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Art of Living – Call it a Corporation not a Foundation

August 24, 2010

By Ronin

Thanks to all of you, a small band of rogue outcasts who have taken upon yourselves to let the TRUTH prevail. At times it seems like a never ending battle and maybe it is and indeed at some point one has to move on in life, but till that time comes letting people know the truth is a way of making peace with it all.

It was great to see all of your posts, of the recent email ads the AOL corporation is sending out. We need to keep doing this, it exposes the new trends and business practices of AOL corporation. In knowing their strategy we can expose them along the way.

So thanks WistleBlower for posting the three day course structure and the padma-sadhana. It will give people a chance to verify their origin, and so we keep focusing on the copying and plagiarism this company uses. As for the padma-sadhana routine yes it is lifted from TM, it was part of our routine when I attended TM weekend rounding courses and World Peace Assemblies.

As mentioned it is a fact that the enrollment numbers are down, the Profit and Loss statement (P&L) must have shown a considerable dip in the last year. And so like any well run cooperation AOL adjusted it strategy and created this façade that due to the bad times they will give a discount for their courses, to actually help those in need. To spread the knowledge and create a stress free society. So they Say…….

“In response to the challenging economic times that we are living through, the Art of Living Foundation and it’s sister organization, Ved Vigyan Mahavidyapeeth (VVM) will be reducing the tuition for The Art of Living Course, YES+ and the Art of Silence course. Course fees for these courses will be reduced as specified in the table below. An early registration discount of $25.00 will take effect February 1st, 2010 for those who sign up at least 7 days in advance. This special rate will expire on Sep. 31, 2010.”

See link: http://us.artofliving.org/content-reduced-course-fees-register

It is a classical sales technique to place a deadline for the discount, sure you have all seen these in any store in the shopping mall (centers) as well, it creates a sense of urgency not to let this opportunity pass you by. Mind you I have seen the expiration date change many times this year so I wonder it must be a flexible date which suits AOL in order to to make their Financial yearly targets goals.

The standard fee for the part 1 course is USD 450 but for a limited time you can take it for USD 250. If I had paid USD 450, and now could take it for USD 250, I would feel like I was seriously screwed over. So I wonder what the real cost is seems to me the AOL Cooperation is playing a game with spirituality. The question then arises have they always been over charging people.

So AOL corporation lowers the fee, now wonder they had to shorten the part one course, as mentioned in previous posts it is all about VOLUME, just like selling Cars or Ipods. Nothing Spiritual about it just implementing very smart business principles. See WhistleBlower’s comments in the post “The latest Con scheme of SriSri” they are spot on and an eye opener.

But I am sure they had a dilemma how can we round up the troups (teachers) to embrace this new strategy of a three day course format. I can imagine that during their management meeting at the head office of the AOL corporation in Bangalore the CEO Ravi Shankar would cognized a brilliant answer. And so he did, see below actual rhetoric used by the cloned teachers to justify the 3 day course structure. Which I am sure came from none other then the CEO.

When Guruji introduces the three day format, the same knowledge in half the time! But the Grace speaks loud and clear!

Here are the plus points:

* No-nonsense focus on the actual knowledge: there is very little time for us go to off on a tangent which means we stick to what Guruji really wants us to talk about!

* Reduced time frame appeals to many who have held back so far

* A Genuine Thirst to Continue: this format ends so quickly I have found it leaves participants wanting more! ie they Do move on to part 2 etc. In fact one of my 3 day course participants has completed 2 AMCs at ashram, 1 DSN, Sri Sri Yoga and now started seva all in LESS than 10 months!!

* Super Value For Money! If time is money, this format saves you 50% of the time, for only 20% increase in price! What a deal : )

* A Connect with the Guru! Sometimes we prefer the longer format cause we think the connection is greater. This is NOT my experience. Remember, the connection has to be with THE MASTER and not with the teacher! So yes, they may spend longer with the teacher in a 6 day course, but if a teacher’s connection is behind the 3 day format he/she can definitely get the participants connected to the Guru which to me is the real point! My conviction is definitely 100% behind this format!

The CEO Ravi Shankar did his best to cognize the finest possible hooks to keep his employees (teachers) under his spell. The last point the connection to the Guru (CEO)
really is the kicker, it is this kind of belief which is created in the devotee by the Guru which will make him or her jump through hoops thinking that it is for their best will or that it will be to their benefit one way or the other. Benefit, sure someone definitely will it is obvious who, the CEO Ravi Shankar, managing director of the AOL corporation .

It is this kind of brainwashing which once sets in the Guru (CEO) will use to create this competitive environment amongst the teachers so that they will try to out do each other thinking that the more they do and accomplish (course given, people signing up) the more in favor they are with the master. This strategy is used in any company within their sales department, those that do well get a better bonus. But at least they are transparent about it.

The AOL company uses the cloak of spirituality to achieve its financial objectives, making the CEO financial independent and being able to bestow financial freedom to his family and inner circle. It is not about the knowledge (which is a rehashed anyway) it is about the numbers (revenue). I have seen spreadsheets which are compiled for every country, detailing the courses given in a certain period, how many courses an active teachers gave. How many new people took the course (not repeaters), and the total revenue generated by each teacher and the country as a whole. And ranking each teacher based on their revenue generated. The management information gathered and given to Ravi Shankar CEO is very detailed and I am sure if the numbers are not to his liking he will not be pleased.

Why is it that AOL is using all the means available to attract new people. It amazes me that people don’t ask this question and see the true attention behind it.
Of course having completely given away ones critical thinking does not help, and honestly I have been there as well. Unfortunately and from my perspective I see so many still trapped in this web of deceit. Trying to their best and under cutting there fellow teachers just to feel special. What makes some one a senior teacher anyway, a teacher is a teacher in my book, rank has nothing to do with it. Rank creates division, bad for the teachers very good for the master.

See the post by WistleBlower see https://aolfree.wordpress.com/2010/08/10/the-latest-con-scheme-by-srisri/#comment-922

Below is a part of the post

During the TRM, Outreach Support team will lead a break out session to train interested teachers about online outreach & public relations. We will cover:

• Using Facebook, Twitter, email marketing, blogs to get increase participants to Mind & Meditation intro talks, and to build a relationship with course graduates
• Effective ways in which you can reach out to the media to tell your story, including online press releases
In order to make the most of this session:
• Please familiarize yourself with Facebook & Twitter. If you don’t have an account, sign up, if you have an account, log in!
• Get familiar with some key local newspapers and magazines, read the papers…identify areas where we could possibly have AOL coverage

So as a teacher I need to open a Facebook and Twitter account, actively (under pressure really) create my own little AOL Cooperation and make it work with out any starting Capital (money). This blows me away, it is all about getting people to sign up. Why not just be a good teacher based in knowledge and let people come to me out of their own willingness, in stead of using boiler room sales tactics creating false needs and exploiting situations people are in.

The above mention strategies are smart business principles, to increase market share. The AOL corporation is in a win – win position, because they have such a wonderful base of employees (teachers) who are willing to work for no compensation other then to receive the grace of the GURU. In the end when the employees realize they were in a scam and they have been had, they realize that they don’t have any pension, or health benefits and worse yet no skills to survive, their world comes crashing down hard. And that is very SAD to see, when the realization set in the little life energy and meaning they had is evaporated. Hopefully they will have a support base to get them back on their feet.

So is AOL a Foundation on paper it surely is but in reality it is a corporation, being run by a family who is laughing all the way to the Bank. The banks of choice are most likely located in Switzerland and other financial offshore jurisdictions.

The little giant has awakened.

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77 Comments
  1. August 24, 2010 5:00 pm

    I found your site on technorati and read a few of your other posts. Keep up the good work. I just added your RSS feed to my Google News Reader. Looking forward to reading more from you down the road!

  2. August 24, 2010 8:41 pm

    The first post on this blog from Skywalker is titled “Beacon of Reason”. I picked that username BUT ironically I represent the rational counter-opinion that a lot of the writers here say is most welcome in these parts.

    I have been with the Art Of Living and with Sri Sri for more than 10 years now, and I believe I am both an ardent follower and a rational human being. (I can almost hear Whistleblower click his tongue in sympathy when he/she sees this 🙂 ). Before you pre-judge me as one of those teachers who has purportedly siphoned off millions in teacher money and contributed a few millions more into the Art Of Living coffers, I rush to clarify.. more than half of the time that I have been a teacher, I have taught free courses – in prisons and in villages hit by the Tsunami. The rest of the time that I have taught I have never been given a number (either in terms of number of people or in terms of revenue to be generated).

    I have read almost all the posts on this blog. I have seen observations which are from-the-heart and some observations, which are downright vindictive, below-the-belt and cheap. I am compelled by an inner urge to join these discussions to present my point of view, and I promise that I will play fair . Amen!

    Hopefully, my posts will be published without censorship by the administrators-that-be… and hopefully there will be constructive discussions around the points I make from time to time… Hopefully.

    Preliminaries done with, LET THE GAMES BEGIN.

