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His Holiness penchant for lying and deceiving-Part 1

June 22, 2010

The following is taken from SriSri’s own official blog, http://wisdomfromsrisriravishankar.blogspot.com/, and is  just one of many such comments he has made in different forums and different countries:

 Friday, June 4, 2010 Excerpts from a public talk from the last month in Berlin, German

Q: If the courses and techniques are for the benefit of humanity, why is it so expensive?

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: It is very minimal. It is not much expensive. There are expenses involved in renting a place for so many days, a teacher to come. We hardly save 10 to 15 percent on course. Sometimes it is little higher. It goes to a very good cause of charity. Of course, we teach free of cost in prisons, refugee camps and in villages where people can’t afford. If anybody thinks that they can’t afford, you simply talk to the teacher. They will take you in and accommodate you.

There are so many lies in SriSri’s reply above that I can dedicate an entire post to expose each, but I will try to be brief here. Any Art of Living teacher, whether still teaching or having left the organization, would know that SriSri is completely lying in his reply and indeed is contradicting his own directives to his teachers re course finances. The actual instruction to AOL teachers is that they must keep course expenses to a maximum of 10-25% of the course revenues (i.e. collected course fees). The actual percentage can be different in different countries, but around the same range (may be our readers can elaborate about the specific percentage in their countries).

So for example if collected fees from a course amounts to $2000, the expenses for the course must be kept to less than $200 to $500, based on the specific chapter’s instructions. And this amount needs to cover hall rentals and any other expenses, such as cost of brochures or advertisements, intro talks, etc. Teachers are asked to hold courses in someone’s home if the hall rental is more expensive than the allowed budget. They are also encouraged to hire cheap or free community halls and use AOL so called “non-profitable or charitable” status to get huge discounts for venue rentals. They are asked to use devotees’ homes or work offices to print the course brochures for free and promote the courses through any free channel or through writing articles in local papers or magazines or online or through introduction talks, etc. etc. Anything that can be obtained for free, AOL teachers are encouraged to use it so that they can keep the expenses below 10% or so. Paid advertisement are frowned upon, unless they are paid by sponsorship/fundraising! Also most places now have local teachers so there is no travel expenses involved, but even if a teacher has to travel to somewhere, he or she is asked to stay with a local devotee or a course participant. The host is expected to take care of teacher’s food, accommodation or travel to the course venue, all completely free of charge for AOL.

I do wonder how existing teachers reconcile the financial instructions they know they have to follow, with SriSri’s blatant lies in public. What more proof do you need that you are following a conman Guru and that you are his instruments of fleecing public in the name of charity? If SriSri claims “We hardly save 10 to 15 percent on course.”, my challenge to existing AOL teachers is that they start giving only 10-15% to AOL from any course they teach and see the kind of reaction they get & how long they will last as a teacher!

While SriSri claims “It goes to a very good cause of charity.”, all AOL teachers involved with any charity work, know very well that SriSri/AOL instruction to AOL teachers and centres/chapters is that all such projects must be self-funding and that the course fees/AOL funds cannot be used to finance them. A minimum of 60-70% of course fees which goes to AOL/Sri Sri is out of bounds for any charity work. Where this money actually ends up is more likely to be in Sumeru real estate or other private properties and businesses of SriSri, Bhanu Didi and family and their personal bank accounts. So all AOL teachers out there, please stop deceiving people that their course fees goes to charity causes, because it simply doesn’t. Never has, never will!

Again, he is lying when he says we teach free of cost in prisons. His direction to teachers/centres is to charge for prison courses to the maximum amount possible in that particular country or that particular prison. The Prisons are expected to pay for these. The courses are free for prisoners, but prison officials have to pay for them from prison funds. There are of course cases where prisons don’t have budgets for such programmes, then AOL may teach some free courses for publicity purposes. But if any prison does have funds for such programmes, AOL teachers are instructed to charge as high as they can and even secure outside sponsors. I have observed how upset SriSri gets when a teacher conducts a free course where there had been a possibility of charging for it.

Any free AOL course to refugee, etc is done to get huge publicity. And any such free courses are done totally free of cost to AOL. Such courses are usually the initiative of a particular teacher who is expected to pay for all the costs himself/herself or fundraise for them or apply for some sponsorship. And when such courses do happen, AOL gets all the free publicity and claims that is where AOL money goes to! The reality is that no AOL money ever goes to these projects and indeed AOL uses these projects as a pretext to fleece people in the name of charity!

SriSri is again lying when he says: “If anybody thinks that they can’t afford, you simply talk to the teacher. They will take you in and accommodate you.” SriSri and his senior teachers privately repeat again and again to teachers not to teach free courses or let anyone to do it for free and not even give scholarships/discounts. They say those who don’t pay won’t benefit as much or won’t value it as much. If a centre or teacher insists on letting some poor people to do the course for free or at least with reduced fee, they are told to do their own fundraising or collect donations for such purposes and do not use AOL funds! Please note that here I am talking about Part1, Part2/Adv, DSN. Sahaj and not about free BWS/Nav Shabir/intro courses for villages or for public to allure them to AOL. Any of these free courses are also done totally free of charge to AOL, by volunteers on their own initiative & their own funds or sponsorship/fundraising.

