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Disgruntled Swami

June 12, 2010

I thought the following comment by “Observer” under “Sri Sri Shot at” deserved a separate post, as it brings up few interesting points:

 “Thanks, WhistleBlower, for drawing our attention to this “revealing” article. (http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/6032081.cms) I am struck by the sheer negativity displayed by the author, against the society in general and the media in particular. Aren’t we told, at the beginning of the basic course, that the mind clings to negative side of the things, and ignores the positive things, and that the AoL helps us to overcome this tendency ? The author, despite being a senior swami of AoL, doesn’t seem to have imbibed much of even these early teachings; proving that all this “knowledge” is empty rhetoric.

The author completely ignores the fact that RS was never a victim, and that he was never under any threat – is this not a positive aspect (from his perspective, not ours) and isn’t he supposed to be relieved to know this ?

Another thing I noticed in this article is that all the readers’ comments (which are moderated) are highly appreciative of the piece. I sent a comment pointing out the negativity as above, but it was never published. Looks like the moderator himself/herself is an AoL insider.”

“Observer” is quite right in his/her assessment. Sri Sri and his Swamis and Rishis always preach the knowledge to others, but don’t practise it much themselves and have amazing ability to twist facts. We also have to remember that Art of Living Swamis and Rishis are not like your typical Swamis and Rishis who have spent years in deep meditation and pursuing spiritual knowledge. Most of SriSri’s so called Swamis and Rishis were given these titles one fine morning, plus a new name to go with it, by SriSri himself for their loyalty to SriSri and for adding prestige/credibility to AOL/Sri Sri , and not because of their virtues. Indeed many of these AOL Swamis and Rishis have very bad reputation, like the Rishi who was caught in the bed with the wife of his host and is famous for his extra-marital affairs!

The enclosed piece below is still on their own official website, as to what SriSri told Satsangees that night, few hours after the incident. For most of them this was the first time they heard about the “terrorist attack”, from Sri Sri himself!

(Actual video can be seen at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R9PdMgb-J-U&eurl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fartoflivingtv&feature=player_profilepage)

“http://wisdomfromsrisriravishankar.blogspot.com/ “30 May 2010, Bangalore Ashram, India Sri Sri Ravi Shankar told devotees not to worry as he is safe. In the company of those who practice meditation and yoga, any kind of animosity is dissolved. Meditation and Sadhna is the only way to finish the animosity in the world today. This evening, a terrorist entered the Ashram. He fired a shot but it didn’t cause much harm to anyone. His heart also got transformed after coming in this field of spiritual energy. The effect of divine energy is such that it transforms all the negative tendencies in the mind. He also dropped his wish to cause much harm. Whatever has been said in Yogasutras,Tat sanidho vair tyaga, is very true – One gets free from the feeling of animosity in the company of truth, in the company of those who practice meditation. So, this message of yoga and meditation is to be taken in every house across the country. Such an incident also happened when we were to celebrate silver jubilee. Some people tried to threaten us, and asked us not to do any function. But our conviction was so strong, and I knew that the function would surely take place.”

The said Swami doesn’t explain how his “Divine incarnated” Guru could make such definite claims about an alleged terrorist! It is hardly surprising that police found such claims by SriSri and his Swamis ridiculous; terrorist attack with just one bullet and such lousy shot too?! And even after Police ruled out a terrorist attack, SriSri kept insisting that the bullet was meant for him and accused police of incompetence and claimed that the energy of satsang must have stopped the terrorist from firing any further shots!! Even an average person, in similar circumstances, wouldn’t claim a terrorist attack or assume anyone wanted to murder him specifically. Maybe a criminal or mafia boss would, but a spiritual teacher?!

And “Observer” is also quite right re:

 “The author completely ignores the fact that RS was never a victim, and that he was never under any threat – is this not a positive aspect (from his perspective, not ours) and isn’t he supposed to be relieved to know this ?”

 Neither SriSri nor any of his Swamis expressed any joy or gratitude, not even relief, that the bullet was just a stray bullet and was not meant to harm anyone. Indeed they did sound rather disappointed that there was no attack, let alone a terrorist attack. The only attack in this whole saga was from Sri Sri and his Swamis and devotees, first on police and next on Media or anyone who dared to point out the foolishness of SriSri’s bizarre utterances and strange claims!

