Saturday, January 16, 2010

Haiti - not for commercial use

If you haven’t done so yet please pay attention to Haiti. It is difficult not to be shaken by the news, the pictures, the footages. It is a tragedy. I keep asking myself what can I do from so far, and inevitably I remember my times with AoL and feel ashamed of having supported initiatives that thrived from the tragedies of others.

A common question people asked SSRS was, “Why are there natural catastrophes?” A typical answer was, “So that people work on their compassion and do seva.” Very poetic, perhaps truthful, but definitely, very witty – the perfect way to keep his people working for him for free, not question anything he does (or not do) and feel proud of themselves.

We heard countless stories about the Gujarat earthquake, how AoL people helped day and night and the myriad miracle stories (my favorite being the one of a boy who fell off a high building and nothing happened to him because “Guruji caught him”). Of course, we heard the stories of the Tsunami and the unfounded claim “we were the first NGO to enter the region and do seva”, accounted by a few pictures (always the same 3, 4 pictures) of SSRS passing some bags of food and clothes, and standing in front of people in despair. In fact, the Blessings course is an aftermath of that tragedy: Swamiji was sent to the region, and as per his own narration, the guru asked him to bless. Upon asking innocently “how”, the guru yelled at him, “Just do it! Have faith.” And thus, when the swami innocently touched people’s heads, he’d learn the deaf gained hearing, the depressed started eating, the devastated smiling, the childless mothers found meaning to their lives again. The blessings/healing stories gained more importance than the actual needs of the tsunami affected population.

Taking advantage of the situation, the organization went out fishing for donations. A former teacher told me the story of a Brazilian bank that raised funds within their employee community and decided to donate close to USD 400,000 for the construction of an orphanage AoL claimed to plan to build for the Tsunami orphans in Sri Lanka. This project, like many others, did not follow up with accountability, paper work, proof. Instead of the promise of building the grounds in a few months, it did not conclude until way past the year. The bank authorities were furious. Of course, they had been fooled and their reputation was at stake. As a respectable, professional organization, they needed to show accountability. The AoL quickly fabricated pictures, trying to trick the bank authorities with photos only of few terminated corners of some rooms, or from angles that would not show the real unfinished situation, and of course, with big Brazilian flags wherever possible. To make things worse, once the building was finally terminated, they had no authorization from the government to run the orphanage, and there were no orphans to host (note: you don’t just grab kids from the streets and put them in a place ... for pictures …). I can’t help but imagine how much could have been done in Sri Lanka, even the slums of Brazil, with that lump sum of money back then! I keep thinking constructing the building did not require even 1/10 of that money. I wonder what has become the real use of that place and where that money really went.

I was at an AoL event during the Tsunami tragedy and, in two weeks, we collected close to USD 300,000 for “the cause.” He even sent us out to the streets to beg, TTC participants wrote big checks, events were organized to raise funds for the Tsunami victims, yet, they ended up being intro talks to register the people (who went to find ways to help “the cause”) to the next courses.

This was the work of only one group. I wonder how much money AoL sucked out of the Tsunami tragedy and how much really went to it or, rather, where did all of it really go.

The Dresden flood kept some Europeans busy for a few days, proved, of course, by a few pictures of a few people pulling buckets. Of course, there was the famous Katrina tragedy that claimed to have mobilized the entire US AoL chapter. Somehow, the AoL constantly makes big claims, but whenever articles are published it is because some devotee used some connections in the media. My point being: how come AoL always has to let the media know about their amazing work and it is not the media who finds their super big work? If their achievements are indeed that important, wouldn’t people notice them themselves?

Let’s be realistic and crude: what is the bottom-line claim of all the campaigns? Sudarshan Kriya will save everyone, his holiness is the new millennium Messiah, AoL is the only organization that is really making a difference in the area. Yet note that all projects life span last as long as some pictures and footages are taken, enough money collected, and you don't hear about them anymore, except in the form of heroic and miraculous stories (always the same ones).

