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Sahaj Samadhi Meditation – guru mantra or guru scam?

July 24, 2010

by Curious George

There have been heated discussions in this blog about how secret is actually the “secret knowledge” of RS, and, as the blog authors slowly share that which otherwise only the so-called “chosen ones” have access to, I am suddenly hit by one question. And though the saying goes, “Curiosity killed the cat”, I’d rather be Curious George than a mindless fanatic zombie.

Many of us got “initiated” into Sahaj. Most teachers told us Sahaj+SK was the perfect combination. I sat in one of Bhanu’s courses where she elegantly said, “SK is like cleaning the mirror … Sahaj is seeing yourself in it.” There was no way such seductive words, paired up with the back-then-innocent look of that tiny woman would not convince even the most skeptical curious seeker. And for an extra fat sum, one took flowers, fruits, a white cloth and kneeled down in front of an altar while someone chanted a delightful melody and mysterious syllables. I never doubted the sanctity of the chant, though when I think about it now, God knows what they really were chanting! And for a religious person (that I was not), of course, that could have been easily seen as a religious ritual, even, induction! After the teacher bowed down to the picture while acting holy (98% mood making!) and the artifacts with a light blowing, a mantra was given to us. A sound we were told was sacred and secret, not to be shared out loud, written, or read about because it otherwise “would loose its power” (just like in story books!). Furthermore, we were told we each got a mantra, chosen by special means, given by the “guru” himself (God, were we special! Definitely “chosen” and saved!). Even Sri Sri would add that to ensure salvation one had to be initiated and have a personal guru mantra before death. Upgraded reincarnation guaranteed. And so, I was saved back then (or at least convinced I was).

Then stories came about Bhanu initiating 400 people at a time in courses. They boasted so much about it while I could not help but think of the mass weddings celebrated in the Moon sect. How special could a mantra be if it was given in masses? (OK, she is the sister of the enlightened … and, to apply a knowledge point taught to us by the AoL – “so what!”). As the numbers increased in courses, couples were told to get one together (I guess to make initiations faster while cashing more money), since they share a same path, they of course share a same mantra. But then, how individualized are these mantras? And what happens if the couple divorces? Or have extra marital affairs? Or actually are secretly in love with someone else and only barely tolerating the legal spouse, or if the couple lives together but does not share a life together? Should they get new mantras then?

Some TM initiated people would be told to keep their TM mantra. Some were told Sahaj mantras were better, or that after a certain use, it was good to renew one because it was good to get a new one, the old ones gets … “old” (do they mean personalized guru given mantras wear out too like an old pair of shoes?).

What is interesting is though I experienced amazing “trips” (yes, like in drugs) the first month after initiation, as time went by, the experience changed. My head started throbbing. I felt a pressure in my skull and definitely it was more annoying rather than blissful or relaxing. And even when I could relax, I’d feel more numbed than alert and clumpsy or restless during the day. Of course I did not want to share these “bad trips” with my friends. I thought it had to do with my “lack of evolution” or “bad karma”. But, one day I dared pop the question to a few friends and was surprised to find out many had “bad trips” too after a while. Some reported feeling more irritable or even aggressive after meditating with Sahaj. Some that they felt “out” – not connected with life or themselves (numbed out). We asked our teachers separately and disappointed, we realized they had no clue about anything but were, sadly, just parrots who themselves only cared about feeling superior and the “chosen ones” for being able to “pass on” this “very secret high knowledge” that included a “guru mantra” and a green card to Sri Sri’s room for “special meetings.”

Yes. AoL preaches about belongingness and sharing and unconditional love, but all I observed and experienced during my years as a participant was the hierarchy, the prejudice, the discrimination, the arrogance, the separatedness due to a sense of superiority and people creating and struggling to find ways to be in the room of the founder. Wasn’t it all about spiritual growth? How much was all of that necessary then or spiritual after all?

I stopped using the mantra to meditate. In fact, I don’t meditate anymore. In fact, I consider all of that “crap”. Especially after reading this transcript of an interview by a former TM teacher to the Shankaracharya of the north: http://minet.org/Documents/shank-4

It is all a hoax and just a smart way of making a business, while taking advantage of the naïve and ignorant people of non-Indians (West and non-India), and the superstitions and millenary beliefs of Indians. But perhaps, more disappointing than to find out Maharishi was just a clerk who NEVER taught meditation nor was given the knowledge to do so nor had the right to do so because of the cast he belonged to, and invented his mantras just to generate a fortune, of course, which in itself also means Ravi Shankar (at this point deserveless of the “Sri Sri”) most likely invented his own mantras (or “borrowed” them somewhere or grabbed a book – like many people do nowadays to find one, and like it seems he did with the rest of his “secret knowledge”) and imitated the scam of his own “teacher” while speaking badly about him and some of his real right hand people (added to the fact many TMers state Ravi Shankar was only a pundit boy who was not Maharishi’s favourite disciple or right hand secretary, but just one of 100 other clerk boys, who never taught meditation nor did their TTC – of course, but then I forget he descends from the Heavens and came fully blossomed and this knowledge “came to him”), was finding out it was suspected Maharishi poisoned Swami Brahmananda Sawaswati (yes, the infamous “Gurudev” of the Holy Tradition and whose name is mentioned in the Guru Puja), who is known, historically, to have died poisoned – yes, murder.

Education sets one free but sometimes, the more I find out about the AoL, RS, TM, MMY, the more I wonder if it’d be better to remain ignorant. And that is when I tell myself in awe, “Man, you’ve so been cheated. What a great scam!”

I invite you to read the whole transcript: http://minet.org/Documents/shank-1 and read more articles about the conversation with the Shankaracharya, who reveals finally, in some later link or new link (navigate the site) how mantras should really be practiced, how they should be chosen and given, and what they mean.

And though I am sure many still have the superstition of keeping the mantra a secret (apologies to those who still do for the following misconduct), those who don’t (I am sure I am not the only Curious George curious to know the other mantras out there) please share, together with your sex and age – since it seems that is how they get picked (no, the teacher did not hear a special voice or got a special delivered report from the Heavens about your spiritual evolution or your mission in life).

Look, I read about the mantra, the induction, I said my mantra out loud just to see what could happen, and ….. NOTHING HAPPENED. The world keeps revolving around the sun and the sun still rises on the East and sets on the West.

Curious George – SHYAMMMMM – male 38

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84 Comments
  1. Shyam = Sham permalink
    July 24, 2010 11:44 am

    I am Shyam, too. Male, 27 years old at time of inititiation. Some years ago, sitting with some friends, we shared our Sahaj mantras with each other. Such a great relief! No more secrecy, no more dependence on a guru or a tradition. The light and power I am, comes from inside of me, not from anyone or anything else. I still enjoy meditation occasionally, but is is no longer obsessive/compulsive like it used to be, and much more effortless without mantra. Recently, I have thought about my mantra’s resemblance to sham!

  2. Swami Sadyogruntleananda permalink
    July 24, 2010 1:46 pm

    Mine is also shyam – given ten years ago

  3. mojo permalink
    July 24, 2010 3:43 pm

    Curious George, what a fantastic blog. Me too SHYAM…. !!!! 33 at the time of ” initiation”.

  4. coward permalink
    July 24, 2010 3:50 pm

    OMG it was my mantra ;-) ;-) one world family afterall. Such a shameeeeeee :-[

  5. anonymous permalink
    July 24, 2010 3:55 pm

    Skywalker,

    Until today’s post, I’ve thoroughly appreciated this blogspot as a source of “outing” the real wrongdoings of Ravi Shankar. But as a Hindu, especially the beginning of your post is (perhaps very innocently) very offensive to that religion. It is commonplace, even considered necessary, (yes even when not belonging to a cult) for many Hindus to take some kind of initiation in a lineage. That is what they were chanting — a Hindu lineage, for better or worse. It is the lineage of AdiShankaraya, claimed by Brahmananda Saraswati, of Jyotir Math. Most swamis claim that lineage. Whatever happened with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and Ravi Shankar doesn’t make all of Hindu belief wrong or horrible or stupid as you seem to be saying in this post. And who told you that people of particular castes are not allowed to give mantras? It really depends on who is giving it to whom if one is orthodox.