SriSri is yet again lying when he says the course fees are “very minimal. It is not much expensive.” The truth is that AOL courses are very expensive and in each country they charge to the maximum they possibly can. Sometimes they keep increasing fees so much that they put themselves out of business by making the courses unaffordable to general public. They will then put themselves in an embarrassing situation of giving “discounted fees for a limited times”, except that they have to extend the limited time again and again! For example see enclosed below, one such directive from the US AOL president Michael Fischman. Note how the official price is US$450, but the reality is that they are begging for$175. Indeed it goes from $450 to $350 to $175!! And it is obvious that no one in their right mind would pay $450 or $350 if they can pay $175! And please do note #6 re the maximum limit for expenses, and compare that with SriSri’s reply above.

In short, I am asking existing AOL Teachers to ask yourselves how long you can go on with these lies and be part of SriSri’s web of deception. Ask yourselves, what kind of Guru would lie so much and to this extent? Why is he lying so much? What is he trying to hide from public? It is obvious to me and all the teachers and volunteers who have left. You have a responsibility to find out the truth and stop being SriSri’s instrument in deceiving the public and sincere seekers, otherwise you are just as guilty in this fraud & an accomplice.

August 17, 2009

Dear Teachers and Volunteers,

To help spread Gurudev’s knowledge, the Art of Living Foundation and its sister organization VVM will be offering special pricing incentives for Art of Living Part 1, YES+ , Sahaj Samadhi and Part 2 courses that we feel will be helpful during these difficult economic times. Below are the details:

1. The Online Registration System (SAO) standard fee for Art of Living Part 1 course is $450 with a current discount of $100. Thus, the current course fee is $350 for the Art of Living Course and $350 for the YES+ Course.

2. Teachers will now additionally be able to offer a discount code that reduces the course fee to $175 for the Art of Living Part 1 Course and for the YES+ Course using the admin console of secure.artofliving.org. In addition to promoting the discount code on marketing materials, the discount code should be highlighted in the course details page shown in SAO for the participants to use when they sign up. (Please note that this promotional course fee of $175 also applys to seniors and students.)

3. Please include the following sentences in the Notes section for each Part I or YES+ course you post on secure.artofliving.org that the new discounted rate will apply to. This way people registering for your course will know what discount code to use during registration: “Your course is being offered for the discounted course fee of $175.00 through October 31, 2009. To get this discount make sure to select Discount Code from the Discount Category drop-down menu when registering online for the course and enter your course’s discount code of [organizer/teacher insert here the discount code assigned for this course fee amount when course was created]..”

4. The period over which this discount is available begins right away and ends for any course that begins after October 31, 2009

5. Refunds for those participants who may have already signed up for a course and ask for the benefit of the discount can be processed by the organizer/teacher requesting the refund from Susan Brandt in the National Finance Office: finance@us.artofliving.org

6. Expenses will still only be reimbursed up to 25% of the gross revenues for each course, so it is up to each teacher and organizer to ensure that expenses can be covered before offering the $175 discount.

To Be Continued….

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47 Comments
  1. Rational permalink
    June 22, 2010 1:11 am

    The major responsibilities of an AOL member are:-

    1. Spend (attend) on many courses a year ($$$)
    2. Market (convince) the course to more people ($$$)
    3. Donate and collect donation ($$$)
    4. Spend their money and time on Service Projects ($$$)

    The Major achievements of AOL (Guru Ji) are:-

    1. Collecting all fees (less minimum expenses of 15-25%) and donations ($$$)
    2. Spending on Properties, Airfares and Hotels ($$$)
    3. Transferring remaining monies to overseas bank accounts and relatives ($$$)
    4. Claiming member’s funded service projects as the end use of funds

  2. June 22, 2010 5:06 am

    Its true that the limit fixed for Basic Course Expenditure is 10% maximum. Teachers in their power can increase up to 25% in special circumstances. The remaining amount is sent to Banglore.
    If you want to arrange Satsang with Senior Singers, you have to pay heavy amount to Banglore in Advance. Else no Satsang.

  3. Chandrakumar permalink
    June 22, 2010 5:52 am

    My request to all ex teachers of AOL, please start posting all the so called confidential material of AOL on the web. SK Mp3, TTC manuals and others. This is the best way you can bust this fraud.

  4. June 22, 2010 12:46 pm

    I want to know one thing, why two elephants are kept in Banglore Ashram?
    Elephants were earlier kept by Kings in India. It was sign of prosperity as well as ego.
    Its not for of common man or saint, its expensive hobby.
    Why do he need two elephants? to show his wealth and prosperity? why don’t he free them when he wish to free the mind of humans?

  5. FreedomFighter permalink
    June 22, 2010 1:00 pm

    The course expenses are reimbursed upto 25% of the course revenues.
    The remaining 75% is kept by National.
    But then, to run the foundation (salaries of fulltime ppl, ashram/landmark center running costs) there will be an added cost.
    So, I am not sure, what % is the actual profit per course.
    It may only end up being 10-15% per course. Which is probably what Guruji meant when He said we save 10-15%.

