Friday, April 23, 2010

Eaten Up By My Own Mind (part 1: Anonymity and Confrontation)

BY NICK

It is exactly two years now, since my exit from AOL. I was a member for 10 years, a teacher for 8 of those. Reading this blog, I sympathize deeply with the people who have been hurt by their affiliation with the organization. I understand the need for anonymity -I myself do not want my full name associated with the organisation. I imagine a future prospective employer googling my name, and there I am, linked to a religious, new-age cult. How embarrasing! So, I am using my ”Nick”name, to write these posts. People who knew me back then will know who I am, and they can make their own judgements as to how reliable my story is. Anyone else... sorry guys! My years in AOL are not something I am proud of. If I am going to be able to put them behind me, I need to be able to keep my name clear of AOL.

Some writers have expressed fear of violent reprisals by AOL'ers, lest their identity be known. I have no fear of that; the AOL teachers and organisers in my area are basically good people, albeit severely deluded. True, there are some genuine nutcases also, more powerful now that many of the good people have left. But the violence in AOL seems to me to be primarily emotional. There is quite a lot of that, though. But I live in a quiet part of the world. Ex-devotees in other countries may have different experiences. As for the fear of legal reprisal: Imagine the organisation suing the authors in this blog, for libel. ”We are not a cult. We do not use mind-control techniques. No money has been siphoned off to private accounts.” Can you imagine AOL doing that? No, me neither.

I no longer do any practice, except for some occasional yoga. I regard the AOL practice as helpful in many instances, potentially harmful only if you overdo it (as many of us did back then) or regard it as a miracle cure for all personal problems, mental and physical -thereby not seeking proper, professional help (yep, we did that too).

In the years before leaving, I had gradually ”lost faith”. A clinical depression, lasting several years, had not lifted, despite SSRS's claim that "I was in a difficult astrological phase, and it would get better next year". A trip to India, personally invited by SSRS to travel with him, left me feeling empty and even more depressed than before. There were no answers to be found in the Holy Land. Personal time with the Master turned out to be... well, boring. And the hysteria, the manipulation of devotees and the general bad craziness was worse than ever before.

One day, sitting in the throes of deep depression, with suicidal thoughts, I suddently realized: He won't be able to save me. In fact, no-one will come to save me. I am alone, and I have to face up to that reality. In that very moment, my three-year long depression lifted, just like that. I also lost the last shreds of faith in the Guru as a person of supernatural power, able to communicate with and and influence people through metaphysical means. I still had faith in his good intentions, though, and a couple of months later, with this new conviction I left home for a National Teachers' Meeting with the man, to test whether my newfound belief would be accepted.

You see, I really enjoyed teaching the course. And I figured, why not be the first atheist AOL teacher? Sure, maybe SSRS believes himself to be enlightened and in posession of divine qualities and supernatural powers. Well hey, everybody are entitled to their own personal beliefs, so why not him also? Maybe some people actually need a guru to whom they can surrender their free will, someone to relieve them of the responsibility of life. Maybe he is doing good things for some people, and only unintentionally messing other people up.

Two days before the meeting, I sent him an e-mail, with copies to my teacher colleagues. This is the mail:

Dear Guruji,
I have two important issues that I would really like to discuss on the National teacher's meeting Saturday, where I will also be present. One regards the Art of Living organisation as a whole, the other regards the local organisation.

My main concern is the emphasis and focus on your person, as a Divine being with supernatural powers. A new Messiah, you might say. In fact, are you aware that a lot of people -teachers in particular- actually believe you to be a reincarnation of Christ? Some of them even claim to have heard you yourself say so. I am not saying that you are not, although personally I find it very unlikely. All I am suggesting is that you either deny those claims, or get ready to prove them should they become publicly known, as is bound to happen eventually. Can you imagine the reaction from the christian community?

Already on the internet many of these stories are being told, by "defectors" from the organisation. If you don't believe me look at http://guruphiliac.blogspot.com/2008/03/defection-aol-teacher-sees-light.html and it continues at
http://guruphiliac.blogspot.com/2008/04/sri-sris-shameless-flimflamming.html

Now of course these examples could just be someone trying to drag your name through the mud. It just strikes me how similar my own thougths regarding you have been recently.

