The recent Vice documentary, “True Believers: The Dark Empire of Yoga” was a good start at exposing the cult of 3HO Kundalini Yoga to the general public. The video features two older male 3HO cult members prominently, Guru Fatha Singh from Toronto, Canada and Dharma Singh from Espanola, New Mexico. These two cult members do a good job of demonstrating unassailable cult logic and belief systems, and the all-round strangeness that the viewing public associates with cult membership. They are shown expressing disbelief in what would seem to be overwhelming evidence that Yogi Bhajan was a serial sexual predator.
This fellow, Dharma Singh Khalsa, has a restraining order against him because apparently he was harassing another more moderate 3HO member. His denial of Bhajan’s sexual abuses is particularly difficult to watch.
Yogi Bhajan’s self-proclaimed ‘official biographer’, Guru Fatha Singh, seems to have spent very little time with Yogi Bhajan, or even in the same country. Guru Fatha Singh has lived most of his life in Toronto, while Yogi Bhajan spent his life in LA and New Mexico. It took Singh 17 years to write the 1,000 page hagiography of Bhajan, that is such an unfiltered book that many within the 3HO community have not bothered to read it. Despite all the work he put into it, even he seems to be distancing himself from this book as he no longer lists it on his web page or his Amazon listing.
Since 2008, Guru Fatha Singh has made more than 500 edits of Yogi Bhajan’s Wikipedia entry. Whenever group leader Yogi Bhajan is not portrayed as a saint in the Wikipedia entry, Guru Fatha edits it, attempting to remove or minimize any criticisms, or reports about Bhajan’s sexual predatory behaviour.
The documentary also got a few details mixed up, and failed to challenge some of the stated ‘facts’.
For example when Pamela Dyson is talking about her childhood, the video ‘B-roll’ displays photos of a young 3HO girl, with the implication that these are of Pamela as a child. Pamela was not a child in 3HO, she joined it as an adult.
Nav Jiwan is the little girl in the photos, who Pamela mentions in her book White Bird in a Golden Cage. She was a little 3HO girl that died very young, possibly as a result of cult member’s incompetence.
In the video it is made to look like the 3HO network in India was quite large, with four schools all running at once. In fact, there were four institutions, but only one school was open at a time. Most years, there were less than 100 children in the 3HO’s India program. In addition, in the documentary, the locations are not placed correctly on the map of India. In fact they were in Mussorie, Dehradun and Amritsar.
Adding to the misconception about the overall size of 3HO, in the video, cult members throw out wild and inaccurate numbers of 3HO followers. Most estimates put the number of 3HO cult members at under 5,000 people, even at its peak. No doubt, many more people have taken 3HO Kundalini Yoga classes, but this hardly makes them members of 3HO.
The documentary “The Dark Empire of Yoga” gives a glimpse of the abuses of Yogi Bhajan and a look inside the world of the 3HO Kundalini Yoga cult members and survivors. But we look forward to more in-depth and hopefully more well-researched coverage in the future from other documentaries on 3HO. There are at least two we have heard about, scheduled on major streaming platforms — HBO: Breath of Fire and another one from Rick Rubin’s production company.
1 thought on “What “True Believers: The Dark Empire of Yoga” does not tell you about Yogi Bhajan, 3HO and the Kundalini Yoga Cult.”
Just curious who the Author is?
I’m MK. I maybe able to add to your content. My family were/ are in 3HO.