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.


Anonymous said...


Your posts are more a shock than anything to many who hold RS and AOL in high opinion. If RS and AOL are such a trash organization, what made people like you join it as a fulltimer? Is it because RS fakes about his enlightenment and spiritual aspirants get duped considering him as a realized master?

Whatever non-sense people may say, but one who can indulge in sexual deception (contrast it with sex) is not a realized master. I remember a story told by Sri Ramana Maharshi about a Gyani (a realized master) who used to have a physical relationship with a prostitute. The stories about this spread all over the place where he used to live. Finally, king called the prostitute. The prostitute claimed that she has a child also with that sage and to prove her claim, she asked the king to arrange a dance-party where the sage should be invited. This was done and the prostitute came with her small son. She started to dance in the assembly. After a while, her son started to cry and she told the sage, "Please pick your son." The sage picked the child in his arms. The whole assembly started laughing at the sage. The king asked him what type of sage you are who can have illicit relationship with a prostitute and begot an illicit child. The sage looked at a stone-mound nearby and said to the assembly, "If it is true that I am always in Self, then that mound should break into two." As soon as he said, the stone-mound broke into two and people started to apologize to the sage.

Ramana Maharshi explained further that a realized master may have some karma of bad name or illicit relationship to suffer based on prarabdha (karma done in previous lives). But, the master does not associate with any karma and remained merged in Self.

So, yes, a realized master (Gyani) can have sexual relationship also. Then, how to know whether one is a actually realized. Ramana Maharshi told that only a Gyani can identify about other Gyani. But, a normal person can get some clues by feeling inner peace in presence of a Gyani.

Now, all the stories you told about RS make it clear that he is not enlightened. So, is "faking enlightenment by RS" the most singular reason why even smart people like you got so badly duped? In other words, would you or other fulltimers not have gotten duped if you would have recognized that RS is a yoga-teacher, but not an enlightened master?

I know an AOL teacher (who is highly educated) who told me that RS is able to work miracles also. He told some of his personal experiences. In your experience, did you find RS having some Siddhis? Actually, having these Siddhis is not necessarily sign of high consciousness level? If Kundalini gets awakened along Ida or Pingala, one gets some siddhis but remain a low-level person. Whereas kundalini getting awakened along Sushumna channel, lead to high consciousness level (plus siddhis also in some cases but not all cases).

It is a pity how much bad name these rascals are creating in the minds of innocent people. One trusts a master more than even one's relatives. And if such a master turns out to be fake, how much frustration and agony it would cause? And what to say when one has given up lots of time, energy, money and even lives for such a fake master? I can feel for all such unfortunate people. May they find their Guru within!

AoL-Free said...

"Would you or other fulltimers not have gotten duped if you would have recognized that RS is a yoga teacher, but not an enlightened master?"

I think so! Or like someone commented in an earlier article, if he was transparent and called it a business using knowledge, rather than deceiving people by calling it a spiritual movement, seva oriented organization. He has no siddhis. His predictions are most of the time wrong, and when they are right, it is just luck. And, as you well said, it is not an indication of higher state of consciousness.

Well said!
"And if such a master turns out to be fake, how much frustration and agony it would cause? And what to say when one has given up lots of time, energy, money and even lives for such a fake master? I can feel for all such unfortunate people. May they find their Guru within!"

Thank you.

AoL-Free said...

Being "highly educated" or "intelligent" does not necessarily mean one is not capable of being duped, manipulated, brain-washed, sucked by fraud. I am highly educated and had a good career before I gave it all to him, in the name of spirituality, selflessness, spiritual growth, surrender to the enlightened master. Not very intelligent. My high education did not do any service to me then, but it served Ravi for marketing his organization as one with many highly educated and socially well situation teachers and followers. Even intelligent people can easily be brain-washed. :(

Peaceful Warrior said...

It comes back to hypocrisy. Full-timers don't work for money - but for ideals, and their missionary zeal helps them live through all hardships - their dedication is really to be admired.

But for RS & Family to live an opulent lifestyle and telling full timers to make do with little is just exploitation. So much for taking responsibility - RS talks of being responsible - but himself acts irresponsibly.

