Disgruntled President Speaks up for his CEO
I thought it would be most disrespectful of us not to give Mr. Poeran the eminence due to him, as although he is not an AOL Swamiji, he is the chairman of the AOL Netherlands. So the comment he posted under “DISGRUNTLED SWAMIJI speaks up for his Master, again!” is published below.
Our good president forgot to mention that apart from him being chairman of AOL Netherlands, he is also beneficiary of few AOL businesses which has served him and his partner extremely well over the years. Ewald loves to tell people how bad his life was prior to meeting SriSri, including being totally broke financially. So it is not as if he doesn’t usually give credit for his financial abundance to SriSri, rather he probably felt mentioning his AOL businesses in this forum, where charity status of AOL is being questioned, rather counterproductive. Who can blame him for that?!
As Ronin has already written an eloquent post on the subject, I leave it in his good hands to fill up the gaps left by Ewald (please see below). That should put an end to any false notion (promoted often in AOL circles and events) that profits from the Divine Shop goes to charity, of course unless someone thinks Ewald, Lillian, Arvind and Ajay, etc. are the names of some reputable charities.
Our readers have already replied to most of Ewald’s statements, some excerpts of which are also enclosed below. Before I also comment on few things, let me praise Ewald for his courage and integrity to actually use his real name. I don’t know about our readers, but I personally don’t have time for any AOL PR agent who comes on our blog, acts as an AOL agent, talks like one and repeats the same official AOL propaganda and at the same time continuously insists that he is not a AOL PR agent! What a waste of time and space.
The most alarming statement (but in no way surprising) in Ewald’s post was this:
“If you have made a donation for a charitable project, a reasonable sum, you have the right to ask about it. Otherwise you have no right to ask about the financial situation.
If you only use the service, it is none of your business to ask for the finances. “
It is truly alarming that the chairman of a charitable organization has such an arrogant and ignorant attitude. It is alarming that he doesn’t know that any charitable organization, in order to enjoy the financial benefits due to charities, is required by law to produce detailed accounts of its operation publicly.
It is further alarming that he believes he and his organization worldwide can claim to their “service users” that AOL is a charity, that their course fees and donations go to charitable causes, yet assert that the same “service users” have no right to “ask for the finances.”
This statement on its own should raise the red flag to any tax authority in any country where AOL operates, as it is a common attitude among AOL hierarchy.
The following statement though took the top prize for its humor. Even though Ewald, like many senior AOL teachers, can get very angry, mean and nasty and threatening (and it is not a pretty sight), I am sure he didn’t utter this statement out of anger, rather from shear humor:
“Some of you rascals have taken full advantage, ate in the ashram, became fat. Taken all the time of Guruji, pestered him and bothered him with your silly questions. A counselor would have earned millions by that, Guruji did not ask anything.”
Those of you who know Ewald, would know that he is not into Sadhna, nor he is into Satvic food. However he does keep fit by exercise and going to Gym. and he only drinks diet coke! He also loves to tell people that Guruji has exempted him from doing Sadhna. Apparently he told SriSri he doesn’t do any Sadhna and SriSri replied: “You just love me.” He also proudly says he doesn’t do adv courses. So those of you who are doing your Sadhna regularly and go to so many adv. courses to get closer to the Master, take notice. Some $$$$ will achieve the result much faster!
And I hope he is not labelling Ashram food as being fattening! And regarding pestering Guruji with silly questions, doesn’t SriSri insist on people asking him questions? And of course he answers few at satsang every night. Those attending adv. courses with SriSri can also put questions in question basket and they may get lucky. In any case they have fully paid for the course, food and accommodation and satsang is part of the course. Ewald, Perhaps, you need to suggest to Guruji to charge extra for questions and you can even become director of “Sri Sri Counselor Europe BV”
“One of your bloggers, a woman with four kids who hardly taught anything, created more problems than anybody, wanted to make money on books, and ended up in New Zealand. Guruji was so compassionate, if it was left to me I would have dropped you a long time ago.”
Sorry Ewald, you lost me there. What was the problem with “the woman with four kids”? She wanted to make money on books? Don’t you and Lillian make money on books?Guruji was compassionate to let her make money on books, just like he was with you, Lillian, Ajay, Arvind, etc.?
“You create more harm and disharmony around you wherever you are. “
The above statement describes SriSri so well. When I write my post on “Conflict resolution, SriSri style” I should remember to use it!
“Since **** left, Brazil has flourished. People have a feeling of relief. The satsangs are nicer. Same is the case in many other centres, including Denmark. Denmark is more harmonious and peaceful. Same story with New Zealand. “
Did **** teach in Denmark and New Zealand too?! Wow, how many countries this lady taught in?