Some even blamed Klim for the attack and so many of Sri Sri’s men went on an abusing rampage on Shobhaa De and others who didn’t buy SriSri’s story, hence securing AOL a new name by Shobhaa De, i.e. “Art of abusing”!

As for media coverage, only a few like Deccan Chronicle published some balanced articles and allowed some critical comments. The rest, esp. “Times of India” acted as if they were SriSri’s personal media outlet rather than independent media. Their articles were devoid of any journalistic value, just repeating Sri Sri ‘s sensationalised version, complete with SriSri’s account of his driver’s premonition, which SriSri repeated few times, as ultimate proof of his claim that it was an assassination attempt on his life! His men started comparing him to Gandhi and Jesus!

 And yes, “Observer” is right again, Times of India rarely publishes comments criticizing SriSri or allows any reference to this blog or Klim’s blog. What are they protecting their readers from? truth about SriSri and AOL?

 It is indeed amazing that the said Swami still complains about media, in spite of AOL/SriSri securing so much free media coverage and publicity on account of a stray bullet !

In absence of any media questioning SriSri’s made-up story around the incident, it fell on Shobhaa De and Klim and SkyWalker and Guruphiliac & CHURUMURI to question the absurdity of Sri Sri’s claims in their blogs. All the while SriSri and his Swamis were busy calling for press conferences and giving interviews, promoting their sensationalized version(s) of the incident.

 And when Police dismissed Sri Sri’s claim and ruled out an attack, let alone an attack on Sri Sri or a terrorist attack, then they themselves came under fire from Sri Sri. SriSri’s friends in high places, like BJP President Nitin Gadkari even expressed concern for SriSri’s life and asked for his security to be beefed up!

Still not satisfied with all that free publicity, Sri Sri and his Swami again used their influence and high contacts in “Times of India” to get a prominent place to publish another piece of propaganda, full of distortion and twisted facts and complaints! And TOI moderators ensure no one can challenge the mistruths in that article or indeed any other AOL related article. And there it goes to the heart of the problem that such fake Gurus and Swamis and Rishis can continue their fraudulent practices, without media questioning and challenging them. They have free hand and total free use of media outlets such as TOI and still they manage to complain!

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24 Comments
  1. Rain permalink
    June 12, 2010 4:41 pm

    There’s another ludicrous claim on http://artoflivingfreefree.blogspot.com/ which says:
    “I think it was because of Sri Sri and all his devotees and their faith in their Guru that the bullet was not fatal for anyone.”

    Maybe it was instead because it was not aimed at SS or perhaps was not meant to strike anyone? hmmmm….. Got a raise? Must be SS. Slept well? Must be SS! Came into some money? Must be SS!
    To the writer of that blog: you are seriously deluded! First sign you have lost your brain and are in a cult: attribute everything good to the Master.

    People have faith in God but bad things still happen.

    • LOL -- The Bullet permalink
      June 17, 2010 5:02 pm

      Turns out a farmer next door, according to all the newspapers, was firing into the air to scar stray dogs away from his cattle. A ‘spent’ bullet fell onto the ashram. He’s very sorry about it, evidently, but couldn’t imagine that he caused all that ruckus. They said the bullet was from his registered handgun. He is DR. somebody or other next door farmer.

      LOL — what publicity hounds the AOLers are! SSRS isn’t so omniscient after all, since he was so sure a terrorist had come to shoot him. Guess his powers are slipping.

  2. mello permalink
    June 12, 2010 5:08 pm

    It’s hardly a secret that the chairperson of the Times Group, Indu Jain, is a follower of Sri Sri. They’ve shared the stage together in numerous events. He’s even been ‘guest editor’ of the newspaper for a day. Consider ToI an extension of his PR machinery.

