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Partial Compilation of Charges Against The Art of Living Activities

August 11, 2010

By The Prosecutor

After teaching over 10 years and being in AOL doing selfless service over 15 years, unfortunately I being an insider have now known many things which a good hearted person shouldn’t have.

While going through the following 2 websites:

http://artoflivingfree.blogspot.com/

https://aolfree.wordpress.com/

I have tried to make a partial compilation of charges against the Art of Living activities with possible reference (Reference here simply means the source from which I have summarised and not the authentic proof). I have tried to avoid any emotions or strongly biased opinions which otherwise is generously expressed on those 2 blogs. And have thus compiled only those things which according to me are reasonable. Interpretation of knowledge is quite personal and thus not included as any charge. It might be very possible that some of the following charges are unjustified, baseless or lacks proper evidences. Also note that the topics mentioned are not consistent in tone as they have come from various sources.

Obviously not every person in The Art of Living is corrupt. In fact most of them are innocent and sincere. My intension is only to expose those who are corrupt and nothing else. Please use your own discrimination. I personally do feel benefited by doing Yogasana, Pranayama, Sudarshan Kriya, Padma Sadhana, and Sahaj Samadhi meditation (irrespective of their genuine sources).

  1. Charge: Several people involved in AOL activities have to co-operate out of obligations and at times completely against their will despite of knowing that certain things propagated by them seems unfair. Or else it would be labelled as doubting the master. But then of course Seva means a bit of sacrifice!!

Reference: http://artoflivingfree.blogspot.com/2010/03/art-of-living-course-or-curse.html

  1. Charge: Sri Sri Ayurveda formulas copied from Maharishi Ayurveda

Brief Details

    1. The product sold by aol is substandard is very costly. We were told during teachers training course that before making ayurvedic product all the employees do sudarshan kriya so that rich healing properties are passed to medicine. But when I worked with that ayurvedic company as full timer I found that all the formulation were stolen from the maharishi ayurved a “mahesh yogi” company. Even the ingredients used are substandard and lot of commission is paid to bhanu’s husband (rs brother in law) by the suppliers of the raw material.

Reference: https://aolfree.wordpress.com/2010/05/15/psycho/#comment-45

  1. Charge: Unfair means to the Good Manufacturing Practices of Sri Sri Ayurveda products to Europe. Goods Smuggled.

Brief Details:

    1. Now Arvind Exports is the company who supplies medicines to Europe, US and other part of the world (of course through AOL network), so basically “Mr. Arvind Varchaswi Narasimhan”
      60 Rupees market price in india for a bottle of medicine…so cost price 30-40 rupees or even less…of it at all he was paying this 30-40 rupees/bottle to Sri Sri Ayurveda Trust (which is founded couple of years ago, earlier VVMVP/AOL complex was manufacturing it) may be wholesale price is different for him or nears to zero…(who knows!!!) i.e. less than 1 US Dollar and is being sold in Europe for 15 Euros (i.e. almost 18-20 US $)Actually it is not officially allowed to sell this medicines (or food supplement as they call it but on bottle it is medicine)  in EU without getting several tests and approvals done, so basically they are smuggled in to EU, HOW? Different ways…
    2. they are sent to Holland through flight cargo – Ewald and Lilian gets them
      through them then to Bad Antogast and also to other chapters in Europe…via devotees and friends etc. aol network

    3. HHSSRS and/or teachers, ashramites coming along or alone brings full bags (not only one bag!!) of them and then they are sorted in Bad Antogast and distributed over aol network

    4. When you ask about why so expensive prices in Divine Shop or in Holland to respective representatives they will say get it very expensive from india itself, 8-10 Euros per bottle…(through Arvind Exports) and they have to cover their salaries and other costs through it so prices goes high you could understand…

    5. Cargo doesnt charge so much per kilo…in fact shipping is the least expensive compare to medicine prices…So all these $$ and €€ are going to Arvind Exports.

Reference: https://aolfree.wordpress.com/2010/05/23/sick-money/

  1. Charge: Unholy secrets of the Holy Guru Puja. Escaping the Tax in foreign land.

Brief Details:

  1. Most of the Fees of the Gurupuja course conducted by Bhanu didi in Bad Antogast, European center, had to be paid in cash and all the rest of the money excluding the Ashram costs is found to be deposited in Swiss bank account where the Art of Living main head quarter is registered. All the money is easily escaped from Tax. Undisclosing the earnings made in a country to avoid tax is a serious crime in Germany. This is a usual practice.
  2. For similar illegal financial practices see reference.

Reference: https://aolfree.wordpress.com/2010/06/30/aol-illegal-financial-practices/

Reference: https://aolfree.wordpress.com/2010/06/30/aol-illegal-financial-practices/#comment-409

  1. Charge: The Course contents are copied from other Institutions.

Brief Details:

    1. What is so secret about all those AOL sacred secrets? What this blog has exposed is the outright plagiarism involved in the so called sacred knowledge of AOL. I have done EST (erhard seminar training) in late 70s in Canada and while going through the AOL TTC and YES+ notes all I can see is they have lifted at least 80% of the stuff from EST and Landmark forum. The same approach and techniques.
      Inspired by beat zen and Alan Watts, Wernard Erhard used to use exactly the same aphorisms in EST – ‘accept everything and every situation as is’,’ What you resist persists’, ‘don’t be a football of others opinion’ etc. I REPEAT EXACTLY the SAME Words. At least AOL should be honest to accept their sources. Honesty I guess is not part of their value system. In EST there was a technique of gazing at a partner’s eyes to basically get rid of boundaries and understand inner chatter. This is used in most self help and tantra workshops. EST in a way were trendsetters as there are many people who follow their techniques. AOL got these techniques into their programs in 1989. They copied rishi Prabhakar who used EST in his Sidda samadhi yoga. Rishi Prabhakar was at least honest enough to admit his indebtness to the sources. But in AOL it is claimed that these are revealed knowledge of Ravishankar.
    2. About Pranayama and Sudarshan Kriya it is Yogi Bhajan’s pranayama kriyas plus rebirthing exercise added. Padma Sadhana is raja yoga pranayama and asanas taught by Mahesh yogi and many many others. Exactly in the same order. And Sahaj is TM, a straight lift of his Guru’s technique. I wonder what nonsense copyright bullshit these people are talking about. Why AOL people are getting so excited and paranoid about their teachings being exposed. And since they believe that without their Guru’s grace nothing of these will work why are they so bothered. I would suggest that they should relax and take life less seriously instead of getting all excited and creating so much stress for themselves.

