Saturday, February 13, 2010

20-40-40

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.

57 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your blog. I was a follower of Nithyananda. The books and links you suggested and your personal stories helps me see the parallels to understand my own involvement in a fraudulent cult.

Swati said...

I really really wish to meet your psychiatrist. I want to suggest him / her an alternate therapy for you all :) May you guys heal sooner

Anonymous said...

Are you calling people psychotic when you are taking counselling yourself?

Anonymous said...

What is the URL of the site where I can download the Sudarshan Kriya. I attended a preview where the instructor said that not everybody is blessed to get this knowledge - only a few fortunate ones can get to do the sudarshan kriya. Since I dont want to pay SG$300 to attend the course and I am still curious about the technique, would appreciate if you wil post the URL.

Thanks

Grateful Reader said...

BY GRATEFUL READER

Hey KLIM,
A common AoL defense I hear goes something like "even if SSRS is fake the amount of good the organization has done in general(everything from giving people something to believe in to (at least some) actual seva) outweighs any harm it has done.

Especially considering the many "casual" AoLers who are not teachers but seem to find some help in the classes and community,
do you think the organization has done more harm than good overall?

I suppose in answering this question one has to take a stance on whether "means to and end" is okay.

KLIM & CO. said...

"Are you calling people psychotic when you are taking counseling yourself?"

See? it proves the point of what SK does to people! If I were you, I'd go get some therapy as well!

It is unbelievable to me still today how AoL people have absolutely no sensitivity towards people but call themselves spiritual and claim will save the world or make it into something better.

First, they cannot read properly. Two, they read but their reading comprehension skills is null. Three, If there are people who have been hospitalized eventually after a course or AoL technique, I seriously would not be making fun of anyone, but rather, be concerned for those people (unless you find it funny that people get hospitalized and psychologically crippled for the rest of their lives, unable to even hold a job or a family - those are the cases I have seen and heard of from others).

Listen, if you are just trying to offend me, you have defeated your purpose, plus I am not on therapy and when I was, I was not at all ashamed of it. I should have sent the bills to your guru! You only show the real AoL side which is not at all "I belong to you", unconditional love, etc, why all that anger? At least, I'd be treated, unlike you and the 100,000 AoLers, who obviously need some adjustment. Kriya is not helping you neither in being loving, compassionate, and peaceful.

KLIM & CO. said...

Google it. AoL is probably working hard to remove it from the internet. Though I can almost hear SSRS say, "Don't worry, without the grace it does not work." Well, I do NOT advise anyone to do it alone, unless you want your hands, face twisted ... people go through a lot of situations that need supervision. I do NOT advise anyone to do it.

Anonymous said...

Spirituality, has been shown to have beneficial effects on anxiety/depression, personality disorders esp multiple personality disorder. Proper Psychiatric help/consultation may be more helpful, scientific, rationale an justifiable in long term for such people.
Unfortunately going to guru/organization/cult is socially more acceptable than consulting a qualified Psychiatrist. Gurus have treated more people than Psychiatrists- history is evidence.
Moral- NORMAL persons should never 'explore' anything like this. what is the use of taking a pill which is not required and has a deadly potential of producing harmful effects
Meditation, yoga, spirituality is considered always 'sacred' , free of any harmful effects.
How many generations we need to change this concept?

KLIM & CO. said...

Meditation, yoga and spirituality are sacred if they come from a sacred and non-fraudulent source. Playing with such techniques can cause extremely damaging effects.

Jivani said...

When I first went to AoL yoga, I found out that SK caused severe headaches for someone. But there was no alternative practice offered for this person as far as I know. I wondered about the training of the teachers. It was a warning sign. I understand it is challenging to teach people with many different health concerns but what you describe sounds more like negligence: "past life, not enough grace, etc..." is deeply misguided. It is also highly unethical in yoga teaching.

I know BKS Iyengar only teaches pranayama to students with many years of experience in yoga. I thought that was a little extreme but it is far better than this. Perhaps the reason SK is thought to be unique to AoL(though many would argue it is not unique at all) is because good teachers would never teach it.

“Meditation, yoga and spirituality are sacred if they come from a sacred and non-fraudulent source.” Very well said, KLIM. Precisely the reason I will not support AoL unless they bring out into the open and correct the lies they perpetuate in the name of spirituality. I will not support an organization that has all the attributes of a mind-numbing CULT. The good never outweighs the bad in such organizations.

Anonymous said...

KLIM define playing with spirituality meditation & yoga.

Anonymous said...

evaluate good v/s bad AOL has done so far. aol- propaganda --

Art of Leaving said...

I don’t know whether I feel like laughing or crying or bursting out in rage – actually the latter – when facing the fact that there was not one single thing about Ravi that was not fraud and manipulation, and that I bought into all of it with such naivety, channeling towards this cruel criminal the finest of devotion, trust and surrender I was capable of. What greater crime than pretending to nurture the highest spiritual ideals, values and sentiments of humanity, while in practice murdering and exploiting every one of those ideals to feed your own ego and greed and delusions of grandeur. At least this much I know, for me forgiveness is not on the cards. If the abuser is incapable of humbling himself, ceasing his abuses and making amends, there is really no point in forgiveness. Eventually the victim moves on and the past ceases to matter, perhaps you see the bigger picture or whatever, but people are mistaken if they think a healing process necessarily requires forgiveness.

Art of Leaving said...

“I once witnessed him slapping a boy...”

I was waiting for the first report of physical violence. As he progressively pushed me beyond my emotional limits, I mentally started going through extremes of physical violence with him, me slapping him, him slapping me and much much worse. The process I went through with him made me sense that he was capable of slapping people in practice.

