Sunday, January 10, 2010

Once upon a cult

Recovering from spiritual abuse is an endless, intimate, lonely process few people comprehend. Sexual abuse and domestic violence are today recognized in most societies (unfortunately not all) as crimes, and victims of it qualify for proper justice and counseling. Society sympathizes with them and offers help in countless ways, although probably not enough yet. On the other hand, being a victim of spiritual or cult abuse is still not as acceptable and an unspoken subject accompanied by shame and misunderstandings. Out loud coming out as a victim of cult/spiritual abuse may place one in a vulnerable situation, even ridiculed or exposed to more bullying. One is blamed for having joined or questioned on the veracity of ones experiences. Of course, they are the big organization with the big names, the holy persona and thousands of followers. I am just a nobody who was “rejected or dejected” (as someone put earlier). Why believe me? I must be bluffing, resentful, seeking revenge. Otherwise, “something is obviously wrong with you, to begin with, for having joined a cult”, and “you are ‘stupid’ for not having left earlier”, “you are responsible.”

Maybe people can’t relate with spiritual abuse because it is more abstract, subtle and mainly because there is a general concept about spiritual masters: they are holy benevolent beings, and because there is a tendency to believe one is always in control of everything (“should be”). People don’t understand the extent and the depth of the manipulations and damages of spiritual abuse, specially under the leadership of one who claims “the way”, the lonely pain one carries silently for a long time and how difficult it is to cope with it everyday, how being a victim of a cult leader is not different from being a victim of Stockholm syndrome, rape or domestic violence. People sympathize with Jaycee Dugard but they question me. I was spiritually raped and abducted but I could/should have walked out. I could/should have as much a Jaycee Dugard could/should have.

Recovery did not start the minute I left the organization. Recovery started the day I was able to face the truth and admit to myself I had belonged to a cult, that I had participated in a big lie and brought many to it, that I had been abused and also been abusive, that SSRS was a cult leader and not a spiritual one. Unfortunately that happened long after I officially left. I fed my dissonance for a long time after instead. It is what I had perceived as truth for so many years and the contrary was too hurtful and challenging to unknot. I was betrayed by friends, students, my guru, but mainly, I betrayed myself for not listening to myself, not seeing the truth earlier and for allowing the abuses. Maybe I will understand many years later why it all happened, maybe one day I may even be grateful for it too. Maybe, maybe not.

I find the biggest challenge former members face is recognizing SSRS is not what we thought he was or that his love for us is not unconditional, as he claimed, that the Sudarshan Kriya is a hoax, that we were used to feed someone’s narcissistic ambitions. I’ve heard people who have been abused defend him in the most dissonant manners. They blame the board, some senior teacher, they even claim he did it out of love, etc. They somehow see SSRS as a victim himself when underneath it all, they are most likely protecting themselves. Let me just ask, “What kind of parent would abuse you in the name of love?” (In the world we identify them as pedophiles and sick). Who do you think is behind the board, the senior teachers, the situations? You really think things happen without his consent and knowledge?” SSRS is about the greatest control freak I know! I remember the time I told him I found an article bad for his name because it stated everything in the Art of Living revolved and depended on him. He mockingly asserted, “Of course that is how it should be! I am behind it all! Without me nothing exists! You still don’t know?!” (A little too narcissistic perhaps?) This is the naivite that goes on. I also defended him so many years when the truth was evident to those watching outside.

I realized about myself that the extent I needed to lie to myself about SSRS was the extent of my own immaturity. Psychologically, children move to the next level of maturity when they realize Santa does not exist. I believe the same happens with ex-devotees when we consider the possibility the guru is a fraud. Eventually, admitting he is, is the ultimate painful act, thus some choose to keep the Stockholm syndrome. As the saying goes, “ignorance is bliss.”

I stopped consuming sudarshan kriya, meditation, chanting, anything that reminds me of the routines I followed for so many years, that killed more than 100 of my brain cells, and repressed my rights of freedom of thought and critical thinking. Uninstalling all the guru softwares, allowing the real me to flourish again, being truthful is my current sadhana. The meaning of “sadhana”, now finally makes sense: spiritual practice done for higher aims.

I was once member of a cult. I say it with shame, humility, respect and responsibility. But above all, with pride I finally am truthful to myself.

49 comments:

Brother of Chuck's Son's Relative said...