    3. For example, re marketing of courses, enrolling people for courses etc, they have copied winning formulas from other organizations. One such example is Landmark forum. Those people are also very good in marketing & selling their courses & getting the participants to bring in new students. Many AOL senior teachers, Dean Harmison, Nitin(now Rishi Nityapragya), Swami Suryapada,etc, etc… had done Landmark courses & some of them even had gone up in that organization as leaders (They have publicly stated so many times). So they brought the marketing skills of those organizations & also a lot of the teachings of those courses to AOL.

    4. Dean himself told me that he put a lot of Landmark stuff in part1 manual , based on SriSri’s request.That answered a long-held question for me as to why so many of my AOL students who had done landmark previously, would ask me at the end of the course if I had done landmark course or if Ravi Shankar had done it or if AOL has got all those knowledge points (only paraphrasing them) & many of the processes from Landmark. Of course back then I would innocently tell them that RS is an enlightened master & all the knowledge is his, sharing it with humanity (repeating of course every BS I was fed by RS & his senior teachers & through TTC & other AOL courses & TRMs.) Now I know better!! Similar questions were not uncommon re whether a lot of AOL stuff & teachings were from TM, including Padma Sadhna, meditation,…

    5. Even sharing of sexual fantasies in blessing course (hahaha, that was for sure sharing of the highest knowledge, esp the way it is done in AOL!), I have been told, has been taken off OSHO & EST (forerunner to Landmark).
      DSN stuff is also not original, all criticism process, etc are stolen processes from other organisations & implemented rather disastrously in AOL.
      I really think we should all come out & dissect where all AOL courses & processes come from , so innocent people don’t get trapped thinking all these have come from an enlightened Master.

    6. DSN is taken from Landmark forum.

Reference: https://aolfree.wordpress.com/2010/07/20/long-kriya-home-version/#comment-677

Reference: https://aolfree.wordpress.com/2010/05/15/psycho/#comment-6

  1. Charge: Sahaj Samadhi Meditation is borrowed from Deepak Chopra’s bliss technique or Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s TM.

Brief Details:

    1. The instructions of Sahaj are, “Become aware of the area of the heart, and from that region, take the mantra and let go.” Which is what makes it different from the TM practise, which instructions are to repeat the mantra all the time. According to Sri Sri, of course, Sahaj was a lot deeper than TM.

    2. Actually this is what used to be one of the higher TM “advanced techniques”. IIRC with the “Bliss technique” you repeat the word “amritam” in the heart centre, not your “personal mantra”. (KLIM)
    3. Chopra told me the technique came directly from the Maharishi and was not his invention when he taught me. It was extremely common for the Maharishi to constantly change techniques, which of course was hidden under the blanket of secrecy that the Maharishi demanded. (John M. Knapp, LMSW)

Reference: http://artoflivingfree.blogspot.com/2009/12/deepak-chopra-according-to-aol.html

  1. Charge: Communication Seminars copied from Oury Engolz

Brief Details:

    1. Some of you may remember Communication Seminars with Oury Engolz, http://oneseminar.com/
      SriSri was fast enough to use him, earning extravagant amounts from his courses (not sure what % went to Oury himself) & getting Rajshree Patel & other senior teachers to learn all the tricks of trade from him. At some stage he said all his teachers/volunteers have to do the course. And you see how suddenly all went quiet on Oury & communication Seminars?
      So above just a sample examples of how easy it is for someone without integrity to steal other people’s successful teachings or marketing methods, without even acknowledging them. Branding it under RS & AOL & then have brainwashed teachers & devotees & volunteers to promote them & earn big bucks for RS.

Reference: https://aolfree.wordpress.com/2010/05/15/psycho/#comment-6

  1. Charge: Who actually does the charity from course contribution in AOL? And is it really spent each time for which it is collected?

Brief Details:

    1. It is often said to course participants that their money goes to noble cause as charity. Neither the course teacher nor a volunteer ever does the charity from course contribution. Neither an Apex body member nor the organizer does the charity from course contribution. Then who exactly does the charity?

    2. During any disaster relief the seva warriors manage their own ways to finance their food, stay and the project. Several teachers have in fact complained of not getting the funds for the project which actually was collected for that purpose.

    3. Prison Smart Courses: 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.

    4. Courses for Refugees: 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!
    5. Sri Sri Vidhay Mandir all across India charge a good fees and is definitely not a charity from the AOL headquarter but from the local people for initial land and school setup. But that was too specific and only few people had donated.
    6. Although when I did my TTC I was aware that things were not right I still enjoyed sharing the knowledge with those who were on my courses. The money issues never seemed right; the fact that teachers were expected to supplement course costs and none of the money went to any local projects. I was never prepared to pay out of our hard earned income when I knew that the organization was rich.

    7. In case being a teacher or volunteer if it was your experience that u really got some money for some local project or some disaster relief, from AOL Headquarter/ or the finance department of AOL (not from the funds collected by your own team) then please provide examples to clear doubts.
    8. A certain amount is definitely spent on rural schools and their families but compared to the amounts collected world wide, It cannot be justified just by 2 or 3 eternal projects.

Reference: https://aolfree.wordpress.com/2010/07/29/349/#comment-782

Reference: https://aolfree.wordpress.com/2010/06/22/his-holiness-penchant-for-lying-and-deceiving/

Reference: https://aolfree.wordpress.com/2010/06/26/his-holiness-penchant-for-lying-and-deceiving-part-2/

  1. Charge: The accountability of the Dollar a Day program seems doubtful

Brief Details

    1. The ‘dollar a day’ program was started in the US. The money never went to that cause. When Bhanu-didi was asked which children’s photo’s were to be sent to which donors (the list was small then, the numbers of kids also small) her response was an annoyed “doesn’t matter, just take a photo and send it to someone on the list”. Details were to be made up, as westerners didn’t speak the children’s language.