I once witnessed him in a satsang acting out a scene slapping a devotee a couple of times on the back. The devotee was crawling around on all fours trying to wipe Ravi’s feet with a handkerchief after cake fell on them. Ravi’s pretending to be an angry master slapping a submissive servant was supposed to be a playful act, but psychologically it had a very bad effect on me. The mood expressed was sick.

I was very susceptible to his expressions of any negative moods, because I was so constantly trying to tune in and be completely receptive to him. Some people want to believe that he was innocent when he was younger and the distortions only came later on. But just have a thorough look at videos of him in the early 1990s and you’ll see all the questionable elements already present there. I used to meditate intensely on them, and every cynical statement, vicious remark or insensitive response to a devotee shook my entire being. It became a big problem to me because I wanted to tune in completely but I couldn't cope with these aspects of him, I didn't want to receive them into me. Unfortunately, I'm afraid I have incorporated some of it. Even now, when I feel rage towards him, it's as if I mentally take on his own worst mood and direct it back to him.

Anyway, so much for him saying his feet are incapable of kicking anything, not even a ball. He issues viciously violent kicks and blows of various kinds.

KLIM & CO. said...

He may not kick a ball, but he kicks and slaps people and more, and he definitely supports others kicking, strangling, raping, beating, etc.

To the one who demands a report from me, a definition ... use your head and I am sure you will find your own answers.

Jivani, absolutely correct. Plus don't forget it was all about "cleansing", "purifying". If you had a headache, "You are eliminating toxins, drink more water", if you had problems of other sorts, "you are eliminating toxins, getting rid of karma, drink more water", if you had problems with your period. If you had a terrible headache in his presence, feeling you would almost burst out in flames, "cleansing" - his energy is so powerful! It occurs to me today, was it his energy so powerful or our bodies were warning us? But with all this argument on "purification" one simply cannot win ... and one cannot prove either. People seem to be very happy thinking they are getting rid of toxins.

grateful_reader said...

"evaluate good v/s bad AOL has done so far. aol- propaganda --"

I'm not a pro-AoL person. I've taken some classes and know many who are pretty involved but (at least as of late) I havn't been involved in the community.

Regardless, I think it's an important question. The whole "oh it guruji surely he wouldn't do evil" attitude stems partly from the assumption that AoL does and has already done a huge ammount of good.

Either way, attack the argument, not the person.

KLIM & CO. said...

Sorry, you are right. But I insist, use your critical thinking, don't get dragged in by the collective hysteria, magical-thinking and marketing. "Guruji knows everything, Guruji is incapable of wrong-doing" ... boy, poor people. Waking up to the realization your guru is not all that you thought is a very painful moment indeed. There are still some people who don't believe the holocaust took place.

chris williams said...

~ ~ ~ Swati said...
I really really wish to meet your psychiatrist. I want to suggest him / her an alternate therapy for you all :) May you guys heal sooner

~ ~ ~

I don't know how many of us here are familiar with Harry Potter, but there is a character in it called Luna Lovegood, whom people call "loony" Lovegood. I can imagine this Swati person in a similar way. First off, loony, you need to realize that you can't simply wish for somebody to "heal" while you yourself are facing problems. I mean, let's face it, you are obviously not adept at living your life, which is why you took refuge in the AoL, right? Secondly, change the bloody tone of your writing and stop using smileys where you don't need them. These are signs of poisoned intentions. When you are angry at somebody, use cuss words. When you feel love for someone, use smileys. But don't do them both together, because it's JUST NOT RIGHT! Learn to be honest! Same goes for that stupid person in the previous post who wrote "so much love" and other honeyed stuff while threatening the author of this blog. What IS with you crapped out zombies? Finally, I want you to know that everyone in this world is capable and can take care of themselves, thank you very much. I am not a Guru or anything, but I know this for sure: if you want to really know your true self, the reason for existence,etc. then nobody can stop you from doing so. If you are not interested in the least about who you are, what you are doing on this planet, etc. then no Christ or She She can persuade/force you to learn. Sort of like the blue pill/red pill thing in Matrix. Life is all about free will. If you like the org. and your Guru, fine, go ahead and embrace it. But don't be writing on blogs like this and try to "save" all of us poor "misguided" souls. Calling names does not make anyone more or less powerful/good/bad. That is for the person to judge. The reality is that SK, AoL and She She are becoming household names, a culture in cities, almost like a cult. Why, only the other day I overheard a friend talking to another friend's cousin and he cut his conversation in the middle and said, "just ask him to take the basic course". MLM at it's worst. With so much power being given to one man and one org., it is natural that questions, suggestions, comments and praises, blames, etc. will be there. Sadly this is not a place where we are gathered to worship your Guru. There are other places on the internet for that. So understand that and learn your limits before giving unsolicited, loony advice to others. You are supposed to be polite...or did your Guru teach you otherwise?

Narendra said...

During my Basic Course, the teacher has given serious instruction about Sudarshan Kriya - Today you are opened totally just like surgeon opens a human body totally, and tomorrow with second round of SK you are sealed again. so make sure to attend both days, otherwise that will be very harmful to you. (Either attend both or none)
One of my friend (who was attended at my request) do not feel good after first Long Kriya on second day, so he not attended on second Long Kriya on third day. teacher asked us to call him, but he did not accepted our phone calls. I was worried what shall happen to my friend.
After 3 years,he is perfectly OK as earlier.

Another teacher thretened us that some one has tried to record the SK secretaly during the course, and the person is in very bad and sad condition. It was indirect warning - do not try to record the Kriya secretely.

Now, they has developed Short SK tapes which are distributed to non teachers also.

Y M V Murthy said...

