Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The one million dollar question: where do all the millions go?

There was a time we were taught to say all the money of the courses went to the million social projects the AoL sponsored. We were gullible and obedient enough to not question. A few years later, we were taught to say all the money of the courses went to the social projects and less than 5% was used for overhead, unlike the Red Cross or the UNICEF that use more than 70% of their funds in overhead. We were always better than the Red Cross or the UNICEF!

We heard about the 5H program, the rural schools, the VISTA, the tsunami, the prison projects, the terrorists projects, the Kashmir kids, Iraq, etc. But the truth is we only have a few pictures to prove it. And they were always the same pictures and same video footages! (let’s admit, good editing does miracles).

During a trip to India, I had the embarrassing job of escorting a few journalists to see the famous social projects. Let’s leave it at “it was embarrassing.” If they called that “social project” I don’t know what they’d actually call the projects carried out by the Red Cross, the UNICEF, Peace Corps, Doctors without borders, etc.
Upon the request of some VIPs traveling to India, I tried organizing visits to social projects and got absolutely no answer from the secretariat and senior teachers.

Unfortunately, social projects in the AoL serve only the purpose of publicity. After all, we did say we were a non-profit organization focused in sustainable development, etc. However, his focus was only to get more courses, enroll more VIPs, become more famous, get the Nobel Peace Prize!

A few people from a rather poor country told me the story of the time they found a rural school they were eager to sponsor and needed his approval. Upon telling him the project, his response was, “Oh … so much headache, children give so much work, so much headache a project like this, you don’t know, just keep teaching courses, bring more people …” The disappointment and, eventually, the clarity they got regarding the true objectives of the organization made a few devotees drop out after this meeting.

A donor was once approached for money to build a rural school in Southern India for underprivileged children. Not only were none of the deadlines and plans delivered, worse, with the millions of dollars donated, they launched a school for paying tuition students! Another wealthy person was asked to buy lands in the surrounding areas of the Bangalore ashram to donate them for the sattvic villages they are building and selling for extraordinary prices. In fact, I have heard many donors ask in a complaining tone: “Where does all the money go? Where are the projects?”

Let me translate: the deal is he makes the big bucks, you get fooled with the story of good karma.

Social projects are never long standing. Prison projects are worth a picture, a letter from the director of a penitentiary, footages of an interview, but there was no real continuity. Actually, we had to raise funds or use our own money to carry out projects in the prisons and elsewhere. So then, where does all the money of the courses really go?

He claims it takes a lot of money to maintain the ashrams. Maybe. But, what happened with his argument: less than 5% of the income is used for overhead? Keep doing your math. He gets all the money from courses, from products, etc. He gets free labor. He travels first class, stays in 5 star hotels, Bhanu’s jewelry have bigger diamonds and rubies, her saris are more expensive everyday and she gets offended if you ask if her designer purse is fake or real. His nephew lives extravagantly in the US. Bhanu and her husband are full time dedicated to the AoL, in other words, that is their only income. I don’t know about you, but I am already way pass the 5% overhead, and I still have no real proof of any social project other than stories and pictures.

(I heard him once scold a teacher for not housing him in the other more luxurious 5 star hotel instead of the 5 star hotel he was instead staying).

The Art of Living and the International Association for Human Values are the only two non-profits I know that don't openly provide an annual financial report. Not even, upon request.

I used to be one of those fervent cheerleaders of the AoL’s social projects, proud of everything I was told we did. I woke up one day and tried gathering more than 2 or 3 pictures for each project and it just did not make sense. As a teacher I tried very hard to carry out social projects and I know the resistance and lack of support of the organization. If it did not serve the purpose of publicity, a meeting with a VIP/ Government, “teach more courses, don’t waste your time, bring more people”.

Translation: bring more money (you may not see them but it is all for social projects after all …).


Anonymous said...

Oh brother, I don't even want to remember all this nonsense. It just fills me with disgust. The heartwarming pleas for a dollar a day to fund the education of poor children in India and then receiving the ultra-luxurious invitation for his nephew Ajay's wedding in Bangalore paid for with AoL money, I'm sure, the stay in the presidential suite at the Waldorf Astoria in NYC, the snub of a family of devotees whose house he had promised to stay at in Amherst, MA and which the local satsang spend a day polishing only for him to opt instead to stay at the more luxurious house of one of his wealthier devotees in Lexington, etc., etc.

You are doing a great service with this blog, by the way.

Anonymous said...

