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Someone Wants to Put a Stop to Us

August 24, 2010

This e-mail KRIYA INFRINGMENT – Notice to Blogger _August 2010 signed 2 came a few days ago, threatening me with lawsuits, demanding that I give my true identity and in effect close down this blog.

They want me to delete the Kriya Notes. Why? This is their reason:

We put you to notice that any misuse of the Notes by you or any visitor on your Blog could cause serious harm / injury to others, in the event any attempt is made to teach the SK Technique on the basis of and pursuant to the unauthorized publication of the SK Notes by you. You will be held personally responsible for any such harm / injury.

Somehow, I don’t think this is their real concern. Are they imagining someone reading the notes, and thinking: I must try this! Now, how is it? Leather belt off, chanting *OM*, breathe in rythms… So Ham… lie down, wait for the Guru’s Grace to enfold me…

No? I don’t think so either. Who would do that, from reading the notes? Who would teach others?

Maybe their concern is another: that the exposure of the Kriya Notes exposes The Art of Living as a cult, and Ravi Shankar as it’s cult leader. In the notes you can read things like

“Each emotion is dissolved (…) with the potency of the mantra, or the mere Grace and Presence of the Being, the Master, the Guru. Grace is the thing that is beyond explanation.”

How very convenient, that you don’t have to explain how grace actually works, right? The message being, “don’t think. Just have faith in the Guru.”

Well, we are quite a lot of people who tried that, and it didn’t work. It made us miserable. And worse: it made us weak and insecure. Having blind faith in a guru apparently makes you loose faith in your own judgement.

What else could be their concern? Maybe revenue lost. People who read the notes will certainly be put off the course, by gems of knowledge such as

“In running the body is exhausted, tired, so that the mind is not alert.”

Take that, all you brain-dead joggers! You are running yourself into a stupor!

“Don’t eat with people on introductory course.”

Be Gone, unclean people! Thou shalt do at least two long kriyas, before I find thee pure enough to eat with!

Yes, the notes published might just show people the ridiculous magical thinking that is the foundation in AOL. This is a fundamental right we have, as consumers: to know what is in the product.

They go on, to say

“…please note that your blog contains defamatory material which has been posted withmalicious intent. We hereby call upon you to immediately remove all such defamatory material immediately, failing which we reserve our right to take appropriate legal action.”

This makes me very sad. I never wanted to defame anyone, not even Ravi Shankar himself. Although I hold him personally reponsible for the power abuse, the lies, the deceit and fraud in AOL, I also see him as a victim. It must be very, very lonely, trying to keep up the appearance of being enlightened, when he is clearly not.
My intent was never malicious, on the contrary. The degree of internal censorship in AOL requires someone to hold a torch to the irregularities in the organisation, and its leader. From all the comments I get on this blog, I simply know I am doing good work, helping people come to their senses. This was the intention all along, nothing else. I have posted every single comment, without censoring. When people write to me sincerely, like Ann, I treat them with respect. I even link to pro-aol blogs. I  actually want people to make up their own minds about AOL, based on balanced information!

This attempt to close us down is nothing we haven’t experienced earlier, as active members of AOL. You simply are not allowed to speak your mind in AOL, period. This letter from VVK simply proves the point.

Another proof is the insane editing/censoring of the Wikipedia post on Ravi Shankar. Every critical post, no matter how well documented, is systematically deleted. I wrote a post about it some time ago. Now, it seems that this censoring is organized by AOL itself! The following mail, sent to volunteers in AOL, certainly suggests that:

From:  <webmaster@artoflivingindia.in>
Date: Wed, Aug 18, 2010 at 1:40 AM
Subject: Imp – Web Seva: Need Volunteers with Wikipedia account

Jaigurudev Dear Ones,

There is an important webseva for which we need all the volunteers who have a wiki account.

In case you have one, please fill in your details on the link below or fill in the form below.

Details of Wiki Users

Web Seva : In case you have a Wikipedia account, please enter your details below

Name *

Wiki User Name *

Email *

Phone No

City *

State *

Country *

The AOL Wikipedia police! Why is AOL so insanely worried about criticism, no matter how well documented and constructive? They might learn something, if they stopped and listened to it instead of frantically suppressing it.