Reference: https://aolfree.wordpress.com/2010/06/30/aol-illegal-financial-practices/#comment-341

  1. Charge: The Statement of Sri Sri Ravishankar about the overhead expenses of Art of Living being less than 10% and thus all your course fee money goes to the charity seems doubtful.

Brief Details:

    1. Sri Sri Ravishankar once stated better donate in AOL as other Institutes like Red cross and others have overhead expenses up to 50%. In AOL as every activity is volunteer based/Seva based there is almost no organisational cost and thus the overhead cost is even less than 10%. So most of your money goes to the charity.
    2. Rough estimate doesn’t reflect the above statement. For ex.

    3. Course teachers and organizers are supposed not to exceed 10 to 25% of the course contribution as expenses. But then it is a common sense that every person in a chain needs something to live irrespective of any kind of business. So another 5% might be going on to maintain Apex bodies. 10% to the teachers as honorarium and unethical reimbursement, another 5% might be spent on Ashrams. Yet 10% another on traveling costs of Guruji himself!! Another 10 to 15 % of real charity probably. Now you can sum it up on your own. Surprisingly despite of whole family being full time in to Seva His family, Nephew’s foreign education with multiple degrees, good car and latest gadgets seems possible but not for the other ashramites or full time teachers.

Reference: https://aolfree.wordpress.com/2010/06/26/his-holiness-penchant-for-lying-and-deceiving-part-2/

  1. Charge: A full time teacher having provided extra ordinary services in past and dedicated several years when becomes a liability or needs major help is either discouraged, rewarded much less then he really might need, paid less or eventually left stranded. They don’t have any legal work contract neither are they properly insured for health nor against accidents. Although recently some of the teachers are somehow insured. Some teachers of higher rank do have received some form of financial aid at times.

Brief Details:

    1. A sweatshop is a working environment with unhealthy conditions that are considered by many people of industrialized nations to be difficult or dangerous, usually where the workers have few opportunities to address their situation. This can include exposure to harmful materials, hazardous situations, extreme temperatures, or abuse from employers. Sweatshop workers often work long hours for little pay, regardless of any laws mandating overtime pay or a minimum wage. (wikipedia)

Reference: http://artoflivingfree.blogspot.com/2010/02/sri-sri-sweatshop.html

Reference: https://aolfree.wordpress.com/2010/08/05/more-ex-teachers-reply-to-ann/

  1. Charge: Sri Sri does badmouthing

Brief Details

    1. 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.

Reference: https://aolfree.wordpress.com/2010/08/02/an-ex-teachers-reply-to-ann/

  1. Charge: People are of the notion that Ms Y follows celibacy but may be not.

Brief Details:

    1. Many teachers, especially senior teachers take advantage of their status. Women fall for them like bees for honey, not knowing they are just being used for sex. Female teachers pretending to be virgins or untouchables. I knew of one who everywhere she went made a point to inform she was virgin, and then someone who was hosting her found out she was bringing men to the house while they went to work, by finding used condoms in her room and the reports of the maid. The one million dollar question everyone asked for a long time in the West was, “Did Mr X and Ms Y have sex?” They pretended to be “just friends” but wherever they went, they slept in the same room. Yet, he projected to be a monk and she the most of all virgin people. (Does the word “histrionic” come to mind?). It was such a mystery people actually got mad and confused when Mr X married (someone else, since Ravishankar never approved his relationship with Ms Y).

I personally don’t find anything against someone’s wish to mate unless it is against will. Sometimes the person might have done that in past due to sincere liking but the things might not be the same at present. Sometimes whole your life you follow celibacy sincerely but just few strong uncontrolled feelings lead to actions with wipes off all the credit. But if you don’t follow then at least don’t teach that to others coz it is tough and misleading.

Reference: http://artoflivingfree.blogspot.com/2010/01/3-letter-unspoken-word-s-e-x.html

  1. Charge: Despite of some sincere teacher’s feedback regarding some senior teacher’s sex scandal, Sri Sri Ravishankar doesn’t seem to have taken any serious actions. At least from the view points of victims and those who complained.

Brief Details:

    1. An advance course was organised and the teacher stayed at our place. My instinct told me that my wife was emotionally involved with this teacher but I brushed it aside. She was smitten with him, it was so obvious.

      One afternoon I had to come back home and I found both of them in bed.

Reference: http://artoflivingfree.blogspot.com/2010/02/let-me-share-my-painful-story-with.html

    1. Unfortunately, there are even stories of male teachers raping female students or teachers, and other forms of perversion. The inner circle knew about this. We simply did not talk about it. It was shameful, both for the victim and for us who represented an organization, knowing the situation and not doing anything about it. When reported to Ravishankar, he simply ignored them and turned the victims into the problem. Of course, he had to keep his senior boys content and relieved, and again, who would listen to a woman with rape stories inside the AoL, especially when the “stars” were the aggressors – advanced course teachers, meditation teachers, TTC teachers? Under the excuse, “Guruji knows everything”, if he did not do anything about it, it meant the women were being drama queens and needy of attention.

Reference: http://artoflivingfree.blogspot.com/2010/01/3-letter-unspoken-word-s-e-x.html

Reference: https://aolfree.wordpress.com/2010/05/19/abused-and-discarded/

Reference: https://aolfree.wordpress.com/2010/05/19/abused-and-discarded/#comment-28

  1. Charge: Few claim Sri Sri Ravishankar of being immoral.

Brief Details:

    1. On top or under the underwear?

Reference: http://artoflivingfree.blogspot.com/2010/01/3-letter-unspoken-word-s-e-x.html

  1. Charge: Doubtful past of Chayyana or Swami Suryapada

Brief Details:

    1. He is made out to be some kind of saint which he surely is not. Ask even his family members and they will tell you. I have personally known him use his charm and persuasion to attract young college girls and exploit them. I was one of the teachers in his so called free tuitions which lasted for about 3 years. We were senior engineering students who used to teach to the juniors for free in his house in Jaynagar, Bangalore. He had a fondness for pretty girls and has abused some of my close friends who have become emotional wrecks because of this man. Now he is a teacher of Guru Puja spreading all the propaganda of the Guru and looking for his new bait. The local language kannada newspaper ‘Agni’ had a three part series on the sexual exploits of this Professor/HoD and AOL Saint.

