Sunday, February 28, 2010

Sri Sri Reincarnations

Here is a list of the divine rumors I recall, spread by devotees, teachers, his holiness himself about the divine reincarnations of AoL devotees and Sri Sri, “the embodiment of God”, yours truly. Others may have more to add to the list. One can laugh at them, or believe in them. It is too much coincidence or too much narcissism that all great names, except those Sri Sri does not like (e.g. any Muslim related), reincarnate in the AoL community.

It is claimed RS is the reincarnation of 1. Krishna, 2. Shiva, 3. Vyasa, 4. Adi Shankar, 5. Jesus Christ, 6. Buddha, 7. Swami Brahmananda Saraswati.

Nitin, now Rishiji, claims to have been Arjuna.
Suki, now Swami Sukchaitanya, claims to have been Ravi’s brother in a past life.
Most senior teachers claim to have been some emperor, queen, yogi some previous life time, as well as Jesus Christ’s apostles (btw, the 12 of them and Mary are there!)
Wolgang Amadeus Mozart is apparently in the holy family too: Arvind, the holy nephew.
Pitaji is the reincarnation of Rama, whereas Sita is a teacher now "on leave" - another scandalous secret the holy family managed to cleverly cover.
Inevitably, about a thousand women claim to have been his gopis when he was Krishna, and Bhanu, of course, who knows what she claims!
Mary and Joseph, parents of Jesus Christ, were also in the AoL(though no longer with the organization. Some problem with accounting, board, … no further comments).

When the Eternity Process was first introduced, some old timers came out saying they saw themselves being crucified in the times of Christ. SriSri’s response was, “Oh, it still bothers you?” Which immediately confirmed they were indeed the great apostles and he, the reincarnation of Christ.

I’ve heard him speak in first person when talking about Christ and Krishna. Exactly what people need to confirm the rumors. I’ve even heard him elaborate a great story about how before Christ was born, a congregation of rishis approached Vyasa asking him to “save” the West because there was too much ignorance (the Middle East). Vyasa told them he’d born there to “save it.” (note: India, according to him, is always sacred and more evolved, the West is dark, thus India saves the West, as it continues to do so, since, according to him, produces all enlightened spiritual masters). He gave instructions to 3 rishis – the 3 Wise Men, and he, Vyasa, was born in Bethlehem (while he remained Vyasa in India – Star Trek already already existed in the times of Ramayana!). The 3 Rishis traveled from India to Germany to reach Israel, and stopped where the AoL German ashram is today in their way in and out of the expedition! In fact, they meditated exactly where SSSRS sits in the Spring Hall to give satsangs! Very conveniently magical.

When he went to Israel for the first time, he claimed children ran to him yelling, “Messiah! Messiah!” But the elders, “stressed out, angry Jews”, would pull them away from him. His explanation: “Children always recognize me.” (though I also have seen many children freaking out in fear in his presence too! Of course, it’d be cleverly explained as some terrible past life impressions that were being lifted upon his presence!). I clearly heard him say he did not like Israel, a country of ignorant people who have no chances this life time, and would never want to go back. He claims the Middle East will never have peace. Yet, he went back after that because he needed brownie points for his Nobel Peace Prize campaign.

A swami said that once Ravi called while he was on tour in South America and said he was in hell. In case you need translation: he meant hell is where South America is (apparently, to be more precise, Brazil). I find it awful, but maybe his Latin devotees should know what he truly thinks of their homeland (maybe they’d consider moving out of “hell”), instead of that show he puts up for them in international events: “Ay, ay, ay, ay ….! Bonita ...” When he actually means, “Bonita my ass”. Ouch! Ouch! Ouch! Ouch!”

In one way or the other, all these rumors were used to further convince people of his proclaimed grandiosity and that he is not just a simple con-man of southern India, but God on Earth himself. If anyone attacks him, he and devotees will typically say, “Christ was also attacked but few were able to recognize him. Time will show.” As cleverly elaborated in the Ashtavakra tapes: one glorifies the prophets of the past or waits for a future one, but cannot recognize the one living in the present.

He once had an akash reader tell us, “Soon the world will know who he is.” Back then, I was excited the world would find out he was God on earth! It’s been over 10 years and most of the world still does not know who he is (though AoL claims the contrary, he is not that famous in the real scale). Looking back, I wonder if the “soon the world will know who he is” meant, “soon the world will find out he is a fraud, a con-man, a sociopath.”

