*Trigger Warning: Sexual & Mental Abuse*
All started with a friend request on Facebook from a kind Indian Yogi, calling himself Yogiraj Abhishek Yogi, aka Thakur Abhishek Singh (his real name).
I checked his Facebook profile: countless posts and pictures of him in big yoga events, photos of him teaching on stage at the International Yoga Day, interviews with journalists, pictures with celebrities and even the President of India. This guy looked like a serious, well established Yogi.
His first messages were very kind: “When you come to India, I will help you, I will receive you, my friend, I will guide you to find the best schools and yoga courses.”
Thakur Abhishek Singh insisted a lot about his dedication to yoga and his great value for India. He even claimed to have paranormal yogic powers and to be a famous healer.
Slowly he started to come up with:
“I need a good friend, hope you will not cheat.”
“I need your support.”
“I want to work with you, if you support me I can do great work. “
Our conversations became regular. While Thakur Abhishek Singh was making plans for future work and partnership, he slowly turned it into a romantic relationship: “You are my life partner”, “You are my dream”.
In the beginning I didn’t take it seriously.
But Abhishek kept insisting:
“I feel a special connection with you. I never felt it for any other girl.”
“You are my first and last love, please don’t break my heart.”
From my perspective and experience it was very hard to believe that it is possible to fall in love with someone without never having met the person.
“How can you say that? I miss you so much and I think about you all the time”, he said. “When I talk with you I feel so good, it’s true love, true feelings.”
He sounded like a very innocent and romantic man and slowly I started to believe him.
When he finally gained my trust, he told me a very painful story about how he was involved in a government project and was cheated by 2,5 million Indian Rupees, which explained why he was so short of money…
“It sounded exactly like everything I never had before”
After 2 months of the most passionate and beautiful love declarations that only Rumi could write, Abhishek asked me to marry him and insisted to have a positive reply. He talked every day about his plans for our future life with so much commitment and determination that it sounded exactly like everything I never had before.
Day after day his words were entering my heart and my brain, creating this mixture of trust and enthusiasm in me, so finally I decided to come to India.
We agreed to meet in Goa on 22th of July 2018.
I was excited to meet an amazing man: spiritual, pure, gentle. Abhishek arrived late at night, by a flight booked with my money of course. He entered the apartment and sat on the sofa in the living room. Despite many months of lovely conversations online, when we met in person, there was no dialog. He sat on the sofa silently. I could feel a lot of tension in the room.
Suddenly he grabbed my hand, dragged me to the bedroom and raped me. I tried to fight back and stop him, but he was physically much stronger than me. He took off all my clothes by force and tried to have sex without my consent, even though I had set my boundaries very clearly before I agreed to come to India and he promised he wouldn’t touch me even with one finger without my permission.
The next day, as soon as I had recovered from the shock, I decided to face what happened and tell him that we’d better split ways, and that there was no possibility to continue. I already knew it wouldn’t be easy…
“If you leave me, I will kill you.”
I started the conversation gently, saying that I didn’t want this relationship to continue. His reaction was above everything I could expect or even imagine. He looked at me straight and said: “If you leave me, I will kill you.” It didn’t sound like a joke, his face became scary and violent. He grabbed my hand with force, dragged me back to the hotel and raped me again. I wasn’t allowed to leave his sight. I had no possibility to ask for help or call police, on top of that, he threatened me by saying that he is friends with the President and other big politicians and therefore, whatever I did would not only be useless but also turn against me.
It was rainy season in Goa and not much was going on, so Abhishek insisted on moving to Rishikesh.
Once arrived, he started all over again: promises and plans for future marriage, claims of being madly in love with me, crying, threatening, but this time it changed to: “If you leave me I will kill myself, because I can’t live without you.” This responsibility felt heavy on my shoulders.
In the meantime, Abhishek drained my money every day under different pretexts. He said that he had no money, not even for food, without mentioning accommodation costs, and other expenses. On top of all that, he was repeatedly asking for money to send to his family, promising me that he will give everything back as soon as we start working and produce income.
After a few weeks, he came up with a big project for the opening of a yoga Ashram. We were supposed to run it together of course. He introduced me to the owner of a building that he found for the Ashram, certain Mr. Chatar Rawat, and it looked like he already had a very friendly relationship with the whole family, especially though with the wife of the owner.
The place was very nice, and the price looked like a really good deal, just 35.000 Rupees per month for a 2-story building with 8 rooms. I agreed to take it on rent for our yoga Ashram.
The building was in a raw condition and needed to be set up fully - furnished and decorated. I spent days and nights working on the design project, choosing the materials, colors, following orders and production at the factory.
Of course, to set up an entire place took time, money, energy, skills.
“His target was to get half a million Rupees from me.”
In the meantime “Big Guru” Abhishek Yogi lived a very luxurious life entirely on my money. He manipulated me in order to make me pay for everything regarding business, and not only that, but also all bills for accommodation, traveling, airplane tickets, expensive hotels, and all kind of things - using lies, psychological pressure, tiers, promises like: “Dear, I promise you from my heart, I will never leave you, you are my life, we will get married, I want to live with you all my life, I will never break your trust.”
But it wasn’t enough, his target was to get half million Rupees from me, and finally he came up with a well prepared plan:
When I was out of India for 10 days for the visa run I received a message: ”I will borrow 500.000 Rupees and then you don’t have to spend your money. I don’t want you to think I am using you for money.” That was another serious jolt - such an important decision was taken without it even being discussed with me. I was really against the idea and begged him not to do it. I don’t like loans, in general, especially for such big amounts. When I came back to Rishikesh, he put me in front of the fact that the people which promised him money didn’t give him anything, but he had already placed orders, and I would need to pay 500.000 Rupees to pay for it.
At that moment it became clear to me that Abhishek Singh was trying to fraud me and extort money from me by manipulating me. Of course I refused to pay. When I did so, Abhishek became very angry and violent. He started shouting and said that he doesn’t think I’m the right business partner for him. I agreed with him to go separate ways.
I was ready to take over the whole house and give him back the little money he had invested in it but he did not agree to it. I then proposed to leave but on the condition that I want my money back, the amount I have invested in the whole project. He told me that not only did he have no money to give me but he will not let me leave until I pay for the furniture which he had ordered.
“I was in a trap.”
It was very clear now that I was in a trap. In this single moment, I saw everything falling apart: love, future marriage, the dream of a yoga school, and I realized the man I loved and trusted was a monster. Suddenly I could see his real face, a side I had never seen before. It was a face full of greed, violence and cruelty.
For 3 days I wasn’t allowed to leave the house. Abhishek Singh was keeping an eye on me and controlling my every move - day and night. One night I tried to jump from the balcony but he got hold of me and did not let me go anywhere. I didn’t know who to ask for help and what to do. I sent a message to my lawyer in Italy to keep in touch with me every day as I felt my life was in danger.
During these days the "Guru" was torturing me psychologically and confined me to the house, with the intention to extort more money from me. When he realized that he would not get anything from me, he just threw me out of the house. I still had my deposit and my stuff there and the rental contract was done in the name of both.
“I was still too frightened to fully understand their plot designed against me.”
I called the landlord, Mr. Chattar Singh Rawat, whom I trusted and hoped to receive his help and justice. I wrote him a letter, explaining the situation and asked him to decide to whom he would give the house. The landlord came in the morning but he took Abhishek's side and said that he preferred him to stay. Chattar Singh Rawat forced me to leave the place immediately after he failed to extort more money from me. I was still too frightened to fully understand their plot designed against me. This illegal act of Rawat ousting me from the building and keeping Abhishek there evidently manifested his conspiracy against me. Both have harassed me to the core.
I invested a huge amount of money, two months of intense work using my skills in design and creative ideas on the rented building and was genuinely expecting to earn revenue out of it. Abhishek has put me into a huge loss in terms of money, health, reputation. He threw me out of the house and never returned any money I had invested.
Just an “Indian Drama”
At the end the “Yoga Guru” Thakur Abhishek Singh said openly that all his marriage promises and love declarations were just an “Indian drama” and it was all a lie just in order to drain money from me. He got very furious and also said many times that he just wasted his precious time on me.
On the 16th of October 2018 I decided to leave India, and the "Great Guru" took over the whole business set up by me. I put all my best effort into moving on with my life ,however Abhishek never stopped harassing me with his manipulative messages, triggering and hurting me all the time until I reached the point of “enough is enough”. I felt the urge to bring the truth about him to the light, I knew there would be other victims and I have to warn others publicly.
I wrote my story as it was, attached pictures, and decided to post it in the Rishikesh Community Facebook group.
For someone who never went public with such a story it's hard to understand how much courage it takes. It was a very similar feeling that people would have before jumping into freezing water - you just close you eyes and jump into it, without thinking... I just hit the “Send” button on my computer.
The post got over 500 shares, 400 likes, comments were going on and on for 4 days - the post went viral all over the world. Very soon it reached the President of India personally. After verification by the president’s secretariat, it was stated that al pictures with the President and other celebrities, magazine’s cutting, photos of big events and even the ID he provided, were photoshopped and prefabricated.
In December 2018, Abhishek Singh was arrested and a criminal case was filed against him by the President’s office.
Abhishek created a database of about 5.000 women from all over the world, in order to get them to his place in Rishikesh, abuse them sexually, manipulate and fraud financially.
One year after I left India, I was contacted on Facebook by a woman named Kumkum Soam, claiming to be the wife of Abhishek. To my big surprise she wrote that Abhishek was married to her for 7 years and had 3 children.
Currently Abhishek Singh is in jail and the trial is going on.
After connecting to Tatiana, I am speechless & full of questions at the same time. It deeply hurts my soul to know that individuals are causing this much pain in the name of love & yoga. I admire Tatiana’s strength for showing up for herself and all other women who had to suffer through similar experiences by bringing this case to court (the case is still far from being closed).
An article of the Asian Times states that “in India, a rape is reported every 15 minutes [...]”. Persecution can take years, even decades. The still widely accepted patriarchal structures prevent cases from being properly investigated, and well, actually, they might be the root cause of the incredibly poor treatment of women - local & foreign alike.
I am wishing her that she finds justice and can turn her pain into power.
To prevent others from falling into the same trap, Tatiana created a platform on Facebook where victims can share their experiences & find support. Please join her group:
I am an endless believer in love and light but hey, I know how dark and fucked up this world can be and I am convinced that we need to talk about the shadow, shed our light on those defects, to finally create change. I want for women to be treated with respect, to be equal. Reading this story is just another reminder how much work we still have left to do. I dearly hope you’re with me on this. It's time to fight.
If you are currently struggling with some sort of abuse or find yourself in a harmful relationship (no matter if to your lover, your guru or relative) please know that you are not alone and definitely don't need to be too ashamed to seek help. It's not your fault. You aren't weak or failing. You are a goddamn warrior for surviving this.
Email me if you need to talk at firstname.lastname@example.org