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It Is Okay For Victims To Feel Victimized

May 17, 2010
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So you have been abused. So you have been wronged, cheated, seduced and molested, spiritually raped. Don’t expect to shrug it off in a week or two, and feel fine afterwards. My own personal experience is that it took me 1½ years to feel normal, after my 10 years in the AOL cult. Several friends of mine report the same recovery time, or longer. And if you read books about cults, they will tell you that it is quite normal to be several years in recovery.

Listen very carefully: If you are a victim of abuse, it is okay to feel victimized!

The standard AOL counterphrase to people who share their stories of abuse by Ravi Shankar and his organisation, on this blog and on this one, is: “So you feel let down. So what? Move on! Stop your pathetic whining!”

That is like telling a rape victim that “you probably asked for it yourself.” The victim is made into the perpetrator. The abuse is ignored, because you happen to be friends with the rapist.

These people are denying us the right, as victims, to feel victimized. That is unacceptable. I reclaim that right, on behalf of all of us who fell into the sticky embrace of Ravi Shankar, and all the other Bad Gurus.

Without realizing the full extent of the abuse inflicted upon you, you can never Move On.

Be a victim, for as long as you need. And then Move On.

  1. WhistleBlower permalink
    May 17, 2010 10:38 pm

    Not to mention that we have a responsibilty to expose this false guru Ravi Shankar & his fraud organisation. Not everyone has to go through what we went through to realise what a sick guru this man is & what a sham AOL is.
    Also I am hoping that our collective efforts in this blog, Kilm’s blog & Guruphilliac blog will provide support for those who feel trapped now & want to get out , or for those who have already got out, but trying to deal with the trauma in isolation. Hopefully we can provide them with some support in their healing recovery. I know that reading Kilm’s & Guruphilia blogs was great help in my own journey of healing.

  2. WhistleBlower permalink
    May 18, 2010 1:12 pm

    Dear Skywalker,
    Could you please post this separately? Thanks.

    Original Sin in AOL & the final Salvation!

    I feel some urgency in writing this post as I feel not only it will go some way to explain how the mechanism of trapping or shall we say enslaving of the spiritual seekers works in AOL, but also that this understanding may throw a life line to those who are trapped & wish to get out but their own blind faith prevents them. It may also warn those who have not experienced AOL to stay away from it & its “sugar coated poison” guru (according to Maharishi of TM fame). And most importantly those who have experienced AOL in its initial & introductory phase (all very nice & lovely!) , and are contemplating to go deeper in this very enticing but perilous journey, to do so with their eyes open & some emergency kit to have handy for getting out when things start to get too sticky!!

    There are many wrongdoings in AOL. The fraud & abuse in the organisation is widespread & pervades all aspect of the organisation. Many aspects of this fraud has already been exposed in KLIM & Guruphiliac & this blog by many ex-AOL teachers & volunteers , and many more of such abuses will come into public light in coming months. By the end of this year, Sri Sri has to think of more effective damage control measures than his two current counter-blogs or sending threatening legal letters to those whom he suspects are the authors of artoflivingfree blog. Soon there will be no stop to the torrent of testimonials exposing SriSri & AOL/IAHV for what they really are.

    In this post however, I would like to focus on what I consider to be “the Original Sin” in AOL. Indeed it is this Original Sin that has made all other sins & wrongdoings & abuses possible in AOL.
    What is this Original Sin? Simply put, it is attributing the student’s healing, spiritual experience or insight, gained through some spiritual practice or knowledge, to the guru, in this case Ravi Shankar.
    This happens in AOL, right from the word go & continues throughout & it gets hammered into conscious & subconscious of the students by so many subtle & not-so-subtle ways & means.

    In this post, I won’t focus on the ways & means this is done. Anyone who has done any AOL course or been to any AOL event would have many insights to these means. And full exposure of them can in itself be the subject of several posts. I will refer to these as sticky sparkling goo!

    Every time, some of this sticky sparkling goo is sprayed on the seeker/student, he or she gets stuck just that much more to SriSri/AOL. Before long this goo paralyses the person & prevents him/her from any ability of critical thinking or seeing how one’s sincere devotion & love & faith is used against him/her self. For most part the victim is not even aware that he is totally trapped!

    We all have huge reservoirs of love, faith, devotion within us. The genius or the cunningness of Ravi Shankar (whichever way you would like to look at it) is tapping to this reservoir & claiming it for himself as if it is his!

