Friday, March 26, 2010

Sri Sri 90210


I always found TV programs such as Melrose Place, Beverly Hills 90210, OC senselessly funny. Everyone sleeps with everyone, it’s all about the looks - who has what, who wears what, who said what, who did what - hysterical tenfold shallowness. Sadly, not that different from AoL. I jokingly referred to it as, “Sri Sri 90210” (little did I know he’d eventually buy his mansion near that zipcode! Watch out! I have my siddhis too! … should I start a movement?).

Before you realize, everyone in a satsang group would have, at some point or another, slept with one another, dated one another, cheated on one another. Some secretly, some publicly. The fact is one big magnet that pulls people to the AoL is not the knowledge, not the guru, not the Kriya, but the social activities, the opportunity to meet “boys and girls”, the company, the networking (for professional and personal purposes), the fashion statement. When you enter the AoL portal, you find yourself in an international community of contacts, fun-loving people who seem inoffensive in the outside, go out to dinners, hang out in the name of seva. You start feeling important, purposeful and full of friends.

For a long time it feels real. You start believing these are long-life friends, spiritual siblings – after all, you’ve shared your life story in 10 minutes so many times! You’ve gone through humiliating processes in courses, been criticized, confessed dark secrets … of course they have to be your close friends! …. Until you cross to the “other side” and you suddenly find yourself alone, abandoned, attacked, rejected, ignored. Not belonging to them, no longer agreeing with their beliefs, not participating in their same activities, not loving their guru makes you a worse enemy than the one they have not yet converted. Then you wonder where all the friendship, the belongingness, the unconditional love, the secrets and intimacy you’ve shared went! For them, you are a fallen disgraceful soul: “poor xxx, not a chance this life time, bad karma).

In the old Bhakti Sutra talks, Shankar states there are 3 types of people who seek for a guru: 1. Those in sorrow; 2. those curious; 3. Those who seek for enlightenment. Sounds right. But in the case of AoL, I dare state they fall instead into, 1. those looking to network for a better job or spouse; 2. those who feel lonely and/or inadequate/lost in the world; 3. those who feel purposeless, unwanted, bored. No matter in which category one falls, Ravi does not care as long as he gets free labor, an additional body to fill in a space for a picture that demonstrates large following, people to kiss his feet and praise him endlessly, more donations, and extra arguments to pursue the Nobel Peace Prize.

Today I see the AoL satsang environment, the international and local courses hysteria and histrionic fun - shallow, psychotic, immature, deceiving.

In the beginnings years, two kind of people went to RS: Those who left TM and were promised first row seats at the feet of the guru who claimed would take them to enlightenment, and those who wanted to have a spiritual experience with a guru who would give them knowledge and guidance. Around 1999, he changed the advanced courses, simplified many things including his talks and the length of public satsangs. His explanation: those who’d d join thereafter were not that evolved thus things needed to be adapted for them, “the dummies”. (So, if you joined after 1999, this is sadly what the beloved master thinks of you. )

I don’t recall the last time I spoke with him about spirituality. He never had time for that anymore but always for a, “how many?”, events, connections, prizes, money, his reputation, what others had achieved (creating a sense of competition between teachers, thus ego battles that led to more results). Curious, I asked many people when was the last time they had a conversation about spirituality with him. Noone could recollect but they could all remember the same question, “How many?” In any case, if there were any questions, they were more around the “should I marry this person? Should I move to …? Should I finish school? Should I do this or that?”

Actually, a “deserter” said the last time he asked him about his own spiritual growth, He pinched his nipple and asked what and how he liked to practice sex (?!) instead of attending his query.

As it is wildly known, Ravi likes to be surrounded by riches and the rich. You will never find a person from a poor social background traveling with him. Only “VIPs”.If you are in his room, you get to see the latest electronic gadgets, expensive brands, etc. He has the best and not because he is the best but because he likes the best. And thus, his devotees too. I have seen ashramites and full-time teachers spend the money they did not have to own the latest i-phone, computer, brand garment (or get a wealthy devotee to “donate” it to them), and change it all the time! I don’t blame them. Most of the ashramites and full-timers I have met do not come from wealthy backgrounds. Being exposed to all of that, with a Guru who likes to flash and hang out with those who can, must be tempting, and of course, the wish to emulate their beloved one. It was just hypocritical and again, shallow a-la-“90210”, the only difference being, those in the TV show really have that money to spend and Ravi spends the money of others, not his!

Finally, it is not just in the satsang communities that “swinger” activities go on, but at the ashrams too! You just would not believe what happens in the ashrams! One would think it is a “sattvic” place of meditation, seva, silence, celibacy. First of all, in the AoL the last thing one finds is SILENCE. Even in the part 2 course there is no silence. Maybe the students keep quiet, but, have you seen a teacher, even an advanced course teacher BE SILENT? They are the most “yacki-reeh-yack” people of all! They love listening themselves talk!

There is so much sleeping around at the ashrams though everyone claims to be chaste. If you only knew what happens behind those ashram walls! If only walls could speak! There’d be some crazy stories to tell! You’d be most shocked to find out who has slept with who, how, where and why! And Ravi knows it all!