I used to believe in your Divine powers, your ability to hear and answer prayers coming to you from across the globe, your ability to be present in two places at the same time, to heal the incurable etc. etc. Why shouldn't I? I was surrounded by people who were prepared to swear that their miraculous experiences in your name really happened. The fact that I myself never saw you perform any miracles -defined as "exertion of supernatural powers", something that could not be explained by reason and science- made me feel very shameful. Maybe I was not a proper devotee? Maybe I was not worthy to get a glimpse of your true, Divine being? Not strong enough? Not surrendered enough?

For many years I used to pray to you, to give me a sign -give me my own "Guru-story" that would vaporize my doubt and make my faith strong! Shame and guilt grew in me, because of my secret doubts about my Guru. I was told repeatedly on courses and TTC, that doubt was just lack of prana. As a way to compensate for my guilt, I would try my best to convince other people that you had these special powers.

The teacher's training reinforced my inner conflict. We were told countless "Guru-stories" documenting your Divine powers, and many stories going "My Guru told me to do this-and-this and I didn't and I was miserable and then I did it and everything became fine", and "this person left the organisation and look at him now he is miserable". Maybe these stories are meant to be inspiring. In me they created fear - fear of independent thoughts and actions. Fear of following my heart, should my heart tell me to do things that was not related to Art of Living. For many years I was afraid to ask your advice in personal matters. What if you told me to do something that went against my own, innner conviction? Then I would have to do it, because not doing as your Guru tells you is extremely bad karma. So I had been told. So better not ask. And then lots of guilt for not trusting you.

It seems to me that you have allowed a whole mythology to be created around your person. The closer you get to the "inner circle" around you, the more people act as if you are the ultimate answer to all the problems of the world. You are all-knowing, you posses special Divine insight etc. As a concequence, very few dare question you at all -and may even be feeding you wrong information about your own organisation, based more on what they think you might want to hear -based on your "prophecies"- than actual reality. It is certainly a joke how AOL activities and achievements are routinely exaggerated. Maybe you are surrounded by yes-sayers, of the worst kind? Certainly a strong dogma among the teachers is that you do not under any circumstances question the Guru.

At the root of every religion is the notion that "We have the ultimate truth. Everybody else are deluded". Too many people are treating Art of Living as a religion. I can't say that I blame them. I used to believe myself that you will save the world, that your ultimate and Divine knowledge will envelop the whole world. If we do nothing to stop this tendency, then I believe the Art of Living will end up just like that -another religion, of which the world has too many allready. Just recently attemps were made to throw me out of the TTC group in my country, on the grounds that "I was not adhering to the proper teachings of the Guru". It was demanded that "I declare the nature of my relationship with you". Many teachers have been blinded by faith, to the extent that declaring your proper faith becomes more important than living basic human values. The whole Guru-hype culture and in particular the massive indoctrination happening in the TTC is creating this, and I can not at present recommend teachers training, DSN or even phase three courses to anyone. The risk of getting caught up in the myths surrounding you, and thereby loosing trust in your own judgement is too big.

I have lost my faith in you as the all-knowing, almost-omnipotent, Guruji. And it is a great relief, as it has allowed me to gain faith in myself. I no longer believe in Grace as an actual thing transferred from you to me -and I am experiencing more Grace in my life than ever before! It seems to be coming from inside of me.

We were told on TTC that we were "The Chosen Ones" -hand-picked by You to spread the light in the world. And oh, it felt wonderful to be among the select few. Unfortunately it widened the distance between me and the rest of humanity (non-aol people) and made me feel increasingly lonely. After climbing down off my pedestal I feel such relief and so much more belongingness to everyone. I no longer follow the advice from TTC to "hide your attachments", I no longer feel pressure to maintain a proper front as an Art of Living teacher. I am just... me, mr. Average Joe, no better or worse than anyone else. Wonderful!