    What all of us have endured and escaped, having been involved in AOL is truly terrible, and a misuse of many many things (including Hinduism). But please don’t damn the entire religion because it is not to your liking. Boys who are brought up as Brahmins are required by their faith to receive mantras at a certain age, and are given their lineage then. It’s something like your Christian Catholic confirmation, I believe.

    This blogspot is necessary and good and the truths about the abuse at AOL needs to come out. But please consider the feelings of people of all religions while doing so. What IS wrong in what happened to you is that as a christian (or jew or whatever you happen to be that is obviously not hindu) you were not told that this was a hindu ritual, puja, that you were being brought into when receiving the mantras, and that the mantras were names of hindu gods or goddesses. This, I believe to be wrong, a kind of lying to fool people who do not want to be converted. The mantras are Sanskrit. They are part of hinduism. However, Sanskrit is also not owned by hinduism, and could, I think, be taken up by anyone who likes that science (of mantra and Sanskrit). But to fool you or trick you into it is definitely something you could complain about.

    Thank you for understanding this.

    • Curious George permalink
      July 24, 2010 4:15 pm

      @Anon, by no means is this article intended to offend nor disrespect hinduism or hindus, nor undermine the value and power of the mantras. But the lies behind Sahaj and the AoL. If you read the interview with the Shankaracharya (in my understanding, an important character in Hinduism), he also states the mantras given by MMY were of no value because the means and intention were not correct. As non-hindus and non-Indians we were deceived into a technique without being told, warned or asked whether we wanted to be “converted” or not to Hinduism, and if anyone had any problems because of their strong religious beliefs, they were told they had big egos because they could not “bow down” to other gods. Not only were we given “fake mantras” through “fake initiation” but we were also converted, not knowingly to a religion. Deceit written all over. Thank you for understanding us.

    • JAN permalink
      July 25, 2010 5:42 am

      I agree with anonymous, the sentence containing “and the superstitions and millinery beliefs of Indians.” certainly hurt my Indian soul and feelings. i can understand your feelings as someone who had been cheated by some of the con-men from India, but I have a request not to assign all the Indians as believers in superstitions. India is a mixture of everything, there are more atheists, non-believers in India than in many other developed countries, and obviously there are millions of people who would never be seeking any of the so called Godmen. One Ravi or Maharishi or saibaba doesn’t represent most of us. I hope this blog can expose the dark sides of ssrs, without hurting the religious beliefs- even a hard core atheist would have his cultural roots in some religion, designed by birth/family. And even unintentional, such remarks wouldn’t be taken much positively.
      well the manthra thing is quite a good joke. Just like bawa astrology ;-)

  6. Dr Quentin Jones permalink
    July 24, 2010 4:31 pm

    To make the revealation of the AOL secret knowledge complete can someone put up the DSN notes, the Gurupuja mantra ,the advance course manual & the eternity process methods, then the AOL teachers can become redundant and go back to society and lead normal lives.

    People wishing to learn can log into this blog n use the techniques without paying any miney.

  7. Rajesh C permalink
    July 24, 2010 6:38 pm

    My mantra was “gam” – Male, age 29
    Some time back, I was in TM and the mantra was different.
    That said, neither of them had any effect on me :)

    All the mantras given to students come from the beeja mantras (seed manatras) in traditional Hindu teaching that are said to have some effect on each chakra. TM follows the same principle. More information here:

    http://www.shivashakti.com/mantra.htm

    So really, there is no secret about these mantras. In fact, none of the acharyas we spoke to had any secret about these mantras. A yoga teacher gave me some information about a connection between these mantras and the chakras, and how you could even safely experiment with some variations during your dhyan.

    I’m not clear why TM and AOL have such great secrecy about these simple mantras and processes about which information is easily available even online.

    • goneagain permalink
      July 26, 2010 12:50 pm

      I hate to state the obvious – if it is not such a secret – is that going to mint money?

  8. Peaceful Warrior permalink
    July 24, 2010 6:47 pm

    Guru Puja is same as TM guru puja and it’s on the web. (see : http://www.trancenet.net/secrets/puja/tradt.shtml ). Read the pages around it – it does not come from holy tradition – rather, it was a bunch of sanskrit verses from various sources, strung together by maharishi.

    Revealing the source of knowledge will not make AOL teachers redundant. The course knowledge is very simple, self-evident truths. The course works because people who go there want to change, and having a teacher who enforces discipline helps. Nothing mystical about the knowledge or the guru.

  9. July 24, 2010 9:57 pm

    Some of my friends paid hundreds and hundreds of Euros to learn the Guru Puja! And many were disappointed. Another financial scam. “Bhanu was “spaced out”, distracted, wanting to be with the Guru instead of in the class, spoke unintelligently like a little child, and it was mainly about creating devotion and magical thinking about his brother.” Most of them left without having learned neither to chant or perform the puja. What makes it more incomprehensible is many years back I heard a French teacher ask him if he could learn the Guru Puja and he said it was not something to be taken lightly and the right astrological time had to be there for it to happen. Maybe not so astrologically essential but financial. Maybe he needed a new course to keep people’s hype and interest. ‘Cause though most people don’t learn to chant well as long as they have the dough, they can take Guru Puja 2 and pay another couple hundred euros for the puja set which probably cost 5 euros to make in India! So disappointing. The guru puja taught by AoL ends with PUSHPANJALIM SAMARPAYAMI SHRI SHRI GURU CHARANA KAMALEBHYO NAMAH. Yes. Sri Sri indeed!

  10. female age 26 permalink
    July 24, 2010 10:32 pm

    my mantra was shrim, pronounced “shreeeeeeemm”. I practiced for about 4 years (1-2 times per day) before quitting. It’s been about a year now since I last meditated and I have finally shaken that numb, unfeeling state that sahaj meditation has brought.

    • Uncle Scooby permalink
      July 25, 2010 10:18 pm

      That’s MY mantra too! I had not idea how to spell it – how did you find out?

      I heard there were only a finite number of mantras, but I didn’t realise how finite. I’m beginning to wonder if there were less than a small handful, and maybe that’s the reason why people are told not to tell others their mantra?

      Contrary to what most are expressing here, I actually find the meditation useful. Am I the only one? Or have I been brainwashed into thinking it’s useful? I tend to meditate better in the afternoons, and usually after doing a complete round of mudras, which I find really help.

      That said – I haven’t really felt much when meditating in SSRS’s presence, when others express hightened states of “sattvic bliss”. On those occassions, it just feels like I’m sitting there bored out of my skull.

      Male – age 31 at time of “initiation”.

  11. John permalink
    July 24, 2010 10:36 pm

    Mine was also SHAM! Male 30.

  12. mojo permalink
    July 25, 2010 1:55 am

    Could someone please shed some light as to why this disoriented feeling after Sahaj?

    • Curious George permalink
      July 25, 2010 3:57 pm

      Maybe the best explanation is given by the Shankaracharya and then that way, we also don’t offend anyone. http://minet.org/Documents/shank-4

    • Meditation addict permalink
      July 26, 2010 2:47 pm

      I was told by my meditation guru / guide that any average person, a commoner (unlike a yogi or a person born with more spiritual powers) should meditatte for only 20-22 minutes at a time. Ideally a commoner should meditate for maximum twice a day. Any excess would lead to body discomfort, headaches, delusion, high levels of acids in the stomach, disorientation, numbness, disassociation, detachment and even depression. All this is not verifiable with scientific experiments but some people seem to be able to meditate more and find more benefits of meditation. Whereas some people visibly suffer from bad effects. I have sufferred from many of the above bad effects when I have overdone my meditation. This is true for all types of meditaion not just sahaj type meditation. I tried many types of meditations and I can say that overdose of any type of meditaion is harmful.

      My guru said how much meditation can one enjoy depends on state of evolution of soul. Accoding to Indian spiritual thinking there are more than one way of attaining state of samadhi. Meditation is just one way. Chanting also leads to meditative state.