Ewald, I wonder how much AOL Netherland will flourish if you leave Netherland? You don’t seem to be the most popular person there, are you?
“You people are so ill-motivated, with your own hidden agenda. “
There is nothing hidden about our agenda, we have stated it clearly many times. We are just sharing our own firsthand experiences of AOL and providing a safe healing place for ex-AOL teachers and others to share and make sense of their harrowing experiences while in AOL.
“You are not persons who will save the world, save other people. “
No, we have left that to you, SriSri and Swamiji! We are just happy to save few who may stumble upon our blog!
“The way Guruji has taken all this is even more impressive, totally unfazed. “
Do you call this unfazed? Ordering our blog to be shut down by any means possible? Sending his right hand man to the front to defame/attack whoever you guys think are the bloggers? You know as well as I know that Swamiji’s letter was dictated to him by his MASTER! If this is his unfazed reaction, one can only wonder about his fazed reaction!
“There are so much more beautiful things in life, to enjoy life, and how to spend time in a much better way.”
Yes Ewald, perhaps you mean being part of an organization which claims to be a charity in order to fleece public and have a business within it with captured clients? You sure have cracked it and are leading by example. Maybe you would like to write a book about it with the title “Make millions via businesses masquerading as charity” and dedicate it to your CEO, SriSri.
And let me praise you for one more thing Ewald. Unlike me and million others who were fooled by your Master and gave our money and time and resources for free to build up SriSri’s empire, you were not so fooled. Instead you went to a business partnership with SriSri, one which has benefited you both handsomely!
Ewald Poeran August 27, 2010 8:24 am
My name is Ewald Poeran, chairman of the Art of Living Netherlands
After reading the blog, I would like to give my general comments.
What you are doing is nothing short of terrorism of pen.
You are cowards who don’t want to reveal your identity. If the truth is on your side what are you afraid of? You are accusing people of doing things they have never done.
Now you get the support of only the weak. If you come out with strong evidence all the strong people will join, but in your heart you know that there is nothing like that. Total cowards.
If you have made a donation for a charitable project, a reasonable sum, you have the right to ask about it. Otherwise you have no right to ask about the financial situation.
If you only use the service, it is none of your business to ask for the finances.
Do you know how many people Guruji feeds every day? Do you have any idea?
Ashrams are run only through Advance Course revenue. Thousands of mouths are fed every day. What do you bloggers contribute? Some of you rascals have taken full advantage, ate in the ashram, became fat. Taken all the time of Guruji, pestered him and bothered him with your silly questions. A counselor would have earned millions by that, Guruji did not ask anything.
One of your bloggers, a woman with four kids who hardly taught anything, created more problems than anybody, wanted to make money on books, and ended up in New Zealand. Guruji was so compassionate, if it was left to me I would have dropped you a long time ago. This was the reason why I mentioned many times to Guruji: “Guruji, you have such a big heart”.
Perhaps He should change the first course point: Accept people as they are!
You are nothing more than stumbling blocks. You create more harm and disharmony around you wherever you are.
Since Eng Ann left, Brazil has flourished.
People have a feeling of relief. The satsangs are nicer.
Same is the case in many other centres, including Denmark. Denmark is more harmonious and peaceful. Same story with New Zealand.
You people are so ill-motivated, with your own hidden agenda.
If you don’t like it, you should just mind your own business. You can’t because you tasted the joy. You cannot get Guruji out of your system. If it would be a criminal you would just ignore the person. More than devotees you seem to be updated about Guruji and the organisation. That shows how miserable and desperate you are. Who has time for this?
You are not persons who will save the world, save other people.
We know exactly who these persons are, how they are disgruntled. How you can misconstrue simple jokes here. Simple things are being twisted by the distorted minds, portraying the most compassionate saint as a demon.
And about the food supplements, all the companies use the same kind of medicine. It is coming from an old tradition, to say that it is being copied from Maharishi Ayurveda is total nonsense. What is there to copy anyway? For example everybody can produce triphala, amla, and so on. Himalaya produces it, Maharisha produces triphala, Dabur produces triphala. What is the big deal? Do you know anything about Ayurveda? Maybe it is time for you to see a doctor.
I guess there is a Judas everywhere, but you will face your music, that’s the good thing.
The way Guruji has taken all this is even more impressive, totally unfazed.
These are just a few points I wanted to highlight. There are so much more beautiful things in life, to enjoy life, and how to spend time in a much better way.