All the money which goes into financing his family's opulent lifestyle can easily be used in seva projects and taking better care of teachers. If you cannot take of your own, how can you take care of others.

But RS says he is taking care and RS is an honorable man!

Vishal said...

A nice commentary on Ravi Ravi's stupid writings. BTW Ravi Ravi is now Ravi Ravi Ravi.

Anonymous said...

hi Klim can the ex teachers help in getting the long kriya CD. A big deal is made about this long kriya.

AoL-Free said...

What do you mean "A big deal is made about this long kriya"? It's on the internet. Google it. But I don't recommend doing it unless you want to fry some brain cells.

As suggested by another former teacher/friend, don't return your manuals and tapes, you paid a fortune for them (and they are not sacred after all). I think he is right.

Anonymous said...

" 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".

Klim , you have summed it up so well !

Anonymous said...

Another interesting blog, the writer stops at a very interesting point,must have been threatened to stop writing.

Anonymous said...

compliments KLIM. your dissection of AOL point by point is going to help lot of uncertain and uncourageous people. physical damage to body and brain can be treated but mental damage takes long to be recognized. the treatment/healing is even more difficult.those doing mind control for evil are greater enemies of mankind. how can they get away by doing greater sin by faking 'seva'

Anonymous said...

Old soft saying- man gets a disease he deserves. people get leader they deserve.
..Is it so people get the spiritual leader they deserve?

Anonymous said...

KLIM most of the times politicians, celebrities, bureaucrats 'used' by AOL don t know the actual aim. than there are people in Aol who drag them through their personal contacts or obligations.most of them are neither followers or willing to become one.they ,in fact may be 'use & throw' material as long as they are important.
If they know the actual game plan they may not willing to be used.If they are easy to be used they are prompt in distancing themselves from anything controversial.
This is bound to happen one day. its a matter of time.
Delete propaganda,unknowingly supporting celebrities, politicians and bureaucrats and see the result/impact

Anonymous said...

KLim your revelations or experiences will not go a waste.So far adverse comments about AOL are limited and hidden beneath 'all is well'.
The contents of this biog look truthful from a person betrayed and trying to heal.Revenge does not seems to be primary aim.
Construction of an organization takes years. deserved downfall much lesser time. Who knows!

Anonymous said...

Klim i have observed AOL people target news paper chief editor or prominent correspondents to manage local press. The aim is obviously to get good coverage multiple times times for any event.
During their functions you can see them as either devotee or pampered baby.
All the events hype is more than reality. Numbers alway outnumber.
Is this spirituality we deserve?

Anonymous said...

For gods sake can anybody tell me/anyone why you need a course to tell yourself how to live life or enjoy?
your upbringing, family and moral values, work culture,willingness to work for family, community, state, country and mankind sincerely not enough to sail you smoothly for rest of your life?
Do you need a guru ,many of them evil, to to guide you to 'enlighten'.
moreover what this so called enlightenment will bring you/
probably its beyond the purview pf 'poor AOLiers'.
Wisdom probably can not be comes from within. that is why most of AOLiers probably can't be helped and are best left on their own.

Anonymous said...

Today we are facing an epidemic of spirituality, new age movements.they may be worst than plague or polio epidemic. every other person is a believer or follower of some paranormal group. Have we lost faith or confidence in ourself? Pressure of life is so costly?
Parents are our first teachers followed by scientific teachers during school & college life.Are their teachings not enough?
What is taught in AOL- is it spirituality?
Amitabh Bachhan , Sachin Tendulkar,and others, are they successful because of AOL course?Can you pass IIT/IIM/AIPMT/CAT with the help of any course? It takes planned strategy focused mind and shear commitment for anything like this.
Biggest enemy of focused mind is any such spiritual movement.
Temples at least don t have pear pressure, coercive persuasion, dynamic mind control.
Skill is not in joining a cult but in withstanding the pressure of joining.

AoL-Free said...

Someone sent the following message assuming I am someone I am not - a teacher who also left the movement, whose stories I have shared. I won't publish the name of the person to protect her identity - she has already gone through quite a lot. But this is how noone ever reveals the wrong-doings of the AoL.