I believe I would have followed you even without the promise of enlightenment through Divine Grace. I acknowledge the tremendous, positive difference you make in people's lives. And I wonder why you allow people to attribute every single positive change to your Divine intervention, thus creating a false dependency on the Guru. As I see it, when people relax and gain knowledge, they heal themselves. It is a perfectly natural -not supernatural- thing. In fact, my innner conviction is closer to that of atheism than anything else. And frankly it offends me to read talks by you in which you claim atheists to be stupid. As if we are unable to perceive and appreciate the beauty and wonder of the world without a belief in God.

I just recently finished teaching a Basic course, and I must say -I enjoy it very much, and I would like to continue giving these courses. And although I certainly do question your judgement, particularly in regard to how you allow cultish worshipping of your person, I do not question your authority in the Art of Living. I will bring my kriya tape Saturday, and if based on this mail you do not wish me to continue teaching, I will hand it back to you, no hard feelings. I don't really expect you to change anything, purely on the basis of my humble opinion, and I am ready to drop my involvement in the Art of Living complety. I am writing this out of love for the knowledge, the organisation, it's people and... well. You.

See you saturday!
Love,
Nick.


(to be continued)

27 comments:

Prairie Princess said...

Nick..you sound enlightened and thoughtful. Too bad aol doesn't appreciate those qualities.

WhistleBlower said...

Dear Nick,
Thank you so much for sharing. your integrity just blew me away.
My goodness, you had so much courage & integrity writing that letter to SriSri just before you go to a TRM.Just amazing. You sure are a hell of a man (or woman).
A lot of AOL teachers have those thoughts, but I don't know anyone with your courage to actually say them, least of all to SriSri himself, while being a teacher.
I am sure by now you know that those myths were not prpagated by devotees. SriSri actively promoting himself as reincarnated "God", "Christ","Shiva", "Krishna", "Buddha", "Guru Dev", you name it!! His teachers were just parrotting what He wanted them to. I never believed him being reincarnation of anything & everytime he put that act on in Shivratri or Nivratri, he looked like an actor to me, pretending he is possessed or is in bliss. What a joke!

WhistleBlower said...

Did you see in one of Nivratri's in recent years (can't remember which year, but this was caught on camera & is on video), when he was putting the same act on , his father also started to put the same act on.
When RS came to (after much fuss by her sister & brother-in-law & nephew & other actors), having carried all that megawatt of Divine energy in his frail body,and opened his eyes, his eyes caught his father still carrying on with the act (only two people were looking after him, poor guy, and even they didn't seem to be too worried about him at all & knowing it is all an act).SriSri gave his father a dirty look & came across as stern (Like what are you doing, giving the show away by imitating me!!)
It was so funny. The father still had his eyes closed & carrying on as if he was also taken by Divine energy.

Voila said...

Maybe now that it is in the blog, he will finally read your letter! :) He is too proud to admit any wrong, too twisted to be a good guy. He really believes he is God. He needs to be medicated ... or maybe he needs to do Kriya to adjust the marbles in his head? ;)

Krish said...

Dear Whistleblower-

Is the navratri video you talk about available on internet. Can you please post a link. I am wondering what kind of show he puts on.

WhistleBlower said...

@Krish
you probably can get his Navratri's VCDs from Bangalore Ashram Divine shop or your local AOL centre. And then you post it yourself!
And anyone who has ever been to a navratri or Shivratri with RS, knows what show I am talking about. They are boringly similar year after year!!

DL said...

Dear Nick:

Thank you so much for such beautiful letter. I was with AOL for 6 years, and I was a teacher for 5 years. I also wrote a letter to guruji and sent back the kriya tape. I left AOL 5 years ago. I will share my letter to guruji one day to all.

Thanks again for everything. You are very special. We all are.

Sincerely,

DL

Anonymous said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hHMBrdtqhos

Here's a video where Sri Sri Scamster accepts that he's made mistakes galore in some stupid book he authored.

Although his nemesis in this episode is a rabid islamist with an agenda of his own, it is still interesting to see Sri Sri Cringe and come up with ridiculous excuses.

laxman said...

