Monday, March 15, 2010

Behind the holy door

In the AoL, being able to be with the Guru in his room was a priceless situation. People fought and discriminated in order to be in there. There were those who could walk in and out whenever, and those who could only go in if they had some good excuse/reason, and those who often were outside and were allowed to go in by default. Most everyone wanted to be there. It was the big mysterious place.

I was inside the room many times when he’d made the doorman tell people he was busy in some meeting when the truth was he was watching TV or playing with the boys. Meanwhile, people outside would be fighting amongst them. One learned to find out who was a “blue star” one had to avoid if one wanted to ensure green light into his room. It was often said that if you were around certain people he’d feel it and not let you come in.

“He knows everything. He can feel your energy, if it is low he won’t let you go in.” Come on! He often had to ask who was out there! Does he or does he not know everything?

There was a belief that being in the presence of the master karma was removed, that he gave high knowledge and that it was a great deal of fun. In truth, it was most boring and dreadful! He did not give high knowledge, CNN did, and he mostly was either discussing business, criticizing or making fun of people, or being massaged, while a few read his letters. You needed to pretend to be busy or that you had something important to discuss.

As a teacher I so often encouraged people to write to him: “He reads all your letters. Give him all your problems, he will take them away from you.” I have many times read letters sent to him and sent back replies too (it is not true he reads them, a bunch of immature power hungry people do, and they do NOT keep your stuff private, they later discuss it with their friends). I used to write to him all the time myself until one day I witnessed one of the most denigrating scenes.

A full-time teacher sent him a fax with the word “confidential” written all over it. He did not seem to care about the privacy of it and instead he started reading it out loud to us, mocking every line and her situation. She was going through a difficult divorce and the challenge of taking care of 4 kids while being a full timer. He called her names, made fun of her, laughed intensely. The few people in there would laugh with him too. I remember feeling extremely embarrassed. As I heard and observed my peers and my guru laughing at the poor woman’s pain, I did not have any expression other than that of shock. I knew this woman. I knew her struggle. I knew about her grief. There was nothing funny about it and he had no business reading a confidential letter to any one of us and even less, make fun of someone who had reached out to him in his role as a Guru.

Some time later I wrote him a personal email regarding some personal situations. A few months later, during an event, one of the teachers who is always in his room, stopped me in the corridor and mentioned my email in mocking tone. That was the last time I wrote a personal letter to him. That is how much he respects people, their privacy, integrity, evolution and sorrow. That is how much compassion and unconditional love he has backstage. That is the extent of the high knowledge one got in his holy room.

I clearly remember once a new devotee insisted to talk to him. Her teacher had told her to do so because only the Master could do something about her situation. She sat in a small corner while we discussed business until he finally paid attention to her. In an irritated and impatient tone he asked her to speak out her problem. In absolute shyness, discomfort and sadness she requested he gave her a private time. I remember I was ready to get up and leave when I heard her speak those words. She evidently had something very private to discuss. Instead he raised his voice and harshly said, “Speak! Whatever it is, speak! Why? You feel you don’t belong to these people?” She insisted a few more times, crying at this point, but he trashed her more and more until she bursted out crying and rushed out the door (probably more depressed and abused than she was before walking into the “holy room”).

For a long time I justified the episode as a lesson about belongingness. For Heaven’s sake! What was I thinking!

Ladies and Gentlemen, nothing much happens in that room except a small man trying to conquer the world, trashing people and getting pampered. What about the following scene? One boy rubbing his left foot, another his right foot, another one arm, another his head and shoulders, another placing his head on his other shoulder, Ravi watching CNN. I am not kidding.


crackerjacklady said...


What you have stated is absolutely true since I have on several occasions written to Guruji and it was treated with mock derision, which I found out eventually. The contents of the letter are read by the secretary, trustees, teachers in front of others and then circulated to the ashramites. They have their own yellow journalism press department where they slander and spread malicious gossip on other unwitting members. Most of these rich thugs who are teachers and have access to Guruji's interior chambers derive a kind of sadistic pleasure by mocking particularly at divorced women, single unmarried women and women who are in abusive relationships. They lack the humaneness, compassion and civility to respect a person's privacy or his/her pain.