Furthermore, it is interesting to notice he only helps incidents that are politically more productive for media and award purposes. When I read about some natural disaster, I check with former members of the area, local and international press, esatsang (!) to see if AoL is present in the rescue, vigorously implementing their claims of seva, sending their “seva warriors”, saving the world, “we care we share”, investing the money collected from courses in real causes. … Why does it still disappoint me though? Well, let’s give them a break. At least they keep recruiting people for courses! Sudarshan Kriya and devotion to SSRS will, after all, save and change the world! (Yes, that was sarcasm). There are people who believe the awards the IAHV claims were given by obvious merits rather than lobbying of their devotees.

A few years ago, a wealthy AoL member proudly informed of a “planting trees” project in Haiti. Not very knowledgeable about the area, I was embarrassed to ask why plant trees and not engage in more immediately necessary projects instead? Like, medical care, hunger, education, hygiene, etc.? Maybe deforestation was a big issue I was not aware of, but it obviously kept this man feeling important, donating and convinced AoL does real seva. I doubt so many trees were really planted in half of that island and I know as a fact there are not that many activities.

Oxfam, Red Cross, Doctors without borders, the UN, etc., a list of organizations are currently out there helping Haiti. Their efforts are visible, their goals are clear. It embarrasses me to remember how he convinced us those organizations are useless because they are all words but little action: “They use 80% of the donations in overhead expenses, did you know? Hah? We use less than 10% in overhead expenses the rest all goes to seva projects. Don’t give your money to them.”

Seva projects? Or Ajay’s homes, cars and triple US education? Bhanu’s saris, jewelries, purses and first class trips to visit her son? His own latest gadgets, expensive dotis, shawls, 5 star hotels and first class plane tickets? Or his real estate investments? Or the Texas ashram, the luxurious DC center, the recently acquired obnoxiously luxurious Los Angeles Center? (for those who have not seen the pictures yet, make sure you do. A historic building, several million dollars, former Christian Science church. I almost gagged when I saw the photos).

What will AoL invent and claim now about Haiti? That he is blessing the Caribbean? That the tragedy happened because AoL was not too active in the country, thus “everyone, quick, quick, start teaching in your areas before it is too late!” I will get revolted yet I am already getting ready to hear about a world meditation or a world maha Kriya to help the victims of the tragedy, and claims of seva projects and miracles in the area. Sadly, the AoL community will be excitedly convinced they are contributing (like the time they prevented a war between India and Pakistan with a maha Kriya), organizing special satsangs, donating money to AoL. “Everything is an opportunity. One just needs to be clever”, as taught by TTC teachers.

Taking advantage of the tragedy of others is simply distasteful.

Mr. Ravishankar, if you want to help, you need to roll your sleeves and get your hands dirty, but not your way-that-way-dirty, the real way. And not just for a few pictures. Know the Dalai Lama said to a reporter when a typhoon destroyed Taiwan: “I am not here to take pictures.” (You did not go. Your local chapter did not do anything relevant, if any at all. Supporting Taiwan would be a dangerous political move). If you choose to donate to an active organization truly currently working in Haiti, I am sure you can find ways to cut taxes. Remember your own teachings: a good businessman is the one who knows to donate. The more you give, the more you receive.

For those who want to help, here is a link from the NY Times: "HAITI DISASTER RELIEF: HOW TO CONTRIBUTE"

(Also read in this blog, "Another disaster, another marketing opportunity")


Anonymous said...

There is this famous parable.

Someone like ssrs claiming siddhis like omniscience etc was invited for supper by someone like say Jody:))

SSRS on sighting only a plate of rice bleated " where is dal & sabji"(lentils & vegetables)?

Jody replied:-

" You allknowing avatard can't spot the dal & veg buried under rice;))"

SSRS left in a huff.

Jai Bharathi said...