"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"

The person writes as anonymous.
Well, I am not that person, and if I was, I regret not having done this earlier. It would have been great if any of old timers, senior teachers who knew so many of the AoL scandals would have spoken up earlier. It would have saved one too many from many abuses and deceptions.

Anonymous said...

It looks like you're getting a lot of interesting posts from AoL people. My favorite is the 'be very scared' one that you posted under the "SEX" post. Why do I think that SRS might be the one feeling a bit scared under that faux "nothing touches me" spiritual demeanor. These cult leaders have much to lose and I think they are much more vulnerable than they may seem. Your blog is probably putting a huge crack in his foundation as we speak (write:)

I couldn't agree more with your response to the quote someone posted of RS's reaction to Guruphilac (also under the SEX post),KLIM:

"For non-AoLers that is sign of big ego, manipulation, psychopathology."

Aren't you glad you can recognize that now? Must be heaven.

Peaceful Warrior said...

To all naysayers and cynics:

Just because one has been duped by a charlatan does not mean that spiritual education, meditation, or vedic tradition has no place. Despite being in the same boat as KLIM, i'm not a cynic. I do think the knowledge has tremendous value, and is a genuine force of good.

If only RS had been a true spiritual leader instead of the pretender he is. I think people get conned because they are optimistic and want to believe in a person who is a man of action and embodies these ideals. In their eagerness to believe, they see what they want to see - instead of thinking critically and facing facts.

There are and have been genuine spiritual leaders throughout history, who have had tremendous impact on civilization. People like Nanak, Kabir, Gandhi, Ramakrishna Paramhansa to name a few.

I am sure if RS was genuine, this situation would not have arisen. The reason con's are so successful is because they are good at imitating the real thing. Critical thinking is good, but it does not have to be negative thinking.

AoL-Free said...

The problem is "critical thinking" is considered "negative thinking" in the AoL. If one was allowed to exercise critical thinking, the flaws would become too evident. How could then SSSRS pretend for so long? The saddest thing is frauds like RS make people doubt knowledge and spirituality.

Anonymous said...

Klim, I am getting shaken with the posts with new revelations. Why don't you publish a proof so that RS can be convicted? That would be your ultimate service (SEVA) to innocent and ignorant all over the globe? People would be careful at least in future about such CULTS?. I don't know about others, but I am very anxious to see the day when RS gets arrested.

S L Shastri said...

George Orwell, in his 1949 essay Reflections on Gandhi, said that “saints should always be judged guilty until they are proved innocent”.
Going by the excesses and megalomania of modern day gurus they should be accused guilty until they prove innocence. Rajneesh started this. He made people work for long hours in unhealthy conditions in his ashram and ranch. The principle of surrender to Guru as a test of spirituality is highly misused. This was also perfected by Maharishi Mahesh yogi.
Ravi Ravi's sweatshop is again a copy of the same business model.

Art of Leaving said...

“I am very anxious to see the day when RS gets arrested.”

Measures are needed at a global level to start addressing the subtle and not-so-subtle forms of abuse and exploitation to which charismatic spiritual leaders and their multinational movements/cults are prone. I think some of the abuses (e.g. sexual abuse, threatening people, etc) may already fall under the thematic mandates of certain United Nations Special Rapporteurs.

UN Rapporteurs can write urgent appeals and letters of allegation to governments in whose territories abuses take place, requesting them to investigate and address alleged abuses. The governments in question are required to report their interventions to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, who can thereupon make further recommendations. In the end the UN publishes a report about the cases. This cannot replace a judicial process, but it would be a start, especially if a large group of people together submit their cases. At the very least it will serve as a public embarrassment to the governments and “spiritual” organisations concerned, and hopefully get them to start cleaning up their act.

There are probably special forms of abuse taking place within “spiritual” movements like AoL that may still need to be recognised as forms of human rights abuse by the United Nations Human Rights Council. Submissions by psychotherapists about victims will help a lot in this regard. It would be ideal if the UN appoints a Special Rapporteur on Spiritual Abuse to report on these issues specifically.