    This is the Original Sin in my opinion & is the pre-cursor of every other sin or abuse (mental, emotional, financial, spiritual, psychological, spiritual,…) occuring in AOL.
    Once the person is trapped in this way, it is his/her own devotion & love & Divine attributes (like desire to help others or do service), which is used to get him/her trapped further.

    And interestingly enough it is the understanding of this original Sin that finally gives the victim the key to free himself from the jail. The jail of his own devotion, love & faith misplaced in a false guru.
    Indeed all the abuses the trapped victim notices , and in some cases experiences, in AOL, helps him/her to shake himself/herself a little bit more off the sticky sparkling goo!
    Sooner or later, all the justification of the world cannot cover the weight of evidence as to “something is terribly wrong here”. The victim wants to get out, but doesn’t know how to, doesn’t know where the key is. Doesn’t know his own love & devotion to the guru is keeping him/her inside the jail.

    The victim’s faith & love in Guru doesn’t let him/her to see the reason for all the wrong-doings/abuse in AOL. He or she tries everything to justify & exonerates the “guru” & to divert the pointers for all the abuses happening in organisation away from the Guru. Weeks, months & years can pass by in this way & many people have different surviving mechanism to go through this phase.
    And as long as the person thinks of Sri Sri as the “Enlightened Master”, he/she can’t make much sense of all the terrible stuff happening in AOL, right under the nose of SriSri & indeed with his blessing!

    It is only when one realizes that Sri Sri is not an Enlightened Master, but only a false guru and a conman, a psychopathic, narcissist ,that everything suddenly makes sense. All pieces of puzzle then perfectly fall into place & one realizes that all those ugly stuff in AOL is only a reflection of its founder , SriSri himself!

    And when the person realizes the implication of the “Original Sin” & realizes that no one owes anything to SriSri for their personal experience, then freedom beckons.
    It is only when one realizes that any healing, insight, spiritual growth only belongs to oneself & the credit is due only to one’s Higher Self & to Divine’s Grace , (and not to a false guru), that they can take their first step to freedom from the jail of their own devotion to a false guru.

    The moment they free themselves from the grip of the “Original Sin” , or the gooey stuff, they can reclaim back their power from the false guru. They can reclaim their own love, devotion, ability for critical thinking, etc…

    So in the same way that the “Original sin” was the cause of their spiritual enslavement to a false guru, the realization or insight to this original Sin is the key to freedom of the trapped victim & final Salvation. Prior to that all the hurt & trauma & abuse experienced or observed in AOL helps one to shake off the gooey stuff a little bit more & alert one again & again that not all is well in AOL & make one wonder how it could all be possible if RS is truly Divine incarnation as he claims he is. But once one realizes how he/she got trapped in AOL through the “Original Sin” in the first place, then that is it, the grip of the false master is all broken & jail’s door is open!

    That is why if you look at the comments of RS lackeys frequenting artoflivingfree blog & Guruphiliac blog, they keep alluding to this “Original Sin”:…Didn’t you have a nice experience in AOL?….Didn’t you love Kriya?….Didn’t AOL change your life?….Aren’t you grateful to AOL/RS & all the stuff you learned?…..etc, etc.

    Now anyone who has regained their freedom from gooey stuff, immediately recognizes the trap inherent in the above statement. A Real guru would neither lay any claim to a student’s spiritual experience, nor he would use any knowledge or technique or experience to enslave anyone & use them for his personal power, fame & glory & source of income & influence. That in itself will mark any false guru as such & immunizes you for life against this infectious disease!

  3. Svetana permalink
    May 18, 2010 9:38 pm

    WhistleBlower, thank you for your analysis. You described AOL “Original Sin” and entrapping mechanism so well. It will, definitely help people, who haven’t been exposed to AOL yet, to stay away. I also hope that some people, who are already “glued” to RS, will be able to understand the whole process. It requires ability to think, though, which AOL/RS try to eliminate in people, because intellect is their greatest enemy. I have noticed that people, who had developed mind before being trapped by AOL, were able to find their way out of the org. sooner or later, actually, becoming stronger. Many others, with weaker mental faculty, are, probably, “glued” for good, completely brain-dead, real zombies. What can they understand? They believe that they acquired great knowledge from Ashtavakra Gita and other teachings, interpreted by Shankar. Did they really? They couldn’t even get that what Ashtavakra teaches is opposite to RS/AOL doctrine and activities. And this can be understood just by simple comparison.
    Anyway, there is always hope; and people like Skywalker, Klim, Jody and many others contributing to their blogs do it out of compassion. That’s what may be called Real Service. I bow to you all.