In 1934 a earthquake struck the northern Indian state of Bihar. Mahatma Gandhi declared that this is God's punishment to the oppression of dalits (untouchables) by the upper caste hindus. The poet Rabindrath Tagore criticized Gandhi and asked him not to interpret natural phenomenon with subjective moral justification. Gandhi perhaps failed to see that in the earthquake lot of Dalits had perished. At least Gandhi was humble enough to accept the criticism and state that it is indeed his faith, beleif and subjective opinion. But he stood by it and worked towards the eradication of untouchability.

But not our Gurus. They beleive that their opinions are divinely inspired, sacrosanct and unchangeable. In the 90s I attended a huge public meeting of Mataji Nirmala Devi in Bangalore. During this time there was a massive earthquake in Maharashtra and Nirmala devi blamed it squarely on the followers of the recently disceased osho Rajneesh. She called Rajneesh, Maharishi Mahesh and Satya Sai Baba as Rakshasas (demons) of hindu mythology. She claimed that Rajneesh has polluted the muladhara chakra of earth. Osho followers did a Ganesha puja celebration where they did lot of lewd dancing. This angered the god Ganesha and he punished through the earthquake in Maharashtra. Pune, where the Osho Ashram is located was not affected. Obviously Ganesha or rather Nirmala devi missed her target by miles.

It is common in India to see these gurus claim control over natural forces like rain, shine and wind. Ravishankar is no exception. He is following the guru template and making money out of this belief. They have also copied heavily from Christian charities who have been notorious in raising donations for their cause,causing conversion and social upheaveals. Bible in one hand and bread in the other. Our Gurus also want the piece of this charity cake. It is unfortunate that people donate their money to such people as internally these people do not have what can be called normal human, social value and ethics. They don't make it too public but they firmly beleive that their own solution (sudharshan kriya, aol) are far more effective than real practical help like doing relief work. This beleif is held very strongly by the members of the organization. Hence they pay lip service to the relief work. As Klim has rightly mentioned these so called social welfare lasts only till the first few photographs. It is this worldview which make them so selfish and gain benefit even from calamities. Ultimately the Guru gets the cash.

Narendra said...

Its great work.
Your second last paragraph is really eye opener.
I feel really sad about the people who are good at heart, want to do something good for society but caught in AOL beliving that its doing good for society.

Prairie Princess said...

If you want to plant trees in Haiti, give your money to Heifer International. They will plant trees in Haiti, since they have in the past. Heifer is a legitimate NGO and has been around since the 1940's. The Seva thing always seems faux to me since there was never any financial accounting. Bahnu's life style nor that of her children do not seem like seva to me.

Anonymous said...

Calamities are not the only opportunity to solicit donations.TTC and Guru Puja courses are also avenues to fleece. A friend of mine attended the Gurupuja course at the Ashram last year and he shared how the participants were asked to donate to purchase a LCD projector that went missing. At the end of the course the collection amounted to almost a lakh and by the end of the course a spanking new state of art LCD projector was made available.

Heard from another source that the same thing happened at the next Gurupuja course - same storyline about the lost LCD - about how the amount contributed is neglible compared to the great sacrifices made by Bhanu and Guru.

The ongoing drive for donations for Bhanus school project is mind boggling - at international courses out of India, participants are shown the video clip about the school - emotions stirred up about how so many childrens lives would be touched - participants put into groups and asked to donate in whatever currency.Most give willingly but others get irritated, see the real nature of things and opt out of AOL.

Another tactic, bring the children from the school, parade them in front of the class with their parents, emotional blackmail about the child wanting to pursue medicine but not able to due to financial constraints.She cries, parents cry and participants are so touched. Bhanu will then very subtly say that it is the duty and obligation of every AOL member to contribute towards the education of these children and voila - more money to the coffers.

Anonymous said...

