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Your bondage to SriSri saves you, so says SriSri!

August 24, 2010

Recently one of our readers asked:

to whistleblower and skywalker, you two are two of the most brave and sensible ppl out there. i was in another cult but this blog helps me too, so i always read here. i would like to thank you both for your insights. i was in the prem rawat cult, and as he is linked on your page as a bad guru, i take it that you know that he is a charlatan too like your guru.i wonder why 2 wonderfully sensible people got trapped by aol?you two are way better then this cult. ofcourse if you were a cult child like i was then you hardly had any choice in the matter.

Read my reply below. But before that read a sample of indoctrination in AOL by SriSri (going around AOL circles today!). That will give you a much better understanding than anything I say. And don’t doubt for a minute that when he talks about “Master” he refers to himself. And he always equates himself to truth, Self, Big mind. When he talks about knowledge, he means the knowledge he gives. These are well-understood by devotees and AOL members.

The message “Bondage to SriSri saves you” gets rammed in students head again and again, through courses, through follow up sessions, satsangs, AOL events, books and tape, teachers meeting, etc., till they also start going around with a fake smile (as ordered by the Master), proud of their bondage and slavery to SriSri and start bringing other people to the same bondage in order to save them!! Of course they don’t say upfront:”Come, you are invited to Bondage to SriSri”, instead they talk about “bringing people to knowledge!”, how wonderful Kriya is, share their experiences (like those on the new counterblog). And of course no one ever asks what exactly bondage to SriSri saves you from? From ability to think for yourself perhaps!

One thing I can confirm is that AOL is truly nothing but bondage to SriSri. If someone wants that, they are more than welcome to it, but if they seek spiritual growth and freedom, AOL is the last place to look for it.

 II Jai Gurudev II

 Sri Sri’s message on Rakhsha Bandhan given long back 20 Aug 1997

 This full moon is dedicated to the seers — the Rishis. It is also called the Raksha bandhan. Bandhan means bondage, and raksha means protection. A bondage that protects you – Your bondage to the knowledge, to the master, to the truth, to The Self, all Save You. A rope can be tied to either protect or strangle you. The small Mind and mundane things can strangle you. The big mind or knowledge saves you.

 Raksha Bandhan is that bondage that saves you. You are bound by your bondage to the satsang, your bondage to the Master, to the truth, to the ancient knowledge of the Rishis, and that is your savior. Bonding is essential in life. And let the bonding be divine in a life free from bondage.

 

 Thanks Anon. It is really good to get your feedback. More I read about different cults more I see the similarity in how they operate. Hopefully by sharing our experiences, we collectively shed more light about cults, their methods and how one can free oneself from them and hopefully not get trapped in them in the first place.

How did I get trapped by AOL? Good question. Well, I had never been part of any cult and I didn’t know how they operated. And AOL teachers don’t tell you: “hi welcome to AOL course, your doorway to AOL cult”, but everything is geared (right from that very first course) toward trapping you and setting you up with Ravi Shankar as your Divine-incarnated Guru, your savior. Your spiritual experiences are used to glorify the guru.
Your basic/Part1 course teacher (based on instruction in part1 Manual) will tell you that there is no difference between Guru within and the Guru without (Ravi Shankar) and the Divine. And that more grateful you are the Grace of the guru flows more. You are asked to bring other people to the next course, so they also benefit. Every future course you do, the indoctrination gets heavier and by the time you go through TTC (teacher training course) you are ready to become the instrument of the Master yourself! Of course the indoctrination continues through TRMs (teachers refresher meets)  and other courses and birthday celebrations of the guru and Gurupurnima, etc. Everything is set up to trap you and to keep you trapped.

What I have written in the post “Original sin in AOL and final salvation” is what I believe to be the main mechanism Ravi Shankar traps people, through their own spiritual experiences and him taking credit for them. And through tapping into our devotion, our genuine desire to help others. And of course before meeting SriSri and some of his lackeys I didn’t really know that psychopaths can look like normal people and can even become gurus, but I know better now!