    First off, the URL – says “call it a cooperation not a foundation”… inadvertent correctness?? Possibly. Congratulations 🙂 Hey Admin, don’t change the URL and make this part of my comment less fun for the future generation.

    A few questions addressed at my friend , Ronin (even though he probably wont think so by the time I finish this comment ). Nothing personal, mate. I am sure we can still have a cup of coffee together when we are in the same town.

    Ronin, since a lot of your logic of discounts and Profit and Loss statements is based on the following assertion
    ** As mentioned it is a fact that the enrollment numbers are down **
    Will you be able to provide the world-wide numbers of participants last year vis-a-vis participants this year to be able to substantiate this claim? If not, then would you admit that this line is mere speculation? Or is there a secret option C that we ought to know about? 🙂

    There is another interesting part in this post where I had a nice laugh
    ** So as a teacher I need to open a Facebook and Twitter account, actively (under pressure really) **
    Been a teacher for many years, my friend. I dont have Facebook. I don’t have twitter. I just started blogging because I have been so inspired by this blog to contribute. Surprisingly, no one in the Art Of Living Foundation has complained to me about these “large gaps in my teacher vocabulary”!!
    And anyways, I don’t recall reading anywhere in the Teachers Manual that we need to stay away from Facebook and Twitter… I must have missed that page… did you take it with you when you left?? 🙂
    Get with it, mate… You blog, you facebook, you tweet… you probably delicio, digg and Like It! too… Are Art Of Living teachers not supposed to be in with the awesome stuff that you do to stay in touch with Skywalker and Whistleblower and team?! Give us a break, dude…

    Wow.. and there’s another gem.
    ** Why not just be a good teacher based in knowledge and let people come to me out of their own willingness **
    The day after I stop seeing https://aolfree.wordpress.com links on any other website, we can probably consider this option.
    What you are saying is => “Be a good teacher… sit at home.. do nothing… they will all come to you”… 🙂
    Are you for real, mate?

    You did save the best for last though.
    ** The banks of choice are most likely located in Switzerland and other financial offshore jurisdictions **
    I admire your versatility, Ronin. You moved smoothly from business to comedy to fantasy all in one teenie blog-post… I hear Bloomsbury is looking to fill the gap after Rowling stopped writing her Harry Potter stuff… you should apply.
    Banks in Switzerland… what else? Oil wells in Saudi? Or perhaps, Sri Sri owns half the sheep in New Zealand and the Foundation’s billions are coming from wool exports??
    If you don’t have data, all you have is an opinion…
    Bottom-line :: “In God We Trust, All Others Bring Data”

    Its been fun commenting on this, folks. Keep them coming, and hey, Skywalker – make me a deal… post my comments uncensored… I aint doing no hate-mail stuff here… Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam, remember…

    Peace! Aww.. what the heck… I will stick to Jai Gurudev!

    PS: (Will the administrator help in formatting this out a little bit to make it look a little more appealing – all in the interest of peaceful co-existence and healthy discussions).

    PPS: The previous post had some formatting issues due to my inexperience with WordPress. Please ignore that post, and publish this one.

    PPPS: This one with the smileys! I promise I won’t repeat this again 🙂

    • August 24, 2010 10:44 pm

      Welcome, Beacon. You seem different somehow, than the normal pack of ranting AOL guruphiliacs. I look forward to some interesting discussions.

    • goneagain permalink
      August 25, 2010 2:27 am

      @beaconofreason

      I would like to suggest couple of videos for you to watch, see if you can point any similarities between your beloved Org/RS and what is suggested in the video clips.



      http://www.megavideo.com/?v=OQ5UKME8
      (click it twice)

      Hope these can open up your eyes/mind a bit as you claim yourself as a ‘beacon of reason’. If you really open and constructive – send these to your students and discuss with them about the pros/cons and then you can discuss your experience here.

    • Ronin permalink
      August 25, 2010 2:13 pm

      Hi Beaconofreason

      Hope all is well and that you are helping those who are in real need. Funny you come out with bragging right out the box. Ten years mate very good, just to be a good sport I have been involved with both organizations over a period of 28 years but who is counting. It isn’t personal mate if it was then it would signify that AOL would still be effecting my judgment and thinking luckily I was able to free my self from the those shackles.

      Don’t you think what you have read merit some more looking. Or is it easier to disregard what you have been reading on the blog as a bunch of disgruntled teachers and ex-devotees.

      Are you so sure of it all, are you willing to stake your life on it mate.

      Think about I, don’t answer lightly, since the guru who knows the past and see into the future might be picking up your brain waves and look into what you are really thinking. (sorry you made so many jokes at my expense I think I am allowed just one at yours).

      What you have accomplished is remarkable but where does the money go which you or the local chapter transfers on a regular basis. Questions which are raised are about the organization as a whole and its fearless leader.

      If you truly have no, doubt then more power to you blind fate is not always a bad thing
      Some of us don’t and that is ok as well, opposite values are complimentary

      Mate there is this great Bob Marley ( I love the guy) song which goes…….

      “Who the cap fits let them wear it”

      Jai Guru Dev indeed is that not copied form TM ???!!!!! Sorry could not resist.

      The little giant has awakened

      • August 27, 2010 7:12 pm

        @Ronin: I had missed this response.. and hence the delayed reply.

        Just as you have mentioned that the numbers are dwindling, so am I equally confident that the numbers are growing. Neither of us has actual access to data; and yet you have based a large portion of your post on this surmise. Just knock the premise of “course numbers are dwindling” out of your post and the meat of the post is gone. You state it as fact; yet it is but a guess. Is it not?

        You ask me “Don’t you think what you have read merits some more looking?” Fair question. I put another before you – “What is the power of reading and logic over the power of one’s own experience?” My experience speaks for me, just as yours speaks for you. And it transcends whatever logic you put before me or vice versa.

        And my experience is so powerful, personal and tangible. The positive changes I have seen in myself, and in so many people around me who are part of the AOL and who are followers of Sri Sri are too only too real and visible for me to be swayed by a few videos and a few questions for which I may not have the answers.

        For every person that you can bring who claims to have had a negative experience, there are 1000 others (if not more) who claim to have had a positive experience. What does it prove? Nothing really… at the end of the day these experiences are personal. And for each person, their experience speaks for themselves. How can I, having experienced the beauty of what Sri Sri and AOL have given me, be swayed by logic, by arguments and by a few unanswered questions.

        What worries me is how you and several other bloggers here believe that your negative experiences creates for you the platform to say that everyone else who is enjoying the AOL and who adores Sri Sri is deluding themselves. (WhistleBlower tells me that ardent follower and rational human being dont go together. I was fascinated by that remark). Skywalker talks of free speech repeatedly – do you not also subscribe to free experience? That different people can experience different things with the same product and all those experiences may be true?

        Jai Gurudev.

  3. Bling Bling permalink
    August 24, 2010 9:10 pm

    @Beacon of Reason

    Welcome ! I have only one question. Can you check back with AOL and give us exact details on SSRS education qualifications? How and where did he get a Advanced Degree in Physics at the age of 17 !!! Which college? What exact degree? PhD ? Masters ? Can AOL release the transcripts to prove this ?

    You can read this claim on many AOL sites
    http://celebrating-silence-of-life.blogspot.com/
    http://www.artoflivingsfba.org/pressroom/srisri-bio.pdf
    http://uk.artofliving.org/srisri.htm

  4. August 24, 2010 10:21 pm

    Bling Bling,

    Do take the time to respond to some of the questions I have asked before firing a new one at me. I suggest we take the subject of “Corporation and Foundation” here (which is the theme of this post) and answer two of the data points I have asked.

    1) How did Ronin conclude number of participants was falling? This forms the basis for much of his arguments on Corporation vs Foundation, discounted pricing etc. Do you reject Ronin’s statement and therefore the basis for much of his argument?

    2) What is the basis for stating funds are stashed away in Switzerland and other financial offshore jurisdictions? Do you think such statements about an individual or an organization can be made so loosely? This is not a blog for comedy or light-hearted banter. What is being posted here is serious stuff on serious subjects. Throwing in lines on funds misuse in a trivial manner as Ronin has done is, I am sure you agree, unacceptable.

    There is enough room for new posts. Maybe you can create a new post for discussing Sri Sri’s educational qualifications, whatsay?

  5. Ron permalink
    August 24, 2010 11:36 pm

    @beaconofreason,

    It seems like you’re saying AOL can make whatever statements/claims on their heavily promoted websites without having to produce evidence. But posters on this relatively unknown blog have to adhere to much stricter evidence requirements.
    If you’re wiling to give AOL benefit of doubt – maybe they have evidence or maybe they don’t. You should extend the same benefit of doubt to Ronin. It’s at the discretion of the poster as to how much information they want to share.