You can cote here there is no money involved and you will be doing a great service to the enviornment. good wishes to all

Anonymous said...

respected jai bharati
there is a story of an indian ambassador to china (during J Nehru's regim in india). whenever he came to india he had to cross treacherous Nathu-la pass from china into india and there were no flights between india and china (perhaps were banned). The weather used to be very nastry. there would always be dangerous storms and they had to slowly travel dangerously narrow road in the pass amidst such foul weather Once i think karmappa lama or reponche lama came to know of indian ambassador's plight. the lama asked the ambassador to inform lama about likely dates when he would be actually travelling in the pass. sceptical ambassadore asked what lama could do. but nevertheless he informed the lama dates. the weather was very clear and sunny till his entourage passed through. it happened again and again. amazed ambassador wanted to know how this happened? to that the lama politely replied - gurus /sages can control forces of nature within a time span. But it is not contrilled all the time as they never interfere into natures working. only sometimes some exceptions are made.

Anonymous said...

anon January 18, 2010 8:15 PM

is it true? if it true then it is appalling. already there are much more than enough doctors in india facing stiff competition which gives rise to unethical practices. kids had better pursued another dream.

Anonymous said...

It is too sweeping a canard to say Christian Missionaries are all dubious.

Let us own up the fact , most INDIANS are congenital liars , cheats. Don't narrate stories from Puranas. I am in the present.

Children learn from their parents. No wonder gorement of india is full of thugs , smugglers , rapists & despicable goons.

What has religion got to do with one's inherent character & proclivities ?? Every rape , every shockingly inhumane treatment of fellow human beings are apathetically relished with a shrug of shoulders with a well worn excuse " America or George Bush is behind this ".

It is an extremely common sight to see the entire smug indian family with impressionable children , grandchildren hoisted on the thundering thighs of purring adults, daughters in law in close proximity to sacred ash sporting fathers in law , lecherous husbands stroking their bellies & burping contentedly watching only RAPE scenes , diaphanous sarees drenched in rain highlighting contours of women ( who peremptorily audaciously claim we don't kiss...Hollywood & WHITES alone are decadent) pelvic thrusts , eve teasing smutty songs & posterior gyrations.

Hardcore militants like hindutvavadis sanghis (RSS) , shivsainiks , marxist goons , arrogant clout wielding filmstars , swollen headed artistes,insensitive uppercastes-- India is one toxic narcissistic cesspool.

We the indians lack GRACE. We are the grotesquest hypocrites & worstest racists. Basking in the reflected glory of Vedic Heritage unearned & unmerited.

Anonymous said...

figures and financials can be fudged by any expert accountant how can you be sure that donations given to ny or any other american organiztions will not end up in creating another contra rebel group or another pak. world has lost faith in americans.

Chuck The Hindu said...

For us non-cult-leaving-AOL inquiring minds:
Who the heck is "Bhanu"?

Gopal Krishna said...

According to this article:

1. thanks to AOL, such initiatives are being launched in 25,300 villages in India, benefiting more than 2.3 million people. The statistics are mind-boggling. Over 75,000 Nav Chetna Shibirs, more than 28,350 cleanliness campaigns, more than 1.3 m trees planted, 12,857 medical camps benefiting 4.3 lakh people, 1,474 homes helped built and 50 model villages developed. In addition 25,710 village youth have been trained in the Youth Leadership Training Program and 2,000 self-help groups with a membership of 35,000 villagers have been founded.

2. These apart, there are programs to heal prisoners of stress and negativity called Prison Smart that has reached out to over 1,20,000 prisoners in many countries, and is also offered to militants and naxalites, many of who have laid down arms, tribal welfare programs, slum development programs, de-addiction programs, trauma relief programs as well as calamity relief measures.

3. A meeting with Sri Sri's father, Acharya Ratnananda (Pitaji to all), who runs an AOl organisation called Vista in rural Karnataka for the uplift of rural women, offers a clue to the source of Sri Sri's groundedness, humility and gentleness. For his father is all that and more. At 85, he chooses to live in the rugged simplicity of the rural institution, when he could well have lived in the luxury of the ashram. However, says this staunch Gandhian, "By remaining in the ashram, I deny the happiness and improvement of a large number of girls in the rural areas. My real luxury is to see that I wipe a tear and win a smile wherever I can." When asked if he is proud of his son he responds, "He belongs to the world. Physically I may own him because he is my son. But spiritually the world owns him, including you."