Well, the blog is gathering great momentum. Truth is being revealed fast now. Folks, I appreciate your courage and I am sure other readers also would share my views. Good post. Keep it up and come out with the remaining parts ASAP

Peaceful Warrior said...

You know, all ex-AOL people are an awesome bunch!.
I think RS & family have their own issues, which get amplified because of money and power. The knowledge is pure, but it is not his - it has come from tradition. He claims it as him own falsely.

The story is poised at an interesting juncture. How did RS react - was he angry, or did he totally ignore you.

Anonymous said...

Marketing Tips from Sri Sri:

http://www.rediff.com/money/2007/jan/02spec2.htm

Jivani said...

Nick,
This is a great post. The letter you sent was so honest!

I also heard RS say something negative about atheism and it bothered me instantly. My husband is an atheist who finds truth through science not "God". I felt RS's judgment was too harsh and shortsighted.

Around the time I heard him say something about atheism, I listened to a CD of one of his lectures (I can't remember which one b/c I never knew the names). He was discussing how happy AoL people are because of their beliefs and practices compared to other spiritual groups. I never knew who these other groups were to whom he referred. I wondered if they were other yoga ashrams or religions like Christians or Muslims. Regardless, from my perspective he sounded extremely arrogant as though AoL and he are great and these poor other stupid and lost people didn't know how to live. It really turned me off! Maybe others listening didn't take it that way. But, I felt he wasn't a kind person and that somehow he was more interested in being better than others or more powerful than being compassionate. What he said sounded spiritual but there was a subtle underlying cruelty or hatred for others. I felt he was not a genuine or humble teacher.

Your expression of being a simple Joe is nice. It reminds me of a book I just finished called "Three Cups of Tea" by Greg Mortenson, a humble man who "accidentally" became one of the greatest humanitarians of our time. I have also experienced a few other AoL teachers who are arrogant (though I'm sure they are not all arrogant) and I felt I didn't want to study with them.

Vidya said...

Just one suggestion-
RS does not deserve honorifics like Sri Sri. So let's not refer to him as Sri Sri. He can be called RS or Ravi or anything else without honorifics.

Prairie Princess said...

I would be delighted to see Greg Mortenson win the Nobel Peace, along with another humble man, Mark Gold of 100 Friends. Both of these men take small amounts of money and do good with it mostly in Asia, one person or one village at a time. They actually deserve the NPP since their actions are creating peace.

WhistleBlower said...

@Anon 6:50pm
Yes, that video
(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hHMBrdtqhos)shows his perverted logic & his psychopatic nature. I will write a post re this book & Hinduism & Christianity & other SriSri's books. But here just want to focus on his reaction in the video, as it is most telling. Instead of admitting his mistakes & apologizing for it & explaining how the incarnation of God/Shiva/Mother-Divine/krishna/GuruDev/Christ....got it so wrong, he lounges at the person who pointed the mistakes & tells him that:
1- see good intention behind the book (and of course his own alleged intention, not the "intention" an independent reader might see!)
2- Don't worry about contents or mistakes in it. Just praise sriSri for good intentions he had!!
3-If there are mistakes, don't read the book!!Now how can one know about mistakes if he/she doesn't read a book in the first place?!And why the hell he publishes such stupid books full of mistakes that people are not supposed to read, nor find mistakes in it, nor analyse it with a critical mind?
4-Rudely interrupting the speaker and wanting him to shut up about the blatant mistakes in that book & just take srisri's word that his intention was good. The speaker was gracious enough to let him speak & thus gave us an insight to his perverted logic.
5-Don't use your brain to see what my real intentions were in writing this s..t of a book. Don't use the content of the book & the mistakes in it to come to your own conclusion re my intention for this book. Take my word for what was my intention!

So basically he can write any bulls..t he wants anywhere & no one should question the mistakes or him & they should just praise him for his alleged good intentions (not supported by facts or contents of the book!)
And he even lies & says he only published it once & then withdrew it. Bull s..t!Both books are still easily avaiable for sale. And I never saw srisri sending any retraction about the book to his teachers, AOL centres, Divine shops etc.

