False Allegations Against Isha Foundation

We have come across media reports of false allegations against Isha Foundation. We wish to strongly respond to these baseless allegations on a public platform.
False Allegations Against Isha Foundation

Read In Tamil: ஈஷா மீதுள்ள குற்றச்சாட்டின் உண்மை நிலை...


We have come across media reports of false allegations against Isha Foundation by a couple that their two daughters – Maa Mathi and Maa Maayu (previously Geetha and Lata) – are being held captive at the Isha Yoga Center. Mr Kamaraj had petitioned the Collector of Coimbatore stating that his daughters had been brainwashed into taking sanyas after tonsuring their head.

We have already sent individual responses to the media and the government in this context, refuting these allegations. But now as these false allegations have been carried by several media houses and begun to circulate on the social media, we have decided to strongly respond to these baseless allegations on a public platform.

We would like to clearly state on record that all the above allegations ­–­ of holding captives, brainwashing, and forcing individuals into sanyas or brahmacharya – are absolutely false.

Isha Foundation was established with the purpose of addressing all aspects of human wellbeing. More than 3 million volunteers are involved in this endeavor worldwide, of their own free will, not by any coercion from the foundation. There are about 1500 fulltime volunteers (including about 200 brahmacharis and 640 married people) residing at the Isha Yoga Center. Every one of them is here by their own choice and is free to leave any time they may wish to do so.

Similarly, in this particular case of Maa Mathi (34) and Maa Maayu (31), they are here by their own choice and are by no means held here against their will. They have been residing at the ashram for the last seven years. Five years ago, they took up brahmacharya as a spiritual path, again through their own full willingness.

The path of brahmacharya (monkhood) has been an integral part of India for thousands of years and is prevalent in every spiritual tradition of the world, from Buddhism, Christianity, Jainism, etc. In Isha, brahmacharya is held in utmost sacredness and is not offered freely to one and all. The application for brahmacharya involves an extensive period of introspection and self-assessment so that the applicant fully understands what the path entails and whether it is suitable for him/her or not. Further, while many apply, only a few are accepted based on their commitment, integrity and longing. The very notion of imposing brahmacharya on any individual is unthinkable.

Both of the above-mentioned brahmacharinis have released a statement about these baseless allegations:



We are both bewildered as to why our parents are creating a commotion, five years after we decided and took brahmacharya. It was, in fact, our parents who introduced us to Isha. And before we took our decisions, we both spent a year explaining to them what brahmacharya meant and why we wished to pursue this spiritual path. In the last five years, they have visited us at the Isha Yoga Center numerous times, have spoken with us, eaten with us, and spent time at the Center.

When we met our father at the Deputy Superintendent’s Office in Coimbatore on July 30, we tried to resolve the problem through discussion. But he began to shout and use abusive language towards us. He threatened us with consequences and said that he would bring people to protest against Isha, to disturb the peace and tranquility of the area. He threatened us that he will go to any extent to disturb our life.

We find this very distressing, considering that we are both adults who chose our path in life with full knowledge and understanding of what we were doing. No one compelled or convinced us to make this decision. In the 21st century, when women are breaking glass ceilings and moving beyond traditional restrictions on their freedom, it is sad that our parents do not appreciate our choice, as women, to pursue a path of spiritual wellbeing. The All India Democratic Women’s Association has also entered the fray. They have taken the onus upon themselves to claim we need to be rescued. It is ironic that an organization that claims to stand up for women’s rights, does not recognize our freedom as women, to choose what is right for us!

We realize that perhaps our parents are disappointed that we did not follow their advice in our life choices – a conventional path of marriage and financial achievement. But once again, we wish to convey to them that there is no cause for concern. We assure them that our wellbeing is not in question. We hope that they will take pride in the fact that both their daughters have taken their wellbeing into their hands, and are also working for the wellbeing of all.

Maa Mathi
Maa Maayu

It is unfortunate that such false allegations have been circulated without any amount of truth in them. We request the media houses/individuals to please check for authenticity before spreading such news.

Isha Foundation is happy to address any concerns regarding this. We invite Isha volunteers to please share your experiences with Isha on your personal blogs, and social media accounts in order to assuage any concerns the public may have about the foundation. We are deeply grateful to all Isha volunteers, many of whom have been with us from the inception 30 years ago, and have made this organization what it is today. Only because of you, so many millions of people around the world have been benefited by the science of yoga and made a difference to their lives. Thank you for being with us and lending your support in so many ways.

Isha Foundation

Please use #MyStoryWithIsha when posting your experience.

Update: The High Court has dismissed the plea and ruled in favor of Isha Foundation. Please read this blogpost for details and the complete judgment. 



