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TTC -Ending Up Soulless

September 10, 2010

By Ronin

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 too excited and starts to feel special.

Indeed an experience not to be forgotten. AOL points out that expectations reduce joy, well it sure did and many others can testify to this. It is nothing more than 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 off 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 traumas 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 one’s 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 you’re 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 lose 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 along 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 etc. 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 than the few dollars they are spending. See it as an transaction like buying something 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 you’re 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 so 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 fully 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 yourself 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.

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34 Comments
  1. WhistleBlower permalink
    September 10, 2010 8:57 am

    Hi Ronin,
    Another excellent post. Keep them coming. I always find myself laughing my head off reading your witty and humorous posts. So true too! We can laugh about it now. Hope it saves few people from repeating our mistakes.

    I thought you may enjoy the following new instruction from TTC desk:

    “Please do not encourage those who are not physically fit, having psychiatric problems, having difficulty in walking / doing Seva / playing games, etc.”

    So those with psychiatric problems can no longer apply!!!! Sorry all you people with psychiatric problems, bi-polar, depression, what-not, till last TTC you could become AOL teachers, but due to publicity generated from Swamiji’s email, AOL can no longer make you teachers! You may end up becoming negative blogger after some time and we can’t afford any more of these negative blogs.

    And I wonder what “etc.” in Brijit’s statetment covers? May be those who are not good looking, can’t enrol, ask too many questions, have brains, don’t have money, know about the blogs, don’t consider SriSri God-incarnate,….?

    From: VVKI TTC Desk
    Date: 8 September 2010
    Subject: Next TTC from 14th Nov to 4th Dec 2010 at Bangalore Ashram, India.

    Jai Guru Dev !!Please note next TTC is from 14th Nov to 4th Dec 2010 at Bangalore Ashram, India.
    Last date of receiving complete Application + Evaluation at TTC Desk on http://www.ttcdesk.com website : 30th Sept
    (Its short notice, but I know we all can do it !!!)

    Please note the following :
    …….
    4. State TCs and Country TCs, will have to answer / reply all inquiries and mails from candidates of their respective State / Country. TTC Desk or Web Developer will answer only those mails which State TCs / Country Co-ordinators find difficult to answer.

    5. Please do not encourage those who are not physically fit, having psychiatric problems, having difficulty in walking / doing Seva / playing games, etc.

    Regards
    Brijit

    • Peaceful Warrior permalink
      September 10, 2010 6:28 pm

      Any one who protests against art of living has psychiatric problems. That’s the definition of psychiatric problems. These people have nothing better to do than complain.

      Take for example this dude called mohandas karamchand gandhi. All they did was throw him out of a train for sitting in a compartment reserved for white people. And see how he reacted – spending all his time and energy complaining about afrikaan governement which had given him so much. Only a person with psychiatric problems would do that. Some people cannot get past their negativity. Spending time in complaining consciousness is no good – instead of complaining about british exploitation gandhi should have looked at the positive side (their building roads and railways) and shut up.

  2. Mahishasura Mardini permalink
    September 10, 2010 9:19 am

    AOL relies on secrecy of its so called original techniques. In TTC they impart all these apart from the brainwashing to conform and becoming effective recruiters. The bad news for AOL is that through internet information and power is becoming increasingly democratized. It’s not so easy for them anymore. It is very easy to find the kriya tape or notes on the internet. The TTC manual, YES+ manual is available for free download on the net.
    I would be eager about what will go on in the november TTC. I would be intrested to know from the AOL moles about all the hush hush talk about Klim’s and this blog. Also, when the prized tape (do they still use magnetic audio tape) is awarded and they become eligible to buy, what if the teacher says he already has a copy downloaded from the net. It would be funny.

  3. Cam permalink
    September 10, 2010 10:53 am

    “Please do not encourage those… having psychiatric problems”

    It looks like RS will not be participating in TTC?! Nor will many of his devotees who are brainwashed into saying Jai Gurudev!!! before they can brush their teeth.

    Do they not think a bipolar person is capable of discerning between a sham cult and a true spiritual organization? They act as though bipolar people are totally inept. Such harsh judgment and discrimination for a yoga organization. If their motive is to protect people with mental health issues, it would be acceptable. But, they are selfishly trying to help themselves. They could care less about the health and well-being of others, especially those with psychiatric problems. They’re just worried about a negative blog. Otherwise, they would have addressed this much sooner.

  4. Prairie Princess permalink
    September 10, 2010 12:40 pm

    Does anyone ever just walk out of TTC? I have heard of people leaving DSN. One person told me they left DSN because they thought it was a bunch of bogus marketing. If AoL wants sheep (people who cannot think for themselves) brainwashing techniques or quasi-EST (Landmark) processes might be the way to go. (As an aside, I personally knew some who walked out of EST Teacher training because she thought it was too much manipulation) It is funny they say they do not want anyone mentally ill and yet the processes on TTC look like they are designed to make one mentally ill. So in Ravi-speak ego = discernment and discrimination and unquestioning compliance = egolessness? Again. “The Guru Papers” should be required reading for anyone thinking about TTC.