There was a senior teacher who went to India to teach one of those advanced courses, which I will not name – a course that did not last long. It was held for top VIP/CEOs of India and it was a course that relied on verbal and psychological abuse. One most powerful CEOs got mad and sued the teacher and the organization. The teacher had to immediately flee the country, cannot go back to India and the whole story is a big guarded embarrassing secret. Instead of simply humbly recognizing the mistake of both the arrogance, ignorance and psychosis of the teacher and the irresponsibility of the organization, removing the teacher from her position, even not allowing her to teach anymore, Ravi and the teacher justified it with a past life story about her having been some queen and an unrequited love story the man not knowingly acted out on. Of course, the CEO was in fault, not able to transcend his impressions. The teacher was just a messenger, expressing his repressed feelings/memories.

I could go on and on - I know the stories of reincarnations of so many AoLers! I think I may have even met Napoleon! But there are only two points worth making,

1. If one is truly that great, does one really need magical thinking stories to prove it? Would a true enlightened spiritual master use these arguments to hold and acquire more followers? Would he/she really care to mention any of this? Is it not too cocky??? Too not humble? Too irrelevant in the spiritual path?

2. Many other well known gurus also claim to be the reincarnation of all the above listed characters, ie. Krishna, Jesus, Buddha … Can the so-called enlightened gurus please raise their hands and decide who is who for real?! Or has Ravishankar also monopolized all the claims, as he has in the NGO world: "the largest NGO of volunteers"?

So much for living in the present moment!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Violence and deceit promotes you

A common satsang question was, “Why are you surrounded by such horrible people?” A usual clever Ravishankar response was, “because they’d do more damage in the world” (implying it was his “seva” to keep them close to him). Witty. People laughed, some applauded. I have never met anyone with such a talent - an expert orator, creative liar, most brilliant manipulator. They say Hitler, Mao, Stalin, Castro possessed this skill with the words too - mesmerized and hypnotized the masses.

When I joined “the club” I believed spiritual qualities, values and growth was what promoted someone or made someone a Part 1, Part 2 or meditation teacher. With time, I realized anyone could become a teacher (in fact, in some areas, you can do so in 3 weeks: TTC1 and TTC2), even those with violent psychopathology. Furthermore, the ones most capable of extortion, distortion, manipulation and violence were the ones who got promoted the most to higher positions.

“Here is this evolved soul who will teach my advanced course.” Wrong. In the AoL violence and deceit is what qualifies someone for promotion. Let’s face it. How qualified and evolved does one need to be in order to play the Hollow and Empties while the class undergoes trance induction, keeps silence, cleans toilets and does dishes, and if someone wants to leave, you tell them and the class it is a sign of their weakness, fears and ego? How difficult is to teach meditation when mantras are listed and given by age and gender? How advanced does one need to be to physically, verbally and psychological abuse in DSN? How deep does one need to be to press play for people to breath in and out with “So Ham So Ham So Ham”, and recite, “Expectations reduce the joy in life”, “accept people as they are”, etc.?

If you carefully observe, the people Shankar coincidentally places in position of power are the ones quickest and best in manipulating and lying without any ounce of remorse. “The means justifies the end”, stated Machiavelli. I learned the meaning of this in the AoL, though even today I cannot agree with it. How can one create a better world if values are corrupted in the process? What good can be created if it is done with “bad”? What kind of apples will a tree grow out of a rotten seed? What kind of education, moral values, role models will people act upon if what they learn is crookedness is what gets awarded, celebrated, promoted? Is this the man who claims will “change the world”? If this is the methodology he proposes to implement the change, I rather it all remains as it is. At least, “in the world”, I have encountered a lot more people with ethical and moral values, conscience, and most importantly, discrimination between correct and incorrect.

I know of teachers and board members who have secretly falsified signatures, or fabricated emails someone did not write, or stolen money, or simply, lied, lied, lied. Just recently a friend who left the organization found out, they were using a bank account under her name to organize courses! To her dismay, they did not seem to understand the unethical and immoral aspect of it. “They were just being ‘practical’”, they explained. And, instead of apologizing, they were offended by her demand to immediately cancel the account. Other than the financial implication, using a bank account with the name of a former teacher indirectly implied she still supported AoL activities - deceitful in many ways. In the world, such action is labeled as unethical, illegal, immoral, whereas in the AoL it is “practicality”. Anything in the name of the greater cause.

Another friend still whines about not having ever been promoted to advanced course teacher despite her seniority, sadhana and unconditional seva. She is convinced she never evolved in the path. She still cannot understand she was too nice, gullible and naïve! Being "evolved" in the AoL means, being crooked, not having values or sense of morale, and being capable of anything “for the greater cause” = “the interests of the guru.” (Ravi gives many vegetarian brownie points for such behaviors!)