    • Observer permalink
      June 13, 2010 5:32 am

      Let us give credit where it is due. Times of India did chide RS for speaking out of character, and even invoked Gita for his benefit, in one of its editorials (http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Home/Opinion/Edit-Page/Austerity-Of-Speech/articleshow/6008341.cms):

      “…..Against this backdrop the guru’s statements after the recent shooting incident at his ashram seem to be quite out of character. He debunked the Karnataka police version that the shooting took place after he had left the venue and that he was not the assailant’s target to begin with as a ‘white lie’. In much the same vein he took exception to P Chidambaram’s categorical assertion that a dispute between two of the guru’s disciples may have triggered the shooting and that it was not an attempt on the guru’s life. Ordinary mortals are entitled to engage with the authorities in a back-and-forth of this nature. But a spiritual teacher is expected to be more circumspect. He could have drawn inspiration from the Gita, which in shloka 17/15 advises austerity of speech, and said that Chidambaram may have been improperly briefed.
      …”

      • mello permalink
        June 13, 2010 4:51 pm

        Good to know this. Some editor in ToI seems to be gently standing up to the management.

        I doubt any other newspaper would have published that defense of SSRS by one of his Swamis. And I wish they at least wouldn’t censor comments.

  3. Anon permalink
    June 12, 2010 6:29 pm

    Whatever happened to best defense is no defense ?

    • Smiling Monkey permalink
      June 13, 2010 6:06 pm

      Attack is the best defense. 😛

  4. WhistleBlower permalink
    June 12, 2010 8:55 pm

    Indeed if we examine SriSri ‘s behaviour during this incident and Swami’s article, we will see neither have practiced any of the knowledge points taught in Part1 course. What happened to:
    – Accept people & situations as they are
    – Don’t be a football of other people’s opinion
    – Expectations reduce Joy
    – Present moment is inevitable
    – Responsibility = Power, Complaint = irresponsibility
    – Whatever you resist, persists
    – Don’t see intention behind other people’s mistakes
    – Opposite values are complimentary
    Or are these just for us to practise, not for the Guru & his Swamis and Rishis? Maybe they are exempt or knowledge doesn’t apply to them? Or maybe as SriSri often says, in response to complaints re his teachers misconducts, that some teachers are just spoons feeding others (meaning a spoon can feed food (knowledge) only to others, but not benefit itself).

  5. Relieved permalink
    June 12, 2010 11:07 pm

    Can any one fill us in the significance of the spoons on the last day on TTC1, when we had to sit in lines and were each given a spoon to hold while SS spoke to us. We then had to hand them back to the teachers individually who collected them up. There was a theory that they way to gave your spoon back would decide if you would be a teacher. I admit to being rather disappointed to give my spoon back as I thought I had a souvenir to take home!

  6. Anonymous permalink
    June 13, 2010 7:49 am

    Can you please name the swami who was found in bed with his hosts wife ?

  7. WhistleBlower permalink
    June 13, 2010 9:05 am

    @Relieved
    We were put to the same test in our TTC. Afterwards it was explained that giving back the spoon the right way ,i.e. from handle, indicates that the person has awareness and is ready to become a teacher. In our batch only 3 people gave back the spoon correctly. So this caused some anxiety for the rest of participants that they had failed the test & some argued that they would have given back the spoon the right way, if it was for the purpose of eating. As it turned out, this foolish mind game had nothing to do with the result of who became a teacher.
    I wonder if SriSri is still using the same test or has he come up with another innovative test?

  8. WhistleBlower permalink
    June 13, 2010 9:09 am

    @Anon 7:45 pm
    He was a Rishi, not a Swami in that case. In AOL, the distinction between a Rishi & a Swami is that a Rishi is married & a Swami has taken the vow of celibacy.
    But when it comes to scandals, AOL Swamis are just as prolific as AOL Rishis & other senior teachers.
    Anyway, for further details about this particular case, read the full story & comments at :
    http://artoflivingfree.blogspot.com/2010/02/let-me-share-my-painful-story-with.html
    Thursday, February 18, 2010, Let me share my painful story with the readers of this blog

  9. SelfSeeker permalink
    June 14, 2010 12:26 am

    Unfortunately, most teachers that I came across have set bad examples – they are rude, opinionated, prejudiced, and angry when I opposed their views. However, I do know of a couple of very devoted, and extremely caring teachers who are OBSESSED about AOL. I know them from before they were teachers. It makes me wonder, what is it they see in AOL? Why are they still stuck to a Cult when they were always nice human beings and happy and helpful even before AOL? Does AOL hypnosis stay for that long? Is it their ego feeling so expanded while they are “thinking” they are uplifting and helping others in need?