  4. Jivani permalink
    May 19, 2010 12:14 pm

    Skywalker–Great blog and great post. Keep it up! I am so happy you and KLIM, Whistleblower and othres are out there edcuating people. All the best to you and thank you for starting this blog.

  5. WhistleBlower permalink
    May 20, 2010 3:50 am

    Thanks Svetana & Jivani. Yes, I agree, KLim, Jody & SkyWalker doing a great service by creating these forums for sharing, healing, understanding, educating & growing together. May God bless them all.

    Following one of the references on this blog, I came across the following gem from Dalai Lama.
    From “Toward A New Spiritual Ethic” by Kate Wheeler
    March/April 1994 edition of Nexus
    “At a symposium with 22 Western Buddhist teachers, the Dalai Lama had strong words for teachers who abuse their power—and students who give theirs away.”
    “When teachers break the precepts, behaving in ways that are clearly damaging to themselves and others, students must face the situation, even though this can be challenging. ‘Criticize openly,’ His Holiness declared. ‘That’s the only way.’ If there is incontrovertible evidence of wrongdoing, teachers should be confronted with it. They should be allowed to admit their wrongs, make amends, and undergo a rehabilitation process. If a teacher won’t respond, students should publish the situation in a newspaper, not omitting the teacher’s name,” His Holiness said. “The fact that the teacher may have done many other good things should not keep us silent.”

    I couldn’t have put it any better myself!

    Talking about Dalai Lama, I wish someone would tell him not to let his good name to be associated with SriSri, AOL & IAHV. Can someone please send this blog’s URL’s to him, plus Klim’s & Guruphiliac’s blog URLs.

    Sri Sri uses Dalai Lama’s good name & immense popularity to the maximum to promote himself & AOL. Even though, behind the scenes he & his lackeys keep saying that Dalai Lama is not an enlightened Master like SriSri is!!!

    As Jody would say, even his dog is more enlightened than SriSri!

  6. nparry permalink
    May 20, 2010 11:44 pm

    If this Ravi $$ thing is as bad as you all say, how come none of you approached the authorities here in the US or over in India? Wouldn’t you be helping other potential victims if you go to the authorities now?

    • May 21, 2010 6:19 am

      Personally, I never had strong issues about the money in AOL. I find the AOL pseudospirituality deeply immoral, but wether it is actually illegal is another matter. Similar cults like Scientology have been banned, for instance in France, So who knows, maybe it is just a matter of time before AOL meets its first lawsuits? More likely it won’t happen, because the legal system has too much respect for religious systems. Threatening people with hell and damnation is legal, as long as it is part of a religious belief. Put on white robes, grow a beard, and it is perfectly ok to tell people that they will be miserable if they don’t spend money on your courses.

    • goneagain permalink
      July 8, 2010 3:01 pm

      Even more interesting is this

      “In a separate interview, Agni Sridhar had alleged that Sri Sri Ravi Shankar was behind the Nithyananda video as he was wary of the latter’s growing popularity. Nithyananda who was caught on film with a Tamil film actress was released from custody recently.”

    • mojo permalink
      July 8, 2010 3:42 pm

      I wouldn’t be too concerned. First, this is only a sessions court and second it is only an ad-interim. From a lay persons point of view, this order is curbing a fundamental right. Unless Ravi slapped a defamation suit against the defendants. The Agni guys would not be too perturbed by this- they will go into appeal. Of course, a well known fact that Indian legal system is notoriously slow, so they might have to wait it out a bit.

  7. anon1 permalink
    October 15, 2010 4:01 pm

    oh dear skywalker, do you know what my ex guru tells the exes of his cult? two words, thats all and they are “just walk”.
    doesnt matter how much youve invested, in the end prem rawat can muster two sham words “just walk”!

    and to anyone else whose suffered any injustice in his org, “its your karma”. thats what he says!

    so yes i feel your pain, and these kind of cults have corrupted everything good in religion.

    • October 15, 2010 5:36 pm

      ..and later, he will describe them as …”matches that didn’t light.”
      I say, they are the ones that did light.

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