How can anyone engage in a sensible debate about any of his books (all full of mistakes)or indeed anything he says. The psychopath wants to put a facade on & portray himself as some great humanatarian (who he sure isn't)& in the process wants to attack anyone who exposes him by pointing his mistakes. In other world he says:"see me the way I want to be seen, not the way I am!!"
And look at vinod, with his stupid smile, having forfeited his brain to this conman.
And as long as there are people who don't use their brain & blindly follow these fake gurus the show will continue!

Az said...

Some his deluded followers try to justify on Bawa's blog as to why SSRS has to travel in style:
"Rohan says:
I too, like others, have doubted whether it is necessary for Guruji to fly first-class, or stay in expensive hotels. My personal observation is as follows - I have observed Guruji’s room in the Montreal and German ashrams and I have been astounded by how simple the settings are. There was no sign of wealth. If he stays in a hotel, I believe it is because there is always a throng of devotees waiting to talk to him, and only if he stays in a suite, is it possible to accomodate those devotees. It is not because he loves large rooms or expensive hotels. Regarding first class, I personally feel our Guru needs a little rest - he is traveling all them. Can you imagine the ruckus that would be caused by devotees trying to say hello to him if he traveled economy.
At the recent event in LA, I witnessed Guruji staying up for over 15 hours just so that he could share knowledge with his devotees, give them darshan and be there for them.
Yes, I too have doubts from time to time -especially given recent Guru scandals. I can only say from my heart that I think out Guru is genuine and he has no interest in hotels, flights, cars or any such thing, other than helping people.
JGD"

Az said...

Klim, does everything need a rational explanation? This argument below has more holes than swiss cheese...
So business class vs first class ummm right
JGD Bawa ,
In my opinion , these people who always find the need to criticize , I consider them as pseudo intellectuals who think that everything must have a rational explanation or basis and they dig a deeper well for themselves by thinking that they are very intelligent by doing so.
The ways of an enlightened Master cannot be questioned because they surpass our ”rational and intellectual” concepts of what is considered the norm in society today. Gurudev has come to this world for a short time and he will leave once his Mission is done, our criticisms or perceptions about the Art of Living or Guruji cannot do a thing to affect his Sankalpa and it will manifest no matter what we say or do..If you do not agree with what some one in the organization is doing or If you feel that it is gravely wrong and goes against your sentiments, then it is your right to challenge it , but please take it up with them and not blame the Whole organization for it.
Guruji has a very hectic schedule and he travels First class only if it is a long flight and if he has to give a talk or meet people after he lands. He travels business class otherwise. Another reason being that he is always thronged by people who never leave his side . About the expensive hotels, Guruji is often invited by the people who own a hotel and is often given complementary stays. He does not care where he sleeps, but others around him do :), hence he has to conform. He himself prefers to sleep on the floor and eat simple food.
I am not saying that any form of criticism is unwelcome , they are fully understandable doubts that arise in many minds. This forum is only a nicer and discrete way to vent out frustrations.
Every organization has problems and many of those problems arise due to misunderstandings and miscommunication between the people that make it up. No organization is perfect.
I feel that people who criticise need to take a look into the Depth of the Knowledge that has been given to us in this very life time and think again.. Please don’t ”tip toe on the shore and have notions of what the ocean is like even before jumping into it”, as Guruji says. This path of knowledge only Gives BACK the amount of sincerity a person gives to it.The Guru has brought us to the Water , now we have to drink ..that is his only mission and Bawa only shares this vision ( if I may speak on his behalf )
There is a Sanskrit saying ; ”Yatha Drushti Tatha Srushti” , ”as Is your vision of the world , So is your creation or circumstances that befall you”..
You have a choice to revel in your thoughts or be devout in your Sadhana , Seva and Satsang and then see how our perceptions and feelings change.
I do not intend to dish out gyan and seem High and mighty , but please see the intention behind what I am saying..

KLIM and CO. said...

"does everything need a rational explanation?" The intellect is not the enemy of evolution or spirituality or humbleness, but the enemy of RS and the AoL. A thinking mind is RS's worst enemy.