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3 years 10 months ago

I am relatively a very new entrant to Isha and I have considered myself unfortunate that I am so late to this place. Me being 39 yrs currently, I am about 10 months old in Isha.
Had come across the “Dhyanalinga/Isha” in the year 2007 and had got an e-mailer from a full time Isha volunteer and a very good friend of mine. I merely read the mailer and closed it and drowned myself in work which I considered was more important than the Yoga that the mailer suggested I sign up. I really repent for having ignored that mailer 9 yrs ago. Not a single day has passed by since these 10 months where in I have not repented for having ignored that Yoga mailer.
Having spent loads of my hard earned money with Charlatans which runs into lakhs of rupees, I was extremely cautious when I got a chance to get associated with Isha. I took about 5 months to make my first trip to the Isha Yoga Centre and 3 months before I signed up for the first course with them. What I found just bowled me over. It is a very ethically run organisation where in the divine walks and talks at the Isha Yoga Centre, Coimbatore.
What a tremendous change my Sadguru has bought in me is beyond any words or statements can do justice describing. It is only to be experienced. I resonate with the following which I have copied from another ishaite about Sadguru - “He gave it to me even though I was so obviously unworthy. It makes no sense to thank him for this. Thanking someone, expressing gratitude is, in a way, a form of repayment. That would make no sense here. It is far better to walk through life being in his debt.”
The above is true for Devi too.
From the very little that I have seen of Isha, let me tell you, it is not an easy joke to get inculcated into any stream let alone Brahmacharya. Unless the person is absolutely clear about his or her chosen path, they are not bought into the stream. It takes years to the tune of 5-8 yrs of disciplined Sadhana to be made a part of any stream. One should consider themselves lucky if there were able to make it to any stream here. It is damn strict and things like Sanyasis, Brahmacharya, Ma are taken very seriously. Unless extremely committed and disciplined one cannot find themselves in any stream for that matter.
From the very small time in between various visits to Isha, I have spent some time at the Linga Bhairavi temple, have received so much beyond what I truly deserve from Devi, my “Awwa” as I call her fondly meaning “mother”. Day in and out I see marriages happening here at the temple and it is very much encouraged too. Sadguru has always encouraged every one of us to truthful to ourselves and do what we enjoy the most. This does not sound like brainwashing!! Does it?
I am happy to be one of his daughters and would definitely be extremely willingly to be brainwashed if that is the way to get into a chosen stream at Isha :-)
All these media reports where in they are accusing Isha of brainwashing people to take brahmacharya is absolutely baseless and anything without a strong base is bound to collapse.
There are abt a couple of hundred odd Sanyasis/Brahmacharis at IYC. Isha as I know of has about 3 Crore followers world wide. I might be quoting a far less figure as Isha followers. By any means does a couple hundred match 3 Crore? Ashram would be flooded with Sanyasis/Brahmacharis if we were all brainwashed into that stream isn’t it? All married ishaites would have left their wives/husband and would have stayed in the ashram full time being a Sanyasis/Brahmacharis if that were to be the case.
What a ridiculous joke the media articles are!!
This too shall pass.
Isha is too strong rooted for this minor headwind to cause any damage.
We will emerge victorious.

3 years 10 months ago

I have tried to reason with friends what I get back is abuse. So much damage is being done by reckless and sensational local media. Dharmic Organizations are yet to learn it the hard way about rogue elements which want to nip us in the bud.
Time and again people raise the issue of unapproved buildings. Emphasis should be on making sure everything holds good legally. There are so many universities, industries etc near by but Isha Center is the only place of target for environment issues and claiming that it is part of elephant corridor. I wonder how elephant will come so close to the mountain but ignore all other organizations which are very much near by. It is a crazy world and only Sadhguru can save us.

3 years 10 months ago

Curiosity got me to Isha at a very delicate stage in my life when nothing really made sense. My life is very clearly divided into 2 phases Pre Isha and Post Isha. It's been a little over a year and what I experience each time I am at the ashram or attending the programmes , it enriches me and opens me up to a world of possibilities within I didn't even know existed. Instead of mere
philosophies or psycho babble, it works on the level of your body, mind and energy. Simple tools taught with utmost dedication and sincerity by people who are the very embodiments of grace and sense of offering. In my 43 years, I have done a lot of courses in yoga , meditation etc but what you walk away from Isha with is an absolutely amazing experience and if you adhere to it , life just rises to greet you in its full glory. I feel deep sadness when Sadhguru or Isha and its volunteers are ridiculed or insulted but also hope people learn to embrace the good in life which they bring and offer with total selflessness instead of blocking their spiritual growth with ignorance. I don't believe in philosophies or blind beliefs but when something helps you overcome your own limitations in such wonderful ways, you can only vouch and stand for it with every breath in your being. I remain grateful to Sadhguru and the millions of Isha volunteers who are such a blessing to this planet and strive to work with them in whichever capacity I can. They have been the biggest inspiration in my life #mystorywithisha

3 years 10 months ago

My experience with Isha is really inexplicably pleasant. I M BECOMING STRONGER AND STRONGER EVERYDAY. If a chicken heart like me can become brave, it is nothing but the work of SADHGURU and the amazing angels who call themselves as volunteers. It hurts us to the core when false allegations are made. Why such false allegations are made only on hindu spiritual leaders?????????????? There is so much intolerance that is happening around us and media, government and every body who should put in their best efforts to subdue such things are working in reverse order. Let them all first hush anti national things. Isha is definitely backed by millions of volunteers and nobody can defame

3 years 10 months ago

Isha is a true genuine organization.they are really god in this earth

3 years 10 months ago

Isha is great waat they did for my well being cannot be describe into words.they ate true genuine great people putting all themsleves for human well being n all life

3 years 10 months ago

There is always communication. Anyone who feels cheated or wronged can always go and have a communication with our Sadhguru. Parents may always be concerned around their daughters, since they expect typical response from their daughters. But if they can have a dialogue with their daughters, they will see what their daughters see which they are missing.

Let us find ourselves within us.