Reference: http://artoflivingfree.blogspot.com/2010/02/let-me-share-my-painful-story-with.html

  1. Charge: Sri Sri Ravishankar at times forgets his “come what may” smile and gets concerned by his other spiritual competitors in terms of business.

Brief Details:

    1. The next morning, he yelled at everyone for being lazy, slow and “chickens”. He alerted them another group (Swami Nithyanand), which was not as good, was doing a better job and would take over before we did. If that happened, he warned us it’d be our karma for allowing bad knowledge to be spread. He discounted all the TTC requisites and made everyone a teacher! There were people who had only done one basic course. “Make them watch Ashtavakra and give them the tape! Quick! Quick!”
    2. Personally I know another case from TRM where HE expressed concern over the incapability of his several teachers to raise a fund compared to Baba Ramdev single handed.

Reference: http://artoflivingfree.blogspot.com/2010/03/ravishankar-vs-nithyananda.html

  1. Charge: Teachers or any devotees invited by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar to join his tour are often left on their own for food and shelter. Although at time they are attended briefly, this leaves them highly grateful. May be it happens only during the first visit. As with experience people knows what to expect and do it yourself.

Brief Details:

    1. I have a simple story to share. Guruji had asked a middle class Indian couple to travel with Him to the US. The couple were left to themselves and had to take care of their own food etc which is difficult in a foreign country ESP if one is vegetarian and can’t spend in US dollars.
      After one talk in a hotel conf room, Guruji called for the couple to eat the salsa, chips and juice that was provided as complementary by the hotel. I saw the look of mild shock mixed with sadness on their faces. If Guruji wanted, He could have taken good care of the couple by asking local devotees to provide for their lunch/ dinner, but He didn’t. If Guruji was not going to support the couple, why did He ask them to travel with Him in the first place? It makes nonsense to me.
    2. Sri Sri asked my friend to be a part of his entourage to one of the cities in India. She was over the moon, she called me from India and was practically crying with joy. She was told to go to the ashram travel desk and collect her tickets – she was asked to pay for the tickets although she kept insisting that Sri Sri had asked her to travel with him. In her euphoric state she paid for the tickets and travelled with him and she was completely ignored, she had to find her own way to the place of stay and Sri Sri did not even give her second glance.

Reference: https://aolfree.wordpress.com/2010/07/29/349/#comment-781

Reference: https://aolfree.wordpress.com/2010/07/29/349/#comment-784

  1. Charge: At times instead of respecting people’s need for privacy, Sri Sri ravishankar simply ignores it. Not only that but he goes on to make fun of it. That is how your sincerely written personal emails end up. After all hasn’t he said: God loves fun!!

Brief Details

    1. A full-time teacher sent him a fax with the word “confidential” written all over it. He did not seem to care about the privacy of it and instead he started reading it out loud to us, mocking every line and her situation. She was going through a difficult divorce and the challenge of taking care of 4 kids while being a full timer. He called her names, made fun of her, laughed intensely. The few people in there would laugh with him too. I remember feeling extremely embarrassed. As I heard and observed my peers and my guru laughing at the poor woman’s pain, I did not have any expression other than that of shock. I knew this woman. I knew her struggle. I knew about her grief. There was nothing funny about it and he had no business reading a confidential letter to any one of us and even less, make fun of someone who had reached out to him in his role as a Guru.

    2. Some time later I wrote him a personal email regarding some personal situations. A few months later, during an event, one of the teachers, who is always in his room, stopped me in the corridor and mentioned my email in mocking tone. That was the last time I wrote a personal letter to him. That is how much he respects people, their privacy, integrity, evolution and sorrow. That is how much compassion and unconditional love he has backstage. That is the extent of the high knowledge one got in his holy room.
    3. I clearly remember once a new devotee insisted to talk to him. Her teacher had told her to do so because only the Master could do something about her situation. She sat in a small corner while we discussed business until he finally paid attention to her. In an irritated and impatient tone he asked her to speak out her problem. In absolute shyness, discomfort and sadness she requested he gave her a private time. I remember I was ready to get up and leave when I heard her speak those words. She evidently had something very private to discuss. Instead he raised his voice and harshly said, “Speak! Whatever it is, speak! Why? You feel you don’t belong to these people?” She insisted a few more times, crying at this point, but he trashed her more and more until she bursted out crying and rushed out the door (probably more depressed and abused than she was before walking into the “holy room”). For a long time I justified the episode as a lesson about belongingness. For Heaven’s sake! What was I thinking!

    4. What you have stated is absolutely true since I have on several occasions written to Guruji and it was treated with mock derision, which I found out eventually. The contents of the letter are read by the secretary, trustees, teachers in front of others and then circulated to the ashramites. They have their own yellow journalism press department where they slander and spread malicious gossip on other unwitting members. Most of these rich thugs who are teachers and have access to Guruji’s interior chambers derive a kind of sadistic pleasure by mocking particularly at divorced women, single unmarried women and women who are in abusive relationships. They lack the humaneness, compassion and civility to respect a person’s privacy or his/her pain.

Reference: http://artoflivingfree.blogspot.com/2010/03/behind-holy-door.html

  1. Charge: The commitments taken in high energy or activities done in grateful state in holy environment later seems unjust.

Brief Details

    1. The donation commitment taken during DSN is overwhelming. But during actual money collection after DSN the donors feel reluctant to pay that much. It shows this practice of getting donation commitment seems unfair.
    2. Various Businessmen having done any official work for AOL is often tried to be waived off as donations. After waiving off the amount the businessmen later feels having done a mistake.

