Thursday, December 31, 2009

On DSN, by an anonymous

The following is a comment sent to the article "The Art of Acting and the Art of Marketing" by an anonymous. I found it important to post since for too many of us, many processes that happened in DSN and TTC still create noise in our heads. We knew but we could not question, we thought but we could not think differently, we felt but we could not feel ... Something was wrong with those courses, with those teachers ... with us! We were abused the entire day and were dancing at night in satsang with a big smile on our faces at night! We hated every minute of everything, but we went along because it was part of the course (not going along with it was a sign of weakness and big ego). We often thought the teacher did not make sense and was an insensitive arrogant, yet, we were all at his/her feet every day. A lot of abuse went on in these courses. Being in the "hot chair", etc. was all for your good, to get rid of your ego, when we were actually creating monsters in the name of spirituality. Anon, thank you for sharing.

I'd like to talk about my experiences at one of these DSN courses (as an attendee) this was probably 9-10 years ago and as a faithful AOL devout; this course opened my eyes into what a cult it had become. The teacher was charismatic and we all were awed by his presence. As he went on, he said a few things that made me realize that this is bordering on a cult. DSN's premise was you could take any criticisms in life after attending this course - this was based on making a person sit on a chair and have the rest of the course attendees hurl insults at you (granted they don't even know you but still).
I heard a story where a pregnant woman had a miscarriage because of domestic abuse by her husband (he kicked the newborn fetus) and she later took this course only to have someone from the class yell at her that she deserved it (the abuse, miscarriage).
My experiences weren't that horrific but they were enough to make me change tunes.
Some of the things that were done and said:
1. The teacher told an example of how one of his apprentices was being constantly pushed by his mother to get married and he responded by taking a bottle of rat poison and keeping it infront of his mother as an act of defiance - saying that if she asked him one more time to get married, he would make her drink it.
2. SSRS is God/Lord/Almighty and there is no one else.
3. The teacher lamented how the bangalore ashram at the time lacked a solar water heater and how it would be a good 'gift' to Guruji. Sure enough the next day, the class managed to get out their checkbooks and raised a princely sum of 300,00 rupees which at the time was a lot of money. I had this horrible feeling where i was sort of being pressurized to come up with a contribution and yet I came up with nothing - a very different kind of feeling to experience.
4. As part of the course, we were made to walk the streets and peddle AOL and get a lot of people to join up/ sign up so that you as an individual would fulfill your destiny. You were then mocked when you came up with nothing
5.they hurled abuses at a woman whose only sin was that her husband would not partake or support her in her AOL activities.
In the end, I lost total respect for the teacher whom I have known for a while. There's a thin line between preaching and forcing your views on someone and he crossed that line - making us believe that it is okay to forsake your own family for the greater good of AOL and that was something I could never stomach doing.
I wish I had the temerity I possess now and had done something back then. I guess that also comes with age 9-10 years is a longtime.
Good job with the blog. I have come to realize that one's own family means the most and wasting your time, money and energy on such a greedy cut-throat organization is bordering on being a cult follower/ retarded.


Surgon said...

My experience of DSN:
On first day evening (after returning from streets requestign people to join course) Satsang was started, one girl was singing. When Teacher arrived, he first insulted the singer, saying that the person who knows singing should sing. I saw tears in the eyes of the girl. and then he calls another girl to sing. She was from the family where he was staying. She was singing worst than the earlier girl. But he appreciated the girl.
During the question answers time, he was giving more attention to the family he was staying with, other's questions were mostly ignored.
The teacher talked on many topics such as time when the soul enters body, how he choose his/her parents, how the course of remembering the rebirth is effective etc. I was very amazed at that time, that I got very great knowledge.
But, after using little brain, all looks funny.

Sharma said...

This DSN is a straight copy from Wernar Erhard's EST (Erhard Seminar Training) which later morphed into Landmark Forum. EST was started in 1970s. Ravishankar picked this brain washing practices from Rishi Prabhakar who had attended EST and adopted this in his Siddhi Samadhi Yoga and Bhava Samadhi Yoga Courses. Ravishankar has tried to hide his indebtedness to rishi prabhakar and has many times bad mouthed against him. He has even made many of the monkeys who call themselves teachers and given them title of Rishi. Just to insult Prabhakar.

fair_and_balanced said...

I dont doubt the EST ideas have been used in DSN. But did they combine it with padmasadhana and meditation? Or was this prabhakar's method? Theres no doubt that gurus borrow liberally. Is that so bad? The point remains that DSN isnt for many people but it can be effective for some. Yeah, its tough getting flamed without getting a chance to reply.. the point is how you deal with the emotions and develop self-regulation strength. I doubt anyone gets recruited for AOL in those DSN expeditions. Its simply a way of getting outside ones comfort zone and experiencing failure/rejection etc. An executive trainer who took the course with me (years ago) commented very favorably on the processes (and probably stole some ideas to use in his training courses!). What comes around, goes around. By the way, try enrolling for Landmark courses and see how much you'll have to pay (hint: a lot, lot more).