Who Is Swami Saraswati? Everything To Know About Agama Yoga Founder Accused Of Sexual Assault

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Who Is Swami Saraswati? Everything To Know About The Agama Yoga Founder Accused Of Sexual Assault
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Netflix's (Un)Well docuseries attempts to expose the dangers of popular trends in health, and that means uncovering what may really go on behind the scenes in some tantric sex studios. In one episode of the series, tantra students opened up about the abuse they faced at a yoga retreat in Thailand called Agama Yoga led by a man who calls himself Swami Vivekananda Saraswati, and it sounds like this is happening more commonly than some people might think. 

Who is Swami Saraswati, the man accused of operating his own Agama Yoga "sex cult" and raping people he teaches? 

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Swami Saraswati has been accused of sexual assault and rape.

On (Un)Well, former students of Saraswati's explained their experiences with him at Agama Yoga, and what they had to say was horrifying. One student, Vijayasree Feres, said that Saraswati pushed her into having group sex during a retreat, while another, Saskia Mahler, shared that Saraswati forced himself on her during a massage because of the authority he had over her.

"He was like, "Oh, you know what is the best way to massage the yoni is using my lingam," which is his sexual organ," Mahler said on the show. "You have to be a good student and trust this person, and I was so scared to lose this road that I created with him. And without any consent, he completely abused me on every level that you can. I don't know if I can use this word, rape. I definitely can say that I felt sexually, emotionally, absolutely abused." 

Saraswati leads a yoga retreat called Agama Yoga, which is featured on Netflix's (Un)well. 

Based out of Thailand, Agama Yoga is known as one of the biggest yoga schools in the world, and "agama" itself is a type of tantric yoga.

"Agama Yoga is a spiritual path from A to Z and it has, on one hand, the main trunk of the tree, which goes with the levels and everything from Muladhara to Ajna and Sahasrara, to the higher Chakras, to the states of Samadhi and to the higher states of consciousness, but of course we are aware that a very limited number of people in this world have that kind of aspiration and have that kind of longing and then the tree of Agama contains many other gifts," Saraswati says on the Agama Yoga website

Saraswati's real name is Narcis Tarcau. 

Originally from Romania, Saraswati's real name is actually Narcis Tarcau. He chose to be known as Swami Vivekananda Saraswati in the yoga world — perhaps after a famous yoga guru named Swami Satyananda Saraswati from India who died in 2009. 

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After an earlier round of accusations, Saraswati disappeared.

The first accusations against Saraswati happened in 2018, when the first group of women shared their accusations against Saraswati and Agama Yoga. At that point, the school shut down temporarily, at which point Saraswati fled Thailand. Eventually, the school opened back up and Saraswati returned to Koh Phangan, practicing yoga once again.

He's featured on the Agama Yoga YouTube channel.

Saraswati has appeared in several videos on the Asama Yoga YouTube, including an entire series based around his teachings, though many of the videos are more than 10 years old, before any accusations against him were made public. 

Sexual assault ccusations against Saraswati have been happening for years.

In 2018, 16 women and men spoke out against Saraswati and Agama Yoga, claiming that he had groped them, penetrated them with his fingers, or forced himself on him during his sessions. At the time, Agama didn't deny the allegations, but they didn't seem to believe that the accusations were genuine, either. 

“People are purposefully defaming Agama and spreading lies (even when contradicted by evidence of the truth), which is a crime in Thailand,” a statement from Agama said. “People with verifiable criminal backgrounds are involved in this campaign against Agama.”

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Nicole Pomarico is an entertainment and lifestyle writer whose work has appeared in Cosmo, Us Weekly, Refinery29, and more.

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