Most AOL teachers I know are intelligent people who genuinely want to help other people by teaching courses and sending money to Ravi (having been misled to believe that the money goes to charitable causes). Once trapped, Ravi has many techniques in his arsenal to keep people trapped.

To be honest, I am more in awe of my liberation from SriSri than how I got trapped. Most people who break free go through huge pain as they had previously believed in SriSri and at one stage had huge love and devotion towards him (all beautifully manipulated to that state through years of indoctrination).

We are hoping our blog can make it easier for others who are trying to break free from this cult and hopefully prevent others from getting trapped in it in the first place. We also hope this blog can be a place of healing. But as you said, this is not just about AOL, it is about any cult.

I do have tremendous admiration for you, and for anyone else caught in a cult as a child, yet breaking free from it. It is a testimony to the strength of the human spirit. Unfortunately in AOL, like many other cults, there is a big emphasis to trap kids from an early age. Most are indoctrinated by their AOL parents and by attending courses designed for kids, in which they are brainwashed to treat SriSri as God. If you read the testimonials on the new AOL counter-blog you see many were indoctrinated by their own family. To me it is SPIRITUAL ABUSE OF CHILDREN to brainwash these innocent kids from such an early age to a cult.

 

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13 Comments
  1. goneagain permalink
    August 24, 2010 12:16 pm

    Indoctrination is first step to any cult/path. Couple of videos earlier referred in KLIM blogs and other places can give you perspective on cult.

    Episode of The Simpsons. Good laugh guaranteed, though a tragic comedy for many of us who recognize many scenes, reactions, phrases, thought processes as our very own for as long as we belonged to the AoL – the joy of sect, with the Guru of joy who promised joy forever as long as you faked it until you made it.

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

  2. Ronin permalink
    August 26, 2010 7:36 pm

    The Art of Living teacher training course (TTC). A huge leap in one’s spiritual growth or ending up hollow and empty – Soulless.

    Those of us who went to TTC will never forget the experience. Having done all the preparatory steps to be accepted, help organizing courses, watching the Ashtavakra knowledge series, Bhakti sutras and much more. Then finding out one is accepted to TTC and having this feeling of “the master thinks I am worthy”.

    There is great anticipation of going on this great adventure, to be infused with knowledge and become a custodian of the Prampara (the holy traditions of teachers). To be able to help the unfortunate ones.

    All of this should have raised red flags. By implementing the requirements to be accepted to TTC the AOL corporation is able to rake in lots of funds (revenue) by selling all their DVD’s and knowledge books, but at this point one is naïve and is to excited and starts to feel special.

    Indeed an experience not to be forgotten. AOL points out that expectations reduces joy, well it sure did and many other can testify to this. It is nothing more then a mixture of a brainwash session and marketing seminar. And the techniques used are very similar to those used in breaking down prisoners or criminals in interrogations.

    One is constantly sleeping at irregular hours, thus sleep deprivation sets in. A classical technique used to keep people of balance and on edge, but we willingly did it because it was all for our own good or so we were led to believe. Since the master had designed the program and was watching over us it could do us no harm right. Wrong, sleep deprivation causes one to become dissociated with reality, bad for the devotee good for the master and what is to come.

    Sleep deprivation can have serious effects on your health in the form of physical and mental impairments. Inadequate rest impairs our ability to think, handle stress, maintain a healthy immune system and moderate our emotions

    The harassing started soon in the course, people were told to share their feelings and trauma’s and were criticized and belittled in front of the whole group worse yet students in the group were asked to participate as well. This showed the TTC trainer who would become blind followers, who would do as they were told to do.

    Waking up in the morning not knowing what to expect. The TTC trainer to walk in, they would walk with a smile, so you relax and then out of nowhere they go into this furious anger spell and everyone just stresses out wondering what did we do wrong. It kept everyone on edge and wondering what to expect or who is next. You start to make internal strategies of what to do to please the TTC trainer in order not to receive all this vile special attention.