Anonymous said...

i really dont know whether He is God or or even what does it mean to say an individual is God ? Recently in LA, when someone asked him are you the reincarnation of christ , he replied "calling someone as a reincarnation, is limiting. I am consiouness and you are and whole happening is that". I havent seen Sri sri super encouraging this worship business. But of course on the other side, he doesnt discourage that either.

For me i am hell sure the kriya and meditation have transformed me . And so does advaita . The liberation from this "meness" has been such a relief to some extent ( ironically for "me" :) ) . And this individual does feel a tremendous amount of peace in his presence. That is my experience and that is rock solid truth for me . I dont believe in most of the guru stories and i think all that is a burden. Sri Sri always says relax..just be ..and and serve..Now, it doest matter whether i dont know nor am do i care whether he is practicing what he preaches. ( and i dont have a real way to know either).
The question is whether it could make a difference to you . Try it for yourself and see whether it works. There are tons of gurus out there, and ironically for most people to experience freedom , you need an individual called Guru. That guru is a happening in consciousness and it might help the individual to surrender to him ( even if he aint perfect. The idea is not to judge him. ) . This can work even if it is rock. ( A hill did that for Ramana ) . But normally an individual free from all negativities and a super human who is cool like christ is easy to worship. But the truth is that any individual, or any thing that happens in consicousness is not free from faults. Fault exists with the very idea of faultness. It is like black and white and they coexist.

Overall art of living has been super helpful for me . ( though i hate a lot of things about me. Thats way anything in life is. There is nothing in creation which is only awesome . Show me a christ and i can show you million faults ).
I really dont care about the rest of the bullshit. Let people who havent sinned throw stones !!

If kriya works for you , do it. If criticzing works for you , do it. But then dont kill too much of this negativity take over you . Take it easy and have fun and i am sure most of you here are doing it !! .

The dude abides !!. ( and this is just like my opinion maaan !! )

WhistleBlower said...

Well said KLIM.
so much trash in the writings of Bawa & rest of srisri's lackeys that one never knows where to start.
SriSri is one of the most lazy people ever & his lackey Bawa worse than him.
RS & his lackeys propagate these lies re RS working long hours, hardly sleeping. They refer to his late nights, etc. If truth is to be known RS sleeps till late morning & quite often till lunch times. His officials know not to give any morning appointment to anyone unless absolutely necessary!
I know of many situations where he & his lackeys were offered big houses to stay with big guest rooms, but he chose to stay in flashy, far too expensive hotels. In Melbourne last year he stayed in presidential suite & used helicopter to arrive at the venue! so all you people who give money to dollar a day or any such thing to RS wake up & see where your money goes. Art of living doesn't give any money to any charity, to any kid or orphan. Infact RS, his sister Bhanu didi & her family & RS' lackeys,like Bawa, steal the money that people give for specific charitable projects.
RS is a CONMAN, so is Bawa & all of RS lackeys. Anyone who innocently was caught in RS web of deception, by now has left the organisation.
Bawa is a Psychopath. Thanks to John Knapp explanation in
http://knappfamilycounseling.com/cultnarc.html
I can for sure say he is a psychopath & not a socipath.
Bawa has publicly spoken about how his father used to hit him very hard when he was a child/youth(He even speaks proudly about this, like a badge of honor!), also members of his extended family physically assulted him . He was bullied as a child/youth and has turned to a bully himself.
See the lackeys & see RS himself. They are reflection of each other.
Bawa's whole living expenses, including his family's And even the house they bought in Bangalore & the cost of his live in lover Dinesh all comes from AOL coffers.
So he is the last person who can say anything objective re RS!!Check he, Dinesh & Bawa's Mum & dad bank account & see where the money comes from!

Anonymous said...

Recent post by Bawa about Dinesh and himself; in http://beta.freshersworld.com/content/about-us-first-post

QUOTE "We both made unconventional choices for our careers and our life. We chose happiness over money (though money came to us as well, much, much more than we expected we might add) and to do the right thing instead of doing the comfortable thing" UNQUOTE

If they are full time in AOL, then their only source of "much, much, more money" is AOL Charity money.Is this the end use of money donated by people?

