An Ex-Teacher’s Reply to Ann
Ann, I also taught in wretched conditions. I gave everything I could from my heart to SSRS and AOL. I worked tirelessly, innocently, as requested. Teaching often took place without electricity! People came in droves. Living conditions were horrible so much of the time, I wondered if I would survive them, and my health did deteriorate. I travelled on my own money, and when that ran out in other countries, relied on the kindness of the students who gave me housing and food (when it could be acquired — conditions were really that bad). For my efforts, I received, in the end, scorn and threats from SSRS if I did not do even more of what I had done. (I refused to teach anymore.) I never saw a beheading, thank God.
Students also seemed to benefit from the basic courses. Thousands of people learned SK. Yet, I knew, even then there was something wrong (this was awhile ago). I found out later that money had been collected and raised to help me teach. That money was taken by SSRS himself, personally, to ‘give’ to me. Even the head teachers who had been in charge of collecting were shocked when I described how I had lived for months and months. They asked, innocently “what about all the money we collected for you??” Then it was my turn to be shocked. I told them I never heard about it or saw any of it at all. They remained with SSRS. I left shortly thereafter, for other reasons.
If you have been close to him, you will know that what Whistleblower is saying is true: SSRS often takes advantage of willing teachers, uses them, then badmouths them in small closed circles. And when I would be in the small closed circle, I’d hear him badmouthing others. It was beyond my comprehension what he was saying about people. The humiliating lies he told about people I knew to be good-hearted and innocent. The truly ugly tones, sarcasm, laughter at people who were giving their very lives to him! And I found out, in the end, after I left, that he did the same thing to me. My friends who sat and heard him say these things left him quietly, as they knew what he was saying was sick, twisted, and sad. Those who didn’t leave simply were not friends.
Yes, Ann, in spite of your many degrees and qualifications, you are, from your writing, brainwashed. It can happen. Why not? It happened to some of the most highly educated Germans who associated with Hitler. It happened to many in Europe who were royalty, educated, possessed of all the good things in life. They simply were brainwashed by him. It happens, many times to the most educated among us, actually.
SSRS is not doing good work. You may have been, out of the goodness of your heart. But he is not. He does not work day and night tirelessly. If you have lived around him for any length of time and known him personally, closely, without others in the room, you will know this to be a fact. When he cannot sleep, he calls one of the “boys” to the room. His ‘work’ is mostly travelling around first class (no harm in that, actually), from place to place, eating what the devotees tirelessly prepare for him, giving a few talks, then ‘gossip’ sessions with the chosen few of the day or evening. He undergoes none of the physical hardships you have undergone. He doesn’t do any of the work you have done. It’s all very sad.
Yoga is wonderful. Breathing, including SK is wonderful. Basic teaching, as found in the basic course is wonderful. But SSRS and Art of Living are not wonderful. They have successfully packaged ancient techniques and are selling them to the public through you and others. He, his family, and certain others have gained immense personal wealth through this endeavor, Ann. If you don’t know this, then you don’t know his family or him. If you do know it and insist on being part of it, then that’s your choice.
I left when the commands he gave became just too bizarre to follow, when his paranoia became obvious, and it was clear he had changed totally, and would never be the great yogi I had thought him to be.
Just travelling a few times with him, or living with him at the ashram with hundreds of others, seeing him occasionally, does not always give you a clear, intimate look at who he really is. It sounds that your experience is like this.
If you leave, you might recover and collect back some of your own dignity now, Ann. I’m sure the other posts are telling the truth as to what he and his family (and whoever is in the ‘inner circle in that 5 minutes of time) are saying about you behind your back. That is his/their nature — back biting, and insincerity, making fun of others who work themselves nearly to death. He’s done it to many of us now. Why would he do anything different to you? Even his now long-haul senior teachers are not exempt. They just refuse to see the truth of him because they perhaps have nowhere to go, having reached middle age, and having given 20 years up to him. They want to believe he loves them. He will use you until he no longer sees you as useful. If you try to leave and he is afraid you know too much about him, he will threaten you, directly, from his own mouth, and through others. You would not be the first, and will not be the last to leave and come under threat, ridicule, and be subject to lies and sick rumors. A little truth will be mixed into each rumor and lie so foolish people will say “this much is true, so the rest must be also”. As a psychologist, you must know this trick of the manipulative type personalities.
I remain anonymous here, even in the depth of my comments, so as not to come to his attention. This is the level of abuse I received. I never want those people to even think of me, much less contact me again for speaking out. I also want freedom of speech, which was never granted in AOL.
What do I hope to achieve by even posting here? To contribute to the truth, so that good people can move on into actually helping people, not contributing to some money-making, fame-seeking fraud. Also, I long to see the day when SSRS himself, and his most senior teachers, simply retire to the mountains to silently contemplate what they have done, to look inward for a change of pace, to try to know God. They should do this, having paid all their back taxes (millions of dollars and rupees are now owed, since they are far from a charity).
Wishing you well, and that you make your escape soonest from AOL and SSRS. Life is too short. Don’t waste it.