  13. July 25, 2010 5:52 am

    I totally agree with the first part of the post. We were also told that Sahaj + kriya is best combination in the world etc. etc. Couple were given common mantra but fees were to be paid individually. There were more than 800 people in my batch. 4 different teachers were giving Mantras separately.
    Bhanu can only bearable because she was sister of ‘God’ and hence termed as Sweet by our teacher, otherwise many people would have left the course.
    Later I came to know that Sahaj was direct lift of TM.
    Though I found the meditation effective, but I discontinued after I left AOL completely.

  14. Suyesh Shankar permalink
    July 25, 2010 6:37 am

    age 35 male. Mine was shyam.

  15. Abhilash Shastry permalink
    July 25, 2010 6:55 am

    My mantra was : sham.

    Male. 31 at the time of initiation.

    I did my Sahaj with Bhanu. But here is the catch.

    Many people here have mentioned that these mantras were copied from TM or even sahaj is lifted from TM. Now here is a twist. Looks like this lifting/ copying business is a two way process. Years after my Sahaj with Bhanu, I attended a TM session out of curiosity. Guess what? My TM teacher told me that I did not need a separate Mantra. I could use my Sahaj mantra for TM! While people here are pissed that after shelling out $$$, they were handed over a ‘fake’ mantra, I din not get even a fake one!

    As far as technique of Sahaj and TM are concerned, there is very little difference. In Sahaj, I mentally chant my mantra when I notice my thoughts wandering, in TM I have to chant it continuously. After effects are same. After coming out of AOL (and TM), I tried the technique with my self made mantras – lim, chim, tum, pum…. it works the same. So much for the uniqueness and secrecy of mantra!

    For quite some time Bhanu was the only one in AOL authorised to teach Sahaj. I do not know what is the status now. In India, often, a successful businessman spins out a small unit out of his main business and gives it to one of his sons. It is to test how much enterprising his son is and also to ensure that his son has a business of his own apart from the stakes in his father’s business. SSRS has followed the same path. He has kept the main business unit with himself and gifted a small shop selling Sahaj to his sister. It is to Bhanu’s credit that she has vindicated the trust of her brother and taken the once small shop of Sahaj to new heights – so much so that today in AOL inner circles, just like SK, Sahaj is seen as an indispensable part of your meditation toolkit!

    As far as Bhanu’s marketing skills are concerned, several bawa-s put together cannot hold a candle to her. Before starting her course, she announced that 5 top students who excel in that session will get direct admission to DSN course! Wow! In case you misunderstood it, ‘direct’ does not mean -free. All it means is that you will not be asked to write essay on role, goal, mission etc. that is required of DSN application – and which BTW no one reads if you have enclosed the fees. Rather, you will be on the express train of shelling out your $$$. Cool.

  16. exaolteacher permalink
    July 25, 2010 10:20 am

    @ Curious George
    the word bramhananam used in guru puja is not name of mahesh yogis guru but a state of bliss

    • John permalink
      July 25, 2010 3:47 pm

      (…) LOKA-GYANA PAYODA PATANA DHURAM SHRI SHANKARAM SHARMADAM
      BRAHMHANANDA SARASVATIM GURWVARAM DHYAYAMI JYOTIR-MAYAM

      It recites all the names of the rishis of the holy tradition, and the last one, the name of MMY’s guru, SWAMI BRAHMHANANDA SARASVATIM

      • exaolteacher permalink
        July 26, 2010 3:28 pm

        i agree with u but i was refering to following mantra-
        Brahmanandam parama sukhadam kevalam jnanamurtim

        dvandvaateetam gagana sadrusam tatvamasyadi lakshyam

        ekam nityam vimala machalam sarvadheesaakshibuutam

        bhaavaateetam triguna rahitam sadgurum tam namaami.

        meaning

        “I salute to that Sadguru who is the source of eternal bliss,

        supreme happiness, who has true wisdom,

        who is beyond the dualities, who is infinite,

        whose attention is always on the divine, who is unique,

        eternal, pure, steady, and who sees with the eyes of wisdom

        who is beyond thoughts and beyond three gunas “.

  17. exaolfan permalink
    July 25, 2010 11:50 am

    My mantra is Bhamm. Male, 29 age

    • Joker permalink
      July 25, 2010 4:47 pm

      My Mantra is ‘Cram’ – Lesbian, Age 28

      Sorry, couldn’t resist ;-)

  18. Anonymous permalink
    July 25, 2010 4:04 pm

    In hindu tradition, mantra is to be obtained from an accomplished guru whom you respect – only then it works otherwise not. What’s the use in taking mantra it from someone like bhanu ?

    • July 25, 2010 4:22 pm

      Does that mean we will acquire the traits of the one who initiated us? Scary thought!

      • Anonymous permalink
        July 26, 2010 1:36 am

        Kinda – but not quite. Each mantra has a lakshya-artha, i.e it takes you somewhere. At the very least, the person initiating should have mantra-siddhi..i.e he should have gone far ahead, so he can transfer some of the aura associated with the mantra at the time of initiation. Since all the paths converge after a point – an advanced yogi/teacher can initiate people with variety of mantras.

        Adi Shankaracharya started the tradition of Panchayatna upasana – or worship/meditation on five forms of god. In advaita tradition, the mantras are associated with one of these five – one can choose either one as ishta devata – or mantras can be given on basis of their innate tendencies (for people who don’t believe in any deity). Sahaj Samadhi and TM are variations of this same basic idea.

        The real sahaj samadhi – at least according to advaita tradition is nirguna upasana. It is generally supposed to be done by sannyasis only, since it is a more advanced practice, and householders generally don’t have the capacity or the patience for it. Nirguna upasana is closer to what meditation is really about – which is just being a witness, aware of the fact that you are not a doer – and life is just happening.

        TM and AOL are watered down versions of advaita parampara, that have been dumbed down for the masses.

  19. Neelam permalink
    July 25, 2010 6:28 pm

    Mine is Aimmm – female 19

  20. John permalink
    July 25, 2010 7:42 pm

    Forget about mantras, this whole meditation thing seems fake to me. I have asked several folks basic questions about meditation like what is meditation and what it is supposed to do. Nobody has a straight answer. In the AOL class, I asked the teacher after we went through the meditation routine – what is it supposed to do. She said – it’s not supposed to do anything. I asked her whether I am supposed to feel any different after doing it. She said – not really.
    Some folks have commented saying they get a spaced out or disconnected feeling after doing sahaj which does not sound good. I read in a book that when people do lot of meditation, a specific portion of brain starts getting less blood so people get these weird feelings – spaced out, disconnected, floating, etc.

    • Uncle Scooby permalink
      July 25, 2010 10:40 pm

      This is actually a really interesting point. I too get the spaced out feeling – but only sometimes. When this happens, I really lose myself completely, and when I come out of it I feel really peaceful and relaxed. I definitely notice the difference when I don’t do it.

      As far as I know, meditation in general is all about improving focus and concentration, and stilling the chattering in the mind. I don’t believe it’s fake, but now I’m really wondering about Sahaj.

      Interestingly enough, I remember reading in Wisdom for the New Millenium, someone asked SSRS something along the lines of if J Krishnamurti said that mantras in meditation were useless or counterproductive, then why were mantras used in Sahaj. His reply was something like JK was a rebel and wasn’t quite correct in his assumption and allegedly changed his mind towards the end of his life. I remember thinking it was a very odd response.

  21. Meg permalink
    July 26, 2010 3:47 am

    RS seems to put down anyone who could challenge his work or otherwise be some sort of a competition. He himself does not live the knowledge, how can he pass any mantra, technique, teachings? How can his students find any evolution if he is not fully-evolved himself? No wonder the quality of mind and aggression of his devotees. Reading their comments in these blogs is often quite shocking. He also said Osho was a rebel, yet he has taken all the knowledge from him. He critized Krishnamurti for saying one does not a master. Of course, that would make him loose business, just like therapists are a competition for his business too. Though they claim meditation increases concentration, etc it is very interesting what the Germans researched in a study of TMers. http://web.archive.org/web/20041012160358/trancenet.org/research/chap4.shtml

  22. July 26, 2010 4:19 am

    As listened in Osho discourses about Meditation-
    Meditation is awareness, living in present moment. You should be aware every moment whatever you are doing. You should be PRESENT in each act. When you does everything with full awareness, there can not be sorrow, guilt afterwards. Your life must become meditations, its not one hour job daily.
    You have to start with some formal technique and expand the experience to your whole life.
    That’s what I understood.