    This constant stressful oscillation between high and lows breaks down ones self esteem and confidence. Soon you lost it your mind is mush but you think or are led to believe that you are finally not in your head anymore you are not with your small mind. What truly had happened is that now you are at the mercy of the TTC trainer just as the program is designed for.

    One is also constantly reminded to give your 100 percent, participate fully or fail. And along the way you keep remembering the sentence “being accepted on TTC and going through the program does not mean one automatically becomes a teacher” in other words you might not get THE TAPE. This creates another internal trap, very subtle but very effective.

    I always wondered why they mention this, were there any lawsuits ???

    There are processes (as they were called) which one needs to do and participate in (giving your 100%). If you felt uncomfortable or did not want to do them you were placed in front of the group and verbally dissected and criticized, and then told well it is always your own decision not to participate and the same sentence they tell you maybe your not ready to receive the masters grace or to become his exponent in the form of a teacher.

    This creates an internal dilemma between your own principles and values and those of the master or TTC trainer. One has to make a choice. So slowly you loose sense of yourself with all the guru stories and mood making knowledge (very superficial) you begin to form this new reality in your mind. The brainwash is starting to take hold.

    The knowledge aspect presented a long the way is always in light of how wonderful and giving the master is and how we should be so indebted to him. Not much time given to the actual nuts and bolts, pranayama, bastrika ect. For this you get a manual which will explain everything.

    But you are drilled on the format to give intro talks what to say and how to say it. Sales techniques really I would call it marketing 101. When people asked what do we say when they ask about the money (the wrong question to ask) we were told stick to the script, and just have this attitude that they are paying for a course and what they are getting is so much more valuable then the few dollars they are spending. See it as an transaction like buying some thing in a store, they pay for something and get a service or a product. It is none of their concern where the money goes to, because they got some thing in return.

    I like to reword it as follows…Keep the focus on the product and the need of the person you are selling it too.

    Looking back it is interesting and I have heard this observation from many that it all seemed like a game to the TTC trainers, they would lash out their frustrations on the group at their will. They would be aggravated and just dump it on the group so they could actually feel better at our expense. Some of them gave up their dreams to be with the master and found out what a big joke it all is and became bitter about it. And as they say……. flows down stream.

    And then the moment of truth as the course is ending (TTC II now there is just one TTC) you get to hear if your going home with the TAPE. Your are so far gone at this point that the tape has become the magical key to happiness. The key that will make you become one of us, a teacher, who will always have the master watching over you and who will protect you at all times.

    Of course not everyone got the tape. Those that did not were devastated, they thought that the master did not think they were worthy (being fully brainwashed at this stage). Little did they know that it was at the discretion of the TTC trainer to make them a teacher or not (more games). Now why would you not make someone a teacher:

    A. The person still has not much ego (actually still thinks for him or her self), read does not believe it all thus will become a pain along the way.

    B. They were fairly sure that the person would repeat TTC thus you can charge them twice.

    C. They were not strong (organizers), fluent in the material (intro talks) and charismatic enough to get people to sign up for courses. Read could not sell and thus of no use.

    Of course these reasons were not given to those who did not get the tape. What was said was you still need to grow some more be with the knowledge and let sink in deeper ask the guru for guidance. Get some more experience with organizing and help the teachers in your area. This will get you ready to full receive the knowledge and grace of the master. And they would go and do all that was asked and retake TTC.
    A big win –win for the AOL company.

    A highlight of TTC is you get to meet very nice people, the downside is you see them change including your self in a very short time. And in the end it becomes a road back to recovering yourself who you were before you started this seemingly wonderful adventure.

    So buyer (and parents) be aware, there is no warning label (like those on dangerous materials), consider this post and this blog to be it.

    The little giant has awakened.

    • August 26, 2010 10:19 pm

      Nice one. I’ll post it in a few days.

    • Anonymous permalink
      August 26, 2010 11:22 pm

      tch tch…wrong interpretation. it’s not losing confidence and becoming a puppet – it’s losing your ego and becoming an instrument of the master 😉

      • Prairie Princess permalink
        August 27, 2010 1:04 am

        So what happened to the egos of some of the so-called senior teachers who expect to be hand fed by the organization and expect to have everything their way? What about the American president who beat 2 women (or more)? Is all of that false? Seems like there are a lot of active egos in AoL as well as dangerous behavior. I saw a number in my short time there.