  6. FreedomFighter permalink
    June 22, 2010 1:00 pm

    The 25% number I mentioned in my previous comment is for the US.

  7. Amit permalink
    June 22, 2010 1:46 pm

    Just found out from the Ashram that Sri Sri bought the latest and greatest SUV in India( I guess Toyota Innova was not enought ). Its called Toyota Fortuner.. which is competing the likes of BENZ and BMW ‘s. The cost is about 25 lac’s, which is about 50,000 USD!.
    Here is the URL to the toyota’s web site: http://www.toyota.com.ph/cars/new_cars/fortuner/index.asp

    That makes it the third elephant in the ashram 🙂

    • Anonymous permalink
      November 18, 2010 6:55 am

      But this Toyota Fortuner is Bullet Proof so the cost must be around Rs 50 Lakh

  8. Sincere Seeker permalink
    June 23, 2010 3:46 am

    I have the TAX RETURNS for the last 3 yrs for IAHV, VVM, and AoL. You can also see them from http://www2.guidestar.org/. It just takes a few minutes to register and then you can search for the above and go to the Forms 990 tab.
    I found incredible amount of information and also serious discrepancies (IRS should do an audit). Info includes $$$ of donations, major donors, assets like property, investment in securities, $$$ sent to India, revenue for 2009 being $5 and the just look at the amount of expenses claimed by AoL for 2009, $4 million!!! Needs a serious breakdown and investigation.
    There is another trust: Art of Living Health and Education Trust of which Ajay Tejasvi (SSRS’ nephew) is a board member: http://aolhet.org/en/trustees
    They have been mandated to raise billions of $$$.

  9. Ajitesh permalink
    June 23, 2010 4:00 am

    Amit, that SUV is probably the result of a tax-deductible gift by a company run by one of the senior teachers or devotees. This is very common practice. They get tax breaks for their company, SSRS gets a new ride, and everyone profits!

  10. The Accountant permalink
    June 23, 2010 1:01 pm

    The IRS has apparently ‘rejected’ their 990 for last year. Wonder what this means in the long haul? They’ll probably appeal it. The previous years (see link to webpage for State below) were accepted.

    Food for thought before you give to AOL

    Perhaps this info should be sent to the media in the USA and India and other countries? It bears looking into if you know who to contact.

    Fiscal Begin: 01-JUL-08
    Fiscal End: 30-JUN-09
    Total Assets: $11,471,453.00
    Gross Annual Revenue: $5,973,946.00
    RRF Received: 06-JAN-10
    Returned Date:
    990 Attached: Y
    Status: Rejected

    Full Name: ART OF LIVING FOUNDATION FEIN: 770240101
    Type: Public Benefit Corporate or Organization Number: 1646639

    http://rct.doj.ca.gov/MyLicenseVerification/Details.aspx?agency_id=1&license_id=1076458&

    • Audit permalink
      June 23, 2010 10:02 pm

      Accountant and other “accountantjis”, how can we contact you? Could you please send an email to the blog address? The information you provide is very interesting and valuable. Please contact the blog.

  11. profhughakston permalink
    June 24, 2010 1:22 am

    I posted this article on Bawa’s blog. He obviously didn’t publish it. But he was kind enough 🙂 to mail me.He appears genuine and sincere. This is his reply:
    ———————————————————————-
    1. If you are so interested in the accounts of the organisation, why don’t you come on over to the trust offices and check them out for yourself?
    2. I have been teaching Art of Living for 19 years now, and i have done many courses, and taught quite a few people with heavy discounts. Some people we have asked to do some Service over some time and taught the course free.
    3. Almost all Art of Living service initiatives are funded by the money earned by the teachers of the Art of Living. True, there are a few tie ups but compared to the scale of stuff that’s happening, what we get out of these is negligible.
    4. Many courses that have been done in refugee areas, prisons etc get hardly any publicity, otherwise people would know about it, wouldn’t they?
    5. All organisations have rules that they follow. But here in Art of Living there are always exceptions. And those are created wherever they are needed

    Finally it boils down to this… there are a few disgruntled people who will take a fact and twist it beyond recognition to make it establish what they want to establish. I have seen enough transformation in the people i teach to know that Guruji and His techniques are sound and genuine. There is no go for it to settle this senseless debate except wait for time which will establish the correctness of Sri Sri and Art of Living and the crookedness and manipulativeness of whistleblower and co whoever they are. I have never been afraid of anyone doubting me, Guruji or Art of Living. Truth is never afraid of doubt.

    What i would really advise you to do is not listen to me or these people, but find out by yourself through your experience what the truth is

    Jai Gurudeva!
    bawa

    ps i will not publish your comment on my blog simply because it has links to malignant poisonous sites. You could also read up my post which whistleblower etc call pompous. Thats my take and as far as i am concerned the truth. You believe it or not is up to you.
    ———————————————————————-
    @aolwhistleblower
    What’s your opinion on Bawa’s reply?