  1. Charge: The Navaratri Yagyas at various local centers are getting more contribution target oriented rather than for the welfare of the world peace.

Brief Details:

    1. According to the guidelines of organising navaratri yagyas at any local centre or village, there has to be a certain minimum number of yajamans (guests) taking sankalpa.
    2. When certain centres do not perform well up to the mark is verbally abused and the next year they don’t deserve a particular swami or rishi as a host for the puja.
    3. Rishis and Swamis consistently give examples to devotees about how well so and so chapter/centre organised the event and that others should learn from it.

    4. Rishis and swamis openly ask each other how were the contribution.

  1. Charge: Even your best pals ignore you if you choose to leave

Brief Details

    1. As a full-timer/teacher leaves, the sense of vacuum is too vast many don’t know how to cope with it. The sense of guilt and shame are overwhelming. The feeling of incapacity – the head does not work, the memory is not there, the ability to use the intellectual faculties neither, the lack of sense of reality with regards to the world, the loss of friendships/family/ networking, the lack of curriculum to find a job, the lack of financial means and many times, legal paperwork, problems with the spine. You go from being surrounded by people, emails, importance to absolutely NOTHING. Not even one email from your best pal asking how you are. Even worse, the one you considered even more important than your own life and family is nowhere to be found, but you still remember he told you he’d love and take care of you for ever. The inner struggle and pain are, thus, excruciating and confusing.

    2. My basic course teacher was eager I became a full-timer but when I was big time screwed by the AoL and when the damages of being a full-timer became evident, especially financially, she was not there for me either. It is like the story RS tells in the Ashtavakra: the man stole for his wife and his children to have a good life, but when he asked them if they’d share the karma of the actions with him, they said, “No way.”

Reference: http://artoflivingfree.blogspot.com/2010/05/run-forrest-run.html

  1. Charge: Sri Sri Ravishankar’s statement doesn’t always turn true:

Brief Details:

    1. Someone wrote, “Like that other time when the current president of AoL in the US shared at a small intimate dinner just after Bush was elected for his second term that SSRS had said Bush would not finish this second term. We were also asked not to talk about this with anyone. For good reason, I’d say! :)”
    2. Actually, SSRS swore Barack Obama would not win the elections. “He is too young and inexperienced. He has no chances.” He supported Hilary instead but brown nosed all of DC, just in case, despite his predictions. After Obama’s victory, he borrowed the famous slogan: YES we can! And is now “yes we canning” all over the planet promoting the YES+ courses.

Reference: http://artoflivingfree.blogspot.com/2009/12/yes-we-can.html

    1. The victory of BJP and downfall of Congress within 6 months was predicted in 2008-2009 but despite of all AOL efforts and divine blessings, nothing of that sort occurred.
    2. Time an again Guruji has been telling devotees that just another 2 years and then time is ours!! but even after 12 years i still hear the same statements!!

    3. Regarding the 3 Eclipse in one month and a calamity statement by Guruji based on work done by a devotee: The fact is such incidences have occurred every 2 to 3 years since the time immemorial. One can find it on NASAs website. It is therefore not justifiable.
    4. Those Orbs are still considered as angels where as its a basic and common sense to Digital Imaging students that fine particles in a region between camera lens and the object of focus gets unfocused and captured blurred and that’s what is Orbs.
    5. Poverty elimination by 2015, a promise taken in Millennium Development Goals in 2007 is a wait and watch.

  1. Charge: Sri Sri Ravishankar does demand for not getting a stay in 5 star hotel of his choice or a soap of his choice. May be it doesn’t affect those who are already on path but for the sake of those who are attracted by fame and money!!

Brief Details:

    1. Once I put him in a 5 star hotel a devotee had offered to give as his donation and made the reservations himself. Granted, a NICE 5 star hotel. He took me to a side and yelled at me. WHY had I not put him in the OTHER 5 star hotel he saw in the way from the airport. It was more luxurious (where Madonna had stayed). I did not understand. What is the difference between a 5 star hotel and another 5 star hotel?

    2. I cannot imagine the Dalai Lama making a fuzz and certainly, I cannot understand a “spiritual guru” being so demanding about his comfort, esp. when his DSN courses are about “going beyond the comfort zone”, with which he used as an excuse to “stretch” his full-time teachers by having them in pitiful conditions.

    3. On another trip, we put him up in a mansion. His own private room and amazing bathroom. He yelled at us for not having put better soaps for him. Difficult to please this enlightened being.

Reference: https://aolfree.wordpress.com/2010/07/20/long-kriya-home-version/#comment-729

  1. Charge: Spoken und unspoken fights up to loud verbal abuses are quite common among local teachers for trivial affairs of the AOL centres. Often always a major topic of discussion in TRM remains to solve such affairs. Of course this actually doesn’t amount to any charge against AOL, but it definitely shows the life of a peacemaker.

Brief Details:

    1. More info needed….

  1. Charge: If Sri Sri Ravishankar is the inspiration behind every creativity, invention and activities under the name of Institution then how come the misdeeds of his devotees are to blame to individuals?

Brief Details:

    1. I can only add my own observations/knowledge here. One thing is for sure is that Sri Sri has no qualms whatsoever about stealing anything from anyone as long as it makes money for him. And he relies on his devotees/teachers/followers to bring him any good money-making ideas & he will take them on in no time & brand it in his own name. Anything goes, Ayurvedic cooking, marriage consultancy, cosmetics, Vastu courses, Ayurvedic Maths courses, Ayurveda, Real estate, software, HR, Agnihotra, agriculture, farming, craft, Acupuncture, bio-energetic machines,alternative health systems, Soaps, food products, handbags, publications etc, etc. You name it, the list is endless. He will use anything, as long as it brings money in & create fame for him. Usually a devotee brings the idea to him, that for example through such a thing we can make money, or followers of such & such are giving blessing/Deeksha ,or Yoga of that guru has taken off,………….. Whatever. He is so wired for stealing the ideas of anything which is successful & selling out there, that his ears go all pricked up & in no time the same product, or service, or knowledge or teachings is offered through AOL, double its original price!