One will never find a correct, ethical, deep, genuinely nice person in a position of power or leadership in AoL, though for the public they may project great PR skills. I always struggled with this distorted model that was presented as “the best form of spirituality”.

Some of the most senior teachers have histories of violence that seem never to disturb Ravi. One of his all-time most senior teachers is known for his physical violence but whenever incidents were reported to Ravi, he nodded in disbelief, turned around, made the victims into the aggressors and losers, demoted them and instead, promoted the aggressor. I know of at least four women (though there are more than 4) this TTC, Part 2, Sahaj, etc. teacher, assaulted, and had the “privilege” to witness one of the incidents. He was physical with two of them, almost seriously injuring the head of one of them, and he strangled the other two. The funny thing is – big AoL secret - one of the people he tried strangling is another one of the most senior teachers (Part 2, Sahaj, TTC, etc.), also known for her disproportionate violence, apparently right in front of Ravi (aren’t you wishing I gave names at this point?)! In the world this is known as criminal offense: “attempted murder”, but Shankar instead promoted them both to advanced course teachers, and higher positions thereafter! (Perhaps, for having had the audacity to strangle someone and the other for fighting back? Kinky! Perhaps if they choked each other to death then, they would have spared many people from later abuses.)

The other teacher is known for throwing things, e.g. chairs, forks, knives, even an entire painting over the head of someone while yelling the life out of the person (yes, like in the cartoons or movies, except cartoon characters are not real, and in movies, professional extras and special effects are used).

Once she completely lost her head for some little incident in a store of the neighborhood of a family that hosted her (common complain of many of her hosting families). She yelled and cursed the store owner in such outrageous manner the family is not welcome to return to that store! Not every family member was involved in AoL, thus they properly asked the question, “Doesn’t AoL teach people to control their emotions and transmit peace?” Back then, a brain-washed true-believer myself, I patiently explained about pita imbalance and how because she is so evolved she feels everything, blablabla. She herself justified, as usual, as expressing the repressed anger of the person in front of her.

Cursing, kicking, abusing and all, knowing her irrational violence and temper tantrums, Ravi promoted her to Blessings course teacher. “One can never understand the Big Mind,” devotees correctly explain. Excuse me, where is the “big mind”? A histrionic top “role model”, teacher trainer who has often publicly cursed the guru himself, teaching Blessings courses. Go figure.

Or you have the story of the senior teacher who has people line up for darshan, whose picture many people place in their altar, who has affairs though he himself is married. We know his wife suffers with the incidents. Who knows how many families he has broken though! Despite knowing about his extracurricular activities, Ravi promoted him to Rishi – the married saint. Go figure!

I will never forget the conversation I heard between one of the most dynamic teachers and another one (who had been her student), wondering why she never got promoted, instead the lousy horrible ones were, etc. Her student's reply was loud and clear, "Because you are too nice."

I have myself witnessed and been informed of TTC teachers slapping students, throwing water at them, etc. in the name of their tough egos. Participants would be gathered to swear they would never talk about the incident. This is an indication even the teachers knew it was wrong but they’d justify it “for the greater cause.” Poor people believed they helped students move forward. Somehow, the participants also knew it was wrong but they also were persuaded to believe it was for their own good. At the end of the day, they bowed down to their teachers “in tears of gratitude” or rather, in stretched psychological dissonance, like the beaten wife who rushes back to the husband, with broken ribs, fractured jaw, because she was made to believe he loves her and it was all for her own good.

A senior old time teacher who was often described as "Hitler" to even RS himself, even in official letters asking she was removed ... TTC teacher and leader of an entire area, and more. Another old timer who was known for sending Nazi propaganda ... advanced course senior teacher. Go figure.

In DSN I saw teachers literally physically drag students into a dark closet after confessing they were afraid of dark, enclosed areas. The yelling and shivering of the person was an indication of the tough ego that needed to be cracked. The more the person did not calm down, the more the teacher would uncontrollably yell at the person. Note under such stress, people who suffer of claustrophobia can break down into a panic attack, choke to death or fear, or have a psychotic breakdown. But of course, “the ego and the greater cause”, and the “grace of the guru” is there to protect you. In the world, it is irresponsibility, and if something happens to the person, it is a crime (though I am sure AoL would explain it in terms of karma).