But one thing I am jealous about. As much as I love Guruji, you are thinking even more of Guruji than I do. He is more in your mind than in mine.
Jai Guru Dev
Ronin August 31, 2010 2:41 pm
It is interesting to read your post Mr. President of AOL Netherlands.
I wonder what your career path in life would have been had you not joined forces with the CEO of a multinational called AOL.
The president of AOL Netherlands that is a pretty responsible position indeed, for full transparency and honesty do you hold any other positions within this Multinational. A quick scan provides the following data:
Shankara. Europe BV in the Netherlands.
Shankara Europe Holding BV The Netherlands Ewald Poeran, Director.
Shankara Europe BV (wholesale) The Netherlands Lillian Nouwen, Director;
Now we all know that the AOL on paper is a foundation and that it has another conglomerate of businesses and they are as profit orientated was any fortune 500 company.
So you have one foot in the AOL – Foundation and one foot in the AOL – Corporation
Both philosophies and mission statements of the entities are so different read they both have very different profit and loss statements. Do you find life hard to balance maybe not since, opposite value are complimentary. So the client base it the foundation, I can imagine if this drops it would not be a good thing. But then again it is always easy to come out with new products. The latest gimmick to help those who seek enlightenment and actually hooking them even deeper into codependency.
I wonder what the annual salary of Director of Shankara Europe Holding makes, I can imagine it is more than a full time teacher, with all the health and secondary benefits included. Hopefully you extend the same to those who work in lower positions and don’t ask them to work as part of their seva so they can grow spiritually.
“I guess there is a Judas everywhere, but you will face your music, that’s the good thing.”
Mr. President of AOL Netherlands it is funny you mention Judas. Did you know that a few years back they found one of the gospels which was called the book of Judas. And after careful examination they were able to deceiver (conclude) that Jesus himself had asked Judas to betray him.
I guess if you look back at your statement now it would seem rather silly.
“But one thing I am jealous about. As much as I love Guruji, you are thinking even more of Guruji than I do. He is more in your mind than in mine.”
No rest for sure he is not on my mind, what is on my mind are the young people who are about to take a step into the world and are searching for meaning and get led astray by this organization with false promises and hopes.
Hopefully they will read these posted message or their families and loved ones will, and realize that there are other healthier ways to serve humanity and grow.
The little giant has awakened.
Chinnamasti August 27, 2010 11:39 am
Mr president of AOL Netherlands,
This site is a wakeup call against the fraud organization you work for. It is a matter of time when the critical mass wakes up to this fraud. People remain anonymous here because they know the kind of harassment that AOL mafia is capable of. They have firsthand experience of this when they were part of the cult. It is an intelligent decision.
Peaceful Warrior August 27, 2010 12:25 pm
@Ewald ok….how about you stop ripping on people and start responding to facts. Do you really think it’s just one or two people who are disgruntled at the way they run AOL ? Come on.
You bring about some interesting points. You say that the guru is compassionate in not dealing with person who was creating problems. I would call it stupid – to put so innocent people at risk by making incompetent and unethical people as teachers. This sort of thing goes on a lot in AOL, these days anyone can become a part 1 teacher. It just goes to show the “top management” is out of touch and incompetent. We are all supposed to think guru is holier than thou – but if you look at how things are run in AOL it is clear that the people at the top are 1. Incompetent 2. Irresponsible.
2. About money – over years I’ve donated thousands of dollars to AOL. There is no transparency and accountability. Most other charities have solid numbers regarding the work done and how the money is spent. Not in AOL. Again, you are supposed to blindly trust the master – who btw. loves to travel with an entourage and staying in presidential suites of the poshest hotels.
Again they flat out lie when the say they have 2% administrative costs and money from courses goes to service projects. As head of AOL Netherlands you would know this. Why is it wrong for people to ask for data to back up these claims that AOL makes. If they don’t like people asking they should not make these claims.
If you are telling people that course fee goes to charity (standard response to course fee question), you are misleading them into thinking that they are also donating money to charity. So they do have a right to ask how the money was spent. One or two videos highlighting the work is good, but frankly a lot of the material is dated, and it’s not a substitute for data.
It’s shocking to see that despite being filled with well educated modern people, AOL acts like a medieval institution. People are indoctrinated not to question the master, and by implication senior teachers. They continue to do as they please.
As far as feeding people goes, I don’t think the ashram food is subsidized. I’ve never seen destitute people at the ashram being given food. It’s mostly middle class or rich people who have come for a course or a workshop – so in a way they pay for their food. Most of the work is done by volunteers, so it’s not as if they are generating a lot of employment.