    • Sincere Seeker permalink
      June 24, 2010 7:28 am

      What Bawa has said very cleverly can make some gullible people think he said something of substance but in fact he didn’t. He would make a good lawyer. Anyway…

      Can someone please go to the trust offices and get the accounting documents?
      This is a serious request. I would like to get a copy of the accounting and tax returns of the VVM Trust and all other related trusts and companies. I am sure a public trust has a legal liability to produce these documents to the public and esp. to the donors who would like to see transparency and accountability of where the money is going.
      Please let me know if any of you in Bangalore is willing to do this otherwise I will have to take a more difficult route.

      Thanks!

    • Rain permalink
      June 26, 2010 4:20 pm

      Bawa has a way of distorting things just enough that if you’ve never been around a manipulator, you might never know it. He posted a video on his site of him discussing the negativity people have been spreading about his guru. He urged everyone to pay no mind to it at all. Turn a blind eye. His idea that negativity brings us down is a good one. But, he never said that perhaps one should listen to a negative comment about the guru and then try to find out if it’s correct. Or think about it and look inside to find out if one thinks it true. He had a good idea in a way, but it was distorted just enough to sound really spiritual but not thoughtful enough. Cult mentality–Guru is good, negative comment about Guru bad. Yes, everyone should not dwell in negativity and gossip! But, please use discernment. Perhaps it could be true what someone tells you? He preys on gullible people who are trying desparately to be “spiritual” rather than use their mind AND heart.

  12. The Dude permalink
    June 24, 2010 3:05 am

    AOL is good in the short run, but poison in the long run. The technique may be sound and genuine, but it is also true that AOL teachers lie and manipulate shamelessly to meet their ends. The supposedly spiritual organization has no ethics – bringing people to the course justifies all the lies. And once you have been there for a few years, it is all about blind devotion and following Sri Sri.

    People report transformation initially, but those who continue on the path end up becoming brain dead zombies, who are remote controlled by Sri Sri and his lackeys – i.e Art of Living is a cult.

  13. June 24, 2010 6:10 am

    Hi profhughakston,

    It would be unfair to elicit WhistleBlower’s response to “Bawa’s reply”. If you/Bawa want a reply it should be atleast on Bawa’s blog or you should provide a proof that the email is indeed from Bawa. Let Bawa himself post it on this blog. Unlike him people on this blog are generous enough to post “Opposite Values”. When he has all the time to contradict the authors on this blog what fails him to directly post instead of indirectly seek a response.

    There is nothing in your email which retracts the contents of this post and no response is needed. If at all anyone needs a response they should read this post again to get the facts.

    “There is no go for it to settle this senseless debate except wait for time which will establish the correctness of Sri Sri and Art of Living and the crookedness and manipulativeness of whistleblower and co whoever they are.”

    Does he mean that the correctness of Sri Sri and Art of Living is yet to be established?

    “I have never been afraid of anyone doubting me, Guruji or Art of Living.”

    Guruji or Art of Living is still doubting Bawa?

    “You could also read up my post which whistleblower etc call pompous”

    So, Bawa is an avid visitor of these “malignant poisonous sites”. He reads but does not want to post. Neither on this or his blog. Why?

    I request WhistleBlower not to comment on this email purportedly sent by Bawa.

    • profhughakston permalink
      June 24, 2010 8:01 am

      I have posted this article on other Aol blogs also. But they have not published it since all of them moderate comments. They claim “Opposite values are complimentary” but they don’t dare to practice it 🙂 . Only Bawa has replied till now. If the other Aol teachers reply I will post their comments here.

  14. The Dude permalink
    June 24, 2010 12:14 pm

    Don’t waste your time posting on AOL blogs. No point trying to fight lies – all it will lead to is senseless argument. Just post the truth here – and the incorrectness of AOL and SSRS will soon be established 😉

  15. Voila permalink
    June 24, 2010 1:17 pm

    What still surprises me is they insist anything that questions or doubts the AoL can ONLY come from “disgruntled people”. To me, that already says a lot about who and what they really are. So, “opposite values are complimentary”, hah? “Accept people as they are”, hah? “I belong to you”, hah? “Criticism makes you transcend the ego”, hah? I wonder who are the real disgruntled people after all and who is not really living the knowledge. Bawa says he’s been teaching for 19 years, etc etc etc., some people taught for that many years and they have seen the other side too, or rather, they SEE it and do NOT feel good about it, unlike others who justify it in the name of “growth” …. maybe, in the name of their OWN personal growth – the growth of their income. How darling.

  16. MOJO permalink
    June 24, 2010 4:50 pm

    2. I have been teaching Art of Living for 19 years now, and i have done many courses, and taught quite a few people with heavy discounts. Some people we have asked to do some Service over some time and taught the course free.

    WHAT A BLOODY JOKE!!!BAWA WOULD RATHER BE CAUGHT WITH HIS PANTS DOWN THAN TEACH FOR FREE!!! AND IF HE DID, THE PARTICIPANT WOULD HAVE BEEN TOLD TO ORGANIZE A COURSE OR BRING A GROUP OF FULLY PAYING PARTICIPANTS! PUH-LEEZ BAWA….SPARE US YOUR LIES, YOU F***ING FULL OF SHIT SCUM OF THE EARTH. AND THE SAME CAN BE SAID ABOUT YOUR PERVERT FATHER. YOUR DNA IS THAT OF GREED!! YOUR REASONING IS FOR 2 YEAR OLDS….BS !!!