  23. profhughakston permalink
    July 26, 2010 7:26 am

    I am mentioning parts of debate between Osho and disciples of Maharishi(?) Mahesh Yogi(Was SSRS presnt among these disciples :) ). You can read the whole article at
    http://oshosearch.net/Convert/Articles_Osho/Early_Talks/Osho-Early-Talks-00000007.html

    Osho on Guru, puja, mantra, method etc:
    1.But if you are following some method, some path, some guru, then you are going nowhere…(Many people laugh loudly in disbelief)…. because it cannot lead you anywhere. It can only lead you into an illusory state of auto-hypnosis.
    2.You cannot go beyond through any ceremony, any puja. That cannot do it.
    3.A mind which dreams or which is engaged in puja, in ceremony, in bhajan, in prayer, is a mind which is constantly escaping from oneself. And the mind which is escaping from oneself cannot know oneself;
    4.The awakening is so individual, it is so authentically individual, it is so uniquely individual, it cannot be made a mass technique….The search is so authentically individual you cannot follow anybody
    5.The very following is misguidance, the very following…. because the following is mechanical, the following can be without any awareness. When you follow someone you follow blindly; the very following is blindness. It cannot give you awareness.
    6.Mind can be made dull through any process. The very process makes the mind dull because the process is a repetition. The repetition is yet dullness. Whenever you repeat something you become dull. You go on repeating, go on repeating, repeating, repeating, you become a dullness.

    Osho on meditation(from the same article):
    1.In the bible there’s a very short sentence and it says, “Be still and know.”
    2.The mind which is after achievement, is the hindrance. …… So God cannot be made an achievement. The enlightenment cannot be made an achievement
    3.If you leave all methods and all paths, and all ways, and remain in a total vacuum, doing nothing, thinking nothing – only then what we call meditation can be achieved
    4.You may think that this is the simplest thing, not to do anything. That is the most difficult thing – not to do anything
    5.You think that simply sitting is something simple? (Laughter) It is the most difficult thing! If you can simply sit then everything will come to you; then there is no question.
    6.Meditation is not a method….Truth cannot be achieved through method.
    7.There is nothing like physical and nothing like spiritual. There is one thing: when it is seen it is material, when it is unseen it is spiritual….So don’t think in terms of material and spiritual. That is the old nonsense, the very old nonsense

    Jiddu Krishnamurti and Ramana were the real thing. Osho had huge respect for both of them. SSRS criticizing J Krishnamurti is like a molehill criticizing the Everest.

    If you want to know meditation read/ listen to Osho(as Ram has also mentioned above) .
    Visit http://www.oshoworld.com. You can download Osho English/Hindi discourses and books FOR FREE.

  24. profhughakston permalink
    July 26, 2010 10:16 am

    I read all the 5 articles mentioned by Curious George above
    http://minet.org/Documents/shank-1,2,3,4,and 5.
    I am mentioning parts of the article. I think it will be helpful for former AOL people, those who are in a dilemma, as well as who wish to begin their spiritual journey and are in search of a true master

    1. “The guru who charges or takes money from his disciples in return for initiation, steals disciples property and goes to damnable hell.”: Goswami Tulsidas

    2. He(Brahmananda Saraswati, mentioned during Guru Puja) used to say “If I accept any gift from the disciple (or fees), then his sins are transmitted to me.”

    3. In India, dharma, yoga, knowledge, specialized knowledge can never be sold for money. That is priceless. Anyone who puts a price on it insults it. So, a mantra is also never given for money. Knowledge cannot be sold for money. … this is entirely against
    the canons of Indian culture and civilization….Where money is involved that becomes a business.

    4. “One who is asking for a price for a mantra, it shows, he did not have anything to give out to anyone else.”

    5. “Q: It is reported by some that with this type of meditation(TM) many people have harmed themselves physically and mentally. I think people give huge amounts of money to buy some sickness for themselves?

    A: …Without accomplishing the kind of ability needed for meditation, if one meditates,IT CAN BE FATAL (emphasis mine). This is true, however, making the people who are physically very tired, sit peacefully and make them do some yoga posture like can provide temporary peace.”

    Bawa has become very boastful after becoming a Sahaj teacher. I am going to post my comment at his blog. Let’s see if he publishes it :) .

    If you can, please visit all the 5 links. They will give you an idea of the true principles of Hinduism.

  25. goneagain permalink
    July 26, 2010 12:33 pm

    “Swaroopanand Saraswati:
    We do join Bija Aksharas (single syllabled names/sounds)
    to the mantras. But, Bija Aksharas also mean IshTadevataas (names
    of the personal forms of god). The kind of process you just described
    is purely imaginary and it has no connection with our Scripture of
    the Shankaracharya tradition.

    Bija Akshara is connected with IshTadevataas to make it a mantra.
    These have relevance with the Scriptures, a tradition. Whatever Mahesh
    does in this respect has no relevance to Shastra (Scriptures).”

    Like master like disciple – to get money to flow – one could imagine anything and be creative in that. Shyam (, etc) = Sham -> rightly said.

    • anonymous permalink
      July 26, 2010 7:17 pm

      Did you ever meet him? (I assume you are referring to the Swaroopanand who was one of those fighting for “seat” after Brahmananda Saraswati died.) All are self-serving, critical of each other, badmouthing, etc. At least Swaroopanand was as was one of the others I saw. Real egotistic people! Didn’t care for their company at all. They were so filled with hatred and scorn for others. How can one learn from such a guru? Since I have enough bad qualities of my own, I figure I should find someone who doesn’t have all those bad qualities as well! Or I should learn alone.

  26. Venugopal.N permalink
    July 26, 2010 2:07 pm

    Pranams at the holy feet of Bhagavan.

    One more story that may be of interest to sincere seekers is that of Janaka and Yagnavalkya. Once Janaka wanted to know how to realize self and offered a lot of wealth in the form of cows to who ever tells him the answer. No one in his assembly dared to answer fearing that they may be wrong and hence did not answer.

    Yagnavalkya a jeevan muktha tells one of his sishyas to take all the cows to their ashram even before telling anything to Janaka; all others asks him why he has asked the cows to be taken to his ashram even before he gives an answer.

    Yangavalkya says at that time he is in need of those cows – this is in lighter sense; then he tells Janaka that for Atma vidya that he is going to give him; the whole 7 islands – sapta dweep – itself as gift would not be enough…

    It is a shame that the modern day ‘GuXXs’ – they cannot be even called Guru – takes money for giving True Knowledge to the sishya.

    It is OK to collect money for Yoga / Pranayama and all the other tricks since they are at the body level and does not liberate one – is good to do – to help lead to the liberation; but that happens when the true enlightened Guru through his Grace liberates the sishya – for this nothing is needed other than his Grace …..

    Hari OM
    Venugopal

  27. Manju permalink
    July 26, 2010 4:28 pm

    I went to AOL website today because it is Guru Purnima. I noted that Guruji is in Hartford. I was happy to note that the knowledge sessions will be put up in a video/webcast format.

    But here’s the catch- they charge in dollars for viewing these videos!!!!! Man, oh man, I didn’t think a spiritual group can stoop so low as to charge for a knowledge session and make money from that!! God no!

    To think that there are archives of Ramana Maharshi, Paramahansa Yogananda (yes there’s one where he talks of sleep)- are floating online FOR FREE!!

    Sad, what more can I say? Which harebrain thought of charging! I think the AOLers are hard-wired to only think one thing- MONEY.

    A local invite for Gurupurnima looked like this: Front page- invite- venue. Back page- courses, courses and more courses.

    Cheez, can’t they even write a sentence over the significance of GURU PURNIMA!

    Sad. God bless them.

    • Vishal permalink
      July 28, 2010 7:17 am

      Manju
      “Which harebrain thought of charging! I think the AOLers are hard-wired to only think one thing- MONEY.”