  6. Peaceful Warrior permalink
    August 25, 2010 1:01 am

    Beacon of reason

    Yeah this blog like many others has a lot of fluff. If you really want to answer us then go through go through the post titled “Partial list of compilation against art of living” and answer some of the serious charges listed there.

    https://aolfree.wordpress.com/2010/08/11/partial-compilation-of-charges-against-the-art-of-living%C2%A0activities/

    While you are at it – you may solve this mystery for us…where does all the money go ? As a senior teacher you may have some insights into the workings of VVM. As any old timer will tell you a large chunk of the course fees goes to VVM and does not see light of the day. All we hear is RS saying the centers take up all the money, but it does not seem to make sense. The centers and ashrams raise their own money from courses etc. which begs the question – where does all the money that is supposedly used for charity, go ? Any decent organization, which is even half the size of AOL usually publishes a balance sheet to dispel any rumors. VVM however is a black hole. On top of this we see the lavish lifestyle of RS’s family, and their disrespect of countries laws (smuggling of ayurvedic medicine) – which really points to corruption at the very top.

  7. WhistleBlower permalink
    August 25, 2010 2:31 am

    Another superb post Ronin, keep them coming. Obviously you are pushing too many AOL buttons, as you even got a PR lackey assigned to just deal with you!

    @beaconofreason,
    I can’t see why you don’t use your real name instead of an alias?! what are you scared of?! If you are not already part of AOL PR (and asked to do this job), I am sure your efforts here will get you few brownie points and a bonus payment from SriSri. And funny how AOL people can’t be creative on their own and even for a username have to get their inspiration from our blog!

    Ardent follower of Sri Sri and a rational human being

    Sorry mate, those two descriptions just don’t go together. Just stick with the first one, that suits you better, esp. in the light of the rest of your comments that shows first description is more accurate!

    Hopefully, my posts will be published without censorship.

    Relax, this is not AOL. We don’t do censorship here! We are AOLFREE, remember?! It is in AOL that censorship goes on big time, that is if any criticism gets through in the first place! Not to mention defaming and attacking of critics and trying to shutdown any blog/website with a critical view of AOL.

    …more than half of the time that I have been a teacher, I have taught free courses – in prisons and in villages hit by the Tsunami.

    Wait a minute there! In which country did you teach these free prison courses and in which villages? Surely if you are not just making this up, you can tell us these details. Also your name, so ex-teachers from that country confirm your huge contributions!

    The rest of the time that I have taught I have never been given a number (either in terms of number of people or in terms of revenue to be generated).

    First of all, that is not what Ronin said. It seems that you, like most of AOL PR agents, are good in twisting facts.
    EVERY AOL teacher has to report the details of their courses, numbers, fees collected per student, location, expenses, etc. to their AOL headquarter. If you have not been doing this, then I can see why you are not using your real name, as you would be in big trouble! Also hope you had permission from AOL to teach those courses in prisons for free. Prison courses must be charged if possible, i.e. if they are taught in any prison that normally pays for such courses, they must be charged. However, if that is not a possibility or the prison admin refuse paying for these courses, then the teachers are requested to do their own arrangements for any costs involved. In both cases, AOL makes most PR value about these courses and claims that it teaches prison courses for free. Also when people say where the money from regular courses go to, they claim it goes to teaching free courses in prisons!
    However SriSri gets very upset if a prison course is given for free where there was a possibility of charging for it.

    I am compelled by an inner urge to join these discussions to present my point of view, and I promise that I will play fair.

    Playing fair?! Then how ridiculous of you to ask Ronin to provide you with the world-wide numbers. How about you ask your MASTER to provide you with these figures, as he sure has them, not Ronin!
    I can confirm what Ronin said in this regard that SriSri asks for regular reports about number of courses taught and revenues generated by each teacher for every country.
    And are you kidding me? You have been in AOL for 10 years and haven’t seen/heard any emphasize on the numbers for courses (which equals higher revenues)? They don’t even keep this as a secret. Which country you teach in? And who are you trying to fool, “Mr/Ms 10yrsAOLTeacher”?
    And if you are a junior fish, you won’t be told point blank about the need for generating revenues. Instead you would be told “bring more people to knowledge”. When you get to become more senior (and this has nothing to do with how many years you have been with AOL) then you would be actually told to generate more revenues (and this not only just through courses, but by applying for Govt. Grants, fundraising, DSN projects, approaching rich people, business projects and so on.)

    And no my dear it is not speculation that “the enrollment numbers are down”. How could you say you have been with AOL and yet you deny this fact? Which country you teach in? Tell us how is it going there?!

    Been a teacher for many years, my friend. I dont have Facebook.

    So what? How that negates what Ronin has said about the matter based on AOL circulars. We can just say, you are not listening to the new directions from your employer!

    The day after I stop seeing https://aolfree.wordpress.com links on any other website, we can probably consider this option.

    Oh, suddenly, you gave it all away, admitting that you are an AOL lackey and on a PR/damage control assignment. Otherwise, why are you even bothered about our blog? Why aren’t you putting your time to teach courses and generate more money for yourself and your master? OOPS, I meant “bringing people to knowledge!!” And sorry about others giving our blog’s link in their website. We can’t do anything about that, it is a free world. But, not to worry, we have put the links to all three AOL counter-blogs on our blog! And no, we wouldn’t expect AOL to return the favor; after all they are focusing on shutting us down, not promoting us! And it seems AOL blogs getting their most hits through our blogs, otherwise they have been total disaster. Who wants to read more AOL lies when they can get the truth from Klim and Skywalker blogs?

    Anyway, you and your Divine Master better get used to it; aolfree blog is not going to be shut down with threats from AOL. Even if you shut down us here, 10 more aolfree blogs will start somewhere else.

    Re SriSri’s choice of a bank, easy, invite Indian Govt. to make an independent audit of all the finances of AOL, VVM, and SriSri, his sister, his nephews, his brother-in-law and few other lackeys (like Bawa and his family) and then be ready for the bitter truth coming out! I think you would then have to get a real job!

    All in all, you acted like a typical AOL lackey. You didn’t reply to even one allegation. But then what could you say? Who could possibly justify all the wrongdoings in AOL? Who could explain SriSri’s hankering for NPP? Who could explain the money collected in the name of charity, ending up in Sumeru real estate and personal bank accounts of SriSri and family? Who could explain the numerous allegations in this blog by ex-AOL teachers?

    You and your Master know what we are saying are all true. You can’t explain them away, so that is why your Master has instructed one of his lackeys to shut our blog down. So typical of your master’s way of dealing with criticism. As few other people mentioned this before, maybe SriSri needs to do his own DSN course and learn how to deal with criticism.

    • Amit Sharma permalink
      August 27, 2010 3:19 pm

      Hi Whislte blower,

      You have stamina buddy! You can write forever I think…the flip side is that I lost you because you write too much and keep ranting… sorry, but I couldnt read through most of what you wrote, however, I did notice that you wanted to get some details about free courses in prisons et al. I have assisted FREE courses in Burail Jail in Chandigarh in 2007 , I had to relocate to Philippines, in 2008 and here too there are FREE courses continuously happening in the prison and also for teen offenders in Manila… I will be too glad to share more details of a lot of other places like orphanages, old age homes, slums etc that my team and I have been working with , please yoller and I should be able to give appox dates too… drop me a line whenever… just one request- please keep it short, you write too much 🙂

      Jai Gurudev!
      Amit

      • Anonymous permalink
        August 27, 2010 3:30 pm

        Hey Amit,

        I agree totatly with you. We were also once just like you. Totally grounded in Knowledge. Served on a drop of hat. But with time we had different experiences. Lucky you that you dint go through it!! But dont u agree that there is some truth in these bloggers too!!

      • Bling Bling permalink
        August 27, 2010 5:09 pm

        > I did notice that you wanted to get some details about free courses in prisons et al. I
        > have assisted FREE courses in Burail Jail in Chandigarh in 2007 , I had to relocate
        > to Philippines, in 2008 and here too there are FREE courses continuously happening
        > in the prison and also for teen offenders in Manila

        Amit,

        Again, this was volunteer work on your part. AOL did pay you. It did not have any expenditures. So where is the money going?

        Can you also tell us how SSRS could have obtained an “Advanced Degree in Physics at the age of 17”. What advanced degree can you get at such a young age? PhD or Masters? Can they release the transcripts certified. Many people from AOL come to this blog but no one has been able to successfully answer this question. Are they wanting to avoid admitting the bitter truth. May I ask Skywalker to make this a separate post “Unanswered question on SSRS Education” and openly challenge AOL to provide a reply.

  8. Svetana permalink
    August 25, 2010 3:02 am

    @ beaconofreason

    You said: “LET THE GAMES BEGIN”
    No, AOL teacher, it is not like that. This web site is not about games, it is not AOL. It is about sharing experiences about corrupted family business under disguise of a spiritual organization. For many people abused by Sri Sri it is the place of healing. Nobody invited you here. You made your entry filled with artificial smiles yourself and started asking questions. Please, don’t forget you are just a person who came without an invitation, yet, you were let in. Why do you think that people should start running around answering your questions? Sorry Sir/Ms. It doesn’t happen like this in life. Be the first to answer our questions. Even being AOL teacher for more than 10 years, you should still remember what politeness is. I repeat Bling Bling questions:
    “ Can you check back with AOL and give us exact details on SSRS education qualifications? How and where did he get a Advanced Degree in Physics at the age of 17 !!! Which college? What exact degree? PhD ? Masters ? Can AOL release the transcripts to prove this ?
    In your own words: “In God We Trust, All Others Bring Data”
    Why not really answer these questions and bring data? It will only confirm that your Master is not a liar. If there is no way to prove it, it means that RS simply made up some appealing stories, including “Advanced Degree in Physics” or “Reciting Bhagavat Gita at the age of 3” TO GET THE JOB OF A GURU. It’s his fantasy world, and it means that he started cheating people long time ago.