    • June 24, 2010 5:25 pm

      Cool it, Mojo. No need for that kind of badmouthing, okay?

    • Shikhar permalink
      September 22, 2011 7:42 pm

      Moho cannot be an Aol teacher. FOR SURE!!!

  17. mojo permalink
    June 24, 2010 6:49 pm

    OK, this last post in a similar tone, then I’ll cool it, promise! Knowing his WARPED logic, this a***hole BAWA will be gloating to his “followers” ( -God bless them, they are naive), that he is the MOST popular after his GURU. He is the chosen one, that’s why bashing on the net. But really, he’s probably the MOST hated after his GURU. After his guru he’s caused most harm and shown as much greed as his guru.

  18. Sincere Seeker permalink
    June 24, 2010 6:51 pm

    I wanted to post a comment here made by Whistleblower on the other blog, http://artoflivingfree.blogspot.com related to Bawa and Dinesh. There are other posts on Bawa and how he extorts money out of AoL and participants, however this is about his hypocrisy in being “Spiritual”.

    Link: http://artoflivingfree.blogspot.com/2010/04/comment-on-teachers-pompous-answer-to.html?showComment=1271974669957#c2956999182527776818

    “WhistleBlower said…
    When Bawa says: “…but you do realize that there are so many teachers and an entire organisation to run which has expenses..”,
    He talks about himself & Dinesh as teachers who entirely live on AOL income. Did you see him bragging about his flash new laptop being the most expensive ,in his recent video lectures to some poor students in India that he is trying to recruit for this sick organisation?The guy & his father have made a lot of money out of AOL & even bought a house in Bangalore. And Bawa brought his lover Dinesh (Another celibate AOL Adv/DSN/Youth course teacher) to live with him in his house to provide him with all worldly pleasures he can imagine 24/7. No my dear, those loving attentive glances of Dinesh are not because of brotherly love between them!!They only preach celibacy to other youths to impress them with their spirituality & level of commitment to path! By the way, they do it so cleverly too. They always talk about not having sex with girls, which is true in their case. They just simply forget to mention they are gay & have different sexual preferences, like their guru!! They are known as gay couple of AOL! And shows the level of their deceit, using their “gay” ness (ie sexual preferences) to pretend they are celibate (no sex with women!)And even during the courses they teach they insist on sleeping in the same room & you should see how they cover the windows & keyholes!!Anyone brave enough to do what Lenin did to Nithyananda?
    And if Bawa & Dinesh are separated more than a week, their longing becomes unbearable & AOL has to pay for the cost of their reunion!!They even buy gifts for each other from AOL money. So when you wonder where your money goes, that is where some of it goes.. to support hedonistic lifestyles of RS & Bawa (who is every bit a psychopath like his guru ).I will write in a future post about these in more details.
    – When Bawa says: “… It could also be used to take care of our full time teachers and their families whenever needed….”
    Again he is telling you the truth, AOL does pay for all of his & his family’s expenses, including the costs of his “live-in”lover. They are making a fortune from AOL/SriSri & SriSri is making a fortune from them. They have a lot of dirt on SriSri & his family & AOL. And SriSri has a lot of dirt on Bawa & his family. So they are safe with each others secrets !And the financial arrangements suits both parties! Most of the inner circle senior teachers fall in this category. SriSri has a hold on them by knowing all their dark secrets (He actively seeks all such secrets & get them to spy on each other)& these “inner circle” people in return know a lot about SriSri’s dark secrets. So SriSri has to keep them happy. Not one person in inner circle of SriSri is innocent. They all know enough about SriSri to know he is no virgin messiah!!It is their lack of integrity, financial incentives (most live off “AOL business”!!) & their position of power which is keeping them glued to SriSRri. Not one of them can claim ignorance & innocence. They will go down with SriSri when he goes down by year 2012. That is why SriSri is buying as many real estate as he can all over the world.”

  19. mojo permalink
    June 24, 2010 6:52 pm

    one more thing for BAWA, do you notice strength of character by active participants of this blog. after being treated shabbily, they still want refrain of bad mouthing. quite unlike AoL-ers. just check out posts on the Shobha De blog to see what i mean

  20. The Dude permalink
    June 25, 2010 3:05 am

    lets keep it civilized shall we..no need for slandering people’s personal lives – we are nobody to judge, and it’s none of our business – even if it’s an AOL teacher. Also discrimination based on the basis of a person’s sexuality is not ok.

    Plus, it may cause more harm than good, generating sympathy when none is deserved.

    There are enough holes in their arguments for us to point out without resorting to below the belt remarks.

    • Observer permalink
      June 25, 2010 6:54 am

      I fully agree with you. Slanderous outbursts and personal attacks only distract the core issues involved. Let us not lose the seriousness of purpose here. Balanced analysis and dignified and neutral arguments only can provide credibility to any criticism.

  21. mojo permalink
    June 25, 2010 3:58 am

    Bawa, looks like his mother, Aban wearing a wig, not only makes money off AoL fees, but also uses it’s data base for MLM’S Amway or Gold Quest. Aban- wearing-a-wig then says this MLM has been blessed by Ravi and gullible followers invest in his schemes. He gets rich and the followers get light in the wallet. I have heard he is involved in some sort of estate development in the Ashram. Making monet there. Does anybody know?