I wonder though, are the students the ones with the big egos or the teachers and the guru? These are only a few examples of what teachers of high level courses or in positions of power hide behind the “fake it until you make it” smile, “walking like a king, being a perfect servant.” In the AoL, such people get promoted, whereas in the world they get reported, treated, locked up or medicated.

Conclusion: if you want to be important in the AoL, either have a lot of money, or think and act like a mafia godfather or better, learn Thai-box, to kick and punch, with style … and a smile.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Let me share my painful story with the readers of this blog

(note: the author provided his full complete name. I removed it for his own safety)

All these years I have been looking for Anti AOL websites but did not come across any. Today when I googled again, your blog was the first on the list. I am so relieved and happy to know that after years of hiding under a shroud, the truth about AOL and Sri Sri is being made public.

Let me share my painful story with the readers of this blog, my name is xxx - was in AOL from 1997 - 2004. My wife did the course and then became a very dedicated volunteer with the local AOL centre, we were located in South East Asia. She persuaded me to take up the course and I did so to keep her happy. I must confess that I enjoyed the course though the kriya did not do anything fantastic for me. My wife started spending a lot of time away from home and our kid doing seva. The child was left with the maid most of the time. Visiting teachers stayed at our home, she used to spend time cooking, washing their clothes, taking them shopping and paying for their shopping. I was not too pleased but I felt that I should not stop her from doing seva.I hardly saw her when these visiting teacher stayed with us.

An advance course was organised and the teacher stayed at our place. My instinct told me that my wife was emotionally involved with this teacher but I brushed it aside. She was smitten with him, it was so obvious.

One afternoon I had to come back home and I found both of them in bed.

I cannot remember now what I did in my fit of anger. I divorced my wife, my child is in a bording school and I live a very lonely life.

I made it my life's mission to destroy AOL just like how it destroyed my loving home. I have sent emails to many AOLites all over the world regarding my story - I received emails threatening to hunt me down and destroy me asking me not to propagate lies about the teachers and AOL.

This blog is an answer to my prayers, I will forward this blog to everyone I know.

Let me assure readers of this blog who have doubts and who feel that all these are lies to undermine AOL, everything written here is the truth. The end is near for AOL,people are beginning to see the real nature and are avoiding it.People are reaching out to other gurus who are sincere, humble and have true knowledge about the Vedas and scriptures.

I have found solace in Ramdev Baba and Avdhoot Babaji

Please keep forwarding this blog to as many people as you can - we cannot be complacent and allow frauds to thrive on the spiritual needs of seekers.

Saturday, February 13, 2010


There are many stories about Sudarshan Kriya and courses gone bad, except we all kept them secretive in order to sell more and because the problem was never with the Master or the technique, as per his talks on the 3 types of doubts. However, I know of many people who ended up in psychiatric hospitals with no possibility of recovery – serious psychotic disorders, after a TTC or DSN. I know of people who had heart attacks, hormonal dysfunction, etc. after practicing Sudarshan Kriya. I heard many similar stories from other people. Of course, we were dissonant enough to find reasons to justify each situation, e.g. he/she was not doing it right, past life, not enough grace, not enough surrender. As usual, AoL/SSRS are perfect, the problem is always somewhere else.

I was most disappointed when I found out not even the home kriya was created by “Sri Sri Ravishankar.” Apparently, a senior teacher of his insisted people needed a formula otherwise noone would continue the practices. Thus, this teacher, a former TM teacher who is also no longer in the movement, came up with the 3 rounds of 20-40-40 and wrote the teacher's manual and possibly the kriya notes too! Actually, Ravishankar does not even know what he is doing when chanting So Ham So Ham So Ham. People are obviously going to feel something if you take them to exaggerated rhythms of the breath, from very fast to suddenly slow, etc. It is not about the grace of the guru, it is physics and hyperventilation. Even the pranayama and bhastrika did not come from his own knowledge. He learned them from a teacher who is also no longer with him, who in turn learned it from a Kundalini yoga master. I was most upset when I heard this and understood why he always spoke so badly about Kundalini yoga. I once witnessed him slapping a boy after he told him he was not getting what he wanted in the path with him and that he wanted to go to a Kundalini Yoga organization. After slapping him he warned him people get brain-washed and murdered in Kundalini yoga!

The “poorna yoga” taught for many years was also not his. A teacher of his, who is no longer with him, introduced it. Sri Sri Yoga is also not his. It was brought by a teacher who left the organization many years and later returned. I understand it is a perfect imitation of another yoga school and not a big deal of a yoga after all. DSN is an imitation of Landmark, of which Nitin (rishi) attended before AoL, which is today wildly known as a cultic movement and that many people suffered serious psychological damages. YES+ was put together by the dynamic psychotic Bawa and Dinesh duo (when are they coming out of the closet?).

