Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Qualities of a Guru

I don’t know why I keep remembering an exercise that was done in TTC 1 and DSN: naming the qualities of the Guru. I remember the first time I heard this command. I suddenly wondered, “Really, what are the qualities of Guruji? Why is it I like him?” By the time 3, 4 people started timidly listing adjectives, the rest was just an act of imagination and poetic skill. By the end of the exercise, we were sitting in front of a flipchart with a list of adjectives that insinuated the existence of a Sri Sri Holy 108, the embodiment of God on earth. But, did we all really think that or was it fantasy, group enthusiasm induced?

Examples of qualities listed are compassion, funny, giving, loving, all encompassing, caring, wise, intelligent, responsible, hard working, etc. (interesting, even today I have a hard time working out this list).

Basically, the obvious lesson was we become what we love, we become what we hate, thus, better love than hate, and because we loved him the most, we would all become as amazing as he is. We were the best. The hidden lesson was worship HIM, there is nothing more perfect and more truly amazing than HIM. You are the chosen one, you have the blessing of being with the reincarnation of God on earth.

It’s funny. If I had to work on that list today, the first qualities I’d call out are disloyal, ungrateful, arrogant, unscrupulous, machiavellic, ambitious (in a negative way), power hungry, wealth hungry, fame hungry, narcissistic, lacks empathy, self-centered, selfish, vain, lacks compassion, incapable of loving, incapable of feeling, incapable of establishing deep bonds with anyone, distorted sense of grandiosity of himself, revengeful, abusive, manipulative, liar, sinister, stressed, explosive, deceitful, hypocritical, and I’d end it with a few “etc.”

It’s interesting but these are the qualities that prevail above all in the movement, especially amongst the teachers, even more so, the senior teachers. People with these qualities are the ones he supports, promotes and upgrades. Thus, indirectly, passively, showing these are the qualities and behaviors that get rewarded and awarded. Those who have a hard time living by these qualities find themselves in a more vulnerable situation, attacked, exposed, hammered ("it’s your ego"). Historically, humankind has always casted those who dare be different. It is not different in the Art of Living path (unless you have something to offer the organization that it still wants from you, eg. money, connections, status, etc).

One of the questions I pondered on for a long time was, “When I grow up, who do I want to be like?”

I searched deeply and vastly in my list of worldwide teachers and long-timers. I looked around … no, no, no, no …. NOOOOO … no, no no …. No …..!!! There was not one person I wanted to be like. Even worse, I did not want to ever be like any one of them! (If you know them off the course setting, even less!). And then came the big fish: not even when I was a devotee, I wanted to be like Sri Sri Ravishankar.

What are many people learning in that spiritual path? That being disloyal, ungrateful, machiavellic, betraying, etc. in the name of their devotion for Sri Sri or in the name of achieving whatever it is they want, adding the words “greater cause” to it, gets you away from anything and is the ultimate act of devotion, faith, spirituality.

What did I learn in my many years in that spiritual path? Everything I did not ever want to be like ever in life and everything I should never do if I want to live a life with integrity, values - success beyond success.

What would AoLers say about this article? That I am actually doing a “projection” and blaming on Sri Sri the things that actually are mine. It takes one to recognize the other, they say. There is one thing I am clear about: it is because I did not want to become those qualities, because I never agreed with them, that I finally left, that I finally lived the experiences that I did. Fortunately, the education I got from my parents, my grandparents, my elders, was a lot better than the one I got from Sri Sri. Fortunately, I have some discrimination left.

I stopped loving him and, fortunately, I never hated him nor do I hate him. I hope that saves me from ever being like him. Needless to mention, I work hard on myself so that I don’t repeat the mistake of regarding THAT as the ultimate HIM.


Anonymous said...

I am glad to read that you don't hate him. But my judgement is that you have not forgiven him. And till I did not forgive them (various people), I found it difficult to move on. Just thought I'd share... peace...

Anonymous said...

I found it interesting that you called AOL a "movement." That's a word regularly used by AOL teachers in there efforts to market the course to newcomers.

KLIM said...

Anon 12:58 PM.
With all due respect, you sound like an AoL teacher. Judging in a condescending way without really knowing, assuming you already know, in a tone of superiority and unsolicited opinion. Peace.

Anonymous said...


I'm the last poster, could you specifically comment on AOLs designation as a charity and whether it deserves this designation.

Also, can you offer some insight into AOLs financial dealings. The 2004 US Tax return indicates very little humanitarian outreach other than the teaching of AOL courses - at least in the US for this given tax year. The problem is without access to financial records we can only speculate.


ALSO, these articles:




make some big claims - how much truth is there to this?

Appreciate any comments:)

KLIM said...

AoL is no doubt a "movement", whether it is used specifically to market courses or not, it is what it is. In fact, I had a hard time taking in the word "movement" since for me it makes it sound like a cult, which it is.

As to financial details, see: "the million dollar question", posted earlier. Very little, if not any money goes to social projects. They claim more than they really do. Activities of the money are dubious, as well as destiny of donations. Someone got upset because he thought a tax return report is the same as a financial report. It is not. AoL does not offer financial reports to the public, nowhere in the 142 countries it claims to be, as any good NGO should. The tax reports of the few US chapters that are available on line are also dubious with ludicrous numbers that only make you wonder even more where all that money truly goes and why I worked for free.

I would not be surprised if any of the mentioned claims were true. I am sure it is not in the interest of SSRS to have any institution inquire his accounts, etc.

If you find any information, keep us posted. We all want to know too. Thank you.

a humble witness said...

OMG Klim, this one was too good. I was laughing the whole time reading this article. I remember sitting with the other students in TTC1, having to come up with that list. We sat there for over an hour. All of us students, young and naive, eager to impress the teacher by speaking out all those silly adjectives. We all came up with about eighty qualities which we had to write down in our journal. And then our homework for that night--to sleep with the list under our pillow to imbibe those qualities. I bet the teacher trainers get a good laugh every time they assign that one.

Anonymous said...

Its OK for you to think I am an AOL teacher. (i am not).

I have done AOL and I have done Vipasanna. I was addicted to the high and elated sense that SK generates. I did not know about the harmful effects (oxygen blockage, etc)till I saw your blog.

I have been harmed by people and I did not find peace until I forgave them. I don't care about SSRS and frankly I don't know you. But I benfited from learning more about the kriya from you. So I thought I'd share something that is true for me.

Anyways - I hope you find your peace. Thanks for publishing the truth.

Anonymous said...

One more thing. it will be great if you can post links to harmful effects (if any) of chakra meditation. I tried searching but am unable to find anything. Much appreciated.

Anon 12:58 PM


Vishal Sethna said...

Artificial is the first adjective that comes to my mind looking at ravishankar and his cronies.