  22. Knowing permalink
    June 25, 2010 4:19 pm

    Bawa and Dinesh are not living in bawa’s (luxury) house! They live in ashram. The building’s name is Vishvamitra. At Vishvamitra there are 3 rooms and shared by five boys. One of these boys is now married so 4 persons and 3 rooms. one of these 3 rooms is used as office, another one is used as kitchen where they buy their own stuff and cook! Doors are always open for everyone! Their socks, shoes, clothes and stuff is kept in the common passage outside the rooms. they wash their own clothes and hang them on the ropes tied in the passage outside their rooms. Any visitor can go pick up pair of socks / shoes or clothes and just walk away!

    just because you have nothing better to do in life don’t just lie viciously about people’s lifestyles, money or sexual orientation. Visit and see for yourself. Besides BAWA and DINESH ARE NOT GAY. Both have straight,normal and natural sexual orientation. I say this because I know both of them personally, just for rotton minds I do not know them as ‘playmates’ – mine or other boys.

    ‘Somebodies’ unnecessarity foulmouthing bawa or dinesh in this manner make me think that ‘some bodies’ must have been sexually disappointed by bawa’s rejection hence this jealousy for dinesh 🙂

    If you wish to criticize any organization/s / person/s just go ahead and present proof / logical points and criticize. Every body is entitled to an opinion. Thats only fair. You sure would have your side.

    Personal defamation and slander will lead to defamation suits or worse. Just keep in mind that ALL law enforcement agencies are very much resourceful even in the cyberspace.

    • Funnyman permalink
      June 25, 2010 8:30 pm

      Dear Knowing,

      How dare you refer to Bawa & Dinesh as “boys”. They must be atleast 40 years old. They have white hair to show for it.

      And why do they keep their smelly socks and shoes outside their rooms? How do you know they can be stolen? Have you stolen them ? 🙂

      Funnyman

      • The Dude permalink
        June 25, 2010 11:10 pm

        Dear Knowing,

        Is that a threat ? Please go ahead and sue whistleblower. I’m sure public and press would love to cover the trial…both because of the juicy gossip, and because it will be the first court case ever where a blog is sued for comments made by anonymous users.

        Another thing – Lying and cheating is not a matter of opinion it is a matter of fact. Go through the post again – whistleblower’s analysis is quite succinct, and direct. There is no ambiguity. I hope you can do better than saying “truth is multidimensional”.

        and FYI sri sri lies all the time. Remember the debate with zakir naik, where he admitted the book he published was full of inaccuracies. He even claimed that the book had been retracted (it had not been). What sort of spiritual master has such little character that he has to resort to more lies when his lies are caught. There is no way they can defend him, which is why they attack the people saying these things – calling them stressed, lacking wisdom, low prana, tamasic. Look up strawman argument on wikipedia – it’s the oldest trick in PR

  23. Devil's Advocate permalink
    June 25, 2010 4:34 pm

    Having never met this Bawa or Dinesh, all this sounds so awful! If you google both their names, these guys were IIT for God’s sake! (For westerners, this is like MIT times 100, in terms of getting admission, which means these are extremely bright men, not fools.) It is puzzling to see how they would end up with the long hair and dress of a guru, and to read all this about their exploits. Whether or not they are gay, with each other or anyone, is really nobody’s business, except if they are actually advising people to be celibate, and wearing clothes to confirm that they themselves are. That would certainly be most hypocritical and wrong, while teaching spiritual subjects. If all that everyone is posting here is true, why are not the Deccan Herald and other newspapers exposing these people and the Guru, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar as well? It’s possible to just take the Sudarshan Kriya and go home, as many people do, and not get involved. Still, it feels like cheating if what is being posted here is the truth, and I’d rather keep my money than contribute to some family and friends run scam. The other blog mentioned goes into great details without denegrating any particular person (that is the artoflivingfree.blogspot ) If everything posted here is true, since this is an extremely large and growing organization, something should be done to be sure that innocent people are not taken advantage of. That would take someone on the inside to speak out, I suppose.

    Since it’s still illegal to be openly homosexual in India, can you blame these men if they are not advertising it? Have a little human kindness — they can’t help how they were born and where they were born. But it would be wrong of them, especially since they hold good degrees from IIT, according to their blogs, to hide behind spirituality and influence others by lying. That is not spiritual, but simply lying. This is just my opinion, since I know little about all this. The shooting ‘incident’ that took place at the ashram outside of Bangalore did bring a lot of attention and shine light on Sri Sri Ravi Shankar in the papers, so these postings are going to be seen for some time as people look up Sri Sri Ravi Shankar online. (Turned out to be a neighbor shooing away dogs, it seems, not an attack as they thought at all. The police and Home Minister turned to be spot on in that regard.)

    • Sri Sri Drag Queen Devi permalink
      July 2, 2010 9:58 am

      “Since it’s still illegal to be openly homosexual in India, can you blame these men if they are not advertising it?”