Anonymous August 27, 2010 12:32 pm
“If you don’t like it, you should just mind your own business.”
Same goes for you – if you don’t like this blog you should mind your own business. No we are not pathetic losers like you think. Most of us (at least I do) lead happy lives – but we are not pushovers.
We’ve been duped by this fraud organization, and unlike your regular AOL folk, who silently suffer, we do react when abuse happens.
anonymous August 27, 2010 12:48 pm
Actually, Mr. Chairman,
I had not given SSRS any thought at all for years since leaving the Cult of AOL, until a friend (who also left) called me with the news that an “assassination attempt” had been made on his life and it was on TV. My immediate response was “how awful”. My friend, who was so badly treated in AOL responded “why is it awful? He’s getting his own karma back at him”. Of course, there was no attempt on SSRS’s life, but as we found out, he milked the incident for all it was worth to get TV time. (Or maybe his omniscience was not working and he really didn’t know it was a next-door farmer shooting at dogs?)
I, and others who have left AOL, keep our anonymous status for real reasons: We have been threatened by phone when leaving. Cursed by your “master” (some of us told that he would ‘destroy’ us if we left). Some received home visits from people like you who had the misguided feeling that their master was all goodness and light, and who made thinly veiled threats (sometimes not thinly veiled).
Because you are in Netherlands, and were possibly raised a Christian, you may not know the power of Rudram, Chandi, of Tantra, and exactly who and how SSRS worships. These are things that are above your pay grade, so to speak, sir. But Indians know fully well the power (albeit it temporary) of Tantrics like SSRS, and their ill intentions to those crossing them. And so, some remain anonymous because of verbal and physical threats made, and others because of psychic threats made, yes, even by the precious master himself!
This is certainly hard for you to believe in your present state of delusion. But it is so. He is not as you think him to be, I’m very sorry to say. The doubts that you have certainly had were God trying to save you. But you have chosen to “doubt the doubt”. I pity you.
Since the shooting incident, my attention was brought to the person “Klim’s” blog, and then this blog. Since June I have followed their progress, commenting a little, as I am now. I truly fear AOL and SSRS. This may be difficult for you to understand, wrapped as you are in your little safe cocoon in Netherlands. When I saw this blog and the other one, I realized that in spite of some years of distance from the organization, that people were still getting damaged. I’ve been very busy and I was not in a circle who discussed AOL at all. But this blog fills an important need: if people are still getting hurt, damaged, lives ruined by this man, and he has not changed for the better, then he should be exposed.
In America, a famous gangster was brought down by a trail of improperly spent money, with no taxes paid, and he was put in prison for a long time. He was not tried for all the other horrible things he did. So people on this blogspot are concentrating on exposing what they know about misuse of funds, which you clearly know very little about. Please accept that there may be others who were closer to SSRS than you are, and know very damning things about his habits and money trails (or lack thereof).
I have no personal wish, actually, that anyone should be humiliated or go to jail, or anything of the like. I do hope, however, that the entirety of this crooked house of cards be dismantled, and the parties involved, making money off the innocence of others, should simply go to the Himalayas and meditate on their deeds. Consider what they have done. Revenue Department should raid all involved. The newspapers should be notified, and reporters should get very nosy about this (finally). Laundered monies should be donated back to the poor. The ashram should be donated back to the government to be run as an actual school totally, for the poor. Land robbed from villagers should be returned without any further delay. All businesses built for the family with laundered donation money should be disbanded. Taxes should be paid in full. SSRS, his family, his teachers, should all revert back to a very simple, humble life-style which most of them had before this enterprise. This would heal their souls and give peace to India and perhaps the world. It would be a bold step on SSRS’s part to do so. Seeing that he needs to see his face on the sides of city buses somehow makes me suspect that this humility will never take place.
God Bless You, Mr. Chairman, and may you find lasting Peace, not that induced by trance, tantra, and affiliation with AOL
goneagain August 27, 2010 12:59 pm
Mr president of AOL Netherlands,
Looks like you are posting the email summary just received from AOL HQ. Is it part of the ‘Brahma-Vishnu-Shiva’ strategy? Which one is it?
You just parroted whatever swami response, do you even know if the blog is male/female? Oh, Well your guru is ‘God-incarnate’ so it must be true.
Anonymous August 27, 2010 2:19 pm
Hello Ewald,Seems like you have stopped reading the ashram course registration forms. It clearly mentions that fees include food and stay!! Everyone pays for it!! Only the visitors don’t pay but somehow they at least buy some things from divine services or shop or donate some little money. Or in worst case they enroll for the course or at least increase the publicity of the ashram!!