Anonymous said...

It is only those who are insiders and the very very few who know the deep dark secrets related to money and sex related to Art of Living and Ravi Shankar (RS).

If you are just a consumer, doing Kriya, taking the knowledge, etc. you're good...and you will only see the goodie goodie side.

If you take more expensive courses, and give your time volunteering (termed as seva), and your money, then the more you give the more you are being fooled by a very clever leader and his core followers.

I can see that Whistleblower and KLIM know what I also have known and seen first hand - money being siphoned out of the VVM trust to RS's family businesses, accounts, and various other routes. In fact Mr. Narsimhan (RS' brother-in-law) gets very angry if you use it actually for service projects. He considers the money as Ravi Shankar and his family's earnings and property. That's why they are on the VVM board and even when their children Arvind and Ajay were very young they were put in positions of ownership as they needed to be given a livelihood. I believe 2 companies were opened for Arvind and Sumeru Solutions was supposed to be for Ajay (and made the head even when in college) but he backed out. You can ask anyone in Bangalore.
I don't have evidence on paper to show how money got moved around I am sure someone can produce it.

If you wish you can post this as a separate article.

WhistleBlower said...

Dear Anon@6:11 pm,
Thanks for your contribution. Every single voice in exposing these criminals counts.

Further to your post, that is why accountants & treasurers are well paid in AOL.

"The only paid employees are the accountants," says a member of the Foundation.
quote from:
http://www.rediff.com/money/2007/jan/02spec2.htm

( If you are an accountant reading this, ask for a pay increase tomorrow & see how fast it will be obliged!!)
Several buildings in Bangalore city(including Divine shop )which have been bought from Art of Living funds (the money people have given thinking it goes to charity!!) , are under Bhanu Didi's name. She is the registered owner! These buildings are then leased to Art of Living & Bhanu Didi collects the rentals too. If that is not double dipping, I wonder what is?!
There are many cases that companies, individuals give money to AOL organisation for specific projects, but the money never reaches those projects. It is then left to poor AOL teacher or volunteer to explain to the company/donors WHY THE PROJECT IS NOT COMPLETED & SAY WHERE THE MONEY WENT TO! These people are just shameless & have huge appetite for $$$! AOL volunteers & members, for God's sake wake up & stop giving money to SriSri & his lackeys. None of this money goes toward helping any poor or disadvantaged people. ALL ends up in SriSri & family & Lackey's coffers.

Hari said...

@Nick : A nice post. Awaiting the next part for RS's reaction to your mail.

Manoj said...

Dear Anon @6:11 PM and WhistleBlower ji,

Thanks for sharing your inside knowledge.
It'll help save some potential AOL victims and maybe help existing ones get out with some self respect left.

Peaceful Warrior said...

@Whistleblower

The stuff about land grabbing deserves it's own posts.

These people have no sense of ethics - they justify grabbing money by saying it's RS's knowledge, and Bhanu $$ from sahaj. While it is indeed a course designed by him, they are making unpaid volunteers do the leg work for them, and pocketing the money.

If it is unpaid volunteers, the money goes into a public trust - not private coffers. If he had set it up as a private educational institutional where the workers were paid their due, then indeed he would be entitled to his/their fair share.

But the way things are set up right now- they are just milking innocent volunteers for $$ - all in the name of spreading knowledge.

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for all these comments, and to you Nick. I am here in NZ and used to be very involved in AOL. For a few years I even used to believe Ravi Shankar was my guru, and was an avatar. Luckily someone undeluded me recently by sending me links, including this one.
I was (luckily) never a teacher, but was more an organiser and volunteer. A few years ago I got totally disenchanted with the AOL organisation here in NZ because it became clear to me the inner core were dishonest, power-mongering, and the accounts were far from transparent. It just didn't feel right.
For a long time I wondered how such dishonest people could be tolerated by RS, especially when some of us were informing him. He didn't seem to want to do anything about it.
Well, now I know why! The AOL is world wide rotten to the core. And RS is the opposite of a holy man. He and his family should be thoroughly ashamed of themselves. They ought to be arrested actually.