      Homesexuality between consenting adults is not illegal since the historic Indian supreme court judgement delivered on 2 Jul 2009.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Section_377_of_the_Indian_Penal_Code

      The draconian colonial law of Article 377 of indian constitution has been repaled. The judgement keeps intact the provisions of Section 377 insofar as it applies to non-consensual non-vaginal intercourse and intercourse with minors.

      Bawa, Dinesh and Sri Sri should have no problems to own up their sexual preference. However the chatterbox Baba Ramdev who beleives that Homoseuality is a disease and can be cured through his breathing exerises might end up giving personalize lessons to these gay folks.

  24. The Dude permalink
    June 25, 2010 10:54 pm

    Being from IIT means nothing. FYI I’m also from IIT – people in IIT share one common attribute – that everyone is very intelligent. There are many who use their smarts in crooked ways (ex-CEO of Computer Associates Sanjay Kumar being a prime example).

    Also, so called smart people are easiest to fool – that’s how this con works. Very smart people were conned by Bernie Madoff – and same is true of IITians. IITians think they are smarter than everyone else, and can see value, where everyone else sees a con-artist.

    Lots of other people from IIT are also in AOL. It’s just a network effect – nothing to do with Sri Sri.
    I will admit, that for someone not acquainted with spirituality, AOL seems uber cool when you see it first. It is only later, when your mind is not caught up in the daze of charisma that you realize that the founder is manipulative and lacks basic ethics.

    I think this is almost a rite of passage for a seeker. No point in blaming your ex for being a cheater – one has got to learn the lesson and move on.

    P.S: Please Please Please, can we not make it about Bawa n Dinesh’s personal life, and respond to their arguments instead of their personas.

    • Smiling Monkey permalink
      June 27, 2010 1:21 pm

      Totally agree with The Dude.

      I am also an IITian and had my tryst with AOL years ago when I was a student in one of the IITs. Not only was I involved in volunteering for a number of courses, but I sort of forced many of my other friends from IIT to do the introductory course as well, while practicing Kriya and vegetarianism for about a year.

      Of all the people in IIT I know who did the courses(easily more than 50), only one guy really got trapped in the con and went in deep into AOL. Everyone else realized, what it was, sooner or later(later in my case)

      Also, most people who followed up the initial course with voluntary work were quick to spot how deceitful AOLers can be in order to achieve their own ends. After a few occasiosns of being blatantly lied to and was asked to lie(once they even suggested me to arrange for a false medical certificate so that I could bunk and exam and work instead for a concert they were organizing in my city) I gradually cut off my ties, for the better.

      Also, if you notice the trends in IITs, they mostly manage to attract freshers who are away from the security of their homes for the first time and are normally a bit, uncomfortable, confused and don’t have strong bonds with their friends yet.

      However, except for that one guy, during my four year stay at IIT, I never knew anyone else to care much about Art of Living and it has a rather poor impression(because of the shameless marketing) among the student population, in general.

  25. mojo permalink
    June 25, 2010 10:57 pm

    This is for KNOWING. It does not matter whether Bawa is gay or not. People are spewing venom because of hypocrisy. I don’t know how old you are or where you are located. Based on your posts I presume you are quite young and frequent the B’lore ashram often. On this blog are those people, who like you,at some stage were actively involved in AoL. Like you, they/ I trusted, believed, defended their GURU and teachers. They/I were smitten- like you are now. But, as expected, they/ I got badly bruised . The costs for this was high.So while there is venting another motive , very obviously, is to tell others not to commit the same mistakes that had heavy costs. I don’t know how rich you are. If you are as young as you sound, then you can’t be that moneyed. It would have to be your parents who are rich. In which case, Bawa would NEED you. As you would be taking care of his bills, be it his pizza party or being his chauffeur in your air conditioned car. And if you are simply a hanger-on then yes, you would be enjoying his pizza parties that are being financed by some sucker. But it’s not worth it. You are STILL needed by him- for show of strength. There is competition among the teachers as to who has more “followers”. 10 years ago it was Hazra v/s Bawa. So while your presence makes him look good it does nothing for you besides some freebies. The typical cycle is after a few years, you might become an ashram-ite. You will be cleaning the loos and repairing flushes. You will be treated with no respect. Then, one day when time has slipped by, you will realize that you have been wasting your time. The outside world will be intimidating. And since the restlessness will start showing, you’ll be kicked out. No skill set acquired you will be lost. And even if you do become a teacher, unless you have a cunning mind set like Bawa, survival here will be difficult. Either be crafty or be subservient to continue in AoL. There is no other way. There were many IITians who could have had quality lives who are doing Guru ‘seva’. They would have replaced a previous batch of volunteers. Ask yourself, what happened to that batch. They left. I know of one teacher, who at one time had conducted the biggest basic coures. He had a mental problem which COULD have been controlled with the right medication. The last I heard of him brought tears to my eyes.

    And if you are rich, after some time you are going to feel used. That will make you feel rotten about yourself. Unless your future is going to be like Bawa’s- he has gained a lot, no point hanging on here. And Bawa crushes competition. Bawa is very much like his Guru, greedy and insecure.