If such measures are in place, it would make it easy to get AoL’s Special Consultative Status with the UN Economic and Social Council removed.

Jivani said...

Adding to Art of Leaving's comment on this:
“I am very anxious to see the day when RS gets arrested.”

I think it's possible that if enough people come forward with abuse stories, RS will fall. He's probably really fragile. If all this is true about him, he's hanging by a thread of lies. Though he may never be arrested, the devotees could hold him accountable.

I believe in the power of numbers. If the number of people saying RS is abusive sexually etc... continues to grow, truth could begin to dawn in the inner circle (if even just a little). They are the ones with a lot of power. It could just take one or two of them to highly influence the rest. These people may be avid and blind devotees, but I've seen devotees, one at a time, begin to turn on the GURU. It can be done!

If one person came forward and said RS had sexually abused them, people can easily say they are lying and oust them. But if more and more people say it, it could become just simply too hard to deny. If it's true what KLIM says, that some teachers know there are problems and have even left because of them, then they may just step forward and speak out.

I think the more truth is put out there about Guru abuses, whether it be this blog, in the news, or among AOL groups, the weaker the Guru becomes-maybe even unknowingly.

AoL-Free said...

Jivani, you are right. I certainly do hope more people come up with their stories but most I know are scared and ashamed. As you have seen, AoL uses the power of threat to keep people scared enough to feel powerless, and someone has already been accused for my actions in this blog. I, on the other hand, feel relieved for having finally spoken up.

Peaceful Warrior said...

@Mr. SL Shastri

We are indeed seeing maharishi's ghost. I remember in one of the tapes RS talks about how maharishi would ask his chelas to arrange chairs one way only to come back 20 minutes later to scold them for doing so and demanding them to arrange chairs another way. He then says it is very hard training.

It is obvious to anyone, but the victim, that maharishi is playing a psychological game designed to bring about blind obedience. By suppressing his personality completely - the victim takes on the personalities of the aggressor. This is highly unnatural, and will only produce a social robot. And worse these things are perpetrated as ancient tradition. It is only MMY's tradition. A real guru ( and a half mature human being) will know the futility of playing psychological games. They will be themselves and let things unfold naturally.

But RS has been twisted by MMY since childhood. He is a guru robot - he will say all the right things, but not out of a sense of authenticity - just as a matter of programming. It is a textbook case of victim becoming an aggressor later in life - believing that is how it should be.

Art of Leaving said...

Sorry, those links giving info about UN Urgent Appeals and Letters of Allegation got cut off midway in my previous comment, so here they are again in full:

Unfortunately, the UN’s web sites are really a hopeless maze to navigate. They really need to make themselves more accessible to victims of human rights abuses!

Betty said...

PW said..But RS has been twisted by MMY since childhood.

Even if this were true, which I doubt, it doesn't take blame away from She She. He is a clone of Maharishi who tried to take what his guru had created. It's like a contest among teenaged boys, who can fart the loudest. They both leave something solid in their loin cloths which other people have to clean up.

Anonymous said...
KLim see cult guru play book.I think most of points apply to AOL also. post your comments.

Anonymous said...

If there is one thing that I would like to be investigated is the 'seva' of cleaning out the garbage dump at the ashram. When I did my TTC1, I was given this task, along with many others. The dump had glass bottles, plastic bottles and USED sanitary napkins.

I insisted that I be given a pair of gloves to even touch the stuff at the dump. I understand 'guru-seva' in gurukulas could have meant anything like collecting water out of a well or twigs for the hearth. But tell me, at this day and age, when diseases are rampant, which irresponsible organization would make loving devotees clean out a dump without giving them proper precautionary gloves? Did I need to demand gloves?

I immediately thought of all those poor BBMP folks who clean out garbage daily from the city, most of them without gloves. Why cant organizations come out with a seva of presenting gloves to such poor folk?

I just had to write this so that the org can wake up and see health hazards which, when we are in the thick of the jingoistic (?) feelings, intense desire to seek enlightenment, etc.