    2. And no, he doesn’t write those books himself either. I have heard his senior teachers saying they wrote this & that book & Guruji blessed it. And these books have RS as author and the real author, if lucky, gets a mention as compiler!! For example the book “Time”, has Sri Sri Ravi Shankar on cover of the book, but the writer was Kashi (Dinesh Kashikar). Kashi publicly was saying how the knowledge of that book flew through him. He was saying that in way of recommending meditation, that causes the knowledge come through, even if one doesn’t have an academic background or hasn’t studied a particular subject. I remember clearly he saying the knowledge came through him. He didn’t mention RS, apart from saying that he gave the blessing to the book.
      RS wants to take credit for anything. A devotee can’t even say I came up with that Bhajan, RS would immediately say “who did give you the Bhajan?” expecting the devotee to say, you Guruji.
      So after so many years the devotees/teachers know not to ever say they did anything (no sir, that would be sign of doership), but assign any credit for anything to RS. Only when things go wrong, it would be the fault of the teacher or devotee, due to some doubt they had or low prana!

Reference: https://aolfree.wordpress.com/2010/05/15/psycho/#comment-8

  1. Charge: People following ethics in AOL aren’t as respectable as those following politics and charm.

Brief Details:

    1. One of his most senior teachers of Germany, a very nice guy I happened to teach with and spent a lot of quality time with, decided to leave the movement after realizing that following ethical and, especially legal guidelines for organizational leadership was NOT vital to SSRS. The teacher sent a farewell letter explaining the motivation behind his decision. I happened to be in the room with SSRS and a group of people shortly after the teacher’s official departure was in effect. SSRS´ comment was pretty much like this, ”He is free to leave the organization. He anyway never did anything to promote my work!”

Reference: http://artoflivingfree.blogspot.com/2010/03/my-days-as-door-keeper-of-holy-room.html

  1. Charge: Some of the Insiders who have chosen to expose the corrupt practices of some individuals in AOL get threats from the Guru himself.

Brief Details:

    1. The man who promised to love and take care of me unconditionally, for ever and ever, lifetimes even, cursed and threatened me when I decided to leave the organization.

    2. He cursed me warning me I would be utterly miserable in the world and would not be able to do anything in life. Everything I ever had was due to him. Without him I was nothing. He warned me of never speaking ill of him, otherwise, whatever I’d say would come back ten fold to me.

    3. Of course, he did not say it with the big “Guru of Joy” smile he poses in his photographs. He shouted it erect, Zeus-like, with a big frown and evil look in his eyes, waving his long arm at me, pointing with his accusatory finger. I was so disenchanted by then, I calmly asked him, “Are you warning me or are you cursing me?”

    4. Some of us have experienced, first hand, many of the things you have read on these two blogs. I don’t know how much more “concrete” anyone could get. From my own experience, I am very frightened to be too specific for fear that an AOL person will read this, pass it to Ravi Shankar, and then I know what follows: the phone calls, threatening (I’m not kidding). People actually visiting your home, telling you in sugary tones how bad you are, how you will be punished. It goes on and on. You cannot imagine how ugly SSRS gets when he is crossed and angry (yes, he gets very very angry and says many terrible things to people who are leaving at times, if they know too many personal things). How would one stay unemotional about this type of thing? It’s easy for you because you are, as you stated, neutral, on the outside, and don’t know him or anyone close to him very well, it seems. If you did, you would understand.

    5. What you see on http://www.artoflivingfree.blogspot.com, aside from the few crackpot comments that come up on any blogspot, is verifiable by the very people posting! No, nobody is probably going to come forward and try to fight such a formidable army such as AOL. And many of us are still traumatized from our various levels of abuse and threats given (yes, by the ‘Guru’ himself). Unlike what he says publicly, he does not forgive people. He is a frightened, nasty little man when he thinks that someone knows too much and could speak out. He then goes on a campaign to strike as much fear as possible into them. Some of us are afraid of Tantra. Others are afraid of all the lies that he tells (through others, of course). The people posting here all know of many people whom he tried to ruin the very reputation of not only the person, but their entire family! It’s impossible for you to understand what some have had to endure, leaving AOL. If he didn’t care if you left (if you did leave at all), then you don’t know. Because he would have just forgotten about you. If you didn’t know anything damning about him or his close associates, then you are safe. He won’t care. But you clearly do not fall into that category.

Reference: http://artoflivingfree.blogspot.com/2009/12/he-blesses-he-curses-he-threatens.html

Reference: https://aolfree.wordpress.com/2010/07/20/long-kriya-home-version/#comment-692

Today I have done this; tomorrow may be it would be your turn.

But then what about all those good things that I have got through Sri Sri Ravishankar and The Art of Living?

Truth alone triumphs. But when? How to know on which side am I?

Sincerely

The Prosecutor

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23 Comments
  1. goneagain permalink
    August 11, 2010 9:35 pm

    That was nicely presented as formal charges, in fact now and then RS lackeys come and complain – everything is personal opinion, there is no proof, while it is true these are personal opinions, but when many people have same personal opinion then turns into proof in legal terms. Probably most of these may not be a legal issues but more like moral issues, except those of financial malpractices. As each one of AOL supporters probably should go through each charges as listed and make up their mind based on their own experiences, if they are open about what the observed they might come to the same conclusion as many of the commenters’ (ex-aolites) did in these blog.

  2. Joe permalink
    August 12, 2010 5:28 am

    So this sums up all the allegations against AOL. I truly wish some one in AOL will standup and give a subjective response to these allegations. One by One. AolFreeFree??

  3. August 12, 2010 5:32 am

    This is as good as small book.

  4. dubhasa permalink
    August 12, 2010 12:30 pm

    Superb job Mr. Prosecutor.

    That puts to rest all kinds of arguments and subjective opinions. These are very specific charges leveled against an entity. Can someone from AOL offer rebuttal?

