Queen Of Myself: Interview with Author MahanKirn Khalsa
"Queen of Myself: A Women's Journey from Sexual Slavery to Radical Forgiveness," traces one woman's journey through hell to healing. The highly anticipated memoir speaks about MahanKirn Khalsa’s birth into an infamous cult, one built around the charismatic leader who introduced Kundalini Yoga to the West, Yogi Bhajan. Her childhood was marked by horrifying neglect and abuse, including separation from her family, and near starvation—all at the behest of the Yogi, who was grooming her from birth to be forced into the “holy man’s” sexual harem.
MahanKirn traveled the globe with him, meeting world leaders, and substituting at his lectures. For her loyalty, she was rewarded with priceless gems, designer clothing, and all manner of material riches. She also suffered violent abuse and sexual violation at his and his followers’ hands.
Now, MahanKirn breaks her silence with her upcoming shocking memoir.
MahanKirn is a Kundalini Yoga expert and meditation guru who shares her experience of surviving the cult, and rising above those horrendous events to forgive those who harmed her. She has devoted her practice to helping other victims of abuse and trauma to do the same. Her online classes help thousands worldwide and her new book is the latest avenue to reach those still suffering.
Can you tell us a little bit about your book, Queen of Myself?
It’s the story of my life journey. I was born to parents, disciples of Yogi Bhajan, and spent my very early years in a Florida ashram before being shipped to a disgusting British boarding school in India to keep me away from the “sex, drugs, and rock & roll” of American culture. There I was starved, beaten and abused. Afterwards I was installed into the bedroom of Yogi Bhajan himself. I was raped by him and, at his command, violated by other cult members, all as a part of indoctrinating me into his sexual harem. I served him for years and, as my reward, was gifted with all the best that life could offer—except my freedom. The book details my experience and how I eventually learned to heal -- mentally, physically and spiritually-- and forgive.
What was your impetus for writing it?
I have led an unorthodox life, but I came to understand that sharing my experience could help others. While doing so, I also helped myself. I learned to heal myself after a decade of relentless chronic pain, by coming to understand that the root of all my suffering was emotional and could only be cured by digging through the mud of my past. I wanted to share my journey with others, especially women, to help them heal from their own traumatic events by inviting forgiveness into their lives.
You were literally born into the Yogi Bhajan cult. Can you tell us a bit about that experience?
I didn’t understand for many years that I had been in a cult. To me, they were family. Eventually a friend, upon hearing my story, sent me the FBI’s document The 49 Aspects of a Cult. When I was able to tick off every aspect on that list, the truth dawned on me. I had been born into a cult, at the head of which was a very powerful man. His was a world of slavish devotion, incredible opulence, and indescribable excess and, until his dying day, I was his healer, his sex slave, his disciple, and his favorite. My life had been dictated even before my birth. I knew no other life.
What was the most compelling aspect of that life?
As long as I did as expected, I was loved. No thinking was required. Yogi Bhajan did the thinking for all of us. He indoctrinated his followers—including my parents--into giving up control of our lives completely. He dictated our clothing and diet, took all our money, even selected our spouses. But as his chosen “queen,” not only was draped in jewels and finery, but by appearing on stage with him, I got to bask in his reflected glory. I did end up with some treasures of a non-material type: I learned of my talent as a healer and to access my inner self through a lifelong yoga and meditation practice I follow to this day. Kundalini Yoga is real, even though it was used as a tool of manipulation by a perverse and corrupt man.
How challenging was it to relive your experiences to tell your story?
It was very challenging. I had to relive traumatic events to write the book and each reliving felt like a blow to my soul. I often had to stop and take time off to work through the trauma. But through reliving those events, I have reached a new level of healing. This is what inspired the self-help section of my book, detailing several healing modalities I have used to release the physical, emotional, and spiritual anguish I experienced.
Was there a specific ‘aha’ moment that you decided to leave?
I would like to say the scales fell from my eyes about Yogi Bhajan earlier, but they didn’t. He died and I was ostracized and cast out of the community that I had come to know as my family. I still respect the community, though it is now divided and hurting, because many women have come forth with their stories of abuse at the hands of Yogi Bhajan. This has caused the community to choose sides—believe the women or stick to their rock-solid assertions that Yogi Bhajan was a god on earth. Since I spoke my truth in 2020, I have withdrawn from the controversy, working on physical and emotional healing, and discerning how my experience can help others. This book is the culmination of those efforts.
What do you hope readers take away from your book?
It is my prayer that readers allow themselves to sit in the softness of their own light and potential for healing on the deepest level, regardless of the type or magnitude of their trauma. I hope they recognize they are more powerful, beautiful, and resilient than any outside circumstance. I recognized I was causing more pain by not forgiving myself and the perpetrators of my abuse. Through embracing forgiveness and practicing the healing modalities mentioned in my book, I’ve been able to release myself from the past. I also hope this shows readers how to avoid giving their power away to a teacher or a guru, and how to decide if their spiritual practice is really working for them.
Are you working on other books or projects?
A lot of exciting things are happening in my world. I offer 1:1 personal healing sessions and group yoga and healing classes, on my website. The scripted version of my story has caught the attention of documentarians and a cable network (fingers crossed on a release early next year.) I’ll soon be opening my own school, focused on spiritual studies and healing techniques. Information on all these projects and a link to preorder my book may be found at www.mahankirn.com.