    Let me also ask some questions that will help us to know you better. You write: “I have read almost all the posts on this blog. I have seen observations which are from-the-heart and some observations, which are downright vindictive, below-the-belt and cheap.” So, after reading all these stories written by a lot of people harmed by Sri Sri and AOL in all sorts of ways, you continue to be “an ardent follower”, then:

    1. Are you from the inner AOL circles and you materially benefited from supporting destructive business/cult?
    2. Are you simply not very bright, mildly speaking, that you cannot make simple conclusions? No offence. A lot of people in AOL are not good at thinking.
    3. Are you a person, who is stuck in “Jai Gurudev” way of life, because it is too late for you to leave this cult, and you simply don’t know how to make your living in a decent way?

    • Amit Sharma permalink
      August 27, 2010 3:26 pm

      Dear Svetana,

      🙂 Take a deep breath and let go… and then , ask these questions again:)… btw, I am a Vice President for a Multinational Financial Company, HQ in NY and I manage US , Austrailia and NZ part of this company. I have NOTHING to gain financially from AOL, I make a living in a decent way- I manage about 600 people and help them earn a decent living too. I look forward to hearing from you, offcourse when you’ve cooled down after some pranayam…

      JaiGurudev! 🙂
      Amit

      • Peaceful Warrior permalink
        August 27, 2010 7:48 pm

        @Amit – I took several deep breaths. Could you please answer the questions now! They are pretty reasonable questions – it’s not as if we are asking obama to prove that he is american.

        1. Can you check back with AOL and give us exact details on SSRS education qualifications? How and where did he get a Advanced Degree in Physics at the age of 17 !!! Which college? What exact degree? PhD ? Masters ? If it is not an advanced degree, then why does he lie ?

        2. AOL claims that money raised from course fee goes to service projects. None of us have ever seen AOL spending any money on service projects. Any service project in AOL has to raise their own funds. We suspect the money is going to private funds of RS and family.

        Moreover, it is dishonest to claim that course money goes to charity, when it clearly does not. I have no problem with AOL being a for-profit educational institution – but why the duplicity. My guess it’s to get free volunteer labor.

        3. Same thing about Care for children. I’ve donated several thousand $$ over time, but they never give any indication of how the funds are utilized. Nothing to show for the enormous sums of money that are raised in name of charity.

        4. Why is the RS considered infallible and all knowing and someone who never makes a mistake ? It is clear he makes mistakes and big ones. Neither is he all knowing as the recent shooting incident clearly proves.

        I suspect, this is just a ruse to control people, and make them do his bidding, no matter what stupid things he asks them to do (for example asking cities to declare Sri Sri Ravishankar day). If you have any good response I’m willing to listen.

      • August 27, 2010 9:04 pm

        @Peaceful Warrior:

        You have asked 4 questions
        1) Sri Sri’s Educational qualification:
        2) Where money from courses goes:
        3) Nothing to show for Care for Children
        4) Why is Sri Sri considered infallible?

        These questions, though probably important, do not really affect me as a person.
        You are not asking me a couple of questions that really matter to me as an individual
        1) Has the quality of your life improved through the Art Of Living programs?
        2) Have you seen a marked improvement in the life of your near and dear ones as a result of their going through the Art Of Living programs?
        The answer to both is a resounding Yes.

        Disillusionment happens when demand for some answers begins and the answers you get don’t meet the intensity of your demand, isn’t it?

        My answer to the 4 questions you have asked is “I don’t know”. They are the same as your answers too. I can guess some answers, so can you. But the truth is neither of us KNOWS, nor are we in a position to.

        The fundamental difference in our approaches is this:
        In my case I put my personal experiences as superior to the lack of answers to the logical questions you ask.
        In your case, absence of clarity in these logical questions causes you to question your own personal experience (which admittedly is probably not as positive as my experience has been).

        Like I had told Ronin just a little above this comment, I have no quarrel with the fact that your experience has been negative. But there is a kind of crusade going on in this blog which is on the lines of “If you are in the AOL you are delusional… you are fooling yourself if you think you are happy”. Is this also not a cult-ish way of viewing the world? Are you not saying that yours is the right way, yours is the right experience, and another person who is pro-AOL is saying so only because he/she has not realized the truth?

        To quote an intelligent man, “If you have any good response, I’m willing to listen” 🙂

        Jai Gurudev!

      • August 27, 2010 10:44 pm

        I like you, Beacon, you have a sharp intellect and a good sense of humor. If I were not so busy (yes, I have a life, I don’t sit all day writing on this blog, consumed by hatred) I would reply in detail to your posts. A request to our readers: when someone intelligent like Beacon here comments, listen to what he says, and argue intelligently back. Please no more mud-slinging. Speak from personal experience, or comment respectfully on other’s personal experience, if they are speaking sincerely, like Ann did here: https://aolfree.wordpress.com/2010/07/29/349/

      • Bling Bling permalink
        August 27, 2010 11:26 pm

        Yo Beacon Of Reason

        Who knows given your witty aphorisms, you could be SSRS himself !! 🙂

        I can outline a solution for you. Don’t worry about the moles. They will disappear once AOL has nothing to hide.

        If you are really a beacon of reason, just get AOL to
        (a) clear this misinformation about SSRS education.
        (b) be more transparent about funding.
        (c) Lower the course fees to be something manageable.
        (d) Stop being aggressive in asking people to donate money and entice others into courses. Let people come and go as they please.
        (e) reduce the hype about “God-incarnate”.

        If AOL takes such remedial measures, maybe some of us who are condemning AOL today might want to slip back in the courses for more “Knowledge”.

      • anonymous permalink
        August 28, 2010 12:02 am

        @beaconofreason
        While you are at explaining what blingbling asked, also add why RS is so desperate and so hell bend on getting NPP, why he is the ‘God-incarnate’ using any and all means to get NPP?

        But I don’t think any of you will explain anything and clear things out. You guys simply wish that these things go away (based on your comments on the post “Blog Under Three Pronged Attack”), if you don’t like your experience with AOL just leave but don’t bother. Yes, that’s what most ex-aolites did until recently. But some of them figured out that they should say their experiences outside so some them can be healed and other gullibles can be saved before getting trapped. Which obviously hits your bottom line, how can you let that go, you (RS/AOL lackeys) have to some how stop it and we are only seeing that playing out.

      • goneagain permalink
        August 28, 2010 2:04 pm

        @beaconofreason
        I am not sure if you answer any of the above questions, let see if you can answer this simple “a) or b)” question. This question about you not about AOL or RS.

        The question is hypothetical, so you don’t have to believe it either.

        Q. Let say you found out that RS/AOL lied about this for example, RS never completed his Higher degree in Physics at age of 17.

        a) A lie like that matter to you it shatters your faith in him/AOL.
        b) Doesn’t matter to you, you faith in him remains the same.

        Please answer simple a) or b). This will help most posters here to understand you, your state of your mind etc. I will provide my opinion after your answer and others might follow that.

  9. anonymous permalink
    August 26, 2010 7:35 pm

    i just dont understand why this discussion is going on.come on dude if some one wants to be in aol and belives in it let him and if someone wants to be out of it and does not like it let him go…………….all the above seinor ex aol teachers who have been in aol since 28 yrs what were you doing for so many years.Were u a fool or a blind person or wat?????????? ok ok ok i get it u did not got ur share of “family business” as according to u Bawa and family got.hmmmmmm reason for strating this blog ……..my sympathy goes to you.
    anyways take care and a big “joygurudev”

    • Peaceful Warrior permalink
      August 27, 2010 7:51 pm

      “all the above seinor ex aol teachers who have been in aol since 28 yrs what were you doing for so many years.Were u a fool or a blind person or wat”

      Yes! We were all fools and blind people. We saw these wrong things happening before our eyes, but chose to ignore them.

      This blog is to share our experience, so others in similar position get the courage to leave too.

  10. anon permalink
    August 27, 2010 4:01 pm

    Yipee!! Amit Sharma has FREE advice for all of us!! Whistleblower, write less, Svetana, take deep breaths!!

  11. Peaceful Warrior permalink
    August 28, 2010 12:53 am

    @Beacon of Reason 9:04 pm

    You bring up some interesting points:

    Well firstly, my happiness is quite independent of being part of AOL.

    Does the AOL course help you ? – In the beginning yes, because it introduces you to spirituality, but in the long run no – because it fills your head with useless dogma and silly superstitions. The improvement in my quality of life is because I was a sincere student of spirituality and applied myself to studying scriptures and living a life according to spiritual values. Sri Sri, is wrong to claim *all* the credit for it – though as my teacher he does deserve some credit.

