Katie Griggs, a.k.a. “Guru Jagat” died on Sunday. According to her followers, the 41 year-old celebrity yoga teacher and co-founder of the RA MA Institute in Venice, California, died of pulmonary embolism following ankle surgery.
The first thing to say is that she was a human being, a daughter, a partner, and surely a friend to some. People who knew her at every stage of her life will miss and mourn something unique. She deserves the same respect in life and death as everyone else, and those who loved and depended on her deserve all the support they can get.
Part of that respect, and support, involves not hiding some basic facts.
Griggs was an enthusiastic inheritor of the criminal legacy of Kundalini Yoga founder and cult leader Yogi Bhajan. This is not a contested statement, except for her followers, and his. Bhajan’s crimes have been extensively reported and even investigated and condemned by his own organization.
Grigg’s role in this intergenerational trauma has been extensively covered in VICE by Cassidy George, who verified reports first leaked on the @ramawrong Instagram account that followers of Griggs described working and practicing yoga in an environment of financial and emotional abuse. And, as my colleagues and I reported in episodes 36 and 37 of Conspirituality Podcast, Griggs’s COVID-era behaviours were deplorable.
She platformed conspiracy theorists like David Icke, and was an avid anti-masker and anti-vaxxer. Further, we pointed out that her COVID-denialist propaganda gave her the opportunity to distract from the findings of the investigation into Bhajan. Griggs also openly attacked Bhajan’s survivors, and claimed that the attack on Bhajan was linked to a globalist plot.
Some will say that collating these available facts so soon after Grigg’s untimely death is disrespectful, or a form of ambulance chasing. My response, as a cult survivor and researcher, is that keeping the facts about charismatic leaders spotlighted increases emotional safety and cultural health. Further: contextualizing the pageantry that unfolds after the death of someone like…