Despite all of the damage done, it was still your free will.
You are ultimately responsible for choosing to follow along, and to the extent you did.
Cults such as the Jonestown Massacre, the Waco,TX Branch Davidians, etc are more forceful in having their followers do exactly as they say, especially with the children who don't have a choice.
I know martial artists who subscribe so much to their art that they almost live in a cult like perception of following the teaching, living a certain style with a certain outlook, etc.
It just depends how far you want to go and how susceptible you are.
Some people can be hypnotized at the drop of a suggestion, others can't be at all.
While I know from experience that things aren't always what they are cracked up to be, whether in relationships, politics, work, or even amongst friends, the degree to which you are brainwashed is really in your own control; it just might take longer to figure this out depending on whom the relationship is with.
Do you acknowledge this, Klim?
That you bought into the whole SK with your free will, got sucked into it due to your mind and personality but you could have left sooner, etc? It was 90% your doing, regardless of the lack of truth behind what was being done.
That too, is part of the healing process and a learning event to take with you the rest of your life.
I also know this first hand from following another teaching, although perhaps to a much lesser degree, it made a deep impact on my outlook.
Finally, I have to acknowledge these blogs help me to understand my perception of reality better, seeing behind the Curtain of Oz, and realizing like everything else in life, the truth is a big disguise that has to be taken with a grain or teaspoon of salt.
Keep on posting.

De Rahul said...

Well Said..! At last its Loud enough for the people to hear. I must admire your audacious job and the themes you averred. Really Great.. Hats Off for your writing.
Well honestly speaking we can't find a real teacher these days. I agree.
Your words have actually stirred me. Awesome..!!
Please leave a response for me
My maid ID is

Prairie Princess said...

Very powerful writing. I have known victims of domestic abuse who excused the person who beat them by saying it is their culture, the drugs, the alcohol. I had heard people in AoL defend senior teachers' abusive behavior by saying it was for someone's own good. There is no difference.
Recognizing you are being abused and removing yourself from the situation is the first step of healing. You are healing with every word you write and you are enabling others to heal as well.

Provender said...

Spiritual abuse is really something difficult for people to understand if they haven't gone through it. I know that before I did, I would have paid scant attention to those claiming such abuse and would likely have tried to make it seem like victim and perpetrator were equally to blame. It's not talked about or explained or analyzed many places. Good luck with your blog.

Anonymous said...

Klim ,

Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsar once upbraided one of His devotees for buying a leaky mudpot.The crack had been cleverly concealed by the seller.

The disciple said " You only said God exists in everyone.So I bought it in complete faith".

RP angrily retorted " You idiot! The seller's job is to con and dump his ware on you.It is your job to use your brain and vigilantly inspect it.Does not the same God exist in you, illuminating your intellect?"

So let us listen to what our "blood whispers" to us.Our well honed, burnished instincts.

I could not agree with you more on how traumatic wanton abuse is for the victim. Your writing provides profound catharsis.

Indians (majority) suffer from one big malady. That is refusal to own up the truth , their mistakes & coming out with " I am sorry ".

Anonymous said...

Hi Klim
I salute your courage to leave the group and to expose the real happenings to the outside world.

My 2cts worth - you should write about actual incidents that has happended rather than go around the bush talking about mental abuse etc. You have a tendency to talk in riddles and it is difficult for people to grasp what you are saying.

Be open -share your personal experiences during Silver Jubilee, what you feel about the Advance, DSN, and Sri Sri Yoga (which in my opinion has become a real mockery to Yoga - the true and departed yoga masters will be cringing in their graves. All you need is one Basic Course to qualify to do the Sri Sri Yoga teachers training, what bull crap.

Tell the world about how the family is minting money, how teachers are passed out like a printing press - who cares about quality, integrity or standards when there is easy money to be made : - USD1000 on an average x 0ver 200 applicants - dont need a mathematical genius to figure that out.

Tell the world about the money from courses meant for welfare projects being invested in prime real estates all over India - beneficiaries being the sister,brother in law and nephews.

Tell the world about the villagers around the ashram whose lands have been taken to put up apartments, bungalows for sale to the devotees.

Tell the world about how the students of the Sri Sri Ayurveda college are shortchanged.

Tell the world about the schools designated for the underpriviledged - the one show school in the Ashram - what about all the other states?

Tell the world everything yaar - if you want to expose do it without fear or favour, do it 100 % like you so often preached to your students.

Jai Guru Dev

KLIM said...

"Do you acknowledge this Klim?"
If you would have read the text carefully and understood it properly, you would not be asking this question. Be careful with what but especially HOW you say things cuz I am sure you don't mean to say every abused child is then also responsible for their abuse, just like a rape victim - maybe they were in the wrong place wearing the wrong clothes, and every Jaycee Dugard was responsible for being raped and abducted for so many years. After all, many other children were not abused, and many others not raped, nor abducted, and we all could have done something for it not to happen, including babies and toddlers who are abused and raped.

KLIM said...

to the last anon, read the rest of the blog. you anyway just did a great job in a few sentences. thanks.

Anonymous said...