Knowing all of the above (and the names of the people involved), if they were all true, I am confused as to whom I should have bowed down to or be grateful to all these years. The ones who are truly behind the techniques, or the one who claims to have created them all?!

Many magical thinking stories were told about the kriya tape too. We were taught to believe one needed the grace of the guru in order for it to work, and when one was disgraced, it would not work. There were stories such as someone not being able to use the tape all of a sudden because Ravi did not bless him/her to use it. Tapes were given out almost ceremoniously. Sadly, once someone got the tape, they also got a big dosage of arrogance and stupidity. More than a blessing, that tape was a curse. People fought because of it. For heaven’s sake! It is just a tape of a lousy recording and it is now available ON-LINE! (he claims it does not work without his blessings, when in fact, it is what he wants everyone to believe in order to have power over everyone - as long as people believe these stories and in his "powers", he can keep manipulating, lying and stealing, and the Sudarshan Kriya remains a magical "savior" technique. People, it is basic irresponsible hyperventilation with negative effects in the long term!).

Once, upon his request, I needed to reproduce some tapes. Until then I thought there was some sacred ceremony in the process of reproducing tapes, but instead, he said, “Anytime. Just do it.” I insisted, “Any time? Hour? Should I not do anything special?” “No, any time. OK, Monday, Shiva day sounds good.”

He invents rules and processes as the needs arise, though I know his official reproducers do have specific instructions and they feel "very special people". Of course, he needs to keep the lies going and ensure people believe in the sanctity of the tape. Without it, he looses power.

Where is the grace or the magical touch of the Guru if the Sudarshan Kriya found on-line can be downloaded and effectively used entirely without any problem? I still have my tapes and, once in a while, I check them just for fun, to see if the “grace” is still there. Dear friends, they still work 100% and they have not evaporated. Does that mean the guru is still blessing me? I am so lucky!

There was a time people carried their diplomas proudly after finishing law school, med school, engineering school, etc. Imagine people stupidly proudly carrying A TAPE wrapped in a piece of silk as a symbol of evolution! A tape that chants So Ham for 30 minutes, is blank for 15, chants for 5 and then, poorly plugged in, "turn to the right side". Something is so very wrong … and it is not the tape.

Friday, February 5, 2010

“Be scared, Be very scared!!!!"

This first one was sent by someone in the Northeast of the USA, most likely a teacher and board member:

"Dearest xxx, Jai Gurudev. I know you are hurting but do not say or do anything that you will regret later on. With Lots of Love"

Notice how it is sugar coated threat between "Jai Gurudev" and "With lots of love", twisting the meanings of words to accomplish goals.

Here's another, less subtle than the last, written by someone in San Carlos, California:

"Dear Klim (xxx, whatever), Some of what you say in the previous blogs is true. However, now you are talking about pure rumor. Playing in a game way out of your league. Be scared, Be very scared!!!!”

When Guruphiliac started posting stuff about AoL, they also wrote to a couple teachers who had left, accusing and asking them to stop writing bad things about them. On this occasion, they again wrongly accused someone of creating this blog, someone whose only crime was to share information I have revealed a few times. Is sharing a crime or should we all still be promoting courses and the greatness of Sri Sri Ravi Shankar despite it all?

Am I wrong or are these threats? This is how secrets are kept in the AoL. This is how many who leave don’t have the courage nor the energy to speak out. This is classical cult behavior. I am almost glad these messages were sent so that people can see how they operate. Cult members lose their integrity and values when it comes to defending the organization. I imagine discussions are taking place deciding how to handle the “situation”, brainstorming possible authors of the blog, thus the same person was picked on twice, hoping to intimidate, confabulating strategies, lies, if necessary. What a déjà vu! Excuse me, WHERE IS THE SPIRITUALITY? Is this not more like business acting without accountability, credibility, ethics?

They picked the wrong person. Threatening the wrong people, or anyone as a matter of fact, is a mistake and it reveals a lot about the true nature of the organization and its leader. On the other hand, what can they do that they have not already done to any one of us? Humiliate, torture psychological and emotionally, lie, physically attack, harass, deprive of freedom, abuse, defraud? Murder is the only thing I have yet not heard of.