    • WhistleBlower permalink
      August 27, 2010 1:31 am

      Another Superb post Ronin. You have such a delightful and sharp power of observation. And you can translate, communicate these so beautifully. I do hope you put all these to a book. It would be very valuable resource in understanding any cult.

      Reading your posts, with their wisdom, humor, it is easy to see why people tend to ask how come someone as sensible and intelligent as him got involved with this cult.

      Let our stories be a clear warning that intelligence by itself cannot protect you against cults. Don’t think you are strong, you are clever, you can pull out as soon as something fishy pops out. Don’t think it won’t happen to you, I am too intelligent for that!
      These cults are set up (as beautifully explained by Ronin) to break down all your defences and boundaries and your ability to think for yourself and use your mind and intelligence. They know what they are doing, but students are there innocently seeking knowledge and spiritual growth, totally unaware how cleverly and quickly they are being trapped more and more through various mind control games and manipulations.

      If you are already in AOL and are tempted to do TTC, you do well to take notice of Ronin’s writings.
      I can confirm that he is not exaggerating, everything he says is true. TTC is not there to teach you any higher knowledge or make you strong (as they would tell you), it is to make you to a puppet for SriSri. It is all geared to glorifying SriSri and make you to treat him as God-incarnate.

  3. PainfulFriend of AOLCult Victim permalink
    August 26, 2010 10:09 pm

    Thanks Ronin for sharing this very valuable and insightful information of AOL TTC! I think this deseves a seperate topic to make more people see it. Your brave effort has helped lots of family and friends of the AOL cult victims. Having our loved ones deeply involved with such a vicious cult like AOL and seeing our families and friendship got destroyed by AOL is a very very painful experience. I am sure this blog and KLIM’s blog will not only save many ex-AOL teachers/members, but also help many families and friends of current AOL cult vitims who are still blind to the truth. We are also in deep deep sorrow and pain! Please keep up all the good work. Please be true, be couragous. And please expose all the abuses and munipulations you have obseved and experienced during your AOL involvment. You have support from all of us! You will save many families and friendships.

    A good friend of mine was hooked by AOL cult last year. Recently, she attended DSN and TTC. I was very shocked and even heartbroken to see those AOL courses had transformed an once sweet and loving person into such a shamelessly dishonest and cold monster! She started to behave very strangely after her AOL DSN and TTC courses, totaly losing the ability of critical thinking. She becomes extremely sensitive to criticisms and disagreement. She will attack anyone aggressively who dares to raise our suspicion toward her ‘graceful’ ‘HIS Holiness’ and AOL.

    I have always been wondering what exactly happened there in AOL DSN and TTC courses. I myself attended AOL basic course and ‘advanced course’ out of my curiosity and they seemed ok. My experience was not that pleasant but I also did not see too much harmful stuff out there. But what on hell is happening in DSN and TTC? What exact techniques/games were played there to ‘transform’ someone completely in such a short time? I do not dare to try them myself to get first hand experience since I do not want to take such risk of ‘brainwash’

    Can someone knows the insights expose the course detail content of DSN and TTC? This way, the whole world can witness how exactly a cult operates and understand how AOL uses brain-washing techniques in their advanced training courses to munipulate people and produce their miserable slaves.

    Lies and frauds can’t be burried forever. It is encouraging to see the lights finally. Keep up the good work here please! Nobody can destroy this excellent and couragous blog. Even if they shut down this one, I am sure another thousand of anti-AOL anti-cult websites and blogs will be launched across the world the next day! We have downloaded all the AOL ‘secrets’ and made a complete copy of this blog and KIM’s excellent blog. Please make all of them exposed. I am wondering what legal actions Ravi Shanker and his slaves dare to take against this blog? Any law suit will just expose their true color to the whole world even faster and make his ugliness well known by the public sooner.