Fortunately, people on our side also edit posts on Wikipedia. Just recently, the critic section was reinserted, with the following comments:

Why is the critic section constantly removed

In order to give a fair viewpoint, all sides of the story should be given. The page regularily reads as if it is a promotional leaflet – there are many opinions and discussions which to the newcomer researching this person should be presented in an unbiased way – rather than deleting. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Kuji (talk • contribs) 06:37, 18 August 2010 (UTC)

This edit pattern is bordering on vandalism–I have a feeling we’ll have to protect this article against any anonymous edits soon if they continue/repeat removal of whole sections without comment or discussion here. DMacks (talk) 05:17, 23 August 2010 (UTC)

Semi-protected a while… DMacks (talk) 20:03, 23 August 2010 (UTC)

Hooray, DMacks, you are my hero! Free speech rules!

Dear Mr. Shankar, why are you so afraid of criticism? Why not embrace it and learn, and defend yourself when you feel the need, instead of trying to eliminate it?

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24 Comments
  1. Appalled ex-AoL teacher permalink
    August 24, 2010 11:31 pm

    I guess it takes one to know another. So worried to be defamed when all he does is defame others with lies. At least, what is shared in these blogs are not fabricated lies for malicious intent to ruin someone’s life, like in the case of many former AoLers who leave the organization. These are people’s opinions and not everyone needs to think AoL is the best. I wonder what Ravi is so eagerly hoping to hide …

  2. goneagain permalink
    August 25, 2010 1:14 am

    Seems to me this blog is doing a damage(falling number perhaps – take a note @beaconofreason – is it enough proof for you) more than they can afford so they want to stop it at any cost. Based on how active they are (new blog – art of living life stories) the damage is more than they can ignore. Now they got only one thing left is shut it down. Unfortunately there are other thousands of people affected by this cult and they will speak up. The better recourse is – RS – ‘change your deceit practices and change your org to commercial venture and make money just like any other for profit coporation’.

  3. ANON permalink
    August 25, 2010 3:56 am

    Any one who is reading this blog and would like to save their family members, friends and relatives from the slavery and brain washing of Art of Living may consider following:

    1. Create a dummy GMAIL id with minimum details required (no phone, no password retrieval email)

    2. Add all your contacts, including email addresses copied from the forwarded emails (jokes, news, stories etc.) by your friends and relatives in contact list of your new GMAIL account.

    3. Send email to all the contacts (can send up to 500 persons in one email) after copy and paste a post from aolfree blog. For example, you may send the following blog entry.

    https://aolfree.wordpress.com/2010/08/11/partial-compilation-of-charges-against-the-art-of-living%c2%a0activities/

    Don’t copy link. Copy complete post and paste in body of your email.

    Subject heading: Partial Compilation of Charges Against The Art of Living Activities

    4. Make sure that you use BCC for email addresses. Cut and paste all email addresses from TO field to BCC field.

    Request recipient to forward the email – at the end of email and in the subject heading.

    You will be doing a great SEVA without filling AOL coffers.

    • goneagain permalink
      August 25, 2010 11:43 am

      AOL swami sadhyojathah published the answers to the charges without publishing charges itself, now yes we need to do the seva of sending those compiled charges to all AOL folks so that they can understand. This would be a good idea exactly for that. People can make up their mind themselves, that is what critical thinking (which AOL denies) is all about.

  4. FreedomFighter permalink
    August 25, 2010 5:59 am

    http://www.kashikar.net/2010/08/the-truth-about-the-negative-blogs-by-swami-sadhyojathah/

    Check out the link above. Publish this comment if you are comfortable with the contents of the link.

  5. exaolteacher permalink
    August 25, 2010 6:23 am

    @anon thats a great idea i have implemented it

  6. ANON permalink
    August 25, 2010 6:35 am

    This can start a viral and help in faster, extensive and effective reach to expose AOL and SSRS. It is easy to obtain up to 1000 email addresses just from the jokes, news and stories forwarded by friends and relatives.

    P.S. Do ask recipients to forward your email.

  7. Chandrashekar permalink
    August 25, 2010 8:01 am

    This is what I posted in Sadyojatha’s blog:

    This is a silly ad hominem attack on critics who are bringing forth a better understanding of the workings of AOL. Why don’t you and your guru self introspect and see what is wrong rather than blaming critics as psychollogically disorganized. I have gone through some of these blogs and I find a great clarity in their expose of the guilt and fear creation in AOL. There are many Indians and yogis who are posting in these blogs. Your labelling them as insane or jihadi stands on poor ground.
    Regarding the Bullet incident it was there for the whole world to see the hypocrycy of your guru. All that forgiveness drama are clearly on video.

    • Manju permalink
      August 25, 2010 9:05 am

      It’s sad that they moderate replies in that site.

      Shows how scared they are of adverse comment. I am so happy that the God I respect is in me and in the world. I am so happy that I am brave enough to take the world with all its good as well as the not-so-good. I am happy that I see Life as it is.

      By seeing their blind faith, let us rejoice that we have seen some Light…and pray that they too will do the same some day.

      Coz’ deleting mails is the height of fear of seeing things differently.

  8. Vishal permalink
    August 25, 2010 10:08 am

    Yezdi Batliwala’s threat is typical of the scare tactics in AOL. AOL has thrived on threatning people and creating fear especially people who are dependent on them financially. With Mr Batliwala’s threat it is all coming out in the open now for all the world to see.

    Here are my personal responses to Yexdi batliwala’s threat:

    “We hereby call upon you to forthwith:
    1. delete the SK Notes from your Blog and to hand over all copies thereof to us;”

    It is AOL who are doing illegal things by copying from well known sources and claiming as their own. Anyway these notes are nothing great or penetrating just common guidelines given in all yoga and breathing sessions and books. I think you should get a real perspective about knowledge and such things. You are the not the one who discovered the wheel.

    I do not know whether Mr Batliwala knows the nature of how internet works. If this blog goes ten others will come up. How many will you go after. The content once public is always public. BTW it is amply clear that what is taught in AOL is heavily plagiarized from several sources as clearly exposed in the blog. If you go for a law suit you will only end up as a laughing stock. It is like someone patentingg jogging. Don’t make an even greater fool of youself and your guru.

    “please note that your blog contains defamatory material which has been posted withmalicious intent. We hereby call upon you to immediately remove all such defamatory material immediately, failing which we reserve our right to take appropriate legal action”

    This blog contains many people’s first hand experices in AOL and several well known public perceptions of AOL. You cannot threaten people into thinking what you want them to think (like sri sri is the greatest messaih of the world and so on). Freedom of speech is gaurenteed in most nations especially in US, India and Europe. So your fascist threat will hold no water. You and your guru are no hitler controlling us. You can be a dictator within your cult but not to the outside world. You are better off preaching to the choir than to free thinkers in the blog.
    I think you folks need to learn from gandhi whom your guru claims to respect. Gandhi was known for confronting criticism and many times even accepting mistakes in public. But can a megalomaniac guru like Ravishankar do this.

    • goneagain permalink
      August 25, 2010 11:45 am

      Force in which AOL is coming out shows that it is started hitting their bottom line. Now they are ready to dig a bigger hole for themselves.

      • The Agnostic permalink
        August 27, 2010 7:54 am

        @ Vishal

        Gandhi became a great man despite sleeping with his nieces as part of his ‘experiments with truth’ and kicking out Subhash Chandra Bose from the Congress and sidelining Patel and Azad in blatant favour and under balackmail from the Nehrus-Jawaharlal & Motilal.

        He tolerated as much criticism as SSRS is doing now. Read history but form your own opinion.

    • Cronje permalink
      August 28, 2010 3:46 am

      @Agnostic

      Very true all great men are reviled during their times. Socrates, Jesus, Gandhi and now Sri Sri. Not to foget another great man in the same league Nithyananda who has been so badly maligned in the media for his sex scam.

      • his unholiness permalink
        August 28, 2010 5:10 am

        lol

  9. Kalidasa permalink
    August 25, 2010 10:39 am

    BTW to all the AOL gang threatning to close this blog. I have made a complete copy of this blog and by any chance they get to close this blog. The contents will be posted in ten different blogs under different dynamic IPs.

    • anonymous permalink
      August 25, 2010 12:53 pm

      This is a good idea — copying this blog. Another idea might be, if someone knows how, to print a hard copy of this and send it to the following:

      The Times of India
      The Deccan Herald
      The Hindu

      If you are posting/saving the blog from the west, consider sending all the contents to the India Express.

      For a site online for various Indian newspapers, please see:

      http://www.onlinenewspapers.com/india.htm

      Since the blog owner(s) have now been attacked and accused, perhaps it’s time to have the original accusations which were printed on this site earlier, and have them accompanied by the full e-mail response from the Swami who answered it, along with the information that the Swami’s answer was circulated around to all AOL e-mail addresses without the original blog information (so the AOL people would have nothing to compare his reponses to, of course).

      This is a lot of work, but some here seem dedicated to this task in full. Also, it might be useful, since people have now been mentioned by name in the linked letter above (even though the blog master deleted the names in the post), that you also start printing the names and actions of other AOL teachers who are still quite active with the group. If the lady in question screamed in the airport, as Swami suggests, and threw ‘tantrums’, then surely there are other men and women who are active teachers (besides Mr. Fishman, whose name I see here frequently as beating up someone who goes unnamed) who also exhibited or even still exhibit similar behaviors?

      I hope that the blog master will not be intimidated by this letter by the Swami, but would rather come forward with other personal, first hand experiences they might have. It would be important at this point to have the contents not be rumors, but posted by the people who experienced these things, saw them for themselves, in the company of others, preferably, and even if those others were current AOL staff/teachers. In this way, any threatened lawsuit means that those witnesses to certain events would have to come forward and willingly lie in court. Not many people would like to do that.

      Just some ideas.

    • grateful_reader permalink
      August 25, 2010 3:59 pm

      nice

  10. anon permalink
    August 25, 2010 6:05 pm

    shouldnt worry too much about it wb, its typical cult behaviour.
    so much for their love and flower power theories!
    we get similar tactics in the prem rawat cult too.
    they use their power and money, (which btw, we gave to them), to shut critical websites down.

    ofcourse, still they would argue – theyre not a cult!!! yh right!

  11. The Agnostic permalink
    August 27, 2010 7:50 am

    The AoL foundation seems to have been taken over by the Batliwalas- the father & son duo of Yezdi and Khurshed a.k.a Bawa. Don’t give them your identity and address and spread this message to as many AoL people as you can. This corruption in the holy name of Indian Spirituality and Yoga has to be stopped.

    • Uncle Scooby permalink
      August 28, 2010 10:49 am

      @Agnostic – please can you tell us more about what you have stated? Are there any references you can site here?

  12. September 1, 2010 10:36 am

    . This would be a good idea exactly for that. People can make up their mind themselves, that is what critical thinking (which AOL denies) is all about

  13. WhistleBlower permalink
    September 4, 2010 4:36 am

    Thanks SkyWalker and Vishal for your great replies to Mr. Yezdi Jal Batliwala. I totally agree with what you have said, great points.

    Swami Sadyojatha’s vicious attack took the lime light off Mr. Yezdi’s attack for a while. But let’s get back to it now that Swamiji has set a new standard for the level of defamation his organization deems acceptable online.

    “We are a registered public charitable trust founded by His Holiness Sri Sri Ravishankar (His Holiness).”

    How come there is now two “His Holiness” around SriSri’s name, one before and one after? Yes we know he gave himself two “Sri” and “His Holiness” title. Is this his new instruction?!

    Also, AOL claims to have centres in more than 150 countries and Mr.Yesdi cites the registered trust in India only. And as far as I know it is VVM which is registered in India not AOL. Someone can correct me if I am wrong. And anyway, what about AOL in the rest of 149+ countries? Are they all registered charitable trusts? No? I didn’t think so either!

    AOL very cleverly has set up different independent entities in different countries. This serves SriSri’s financial interests greatly, as those entities financial transactions don’t officially come under VVM (great way of cover up), while at the same time all these entities send huge amounts of money from their host country to India through a multitude of ways, and mostly disguised as “DONATIONS” to VVM. We will explore this subject further in our series looking into financial irregularities of AOL.

    For the time being it suffices to say, that AOL is not just in India and just like each entity has been set up as separate financial entity, they all need to answer independently re their affairs in their respective countries to their public. And AOL India cannot silence criticism toward all of these entities as it legally does not represent them. Indeed we envisage a time will come that each country will have its own blog to expose misdeeds of AOL in their respective country.

    The SK Technique is taught by us to the course participants only through authorized and trained Art Of Living Teachers. The authorised Teachers are provided an instruction manual known as the Sudarshan Kriya Notes (“the SK Notes”). These Notes are strictly confidential and are read out to authorised Teachers who copy the same in a note book. All such teachers undertake to keep these Notes strictly confidential. The Copyright in these Notes belongs exclusively to us.

    You have without any authority published these SK Notes on your blog. This is an infringement of our copyright and also a serious violation of our right to keep the SK Notes Confidential. It appears that you have obtained a copy of the SK Notes in an unauthorized/illegal manner and are now misusing the access to the same. In case by any chance you are an authorized teacher, you are in serious breach of your undertaking to keep the SK Notes confidential.

    There is no copy right statement on the SK notes that I have. My SK notes are written in my own handwriting in my own notebook and by the look of it there are quite a few versions of these notes. Which one of these versions are actually copy-righted?
    And where is the proof that any of them is copy-righted at all? Show it to us Mr. Yezdi!

    In fact I don’t even know if SK itself is copyrighted or you just claim it to be so. It would be nice if an expert in this field among our readers could check this matter. As I personally have never seen a copy right proof of SK or Part 1 Manual or anything else from AOL people? How could they get a copy right for something which every bit of it has been plagiarized from somewhere?

    Also SK notes are good for nothing apart from showing how AOL teachers are brainwashed and the kind of non-sense they are fed after 2 weeks of sleep-deprivation.

    Also, I personally did not sign any agreement to keep these notes confidential. If anyone else did, they can easily null it in any court of law, on the basis that it was signed after being subjected to weeks of sleep deprivation and cult mind game tactics. And anyway, these pieces of paper have no legal value whatsoever, even if they exist at all!

    You accuse us of not keeping SK notes confidential? Then how about Swami Sadyojatha (SriSri’s right-hand man) divulging confidential personal info of ex- members?

    And let us remind you Mr. Yezdi that any agreement signed at the time by any TTC graduate would have been under the false premises that money gained from the courses goes to charitable projects, not to SriSri and business cronies.

    By the way, don’t you think you should have divulged any of your own or your family’s financial interest in AOL businesses? Not to mention that you are the father of Mr. Khurshed Batliwala (Bawa) who frequently boasts of his overseas trip with his partner, Dinesh Ghodke in his own website and demonstrates that spirituality (esp. AOL way) goes hand in hand with living a luxurious life off the back of charity money?

    You better pass our message to SriSri that if he thinks we are in the breach of “undertaking to keep the SK Notes confidential.”, we think he is in much more serious breach of trust of millions of people globally in wasting the money and seva donated for the purpose of charity.

    Regarding your request to hand over my copy of SK to you, all I have to say to you is FAT CHANCE!! I bought the notebook myself, used my own pen and has my own handwriting. One day, I may auction it on line to see if I can get the cost of the notebook back, let alone the few thousand dollars wasted to have the pleasure of writing that piece of trash!

    In the meentime, if you really want your Kriya tape and notes back, how about offering (publicly on your website to all ex-teachers) $10,000 for each year of free seva to AOL, plus $10,000 for money spent on TTC and other courses.

    Regarding “disclose your complete name and residential address.”, again FAT CHANCE!! What do you take us for? We are former AOL teachers who have broken away from a very abusive AOL cult. We are well aware of the kind of fanatic devotees SriSri breeds. He and his lackeys often cite that SriSri’s Jihadi devotees have expressed that they would kill anyone if Guruji tells them so.
    So for our own safety we will never divulge our Ids to you. Swami Sadyojatha, in his latest emails, has also publicly demonstrated the kind of defamation and attack any ex-teacher who speaks up can expect from the AOL hierarchy, he himself being SriSri’s right-hand man. Re:

    “Lastly please note that your blog contains defamatory material which has been posted with malicious intent. We hereby call upon you to immediately remove all such defamatory material
    immediately, failing which we reserve our right to take appropriate legal action.”

    Please do let us know exactly which piece of material in our blog is of defamatory nature and at the same time untrue (provide proof please!). We hope you use the same criteria as to what constitutes defamation, as set by your own exalted, royal blood, ex-communist Swamiji!

    I nearly said Jai Guru Dev!!

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