My aunt was an AOL maniac, her whole life revolved around AOL - her devotion to the Master was so sincere and unconditional. I was always sceptical about the organisation but my views were disregarded.

After years of serving the organisation, she went on to do her TTC, she was confident of being selected as a teacher. On the last day of the TTC she was outside the hall and overheard the teacher trainers discussing the candidates. She heard her name being mentioned and remarks like 'That woman is so ugly, she cannot be a teacher.

She was not selected, she came back a wreck, its been 10 years and she has still not got over the humiliation. She suffers depression, low self esteem and her whole life has been wasted. Thanks to the overzealous attitude of the teacher trainers of AOL.

Jaya said...

Klim - Thanks for the Blog.Several doubts I had about AOL has been confirmed. Thanks for articles and comments. I practiced Sudarshan Kriya along with pranayama for six months and result was not good. I suffered from Headaches, constipation and irregular heart beat. AOL teacher was hardly helpful in understand my problem.I first stopped the weekly long kriya and then short kriya. I have gone back to my old suryanamaskara and pranayama sequence and enjoying great health like before. But I still had doubts that I was doing some thing wrong and why sudarshan kriya is not good to me. I did not have confidence to question practice. But I see many people here have experienced same thing what I went through. I would have saved lot of suffering if I had stopped Kriya earlier. better late than never.

Naveen said...

The last anonymous:

Your Aunt's experience is shared by many ofmy friends. Looks and presentation matter quite a lot to be a teacher in AOL as the glamour element is very important. I feel sorry for her.

Anonymous said...

Why is that the general theme of the art of living is beset with people who have the inability to construct a simple sentence? If this is what they are doing by empowering youth, then I am scared.
look at the comments on http://bawandinesh.name/about/#comments
Parul says:
January 22, 2009 at 5:04 pm
JAI GURU DEV . Bau and Dinesh bhaiya u both r tooooooooo
great. I love u both .All ur picks are superb.THrough out dec my pc was not working and i was having my exams and was missing ur blog a lot a lot a lot.JGD, LOVE U

'picks' meaning pictures?
Jagruti Goswami says:
January 30, 2009 at 12:23 pm
Jai Gurudev………………
I remember a day when i met dineshbhaiya in last Navratri @ bangalore Ashram… I was not knowing he is creator of Yes+ and wonderful teacher of DSN & Advance courses.
I am so lucky, i got a chance to meet him especially on his b’day.Now by going through this blog and listening your talks from Yes+ teachers……I feel so happy and motivating….
You are fabulous Dineshbhaiya….I am coming to meet you very soon…………..till than……………..Jai Gurudev

prateek says:
March 18, 2009 at 2:15 pm
jai guru dev
bawa & dinesh 2 angels send by guru ji for the youth.
in my language i would say bawa & dinesh “JODI NO. 1″
I love your style of taking the course points & i want to become a teacher like you both.
Now at this very moment i m happy from my heart & i want my friends must be happy like me so i want them to join YES!+ COURSE ASAP…
jai guru dev

I really hope he follows his dream and becomes a teacher. wow, his friends don't know what they are missing

Anonymous said...

The latest and arguably most ridiculous thing is the "Know your child" workshops. Even though they try to teach about relationships in almost all their courses, atleast the base is sprituality supposedly. How are AOL teachers qualified to teach something about child psychology? This is pure rubbish. And they claim to have reached 200 thousand people already with these courses! Excuse me, didn't the know your child workshops start, like a minute ago? It's a mark of how stupid they think people are, or maybe they themselves are that stupid. Most likely both.

gettingreal said...

"I was spiritually raped and abducted but I could/should have walked out. I could/should have as much a Jaycee Dugard could/should have. "

This statement is absurd. To compare yourself to Jaycee Dugard who was HELD CAPTIVE, PHYSICALLY RAPED and brainwashed is more than self-indulgent. You were not held captive. You were not raped.

I wouldn't even say you were spiritually raped. You didn't have your kundalini forcibly raised. That is spiritual rape. What you lost is some time. You also probably learned some discernment which will serve you once you get out of victim mentality.

If you were conned in some ways, describe them, but to use this overdramatic language and extreme metaphors takes much away from your case. People lose their 20's to drugs, alcohol, careless pregnancies, bad decisions, erroneous career choices, bad relationships, ALL. THE. TIME.

You were not a child. You were/are an adult.

If you have your health, you're doing better than most people.

KLIM said...

Excuse my language, but big time "F... U"! How do you know that I or others were not physically raped? How do you know if my health is not damaged or not? What do you know? Excuse me, but F ... U, in the name of the many people who have suffered of many abuses in the AoL, including physical sexual rape, and whose health and psyque have been damaged in many more than just one way, and whose lives have been ruined in many more than just one way! You guys got to get real.