Good Blog. Finally someone had to bell the Cat.
My impression of SK after AOL basic course 15 years ago was exactly the same as you have mentioned. I have 35 years experience teaching and practicing yoga. When I first encountered SK I quickly sensed that it is a hotch potch technique of breathing with the primary aim of creating a marketing USP for the AOL course. A combination of rebirthing and chakra breathing all couched in some cooked up mystical origins. I never found Sudharshan Kriya practise uplifiting as compared to the pranayma which I used to practise and hence dropped it pretty soon. Later I encountered many AOL practioners who got into several physical, emotional and mental abnormalities as a result of sustained SK practice. There was no guidance or structure from AOL org for them and the only option they had to resort to was seek from the time tested traditional sources of learning and understanding pranayama. AOL does not provide such a framework. I would suggest people to look into such schools as Bihar school of Yoga where you can get so much knowledge, guidance and background on many yoga techniques. It is very important to learn these as the final aim of yoga is also Kaivalya which is being free and master of oneself. Secretive practices do not bring liberation. It will only enslave you more. I also know many AOL teachers (one who is a family member) who do not practice SK. They are into standard traditional yoga, suryanamaskara, pranayama et all. They still continue in AOL teaching this technique which they themself found harmful. They also hold positions of power in AOL org running their money making schools and so on. It is difficult to be truthful and honest if your livelihood is threatned.

I tend to dosagree with this blog on the dangers of certain Pranayama which you term as Hyperventilation. If practiced with expert coaching and measured durations these so called hyperventilating pranayamas like Bhastrika / Kapalabhati can bring about energization and nervous strength. And far from frying the brain cells it is proved that it can bring in an increase in brain function. Pranayama is an amazing system of maintaing health - physical, emotional and mental. Only if practiced and tailored in a right way. One practise will not suit all and sometimes what is beneficial for one can be extremely dangerous for the other.

The Dude said...

While a lot of the mythology surrounding the kriya tape is obviously hype - kriya does work for most people. Do you agree ?

While the organization is messed up - the knowledge itself does have value. From what I have seen...RS's of scriptures - be it Bhakti Sutras, or Shiva Sutras is actually quite brilliant.

As far as getting credit for the yoga etc...RS is the brand ambassador...the program will find acceptance only if it is under his brand name.
People think Steve Jobs invents macbooks - and steve jobs lets them believe it (although there is a kernel of truth there too)..it is just a marketing strategy. What's wrong with that ?

The structure of AOL is like a bee hive. The honey bees do all the legwork - while the queen bee eats royal jelly and produces next offspring. Whether you like it or not - it is how it is. There are stupid people who have bought into the hype and do the work out of ignorance - but there are many intelligent people in AOL too...who knowing that they will not get anything out of it - do work out of sense of selfless service to the world.

Many people reading this blog have very strong anti-aol sentiments and will vehemently disagree with me. There are an equal number of people on the other side of the fence. It is all good to lecture pro-aol people to exercise critical thinking...but one has to practise it oneself too :)

Anonymous said...

Klim, I have done the Basic course twice. First time around, I was blank when I did it and we all asked the teacher, what happenned. She said don't ask any questions. Each one would have a different feeling. But the next day I didn't go blank. But after some time of practising, I somehow felt that I should not do it as it is totally new and not proven etc. After 1 year, again I did the course. This time around, I practised for 2 weeks. Even during the course, we were all asked to sit facing each other, and look directly into each one's eyes. Teacher said 'If GOD was in the other person and sitting in front of you, Would you not accept as he is?'. Such gimmicks made me emotional and I even shed some tears etc. But surprisingly after the course, I started moving with my juniors with quite ease and used to have lunch with them. Earlier I never used to mingle with them. So, the course did make something different to me. I felt good that I had shed my ego etc... Though I have stopped long back, I have been waiting for some one to open up something like this blog about some negativities. Luckily this has come. Now Klim, what is your opinion about those gimmicks in the course. How a teacher is able to talk so emotionally and affect the students emotionally too?

Anonymous said...

I became Sri Sri Addict. After doing the course 2nd time, I got so much involved in SSRS that I kept on buying audio CD's of him. At least 10 I bought. 7 pillars of knowledge, MArriage and Commitment, Poornima etc etc etc. I used to hear them immediately after buying. Somehow SSRS' voice was very calm and poised and it used to bring in some serenity in me. Especially the 7 pillars of knowledge ( I don't remember it is 6 or 7). I have heard it at least 50 times. I also bought his Om-Namashivaya chanting CD. It was totally annoying to hear him chant it as a pranayama. But somehow I forced myself to listen believing that it was divine. But after one of my friends listened to SSRS through my CD, he immediately told me that whatever SSRS is talking is all crap and is foolish. He told me SSRS is a fraud. After getting introduced to your blog, I have found the true picture. I have thrown away all the CD's 2 months back and I am free from then on. What a stupidity that I had started embracing AOL and SSRS thinking that he is a real Saint... I don't know how many people like me have also experienced as me.... Waiting for some sharing of experiences..

Anonymous said...

In one of the CD's I remember him answering questions one by one. One questions was appreciating him as Guruji, and telling him that his course should be renamed as 'Art of Answering Questions' instead of 'Art of Living'. He used to give a pause for every question and give some funny answers. People used to laugh. Somehow, I also got addicted to his calm and serene voice etc... Finallly, I have got rid of it. What a fool I would have become, had I continued my SK and had I continued to listen to his Speeches... I feel fortunate to have been saved..

Anonymous said...

DIVINITY AT DISCOUNT:

Below is reproduced from AOL group message :

Given below are some more value offers....