      Hundred percent sure that the harebrain is Sri Sri Ravi

  28. coward permalink
    July 26, 2010 5:10 pm

    Funny thing is people are paying for rubbish..shri Krishna had told that company of wise will be few in kaliyug. So it is compulsion being people are throwing in numbers to listen these unenlightened men. I think to be able to discriminate between trurh and untruth is meditation, it is very sahaj ;-)

    • July 26, 2010 10:24 pm

      I think that this idea or notion itself that one person knows all the truth (for eg sri krishna from your reply or vivekandanda or osho or jesus christ or mohammed) needs to be challenged. The entire religious lineages or the sacredness of scriptures is due to the fact that one person knows it all. People keep searching for that one person or that single source of authority and end up with likes of ssrs or will end up with someone else sooner or later.

      • coward permalink
        July 27, 2010 6:43 am

        Very true, truth was existed before shri krishana. Trurh is one from very beginning for all ages till end, and to debate it,is considered not good for society. These false teachers know this weakness , so in the name of one world family they are flourishing and would never encourage critical thinking. You are right my freind.:-)

  29. Anand permalink
    July 26, 2010 6:30 pm

    Isn’t this great and “meaningful”? We are discussing after all the holy tradition during Guru Purnima! Like someone said before, “One world family!” My mantra was AIM age 29.

  30. Abhilash Shastry permalink
    July 28, 2010 6:24 am

    Tulasidas in his Ramcharitmanasa says about Kaliyuga:

    “bahu daam sajaavahi dhaam jati,
    tapasee dhanwant, daridra gruhi’”

    Translation:

    “In Kaliyuga, so called sannyasins (renunciate) will fill their ashrams with all sorts of riches and conveniences – in the process – making sadhus rich and householders poor.”

    Does anyone see any resemblance here with modern day sadhus?

  31. Jaidev permalink
    July 28, 2010 4:40 pm

    We are quick to call these swamis good or bad, true or fraud, black or white, but it is not so simple. The truth is that they are all shades of gray. There is definitely some good in the yoga and basic kriya that AoL teaches. My joint pains have reduced after the sri sri yoga practice. Maybe some other yoga can do the same, but SSY is my introduction to these practices and it works for me now.

    On the other hand the aol-ites going on like brainwashed zombies worshiping their lord of the universe really scares me. What amazes me is the number of highly educated smart people giving up their regular lives to become ashramites or full time teachers. Wow. How do they suddenly switch off their brains and follow some crazy philosophy and ideology like sheep?

    • Prakash permalink
      July 29, 2010 3:28 am

      Jaidev has very rightly noticed, that many educated people get trapped into this scam.

      It might seem contradictory but the fee that AOL charges might be one of the reasons.

      People think they are getting “Value for money”. May be if AOL courses were offered free of cost, these guys would never have joined.

      Secondly, most of the fellow AOL devotees are relatively affluent.

      They “invest their money” in AOL. In turn they are able to spend some time at a quiet place, and just relax.

      Breathing exercises can do no harm. Taking a break always rejuvenates.

      AOL gets the credit.

      Prakash

      P.S.:

      (Brilliant business model. No investment. Free and dedicated work force. Affluent followers. No dearth of “patients”, No accountability.

      Brilliant ………simply brilliant.)

      • John permalink
        July 29, 2010 8:23 pm

        Yes, it’s brilliant but not original. I am thinking of starting my own business along these same lines. You know, I’ll ask my followers to breath at different rhythms while chanting a mantra. Before you say it sounds like SK, let me add that they’ll need to blink their eyes also at different rhythms in a pattern. It’s an advanced form of kriya that I recently received while I was in a deep meditation.
        I want to share this supreme knowledge with the world for a nominal fee. You know, just like breathing, blinking is very important to us. We blink all our lives but nobody has taught us how to blink correctly. Any takers/partners?

      • Abhilash Shastry permalink
        July 31, 2010 6:41 am

        Sorry, John. You won’t get any takers.

        SSRS is getting so many takers because he is latching on to breathing meditation techniques that have long had a respectable place in Hindu and Buddhist spiritual traditions. There is a vast audience that has a soft corner for Eastern spirituality. SSRS is able to dupe so many people because he is ready to exploit the goodwill of his unsuspecting preys towards Hinduism and Buddhism.

        So, your supreme knowledge based on blinking techniques will not easily get many takers. You need to find out something from a spiritual tradition and be ready to manipulate people’s trust and goodwill towards that tradition to be able to run your shop successfully. It is not easy to be SSRS. You need a heart of cold steel to replicate his success.

  32. goneagain permalink
    July 28, 2010 5:14 pm

    What a prediction by Tulasidas – that explains lot about RS, Nithy, etc.

  33. Karna permalink
    July 29, 2010 9:13 am

    Here is a different type of swami, a breath of fresh air after the ongoing scams.

    http://www.deccanherald.com/content/83623/baba-saffron-has-planted-over.html

    The ‘Baba’ in saffron has planted over a lakh saplings

    Unlike the other ‘high profile Babas’, he does not believe in delivering sermons or travel in luxury cars.

    Instead he strongly believes in Rabindra Nath Tagore’s philosophy of ‘ekla cholo re’ (go alone if others do not support you).

    And following the same spirit, he rides a bicycle, carries saplings on his bicycle and spreads the message to keep the environment clean and preserve nature.

  34. Anonymous permalink
    August 6, 2010 12:09 am

    Is AOL’s ‘Sahaj Samadhi Meditation’ a copycat of Transcendental Meditation?

    Seems TM meditation is harmful and it might cause mental disorders. There have been lots of scientific studies in this area:

    http://www.behind-the-tm-facade.org/transcendental_meditation-harmful-abstracts.htm

    I have some close friends got deeply trapped in AOL and they practice SK (which also has harmful side effect of hyperventilation and might cause brian cell damage: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hyperventilation) and this ‘Sahaj Samadhi Meditation’ everyday. I am very worried about my friends and I’d like to do more research and gather more information about the harmful side effects of SK and SS meditation techniques to bring to their awareness. If you have any information to share here, I will be very appreciated.

    • anonymous permalink
      August 6, 2010 12:18 pm

      I practiced TM for many years, and also have practiced SK (I’ve left AOL because of SSRS’s strangeness and the general organization being obviously corrupt and a cult). The view that SK and TM cause brain damage seems to be the “I hate all organizations and gurus and practices” extremist view. Basically, TM is the practice of Bija, or Seed mantras, as they are called. They have been used by thousands of years in India, and are very useful for meditation. SK is another very old technique, with some new marketing attached to it. That SSRS claims it as his own invention is ridiculous. If these things were so damaging, too many Indians would be brain damaged from them to go unnoticed, as some or all of these practices are not at all uncommon in society.

      The organizations, and proximity to the gurus involved may very well cause brain damage, though, but the mechanism is unclear to me. I experienced lapses of memory while in AOL (I was peripheral in TM), when close to SSRS. Some of this could be lack of sleep which people who are ‘full time’ often experience (again, the reason is unknown to me). I do know that the same physical symptoms in many people (sweating palms, involuntary movements, poor judgement, lapses of memory, extreme fear — the list is long) are held in common by two groups: people returning from war zones, experiencing PTSD, and people leaving cults like AOL. Now, science has shown that those returning from, say, Iraq, with PTSD, show some very strange frontal cortex shut down, and scientists have postulated that this shut down could be the cause of many of the physical symptoms. This was reported fairly recently, in the science section of several US newspapers. Evidently, through the use of some kind of scanning of the brain, they could detect what was ‘lit up’ and what was dark. People with PTSD had some loss of frontal cortex (I think I have this terminology right?) activity that was significant.

      I maintain, from my own recovery experience, that it is possible (probable) to recover one’s prior functionality once removed from the cult setting. It can take months, and I’ve heard of cases where it took years. Again, these were people who were quite close to SSRS, and often in an altered state they considered to be “ecstatic”. When they left, they were disoriented, fearful, unable to make decisions, had many of the physical symptoms mentioned above. Nobody really completely knows why this would happen, I guess.

      To be afraid of all the ancient practices (of which TM and SK have just put trademarks on, that’s all) would to be to throw the baby out with the bathwater. If your friends and family are too close to the organization, I would worry about that aspect. Perhaps you could suggest that they continue their beneficial practices on their own and not be involved in AOL? You’ll quickly know if they are going for the practices, or for the “vibe”, which is somehow what seems to be so damaging to most.