Anonymous said...

anon January 11, 2010 1:17 PM

Inability to construct a statement in English is hardly a shame! English is a forign language for Indians and they are attampting to write in it. That is commendable. :) I have read this somewhere, probably in the book Windmills of the Gods - don't laugh at someone for his accent because it means that this person knows more than one language (and you dont know anything except English!) My mothertoung isn't English still I attempt to write in English. Can you write at least as fluently in my language?!

bawa and dinesh are making an honest attempt to empower youth. Empowerment doeen't mean being fluent in foreign languae ;) Here you are laughing at the youth, bawa and dinesh. What in your life have you done so far to empower the youth?

Anonymous said...

To those footsoldiers of Ravishankar blaming Klim for not quitting earlier:

It is not as simple as you make it out to be. Ravishankar practises what falls within occult. OTOH had deatailed earlier about the red cloth & frenzied sadhnating at midnight by haloed Ravishankar.

The fault lies squarely with R for projecting himself an avatar/godman. NOT with people like Klim who were guilelessly seeking God/Enlightenment.

One's intellect gets disabled by this R. R threatened OTOH with his " I could destroy you " & despite his wanting to tear himself way OTOH stood riveted as some light flashed from the baleful eyes of Ravishankar.

There are certain mantras falling under tamasic mantras like vasiyam , sthambanam whereby you can manipulate your guileless vulnerable victim as putty in your hands.

One gentleman who vocally protested within the ashram what a ripoff his courses were was physically thrown out by R's lynchmob with threats to his wife , children & family. Not a single devotee present rose to his support. On the contrary they cheered the megalomaniac Ravishankar.

Those screaming Jaigurudevs & egging Klim to present more facts:

Confront your master R. Let the onus of disproving all fall on him & his hindutva brigade.

Because everything gets justified by hindutvavadis with " keep quiet , this way he is preventing conversions , look at the charities....".

Nagma an actress who was with aol quit & converted to Christianity.

I am also a hindu. Thanks to such avatards , I have come to realise most hindus are egregiously sanctimonious.

Anonymous said...

To those footsoldiers of Ravishankar blaming Klim for not quitting earlier:

It is not as simple as you make it out to be. Ravishankar practises what falls within occult. OTOH had deatailed earlier about the red cloth & frenzied sadhnating at midnight by haloed Ravishankar.

The fault lies squarely with R for projecting himself an avatar/godman. NOT with people like Klim who were guilelessly seeking God/Enlightenment.

One's intellect gets disabled by this R. R threatened OTOH with his " I could destroy you " & despite his wanting to tear himself way OTOH stood riveted as some light flashed from the baleful eyes of Ravishankar.

There are certain mantras falling under tamasic mantras like vasiyam , sthambanam whereby you can manipulate your guileless vulnerable victim as putty in your hands.

One gentleman who vocally protested within the ashram what a ripoff his courses were was physically thrown out by R's lynchmob with threats to his wife , children & family. Not a single devotee present rose to his support. On the contrary they cheered the megalomaniac Ravishankar.

Those screaming Jaigurudevs & egging Klim to present more facts:

Confront your master R. Let the onus of disproving all fall on him & his hindutva brigade.

Because everything gets justified by hindutvavadis with " keep quiet , this way he is preventing conversions , look at the charities....".

Nagma an actress who was with aol quit & converted to Christianity.

I am also a hindu. Thanks to such avatards , I have come to realise most hindus are egregiously sanctimonious.

gettingreal said...

Klim, get a grip. I am not an AOLite. I could care less about sri sri ravi shankar. I think he is a con man. I have experienced the Art of Living crown and ran far away from them as they were more like an evangelical cult than any other Indian guru ever. I am mystified as to why some people stay around for so many years then leave and badmouth anything associated with gurus.

That said, I deduce you are healthy because I read your blog. YOU HAVE STATED THAT YOU ARE IN FINE HEALTH WITH A GLOW, even after leaving AOL, so you realized your good health was not connected to practicing sudarshan kriya.

I was empathizing with you but you are really making some far fetched statements and not taking enough personal responsibility. Call Sri sri a con man, but a rapist? Come on! Comparing yourself with Jaycee Duggard?? You just lost me.

If you have examples of how AOL has caused physical rape, I think you should report it to the proper authorities. If you feel they are financially suspect and have evidence of such, please do the same. If you have hard facts, report them. Everyone will then be better off.

But to come here and cry rape makes light of people who HAVE REALLY been raped. You followed a guru for years by choice. YOU. Deal with it.