When information is restricted and handled through intimidation, censorship, threat, manipulation, it is, among many other things, DECEIT. If, despite knowing the other side, someone chooses to still go for it, then, that is real value, victory. That truly is when “losing is winning” (see, but Ravi and co. may be too narcissistic to understand this. Making such efforts to keep the organization free of flaws for the public is unreal and corrupt. “Looking for perfection is imperfection,” said Sri Sri Sri Ravishankar - yet he does not understand it himself. (Even Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie fart. Believe it or not, Ravi also farts. I can corroborate that but not present solid proof).

I hope others contribute their stories. It is about time more people drop their fears and come out of the cave. They can do nothing but threat. I wonder who is really scared. I have suggested my friend whom they are accusing to inform the authorities or a lawyer. If people haven’t yet, I hope the cult alert signal starts ticking in their heads. As far as I am concerned, sharing ones experience is NOT a crime. For heaven’s sake! AoL events are all about sharing! (public talks, courses, esatsang, so many hours in just boring sharing!). And now suddenly sharing is wrong? Or is it about sharing only what Ravi approves?

I have some news for the AoL damage control team--this is a free world, and it is our birthright to be able to speak out the truth and share our experiences and that of others in the interest of healing. I will continue as long as I feel so inspired, and stop only when I am ready to stop. AoL and “SSS” may once have controlled every aspect of my life, but now, no longer. You may have robbed me of years of my life but can never take away my freedom of speech.

The farce is clear. More than a spiritual movement, it is the Gestapo.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The Sri Sri Sweatshop

A sweatshop is a working environment with unhealthy conditions that are considered by many people of industrialized nations to be difficult or dangerous, usually where the workers have few opportunities to address their situation. This can include exposure to harmful materials, hazardous situations, extreme temperatures, or abuse from employers. Sweatshop workers often work long hours for little pay, regardless of any laws mandating overtime pay or a minimum wage. (wikipedia)

It is indeed great business what Ravishankar has created for himself. He charges good money for his courses (the ones he did not really invent himself, from Part 1 to TTC, and creates many prerequisites, eg. If you want to do DSN, you need to have done ….), he asks for donations, he gets people to do things for free for him, he registers as a non-profit to avoid paying taxes, and has free, cheap, ilegal labor, and calls the whole thing “seva” – karma yoga.

As a former exploited AoL full-timer, I cannot blame him for having exploited me. How can I? I accepted the terms. But, I can, correctly, say he deceived me. He used me, squeezed the juice and life out of me, mistreated me, abused me and tossed me.

Some full timers worked and produced more than others. However, there was not a coherent system that took care of the teachers or compensated them according to results. Some full-timers did absolutely nothing yet got enough pocket money to survive, while living off people’s good will. In general though, the stipend was not enough. Full-timers had the habit of never saying how much each one earned because we all knew we got different amounts. Stipends varied in the US, from as low as USD400 to USD 1000, the same amount in euros in Europe, no home, no medical insurance, no retirement plan. Needless to mention, we could not afford any of that with what we got. Until recently, European teachers could consider the German ashram their home, but now they also need to pay to stay there.

Until recently, teachers in the West taught for free, and some even covered expenses of courses. In general, getting expenses reimbursed was also a struggle. I know, however, that in the past 2, 3 years RS started giving teachers of certain areas 10% of the income of the course, probably as an incentive for them to create larger courses. In some countries, the 10% policy is yet not applied. However, in India and some countries of Asia, it’s been practiced for at least 10 years. Indian full-timers got the most since they had stipend, 10% of courses, and received many donations from students. If any one of them was sent out to the West, it was good income, for courses others organized for them, and to which they just walked in like kings and queens, under the weird assumption that being Indian automatically made one more evolved. The overall system was not neither even nor fair.

Full time teachers in the West always struggled. It was never enough. Try living from USD 400, even USD 1000, without a home and medical insurance. Most “gypsied” around from home to home, staying in people’s couches, or air mattresses, or even closets! If one ever got sick, one had to pray, like RS suggested in those cases, or he’d say, “Oh, we have so many doctors in the AoL.” It was definitely a terrible way to live, even begging for medical treatments. If one was a traveling teacher, one simply could never go back for second check-ups or even treatments since one depended on finding an AoL doctor one needed in the area one was in that exact week of the ailment. And of course, pray or seduce some devotee to pay for the treatment and medication. It simply makes no sense. He sells “quality of life” and “health” yet he gives it to none of his teachers, and truthfully, he could careless about them.

A friend of mine, a full time teacher was advised by her doctor to take immediate rest. Her health was at risk due to high level of stress (I guess SK does not reduce stress after all). When she went to Ravishankar with the news, he frowned and said, “No, no, no, you keep teaching, there is no time.” No time for what? No time for him to conquer the world? Or no time for her to take care of her health?