      Perhaps there have been similar studies on people leaving cults? I just don’t know.

      • anonymous permalink
        August 7, 2010 7:29 pm

        I didn’t notice any research on the matter in these quotes by Klim on the associated blog. They are basically opinions, and personal experiences. I have to maintain that my own experience is much different those people who posted the terrible loss of memory and use of their minds, etc. Also, are they sure that it was not from being associated too closely with SSRS and AOL brainwashing? These techniques really are thousands of years old, and when done properly should not harm people. Now, as a good teacher of yoga or of SK should know, there are people who should not practice many pranayamas: those with heart problems, some with circulatory problems, mental problems which could be exacerbated by pranayama. I have personally witnessed teachers telling people to breathe very deeply during the SK. I was taught (by SSRS, not another AOL teacher) that SK is not deep breathing at all, but, rather, circular breathing. Yes, if you breathe too deeply, you will hyperventilate. No doubt about this. But if you breathe in smooth circles, and you are basically healthy to begin with (physically, emotionally and mentally) you should not have any dire consequences, but rather, the calming effect that SK is purported to produce. Is it possible that they are teaching SK differently these days? Are they teaching people to breathe very deeply during it, and thereby inducing hyperventilation? I myself made this mistake when I first became a teacher. When I asked about certain people who had odd effects, that was when I did receive the instruction that SK is not a deep, violent breathing technique, but that the secret of it is in the circles, their rhythms (see your Kriya notes) etc.

        I still think that more of the terrible effects have come from being around a crazy person like SSRS and that “vibe”, plus the lack of sleep encouraged for full timers, and general AOL brainwashing — cult effects. It seems wrong to blame ancient yogic techniques, unless, of course, they are being taught incorrectly and therefore practiced incorrectly.

        I love meditation, mantras, pranayama, yoga, Kriya. Really dislike (mild word) AOL and the behaviors of SSRS and his cronies.

    • November 12, 2010 8:03 am

      may i ask who told you that SK cuses hyperventilation in the brain?????

  35. exaolfan permalink
    August 6, 2010 9:21 am

    I did SK 9 years every week whithout problems. SK is good technik. No sensations, no visualisations, but silence and peace. SK and pranayamas are good, but AOL and Sri Sri are not good…

  36. Anonymous permalink
    August 6, 2010 11:22 pm

    Thanks for sharing KLIM’s blog, Goneagain. These articles and Ex-AOLs comments definitely have opened my eyes. Now I understand why my friends who practice AOL’s SK and SS meditation techniques for a few months complained to me about their headache, sleep disorder, cold hands etc symptoms. Seems this SK pranyamas technique has hyperventilation side effect and it is not suitable for everyone. Funny thing is my friends were so brainwashed by AOL that they naively believe their SK side-effect symptoms just indicate ‘SK is so effective to cleap up their internal toxin and bad karma’ as their AOL instructor told them. I feel pity for them!

    One of my close friends actually just paid $5500 to AOL to attend the TTC Teacher’s Training course. She took the basic AOL course only one year ago and she was totally ignorant about Indian Yoga and meditation techniques. But now she is becoming an AOL teacher to teach people ‘advanced Yoga pranayama and meditation techniques’ and spread ‘Hindu spirituality knowledge’! I feel deeply sorry for her irresponsible bahavior and ignorance.

    Thanks for setting up this blog and hats off to KLIM. You guys are the brave hero daring to speak out the truth. I am sure more and more people will see through the dangerous CULT mask of AOL and dump the fake guru behind it. Keep up the good work!

  37. Active AOL teacher permalink
    August 29, 2010 5:58 am

    As an active Art of Living Teacher I though I ought add a few comments to this discussion.
    Their are many criticisms and I welcome any rebuttal or discussion.

    H.H Sri Sri Ravi Shankar was a student devotee of Marashi of the TM movement. The Art of Living is a direct dissident of that long line of tradition. No secret, yes TM and Sahaj Samadi are to the best of my knowledge very similar. Sri Sri has done all this with the blessings of Marshi.
    No secret, no issue really.
    Mantras: go ahead and share them and yes they will lose their gas. Its not magic though.
    It you take a person to the most holy place and sit them in from of the most sacred relic, and if that person simply curses that, there is no value in that sacredness for that person.
    The sprit is within you, not a process, if you have no respect for a process then there is no value for you. So, why have a mantra and why not spill it all over the internet? The value in the process and mantra is to aid you in your path/meditation. If you create sacredness, sacredness will be there. If you create disturbance, that will be there. So hang on to your mantra, you may find comfort in it some day.

    • Active AOL teacher permalink
      August 29, 2010 6:07 am

      As for all the talk about money. I have taught classes where i did not charge anything, in fact the Foundation did this initially. But people did not value the course. Secondly, do you know the work this foundation has done and continues to do? The Art of Living Foundation does all sorts of humanitarian work globally. If you doubt, check and see where all those tight fisted dollars of your have gone. This work does not come free.
      Secondly, H.H. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar does not have Roles Royce’s nor a lavish lifestyle. Even if he took the money for himself he has no chance to spend it. Take a look at his life and life style. He goes every day to events, courses, meets dignitaries goes to the aid of governments. he simply has no life of his own. He does not enjoy the simple things we all take for granted.
      Take a look at what he has done globally and then come back and tell me he is not a Saint.

  38. Active AOL teacher permalink
    August 29, 2010 6:27 am

    Finally ill effects of SK. It is true and not a secret that there are some who ought not do SK. Any one with mental disease ought not meditate or do Sudarshan Kriya. Further any one who is “spacey” ought be very careful. Also one should NEVER MIX RECREATIONAL DRUGS with any type of meditation and for sure no Sudarshan Kirya.
    But for most and in fact many millions the process provided and continues to provide peace.

    Their are pushy fundamentalist in every facet of society from different religions to hang gliding. People will say this is the best and you must do such and such. The Art of Living has people like this too. Ok, so what. I am sorry you may have met some of these people, but life is full of pushy people. It it works for you, great, if not, blessings find a path that works for you.

    No one is obligated to join, and welcome to come and go as they please. In fact SSRS one said “do you know what the Guru (I) wants form you?” “nothing, not even a toothpick”.

    The thing is, the quality of your life is the quality of you mind. So if AOL doesn’t work for you, go find something that does, but be happy. Life is short why grumble,

    • Ranga permalink
      September 9, 2010 6:02 am

      Thanks for the comments by AOL teacher. I was a teacher of AOL for six years. Apart from the list of ill effects of Sudarshan Kriya mentioned by you, there are several more I have evidenced.

      SK creates heat in the body just like any other energizing pranyama like Bhastrika or Kapalbhati, this has led to boils and tumors in many people. The standard AOL teacher response to this is that it is a purification process, however the reality is it is an imbalance in the doshas (created by SK). It is not suitable for all. There are several other ill effects I have evidenced. I know one lady who got a very bad skin condition due to SK. It stopped after she stopped practising. SK is beneficial for only some people. I have seen people becoming extremely lethargic and putting on unhealthy weight because of SK. Alternatively I have also seen people becoming highly energetic and unearthly and spaced out. SK is not some magic wand. And it is also not breathing in natural rhythms of the body as advertised. There is no such thing as that. Any external breathing through force is unnatural. I have witnessed that even Ravishankar doesn’t have a clue when something bad happens to the people who practice techniques taught in AOL.

      In my experience as a teacher and also observing the students taught by other teachers including ravishankar – I have found that more than 95% of people stop doing SK after the first few weeks. This I have learned is due to their innate bodily intelligence and their natural rhythms which has discarded the practice of SK as unnatural.

      I personally know long time teachers and functionaries in AOL who have stopped practising Sudarshan Kriya as they have found it harmful to them. They now practise the traditional yogas as in suryanamskars, pranyama, sri sri yoga and padmasadhana. But they still preach and teach SK because that is the trademark product of AOL.