Klim & company - I am open to hear your views on these statistics (because they do not match with this blog's assertion that AOL's social work is just a sham) as you have been closer to AOL than me. My knowledge is only from media.



komal said...

it is not only art of living or iskcon numerous other ngos and bogus orgs have come up in the name 2 help haiti atlest these two do some semblence of work maybe very minor but all these works get published in the media... its crazy some self proclaomed baba from u.p in northen india is raising crores of cash 2 help haiti in the case of aol and iskcon some work does happen ... in the cas eof others its bogus.. i have seen this with my own eyes...

Anonymous said...

" My knowledge is only from media ".

One ought not to pretend to be overnaive:)) Gopal , you should be engaging the media not Klim. You can ask SSRS also. Nobody is stopping you as you seem to hunger for the real truth ;)

No Name said...

I was referred to this blog by my friend an AOL associate. This blog has been a revelation and intresting read. I ended my six association with AOL in 2008. I was unable to cope up with meeting my targets of bringing in more recruits and the ever increasing demand for raising donations. I realised much late that the whole objective of why I associated with AOL was not met. What I was doing was something so different. I slipped away silently back to my life and sadhana (also Seva where it matters).

I was always intrigued why people in AOL are not crying out that the Emperor has no clothes. My experience in AOL has been we start beleiving in all the propoganda as truths. All the social work was just that - sheer propoganda. I stayed in the kanakapura road ashram headquarters for three months and all we did was build more propoganda out of the existing propoganda. We were spin masters. We also knew how to use the gulliable media. All the village adoption, womens emancipation, education and Jail programs. So much of untruths. In a group situation you start beleiving in these. When reality strikes you realize that you are living in a vacous situation where there is a huge gap between what is on ground and what is in your head. Thats when you call it quits.

Anonymous said...

That article is what is called an advertisement. Life Positive is an indian spiritual, healing magazine which is not known for objective analytical real news reporting and is not their intention as well. Apart from the articles on spirituality, the primary aim of this magazine is to promote the many different Gurus, theraphies and workshops. That's where they get their revenue. The write up on AOL in Life positive is a straight copy from the AOL website. If you look at the writeup of all the Gurus in this magazine you will begin to wonder with so many do gooders around why there is so much poverty in India.
SriSri is well known for cultivating the media even the mainstream ones. A great deal of the charity donations goes to it. But for those of us who have seen the seva activities, there is not much to boast off.
Regarding Pitaji Acharyaji Ratnanadaji the less said the better. He is the grandmaster in the game. In the early year he conned an european couple into donating a huge deal of their wealth to veda vigyan mahavidyapeeth. The rich husband was suffering a degenerative disease and Ratnam alias acharya ratnananda ripped them in their hope of curing it through yoga and ayurveda. The husband ultimately died. Mata Vishalakshi also suffered because of her old husband's fondness for the European lady. They even had to get their son god to intervene and prevent a family squabble.

Anonymous said...

To Gopal,

You've posted an article that lists projects but provides no direct evidence that these projects exist.

Art of Living, for it to have any sort of credibility in terms of there humanitarian projects, needs to have third party audits.

Accountability costs money, and the fact remains, AOL does not provide neither it's financial statements in the form of tax records, or any type of annual report.

Because these documents are made unavailable to the public, there is no way to verify the charitable activities of AOL.

You should also know that literally all major NGO's such as red cross, doctors without borders etc etc. All of these organizations provides all financial records, which are easily accessible online to anyone.

It's generally the fraudulent charities that fail to disclose there dealings.

In these situations, when there are no records, we can only rely on third party sources like this blog, or even the article you linked to Gopal, but there really is no way to validate either claim.

