Watch the Trailer for Agama, Jezebel's First-Ever Short Documentary

Agama is the type of spiritual retreat that has, in the shadow of the wellness movement, become increasingly fashionable. Located in Koh Phangan, Thailand, it is a tropical, paradise-like community focused on nurturing mental and physical health, or as Agama’s website puts it, the “secret spiritual path of true Integral Yoga courses.”

But some Agama students say that what they found there was the opposite after interacting with Agama’s founder, Swami Vivekananda Saraswati, a Romanian national who is accused of sexual assault of 14 of his students, as reported by the Guardian. (Agama and the Swami deny the allegations.) In December, Jezebel sent Laura Brickman to Koh Phangan to speak to some of these accusers, and to try and unravel how a place meant for healing could become so toxic for them. Our full documentary will debut next week; in the meantime, watch the trailer above.



In the past week I listened to CBCs nxivm podcast and started reading Women Talking, both of which I learned about from Jezebel. Both are about cults that abuse women. I’m a parent, and all I can think now is that it is my responsibility to raise my child to be a critical thinker and a lone wolf who does not join teams, clubs, religions, or cults. I want her to be suspicious of anything where a large group of people seem to agree. I don’t want to pretend to be superior to people who fall under the spell of cults; I can empathize with wanting to belong and to believe in something. I just wonder how to inoculate my offspring from letting others think for them. I saw a good quote the other day that sums it up: “God’s plan is often just another way of saying men’s plan.” sorry I don't have a source for that quote, it was on the cover of a book about feminism.