    There are many in AOL who take comfort in being part of a large group. That sort of happiness and comfort is an illusion. The mob mind is the lowest sort of mind. AOL actively encourages such groupthink and herd mentality. For some reason intellect is considered the great enemy of spirituality – while the reverse is true in real life – the spiritual force illuminates the intellect. A deeply spiritual person will have sterling intellect.

    In the end, I realized that following a guru was actually counterproductive. All the senior teachers I met had their head filled with dogma and lost the ability to see things as they are. I actually started to notice what a negative atmosphere it was – behind the facade of smiling faces was a feeling of negativity towards the world, which I found very unspiritual and life denying. You see this attitude in senior teachers and people who’ve been there for long time – they are afraid of food, of people drinking alcohol, and of popular culture and people, treating these with an air of disgust and superiority. Ultimately they (especially senior teachers) end up creating an Art of Living v/s the world kind of mentality – which is what we describe as a cult.

    I was fortunate to realize this at the right time. Such a life and world denying philosophy is not for me. Many people realized this after spending their whole life in AOL – being in Art of Living one denied, not embraced life. I think this is true of any religion/cults – one begins to associate one’s identity with it – it’s not a good thing.

    About the other questions about financial irregularities and other stuff – they are just red flags that point to lack of integrity and accountability. The teacher – student relationship is an asymmetric relationship. Knowledge is power and the teacher has an overwhelming amount of influence over the student. Especially spiritual knowledge which requires the student to put himself in the hand of the teacher. There is nothing to stop a guru from exploiting his students. Which is why it is very necessary for a teacher to be very pure and have impeccable integrity. So yes, it matters to me that the school which I go to to learn about spirituality is not corrupt. The fact that the founder blatantly lies about his educational background is a big red flag. Moreover, If I know an organization to be corrupt, I have to do my best to expose them – especially in this case where the organization commands wide influence.

    I also feel a guilt for exposing my friends, family members and people at large to this toxic spirituality. I used my reputation on behalf of the organization. People who did not trust the organization joined because they trusted me. I feel I did them disservice – the organization does not conduct itself with integrity and high ethical standards that are deserving of the public’s trust. I used to believe that art of living makes your life better – but i’ve seen so many people who feel trapped and unhappy – and I feel responsible for those that I lured in.

    • August 28, 2010 11:49 am

      Hey PW,
      I got this idea, want to discuss it with you. Send me a short mail, from an anonymous adress, ok? And the day after, post the same text here, so I know it is you (I can tell from the IP adress).

      Best,
      Skywalker

    • August 28, 2010 1:34 pm

      @Perfect Warrior: Talking to you or Skywalker guarantees me some rational and decent responses instead of a high-octane rant! Thank you for that.

      You started with “Well firstly, my happiness is quite independent of being part of AOL.”
      Quite true. I cannot dispute that, for it is your experience. Please consider this too. AOL and Sri Sri have had a big role to play in my growth and evolution as a human being, Will you allow for it that my analysis of why I have grown as a person is correct? Or will you step in to correct me and say that I am fooling myself by thinking that I have grown as a human being largely because of Sri Sri and AOL?

      Sri Sri, is wrong to claim *all* the credit for it
      It is not about who claims credit. It is about who I attribute it to. I attribute the credit for my growth to Sri Sri. He has never told me directly or subtly that whatever I am today is because of him, and therefore I am in his debt. If I am with Sri Sri today, it is by my choice, and not by force, or obligation. Again, would you step in and say that this is because of subtle manipulation by Sri Sri, or would you just accept that my analysis here is also plausible?

      You say “All the senior teachers I met had their head filled with dogma and lost the ability to see things as they are”
      The phrase “see things as they are” is tricky, wouldn’t you say? Who decides the way things “are”? You? or the teachers? Isn’t it all just a point of view anyway? The moment you (PW) decide that this is the way things “are” and all other points of view are wrong, then the problems begin, isn’t it? Isn’t that what cults are about? Aren’t you therefore falling into the same trap you believe the teachers have fallen into?

      You followed up with “Such a life and world denying philosophy is not for me.”
      Again, I agree. I have no argument with that either. You see it as a life and world denying philosophy. You are an intelligent and rational person, and you form your own conclusions based on your experiences. I, too, form my own conclusions, and they point in a completely different direction because my experiences and world view are different. What I have a problem with is when people at this blog say that such a view is the only right view and all others who are still with AOL and Sri Sri are deluding themselves and have not opened their eyes to the “truth” that you have perceived.

      I think this is true of any religion/cults – one begins to associate one’s identity with it – it’s not a good thing.
      I am a father, a businessman, a musician, a husband, a son, a brother, a Hindu, an Indian, a person who actively practises AOL principles and ten thousand other things. All of these are my identities. I am not tied to one identity to the exclusion of everything else. If I feel the need to, no one stops me from dropping any of these identities. I take all of them on by choice. When someone or a group of people step up and tell me that the choices I made are wrong, and that I am not intelligent enough to figure out what to do with my life. I do not appreciate it. When people super-impose their experiences on mine, and tell me that their inferences based on their experiences is right, while my inferences based on my experiences are wrong, I do not appreciate it.

      I can see that from your point of view, you believe these questions you raise and these points you make questioning the integrity and correctness of Sri Sri and AOL are a kind of service. From the point of view of a person whose experiences have only been positive, (and you know as well as I do that this number is not small) what you are doing here as part of this blog does serious harm by attempting to sow seeds of doubt by placing logic and rationality above personal experience.

      Until I hear back from you, my friend
      Jai Gurudev!

  12. anonymous permalink
    August 28, 2010 1:03 pm

    So, Skywalker, Whistleblower,

    Are you going to forward all of this material to:

    The Deccan Herald
    The Hindu
    Hindustan Times
    Times of India
    Bangalore Press Club

    ?

    I do hope so. I’d do it myself, except for an extreme lack of time. Just sending the link to this blog will not be enough to get a reporter’s attention, I think.

    If the press get involved, the Revenue Service will get involved. If they get involved, watch the house of cards come tumbling down! AOL cannot bribe everyone forever.

  13. Peaceful Warrior permalink
    August 28, 2010 8:10 pm

    To Beacon of Reason:

    Sure people on this blog are opinionated, and have strong convictions. Why is it such a bad thing. I’m not trying to convince you to leave AOL. I am sharing what I see as the truth. The truth is very powerful – you cannot ignore it, – it will nag you no matter how hard you try to push it away. I suspect this is the cause of your discomfort.

    “When people super-impose their experiences on mine, and tell me that their inferences based on their experiences is right, while my inferences based on my experiences are wrong, I do not appreciate it.”

    So you suggest that people should not share their experience if they have had bad experiences with AOL ? Are only good and great experiences are to be shared ?

    This kind of things go on a lot in AOL – negative opinions are pushed under a rug, and a facade of smiling faces remains. In fact people begin to see the world as negative, because people in the real world don’t tell you what you want to hear.

    “When someone or a group of people step up and tell me that the choices I made are wrong, and that I am not intelligent enough to figure out what to do with my life.”

    Well firstly it’s AOL that tells you to not use your intellect and follow the master blindly. We are all for using one’s own thinking and figuring out what’s right for oneself.

    “what you are doing here as part of this blog does serious harm by attempting to sow seeds of doubt by placing logic and rationality above personal experience.”

    If this blog raises questions and makes people think instead of blindly following like they do, it would have done it’s job. Personal experience is limited. One person has only so much personal experience, which is why listening to people whose experience has been different is not such a bad thing. Which is where critical thinking also comes in – because people say different things. You use logic and reason when you buy a car or a house – why do you have to let go of rationality when it comes to this.

    When I/we say listen to reason, it is only in opposition to the superstitions thinking AOL promotes.Case in point – RS told people that time till october is bad, so they promptly cancelled their vacations (you can read all about it on Bawa’s blog). If people feel uncomfortable, by me telling them to use reason, then it’s a good thing. The kind of comfort that comes from blind following is not good – over time it makes one dependent and easy to manipulate.

    The phrase “see things as they are” is tricky, wouldn’t you say?
    Yes truth is complicated. and this is not the place for abstract discussions on philosophy. It is also not true that all points of view are correct. If I say Al Capone is a crook, it’s an objective truth – not a point of view.

    In this context, it means something more banal – stop making decisions based on superstitions. It is not true that if you are pure, you can do things by intention alone. Yes, a strong intention is necessary to drive your actions – but RS does not control any mystical force that make miracles happen in your life. You can still lead a fantastic life, even if you don’t believe in a guru. People are afraid to leave AOL even if they want to, because they believe all the good times will come to an end if they do so. Not only is such thinking against common sense – it is unspiritual. Spirituality builds confidence – not dependence.

