Fallen Leaders Gallery 3

Fallen Leaders Gallery 3


Yogi Amrit Desai, a.k.a. Gurudev, former guru of Kripalu Yoga Center in Lenox, Mass., had numerous affairs and lived an extravagant lifestyle.

Offense: After requiring celibacy, or bramacharya, of his live-in disciples for more than 20 years, three of this Hindu guru's female followers—including the CEO of his center—revealed adulterous affairs with him in 1994. Some residents were also surprised to learn that the guru they served—earning little money, in the name of seva, (selfless service) —was making more than $150,000 a year.

Consequence/Punishment: Though Desai eventually confessed and apologized, the 300-resident yoga ashram in western Massachusetts ousted him; some people sued.

Effect on Community: The community dissolved into chaos and conflict. All of the disciples eventually moved out of the ashram, though some stayed committed to their teacher. Twelve bumpy years later, the ashram is now a guru-free, thriving yoga center. Desai now runs a yoga center in Florida and teaches "amrit yoga" throughout the U.S., Jamaica, and Canada.

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