If you want to play the blame game, I suggest you look further back in your history than Ravi. It seems something must have happened to you as a child to create such vulnerability to those that pose as authority figures. A good therapist, and I mean this sincerely, might help you unravel it.

KLIM said...

Get real, if you really want to get real, then know that Sri Sri is not just a con-man. And for you to come out here, and not even claim not be an AoLer and but know everything, is simply too offensive, especially in dealing with people who have suffered all sorts of abuses. If you have nothing to do with this, then keep quiet because there are people who have been raped, sexually abused and physically abused in the AoL. That you may have never heard about it does not mean you they do not happen. Psychological and verbal abuse are also just as bad anyway. How do you know I have not spent too many years going to doctors? How do you not know what I and others have gone though physically? Get real and know you don't know one bit neither about what goes on nor what has happened to people like me, and even less, my history. You can save your psychoanalysis.

Liz said...

Dear Klim,

As I said earlier, most of us are concerned about you. We would like to be a part of your healing process. For that to happen you can also help all of us.

Most of us are not exposed to AOL as you are. From your blog it seems like,you took a lot many courses, taught many courses and did many service activities for AOL. You also had first hand interactions with Sri Sri RaviShankar and his close inner circle. We are assuming that you have some first hand information that could help us all in taking right decisions. We are also assuming that you are not suffering from any symptoms of short-term memory loss. I hope and pray that I'm right here. I hope you vividly recall all the salient events that happened in your life over the past 7-10 years of your association with AOL.

It would be a great service to all of us, if you could provide anecdotal incidents. I hope , I'm not asking a lot. I hope you are comfortable sharing them with us. These true stories would be helpful to you and beneficial to all of us. You can also ask John , as to what his professional opinion is on this issue.

In this way, many of us can relate to your first hand experiences. We can be of help to you.

regards,

Liz

Anonymous said...

gettingreal comes up with howlarious " ... you should report it to the proper authorities ".

India is NOT America.

Proper authorities actually mean improper in anarchic chaotic India.

Lecherous ND Tiwaris ruled over us for a protracted period of time as Governor & Chief Minister WITH the tacit connivance & condoning by people in authority. About hindutvavadis caught with their pants down by tehelka , the less said the better.

How come the other Baba has successfully evaded prosecution despite overwhelming evidence ? That is India. Everything unethical is accepted with a casual shrug of shoulders as 'karma/kaliyug '.

You so facilely abuse the word 'Empathy' for your sloppily feigned feelings. Your comments betray the real you with remarkable eloquence.

KLIM said...

Liz, excuse me, but you are kidding me right? I have published so many stories here ... you think I made them up? What do you need? Names, ages, weights and location for them to be anecdotal? I write whatever is within my safety and wish to share and I don't owe anyone anything. If people start to seek in this blog what they seek in SSRS, then wake up and get a life. Salvation is within, not out. I don't need to expose myself more than I have, nor others involved. We have already been harassed and threatened by the organization (no, I don't need to detail the threats and harassments), and believe me, it is not fun to have the new age militia after you.

Art of Leaving said...

To Brother of Chuck’s Son’s Relative

It seems Chuck really has got all of his relatives brainwashed into defining themselves in terms of him only. Everyone beware of this Chuck cult developing! ;-)

BCSR, I actually think you contradict yourself several times: In effect you are saying that all of us are completely responsible for everything that happens to us, but then some people are more susceptible than others, some can be hypnotized easier, and sometimes there are factors that increase the length of time you need to figure out that you are actually in control. In other words, you are admitting these situations are complex.

Being brainwashed by definition means loss of control to some degree or other. There cannot be a high degree of freedom then.

Personally I don’t believe we have a high degree of freedom ever. You say 90% is one’s own doing and 10% not. I would reverse the statistics. How much control do we even have over our own body’s workings? How much control do we really have over our instincts, emotional needs, motivations? We hardly know ourselves, let alone being in control of ourselves. That doesn’t mean that we don’t strive for greater freedom, but it is a slow process. I doubt anyone in this universe has reached complete freedom and self-control, not even the most advanced yogi or master.

Anonymous said...

Klim,

Don't fall for the treacly baits.

When it came to a crunch not a single victim came forward to speak out against the other Baba straddling Andhra & Bangalore. When push comes to a shove trust Indians to betray you. The stakes are pretty high.

Let each person think & decide for himself/herself.

gettingreal said...

" If you have nothing to do with this, then keep quiet because there are people who have been raped, sexually abused and physically abused in the AoL. "

I have everything to do with this. I am reading your blog and I have also at times in my life been entrenched in victim mode, pointing fingers and making wild accusations. I was only helped once I took PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY FOR MYSELF and my choices. I was actually abused as a child. It made me vulnerable to people who present themselves as authorities. People who my friends with better self esteem ran from immediately. Through a long, arduous process of self-reflection, I learned my own role in my life's experiences and that was very empowering.