      The unfortunate people are those who get carried away by all the propoganda and practise things which do not suit them. These people do a great degree of damage to themselves. I hold AOL people as culprits for these people as they have done little to warn these people of the contra indications and ill effects of sudarshan kriya. Check out any good yoga teacher or school, they always highlight the pros and cons of the kriyas and yogas they teach. They customize the practise to the needs of their students. Bihar School of Yoga, Krishnamacharya or Iyengar – they have a huge repository of techniques suiting differing needs. Osho Rajneesh devised many meditation techniques to suit needs of different people. He warned people to drop things if it is not working for them. However in AOL it is different. They are more intrested in brand building and blind unintelligent dogmatic acceptance. This I beleive is not the spirit of yoga at all.

      • WhistleBlower permalink
        September 9, 2010 7:23 am

        Thanks Ranga for your valuable comments.

        In AOL, if someone has adverse reaction to Kriya, they are told “keep practising, it will go away!”
        No matter how long the person has practiced, same advice is given. Then they are told “maybe you are not practicing it correctly, let me check you.” or “Are you eating satvic food?”

        In fact, in AOL, they have made it to a stigma if someone doesn’t have a good experience of Kriya. It is their “fault” and there is something wrong with them if they don’t enjoy Kriya. They are told that means that they need Kriya even more than others to fix them!
        The problem is never with Kriya, but with students. If people leave AOL after a while, it is due to their bad Karma, not being ready for it in this life time!

        The same goes if someone has a health problem and Kriya doesn’t fix it or if someone develops a health problem in spite of regular practice of Kriya. They are told keep practicing it will go away.

        AOL teachers are not given proper training at best of times, esp. nowadays where people can become teachers just after one part1 course and a 3 week TTTC (giving SriSri $$$$)

    • November 12, 2010 8:13 am

      sir i love you. thank you for sharing this…this whole blog…i knew it was empty from inside…i myself have experienced good effects from SK…and you have clearly outlined the money problem that i understood but was not able to explain.:)

  39. Mannie permalink
    September 9, 2010 4:54 am

    I would like to thank the authors of this web page, and all those that have contributed by commenting.

    When I first stumbled across this site a few days ago, I too was disillusioned by both the TM and AOL techniques.

    After reading through some of the comments, I seemed to have formed another opinion. Those of us with a western heritage predominantly grew up in Christian environments, and didn’t really have the base knowledge of the eastern ways of life, religions and philosophies. I would suggest reading up on Ayurveda, as that is where I started shifting my own spiritual platform to.

    It was interesting to find that both TM and AOL meditation and yoga techniques are based on Ayurveda, and there are many different versions of the Kriya.

    Though both techniques have worked for me, the distortions in my illusion came more from the secrecy and finances, as I’m a firm believer that ‘knowledge is power’ and should be shared to enlighten all that want it. The authors of minet.org also painted a fair picture of Maharishi and after a little research, the relationship between him and Sri Sri Ravi.

    I will still practice yoga and meditations as I do enjoy them, and am grateful to those at both the TM and AOL institutes for giving my initial instructions, albeit at a price.

    We must ask ourselves the question: Why did we go?

    Love, Light and Respect to all

  40. JhoneMoore permalink
    September 22, 2010 5:46 am

    So long you rely on outer Guru you will be always cheated. You have to awaken your inner guru. In spiritual journey silence is the only mantra. Guru resides within you. All the external helps are temporary.

    “There is a subtle principle that resides within all of us, which is unborn and undying. It is a repository of infinite strength, wisdom, abundance and auspiciousness. It is bliss infinite and the giver of supreme happiness. It is the support-less, infinite sky of supreme wisdom. It is the silent witness of everything. It is neither male, nor female. It exists beyond all dualities. It is not bounded by time, space or conditions. This witnessing presence is pure and clear like the sky, luminous like the morning Sun. It is our inner Guru.” – from the book Awakening Inner Guru.

  41. Bharati permalink
    September 23, 2010 9:17 am

    Thanks to all who had the courage to speak up the truth regarding AOL and SK. I am a Yoga and meditation teacher and I had had joint problems after practicing the SK for a few weeks, which disappeared as I quit the practice. There were similar experiences for some of my friends.

    Now I know, the pranayama SK do not suit everybody, as they preach. Pranayamas in general, do have lot of health benefits if they are practiced correctly; but you need to know, which suits your typical constitution. They are not universal. I have seen teachers giving suggestions to the newcomers just after the SK, when they are advised to rest and relax in closed eyes; suggestions such as now they are going to experience the most beautiful thing in their life, may be some yogic vision, or light etc. This is ridiculous. Only people with week mental make up are prone to accept these suggestions and experience something unearthly as their own mind cooks that up for them, believing those suggestions by their teacher.

    As for mechanical chanting of a Mantra,.. any such thing only clouds your awareness and there is no surprise that you find yourself spaced out or lethargic, even aggressive after a period of prolonged practice. I have seen many mantra-yoga practitioners suffering from such symptoms.
    Mantras have their specific uses, but not as they are preached to practice in AOL or TM. Beware of anything that asks you to believe without a rational basis. Awareness and rationality are important even when you practice yoga or meditation. Check out whether it is working for you. Meditation can lead you to the highest peak of joy and peace when it is practiced correctly. And yes, your rationality and clarity is never clouded.

    RS and AOL or TM should have warned people of the possible bad consequences simultaneously with the good ones, which they never do because of commercial/financial reasons, I suppose.
    The Active AOL Teacher says that the money is not personally used by RS. So what? That does not oblige anybody to accept him as a saint. He is selling something…, a Mantra, a technique for the benefit of people, for which he claims money. There are traders and merchants in the secular world who trade their goods that provides value to people, for a price. Where is the difference?
    There are NGOs that are doing services for the underprivileged masses that receive donations and charities from the Government and people for such work. Where is the difference?
    Business in the name of religion is the easiest thing today, as it demands no accountability and there are people ready to be fooled.

    • Peaceful Warrior permalink
      September 23, 2010 1:21 pm

      If I may add – most yoga schools these days provide courses at a price. It’s good business – everyone benefits. But AOL follows a different model – people pay money to do TTC, and don’t get anything in return for the time invested. It might have been ok if AOL truly was a non-profit organization – but it’s not – it’s a for-profit SS service corporation.

  42. Gretchen permalink
    October 21, 2010 6:08 am

    For the Skeptics: It seems like the only mantra is SHAM—greatest of SCAM !! Because statistics are great for it. However, remaining all people giving different ones are the AOLites or the Zombies- Quaratine them!! They are out there to fool.

    Again for everyone, I will share something only personal experience…no website or knowledge from other sources that may or may not be right. You reserve the right to believe or disbelieve my words. I was also given SHAM. I do not think it matters if you give it out or say it outloud. Sahaj meditation for me was a blessing because it helped me in meditating better. Previously I used to focus on breath and often found myself in energy vortex and it felt like and OBE. So, I could not meditate. But after sahaj, there was no fear. I am not saying they are not frauds, I don’t know. It could be possible that even with the wrong technique, my efforts worked wonders as I was prepared. Second thing, which was very wonderful that happened was I could hear the mantra as an unstuck vibration and at that point—I would say BHAMM, DAMMM, CRAMM, SHRIMM SHAMM, HAMM etc doesn’t matter because you mostly only will hear MMMMMMMM…….this might be Anhat naad that they talk about in scriptures. I was given this Mantra by an ex-TM Teacher…who now works with sahaj.
    One possible reason of pressure in skull is the posture while meditating, emotions, and not integrating the energy with yoga and life style. I used to have skull pressure problem even without Sahaj, only with sudarshan kriya. Dizziness can also mean, some cleansing is going on. the last problem that I recently faced was that it seems like your life is not yours anymore and you are virtually numb. The reason can be you are overdoing it or again not balancing it with activity, love. Mind it, I didn’t use the word SEVA. Also, another reason can be some sort of conflict at the level of mind, emotion or activity or duty in the world, that has held you in spirituality for some time but needs to get resolved before you further move on path. There is no end to the levels that come on the path and not everyone is actually ready for salvation. Nothing is bad in that too. Select your comfort level. I got benefit from stopping all the practices for some days…especially SATSANG can make you lunatic if you are not ready yet, better sing movie songs and go for horseriding, love other people and your family, resolve your own conflicts, stand up for yourself…ask only one question—why are you on spiritual path? How to best adjust yourself accordingly?