S.No|Title |Actual Price|Offer Price| Disc
1. Super saver knowledge pack-Ashtavakra Geeta & Path of Truth
4,499/- 2,999/- 33%
2. New Year Special value pack-Narada Bakthi Suthra (8 DVDs) +
Yoga Vashishta(10 ACDs) 1,398/- 999/- 29%
3. Super Saver Bhajan Pack- Krishna + Manas Murali + Bala Ganapati
Dhyanam 343/- 199/- 42%
4. Value Pack-Tera main(2 ACDs)+Nirguna 324/- 199/- 39%
5. Super Saver Pack A-Set of 5 english Books of Rs 20 each
100/- 39/- 61%
6. Super Saver Pack B-Set of 5 english Books of Rs 20 each
100/- 39/- 61%
7. Rudram (Pack of DVD + VCD + 2 Books) 499/- 300/- 40%
8. Tejaswini-Coffee Table Book by Bhanu Didii 800/- 500/- 38%

Jai Gurudev
The Divine Shop Team
--end of message--

Once when I visted Banglore Ashram I bough Audio CD of RS on Contradiction in Bhagvat Geeta. It was costly. When I heard it, it was recording of some question answer session. He spend 5 minutes in question telling 3/4 contradictions, and in answer he only replied that these contradictions are not real but apparent.
Finished. 2/3 other questions and answers, more laughing and one song.
I felt like cheated.

Anonymous said...

To all the drones who in this threat keeps referring, to so called scientific research of the Kriya. My dear friends ask any scientist this research is all fraud. I have experienced even the most true-believer scientists in the Art of living being secretly in pain because of the lack of scientific standard in the research.
I myself for many years believed that the Kriya was a miracle tool that could help against everything. That even though my own psychological and physical state kept deteriorating. Like all other full time teachers, the longer time I was in the movement the more my over all health deteriorated. This is covered up with weird aol myths like, that the teachers when conducting Kriya, functions as a channel for peoples bad Karma. So it is believed that peoples bad karma would get stuck in ones system. This results in people manically taking showers constantly, and developing extreme phobias against people outside the teacher circles.
Anyways as I became fulltime teacher I really truly believed that I was going to help people teaching the Kriya. But as I started teaching it all the evidence became to obvious. Nobody and I really mean nobody was helped by the Kriya. All the claims from the so called scientiffic research came to nothing. There was no healing taking place, all we where doing was obstructing that people go to proper authorities like doctors and psychologists, and get help. It was so extremely disillusioning that I had to stop teaching. But I myself still kept doing the Kriya every day for "spiritual" purposes. That until I in the end was ill for half a year in a row. Then in the end I stopped doing the Kriya, and the miracle happened I slowly became more healthy. And it has not stopped since. After doing the kriya for twelve years every day, I can only say that I have never been so healthy as after I have stopped. Since three years ago, when I did my last Kriya, I have become more and more healthy. Every day I get stronger. And I can say without the slightest doubt, that the Kriya not only do not give the benefits it claims, but on the contrary ruins peoples physical and psychological health. I can not warn people enough from doing it. Truly nothing positive can come of it.

ILoveGuruji said...

Many postings here comment on Gurujis school project - if you want to know the truth please read todays posting on our esatsang digest, view the pictures and then write your comments. If you cannot do service, its best to keep quiet, dont accumulate bad karma by spreading lies and rumours about our Divine Guru who is doing so much of unconditional seva.


During our visit to India in December/January, we had the great fortune of
visiting the Tribal Schools in Ghatshila in the Jharkhand district of India. A
lot of you have supported this wonderful cause so I thought that you might want
to get a feel of the transformation that is taking place through these
pictures. It is nothing short of a miracle that is happening based on the
vision of our Master and the dedication and hard work of our
devotees/volunteers . Seeing the glint of enthusiasm in the eyes of the
Tribal children and the glow of hope that is burning in them is truly
refreshing and energizing. I hope you catch a glimpse of what we saw and felt
when we visited them. For any question related to the project, please e-mail
my father at bbc108@yahoo. com

The link to the Picasa album is http://picasaweb. google.com/ vikasjgd/
Ghatshila? feat=email#

Art of Leaving said...

“I felt like cheated.”

For a while I did some seva in the Bangalore Ashram’s Publications Department, and I was disgusted at the number of times the same talks were re-published in different collections. For example, you’d have a talk on Buddha included in a book dealing with miscellaneous topics, then the same talk would be included again in a second collection dealing with the Buddha specifically, and then perhaps even a third time in yet another collection brought out under another theme.

I thought people would feel cheated, especially people like me who were true “Sri Sri Addicts” and wished to have his every single book, CD and DVD, but didn’t have much money. You may be able to afford only two or three books and then end up with a lot of identical stuff in each book – and there weren’t many talks in a book anyway. Often the layout was intended to put a minimum amount of text in a large font on a page, thereby increasing the number of pages to the point where it at least had the feel of a book rather than a pamphlet . It was clear to me it was a money-making scheme. I asked someone in Publications, but won’t people feel cheated? I wasn’t taken seriously. The response was that someone might be interested in a collection of talks specifically on Buddha, for example.

It also made me realise that the Master wasn’t coming up with new stuff anymore. All the “illuminating” talks were obviously given in his youth.

Anonymous said...

Hey Anonymous, You are saying that you quite AOL and for 12 years you did SK and were with AOL. Then why don't you share your experiences with SSRS and others. That would be really helpful for all others in the world.

Today there was a mail to me ( group mail) where they are canvassing for Yes+ course. I am getting wild whenever I see such mails. Perhaps, I can share this blog link to them. But Iam scared that I might be bullied and threatened. So, I desisted from sending a link of this blog. But I will try my best to propogate whenever I get an appropriate opportunity

Art of Leaving said...