    You have said that he lives on the ashram among smell socks. That is how he lived 20 years ago in his IIT hostel. Maturity has not dawned upon him. I read some of his blogs, his reasoning is still the same as it was 15 years ago. He hasn’t grown. Being stunted in growth is not spiritual evolution. He cannot carry on a conversation with somebody his age in a responsible job. He has no appeal there.What you can carry off in your early 20’s looks foolish at 40. Ditto with his Guru. Those giggles looked cute when he had more hair, before the fine lines appeared on his face. Not now. It is only the followers who find his ”hmmm” cute. Outsiders find it annoying.Always reminded me of the story of the EMPEROR’S NEW CLOTHES.

    Get your life in order, KNOWING. Tapping into your potential is spirituality. Believing in yourself versus another man is spirituality. Turning your talent into action is spirituality. You probably had dreams when you were in school. Follow them.

    • JAN permalink
      July 20, 2010 4:22 am

      Thats a good post Mojo 🙂

    • Yudi permalink
      February 28, 2012 12:38 am

      Tapping into your potential is spirituality. Believing in yourself versus another man is spirituality. Turning your talent into action is spirituality.

      That’s What its All About!
      Thanks MOJO

  26. Anonymous permalink
    June 27, 2010 9:44 am

    @Mojo: Very well Said 😀
    Especially the Last Paragraph

  27. Svetana permalink
    June 27, 2010 6:49 pm

    Rain,
    We write about Bawa, who has “a way of distorting things just enough that if you’ve never been around a manipulator, you might never know it”. And this may be said about his guru. RS, definitely, has a talent of seeing people’s hypocritical potential and giving them all support to develop this potential further and to grow fast in AOL . Now we can observe the top of AOL pyramid: guru on top and his very senior teachers a step below, but all of them are mirror reflection of their guru in their capacity to have appealing façade, dirty center and talent of twisting things. Lower levels of pyramid consist of different kinds of people, some become teacher, some just stay regular “seva soldiers”, but all of them are working to support the top of the pyramid. These people are viewed by the top as disposables, and they live in self-imposed slavery. The moment their minds get enlightened a bit, they come out of their stupor and leave AOL. Lucky are those awoken, they know the taste of FREEDOM.

  28. Manju permalink
    June 30, 2010 6:17 am

    I graduated with a doctorate from IISc. My grandmom, mom, dad are very spiritual and traditional so I was always intrigued by spirituality and the organizations (in that order).
    That’s how I got involved with AOL- it had nothing to do with my scientific training. But after many courses, I found that I missed discussing objectively over spirituality. My own AOL basic teacher dissuaded me from reading books NOT written by Sri Sri Ravishankar ji. I found it strange- I also liked to attend Bhagvad Gita discourses by Swami Sukhbodananda.

    I sorely missed talking to people in a rational manner- Iwas branded as an ‘intellectual’ who did not ‘lose the mind’.

    It’s okay actually. I am out of AOL and NO REGRETS for that. Maybe, according to the AOL folks, I will take many many more lifetimes to get enlightened. But who cares? I’ll enjoy the process.

    I love my life which is now filled with grass-root seva (modest amount!), seeing beautiful old temples, a bit o’ trekking with my husband, meeting old friends, meditating, and practicing some of the useful techniques that AOl taught me.

    Truly spiritual people also practice tolerance to other people’s faith and beliefs. Obviously AOl discourages diversity…:-}

  29. Yash permalink
    June 15, 2011 8:56 am

    Hahaaahahaahaaaaaaaaa!!!!
    Deluded fool, whoever wrote this blog.
    Pity you 😛

  30. chillax permalink
    March 20, 2012 5:07 am

    Everything is a dream in this world. There are people you may not like. After a few days you will start liking them. Again after a few days you will start disliking them. But tell me one thing, is it going to make any difference? I do not know about bawa and dinesh. But I can assure you about Guruji. He is enlightened. And a the purest consciousness. Why are you disturbing yourself by discussing all this? Go beyond that. You will find there is much more to explore whether in world or in spirituality. Its a “God’s” universe. He is the only king. Everyone else’s existence is temporary. Where are you looking at? Some people might be doing something wrong..but there is law of karma well inbuilt in this universe.it will take care really well. you chillax…. that’s it!!!
    never leave guruji… that will be the biggest mistake / blunder/ highest sin

    • stupidseeker permalink
      March 21, 2012 5:06 am

      @chillax,

      you are obviously enjoying your oneness with the guru. Perhaps one day you own ego will wake up and demand its identity back. Then you may see this blog in a different light.

    • Jr. permalink
      March 21, 2012 7:39 am

      “Why are you disturbing yourself by discussing all this? Go beyond that.”

      Who’s disturbed? The only disturbed people on this blog are the ones that are still in AOL (Harshal, Naren, etc).

      “Everything is a dream in this world.”

      It does feel like when one is doing all that kriya. Fortunately, we have awaken from the nightmare of AOL.

      “But I can assure you about Guruji. He is enlightened. And a the purest consciousness. ”

      As Harshal would say, show us proof.

      ” Its a “God’s” universe. He is the only king. Everyone else’s existence is temporary.”

      I agree with you on this. Good point.

      I wish you well on your way to recovery from AOL.

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