    I do realize that AOL attracts many lost souls who come there for healing and direction. Which is why any place of spirituality needs to have impeccable standards of integrity. Many of us were very disturbed by what we saw as flexible ethics in AOL. If AOL were truly an organization of integrity, it would be very easy to silence critics. All they need to do is stop cooking up numbers when they can’t back up (like saying 2% administrative fees in charities) act in a transparent manner. It is up to the organization to act in a way that inspires trust. Most organizations do – only has the special way of justifying secrecy by labelling critics as negative, low-prana etc.

    Best Regards,
    PW

    • Anonymous permalink
      August 28, 2010 8:36 pm

      @Peaceful warrior & @ Skywalker

      this reply is really quite nicely written. I feel it deservs a better place.

    • goneagain permalink
      August 28, 2010 8:46 pm

      Very concise comments by Peaceful Warrior (@skywalker this deserves as a post). All beaconofReason (in a conciliatory tone) wants this, please leave us alone and don’t disturb our way of life or our business whether you like it or not. As he agreed earlier our (posters) views/positions are radically different which includes this point of view the purpose of this blog: Expose activities of AOL based on the personal experience many ex-aol teachers/devotees, obviously it is up to reader to take it or leave it. No body here forces one to take this point view or not, unlike AOL which hides/suppresses any such views/thoughts.

  14. August 29, 2010 5:07 am

    @goneagain
    It is an interesting approach to psycho-analyze me. Let me return the favor with another simple a) or b) hypothetical question.

    Q. Let say you found out that RS/AOL did not lie about this – RS completed his Higher degree in Physics at age of 17.
    a) Finding out that it was the truth makes you want to return to AOL and become an ardent follower and devotee?
    b) Doesn’t matter to you, you go about looking for other skeletons in his closet?

    These little games are interesting, goneagain. Hypothetical discussions do take away the pressure of dealing with reality. We can play them while I discuss things that I believe matter more – with Peaceful Warrior, Skywalker, Ronin and perhaps to some extent, Bling Bling.

    • goneagain permalink
      August 29, 2010 2:59 pm

      Thanks for returning the favor, I know you would dodge any factual question asked you directly about RS/AOL. You are anonymous to this blog and of course not to AOL/RS, they know exactly who you are and your purpose of being here. For most devotees/teachers these blogs are forbidden, they are not allowed to seek or look at these. However select few like swami and you (those who can be trusted) are here absolutely for a reason. Silence the critics and dilute criticisms.

      It is fairly simple, for my earier question if you answer (a) to prove that you are a “reason of beacon” the you are going to fall out of favour at best or at worst you would be kicked out of AOL/your livelihood destroyed as they (AOL) did to Ann the AOL teacher. If you have answered (b) then you lost all credibility here as you can’t claim a “reason of beacon” and all your pretentious understanding that “I understand PW what you are saying, but” stuff. However by dodging this question you have simply proved you are just the second type anyway.

      You said that you can’t sit quite without challenging all the things said here and you are ardent follower to RS and a rational human being, It is hard for you accept but yes I do believe (like Whistleblower and many others here) that these two don’t go hand in hand. You/Swami Sadyojathah said out to destroy critiques/silence criticisms, but as a rational human being all you have provided so far in this blog is: “Don’t interfere our business, leave as alone and we leave you alone”. I can see that you have achieved hardly anything for your cause that you have undertaken.

      • WhistleBlower permalink
        August 29, 2010 10:53 pm

        Are you serious? Did they kick out Ann too? After all that she did for Srisri/AOL?
        AOL used her work in their glossy brochures and books and articles and other promotional materials to promote AOL and depict AOL as a charity and get huge grants and also collect lots of charity fund for AOL worldwide.

        Of course most of Ann’s work was done on her own initiative and she had to do her own fundraising for them. She had to rough it through many dangerous places she worked in, like Afghanistan, Kosovo, Pakistan. Art of living not only would not give her any financial support, but also would eat up any money donated to AOL meant for her projects. Ann recently wrote to our blog in defence of AOL, see the post “letter of concern” by SkyWalker.

        Is AOL now going to accuse Ann of being “mentally challenged” too or that she didn’t do enough seva?
        I hope Ann writes to this blog and tells us her side of story. In the meantime Ann, if you are reading this and if you are truly out of AOL, congratulations for leaving that sick organization behind you! Welcome to the free world.

        I wonder if AOL now takes out all references to Ann’s work from their promotional material? Those were all Ann’s work and she is the only one entitled to put them on her CV.

        If AOL continues to use them, Ann and others are entitled to speak up publicly against AOL shameless behavior.

      • beaconOfreason permalink
        August 30, 2010 4:05 am

        @goneagain: Does the same logic not apply to you, goneagain? But I notice that you have desisted from choosing a) or b) from my list? And I also notice that Svetana has indirectly complimented you too on learning the skill from Sri Sri. Congratulations…

        Both you and Svetana and several others here still insist on treating me as an AOL lackey; as a person whose thoughts and opinions here are censored and overseen by the powers-that-be at AOL. I, hence, do not really think I need to dignify your questions to me with direct answers. Direct questions that a Peaceful Warrior, or a Skywalker or a Ronin ask, I will do my best to reply to directly, if I know the answers to those questions.

      • WhistleBlower permalink
        August 30, 2010 6:03 am

        Beaconofreason, wrote to SkyWalker, after both his comment and my reply to it was published asking his comment be deleted as he prefers to be anonymous. Obviously he used his real name by mistake.
        Unlike Swami Sadyojathah we respect Beaconofreason’s wish to stay anonymous. But his comment and my reply to it stays, minus his name.
        He has been insisting that he is not an AOL Lackey, while others decided otherwise (After all we have been in AOL far too long and can pick up the lackeys from a mile!)
        So BeaconOfReason, be assured we won’t publish your name and you can continue sending your comments and even insist that you are not an AOL Lackey, but just forgive those of us who are not buying your story!

      • August 30, 2010 8:16 am

        @WhistleBlower: Great. You refer to my company by name; you refer to me by name; and you follow it up with a holier-than-thou comment of “we respect Beaconofreason’s wish to stay anonymous”.

        Don’t bother deleting the comment on “Sumeru Solutions (one of private businesses of SriSri and family run on stolen charity money)”. Probably before the day is out, mate, WordPress is getting a defamation notice with ref to your comment, and there need be no doubt or need for anonymity – I am the guy who is going to be behind that notice. And while I am at it, maybe I should ask them to reveal your identity for your incisive analysis on the way my company is funded – Mr. Courageous.

        My company gives money to the Art Of Living projects. It doesn’t take a pie from there. And man, you are in for trouble when you make such absolutely baseless statements as Sumeru Solutions “runs the company from stolen charity money”. Is this the kind of evidence and research based on which you make your accusations? It sucks, it really does.

        What I know is that I made an error by posting with my alternate id, and I requested you guys to honor my private space – which you, WhistleBlower have clearly failed to do.

        Thank you, Skywalker, for respecting the contents of my eMail and acting accordingly. (This is not sarcastic). It is unfortunate that you have WhistleBlowers and a few others who throw such allegations without basis, and spoil the clean, rational discussions and counter-opinions that this blog could have and which, per your initial post, you wanted.

        Oh, rest assured I will be back and commenting on posts here. I still have healthy respect for a few of the posters here and I hope they don’t make the same mistake of thinking of me as a lackey.

      • August 30, 2010 3:57 pm

        Beacon, I am sorry. Whistleblower is way out of line, here. The re-posting of your comment happened without my knowledge. But, in the spirit of the blog, we have to give room even to him. That’s what free speech is all about.

      • WhistleBlower permalink
        August 30, 2010 9:08 am

        Get your facts right “Mr. Sumeru”, wanting to be known as beaconofreason, insisting you are not an AOL lackey! You posted a comment with your real name. I replied to it. Both of these got published and were on line for some time. Then you emailed and said that you wish to stay anonymous ( I wonder why!! Pretty embarrassing I would say, after claiming for few days that you are not an AOL lackey). So we did delete your real name both in your own comment and in my reply to it.
        Not that we had to, but we respect people’s wish to stay anonymous, more than what we can say for you, Swami Sadyojathah and your Master!
        And here is what we get instead of thank you!!

        And get this right Mr. Lackey; whether you get my name or not, whether you and your Master shut down our blog (you sure have been trying very hard from every possible angle), the truth about AOL is getting out. Even if you silence every voice of criticism, 100 new voice will continue and truth will get out. That is the nature of truth. Your master has already given the show away by the shooting incident and the land grabbing news. Journalists are not buying your stories anymore and laughing at your pathetic replies. See:

        And is that supposed to be a joke? Your company , Sumeru Solution, gives money to AOL projects? Suddenly Sumeru Solution is your company and has nothing to do with AOL and SriSri? Wow, this is getting more interesting by the minute!!

        So that was your purpose to come on our blog, to claim you are not AOL Lackey, but then act as one and threaten us with defamation. Oh, man, you sure are typical AOL lackey, from every aspect.
        So, tell us what is your name and how long you have own Sumeru Solutions? Indian Govt. should be very interested. Also all those people who gave money and free service to Sumeru businesses over the years thinking it is a charity! Now you are claiming it is owned by you!