Anonymous said...

In fact the few who knew Ravishankar & his family well before he became this infamous, floating aol , assert Ravishankar is NOT celibate. That he was very much a married man with a wife.

Nothing surprises or shocks me anymore. Or the violent denial by hindutvavadis. That gandhi was a paedophile cum womaniser is so well known a secret. vandematarmerabaratmahaan yet glorifies him a mahatma!

Indians are consummate idiots.

Anonymous said...

One of the most shrewdest auditors who is also a columnist and a member of RSS , is an ardent devotee of SSRS.

He happens to be a xenophobically swadeshi sanghi. I laughed out aloud when I read what he wrote in a typically supercilious self congratulatory way about us the indians:-

"...Where in America , the WHITES with no love for Jesus Christ do baywatching , we the indians (read hindus) are so piously flooding our Temples".

JIvani said...

What's bothering me is just how good these people like SSRS are at conning people. When I was asked to do the AoL course, the person told me that AoL was the largest volunteer organization in the world. Wow, I thought. That's great. But, they don't have anything to back it up. That guy, gullible and enthusiastically trying to get people to join doesn't even know what he's into.

I had told a friend why I wouldn't do the course and this guy knows why and yet he still asked me again to do it and sent along a nice article on the benefits (I did not read it). For me, the activities (or non-activities such as not doing the actual volunteer work claimed) of AoL and SSRS are very serious. They seriously hurt a lot of people and anyone who is trying to "recruit" people should listen to feedback about AoL and take it seriously.

Why is it not taken seriously? My friend just suggested I talk to a teacher when I told her my feelings. A teacher? No way! I know what he would say. I find it disturbing that I was truthful and said I think there's something out of integrity with SSRS and AoL and they didn't blink an eye! It's the definition of an unhealthy sect or what many people call cults right there--complete and utter denial and complacency. That's what from this blog I'm understanding the entire org. is built on and thrives on--people being blinded.

Jivani said...

BTW, here's the article I was sent:

Note: It asks "Is Art of Living a Cult"?
AND it features a picture of SSRS with the Dalai Lama (in case you had any doubts in the legitimacy of the organization, the Dalai Lama is there to back it up).

That is one good marketing team.

Vishal said...

Ravi Ravi is also a poet. He has written a mastery piece of poetry. AOL folks has gone into divine rapture by reading this poem. Ravi Ravi wants everyone to cum cum to him him. Now they want a Nobel for literature for this poem.

Beyond the heaven is my abode
come to me. come to me.
Don't stop, come to me.
If you get stuck in the heaven,
you will return back from there to hell.
Don't stop in the heaven, come to me, come to me.

My abode is beyond heaven, far away from here.
Come to me, come to me
All the charming faces, boys and girls, eyes and noses,
hairs and dresses, cookies and sweets and chocolates,
pass them on.
Smiling and dancing, come to me, come to me.

My abode is beyond the heaven.
come to me.
Joyfully move in this direction, a thousand blessings on the way.
walk through them, don't get stuck.
Pass through them.
come to me.

Angels are ready to serve you, and crown you with the highest.
Don't stop before that.
Come to me, come to me.

By Sri Sri Ravishankar

Anonymous said...

Anon @8:15 ,

Exactly. All these gurujis follow the same routine. Puttaparthi groups also have video presentations of " food being handed over " " handicapped children being regaled " & so forth. One of Baba's followers a talented musician molested a teen student. They offered limp excuses like:
" Baba came in his dream that night & admonished him "

Some of them come with glossy brochures like " cows being looked after Goshalas " " ayurvedic spas " like one well known woman from Chennai.

Her discourses on Ramayana etc in excellent English keep all spellbound. I came to know she "practises" to give such charged up discourses. But when someone from the audience queried about chunky gold she wore from crown to toes she was outraged. So were her admirers.

Vishal said...