If you know of cases of rape and abuse in the ashram, it's your duty to report it to authorities. But
I am quite sure there is no child rape or captivity going on in AOL, as in the sad case of Jaycee Dugard. And if there is, there should be police reports made.

Anonymous said...

" We can be of help to you ".

( ROTFL. Liz , jaigurudev is conspicuous by its absence).

Excuse me , who is helping who here ?

Seriously , nowadays I feel comfortable with Muslims , Christians & Atheists. I recoil at the sight of unctuous followers of such avatards.

Art of Leaving said...

Liz,

The "anecdotal evidence" you ask for is all over this blog.

People should really make a point of reading the entire blog from beginning to end before making accusations.

I guess some people are making these requests deliberately and repeatedly in an attempt to upset KLIM.

KLIM, please don't let them get to you. They are playing their own games for whatever reasons. If you need to take a stronger moderation approach and delete obnoxious stuff, please do so. This must foremost be a healing space for you and others, not a space to open yourself up to more attacks and abuse.

Art of Leaving said...

The stress involved in managing a blog like this is tremendous. Like Provender and others have said, spiritual abuse is very difficult to understand if you have not gone through it yourself. I would like to ask those who truly appreciate what KLIM is doing for us, to please exercise restraint in their criticisms.

And those who don’t appreciate this blog and who feel the need to constantly attack or query KLIM, please won’t you go and create your own blog elsewhere and there you can attack and criticise and query our motives as much as you want to.

Debating and free speech are all good, but sometimes a healing space is needed, and then it is not “everything goes”. Some protective measures need to be taken. This blog is new, many of us are vulnerable and this is the only space where we can communicate our experiences.

KLIM said...

Sorry, I lost it a little here but you know what? It was a great reminder I am human! Being in a narcissistic movement like AoL created the pressure in us to constantly prove we were the best. I was laughing just a few seconds ago realizing how I lost it, and instead of feeling bad about it, I laughed. Isn't it great to have the freedom to be mad? It is a privilege I had lost cuz I had to fake it till I made it, and be mad because I was mad! Well, I am smiling at it all now because this is tragically comical. I don't know about you, but AoLers writing to this blog really only convince me of the great decision I made by leaving, boy, how did I not realize that when I was there? These people are crazier than ever, fanatically violent, self-righteous, read to kill. It makes me wonder, was I like that too??? How immersed was I in the sickness I did not even see it then?
I am not here to convince anyone of anything. I am just here to share a little because I choose to, that is all - I am not here to prove anything, so you can all keep your fingers in.

Lastly, to my pal "getting real", get a life. You don't have anything to do with AoL but you waste your time reading about something you don't know and self-righteously judge? Yes, I agree. Many more than five should be placing police reports and suing the organization and his "holiness". Maybe more than five have already tried, and maybe more than five have been threatened. Maybe you should wonder if you indeed know everything about everything. Cuz there is that possibility, you know, that you don't know everything? And the "Jaycee Dugard" thing was not meant literally, honey. It is interesting others got it, but you did not.

The fact is, abuse is abuse. There is not one that is more convincing than other, or one more acceptable than other. Whether it is verbal abuse, or psychological abuse, or physical abuse, or sexual abuse, or spiritual abuse - abuse is abuse. Hats off to survivors of any kind of abuse. And actually, comments such as those of getting however real and others, simply confirm my point: spiritual abuse is a sensitive topic, few people understand, shameful to own, difficult to digest for those inside and outside, subject to ridicule and bullying. Peace.

Art of Leaving said...

To gettingreal

You sound like an AOLite gone into damage control overdrive - to the extent of making up tales of your own abuse.

You will be the ideal person to start another blog for your Guruji elsewhere. So won’t you please do us all a favour, remove yourself from here and get working on that other blog. Your Guruji will so much appreciate this great seva from you. You’ll get so many seva merits and blessings from him. So please don’t waste another moment. Follow his call.

KLIM, if gettingreal doesn’t get lost soon, I recommend deleting his/her posts. Their only intention is to hurt and harm, nothing else.

jivani said...

Wow! So beautifully written.

"Recovering from spiritual abuse is an endless, intimate, lonely process few people comprehend."
This is so true. I had to recover from spiritual abuse and it's so hard to explain to anyone so it is lonely.

What kept striking me about this particular writing is how much denial persists. The people who continue to defend the Guru are everywhere. I was one of them! Yet, I sometimes get so frustrated with these people--I want to say 'I've been through this, trust me, this guy is not right'. But that sounds bad and they certainly won't listen! It can be so hard to let everyone follow their own path. All I know is I am so grateful to have been through an abusive spiritual relationship with a Guru because I instantly picked up on something not being right with AOL.