Good work man.
From your school and education point, I would like to add my experience:
After doing my basic and advance course, DSN and spending one year in AOL, I was interested in doing some Seva. I have read about their SRI SRI BAL MANDIR (children school for pre-primary level) I was under impression that We have to teach some under-previledged students who can not get proper education. I was ready to spend my time for teaching, some one from my friend circle would have given his place for teaching. So, I asked AOL to send me details. When I received the detailed Project Report, I was shocked. No Charity was involved. It was pure commercial project. You have to send fixed amount to Banglore Ashram each year. Charge students fees which was more than the standard schools of our area. Also share that fees with AOL. Detailed calculations were given of what we shall earn for N number of students. IT WAS PURE BUSINESS. NO SERVICE.
We left the idea of School, and after couple of months, I left AOL. ( I was volunteer not teacher)

Raghavendra Rao said...

You are doing a great service in this blog. I have heard many people connected to AOL voice privately that this is a sham organization and their social welfare is a means to make more money. They usually tell this in their ungaurded moments. However these insiders are dependent on AOL organization for their livelihood as they are part of AOL organizations such as the money making sri sri schools (which charges a hefty donation and fees for their mediocre primary and secondary education), the sumeru real estate (the money for charity they have cleverly divested into real estate), aol's ayurvedic spa etc. This is on the material level. On a spiritual level most of the AOL people derive their sense of self by fooling themselves into thinking that they are more satvic, have higher and pure energy levels and better than the rest of humanity.

Ravindranath said...

Thanks for this blog.
You have missed mentioning one big source of Income of AOL. AOL and other similar organization like Sai Baba, Datta Peeta, Ammachi, Dhyanapeeta, Kalki act as banks to many corrupt politicians and businessmen for hoarding their tax evaded ill gotten wealth. The non tax status helps here. A big percentage of money hoarded is used to create assets for the organization. Gurus like Ravi Shankar, Nityanada, Ganapathi sachidananda, ammachi, Kalki have tie up with political lobbies and they try to stay party nuetral.
However in the last indian election Ravishankar made a big mistake of supporting BJP openly. The AOL teachers and followers were fooled by their illusory influencing capabilities and most candidates they supported and canvassed in maharastra and karnataka lost their deposits.
Take the case of the liquor baron Vijay Mallya who became close to Ravishankar in 2002 thinking that he can use the Sri Sri's influence to get into politics. He got into politics and stood for elections with all the fan fare. He got 2000 votes in a constituency of 7 million people and lost very badly. Ever since Mally maintains a big distance from Sri Sri and never allows any of the ravishankar lobbyists to come any close to him.

Anonymous said...

Well if it was only the wedding invitations we as aolite has funded. Besides his wedding, and probably his living standards, aol has also paid Ajays university education at Stanford, that is with the Seva money of all the devotees who has skipped there university education because of SheShes urging them to do holy work.

Anonymous said...

Dear friend,

I am an AOL teacher who is on the brink or leaving the organization. I have been dragging my feet for quite some time now. But your blog is 'the nail in the coffin', prompting me to say enough is enough.

But I don't know how to leave. There is a group here that looks up to me and I feel a sense of responsibility towards them. Should I just let everyone here know what I feel and quit dropping a bomb shell. I would prefer to do it silently, but my situation does not allow me that. Any suggestions?

Anonymous said...

I'm the same AOL teacher who is at the brink of quitting. Wanted to share one experience.

A few years ago when I was in India, when the SSRVM project was being launched across the country, we took initiative in our city. A group of devotees underwent training at the Ashram and later colleced nearly Rs. 200,000/- through donations, and submitted the proposal for the school. The national project coordinator, who was also one of the biggest celebrities within AOL, refused to approve the project unless we raised the fees to a level that was way higher than the DPS fee strucutre in the city. The project had to be dropped as we could not come to an agreement and the Rs. 200,000/-, which went to the national SSRVM fund was not refunde and that led to a lot of embarrassment to the local group.

Later when SSRS visited the city and was told about this, the answer was a glib, "That was a time I was not paying much attention to the SSRVM project" transfering the blame to the project coordinator. The general belief is that nothing can happen in AOL without the knowledge and approval of SSRS.

Prashant said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Betty said...

Klim, you have convinced me that She She is as big a scumbag as he has always appeared to be. You are doing a great job with this blog!

Anonymous said...

"The Art of Living and the International Association for Human Values are the only two non-profits I know that don't openly provide an annual financial report. Not even, upon request."