"in case you had any doubts in the legitimacy of the organization, the Dalai Lama is there to back it up"

Dalai lama lending credentials to Ravi Ravi is too weak. Check this out, the dalai lama with shoko ashara. The guru who unleashed sarin gas in the tokyo subway and killed many.

Read this further here --"The Dalai Lama befriended and endorsed Shoko Asahara and his deadly Aum Cult. Thanks to the Dalai Lama's support Shoko Asahara was able to gain a legitimacy that helped him avoid the scrutiny of the police, and a tax-exempt status .........."

Sounds so familiar.

Gopal Krishna said...

@anonymous: "Indians are consummate idiots." - this type of comments shows a nationalistic or racist ego or lack of self-respect in the commentator.

Who is not an idiot in this world? European nations who colonialized the whole world to satiate their greed for money and power - were they really intelligent people? If so, why they forgot this saying of Jesus Christ: "Those who live by sword, die by sword." and ended up loosing crores of their men and women in two world wars.

Are all (most) people in developing countries idiots and those in developed countries intelligent? Let me tell you my friend, even in most developed countries the percentage of dysfunctional families is as high as in developing countries. Is more than 40% divorce rate in USA and more than 33% mothers being unwed a sign of supreme intelligence and maturity?

Everywhere people behave idiotically. Somewhere they throw money, time and energy in the worship of false gods like these babas and somewhere they throw money, time and energy in the worship of other category of false gods, namely free sex, alcohol, drugs and so on.

Was buying and selling slaves like what was done 150 years ago in USA a sign of supreme intelligence.

There is utter lack of intelligence in the thinking and behaviour of masses in all countries. No country is worthy of being held as a guiding light for mankind. What we find is - some countries' geniuses have developed material science and some countries (India) geniuses have developed spiritual science. The mass is idiot in all countries barring these geniuses.

The goal then should be not to berate one another in a narcissistic manner, but to learn from one another and develop a new humanity by harmonious combination of material and spiritual science.
Hope, this seems like a sane view-point.

Narendra said...

If you don't like Ravi shankar and his organiation, you are free to right your comments. But, this do not give you license to write anything about India, which is more than 100 crores of population.
If I do not like any influencial person of US and start blaming whole US, its major religion, I shall be most idiot person of the world.

Anonymous said...

" Let me tell you my friend "

Anyone bombarding me with statistics I don't particularly befriend.

jivani said...

Yes, I agree with you about the Dalai Lama. In case there was any doubt about my post, I was being sarcastic. What bothered me more than the use of the Dalai Lama to try to legitimize AoL and SSRS is that there was a siting of Kripalu at the end.

I am a long-time Kripalu teacher and I can tell you that we went through hell and back ousting the founding Guru, Amrit Desai due to sexual, spiritual, financial abuse etc...People are literally still healing from it after 15 years. It just seemed wrong to see AoL, an organization with the same severe abuse problems, using Kripalu, a yoga school which has worked so hard to "clean up", for marketing purposes. Though the person who wrote about Kripalu in the article may not have been on the marketing team, an AoL person still sent it to me for marketing purposes. The creepiest part is that he probably sent it to me b/c he knows I'm a Kripalu teacher and noticed that Kripalu was listed. Just YUCK!

Just for the record, I'm not going back to the AoL run yoga class. Though there are many in the group who are not affiliated with AoL, it's not worth being stalked and sent articles that insult my intelligence.

Gopal Krishna--Thank you for your post. I was thinking the same thing. There are people everywhere who cheat and lie. This teacher happens to be Indian but in my opinion that's just a side note.

Anonymous said...

Narendra & kindred minds ,

While narrating real anecdotes & events about such gurujis , obviously the behaviour of the masses also gets mentioned. I have not succumbed to this disease called political correctness.

Learned people like you belonging to India ought to be familiar "exceptions prove the rule".

That I invariably quote Ramana Bhagavan , Kaanchi Shankaracharya , cite Upanishads should at least let incensed , informed scholars like you anonymous detractors , know I am no racist or India hater.