  10. Anugraha permalink
    June 15, 2010 9:50 am

    All the strategies that Sri Sri Sri Ravi Ravi used to get to the nobel prize was copied from Mataji Nirmala Devi who claimed to have been nominated in 1996:

    http://www.kheper.net/topics/gurus/Sahaja_peace_prize.html

  11. srini permalink
    July 2, 2011 8:54 pm

    Please stop spreading this negative propaganda…….

    All the facts are not true… dont trust this blog area pls…

    We, Aol Volunteers have tremendous faith in our guru, such maligning sites can never distort our faith.

    • The Doctor permalink
      July 3, 2011 5:42 am

      @srini – please take the time to read both of the following posts, and see if you can provide answers to the questions raised in the second post:

      https://aolfree.wordpress.com/2010/10/02/the-purpose-of-these-blogs/
      https://aolfree.wordpress.com/2011/05/03/general-response-to-aol-extremists-on-this-blog/

    • anonymous permalink
      July 3, 2011 11:36 am

      Dear Srini,

      I regret to inform you that I too, once had great faith in Ravi Shankar, and thought he was enlightened, great, etc. I no longer do. This site is not a ‘negative propaganda’ site. It is an accurate posting of real experiences of real people who have been harmed, demeaned, and abused while in the organization. Some people were at the periphery, and their experience is vaguer, and some people posting were in the ‘inner circle’ and their experiences are quite explicit (without identifying themselves), and heart breaking. My experience with Ravi Shankar was heartbreaking, disillusioning, hurtful. It changed me forever. I will never, ever again accept a person as Guru because of him, his treatment of me, what I observed in very close quarters with him, his behaviors. I will only worship God. I could never trust a person to represent God, or help me to enlightenment, as a result of Ravi Shankar’s abuse of my belief (at that time) in him. He turned out to be untrustworthy, lied about me and others close to me, and actually told me “he would destroy” me. This is fact. If you don’t like that fact, that is your problem. I have many friends who left because they sat and listened to him speak lies about me in little giggling circles. They found his behavior vicious, cruel and uncalled for. Just because you have not seen this, doesn’t make it untrue. Please read Klim’s blog, which highlights so many experiences from so many people. I don’t know the identity of a single person posting here (to my knowledge). This is not some ‘gang’ of negative, uninformed people posting, srini. Please be careful as you trust this man named Ravi Shankar. Guard your family, and your own mind. Or you may be sorry like so many others posting here and on other blogs. I escaped relatively unscathed, by Grace of God, and the advise of some saintly people who told me to leave, and told me more about Ravi Shankar (he mistakenly thought that these people were his ‘friends’ and ‘confidents’ — one even told me “he should have married — it would have been better than his starting this Guru business). When I was in Art of Living, I was confused by the horrendous behaviors of some of the other teachers — temper tantrums, violence, ugly gossip. It seemed the opposite of spirituality. So I left. And I’m very happy I did.

      • Anonymous permalink
        July 3, 2011 5:41 pm

        Srini,

        This site is more true than AOL 🙂 No fudged up numbers, no claims on the followers, no restrictions to any one. We accept people as they are 🙂

        We let everyone to post their views. If there was any propaganda, you won’t even notice your comment coming up here as well. Have you ever noticed any critical comment in any of the AOL sites? No? oops.

        Personally, I don’t know who these other guys like Skywalker and Doctor are, but I share their rational thinking and self dependence doctrine because their experiences relate to my own experiences with AOL – and in that way this is a better community. We encourage critical thinking and self dependence rather than ‘kill your intellect’ philosophy. Also, watch that cult video and related comments as well.

        You might say that I’m a terrorist planning to pull down AOL, but hey, give me a break. But chances are that I was a previous AOL volunteer, but now quit AOL, and probably I’m now in mumbai, bangalore or some where in the bay area in my apartments typing this comment, hoping you’ll wake up one day. Be free dude 🙂

        Thanks

  12. October 30, 2011 4:54 am

    The facts mentioned here absolutely RIDICULOUS AND DISTORTED.