“I have thrown away all the CD's 2 months back and I am free from then on.”

Anon, good that you got rid of it all quickly and easily.

With me it was a long process of repeatedly buying CDs, DVDs and books and repeatedly destroying them (breaking them to pieces or burning them) in an effort to break the spell. The little money I earned after leaving AoL was almost all wasted on this, until I discovered Youtube and downloaded every single video of him (English, Hindi or otherwise). I would watch them repeatedly with longing and the wish to return, then all the anger and pain would come flooding back and I would delete the whole lot, only to re-download them again a couple of months later.

It was a long battle to break free. Like with you, it’s this blog that brought about the final shift in my consciousness, dissolving the addiction, although it's by no means been easy.

Art of Leaving said...

The Dude: “From what I have seen...RS's of scriptures - be it Bhakti Sutras, or Shiva Sutras is actually quite brilliant.”

It seemed brilliant to me too at first – a simple and engaging way of combining bhakti and jnana. Then, after familiarising myself with a number of other Masters, it no longer seemed so brilliant. Some of it still had some value, but I could also see how much of it was overly simplistic, evasive or a mockery. I kept watching, though, because I was addicted to his personality and to the idealised projection of him in which I had invested so much of myself and which I tried desperately hard to keep alive.

“As far as getting credit for the yoga etc...RS is the brand ambassador...the program will find acceptance only if it is under his brand name. ..it is just a marketing strategy. What's wrong with that ?”

What’s wrong with it? It’s dishonest, untruthful, exploitative, hierarchical, unspiritual and perpetuates the myth of Ravi being what he is not, having knowledge and abilities he doesn’t have, luring sincere seekers into a big lie. If he were really honest about who invented what, it would give a more transparent and democratic flavour to the organisation. Individuals would feel more valued and encouraged to make original contributions and to truly help the organisation evolve in positive ways.

“The honey bees do all the legwork - while the queen bee eats royal jelly and produces next offspring. Whether you like it or not - it is how it is.”

All the more reason to speak out about it and expose it. Don’t be so defeatist. I mean, are you at all concerned with people’s need to follow an honest spiritual path? Or with giving AoL good marks for how well it is doing in exploiting people for its commercial interests?

“there are many intelligent people in AOL too...who knowing that they will not get anything out of it - do work out of sense of selfless service to the world.”

- Because they have been brainwashed and deceived, and their intelligence has been put on hold. If they were really that intelligent, they would have been doing their “selfless service” in decent development organisations. What service to the world is it to recruit vulnerable and unsuspecting newcomers into courses that depersonalise them and suspend their abilities of critical thinking and kindness towards others? It’s not service, it’s mere misguided missionary zeal in the service of an exploitative and deceiving narcissist.

Jivani said...

Klim,
I know well the line "it's just cleansing, purifying, eliminating toxins". I used to use it all the time. What's with all the cults having the same practices, lingo, etc...? Well, no it's not cleansing! It's a negative reaction to something and one should trust that. Most likely a reaction to fraud! Again, deeply misguided.

Landmark Forum...Shudder. That's one messed up program.

KLIM & CO. said...

"dont accumulate bad karma by spreading lies and rumours about our Divine Guru who is doing so much of unconditional seva."

I am so mean. I think I made someone cry. This is what I think of all those projects even if you can provide an album of pictures: "blablablablabla". The problem is not in the pictures nor the children who smile for them. The problem is in the words chosen in the sentence: "bad karma", "divine guru", "unconditional".

Bad karma, spreading lies, are words I'd attach to your not so Divine Guru. The only good man is your father. Regards to him.

The Dude said...

@Art of Leaving

1. About RS's knowledge of knowledge

Your opinion is other masters have same understanding...while I don't mean to put down other masters and traditions in my opinion I think RS has a very good understanding of the subtleties, and is able to convey it effectively...otherwise he would never have grown so big in India...we have so many gurus here. I feel it from my personal experience also.
The ordinary talks are nothing great - but commentaries on scriptures are awesome...He may not be god, but is definitely a master of veda.

About Seva:
I think AOL is all good if you don't get too much into the organizational stuff. I agree the organization is dysfunctional - and can seriously damage you if you do not keep yourself grounded.

KLIM & CO. said...

"Especially the 7 pillars of knowledge ( I don't remember it is 6 or 7)."

They were 4. But I think you have a point, maybe AoL needs 7 pillars of knowledge!

Anonymous said...

From SS:

Dear KLIM and all the brave ones:

Thank you so much for all the writings. I am an ex-aol-teacher as well (I was at aol for 6 years). I am so grateful to this blog which helped me to get rid of the left over fear. Very Very Grateful. I can go on with my life with peace in heart. Thanks agin for everything. Please keep up with all the good work and I will pray for you all.

Sincerely.....SS

Peaceful Warrior said...

For all the years that I was part of AOL- there was always something which smelled fishy about it. I could not put a finger on it...sure the money issue, and the part about bringing people to the course still creeps me out...but that was not it.

All these things, have a perfectly good explanation, and one was always given - but one always felt the reason being given was not the real reason. Somehow the feeling never died...I felt like a fake person, giving these rote answers I did not buy myself. And I think none of the teachers buy it too..they are just real good at faking it. Somehow by positive thinking, and putting a fake smile these things were brushed under the carpet - but they were always there. So called senior teachers are more neurotic, because they repress more - using superstitions to justify what cannot be justified by any earthly logic. Once you start doing that - the gate to becoming a blue-star is wide open!!


The AOL logic can be misleading, I decided to follow me heart- and it took me away. Unlike some others, my years of sadhna did bring about genuine growth ( I never did kriya regularly - but did sahaj everyday). I see RS as a fallen yogi - it was time to move on.