Victor August 28, 2010 3:43 am
Ewald, you are obviously too brainwashed to see what happened to people who reveal their names, location, address and phone numbers to AOL. Swami Sadyojatha ripped them a new one, and he didn’t even spare AOL teachers, how do you think a lowly volunteer or course participant will be treated? They would probably send the local mafia to our house. Are you so brainwashed by the AOL cult you can’t even see this?
No, we are not cowards. We are just sensible, and are using our intelligence. I see it’s hitting you people hard, so you have to resort to calling us cowards.
hisunholiness August 27, 2010 8:44 am
soooooooooooooo sorry for you . I can feel the pain that you must be facing because some time back I was also a brain washed cult member like you. BTW are you also writing any book regarding your master.
@Ewald Poeran as a chairman of the Art of Living Netherlands, you confirm why shobha de has renamed aol as AOA -art of abusing
Svetana August 27, 2010 4:05 pm @ Anonymous, August 27, 2010 12:48 pm
Thank you for your comments. They are written with deep understanding of AOL criminal nature peculiarities and, at the same time, with compassion.
I totally agree with you and pity Mr.Ewald Poeran and many blind followers, because being in deep stupor, imposed by the leader, they cannot see what abyss they are heading to and how deep their fall will be. God help their souls..
the ghost of Kant August 28, 2010 3:02 am
Ok I just had the weirdest reaction. I actually felt sorry for Mr. Ewald. Behind his veiled threats and his arrogant attitude, there seemed to be a small boy almost begging us to stop.
So I could not help thinking what would be needed if we were actually was to stop. Now this is off course my personal thoughts about this, but still here it goes:
1)Stop exaggerated and fraudulent claims about techniques results and work.
2)Clear ethic guidelines for the treatment of individuals in Art of Livings care, including course participants, volunteers, teachers and full-time teachers.
2a) that would include proper salary to those who work full-time at least at the level of a normal working month with minimum wage, including pension for when they become old.
2b) a clear ethics of what teachers of the art of living course is allowed to do and not allowed to do. Including respecting individuals wishes and borders. Refraining from using position to get money, sex etc.
2c) a strong commitment to realistic assessment of what Art of Living and its Ayurvedic section can and cannot do. Including a pledge to send all people who are outside these limits to the proper professionals and stop using weak people to get money with grossly false claims.
2d) Clear policies against discrimination and abuse and a committee especially committed to deal with these cases. In all relevant cases where injury have occurred there should be a 100% handing over to proper authorities like police, social authorities etc.
2e) Transparency and clear ethics of treatment of individuals at intense courses like TTC and DSN. That include the complete end of all well described psychological impairing techniques like hot chair, reducing people to infantiles, insuring that people always have the right to go to bathroom, sleep and something to drink. Stop forcing people into activities they don’t want to join. Stop breaking people psychologically down. And a transparent and open management of these courses including an openness and will to correct any mistakes done during these courses. These could include a evaluation form in the end of courses with space to any complaints and insuring that these forms got delivered to a 3rd part in the organization in order to get fair treatment.
2f) A general allowance of transparency in the organization including the right of free speech and critic in order to ensure that power abuse is avoided and corrected.
3)Stop all enticing to racial and religious tension. Especially don’t use other religious groups and nationalities as scapegoats.
4)Stop the tax evasion and start paying your taxes. Also get all previous tax evasion in order and pay the money you owe to civil society.
5)I have no personal knowledge of these things, but if it’s true that mr.ravi has a personal sex life (which he off course is completely entitled to) this should happen in a transparent way in order to avoid misuse of power and position.
6)Stop fear mongering and postulating that the end of the world is coming to and end. Don’t use fear in order to get compliance and work from individuals in contact with the group.
7)Stop selling the cat in the sack. If you sell products the products should have some kind of resemblance to what you have described.
8)Allow people to disagree and express this disagreement publicly.
9)Settle with individuals that Art of Living have hurt in the past. Make honest and open discussions of how to settle use and abuse of individuals by the organization.
10)Start admitting mistakes so you can start correcting them, and preventing them from happening again.
11)If Art of Living wants to portray itself as a humanitarian organization the Art of Living needs to start being open and transparent about use of funds. Else stop these claims.
If Art of Living committed to these standard, I would personally argue the Art of Livings right to exist. I might personally disagree with many of the beliefs held by the Art of Living but that would just be my personal preferences completely irrelevant to civic society.
Also I am sure that there would spread a strong sense of relief and peace in the Art of Living organization because one would know that at last one is doing the right thing.
How do the rest of you feel about this, did I forget anything?