Regarding Brother of Chuck's comment about it being our free will, people say that about women being abused too. 'well, she asked for it'. Yes, we have free will but that does not make the abuse right. And teachers have a huge responsibility. We are vulnerable with teachers whether we like it or not because we must put some trust in them in order to learn.

I could teach my English students to say bad words and because they are on an English level similar to a child, they might say these words. But I don't do that. How could they be blamed for saying a bad word if they had trusted me to teach them English?

Absolutely great article, KLIM>

CHUCK said...

I am just wantin to go on record that I bare no responshebility for the proliferations of this here spawn of Chucks! A man jist goes out to have a bit of fun and the next thang you know their are litters everywhere claimin to be his offspring! I just want to make one more comment... Some folks seem to believe that She She Raviola has some kind of occult powers. I say that pure mule shit! The only powers the man/woman has comes from the power of money and politics. In real life the boy is a pussy!

Chuck's Hindu therapist said...

I love Anonymous's 7:21AM comment to 'trust that Indians will betray you.'
'Zackly what all of us experienced on our wonderful little excursion to the miserable Silver Jubilee in 1/06.

Promises not kept, mocking of Americans, confused and incapable Indian staff at hotels, restaurants, everywhere.
One could easily see how the culture's easy going personality encourages this.

However, I can't blame SSRS.
This cluster-$%$@ of that trip was due to the inherent nature of India's infrastructure.

Once we returned back to European soil in transit and then to the US, we thanked our lucky stars we made it out with the small amount of toxic sickness and health issues everyone picked up there.
How does everyone survive at the Bangalore Ashram?

I'd love to hear some accounts of that 1 star hotel, LOL.

a humble witness said...

Dear Klim,

I just wanted to applaud your efforts here and for bravely sharing your feelings and experiences with everyone and responding to the belligerent comments you have been receiving from the AoL damage control team. Such comments only reflect the true face of ssrs and his army. It takes courage to maintain this blog, and you are doing a great job.

Love and blessings,
A humble witness.

gettingreal said...

"KLIM, if gettingreal doesn’t get lost soon, I recommend deleting his/her posts. Their only intention is to hurt and harm, nothing else."

You couldn't be more mistaken. My intention is not to hurt or harm. It is to help. I understand KLIM needs to heal, but he is putting his thoughts out there on a public blog and inviting comments. When I first read some of the posts, I felt very sad for him. I totally believe his stories about sri sri being a narcissist and in it for the money, a cheat, etc etc. Personally, I think Ravi has a messiah complex and may have some siddhis, but essentially is acting irresponsibly towards the people he's attempting to help. But whatever KLIM says about sri sri from his own experience is fair game.

The thing about comparing Jaycee Duggard's situation to his though made me see red for a few minutes. I also "lost it" as you said. How can you compare a girl snatched in her early childhood, locked up, raped for years while being told her family gave her to a monster? She had no choice. She had no free will. Her body was being violently assaulted daily while she had lies forced down her throat and no option to leave. It's nowhere near the same thing, KLIM. You think other's 'got it' and I didn't but I'll bet many were repulsed like I was at the comparison.

As for being a secret AOLite, no way! But I did some courses in 2000 and 2001, went to some bhajans, got to meet the dalai lama at the bangalore ashram, but left when I felt that the the followers were unbalancedly chasing sri sri and sri sri was encouraging that crap for money. It was a Christian style evangelical set up and I will never support anything involving marketing and selling of spirituality, especially to that degree. I have had no contact with the group since 2002 or 2003 and moved on with my life very well.

And Art of Leaving, yes I was abused as a child. I know that pain and I know it made me vulnerable to one-sided or imbalanced relationships, and that it takes a lot to heal but it can be done. However, if you look at yourself only as the blameless victim and never accept personal responsibility, you won't ever feel empowered and the healing takes much longer if ever.

gettingreal said...

Also, about reporting instances of physical rape: If they occur in the organization, there must be cases in the US too, and can be reported to US authorities, along with the threats.

KLIM said...

Getting Real, you came out extremely abusive in your tone, and it obviously triggered in many people, not just me, memories of abuses we went through in the organization. In fact, you sounded like a senior teacher (believe me, nothing to be proud of!). You took the Jaycee Dugard thing out of context. And yet, as I stated, abuse is abuse. You don't need to wait to show bruises in order to validate it. If you read carefully, I never waive my responsibilities from anything. I was the fool who joined and sold. But it does not deny the abuses either (unfortunately, not as simple as just reporting to the police). Many of us are still processing what we went through. It is not fun, it is quite painful indeed and there are many damages in many levels, including physical and psychological. You know yourself there is a time for everything, and as it was beautifully said by a friend, "Recovery is a journey, not the final destiny." Truce, ok?