Another full time teacher got so sick from overwork, excessive travel and poor living conditions, she could not even move around. She actually developed quite a few diseases and had no choice but to stop everything. In fact, she could not move nor eat. She was one of the most dynamic teachers who produced a lot of devotees and money, yet, when this happened, he removed her from the lousy stipend for as long as she did not go back on the road – the money she needed for medical bills. Since she had nowhere to stay, like most full timers of the West, she went to an ashram and, the ashram assumed they’d charge her for the stay.

Did the money teachers make not go to the organization: the maintenance of these ashrams and seva projects after all? Ravi so often said, “You do my job, I take care of you.” In the practice, it was not like that. We were double taxed: first made to donate all the money of the courses one produced, organized and taught, but also pay the organization. Upon the complains of this teacher, the responses were (the typical AoL phrase for everything that cannot be properly justified), “This is just to make you stronger. This is to make your faith unshakable so that you can be one with God. This is a test to see how much you can trust and surrender to the guru.” Instead of seeing she had a point, they made her into the weak devotee, and an overall drama queen. Looking back, she was right. It was unfair, incorrect and abominable.

There was another full-time teacher to whom the organization owed more than USD 10,000. He fought so hard to get the amount reimbursed (with a stipend as low as the ones mentioned, any amount was a fortune!). The board was disorganized and cared more about their status rather than the duties. The guru did not care despite all the requests for help. Finally, under a lot of obvious pressure, he stepped firm to get the money, and, not only was he not reimbursed by the organization, but by a devotee almost 12 months later, and the board warned him to watch out “because they’d destroy him” for having told on Ravi about their incompetence. Who did Ravi protect in that situation? The board that had gone out to destroy the poor person, with lies and sabotage, instead of the teacher who had done so much work for him so many years. It was not about values, truth or loyalty. It was about business. It was better to lose one rather than many. It was more promising to support those who are crooked rather than those who have values. Machiavellic.

Of course, again, I take responsibility for having bought the fraud but, when I signed up for it, this is not what they showed me. They sold me a beautiful package of seva, spirituality, altruism. I did not know about the frauds of the seva projects, I did not imagine all the Sri Sri enterprises he’d eventually create, the houses Ajay would buy, the jewelry Bhanu would carry, and the extravagantly luxurious life he’d lead. He told me I had nothing to worry about, that he’d take care of all of my needs. After the first year of romance, he did not take care of anything nor care. (You know the poem “I promise”? Well, you can imagine what I think of it today. Beautiful BS).

There was a full time teacher who was absolutely dynamic, incredible, she started many centers in Europe. She was amazing but she got pregnant. I still today cannot believe he turned his back on her that very moment. She got a low stipend all those years, of course she had no savings, no medical insurance, no home, and a baby to take care of. She was immediately on her own the minute she was of no use to him any longer. And as quickly as she got pregnant, she was forgotten in the movement.

The lack of financial support and accountability created a lot of stress in the full-time teachers community. Even though HE taught us to have faith in him, reminded us he’d take care of us, that we’d never be without a place to stay, food to eat, we all worried, regardless of the age, number of years with RS, number of years serving the organization. The longer we were in the movement, the more we knew the organization did not take care of anything. We had all had our own experiences, yet we all had hidden hopes something would change, and sometimes, we believed it was about “cleaning karma”. Many teachers ended up finding ways to ensure their future in corrupt manners. I knew of a senior teacher who manipulated their students to donate a lot of money at the end of the TTC for his personal account. Even when I was a devotee, I thought that was dirty, yet Ravi was proud of his astute teacher, he actually got more and more promoted. Using the status of a senior teacher, someone even went as far as getting a wealthy devotee to put a down payment on a house for him (they learned from the best, what can I say). Most senior full timers I knew were constantly complaining about all the exploitation that went on. You’d be surprised to know most star teachers have been complaining non-stop about the exploitation and unethical practices of the AoL and wish to quit every other minute. They are all so unhappy but put on the happy AoL face when they meet students/clients. Most don’t have the courage to leave. “What will I do if I leave?” Somehow, one is trapped by this idea he inflicted in us that we’d never make it in the world. That, no matter how terrible it all was in the organization, it was better than in the world.

