A Deeply Disturbing Story
The following letter was sent to us by a very concerned husband. To protect the identities of those mentioned in the letter, all names, dates and places have been redacted.
To give some background to those who are unaware, the DSN is one of Art of Living’s supposedly more “advanced” courses. However the reality, as many of us here have already experienced and can attest to, is that it is a course in which Art of Living employs a number of brainwashing techniques to turn course participants into more willing servants of the organization. Sleep deprivation is heavily used during this course, which is known to induce a state of psychosis and thus makes subjects a lot more susceptible to for example the many “Guru stories” – stories about SSRS and his alleged magical powers, “grace” and so on – which are related by teachers during the course.
It is also during the DSN that participants have to undergo one of the most infamous Art of Living brainwashing processes, the so-called “hot seat” exercise, which involves each person in a group taking it in turns to sit in the “hot seat” and be criticized by all other members of the group. Many times this just turns into a deeply personal insulting contest, and has result in people breaking down into tears and developing complexes. It is an unnecessarily cruel exercise, and in fact is based on a brainwashing technique which was developed by the in Chinese during the Korean War in the early 1950s to break down the identity of an individual and bring about a change in their core beliefs. Which seems to be why it is used in Art of Living.
I would like to share the my wife’s experience with you. She did her basic course around ***** years back from a center in *****.
Since the last 2 years she devoted a lot of time in AOL classes and follow ups.
The incidence that I am writing below happened on *****.
Her teacher at the ***** centre *****, suggested to her to attend the DSN course. She attended the course at their center in *****. The course teacher was someone by the name *****.
She got so involved in the proceeding that she lost all sense of time and surroundings. She became a total mental wreck. On the final day of the course, donations are collected by repeatedly instructing to the participants that if they give X amount they will get back 10X from the Nature.
My wife committed *****, which she didn’t have. She picked up the money lying with us as a safekeeping from someone and gave it away. She was not in her senses then and on the next day she picked up all the money lying in the house and picked up a big suitcase , filled it with her clothes (even new unused ones), our child’s saving box and many other things and gave it all to a maid working in our house.
In the evening I was in my office and I got a call from her friend that she is with her and there is some problem. I rushed there and found her to be in a very bad shape, Crying and shaking and not in her senses. I took her to my brother’s home along with the children and stayed there for the night, as she refused to come home. According to her there was some negativity in the house as her instructor at AOL visited our house and said so.
In the morning of ***** I decided to consult a Psychiatrist and took an appointment for the afternoon. I suggested to her to come home with me and the children and get ready. When we reached home she became totally hysterical and behaved like she was possessed , for 15-20 minutes it was very hard to control her and we somehow picked her up when she was a little exhausted and carried her to ***** Hospital, which is near our house. At the hospital she was given a sedative and was reffered to ***** ( a speciality hospital for psychiatric problems) . She was in the hospital for 4 days. She is well now but is on short term medication.
The way there [Art of Living] people played with her emotions and influenced/hypnotised her is totally wrong and unethical on their part. How can you ask for donations in a course in which you are participating after paying a good amount as Fee. And there people did not give any receipt for the money that she gave away.
I emailed at the AOL HQ , and there centers around one week back , but there has been no response. Even her teacher/ instructor said that we cannot do anything.
I request you to follow this up and share my experience with everyone, and try to expose them.
When I heard stories like this, it really causes me a great deal of pain and misery. To learn that someone has been so badly abused and exploited in this manner by an organization which claims to want to rid the world of stress and put a smile on everyone’s faces.
If you are in Art of Living and you are a sincere, well-meaning person, please share this with everyone in Art of Living that you know. This sort of thing has to be stopped. If you don’t help to stop it, then you are a part of the problem. If you turn a blind eye while this sort of thing is going on, then you are only encouraging it to happen and it will continue to happen in the future.
Those who follow and support this blog stand against these things. If you are in any way sincere, then you too will do whatever you can to help put an end to these abuses.