You may like to add a third to this:
Life Bliss foundation, Nithyananda Foundation, etc...all are supposedly non-profit charities of the cult master who calls himself Paramahamsa Nithyananda.

Soon Nithy will over take SSRV!

a humble witness said...

Dear Anon of Dec 10 @ 7:22AM,

I just wanted to reassure you that although it might seem like the most difficult thing in the world to leave AoL as a teacher, it is possible, and many of us have done so.

I am a former AoL teacher who left recently after serving and promoting the organization for nearly six years. I too had a lot of people depending on me, and my life had become so engrossed in the organization and defined by it that it felt nearly impossible for me to leave. But once I realized that AoL was ruining my life, and through me, the lives of others I had introduced to the organization, it then became very clear what I had to do, and very easy for me to leave.

I left fairly abruptly, only letting those closest to me know my true reasons for leaving. As for everyone else, I told them that “there are other things in my life that I need to focus on right now, and I will be taking a break.” I have never gone back since. A few people left when I did, many still gather, organize courses, and invite teachers, but I assure you that ALL have survived the “bomb” I dropped. AoL continues to thrive in my area, and I know through my past actions that I am responsible for that in a big way. All I can do at this point is let nature take its course, people to come to their senses in their own time, and divine justice to be dealt out eventually.

As for me, I have never felt more free, more exhilirated, more relaxed than I do now. I still get bombarded with e-mails from AoL, but instead of cringing every time I get one, I now laugh at all the marketing tactics they use to sell courses, and the nonsense Sri Sri comes up with sometimes. I guess I do have AoL to thank for helping me to feel so bound under obligation for so many years, so that I can feel the lightness and freedom I feel now. At any rate, AoL, to me, is just another bad memory.

So good luck in your endeavor to leave AoL…

Love and blessings,
a humble witness

Anonymous said...

To the teacher, considering leaving the AoL cult (I am the person who left the initial comment in this thread): I was in the same situation as you a couple of years ago and, yes, the feeling of failing the trust of your local satsang members who look up to you and who are greatful to you for providing what they think is a valuable service to them is the most painful part of this decision. Ultimately, though, having stopped trusting the organization itself and its leader, I could not provide the service to the satsang either. Moreover, I started feeling that I wasn't providing a service to them at all and that I was helping to mislead them in fact. That helped me gather up the courage to face them and explain all this to them. I just couldn't continue living in lie any longer and felt that being honest about my feelings was the best course of action. It did come at an emotional cost to everybody involved, but I hope that in the long run it was worth it.

Anonymous said...

To Prashant: dear young man, I hope you are able to maintain your good health and spirits for many years to come, regardless of AoL. But just as a counter-example to your examples, I was a devout practitioner of AoL sadhana (everything you can imagine) for years and I ended up having to undergo back surgery in the end. There are many more examples of ill health occurring to regular practitioners, so don't get mixed up in cause and effect inferences so easily. One of the more ironic examples is the superstar, ultra hyped-up and idolized to high heavens DSN teacher Anand who, after a day of extolling the miraculous healing (I'm talking about the cripples starting to walk and cancers remitting kind of stuff) and general life problem-solving powers of Padma Sadhana, would ask a chiropractor to treat his ailing back in the evening. :)

Anonymous said...

"aol has also paid Ajays university education at Stanford"

He was attending Georgetown at the time I knew him. Has he moved on to Stanford now?

Narendra said...

To Prashant,
If you practice any yoga and Pranayam practice regularly, it will surely positive for your physical and mental health. (for examble - Baba Ramdev's Yoga and Pranayam package) If you have noticed, AOL is publishing benefits of SKAP (i.e. Sudarshan Kriya and allied practices - yoga and pranayam).
The problem is not accepting Sudarshan Krisya as one type of Pranayam but something Divine Gift. Stories of miracle are added to it. The reason is clear, Sudarshan Kriya is core of AOL and if they accept Sudarshan Kriya as a type of Pranayam (breathing exercise) and nothing divine, they will loose their special core brand.
Do you accept SK is breathing exercise? Do you have guts to accept this?

Anonymous said...

The annual reports of any non profit organization are available online. I took the trouble of finding the reports and got them off the web. So please stop this nonsense of where do the millions go.

And another thing, no one in AOL can be blamed for your stupidity. Not just AOL, any organization for that matter. You guys make it sound as if everyone asked you to suspend judgment and common sense just because you joined AOL.

Even if they did, "the choice was yours".

KLIM said...

