Since 2012 we have been receiving reports of sexual and financial abuse by Ajay Singh, a spiritual teacher living in Lucknow, north India. These abuses have gone on for years and, at least the financial ones, are continuing to this day. [June 2017]
Ajay Singh's behaviour in matters of ethics has brought a lot of stress and suffering to some of his students.
This is not in accord with our own sense of appropriate behaviour, nor with the atmosphere of safety that is essential in offering spiritual support and guidance. Nor does it fit within the guidelines of ethical conduct, care and respect of Dharma teachings.
In 2012 we ceased to spend time with Ajay Singh, and we urge spiritual practitioners to be vigilant around gurus and charismatic spiritual leaders: trust your inner authority and your sense of right and wrong.
We are actively trying to help heal the wounds and rectify what wrongs can be addressed.
If you have also been affected by Ajay Singh's behaviour please be in touch.
If it feels helpful for you to know more about the details of what has happened read the FAQ below, and if you still have more questions please contact us.
In the Dharma,
Zohar Lavie and Nathan Glyde
We have asked other Dharma teachers who are former students of Ajay, have taught with him, or have had contact with some of those affected by his behaviour, to add their names as a support to the above statement.Their names are below:
Since many years now, I hear rumours and stories around Ajay's attitude. It is a very sensitive situation, and I thank Nathan and Zohar for the willingness to shed clarity on it.
As a Dharma teacher knowing Ajay, it is clear that I have to express my opinion, and trust me, that is not comfortable! I am close friends with one person who has invested money with Ajay, and does not get their money back. I am close enough to that person to say that it is a traumatic experience, not only because of the money aspect (bad enough in itself), but because on top there is the feeling of being betrayed by someone you trusted most. As a result, the whole trust in the dharma and spiritual path has collapsed for that person.
About Ajay's sexual relations with some students, I do not know what Ajay's motivation and intention is. I feel that what we need is clarity from Ajay around what happened and why it happened.
So now you know, after reading this, that there is a real concern about Ajay's attitude. I'm not interested in trying to get everybody to have the same take on this. Each of us who feels concern about this issue, whether from close or from far, needs to act with his or her own wisdom, and needs to bring a wise answer to this situation. This is important for one’s own safety, for this is spiritual growth, and this is the way for a healthy undivided Sangha.
Below are questions we have been asked frequently. We have chosen to present them here along with our responses as they may be of value to anyone reading this. If you still have a question after reading through please be in touch.
Due to the sensitive and confidential nature of this matter this is all we feel is appropriate to share in a public space. We endeavour to anonymise all the information we share, both publicly and privately, so it will not affect the privacy and safety of those involved.
Two students of Ajay invested money with him between 2007 – 2011. He promised to return the money with high interest (double or triple the amount) within 6 months to 3 years. One student is still missing €84,000 and the promised interests. She has only received back a total of €11,000 out of €95,000. The second student is missing €6,000 and the promised interests from the €53,000 she originally loaned him. She also lost 10 years of interest on her savings.
You can read more details on our appeal page asking Ajay to return the money.
There are obviously risks with making a statement; risks to the men and women affected, risks to the perpetrator, risks to the whistleblowers, and risks we do not yet see. We have to weigh this up against the risks of Ajay perpetrating further abusive behaviour. This risk seems even higher.
There are also many people within our Dharma culture who favour keeping silent about these types of behaviour. This is out of step with current attitudes regarding speaking up in regards to abusive behaviour, and are overall rather too optimistic that repeating offenders will not keep on offending.
We (Zohar and Nathan) met Ajay in 2004 and he was one of our main teachers until 2012. Ajay was invited to teach on SanghaSeva's silent retreats in India from 2005 until 2011. We began distancing ourselves from Ajay soon after his ethical misconduct came to light, and we realised that Ajay could not or would not accept that his behaviour had caused, and was continuing to cause, serious harm.
We do not wish to be alarmist with regard to Ajay, but there are clear risks particularly for women spending time with him. There may be many who have and will continue to have positive and healthy non-abusive relationships with him. But there have been many who have been abused by him financially and sexually. We have no reason to believe that Ajay would not be abusive in the same manner again; to our knowledge, he has not apologised (either publicly and clearly, or in person) for his actions, nor does he seem to recognise the full potential of the harm he has caused and continues to cause.
Ajay has repeatedly acknowledged the truth of the women's reports, except in one instance. Ajay maintains that his intentions were 'clean', but he does not deny that he touched women, or took their money.
Absolute certainty regarding the finer details is hard to come by, but the main facts are not contentious. For most people the information here is enough to draw a clear conclusion.
Others can and will still find themselves uncertain. What is clear is that inappropriate actions took place, and suffering resulted.
We truly wish this was all in the past. Ajay's lack of apology and acknowledgement of the harm his actions have caused keeps the sexual abuse very alive and present for the women affected by his behaviour. And regarding the financial abuse Ajay is still holding onto the money he owes. While his (empty) promises of returning the money at a future date, which have not been fulfilled time and again, are creating more suffering and distress.
We believe in everyone's enduring freedom to practice with whomever they find of benefit. If people are doing so with eyes open to the risks, and harm that Ajay's behaviour has caused, then it is their choice.
Not in our understanding. In Buddha Dharma the ethical guidelines are clear. Behaviour that leads to suffering is unskillful and unhelpful. These guidelines are in place to protect everyone, teachers and students alike. The assumption that someone is enlightened and therefore free to act without regard to these guidelines is dangerous.
We still communicate with Ajay solely for the purpose of resolving his financial and ethical misconduct. The last contact via phone was in Feb 2017 and via email in March 2017.
Ajay is no longer a teacher to any of us at SanghaSeva, we remain deeply disappointed in his behaviour and find his lack of a clear and caring response unacceptable.
You are invited to be in contact with us, and we hope we can be of help. We aim to be one part of a range of approaches which will aid you in finding resolution and healing.