What is Enlightenment?
Both AOL and TM never really defined enlightenment as such. Let me try to address it and hopefully it will make sense. TM did stress and talk about enlightenment more than AOL.
AOL is more about just feeling good being happy and some key points of knowledge, and they are smart to keep such line within the teaching. As we know every one wants to feel better, be happy and smile in life, the masses want this instantaneously.
So the kriya which will temporary makes you feel good (due to its hyperventilation nature) is a perfect technique to give people a sense that they are actually progressing, till the buzz wears off and one craves the high again. The knowledge in AOL is quite superficial at first but along the way brainwashing starts and you are subtly induced that you can have the same expanded ever knowing consciousness as the master Ravi Shankar. Enlightenment is seen as what the master is, can do and knows. Thus one takes as many courses (and teach as many courses) all to become just like the master. And if you do not get to that state, you did not give it your 100%, and this is where AOL hooks you and you keep trying. So through a back door abilities as part of enlightenment are introduced, and the tape and book sales can be pushed which is an added benefit to AOL.
First of all the knowledge in TM is presented as much deeper and richer then AOL. Lets not forget Maharishi Mahesh Yogi (MMY) created a whole university and each discipline (or study like accounting or biology) is linked back to the Vedas. The amount of knowledge that MMY has produced is fast. AOL dwarfs in comparison and it is all very rehashed, Ravi does not have the depth of presenting knowledge and make the correlations in the vedic scriptures (even if it is fake) as MMY had. TM however does not have all the books and tape sales as AOL does. They try to control the knowledge much more or at least used to.
The flagship course in TM is the Siddhi’s course. Based on Patanjali’s yoga sutras. Cosmic Consciousness (CC) is the first stage on the path of enlightenment, the next is God Consciousness then Unity Consciousness. So you have to go through all the stages to get to the ultimate, big bang called enlightenment. A great ploy to keep people hooked. It was repeatedly pointed out that once you reached CC all the Siddhis (abilities and powers) would be full activated and at your disposal. In all my years I have not seen anyone fully manifest the flying sutra and stay up in the air. But people are still doing their hardest to achieve it, letting their life pass them by.
The big distinction between both is that MMY was more science orientated. He called it the “Science of being and the Art of Livng”. Or his course “The science of Creative Intelligence”. This in the long run turned lots of people off because it became dry, and they could not follow it anymore. As mentioned AOL capitalized on this big time, by creating the façade that they are all about devotion, and the heart. That is why they have satsangs, seva and what not. And were able to pick up all the people who had lost their faith in TM, including yours truly.
But don’t be fooled both are wolfs in sheep’s clothing.
The little giant has awakened.