To the kind anonymous who found the annual reports online, could you pl send us the links? We've never seen them, not even as teachers had a copy of them upon request. I am sure a lot of people are eager to take a look at them. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Here's a report of 2008 AOL returns

a humble witness said...

Dear KLIM,

I just wanted to applaud your efforts and thank you for sharing your thoughts and insights about your experiences with AoL on this site. I was praying for a site like this some time back when I was on the brink of leaving AoL, looking for some shred of evidence that I wasn't the only one feeling burdened by AoL when everyone else around me seemed so happy to be a part of it.

Some people, like Anon of 12/11, 11:21PM, might not realize that leaving a cult requires first, the bravery to question what everyone else around them has blindly accepted, and then second, support from outside of the cult to help them carry out the decision to leave. This site provides that support to all those who are brave enough to question.

I can already tell by the increasing number of comments that your blog will continue to gain popularity. I am looking forward to your future posts.

love and blessings,
a humble witness

Anonymous said...

When someone makes allegations, I expect that person to have first made sincere efforts to obtain information, not sit on an arm chair and pass opinions and judgments. I was concerned initially at the feedback and searched for the annual reports, I found them.

If you want the annual report, move your ass and get the information. Don't expect me to take responsibility for posting the links, so you can stop feeling helpless:-)

OK December 12, 2009; 11.21 p.m. Anon poster. Neither you nor anyone else needs to feel sorry for my choices. Also don't feel sorry for your choices, move on!

I can’t wish you guys luck, but I wish you all well. I am out of here!

Anonymous said...

Anon@December 12, 2009 8:05 PM

You certainly have mastered the Art of Evasion. Learnt from the best, eh?

KLIM said...

I could be mistaken but that is the tax return of the AoL Iowa (USA) chapter. And again, I could be wrong but tax return is different of annual report.

CHUCK said...

anonymoose said...I can’t wish you guys luck, but I wish you all well. I am out of here!


A guy this ticked off and corked up will always be back! Klim has not been making "allegations". He's been tellin his own direct experiences! The first time I saw this little butt swishin She She, was in the 70's and he was walkin around with a couple of the other special special ones when Mugharishi was in Iowa. Didn't like his arrrogant manner then. Now it jist looks silly!

Nandita Jayaram said...


I am not sure about your experience, but my four year experience in art of living has made me feel it is not a straight organization. Lies, deceit and manipulation abound. Most of the service activities started by the senior teachers lasted only till the first few photographs taken. You might have had a different experience so I don't dispute that. But I stick by the first hand experience which me and my family had with this group where we felt used and cheated.

To the folks who want to quit,

It is a difficult process especially after being continuously indoctrinated by all the stuff about guru's grace, hygenie/contamination, secrecy and spreading the lies. People outside the art of living cult do not understand the delusion, paronia and trauma that many AOLers are into. My suggestion is to read and practice good spiritual teachings which are direct, clear and unconditioned. I suggest J Krishnamuthi, Eckhart tolle among others. Understand the depth of yogic kriyas and practices through such organizations as Bihar School of Yoga and Vivekanda Yoga Kendra. There are many in these organizations who can guide you into deeper practices. You will realize soon that most AOL teachers have limited understanding and intuition about spirituality or yoga and are chained to their TTC guidebook. Spirituality should set you free and not bind you.

Narendra said...

You are right. I also felt like being cheated after knowing the realities in AOL. I was very bitter for first 3-4 months after leaving the AOL.
AOL basic course teachers take Yoga practice as per their own wish. No specialist no standard format. They are very poor in Yogasanas. The fact is that AOL has not taken Yoga (asanas and Pranayam) seriously, untill Baba Ramdev became very famous. Now they have started special course of Yoga 'SRI SRI YOGA.'
Copy Mahesh Yogi(Gurupuja & Sahaj Meditation) Copy Osho(for knowledge part), Copy Ramdev
and Paste, paste, paste...

Chikla said...

Nandita - Thanks for your good suggestions.

Anonymous said...

"aol has also paid Ajays university education at Stanford"
No its a university in the LA area. He lives in the DC area - flies every week to LA and back to do his schooling which is quite an expensive endeavor. And the AOL family bought a $700k house in the VA area to go along with the $300k house in Arlington. Thats a $1mn mortgage funded by idiots who donate their money in the name of charity

Anonymous said...

Much as the financial perks of being a close relative of sri sri must be nice, I would still think it's a life of forced servitude. Ajay was a nice kid when I knew him, but, if it were me, the toll of being put on a pedestal as a sri sri relative, always having to further his uncle's agenda, and never being able to 'get real' with people would wear on me.

