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Thai yoga retreat guru accused of rape and sexual abuse

A Thai yoga retreat located in Koh Phangan Island in southern Thailand has been accused of being a sex cult.

Two of its former tantra students, Saskia Mahler and VijayaSree Feres, revealed the abuse they experienced at Agama Yoga when they ventured into the retreat hoping to find spirituality and enlightenment.

Agama Yoga advertised its vision in providing spiritual wellness as a dream “destination for your soul” and has been featured in the new Netflix docu-series “UnWell.”

The said series provides a deeper look into the global business of spiritual healing while probing into the underside of the wellness industry.

Mahler, who is a tantra student and teacher, said she first learned about Agama Yoga while she was in the process of comparing different spiritual schools between India and Thailand. Her goal was to seek the “higher truth of everything.”

“Agama is a well-known school for tantra, especially the sexual aspect of tantra. So many do come to Agama and seek healing, especially on a sexual level,” she explained.

The yoga retreat was founded by famous spiritual guru Narcis Tarcau, who is regarded as Swami Vivekananda Saraswati.

In her revelations, Mahler said Tarcau offered to give her a yoni massage, which is a Sanskrit word for the female sexual organs.

He told Mahler that this was needed to release her pelvic area and crack open her energies to gain more power over her personality and to solve issues of her childhood.

Mahler clearly recalls Tarcau’s words : “Oh, you know what is the best way to massage the yoni is using my lingam (Sanskrit for male sexual organ).”

“‘Many women do receive them, and… they shine. They are so beautiful. They embody themselves as so confident, and so it’s like, maybe there is something about that, that might help me,” she said.

Thinking this was something she might greatly benefit from, Mahler agreed to the “healing” massage.

VijayaSree Feres spoke about a similar experience, but her version spoke of being pressured to take part in group sex at the end of the retreat.

“I was a part of a six-week intense program that was called the Tantric Initiation that was basically working on finding the truth of who we are that involved a lot of sexual tantric things along the way.

“The final ritual was a group sex ritual. And from the first date, I was saying that was something I feared and didn’t want to do.”

Feres said that she was shamed for not wanting to participate in the ritual and made to think that she was not dedicated enough to put in the effort of following the path. Feres was ultimately peer pressured into going through with the orgy.

In a statement responding to the allegations, Agama said: “There are no group sex rituals included in the curriculum at Agama and that ‘yoni massage’ is not in any part advertised or taught by the retreat.”

Tarcau has been accused of leading a sex cult and sexual assault against his students, which he has denied.

Tantra has become a household name for many new age enthusiasts in the Western world. This has been a word attached to ecstatic sex and full-body orgasms.

However, the majority of ancient tantric teachings really do not speak of anything related to sexuality.

Rachel Bernstein, a cult specialist, explained that these women have experienced something quite common among wellness retreats.

She said gurus take advantage of being revered by dedicated followers, and use ‘exotic’ language to evoke traumatising experiences as these are supposedly all part of the journey of healing by the guru.

In an article from The Guardian, it said that 14 tourists had claimed they were sexually assaulted by Tarcau at the Thai retreat.

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