I remember a star teacher who whined all the time. He was so stressed out about his lack of money and home, he finally told Ravi he wanted a job. Ravi told him he’d never make it in the world. The poor guy actually was quite incompetent in the world before joining the AoL, but, upon the divine warnings, he was so neurotic he actually only got a job with an AoL devotee, who finally, withdrew his offer. The man went back crawling to the AoL, like Ravi had “predicted”, and after a few years, has been promoted endlessly within the system. Was that a prediction or manipulation? He himself told me I would not make it in the world, that I’d burn out, and, in two years, beg him to let me go back. The fear his warnings/curses created in me paralyzed me for a long time. Today, I know it is part of his sociopathic manipulations many buy. If he cannot have you, then noone else can – is part of his “work ethics.”

I know RS started changing many policies in recent years, making it more proper for full timers mainly in fear of legal suits, as it obviously started being a problem in some countries. But, as long as he still has them under stipends, no medical insurance, no home, no formal, official contracts, and not giving real accountability and reports of where the money really goes, it is a big fat lie and exploitation a-la-"made in SriSrilandia."

There was quite a drama when the US board, or rather, the president, tried to fire some full timers because he decided they did not do enough (or rather, because he never liked them to begin with). How on earth do you fire people who work as volunteers and who gave their lives for your cause, working practically for free for you for so long? How ethical, spiritual and caring is that?

They have now created rules such as one needs to bring at least 30 people per month in order to remain a full-time teacher. The funniest thing is people actually fight to become full timers and the organization actually believes it can fire people who work under illegal terms. I don’t know what people have in their heads, but many think being a full-timer is some enlightened accomplishment. Wrong. There is nothing special about full-timers, other than they are 100% absolutely exploited and brain damaged. Full-timers are usually just people who are “available” or easily manipulated or that can provide something he needs at that time (former full-timer talking about full-timers). In the old days, at least many full-timers were people who believed in “a cause” and/or had some sincere quest for spirituality, or wanted enlightenment (like most former TMers). However, in most recent years, being a full-timer is an excuse for many to flee from the responsibilities of life, especially many young people who have no idea what to do otherwise. Sadly, if you observe, most full timers (not all, but most) are people who would not make it in the world but who in the AoL are considered stars.

There is exploitation even in the creation of materials such as CDs. I know of at least two singers and composers whose bhajans are the most popular in the AoL and who left the organization due to the unethical financial practices. Of course, RS considers he owns all their compositions because, according to him, he is the inspiration behind everything and he gave them the talent. Thus, if they made CDs he wanted them to donate all the earnings to the organization (of course, to support the seva projects). Hello? These musicians also need to make a living! They deserve being compensated for their talents and work! Who is whose inspiration? Conclusion: he now has all his Indian boys recording these songs, as theirs. If someone did that to Sri Sri, he’d get them for copyright issues. But, as usual, he never does anything wrong. He is perfect. Everyone else is the problem.

If anyone went to Sri Sri to ask for more money, or medical insurance, or that one needed a home, his answer often was, in a victimized tone, “There is no money. You have no idea how expensive it is to keep the ashrams and the seva projects. We never have enough money.” You went in with a righteous request, but you’d leave feeling like crap, believing his lie about not having money.

There are still so many teachers out there, especially the non full-timers and the new and young ones who still believe in all that “ra-ra” stuff he presents. Everyone has his/her turn to experience the bitter taste of AoL truth, it is just a matter of time and how one processes it eventually. Some decide to go with it by blending in more with psychological dissonance, some struggle hard to leave and face the reality of perhaps not being able to reinsert themselves in the world and job market, and that once one leaves, the grace of the guru is no longer existent.

Again, it is all sugar coated glamour. The truth behind it all is not that sweet. Maybe Maharishi was right when he described his pundit boy as “sugar coated poison.” Ravi’s machiavellic thinking and actions, combined with his lack of remorse, arrogance and charisma/charm make him a true sociopath.

Today, I look at all the Sri Sri enterprises he has (real estate, software, body products, books and tapes, etc), the properties Ajay owns in the US, his cars, his gadgets, his education, the jewelry Bhanu carries, their first class travels and stays in 8 star hotels, the pictures of the LA center, etc. and I think, “Man, either you are a lousy money manager or you simply are a gold-medal bastard.”

A Sri Sri Sweatshop is a working environment with unhealthy conditions that are considered by many people of good mental health to be difficult or dangerous, usually where the workers have few opportunities to address their situation. This can include exposure to harmful relations, hazardous situations, extreme psychological pressure, or abuse from employers. Sri Sri Sweatshop workers often work long hours for little pay, regardless of any laws mandating overtime pay or a minimum wage.

For those who are against human exploitation, avoid buying products made in Srisrilandia.