But maybe the property and money I accrued through no merit of my own would sweeten the bum deal. He might be the Katie Holmes of AOL. If he ever chooses to break free, he might have a cushy place to land.

While I appreciate the truth telling nature of this blog, I would appreciate if people would fact check before posting things. I was stunned that Ajay was accepted to Stanford until I found out he really went to Georgetown, now Claremont. Good schools, but not as good as Stanford.

I saw a mini bio of Ajay online and he claims to have been descended from the prime minister of Mysore. Doesn't Mysore still have royalty? I thought Sri Sri and fam were middle class brahmins. Does anyone know if Ajay's claims are true?

If the millions said to be going to charitable projects are not, that's criminal. However, I have to say that I don't fault Sri Sri for for supporting Hinduism. Millions are being converted to Christianity in very sneaky ways upon the direct order of the Pope so if Sri Sri is trying to offset some of that by promoting Hindu chanting, bhajans and culture, I see nothing wrong with that. The wrong things he's doing are the breathing technique which might be harmful, the implications of his omnicience, and the possible mismanaging of funds.

And Hindu classical music is not 'discordant'. When the blogger bashes Hinduism, it takes away from his message, which does have merit on its own.

KLIM said...

Thanks for pointing out my mistake of classifying Indian classical music "discordant". A classification based on classical music/western world that is not correct. You are right. But, please do not misunderstand, I don't bash hinduism at all. thank you.

Anonymous said...

I think the reader is confused between the words 'dissonant' and 'discordant'. The fundamental difference between Indian and Western classical music is that the former has both consonant and dissonant notes whereas the latter has only consonant. So, in effect you can say all western classical is a subset of Indian.

betty said...

anon said...So, in effect you can say all western classical is a subset of Indian.

You could say that but it would be just adding to the steaming pile of bullshit talked about the Indian culture.

Anonymous said...

I love how Betty and Chuck constantly use fecal analogies when making digs about Indian culture. I notice it on Jody's blog and this one too. It feels like there is a contingent of readers/commenters who hate India and Indians and use this guru topic as an excuse to let flow some thinly veiled and not so thinly veiled racist digs. Jody lets them make overt racist statements against Indians on his blog which is why I never feel compelled to post there. I thought this blog would be different, but here they are again, talking about steaming piles of bullshit and turds on toast and not confining their disgust to the topic at hand, sri sri ravi shankar and AOL.

I don't believe the main blogger here harbours any such anti-Indian sentiments, but it would be nice if some comment moderation came into play when obvious racist statements are made. I understand free speech and all, but what is the point of mederating comments at all then?

KLIM said...

"I understand free speech and all, but what is the point of moderating comments at all then?"

I see your point and I also value free speech and free thinking. Coming out of the AoL where I experienced so many years of censorship, repression, manipulation of information, I feel it is important not to repeat the same story. It is up to each one of us to learn to discriminate between good and right, what we agree with and not. This is why writing helped me so much in my recovery process. Writing everything I was told I should never say seemed to demystify and challenge all the indoctrinization. There were so many secrets, so many things spoken to Guru but not to students, or to teachers but not to Guru or students, etc. And so many versions of each story! You are right, this is not for bashing Indian culture nor Indians, yet I understand how people end up linking it to fake gurus. Don't desist from leaving a comment if there is something you need to share. It helps us all. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

"It is up to each one of us to learn to discriminate between good and right, what we agree with and not."

I would argue that choosing your guru requires the same type of discrimination.

I was around for less than a year which is as long as it took to realize that this group was not ideal for me, nor was the guru. Sri Sri was not that good at manipulation and it was clear he favored the rich. I would argue that if it took years and years for some people to see through some of the manipulation and propaganda, then they were in desperate need for a wake up call and needed major lessons in discrimination. Those lessons will be useful to the recipient as most everything these days seems to have a deep dark underbelly, including our own desire for an instant or quick and easy enlightenment, by following another person's orders.

Anonymous said...

anon@6:28 ,

I am an Indian. There is absolutely no need to raise the well worn racist card to brand Chuck or Betty as is our pavlovian wont.

I have also been taken for a ride by charlatans & invariably came up with swear words to vent out my steam. We Indians wallow in holier than thou pretentiousnes.

Presuming all these dubious gurus are egoless divine incarnations , such expletives ought not to dent their non existent egos. Including their devotees ' egos which also are allegedly non existent.