The Prime Minister of India once asked Sri Periyava (a noted seer), “If you would pinpoint the persons who, in the name of spirituality, lead the people in a wrong way I will take action against them.” Sri Periyava laughed and said, “No! It should not be handled in this manner. Those who approach such fake swamis will themselves, after a time, understand their standard of maturity.”

Sri Periyava knew that this reply did not satisfy Smt. Indira Gandhi. Someone had offered a basket full of mangoes to Periyava. It contained many unripe and a few ripe fruits. Many devotees waited outside for Sri Periyava’s darshan. Sri Periyava instructed the attendants to bring a child from amongst these devotees. A child of about 5 years was brought to Him. Pointing to the basket Periyava smilingly said to the child, “Take whatever you want.” After a search the child picked up a ripe fruit.

Sri Periyava pointed out to Smt.Indira Gandhi who was watching this, “Just as the way a child knows what is ripe and what is unripe, so too would those who go out in search of Truth recognize a true Mahan at some point of their life.”

My only request to AOL devotees - look inside your heart and try not blaming your self for feeling negatively about AOL. Truth is there for you to see - you don't need KLIM's revelations!

sharath said...

thanks for this blog. i did sudharshan kriya for almost one year and was continously plagued by headaches and irritable bowel syndrome. i never had this problem before. i was under the impression that i was not okay and needed more purification. i did fasts and raw food diets. all this did help but still the symptoms persisted. i got my practise and sk rhythm checked by four aol teachers including a very serious one. they all felt i am doing the practise fine. one of the teacher suggested i use the mild ayurvedic laxative Triphala. that helped a bit. i soon realized that whenever i used to skip the practise of SK i used to feel better. last year i went for a one month trek in a south indian jungle. i completely forgot the practice of sk. i was in the best of health throughout. since then i have stopped sk and i am in the best of health.
hoverver i have felt guilty of not practising. thanks to this blog i know that many other people are having problems with Sk. it is not a magic wand afterall.

Anonymous said...

I think Sri Sri Ravishankar is indeed a Master, a Guru in true sense. I mean that he is not just a Sidhdha possessing some fantastic sidhdhies like mind reading,clairvoyance or manifesting things etc. (I speak this from my own spiritual experience with him). Its quite possible that he behaves differently with different persons and everyone has different perceptions about him.

About AoL I will not speak because organization can be very very different from its Guru.

His mandate in this world (as I understood)is being a mass guru and to get as maximum no of people on the spiritual path as possible. In this process its possible individual seekers' needs may be sadly overlooked.

Someone told me a beautiful example of Sangha(organization), Dhamma (religion i.e. spiritual practice or sadhana), and Budhdha (the state of enlightenment and total knowledge) The sangha always pulls a person downwards whereas a true seeker has to hold on to his dhamma-sadhana and rise and rise to the state of Budhdha.

Anonymous said...

Hey Anon,

What spiritual guru he is? How many people have got elevated due to him? Don't you see the trail of the blogs? He is indulged in all sorts of crap like 'Releaing Kundalini' and also giving blows and kicks to his own desciples. I have also heard many of his CD's. But later only realized what he is talking is all crap and he has copied bits and pieces from Budhdha, upanishad etc.. Why, his own SK? He says he found it in his wilderness? But whole lot of practitioners are suffering from it. It 'Fries' the brain and not 'Frees' the brain. Such a person can be a guru? I can't take it anymore. of course you are free to carry on. Jai Ho SSRS.

Peaceful Warrior said...

@ Anon
"In this process its possible individual seekers' needs may be sadly overlooked."

In other words RS cares about his fame, much more than the needs of his students....in that case he should have taken ramdev baba route - at least he is authentic, and a lot cheaper.

Wisdom is not just in how someone acts in front of you - but also how one manages and leads. The dysfunction in the organization comes from the top...as these pages will attest.


"The sangha always pulls a person downwards whereas a true seeker has to hold on to his dhamma-sadhana and rise and rise to the state of Budhdha."

Not necessarily - who makes this stuff up ? Man is a social animal, and a company of wise people is uplifting. Of course sangha of idiots can easily become a cult - buyer beware

KLIM & CO. said...

I must agree with Peaceful Warrior.
The saying about the Sangha, Dharma and Buddha was always used by SriSri and co. to dominate the people. Any problems with the sangha was an indication one was in a true path, that one was cleansing karma, that one was growing in the path. Abused justified with wrongly used knowledge. As well as, "if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere in the world, this is where you get rid of your karmas." Whereas, as a survivor, I agree that if one makes it there one can make it anywhere, I don't attribute it to the spiritual environment and teachings, but to all the shit one goes through. It'd be the case for anyone who has gone through some hardship.

On the other hand, as Peaceful Warrior states, the one behind the dysfunctional organization IS THE GURU HIMSELF. The mistake most people make, including teachers is they find fault in everything: the teachers, the board, the politics, but they don't know nor understand that the one behind it all IS THE GURU. Many times he makes the decisions that the teachers or board announces as their own. He is the greatest manipulator who comes out clean in any transaction. He knows everything that is going on. He supports it. He sometimes even make it happen. He often is the one who makes the decision. He is the greatest, dirtiest politician and manipulator in the AoL deal.

Anonymous said...

@peaceful warrior
1. as a seeker you would surely know the difference between moksha guru and just a guru. SSRS simply points to sadhana path. each one has to find his way to his moksha guru. he is surely responsible for people whose moksha is in his control. there could be percieved spiritual preferences and he is hated by others. this is a tragedy of the mass guru.