Bryan said...

Klim,

I just want to thank you for your blog. I am a old timer, as they say in AOL, who spent lots of personal time with Sri Sri and have still much love for the man.I always felt that my personal relationship had little to do with the organization. With that said, I am glad your blog is out there expressing a critical view of Sri Sri and aol. I think aol had taken a huge misstep back in the 90's. With the advent of the DSN and seva warrior mentality, potential abuses of a guru base organization got fully and sadly realized in my opinion. And Sri Sri is responsible. He promotes, actively and passively, the guru mythology (the guru is god business, everything is done through the grace of the guru . . . ). Under that mythology a lot of crap/lies/delusion gets passed off as spirituality. Sri Sri allows and promotes this stupidity to continue. I don't always agree with everything you write, but I am glad someone is giving voice to all the confusion and craziness that can go on in a guru organization.

Anonymous said...

Chuck ,

Call it ocult or blackmagic/tantric , there is a lot of such stuff taking place in India. A scientist would be able to reduce all of it to simple facts & explain well. (Abraham Kovoor in his absorbing book 'Begone Godmen')

Point is , why take the risk , why even look at such people?

If Yoga Vaasishtam had fallen into my lap at the very beginning I could have spared myself all this abuse.

Anonymous said...

The English movie ' Equilibrium '
reminded me throughout of such cult leaders.

KLIM said...

to Anon 11/1, 1:17 PM
I don't think the comment had to do with the inability to speak/write English, but rather the inability to think and express coherently. Empowering anyone involves educating the person to think on their own, not to depend on the other, or give to the other. Imagine if those are the youth who will govern us when we are old? There is nothing empowering about the YES+, AoL or those youngsters - unfortunately.

KLIM said...

To the person with the aunt who was "trashed" by TTC: I can't stop thinking about your story. My heart goes out to her. Tell her she is not the only one who has gone through that, as someone added later. Knowing he is not what we thought he was helped me reduce the power of his words. He trashed me so much the last years, especially when it was evident I was leaving, I was unable to operate for many years. His words were in the back of my head all the time and I became afraid of speaking with anyone, inc. children, unable to handle any job interviews, etc. He made me feel so worthless and horrible it took a lot of effort, good therapy and medical attention to put me in one piece again. Situations have proved his words wrong, yet, I still hear that nightmare in my head and struggle with it constantly. I have non-AoL friends who, when the traumatic flashbacks kick in, remind me constantly that was BS. In fact, they remind me I never was what he said I am (I prefer not to give details). He wanted to destroy me so that I would not be able to function in the world and perhaps, even create a blog like this. He even created situations so that noone would listen to me when I left (they literally told me, "Watch out, we will destroy you").It made me more sick to hear old timers and senior teachers later on tell me he trashed me to make me strong and help me move to the next step: moving out of the guru's lap. Sometimes I don't know who is sicker: him, those braindead people with sick interpretations, or me for having listened to all of them ... "D. all of the above"! My heart goes to your aunt and anyone who has gone through that in AoL. There is nothing enlightened nor loving about him/them. It only comes out for shows, awards and enrollment.

CHUCK said...

There aint no sidhis. She She aint got no special powers other than what you give him! They say my old Aunt Minnie could heal warts. I'd like to see She She do somethin that practical!

Prairie Princess said...

Chuckie-ji, did your Aunt Minnie ever consider becoming a guru? Sounds like she had it going on. Wart removal would be a useful skill but Ravi might be very busy with the warts who staff his organization.

Anonymous said...

Klim, thats very well said about the ability of lack of to speak English. I feel YES+ is child abuse - enforcing one's views and brainwashing youth in the guise of empowering is a scam. They are not teaching youth to think for themselves, they are teaching the ways of AOL and that is scary

Kiran said...

Klim, I enjoy reading your blog. The comments as well, and getting real's made perfect logical sense to me. In my humble opinion, this person seemed to be genuinely trying to help you. So I was surprised at how you took it totally wrong and completely lost your top. Glad that that hatchet is buried, for if you'd started high-handed tactics like striking such comments off, then that would've changed the very nature of this blog and consequently my desire to follow it. cheers mate, and keep up the good work.

suresh said...

do you believe that all spiritual organisations are a scam or only the art of living ?

De Rahul said...

All spiritual organisation are setup for MONEY making activities.
All the Organisation members have NO other Profession in their Life. So they Jump to easy money making and try to pull the educated media in the name of God and religion, the most sophisticated string of any society.
Conclusion : All spiritual Organisation are synonymous to SCAM.