    • Peaceful Warrior permalink
      October 21, 2010 3:26 pm

      mantra meditation is very ancient practice in India. It’s best to learn from an authority – someone who actually understands how mantras work – AOL sahaj teachers don’t really understand how mantras work or how to give people mantras.

    • Billy permalink
      November 2, 2010 12:49 pm

      I Initiated into TM back in 1977.
      Like you being grateful to Sahaj Samadhi, I am also very grateful to Maharishi and TM for teaching me how to meditate.
      I also think that it doesn’t matter if you say your mantra out loud, in fact I think that it can make the whole experience more powerful, if you are teaching a person to meditate, I do believe that a puja is essential to protect both you and them.
      Like other people, I believe that you need to trust your Guru within – take what you need from the outer Guru, and leave the rest – don’t allow him or her to take over your life- after all they are only human just like the rest of us!
      I even changed my mantra from ‘aing’ to ‘shreeM’ – the best thing I ever did.
      There are a finite number of mantras whose effects are known, Ideally one needs to find the one best suited to them, rather than just accepting the one you received in TM or Sahaj Samadi – I would suggest ensuring it has an mmm… ending rather than an ‘ng’ ending as the mmm… opens the Crown and Heart chakras, whereas the ‘ng’ ending only opens the Crown – your Heart is never wrong!
      Namaste,
      Billy

  43. Billy permalink
    October 29, 2010 3:19 am

    I was “initiated” into TM back in 1977 – my mantra was aing pronounced ‘eye-ing’again like so many others I had incredible experiences, and still meditate twice daily – infact I have increased to 30 mins twice daily.
    My mantra is a variation of Mother Sarasvati’s bija aim for the energy or shakti of knowledge,creativity,inspiration etc
    the M or sometimes ng at the end of the mantra is the bindu – from my studies the humming m end is the most correct as it stimulates both the heart and crown chakrs, whereas the ng ending only stimulates the crown.
    Anyway with the help of a Indian friend, I learnt the TM puja, and then changed it in honour of my own inner guru, and I did a self initiation and chose that beautiful mantra shrim pronounced shreeeeemmm
    the vowel sound eee is nasilized add comes to an humming end point mmmm as the lips close – obviously in meditation I think this mantra effortlessly, but I also chant it out loud during the day – it’s fantastic, and since I have started using it I have become much happier and more grounded.
    Shreeeeemmm is Mother Lakshimi’s bija, and I consider her to be my chosen Ishta devata – she is the energy of abundance, peace harmony and prosperity – the shakti of manifestation.
    I know what shyam and gam etc are for but I won’t say unless anyone wants me to.
    Namaste,

    Billy

    • October 29, 2010 11:59 am

      Hi billy,
      Tell me about ‘Sham’.

      • Billy permalink
        October 30, 2010 7:27 am

        Hi Tiger_One

        ‘Sham’ is a bija of Lord Krishna, and it’s used for attacting Love or a loving relationship into your life.It’s normally written shyaM, and prorounced like shyahmmm – it would be easier if I could send an audio, but I’m not sure how to do that on this forum.

        Bija’s have a dual purpose when used in meditation, over time the repetition of the mantra wakes up the energy contained in the mantra in the individual, also the correct effortless silently repetition carries the mind back to source, and beyond into the infinite as the mantra becomes more and more refined.

        In TM the mantra has been modified slightly into something like ‘She – AM’ making it 2 syllabled, rather than the more correct single syllable shyahmmm

        Namaste,

        Billy

    • Question permalink
      October 29, 2010 4:18 pm

      @Billy: Can you please tell me what Gaamm mantra is about ?

      Thank You.

      • Billy permalink
        October 30, 2010 7:37 am

        Hi
        Gaamm is a bija of Lord Ganesh as Ganapathi is his role of obstacle removal – this mantra removes obstacles and brings success in all endeavours.

        Normally it’s written as gaM and pronounced like Guhmmm..
        The vowel sound is nasalised, and comes to that final mmm humming sound as the lips close.

        It looks like you were instructed to pronounce it with more of an aah sound rather than the more correct uh sound.

        Obviously its used in sri sri Ravi Shankar’s version of meditation, whereas it is not given in TM.

        Namaste,

        Billy

  44. October 30, 2010 12:10 pm

    Billi,
    Thanks for reply.

  45. Krish permalink
    October 31, 2010 2:19 pm

    Read comments by late UG Krishnamurti about all these techniques and everything will be clear.
    Kris.

  46. Omtatsat permalink
    January 23, 2011 10:20 pm

    Lots of interesting comments. My first reaction is that if you are having bad experiences with either TM or Sahaja Samadhi Meditation (especially headaches or head pressure) this means that you are straining and you should have your meditation checked. I know the TM people will do this and I’m assuming the SSM people will do this too. If you are spaced out, just engage in more vigorous activity to ground yourself. If spaciness continues, then reduce your meditation time. Also, you need to meditate on a regular basis; twice a day, not willy nilly when you feel like it. Also asanas and pranyama before meditation is really good to do. Mocking meditation is a little silly. You have to meditate for years on a regular basis to experience the profound benefits that are much deeper than mere relaxation. I’ve done TM meditation for 39 years on a regular basis. I’ve had incredible experiences, dull experiences, bad experiences, you name it. But it took about 16 years before I had a foundational shift in my ground of being that has never changed to this day. Don’t worry about what your mantra is; utterly irrelevant. Respect the spiritual tradition where you learn how to meditate by keeping your mantra private and doing your practice the way the describe. It WILL BEAR FRUIT in time. Who knows what your karma is! Put the necessary time into a spiritual practice, dig deep.

  47. Dr Yes permalink
    January 24, 2011 1:58 pm

    @omtatsat

    I agree with your comments about the meditation practices. The fact that some of these mantras have been posted on the TM trancenet site, or that there are similarities between the mantras is irrelevant.
    I have been meditating for about 38 years, initially with TM, then later Sahaj, and in past 6 years also practice and teach forms of mindfulness meditation with pranayams, etc.

    IMHO the mantras’ true empowerment come from the samkalpa of the meditator, the sincerity and regularity of practice and the capacity to totally let go of all expectations, or almost become indifferent to experiences and outcomes. Ironically, this orientation to meditation is both a process, and a state of being.

    The “big secret” is that human beings are manifestors and realizers through what phenomenologists call “intentionality”, and therefore we create, through our practice, the realization of what is really just our already existing true nature.

    So, the mantras do have some specific vibrational effect, but if people trivialize the process, they become inert and lifeless.

    So, while I don’t necessarily attribute the special powers of mantras to the particular grace of a particular guru, I do believe that by treating these practices with respect,we are actually respecting our deepest selves, and thus we invest them with OUR power – i.e. the power of the Self, and so make them agents of Realization. Although these might be hard to find in these days of media magic, true gurus and sincere seekers create a culture of empowerment around these practices, and thus add to their vibrations. But IMHO it still ALL depends on the quality of the practitioner.

  48. harshal permalink
    January 24, 2011 4:08 pm

    “So, while I don’t necessarily attribute the special powers of mantras to the particular grace of a particular guru, I do believe that by treating these practices with respect,we are actually respecting our deepest selves, and thus we invest them with OUR power ”

    By saying this you are suggesting that everyone or ‘each self’ is an independent unit, and others do not or cannot have any effect on it. you are also suggesting that Achieving ‘that’ completely depends on me and my effort/quality. Which means that some other ‘realized’ self cannot have any effect on me . Is that true? I have heard that everything in the universe is interconnected and anything and anyone can have an effect on anything and anyone if there is a strong intention. By this property of interconnectedness- The Guru thus comes into the equation, with his strong intention alone he can make the seeker achieve that which cannot be achieved.

  49. May 23, 2011 10:04 am

    It’s too bad to know that there are scammers around the world. I hope they get punished for scamming people’s money.

  50. Bob permalink
    June 18, 2012 4:58 am

    I have practiced TM for many years. I also took the basic AOL course, though I don”t practice SK any more. I have always been curious about SS meditation. I’d like to experience it just to see how it differs from TM. I have seen on the internet many references to SS, but never a good description of how to do it. Can someone write a brief instruction on how to do Sahaj Samadhi meditation, or refer me to somewhere on the internet that gives such instruction?

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