2. sangha doesn't cosist of only wise persons its a congregation of persons of all types who are not necessarily at the same level spiritually this causes frictions and negative feelings.

Can you disregard sadhana or spirituality because of sangha?

Art of Leaving said...

To The Dude,

Thanks for your balanced response.

I still disagree about Ravi’s “very good understanding of the subtleties”, though. And he’s definitely not a “master of veda”. Otherwise he would not have faired so poorly in his debate with Zakir Naik.

Ravi chose a handful of the most popular scriptures (e.g. Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, Narada’s Bhakti Sutras, Ashtavakra Gita) and commented on them, but not in-depth. His commentaries can serve as introduction to a complete novice, but that’s all. If one is new to these teachings and you have a weak spot for a certain kind of charisma, then you can experience his talks as mesmerising. A person who is eloquent and has charisma can grow big in India or anywhere else in the world. If you add the rumour that he’s divine, you’ve got a winning recipe.

The reason why Ravi’s “ordinary talks are nothing great”, as you yourself say, is because his knowledge does not go deeper or wider than what he had to say in those early talks.

I had a very charismatic philosophy professor who had people hanging from his lips wherever he went. He was not a great scholar, but he could simplify philosophical ideas and make them accessible to the masses, using humour, teasing, pointed remarks and stories. He knew exactly how to play the popular psyche. One got the uncanny feeling that he could read people’s minds. If he had grown up in India, he would probably have been a popular Guru today.

I was charmed by his charisma, became his assistant and got to know him and his family at a personal level. It was through observing him closely that I saw he didn’t really “know” what went on in people’s minds, not even in mine. In fact, I learnt to read him better than he me. He was merely an astute observer who knew how to say something provocative and then read people’s reactions.

It was like throwing a stone into a bush and then see what comes running out, being sure to keep your cool and pretend to everyone that you have known all along that this particular creature was the one present inside the bush. It’s a question of putting out a bait and having the capacity for quick interpretation and response. Having learnt those lessons from him, I should really have been cleverer than falling for Ravi. Notwithstanding all his charisma, that professor was at least a lot humbler than Ravi, could admit his mistakes and enjoyed it when others occasionally called his bluff and got the better of him.

Art of Leaving said...

To The Dude, continued

Like Ravi, Osho was also a violent narcissist personality who damaged many people, but at least his teachings were more individualised, subtle, creative and versatile. And he didn’t shy away from criticising problematic aspects of Indian culture. Sometimes he got completely carried away by his own words and lines of argument, though. Many of his utterances I’d take with a pinch of salt. That said, I learnt a lot from him. Then dropped him too. His talks are available online:

http://www.messagefrommasters.com/
Ebooks/Osho_Books.htm (pdf downloads - English and Hindi)
http://www.oshoworld.com/onlinebooks/index.asp

Swami Krishnananda’s lectures are more scholarly, in-depth and sober, although he’s also got his superstitions and weak points. His talks are all online and available as pdf downloads. In terms of an in-depth treatment of Yoga, I found his two-volume commentary “The Study and Practice of Yoga” more helpful than that of any other Master. Among others, the first few chapters on the Vibhuti Pada, outlining the dangers of practicing concentration on any object. And the warning that if you ever feel the slightest resistance in your practice, you should take heed and immediately deal with it in an intelligent way (i.e. not by repressing it), otherwise it will come back at you with a vengeance at a later stage in your practice. He at least read up on psychology traditions and took psychoanalysis seriously.

http://www.swami-krishnananda.org/patanjali.html

One place where Ravi falls short miserably is when it comes to alerting people to the dangers and pitfalls inherent in any spiritual practice. According to him, as long as you practice meditation and kriya, do seva and go to satsang, all will be fine. If you think anything is wrong, just ignore it, it will go away. If you’re an intense practitioner, things will be easy. – Yeah right!

Anonymous said...

I had teachers explain any problems away as 'cleansing' and 'purifying too. The clear implication was that if you did NOt get sick during a course there was something wrong with you, you were beyond redemption etc. If you had problems you were the 'chosen' one with superior Karma who was being tested. The ones who came down with colds, fevers, headaches were congratulated on decreasing their karma and strongly adjured not to take medicines as it will 'interfere' with the process.
But I gotta admit the course participants were also up to the challenge. One woman (co-participant in the course) privately told me: why you want to argue with the teachers? Just quietly take the Tylenol if you have a headache no? Why you want to be Satyavaadi Harishchandra? Finally, I saw her point and took care of me :).

Peaceful Warrior said...

@Anon

"sangha doesn't cosist of only wise persons its a congregation of persons of all types."

I agree...there are good and bad. I just object to saying people sangha just pulls people down - and more so when this is used to justify organizational rot, and inaction on part of the leaders.

"About Moksha Guru and sadhna guru"

See these are just concepts and words...to me a guru is just a mentor - when he says he is divine it is in the sense that this creation is divine - not that he is divine and you are not.

I will be the first one to admit that RS is competent in his understanding of meditation and scriptures. However, he misuses his power and the authority to further his own agenda - claiming to do so interest of advancing spirituality. Using knowledge as a shield to justify things rather than taking action.

I once heard APJ Abdul Kalam speak on Leadership. He said "A leader gives credit to his team in success, and takes the blame in case of failure. A politician is just the opposite"

RS is a politician, not a leader. The fact that he has a gift of communicating knowledge, does not mean everything he says or does is kosher. In fact, he is quite immature when it comes to living in the real world. People have been used and abused - these things cannot be brushed aside.

The Dude said...

@Art of Leaving

I will not belabor the point..we agree to disagree on his competency as a teacher. Those are opinions..this forum is not about if he is good or bad as a teacher, rather it is about the abuse of power and exploitation of people in Art of Living in the name of spirituality. But more importantly, it is about facts.

