670. Robin Chaurasiya

Robin was born and raised in the US with a very religious and schizophrenic mother as well as a violent and atheist father. At 14, Robin started volunteering with various non-profits organizations and traveling the world, two lifelong passions which led her to work with dozens of NGOs and travel to nearly 100 countries. After spending several years in the US Air Force, Robin was kicked out for being lesbian which led to her new life as an activist. At 24, she started Kranti, an NGO that empowers survivors of trafficking and daughters of sex workers from Mumbai’s red-light areas, where she lived and worked for a decade. In 2020, Robin moved to a mud hut at 13K feet in the Himalayas without any water, electricity or toilet. For over a year, she wasn’t online, didn’t read any book and didn’t speak with anyone. In July 2021, she started working part time from the mountains and became a certified BatGap addict. She returned to civilization in August 2022.

The spiritual routine at Kranti:

Our house is a mix of girls who have been raised Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist, Christian, and Jain. We are extremely mindful of integrating all of these traditions (as well as a few others like Sikhism) into our daily lives as well as our travel experiences.

Just to give you an idea, some of the places we make sure to take all Kranti girls are: Golden Temple in Amritsar, Dalai Lama’s temple in McLeodganj, Nizamuddin’s shrine in Delhi, St. Thomas’ basilica in Chennai, Haji Ali’s shrine in Mumbai, as well as dozens of famous Hindu temples around India.

All of the girls are required to attend 10-day Vipassana courses, either the programs specifically for teens or on their own after age 18, as well as Buddhist philosophy courses at Tushita Meditation center. We are connected to quite a few spiritual leaders here, and the Dalai Lama’s translator, as well as Sri M, are regular visitors at the Kranti home.

But most importantly, yoga and meditation are the first activities of the day at Kranti School, along with daily journaling and writing gratitude letters every morning. All of the girls have a therapist through a Mumbai-based organization called Inner Space where all therapists and clients are trained in mindfulness based cognitive therapy.

Donating to Kranti:

Contact Robin

PDF with more info about Robin, her upcoming book, and Kranti

Discussion of this interview in the BatGap Community Facebook Group.

Transcript of this interview

Interview recorded November 20, 2022

Video and audio below. Audio also available as a Podcast.

YouTube Video Chapters:

  • 00:00:00 – Introduction to Buddha at the Gas Pump
  • 00:05:40 – The Motivation of Kranti
  • 00:10:15 – Childhood Memories and Spiritual Moments
  • 00:15:03 – Childhood Curiosity and Spiritual Exploration
  • 00:19:28 – The Age of 12: Dreams, Stealing, and Non-Existence
  • 00:24:21 – The Key Players in My Journey
  • 00:29:01 – The Unstoppable Desire
  • 00:33:48 – Overcoming Challenges and Unexpected Help
  • 00:37:57 – A Moment of Realization and Gratitude
  • 00:42:55 – The Impact of Extraordinary Girls and Gender Inequality in India
  • 00:47:49 – Taking in the Kids
  • 00:52:43 – Unexpected Meeting in Glastonbury
  • 00:57:30 – The Neo-Advaita Movement
  • 01:02:28 – The Beauty of Seeing People in Their Perfection
  • 01:07:05 – The Purpose of Life and Finding Happiness
  • 01:11:23 – From Sex Worker to Drum Circle Facilitator
  • 01:15:57 – The Generosity of an Illiterate Sex Worker
  • 01:20:41 – Compassion in the Red Light Area
  • 01:25:10 – Girl’s Perception and Plans for the Future
  • 01:29:30 – Supporting Children in Mumbai
  • 01:33:36 – The Value of Love and Support
  • 01:38:24 – The Process of Burnout and Seeking Guidance
  • 01:43:03 – Surrender and Letting Go
  • 01:48:08 – The Changes Within Our Body
  • 01:52:34 – The Beauty of Individual Awakening
  • 01:57:04 – Treating Everyone as a Buddha
  • 02:01:31 – Cursing at God
  • 02:05:45 – The Role We Play in the World
  • 02:10:41 – The Dream of Existence and Ecstasy on the Mountains
  • 02:15:43 – The Journey of Love and Crying
  • 02:20:43 – Godding with Himself

Empowering girls in red-light areas for social good | Robin Chaurasiya, India | Global Teacher Prize

Robin’s hut at 13,000 feet in the mountains of Nepal: