White Bird in a Golden Cage: My Life with Yogi Bhajan

The Facebook group that supported Dyson’s memoir, and became a meeting place for KY / 3HO survivors

Kelly Brogan’s self-serving review of Premka

Matthew on Brogan’s co-optation of Premka to market conspirituality