Maybe I used my intellect, but hey, I am a scientist with a Ph D in biochem who is also fond of seeking spirituality. AOL asks us to drop the mind and intellect, I hope they can someday set an example by dropping the intellect when they are counting the moneybags...

I dont want to state my name because I dont want to be bugged by morons who are mostly living in a Fool's Paradise.

Anonymous said...

I sent this blog link to a guy who would be shortly becoming a AOL teacher, and who has been associated with it for over 3 years. He rejected the blog saying that instead of arguing against the blog, he would prefer to medidate and serve. I guess many would be like this only, and Klim, why after 3 years in AOL, still people want to continue and do fulltime. Do you mean to say that they would not have got a clue of any negativity despite their 3 year association?

Anonymous said...

Many teachers and members who have faced problems with AOL and who are not speaking out due to fear etc. should come out of their shell and save the mankind ( I really mean it.) When we read this blog, not sure how many innocents are joining for SK ( Frying their mind / brain!!) and how many would be enrolling as teachers, and how many would be going for DSN etc. Please Please, ex AOL-ers, or current AOL-ers, if you are agreeing to this blog it is high time you speak out. Or atleast, you speak out that this blog is total false ( by giving evidences). You can always be anonymous. Unless more and more people speak out the truth, I guess the strength is not going to come.

Pranav said...

"I hope they can someday set an example by dropping the intellect when they are counting the moneybags..."

This one's good.
I think the dropping of intellect is for the victims not the victimizeer. In my expereince most AOL teachers are highly money minded and obnoxiously greedy for the latest gadgets and luxuries. Like their guru they love publicity and would give anything to hobnob with the rich and famous.

Art of Leaving said...

"Please Please, ex AOL-ers, or current AOL-ers, if you are agreeing to this blog it is high time you speak out."

I agree with you, Anonymous, and I would like to make the same appeal.

Unfortunately, it takes a long time for people to start sharing their experiences. It took me a few years of reading similar blogs before I finally had the guts to speak out, and I was not even in AoL for that long.

I was so relieved to see others speaking out and I received a lot of consolation from it. But at the same time I felt, well, if they are doing it, then there's no need for me to add my voice. I can remain comfortably quiet and watch from the sidelines.

I think people need to realise that every voice is badly needed. You really owe it to those who are taking great risks to speak out, and also to yourselves. It's a way to claim back your own integrity, and it helps to heal and make sense of what happened.

The Dude said...

In most Indian spiritual traditions - a lot of emphasis is placed on menial seva of the guru as a means of breaking the ego. It is not just in AOL.

Of course it is just medicine...its not food. One can't do that fulltime.

People should realize that all guru's are revolutionaries. If you want to sit in your comfort zone don't sign up for it. Nobody is a fool...people blame the guru for cheerleading them on the path, but it was a choice they made. They just want to blame someone else.

That said, I would agree that tradition gives the guru unchecked power - which can easily be abused.

Anonymous said...

Dude said...People should realize that all guru's are revolutionaries.


This is silly. Most gurus are assholes. One in 10,000 is a decent human being. 3 or 4 in 6 billion know the self.

The Dude said...


Whether you like it or not, there is an asshole in everybody, including you and me - even people like gandhi.

It is easy for a saint to be white while living in their ivory is tough to live spiritual knowledge while living in the world. Please spare us this morality B.S .

And yes...spiritual knowledge by it's very nature is disruptive...and I mean that in a good way. Even a "good" guru will never be accepted kindly by the world. People will always find fault with a guru, to avoid living in spiritual knowledge.

Let us see a guru as he is...a real person, with all kinds of qualities in him. To label them as assholes is also not critical thinking!!!

fair_and_balanced said...


I see where you are coming from. I actually suspect that AOL doesnt have as much money as everyone thinks. If they did, they wouldnt have to nickel and dime for everything. Its delusional to think that being a full-time teacher can be a career. At best its for independently wealthy folks or someone who doesnt need to work. In these groups, the teachers (such as yourself) do the brunt of the work, for little reward. Maybe you should have bailed out a lot earlier than you did. Still, I commend you for starting this blog.