    Unless this AOL cult and its God-like guru truly powerful enough to shut down the whole internet and destroy all the critical thinking minds overnight? If Ravi Shankar is a godman, please just prove your power by destroying my Kriya notes and tape backups please. You are welcome to do so anytime.

    • John permalink
      August 27, 2010 5:50 am

      It would be sad if RS succeeds in shutting down this blog. But we cannot eliminate that possibility completely. Money can buy powerful lawyers and powerful lawyers can twist facts and laws to suit their purpose (and RS has lots of money). He would hesitate in spending money initially as he is used to getting stuff done for free. He might try to use lawyers among his teachers/volunteers initially. If they cannot get it done, then he might hire external ones.

      People are assuming that several other blogs will come up if this one shuts down. Don’t be so sure. It takes strong and courageous people (with strong will to help others) like KLIM, skywalker, whistleblower to create these blogs. Most AOL victims just want to be left alone and don’t want to confront AOL. One great things about this blog has been the civility of the discussion. I have seen comments on a few other blogs that have talked about AOL little bit and the quality of comments degenerated quickly so they became unworthy of reading.

      I really wish that these blogs would continue so that lot more people can benefit from them.

  4. goneagain permalink
    August 27, 2010 3:19 am

    I happen to read/watch this story, produced by australian “60 minutes” to show how easy it is to cook up story and fool 1000s of people and media so easily. Many people in this blog asked ex-aol teachers (incluce skywalker, whistleblower, etc) – how come smart people like you got fooled by AOL. This video can shed some light on how… take a moment to watch…

    http://nitwitnastik.wordpress.com/2008/11/16/james-randi-and-the-hoax-
    of-carlos-the-2000-year-old-spirit/

  5. WhistleBlower permalink
    September 7, 2010 5:11 am

    And these are sample of messages that SriSri sends to his devotees, another mind game he plays with them. Another way of control and manipulation and make them believe they are special and he is protecting them.

    Date: Monday, August 23, 2010
    Subject: Msg from Guruji

    Guruji has said that all of us should do Om Namah Shivaya chanting for at least 11 minutes every day till Sept end. This was announced in the Ashram satsang today.

    Please help spread the word to as many devotees as possible.

    Sent: Monday, 23 August 2010
    Subject: GURUDEV’s MESSAGE FORWARDED TO ALL
    Dear All,

    I am passing on the message we received from our dear GURUJI, which reads as follows:

    FROM NOW TILL END OF SEPTEMBER – Chant “Om Namah Shivaya” every day for at least 11 minutes and DO NOT leave home without doing your SADHANA

    • September 7, 2010 5:41 am

      The same auspicious date -Aug 23rd -as the launch of the Three Pronged Attack. Maybe he knew that the number of hits on this blog would more than double (as it has) after this date, and the incessant chanting is to protect devotees from seeing reason here?

    • Peaceful Warrior permalink
      September 7, 2010 3:55 pm

      Om namah shivaya is indeed a sacred mantra. It means I bow down to shiva that is sat-chit-ananda (truth, consciousness, bliss). It is a prayer for the seeker, who prays to shiva to illuminate his intelligence so he can see the truth.

      For the truth to work in your life, you have to have a commitment and respect for truth (that is higher than your commitment to your bottom line), you have to be honest to yourself and act with integrity. If you do all that, and then chant the mantra with meaning – then it supports you.

      The mantra is not a formula that you chant to fulfill your wishes. Repeating a mantra like a parrot, while at the same time indulging in lies and deceit is not gonna help crooks.

  6. WhistleBlower permalink
    September 7, 2010 6:19 am

    Good one SkyWalker, I hadn’t noticed the coincidence! I am also curious to know why 11 minutes and not e.g. 10 minutes or 20 minutes?!

    BTW, Congratulations, in few hours time, your blog will reach 100,000 hits. And this has happened in a space of 4 months. Quite amazing really.

    I wonder what the hits will be like when the news of this blog reaches to more AOL people.

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