        And stop your stupid AOL games, to create conflict and division between bloggers (another typical AOL dirty game). And yes, do post as many comments as you want before winning your defamation suit to shut us down or your Master does so! As you see we have been very generous in posting the comments of those who have been trying hard to shut us down.

        All in all, “beacon of reason”, I have to say, you turned up as another AOL Lackey who was sent to do damage control and ended up doing more damage. The way, you, Swami Sadyojathah, SriSri, Ewald, US president and your pathetic counter-blogs are going, soon we will all become redundant, as you guys are giving the show away quickly all on your own!

        PS. don’t worry, I have no intention of deleting any of my comments. Not like you, who suddenly got scared and wanted your comment to be deleted! Maybe God wanted you to be exposed for who you are, hence the momentary collapse in your deceitful mind, giving away your name and the name of your company and the fact that you are an AOL Lackey!

        PPS. 9 out of 10 of AOL lackeys who attack us have their snout in the same trough as SriSri and AOL. You are a good example of it, same as Ewald, Swami,Bawa, Mickey, etc.

      • goneagain permalink
        August 30, 2010 12:35 pm

        @beaconofreason

        I sympathize with you, now that your master learned your stupidity of revealing yourself without doing what you were assigned to do – you may be kicked out, no wonder why you are so upset with your won mistake, sorry buddy. Given the mission you have undertaking – playing a rational person and ardent RS supporter – it is inherently very hard game to play, you did whatever the best you could do given that difficult nature of the game.

  15. Svetana permalink
    August 29, 2010 5:33 pm

    Beacon,

    You avoid answering direct questions that can compromise you or those you represent very much like your master. He also discards these questions, turns them into a joke or changes the subject. You did learn this skill well from him.

  16. goneagain permalink
    August 30, 2010 12:23 am

    @WhistleBlower
    Actually I was referring to “Eng an” from South America/AOL teacher, whom AOL identified as person who is writing this blog and trying to destroy her livelihood by calling her medical issues, etc. not the the “Ann Godwin” who wrote a “letter of concern” to this blog .

  17. ANON permalink
    August 30, 2010 6:50 am

    Isn’t beaconOfreason the same person who is working as Chief Operating Officer at Sumeru Solutions since 2006. As per website his responsibilities include revenue and sales of growth of Sumeru Solutions or AOL (same thing…)

    • anonymous permalink
      September 1, 2010 7:54 pm

      Beacon went anonymous now, no more management info in sumeru. This blogs makes them work over time.

  18. SilentJudge permalink
    August 30, 2010 9:48 am

    @WhistleBlower

    Requesting you not to spoil a healthy discussion here. A lot of us are here, waiting to see a good debate.

    • WhistleBlower permalink
      August 30, 2010 10:05 am

      :- ) have as much healthy debate as you like (and as possible!) with AOL lackeys, while they are trying to shut down the medium for the debate!

      Also isn’t it interesting that these debates only happen on our blog. I guess no place on AOL blogs or websites to have a healthy debate, so even AOL people have to come to our blog to have a healthy debate or read one!

      • Bling Bling permalink
        August 30, 2010 1:02 pm

        > Also isn’t it interesting that these debates only happen on our blog.

        Quite right 🙂 I wouldn’t be here if the AOL blogs didn’t delete comments asking questions. Bawa is the only exception; he answers some questions at times. It is a mystery (especially for such a PR-savvy organization which continually states that SSRS is willing to answer any question) why they can’t provide some proof and be more transparent so as to let the questions die out naturally.

      • SilentJudge permalink
        August 30, 2010 5:29 pm

        You are an extremist, just that you are on a different side. You also were an AOL teacher sometime who got kicked out? 😛

  19. freethinker permalink
    August 30, 2010 3:20 pm

    @beacon

    Did the pointed questions here wear you out? You made a mistake of outing yourself? Man if you can’t take it here – how are you going to take the grueling nature of intelligence sleuths questions? May be you should take a lesson from Nithyananda, he would be able to teach you guys how to dodge even CID sleuths.

  20. Peaceful Warrior permalink
    August 30, 2010 4:06 pm

    @Bling Bling

    Even though Bawa answers some questions – as an organization AOL never ever listens to feedback. It’s not that they have flaws, but that they are dismissive of criticism and unwilling to introspect. At best they will listen and ignore So posting on their blogs is useless.

    This is better. When the bottom line stops to drop, they are forced to take notice.

  21. anon permalink
    August 30, 2010 6:49 pm

    I have a stupid question, why does Rajesh wish to remain anon? (This goes for the other lackeys as well) Would he not be rewarded for sticking up for and defending AoL?

    • freethinker permalink
      August 30, 2010 8:56 pm

      That puzzles me as well, like many others like “Ewald Poeran” and “Ann Godwin” provided their identity when they posted. Beacon is still reading this, may be he can provide an answer for you, but normally he doesn’t like to provide any answers directly.

    • Peaceful Warrior permalink
      August 30, 2010 11:25 pm

      Because although a senior member of AOL, the views expressed here are personal and don’t represent the organization. It would have been better if his cover had not blown- then he would at least have had a chance to speak candidly. Now he has no choice but to toe the party line.

      • August 31, 2010 2:36 pm

        @Peaceful Warrior : Do you too seriously believe that I have a need to toe the party line? I thought you would give me credit, mate.

        Haven’t posted much today since I have been on the road. Much like Skywalker said to me in another post, I too have other stuff to do which keeps me busy once in a while.

        I kept myself anon because of precisely the kind of reactions that knowledge of my identity evoked. Regardless of how personal and free my opinions are they would always be seen as a “party-line” opinion. Anyway, maybe some posts tomorrow… and where I know the answers to direct questions, and when they are asked by people in this blog that I respect, I will definitely answer as directly as I can.

      • freethinker permalink
        August 31, 2010 8:15 pm

        @beacon,

        you forget JGD in last post, how come?

      • August 31, 2010 8:54 pm

        Not obsessive, compulsive to post JGD with every comment :).

        Jai FreeThinker! 🙂

      • September 1, 2010 6:20 am

        Jai whatever. Beacon, check your mail, please.

  22. Peaceful Warrior permalink
    August 31, 2010 5:51 pm

    Do you too seriously believe that I have a need to toe the party line?

    If you were anonymous there would not have been any consequences – but this is a public forum, and as you are an employee and a senior teacher, you cannot be seen to agree with even some of our points, even if you wanted to.

    • August 31, 2010 7:53 pm

      @Peaceful Warrior – If I agree, I agree and no one stops me… though I do admit the possibility of my agreeing is negligible. But that is because of where we stand on this particular subject of the blog, not because of toeing the line.

      Just curious though, does the observation you made about me apply to you in this blog? Can you be seen to agree with me and disagree with one of the important and regular con-AOL people here if you want to? (for example, would you disagree with WhistleBlower and take my side of the argument if you felt I was on the right?)

      Of course, the question is hypothetical and not of much practical utility… but then we can still have our brief moments of lightness together, can’t we PW 🙂

      Jai Gurudev!

      • Peaceful Warrior permalink
        August 31, 2010 8:24 pm

        Just curious though, does the observation you made about me apply to you in this blog?

        Lol…your bias is already showing. Since you already know that you will not agree with me, your approach is that of a spokesman and not that of a truthseeker.

        The views expressed are my own. There is no obvious conflict of interest since I’m neither financially dependent on this blog, nor socially connected with people here. It allows me to be more candid, and I wish you could be neutral as well.

        And yes, if you can make valid points, i’m willing to be convinced.

  23. Ronin permalink
    August 31, 2010 6:14 pm

    Hi Beaconofreason,

    I have no interest in psychoanalyzing you or to step in to the arena and have a philosophical debate to see who understands de Vedas better. Nor do I care what your back ground is and who you work for.

    As they say, we agree to disagree. You have your personal experiences and view and I and others on this blog have ours. It is our fundamental right in a free democratic state.
    Our views are based on personal experiences in AOL and what we have seen happening in this corporation, there however was never a place to express these.

    Would you not agree that as consumers we should have the possibility to do research and read about the pro’s and con’s of a product or service before we buy it. I am sure that you do this within your personal life and business settings.

    Remember the Coca Cola and Pepsi commercials a couple of years ago they went toe to toe against each other. Or more recently the Mac – Microsoft commercials. It gave the consumers a moment to pause and think and even laugh. Eventually we as consumers will make a choice, but we should have an opportunity to look into and read up on both sides, pro and con.

    AOL enjoyed its glory by creating this façade creating its own advertisements and propaganda and rhetoric. They created this marketing strategy and were able to capitalize big time on it.

    But it was lob sided, with the creation of these blogs consumers now have within their reach information that will empower them to make a choice based on the whole story. And they can see that on this site both those in favor and those who are not can voice their opinion. On the pro AOL blogs this is not the case, only a one way approach, see how wonderful and god giving the master is.

    It is obvious why our opinions are not looked upon favorably wit in the inner circle, the façade is crumbling.

    So I agree to disagree mate, and let the chips fall where they may.