I once came across a teacher, who is now mockingly called the "mother-in-law" of the organization for her haughtiness, pride and demented behavior! She is disdainful and pokes fun of single women which is anathematized in the AOL. Yes, single women are less than perfect and considered stupid and unthinking according to her. This teacher's daughter (Madhushri) is married to none other than Bhanu Didi's son Ajay and leads a hedonistic lifestyle in the US. So much for women's empowerment, which they endlessly blather about for the women's conference. The only thing they measure there is the size of your wallet and how much of a dickhead a person can be to torment others.

Shanmukh said...

I have been witness to one such closed door session. I was "fortunate" enough to be called in. Unlike your experience, there was nothing of great interest, no spicy letters or faxes, no sob stories being discussed in there.

On the other hand, there was no knowledge sharing, no blessing, no "great peace in the master's presence", no feeling of bliss, nothing. It was just a normal, everyday conversation between a few people. Nothing more.

Anonymous said...

v knw who u r very well and wat u r doin???
stop this rubbishness!!

Dr Quentin Jones said...

Hey Anonymous @ 10.08 its a free world, everyone is entitiled to their own opinions and to write what they want and what they feel.

Stop threatening KLIM and go observe your Guru more closely and come to a realisation that he is not God or even an enlightened master.

Have you forgotten your course points:

Accept people as they are

Dont be a football of others opinions.

Looks like you didnt learn anything from the AOL course.

Go and sit in a corner in silence and become hollow and empty and perhaps realisation will dawn upon you.

Good Luck

IAmNotSurprised said...

To Anonymous,

Is that what your guru taught you? To threaten people? To be offensive? To have no control over your anger? And to not let others (non-believers) live freely?

If you were truly enlightened by your guru, you would have total faith in him and not worry about this blog. You and your guru are insecure and afraid that if this blog is not stopped reality of your guru and the cult will be exposed.

A true guru has the power of automatically resolve problems and would not afraid of non-believers on this blog.

jivani said...

So, if SSRS is an enlightened Guru, he seems to have many of the same worldly attachments as the rest of us. I do not agree with someone who said in an earlier post that enlightened Gurus like him can do anything and it will not affect their base state. That is faulty thinking. So, he can gossip about those people who write him heartfelt letters and it won't affect his base state? What exactly is his base state? It seems pretty low to me. Though I don't like to judge people's spiritual "level".

There is an air of detachment to SSRS which makes me uneasy. I say detachment--not non-attachment. In fact he seems very attached to his lavish lifestyle (being massaged by 5 people at once?). His detachment from human emotion is eerie. It seems people could easily mistake his detachment for non-attachment and enlightenment. It's more a lack of light, kindness and compassion, a blankness. It's scary how easily people can be duped!

Roaring wolf said...

Mr. or Mrs. Anonymous: You just inspired me to share more inside stories! What are you anyway doing on this blog? Flirting with dark "outside-the-protected-golden-ubrella-AOL-world"? My guess is, that something inside you knows that there is something wrong with that organization.

Anonymous said...

So what gives? If SSRS is all that he is described in these blogs, then how come thousands have gone and continue to go there? I'm not a follower, but just a curious observer. Is there something wrong with the followers/seekers or Does he have something to give that attracts these thousands?

IAmNotSurprised said...

Anonymous @ 6:44

Its called herd mentality (which is described as how people are influenced by their peers to adopt certain behaviors, follow trends, and/or purchase items)

But just because everyone is doing it doesnt make it right. Most of the people in the herd are usually followers and lose rational thinking, which is exactly whats happening in AOL.

fair_and_balanced said...

Anonymous @ 6:44
Most people wont actually get to meet SSRS in person or meet him briefly in bland surroundings (as I did) with other regular folks. The practices are effective, the social aspect is also attractive. If you are on your own trip and dont get entangled with the organization at a deep level (as teachers what have you) it can be a good experience. I credit AoL for helping me experience states that were new to me (and I am not just talking about kriya.. to me that is not such a big deal). There are lots of good, well intentioned people in the organization. As long as they are in there, it can continue in a haphazard way. I loved their bhajans and thoroughly enjoyed the evening satsangs. Yes, SSR plays a role but think of it as spiritual entertainment (and yes, bhajans have a profound effect when one has meditated).