The Dude said...

@Art of Leaving

To add to what I said earlier....On the whole my experience with the art of living has been a positive one. Yes there is a lot of B.S in the organization, and also in RS - and I'm not denying that.

But it is also true that AOL opened up my heart, and took me from being a very uptight person who enjoyed life only superficially - to someone who was full of love, energy and compassion. I experience a very deep joy - which people seldom do - and I spend every moment of my life filled with bliss.

It is something precious and I am grateful for having received it. For all his faults, to this I'm thankful for. It does not mean I become his slave and accept everything he/they do - but I must give credit where it is due.

People have different experiences - and I respect that. I think that's what makes it so difficult to leave. One meets such wonderful people, such beautiful souls - and I still do love them all. It is difficult leaving them - but one has to do it - integrity and ethics is something that is non-negotiable...and I cannot be part of an organization that not only lacks these, but also shamelessly manipulates people's feelings of love and gratitude.

Anonymous said...

@ Peaceful Warrior

Believe me Moksha Guru and Sadhana Guru concepts are very real. Once a person reaches that particular stage of spiritual enlightenment things start manifesting. Differences get crystal clear and other gurus handle you differently.

Till a sadhak reaches the stage where moksha guru has owned the sadhak and revealed himself a sadhak, in his spiritual quest is vulnerable to organizations, fake gurus etc. Balancing of past karma comes into play. We blame organizations, mass gurus, people, situations, friends, relatives, bosses etc. The truth is that no matter where we go we have to balance past karmas.

I agree with you 'Buyer Beware' There are no guarantees in life. Keep your eyes open and let common sense prevail. Also Never leave sadhana with seva Never.

Peaceful Warrior said...

@Anon

There are many paths, but there is no path - because you cannot get it by doing - it happens - you can call it spontaneous awakening or grace of god.

Read these accounts of some of the few people who actually know what they are talking about.

1. Who is Ajja
http://www.enlightennext.org/magazine/j14/ajja.asp

2. U.G Krishnamurti - The Mystique of Enlightenment
http://www.well.com/user/jct/

Enjoy!

Anonymous said...

@peacefuk warrior

thanks for suggestions. I am having my own experiences and walking my own path I do not feel the need to read any master to compare notes. my master takes care of me. surely so does yours whether you have met him or yet not. cheers!

Art of Leaving said...

OK Dude, agree to disagree. :-)

But I still think it’s vital to read/watch several Masters and not just get stuck on one particular Master. Otherwise it is easy to develop an exaggerated opinion of that Master’s wisdom. Also, then his/her blind spots and weaknesses become one’s own blind spots and weakness. One needs several perspectives to get a more complete picture and to prevent intellectual and spiritual stagnation.

The Dude said...

@Art of Leaving...

I agree with you on that one. It's good to get several POV"s...almost all my friends in AOL did that. As Indians, we grow up listening to gita and lectures from many gurus. 5-6 of my close family members, follow the spiritual path under different lineages.

Which is why I believe the teaching is genuine, and very profound..although they use the knowledge in a twisted manner. MMY, was a sleazeball and RS has inherited his bad qualities. Like osho, AOL does not have the wisdom that comes from centuries of tradition. Their teachers are so childish.

Anonymous said...

Like it or not AOL experiences the best growth rate in India and continuing and in US in sustaining mode due to economy.

Some posts in this blog are alarming and not for the nice & kind hearted aol members and including myself we can only hope these are not true and SSR is genuinely the person we all know the time we joined and worked actively with this organization.

Hope the lord reveals the truth if that is not the case soon.

One thing that does bother me is the promotion of SSRS to GOD/Omnipresence by his senior teachers & devotes in the saibaba fashion , while some of us still hope for god realization through SSRS. Based on the stories heard he has miracle powers so is many other folks in India.

ajay said...

Good one....I don't know whether its true or not but every organisation tends to move towards disorganisation......even i agree that people in art of living (except gurujee) are not up to the mark in many ways.....they do so much of propaganda and are really not worried about you.....they just want you to enrol for the courses and its something which i really hate......every now and then people would call up and say do this course do that.....and if you say you are busy with something then there would be a patent answer on the lips of many of them....nothing is more imp than god....ha ha ha....

i won't say about guru g...but people have made a good business in the name of art of living...schools medicines clinics and the list goes on n on.......

When it comes to kriya.....i will for sure say its beneficial....its not a piece of junk.....and that's the only reason why i do it everyday…..

It’s written in Bhagwad Geeta that if you take one stride towards god, he will take ten towards you.....so no point worrying about eating veg-non veg/sex no-sex etc..... just be honest to yourself and disciplined in your efforts….AOL or NO AOL really doesn’t matter…..God is

As maturity increases and connection to god deepens there will be time for everything (the rules and regulations which are now hard to follow will be easier when they will come from within and then there would be auto and not enforced discipline).....as we are never hidden from his benevolent grace and care.......

There are two sides to look at the stuff you have said…..agree or disagree……if you focus too much on means then the end will automatically be lost…..let’s focus on the end (which is god reflected in the form of peace, love, respect, care and well being for everyone) and take means according to our disposition……


Cheers:-)
Ajay

Anonymous said...

I've read through all the comments and will chime in. I've been practising kriya since 1999, and yes it has benefited me health-wise. I guess if it were not for the kriya I would have been a couch potato, but at least this got me off my butt and do 15 minutes of pranayam in the morning.

My greatest concern is about how the ashram manages funds. There are millions coming in donations. Has there ever been a cash flow audit? Who manages all this money? Where is it going? How much is taxed? Is someone (or some people) getting rich?