    I am a physician, in USA and have enough intelligence to understand the absurdity of this article.

    We always doubt the positive .. One man is travelling across the globe to bring about peace , love and harmony. What does he need.. Well he is not a common man and that is why he is the Guru.

    What he wears is a white attire and he eats as little as my toddler.

    I have had many many real time tough situations where he saved me and my family even without his physical presence.

    I would highly recommend all the viewers to do the basic AOL course and then decide for themeselves rather than being a football of others opinion.

    http://www.artofliving.org

    Thank you.

    Jai gurudev

    “ I dont even need toa sk for forgiveness to my guru as he forgives even without asking“

    God Bless all readers

    • October 30, 2011 8:32 pm

      “I am a physician, in USA”

      hmm – there is a dr kirti agarwal in lucknow india associated with aol

      http://in.linkedin.com/pub/dr-kirti-agarwal/27/574/245
      http://esatsangaol.blogspot.com/2011/07/fw-esatsang-esatsang-digest-for-july-11.html

    • anonymous permalink
      November 7, 2011 3:31 pm

      Kirti,

      All I can say is that there was a time when people thought the earth was flat, and that the sun went around it. Just because you haven’t seen something, doesn’t mean it is ridiculous or absurd. It’s nice for you that you have never seen this man at his worst. I and others have, and it’s truly sad, sick, disgusting. You like to have faith in him, then have it. Just don’t call others who know better than you, from their own, up-close and personal experience with Ravi Shankar, liars. All the nasty things I’ve seen posted here are not even the worst. Some things can’t even be put on a blog, imo. Keep your faith, but don’t lecture to those who know the truth about him. It’s true that the Uddhava Gita even states that gurus in Kali Yuga will do all sorts of ‘unnacceptable’ things, or behave in terrible ways. But that doesn’t mean each of us can accept those things and stay around someone who breaches so many of society’s norms. If you can (or if you don’t know and don’t care) then that’s fine. Just don’t speak without knowledge on the subject. Your own experience is just that. I don’t doubt you believe it. I don’t doubt he’s never done anything to make you run away, behaved badly with you or even anyone you know. So what? Does that mean everyone else who has had such experiences don’t exist? If you do know all about all the ‘different’ things that go on close around him, then it’s your conscience and decision to stay. Again, you can’t preach to others as to what in this world is to be accepted, just because you don’t mind, or can look the other way and pretend nothing bad is happening. I’ve seen nothing posted here that is “ridiculous” or “distorted”, excepting the raving accolades like yours, which come from your limited interactions with him, I suppose. If anything, people posting here are too kind, leaving out a lot of what could be said. Much of what I’ve seen here is quite mild, really, compared to the actions I saw when I was around him.

  13. stupidseeker permalink
    October 30, 2011 6:57 pm

    I would highly recommend all the viewers to do the basic AOL course and then decide for themeselves rather than being a football of others opinion.

    @Kirti,

    And i’d highly recommend that if want to be a true devotee of ravi shankar kindly do no reveal his teachings in public

  14. Rajendra permalink
    November 5, 2011 11:01 am

    even after spending 10 years this people are in such state of mind.just imagine what this

    people would have been 10 years back before doing AOL.it is Guruji’s compassion

    that fully knowing these people he made them teacher.he tries to hold this nuts,which

    are not harmful only to Family but society also.

    • anonymous permalink
      November 7, 2011 3:19 pm

      Poor Rajendra, and others like him:

      You cannot imagine what this man you worship says about you behind your back (if he thinks about you at all). Haven’t you ever been in one of his famous “gossip sessions” where he berates others who are not present, making fun of looks, age, actions, saying all sorts of disrespectful things about elders, etc? If you have, then why do you think he doesn’t say all the same mean spirited things about you? And if not, then you have no place to talk about him, because you don’t really know him………..

      Anyone who had the stamina to hang around Ravi Shankar for 10 years is beyond me — I couldn’t have done that. He disgusts me and many others who know all about him. If you haven’t witnessed any of his temper tantrums, or other behaviors (which will go unmentioned here for fear of lawsuit — he’ll say everything he has done is not so, of course), then good for you. Those posting here have seen him at his worst, and know what kind of man he really is.

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