    The little giant has awakened.

    • August 31, 2010 8:09 pm

      @Ronin, I think both of us are on the same side with reference to the examples you have given here. I have absolutely no issue with Coke airing its commercials and Pepsi commercials come right after or before. Mac and Microsoft too…. but what you don’t see in the real world is Mac people putting up their ads in the Microsoft Office… or Coke banners in a Pepsi factory. You don’t have Coke people working in Pepsi, or Mac staff sitting out of Microsoft offices.

      It was precisely this that I asked for in a previous post,
      1) Keep the moles away, and don’t give them glorified status by posting their comments. People like you, Ronin/Skywalker/Perfect Warrior, are people who have come out of the AOL based on your personal experience. You share them freely and frankly. I disagree with your views but I do not grudge you the right to share them. But these so-called moles are the denizens of the lowest kind – they talk ill of the hand that still feeds them; and when you glorify them it does not speak well of you either. So, I repeat, Keep the moles away and don’t give them glorified status by posting their comments.

      2) Don’t intrude into the private space of AOL mailing groups: The equivalent of don’t put up Coke ads in Pepsi buildings: I got a bunch of derisive comments (ranging from “Don’t be stupid” to “Are you for real?” and several others).

      Your examples are good. I agree with them. In fact I have been advocating them on this blog. Based on my above reasoning, I hope you see the point where your examples stop being valid, though?

      Jai Gurudev!

      PS: We are all people of hope, Ronin. You hope I will turn and get into con-AOL… as I hope you will return to Sri Sri and the AOL. For now, I agree to disagree, mate. But who knows when the chips do fall, we may be on the same side. Time will tell 🙂

      • freethinker permalink
        August 31, 2010 8:31 pm

        @beacon

        Don’t think skywalker is glorifying anyone let alone AOL Mole. It simply made sense to skywalker (and other) the kind(s) of attacks AOL is simultaneously performing and the information AOL mole provided. Only for AOL, everyone has to glorify RS all the time as God-Incarnate 🙂

      • goneagain permalink
        September 1, 2010 2:30 am

        @beacon
        “Don’t intrude into the private space of AOL mailing groups: The equivalent of don’t put up Coke ads in Pepsi buildings:”

        1) How anyone can intrude into your private AOL mailing groups which are controlled?
        2) What are you afraid of even if some AOL folks get email from outside – wouldn’t it filter the weak and keep the strong pillars?

      • freethinker permalink
        September 1, 2010 1:54 pm

        “Don’t intrude into the private space of AOL mailing groups: The equivalent of don’t put up Coke ads in Pepsi buildings:”

        This is very interesting indeed, either you guys don’t trust your guru’s words “negative press filter the weak and keep the strong pillars” or that is just propaganda for gullible, and internally he unleashes senior people to go and attack?

    • Peaceful Warrior permalink
      September 1, 2010 2:53 am

      Coke-Pepsi, Mac-Microsoft are bad analogies. The difference in those produces is subjective, and people have different preferences. It’s more like enron and BP here.

      If it was about different philosophies and ways of life it would have been like that – but in this case it’s about manipulation, abuse and exploitation in the name of spirituality. These things are not a matter of point of view. No matter what your personal philosophy, you will have a tough time justifying these things.

      • Ronin permalink
        September 1, 2010 12:55 pm

        Hi PW,

        I agree it is what I have experienced and seen. Maybe the coke – pepsi analogy was not strong enough but hopefullymy point was made. AOL has enjoyed a priveleged position, and this is coming to and end by a few brave ones.

        Yes just like BP who in the beginning tried to spin it all, and make it sound like it was not that bad little did the world know.

        Enron and Worldcome, in the end so many people lost all their savings because some at the top people were driven by greed.

        The traps and the mind games need to be brought out in the open. People need to see and recognize them while they still can. And not fall for the propoganda.

        And I will keep saying this, it is for the young generation I fear most. Those who have great oppertunities waiting for them but get side tracked by the false promises and fake it till you make knowledge of AOL. And put it all on hold to become a employee of the AOL company, learning nothing.

        Parents be aware, the traps are there in many forms.

        The little giant has awakened

  24. goneagain permalink
    September 1, 2010 1:24 am

    Most people of so brainwashed that they can not start and end a sentence without filling half of those words with JGD. Choice of word by @beacon intrigued (“Not obsessive, compulsive to post JGD with every comment”), apparently many are having this disorder (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Obsessive%E2%80%93compulsive_disorder) that they have to use JGD on every sentence like a delimiter.

  25. Prairie Princess permalink
    September 1, 2010 9:00 pm

    Let’s not forget “om nama shivya”. That seems to be the other thing that people say regularly. Critical thinking is simply a vanishing idea in AoL.

  26. goneagain permalink
    September 3, 2010 8:01 pm

    http://www.tehelka.com/story_main31.asp?filename=Ne300607You_Have_To_Run.asp

    Q. Art of Living is not just a movement today. It’s a corporation.
    RS – Yes. We have a corporate programme called APEX (Achieving Personal Excellence), that functions really in corporate style.

    Q. You are said to be the CEO of the stress-relief world.
    RS – If someone sees me as a CEO, that’s fine. They must have seen something of a CEO in me.

    • WhistleBlower permalink
      September 4, 2010 1:04 am

      Thanks Goneagain. Most Interesting. His answer to the question re AOL being a corporation is typical of evasive answers he gives when faced with difficult questions. You need a good journalist to repeat the question to him, so he doesn’t play dumb whenever it suits him!

      Another revealing answer from SriSri in the same article is this one:

      Not too far from here, farmers are committing suicide.
      SriSri: I want to bring to your notice there is zero percent unemployment in the country among the uneducated today. Plenty of employment is available. But there is nobody ready to work. If people are hungry today, it is because of their lack of initiative and laziness. If farmers are committing suicide, it is because of their lack of education in agriculture.

      So poor people are hungry due to the lack of initiative and laziness!!

      I guess in the same light we can say SriSri and family are rich due to taking initiative to collect lots of funds and donations and grants in the name of poor and allegedly helping them (and then diverting the same to their personal businesses).

      SriSri’s reply truly reveals his extreme right attitude to social injustice and uneven wealth distribution. Of course, his ex-communist Sad. Swamiji has long forgotten his social values, so can’t educate his master as to the real reason for poverty and the gap between the poor and the rich.

      And this one was also interesting:

      Have you patented Sudarshan Kriya? You make your people sign promising not to teach it to others.
      SriSri: It’s because people are so enthusiastic to teach it. If you do that without proper training, you don’t know the outcome. Even in physiotherapy, you have to sign up.

      He previously had frequently said he patented SK because other people were going to patent it!!

    • Peaceful Warrior permalink
      September 4, 2010 2:29 am

      “If people are hungry today, it is because of their lack of initiative and laziness. If farmers are committing suicide, it is because of their lack of education in agriculture.” (http://www.tehelka.com/story_main31.asp?filename=Ne300607You_Have_To_Run.asp)

      Such a insensitive and stupid comment by RS – might as well tell the farmers to eat cake. Just shows how out of touch with the life of the common man he is. Inflation is at an all time high and people at in the lower strata of society have a tough time keeping up. These comments are shocking in the naiveté. How can people seriously think that such a person can bring about any kind of social transformation. All he does is try to justify his own acquisition of wealth, power and fame.

      Farmer suicide and farmer poverty is a complex system issue in India. Farming is a tough job – it requires a lot of hard work – much more than city folks are used to and certainly much much more than RS, who spends his time in bungalows of rich and five star hotels.

      • goneagain permalink
        September 4, 2010 3:49 pm

        “If people are hungry today, it is because of their lack of initiative and laziness. If farmers are committing suicide, it is because of their lack of education in agriculture.”

        I can’t emphasis how callous these comments are, the rich and well to do followers of RS is going to believe whatever he is saying as ‘Gods words’; Are they going to understand how difficult the lives of these people in the bottommost of the society. Anyone making such callous comments in the public, political arena would be repudiated for such comments. Only HIM can come unscathed uttering anything thanks to his brainwashed followers.

      • WhistleBlower permalink
        September 4, 2010 8:44 pm

        Of course SriSri’s comment doesn’t come as a surprise to those of us who know him well. It is only a surprise that he has said them so frankly to a journalist. His opinions are well known among his rich devotees and that is why he is so popular with them.

        Otherwise, in all my years with SriSri, I never saw him to do anything, or say anything, to really address poverty or help the poor. For him, poor people are only to be used to collect donations in their names.

        When his devotees mention things like “Guruji made sure no one was hungry”, that is only among his rich, well-fed devotees. Otherwise, I have seen in Bangalore Ashram, poor people asking food being turned away.
        At a particular instance, when I intervened and asked why can’t we feed them (there was so much food and the two young men at the door seemed genuinely hungry and in poor state), I was told no, these people belong to surrounding villages, if we start feeding them, they make a habit of it and come here every day and bring their friends too and we can’t feed them all, we already give away the leftovers.
        In that particular case, I filled up my plate and ran after these two people. They happily accepted the plate.

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