    There are a lot of folks on the sidelines who are eagerly watching and waiting for the truth. This entity has affected a lot of people and these charges should not be taken lightly.

  5. Anonymous permalink
    August 12, 2010 2:27 pm

    Good consolidation of the different issues raised through these blogs. I would like to comment on “But then what about all those good things that I have got through Sri Sri Ravishankar and The Art of Living?” If a persons in an abusive marriage goes for a divorce he/she will always say about the abuses he/she had to suffer. Then there is no point in asking “What about all the good things you had from the marriage? ”

    Everything in the world exists as it is and its left to the person who sees it the Good and Bad aspects of it. As taught in the AOL basic course, the pendulum of opinion will swing from one end to another.

    The people who wrote the blog were Advocating / Doing PR / Tirelessly preaching about “about all those good things that I have got through Sri Sri Ravishankar and The Art of Living” even up to 5/10/15 years. They detached from it and decided to speak about not so good things they felt about Sri Sri and AOL. So the question s irrelevant in the context.

    But the tone of the question raises a doubt whether the prosecutor is going to play the role of Prosecutor/Defense lawyer/ Jury. (Any of it is absolutely fine too)

  6. Prakash permalink
    August 12, 2010 4:53 pm

    Hi Prosecutor,

    Just do a little more effort on formatting…..(charges can be in different font)it will be an excellent post. Quite an effort has gone in compiling this one…..but a set font makes it difficult to read.

    Good one…

  7. anonymous permalink
    August 12, 2010 5:59 pm

    Well, Prosecutor,

    This is a very organized, detailed accounting of what I would say is one of the saddest things in this world: the fallen yogi. They say that when a person begins to awaken, everything will be offered to them: name, fame, men/women, money. It seems to be a kind of test. It’s just so depressing that Ravi Shankar so clearly failed and fell. Those who “knew him when”, know he wasn’t always this way, although all the vasanas were surely tucked safely there for future reference! Sigh. I pray that all the damaged people whose lives he played with or who he stepped over to get where he is, will someday be free of even the thought of him and Art of Living (Art of Thieving?). I doubt any justice will really come from this and the linked blogs, but it is certainly a good thing for Whistleblower, Prosecutor, and others to have had a chance to vent all of it out in a safe place.

  8. goneagain permalink
    August 13, 2010 2:13 pm

    Where is ‘Pissed Princess’ for this post, he chose to make big deal out of nothing (non issue) instead of honestly answering to these charges here? How pathetic AOL lackeys are?

  9. profhughakston permalink
    August 13, 2010 2:32 pm

    I am planning to manufacture
    1. SRI SRI COLA
    2. SRI SRI BURGER
    3. SRI SRI CHIPS

    Since these are “spiritual” food, I won’t have to pay any excise duty, sales tax and income tax. Will someone please provide the initial capital? I promise , the revenue is going to be mind-blowing 🙂 .

  10. Svetana permalink
    August 13, 2010 5:37 pm

    Thank you, Prosecutor. Wonderful job. There is so much information that summary is very helpful. I counted 28 charges. I believe, it would be easier to navigate through your summary if you number charges (Charge 1, Charge 2 etc.)

  11. Hari permalink
    August 13, 2010 7:43 pm

    Wonderful job… it pretty much sums up in a nutshell what this scam is upto… I really wish I could send it to one of my friends, who I lost to AOL… I haven’t had any experience with AOL, but have heard it all from my friend’s mouth, who always gives brainwashed replies to my queries of the practices at AOL…. which, were seldom convincing to me…

    I bid a Goodbye to my friend who was completely gobbled up into this scheme – Hey, you and me will live long after AOL’s times… I see AOL’s downfall coming as soon as SSRS time is over or after the iceberg of the scam that they are running emerges to the top… We will discuss about all that and until then its Goodbye for ever…

  12. goneagain permalink
    August 14, 2010 2:10 am

    http://artofliving.tamu.edu/

    Wondering how they get into good institutions telling all these lies. The gullible people in places like these have to be brought to understand the real side of AOL.

  13. abhilash shastry permalink
    August 14, 2010 8:20 am

    Here is another charge.

    I did the basic course in 1996 in Mumbai at a cost of Rs.1000. At that time, it was a substantial amount for me. However, I was told that it should be viewed as a life long membership fee that entitled me for any number of repeat basic courses and long kriyas anywhere for FREE. Anyhow I was able to see through the AOL fraud in about 2 years time and left attending satsangs and kriyas.

    However, last year I was in Richmond, Virginia and during the India Festival I saw an AOL booth. Not that I cared for their kriya, but just out of curiosity I went to their booth. As usual they started selling me their course. I told them that I had done the course in 1996 but was out of touch for quite some time and now wanted to repeat the course. The booth incharge told me that way back in 1996 membership issues were not streamlined and now they had introduced a membership card for every member. So, all I had to do was to give another $30 for the card and I would be all set! I protested that when I had done this course I was promised a FREE repeat anywhere anytime. I was not told about any extra fees due to any subsequent revision in procedures. At this rate if tomorrow they decided for something else for new members, then I would be asked to pay for that also! So what exactly they meant by FREE repeat anywhere anytime? They did not have any answer. I asked the same question from AOL high priest Bawa on his blog, but he did not even publish my question. May be some AOL sympathizer on this board can educate me on this.

    • WhistleBlower permalink
      August 14, 2010 10:12 am

      AOL teachers were told to ask repeaters to pay a “donation”!! And if someone wasn’t paying a donation in advance we had to actually ask them for the minimum amount, saying it is needed to cover the cost of the venue, etc. Or else, if they would bring 2 new people with them then they could repeat the course for free. Also it was free for those organizing the course, etc!

      I remember one time witnessing two western ladies in Bangalore Ashram very distressed and feeling deceived. They had been told by their basic course teacher that they could repeat the basic course for free anywhere.
      Bangalore Ashram was charging them around US$200 each for course fee on top of their expensive accommodation fee(priced for Westerners in US$). They had not budgeted for the extravagant sum and pleaded hard with Ashram admin, reciting their teacher’s statement that repeating basic course is free. They even called their teacher for help, but he couldn’t help them. At the end they were forced to pay the full amount, but they felt ripped off and left AOL for good!