There is some basic confusion here that confuses people with siddhis or spiritual knowledge with being efficient or effective executive managers. Those qualities need not reside in the same person. If things are done without proper delegation and honest communications, the organizational cohesion and purpose will be affected. As Hindu traditions haven't had the institutional grounding of Western religions, they will take some time to figure out proper organizational structures where the spiritual guru is like the person with the technology expertise; regular people who have the skills can be managers to keep the organization financially viable and following rules set by society.

With due respect to SSR, Nithyananda appears to have sharper insights and actually has non-scripted dialogues in public (check his top rated videos on youtube; not necessarily the ones with most hits). Maybe SSR is more conservative in this regard. But SSR perhaps has savvier political instincts and has seen more (starting off with the TM organization).

The problem with these gurus is that they become a victim of their own success. Just like not all tech gurus who found startups cannot make the transition to a CEO of a mature organization, many gurus who have the knowledge will find it difficult to navigate the challenges of managing an organization in a complex environment, having to cater to the needs, imagined and real, of all sorts of people.. a very far cry from the typical seekers of bygone eras.

Anonymous said...

I was once caught up in a recruitment here in a large SE USA city. It was more pressure than in an Amway spiel! They promised unlimited joy, light-hearted spiritual growth, a worldwide family, this kriya and that kriya. But we "take Mastercard or Visa" for $750.00 for the full weekend course! That's when I told the recruiter and his wife to go hang themselves from the nearest tree!!

PoorSinfulKLIM said...

Poor disgruntled souls - stop taking Sri Sri's sentence here, a sentence there and writing distasteful things about him.

I have spent more than 12 years with him and countless hours in the room and know that whatever you said is rubbish.

It's true that being in the room is not to get enlightened :) and that is how a master is! He is simple, does ordinary simple things like respond to people's letters, keep updated on the world news and be with people! What did you expect - him levitating in the room with eyes closed all the time and enlightening those who entered the room? Come on, looks like you didn't understand this at all.

Being near an enlightened master itself is a gift. He or she is not there to entertain you or promise you anything. He or she will simply guide you and make you a better human being. I guess you had different expectations and they didn't match what you got.

Please focus your energies on doing something good for others (to you too - KLIM!) because believe me, after a few years ago, you will regret that you spent your time on all this rather than improving your own life and others too. No one is forcing you to be in Art of Living or anywhere else - it's a free world - you came with your choice and are free to pursue any other master or career.

Wishing you all the best!

KLIM and CO. said...

"because believe me, after a few years ago, you will regret that you spent your time on all this rather than improving your own life and others too"

For someone who has spent 12 years in the room with the master and an obvious cheerleader (most likely teacher) of the advanced course, you don't seem to keep yourself that centered nor dispassionate nor above it all because of high knowledge and even less, "spiritual". You just made bad publicity of your master and your path! You are so upset you cannot write and behold! You are angry? You mean you are not smiling and happy no matter what? Did the master not make you strong and teach you better? Maybe you are not doing enough sadhana. Watch out. You don't want to be the one committing the sin after all.

Let's see, AFTER A FEW YEARS AGO ... after a few years ago ... yes, I regret having spent my time on all this (AoL and SS) rather than improving my own life and that of others too. Now get a life and go back to the room of your master not this cyber room. You are adding, not substracting! Keep your cuteness.

Anonymous said...

Dearest KLIM and all contributers, Thanks for all of the fun facts and obversations you share. I have been with AOL for 15 yrs , and am a teacher. I have been in and out of the rooms around the world. I went on my TTC with anothers advice of just watch, Laff and have fun, if u can, but just watch, don't get involved. This has been invaluabele in my life, AOL or not. I so enjoy this blog, and will continue to enjoy this, and teach AOL. As we say "you rock!". Best of luck!

yours always