(For those AoLers who are tempted to ask for evidence, as usual, “No, I don’t collect pictures or videos of people having sex, orgies or kinky stuff, especially not with the picture of a guru in the background and the smoke of incense.” If you need evidence to the luxury items Ravi likes and owns, just take a good look, or otherwise, check out his sister and nephews. If you want to make him a gift, keep this detail in mind and He will be very impressed and give you many vegetarian brownie points!)


Prairie Princess said...

Too funny..Perhaps a reality TV series especially since there is the new facility in LA. I noticed the lack of spiritual discussions as well as the lack of much knowledge in his writings. I am thankful I did not triage my old friends during my brief stint with AoL. Because your description was exactly how I was treated when I no longer wanted to volunteer or go to kryia. Didn't know there were so many sexual dramas going on and can't imagine some of the people I knew ever having sex. That would be just creepy.

Anonymous said...

I do not see what is wrong with people having sex. It's a natural instinct. Isn't it? In India Grihasthadharma (being married and having family)is a highly respectable thing. In fact many many Gurus were not easily willing to give sanyas deeksha. They said sanyas dharma is for very very few. Celibacy is a natural state. Its not a pose. Almost all Gurus said Grihastha dharma supports and feeds sanyasis. Grihasthadharma the backbone of any culture and civilization.

India gifted Kaam-Sutra to the world. Many ancient Indian Hindu temples have carvings of men and women having sex. Khajuraho is full of such carvings. So what is wrong with sex I cannot see.

People were having sex and were having children in ancient time ashramas. So what is wrong with that in modern times ashram?

Moving on with Life said...

This statement

"Before you realize, everyone in a satsang group would have, at some point or another, slept with one another, dated one another, cheated on one another. Some secretly, some publicly."

is SUCH a GENERALISATION and not in Good taste at all KLIM. Its totally Unqualified

There are literally 1000s of such groups all over the world....and how many have you been to that you can make such a claim ?. This is not a piece of writing that is healing orientated....this smells of a "I want to hit them back and a kick the cat syndrome."

Lax said...

tHey Anonymous,
"I do not see what is wrong with people having sex. "
Nothing wrong absolutely. But not in an ashram, which is supposed to be a chaste place or divine place. Have sex in other places like hotels / lodges. Don't have it in ashrams. Why do people generally go to ashram. In Ravi's own words " It is to have rest", for their minds. So, in such cases, LUST should not find a place generally. If it is going to be a free-for-all then what is the and night clibs and an ashram? Atleast for me, an Ashram is like a temple, where we go for getting some peace of mind and indulge only in 'Godly' acvitities. When we pray to GOD, our mind purifies, and we shed tears in true sense, with our problems and thank GOD for the happiness whatevever he has given. So, we want to be in a peaceful divine place where our minds would be calm and our senses would not really have an impact, or not supposed to have an impact. And for AOL, I myself have listedned to his lectures about 'Sex', He talks about ' you go on touching, and finally what will you be? you become like a wreck. It is so tiring.'. So,if we talk about so pure and chaste 'Ashram', how can we even think about SEX there?

Anonymous said...

Lax who says people cant have sex in ashram? And what has love for God got to do with sex? lets not mix things here.

People obsessed with sex with mind full of lust will not have a thought for anything else not even God. They will be stuck in the pleasures of only flesh. They may not awaken to finer subtle things in life that is acceptable.

Reckeless affairs only for sex, one nioght stands, being unfaithful to partner, casual insensitive physical relationships yes all this could become destructive trends in life Acceptable.

But what is wrong with healthy normal sexual urge then fulfilling it?

Which Guru has ever disputed this i wonder?

sahas said...

the aol movement is first about improving the self. when that it is the first step, what others are doing among themselves matters little. let them be shallow/have sex all the time and so on.. the intention of the organization is to uplift these devotees. a devotees wrong action does not make the organization bad.

if u dont like the satsang, forget it, better to be the very least u would avoid such company and spare urself the negative feelings. personally it strains to have such loud music continuing for hours together. i get out when it seems like an overdose :))

guruji doesnt need to speak about spirituality day in and day out..
(that would make it really dull boring, when actually it is supposed to be energetic and interesting )
a very small fraction of what he says goes in anyway. so whats the point in overburdening with continuous spiritual lectures.

i think when u truly pursue a question with an open mind, u will find answers - may be directly via guruji(video recordings on the net/ books etc ) or any other source unrelated to aol.

guruji does meet folks from all sections. i have seen long line of people queued to meet him a few times.( Bangalore ashram ).

in gurujis own words "if u follow glory u get misery, and when u follow dispassion, u get glory" - from celebrating silence. i think it is mentioned in the dispassion section.

many of the Indian fultime teachers come from financially successful families. - like akash ji and dinesh ji(the one who designed yes ++ ) so there is little question of them chasing money by joining aol.

who would like to have a guru who himself is pennyless :) ?? if the guru cannot take care of himself and his organization, how can he take care of others.. ????
its not surprising that the ashram would be stuffed with several hitech gadgets.but the cost of all of these put together would be a very small fraction of the total donation received. the rest goes into social service. and more service more donation .... ha ha ha...