Those Indians who are ultra touchy ought not to visit Jody's or this blog. Instead bleat 'jaigurudev'.

he was never my guru said...

I'm the Indian who wrote the original post and no, I won't bleat jaigurudev nor do I have holier than thou pretentions.

My friends and family saw through ravi the moment they saw him. I was a little slower since I was raised in the west and was a little more trusting/gullible. But still, I had enough training in Indian culture and what a guru should not be to leave very shortly. It's known by a lot of Indians that most of these gurus who advertise their enlightenment and charge for their 'grace' are actually anything but, and mostly out for money. There are lots of Indians who have joined the movement, but I doubt they all stick with it (other than the higher ups).

On Jody's blog you hear a lot of comments about how Indians are greedy, just like these gurus, the culture's effed up, look at the Indians in the workplace, how backbiting they are, Indian cultures a steaming pile of fraudulent horseshit and on and on. Anon 1:43, if that's all fine and dandy with you, good for you. But I needed to say something. Free speech, remember? And I think I'll stay and read for a while, despite your invitation to leave. I don't think much of Sri Sri. But I don't agree with blanket racist digs in the name of guru bashing.

Betty said...

I notice that the same people who tend to say I am a racist are quick to make comments about Americans or westerners, etc. As for the use of words like "bullshit", that's just the way I talk. Many of us who have been caught in cults like TM and AOL have been grilled for hours and years about the superiority of Indian culture, whether in the areas of spirituality, medicine, architecture, music, or whatever. I used to love this idea. Now I find it bullshit. I feel similarly about democracy and christianity. I have been labeled as a hate monger by a number of christians.

Bullshit is bullshit, whether it's petrified in "ancient cultures" as in India, or freshly laid on the ground as in christianity and American style "democracy". I am just one person talking. If you think of yourself as Christian or Hindu, you may be offended.

CHUCK said...

I was raised in the racist South in the 1950's. I saw it daily, heard the N word hour by hour, saw Blacks being excluded from our church, saw how it bent the backs of of folks who had to carry the weight of all these ideas and customs. One of my grandmothers was an orphan and was raised in part by an ex-slave. My grandmother dressed and spoke exactly like all the old black women I knew. All this is to say that I know about racism from this perspective. It was a big part of why I renounced Christianity and went in search of a higher and purer form of spirituality. I learned to meditate and spent decades reading the biographies of Indian saints. I took part in pujas, sincerely repeated mantras. Then I saw the same kinds of divides in the Indian culture.

Getting too close to the Guru is dangerous to one's faith because you see the very human deceit, greed, anger, racial pride, etc. Going to India will kill, for many, the tendency to adore the Indian culture because you may see in plain view all the racism, color and income bias I saw in the racist South. Going to India was in many ways like going back in time to the 1950s. In the South you would often see great wealth side by side with great poverty. The rich white man saw no problem in not paying his poor black neighbor enough to live on. That's exactly what I saw in India. Outside the gates of mansions, servants living in plastic tents that would have shamed the worst of the racist land owners I saw as a young person.

I agree with Betty that “Bullshit is bullshit...”.

he was never my guru said...

Betty and Chuck,

I am the person who wrote the initial posts. I am Indian. I am Western too, having been born and brought up in the US. I'm sorry you both had such bad experiences. But, in my experience, that's what comes from following a mass market guru. Those people are not where the wisdom of India lies. The more stories KLIM tells, the more obviously sheisty ravi seems, but wasn't it obvious from the first few months? Maharishi Mahesh Yogi was obviously a big star, um, seeker too, wasn't that a red flag from the beginning? When they were both collecting major amounts of money for supposed spiritual knowledge, what was it that kept you there for so many years and who is really to blame for it? Not the Vedas, not Vedanta, nor the populace of India.

The current poverty of Indians is for many reasons other than callousness and lack of caring. In my small life experience, I see my extended family who live in India do their best on a daily basis to help the less fortunate and live in harmony with the world without fanfare or need for kudos. You can't judge the people of India based on the current economic climate. And there is a lot of wisdom in Indian texts and teachings, just not with the flashy self-styled proponents. Living with the questions and not falling for quick-fixes is a life lesson all of us would do well to learn.

Anonymous said...

Aol is a money spinner for sure and their claim that they are a "not for profit" is dubious. If they are a transparent NGO, they should be putting up their financials on their website for everybody to see. As per the Income Tax rules in India, they need to file their returns and also have their accounts audited - I do not see any of this on the Aol website. We need to create this awareness in the people and once there is awareness, hopefully accountability will follow.