      And many westerners would come to Bangalore Ashram to do seva, thinking their accommodation and food would be free. But they would be charged expensive room rates in US$ while doing free service for SriSri!

  14. Jags permalink
    August 16, 2010 7:06 am

    All this is very nice, a very useful compilation, but
    (a) will it stand up in court ?
    (b) will anyone take any action against the org ?
    (c) will a sufficient number of credible witnesses come forward to testify ?
    (d) most critical – will this impact the aol scamsters or will nothing happen at all ?

    Till it goes to that stage, all this is just hearsay and rumor. To move to the stage of real action, there needs to be a critical mass of credible witnesses or victims who are willing to spend the time and money to sue the org and ravi, and have the determination to see it through to the end, i.e., the dissolution of the org. The bigger challenge is coordinating between these people and keeping this case together.

    How can we achieve this ?

    Look at the nithyananda case. The guy was thrown in jail for a few weeks, and he’s now out, preaching again. Not a single credible witness came forward, the rape and other cases against him were thrown out, all his orgs are functioning or are being relaunched, all the drama in the blogs and news finally amounted to nearly nothing tangible in the end, except for more eyeballs on blogsand TV, and more newspaper sales.

    If this happened to Ravi’s org, their PR spinmasters would twist it into a big victory for them, and the org will emerge more powerful.

    • anonymous permalink
      August 16, 2010 12:49 pm

      Jags,

      I agree. And nobody would likely come forward to accuse and prosecute Ravi Shankar publically. Why should I disrupt my life for some old hurt? So all of it would be thrown out, even though it’s all true. Maybe someone will catch Ravi Ravi on tape and he will be embarrassed? What good will that do anyone? None. And how to get these crooks to pay their taxes? Probably will never happen. The whole thing just makes too much money for too many willing people who tell themselves they are helping others. Maybe it’s time for most of these angry posters to just make peace with the whole thing and move on. I’ve been reading these posts for a couple months, and have concluded that for me, forgiveness is the best way. I don’t want to remain angry or be some soldier dedicated to exposing the many faults of these twisted people in Art of Living. Klim closed that blog spot to move on with life. That seems healthy. The blogspot remains for others to be informed about the nature of Ravi Shankar and his organization. That is necessary. This blogspot has just about everything that it could, as far as I can tell, that anyone should need to walk away. So continuing to post angrily looks like a waste of effort and energy to me. It becomes a never-ending exercise in negativity. At some point everyone needs to forgive such people as SSRS and move on to a more productive life than they had with Art of Living. The hurts may resurface from time to time, and then perhaps a discussion with someone who’s “been there, done that, got the tee-shirt”, might be helpful.

      What else is there to say on this topic? Anything else I know that is closer to him that could identify me by it’s content, I would not post here. I really don’t want those creepy people even thinking about me. It’s all here and on the other blogspot in black and white. Let people read and decide for themselves. If someone wants to go to the trouble to make it public and bring suit against the behemoth that is now Art of Living, more power to them. It certainly won’t be me.

      Chasing after every new bit and tidbit of information on what Art of Living is doing this week, what SSRS is doing to try to secure the Nobel Peace Prize, etc., won’t convince anyone to leave more than what is already here, in my opinion. It just keeps the mind occupied with something that hurt, that damaged, that lead astray. Of course, this is just my outlook.

      • goneagain permalink
        August 16, 2010 4:16 pm

        While I agree at some point you just have move on like KLIM – I am pretty sure skywalker would do the same – leave the blog open, but some one else will carry the torch further. And I will not say the efforts are total waste as long as it helps many people who would like to know more about SSRS intentions and come out of it, more importantly – may also help people not getting into this. That said – I don’t think every thing that has to be said is said yet. so what I feel is skywalker may have to be active in doing is for some more time.

  15. Svetana permalink
    August 16, 2010 4:54 pm

    @Jags

    “To move to the stage of real action, there needs to be a critical mass of credible witnesses or victims who are willing to spend the time and money to sue the org and ravi…”

    The purpose of this web site is not “to sue the org”, but it is, as it is stated under the title: Critique of The Art of Living, and Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. Shankar, Nithyananda and other crooks of the kind exist, because they have created a mass of brainwashed zombie-like followers. They are most of all afraid to lose this crowd. No followers – no Shankars. That’s why to enlighten people is the most important thing.

  16. goneagain permalink
    August 16, 2010 6:57 pm

    Agree with Svetana, the blog mission is not to ‘sue’ RS/AOL, but to educate guillable so that they can rescue themselves from fraud guru/org.

  17. The Agnostic permalink
    August 27, 2010 11:34 am

    @ The Prosecutor

    You have framed the charges well but unfortunately you have done poor research. How can a Sikh like Yogi Bhajan be proved to have a technique not in the possesion of a person claiming lineage from the much more ancient Hindu tradition like Ravi Shankar is doing ?

    FYI, Sikhism is hardly 300 years old and Hinduism is of exponentially greater antiquity. What Yogi Bhajan teaches is a form of soft Sikh evangelism in the garb of Yoga that has borrowed Hindu techniques of Yoga and turned them into Sikh techniques for the gullible and the ignorant.

    • Anonymous permalink
      August 27, 2010 4:46 pm

      @Agnostic,

      If only you had read the first 2 paragraphs of that list of charges it could had cleared your doubts!!

  18. Peaceful Warrior permalink
    August 27, 2010 11:54 am

    It would be a good idea to have this post linked like “secret AOL knowledge” link so it does not get buried. Maybe something like top posts, or Recommended Reading.

  19. Sapna permalink
    January 19, 2011 6:58 am

    It is very unfortunate that there are so many people out there who believe this man who pretends to be a Guru.I know of a very good friend of mine who is a fabulous doctor who was taken for granted by this institution.Her life is way better after she left AOL.

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