    • zhoro permalink
      September 10, 2010 2:13 pm

      Prairie Princess, a person walked out of my TTC2 during the hot chair process, after being abused viciously for being gay.

    • Ronin permalink
      September 10, 2010 3:09 pm

      @Prairie Princess

      Walking out of TTC

      The program is very tricky they will push you to the brink of exhaustion and quitting. It is hard to describe but those of you who have gone to TTC know what I mean. The internal fight is intense but THEY are very good at what they do.

      It is at this stage that the brainwashing starts and can take hold it is at this point where you will question it all but you keep hearing what a wonderful thing it is to be a teacher to spread the masters knowledge. You see those around you who have completely given up and wonder look they are smiling and seem so at peace. Truth was that they were well into too the process already. Buy your still questioning…..

      You want to say screw this man who needs it, but your isolated you can’t just pack your bags and leave in de middle of the night, the doors are locked. I always wondered why now I know.

      Then if you leave and get back (home) you will have to face everyone who knows you went to TTC and tell them you left. Can you imagine what they will say……
      Oooh no he just left TTC he still has so much to learn he needs to do more seva and come to more satsangs. The Guru’s grace just did not touch him deeply enough.

      As mentioned already, the blackmail point is that they will put you in front of the group so you can say that u want to leave and why (actually happened on my TTC) this is not a easy thing to do and THEY know it. So they can play this card at anytime and they DO.

      You want the tape so bad because you heard from senior teachers how drastically your life will change. Of all its magic and grace that it can give you, and you will always have the Guru’s grace. It is actually the opposite one becomes a slave and a puppet and just mechanically recites what you have been told at TTC.

      So people should realize that this constant struggle of your principle’s with those of the program (read AOL company) and the TTC trainer together with sleep deprivation will at some point break you.

      It is a game they are playing and once you realize this you can turn the tables on them, it is not easy they will keep looking at angles to break even the strongest ones in the group do at some point. Or they will set you up for the grand finally and deny you the tape, which will haunt you for a long time. You will question why did I not get the Tape what did I do wrong why master why……..
      It is truly a fail save system the AOL company will always win.

      So did someone ever walkout I have know idea, but my advice would be too never walk through that DOOR, once you check in it is hard to get out.

      The little giant has awakened.

      • Peaceful Warrior permalink
        September 10, 2010 6:41 pm

        The brainwashing has already happened when you sign up for ttc.TTC, just ties up the loose ends. Otherwise why the hell would anyone pay $5000 to be humiliated in this manner.

        There is nothing wrong in being a dedicated and committed volunteer – the problem is at the other end – the guru you are so dedicated to is exploitative, and undeserving of your dedication.

        Since you have been trained not to question authority, you don’t see these things – but permit yourself the luxury of questioning your guru, and you will see he does not stand up to scrutiny. All that holds you back is peer pressure – but frankly everyone is in the same boat – the emperor has no clothes, people know it they just don’t want to say it.

  5. anon permalink
    September 10, 2010 6:34 pm

    I think AOL is registered as a public charitable trust (VVK-India claims to be a trust).

    Where does one register a public charitable trust in the state of Karnataka where AOL is based? i.e. Who is the regulatory authority for a charitable trust? What needs to be filed periodically with such an authority?

    Some links of interest in obtaining information from such trusts…
    http://www.rtiindia.org/forum/blogs/jps50/154-how-get-information-private-entity-under-rti.html

    If one is persistent, it should even be possible to get the tax returns for VVK-India
    http://www.rtiindia.org/forum/8613-income-tax-returns-charitable-trusts-treated-different-returns-others-possibility-disclosure.html

  6. anon anon permalink
    September 10, 2010 10:29 pm

    i want to thank you all for sharing the info in this (and other) blogs. just want to say the info in the blog has provided enormous clarity, and conformation of what i already started feeling about aol but uncomfortable to speak up. i stumbled upon this blog a few weeks ago.

    i want to let you all know that your (and klim’s) blog is helpful. and your work to share it in the open is much appreciated.

    i am a (soon to be ex-) teacher with the aol. i have seen much hanky panky in aol, but still continued to teach because i felt that the individual’s values and vision can still be lived even while the group’s ‘management’ is non ideal. however i find that it only causes great internal conflict in me. reading your blog has been a tipping point for my decision making.

    i am sure many more aol teachers are reading this blog as well, and many are nodding in agreement with the truth presented here.

    THANK YOU

  7. Shivam permalink
    September 11, 2010 4:48 pm

    Great post Ronin!
    I went through TTC phase I myself few years ago and the experience was enough not to make me want to go for TTC phase II. You are right that even though many do not enjoy the experience no one wants to seem like a quitter…and hence land up completing the harrowing program. There is nothing in TTC but extreme physical exhaustion followed up with mental and emotional manipulation. Anybody who is sane can figure out there isnt any spiritual growth happening here but then you get so inundated with all the guru stories that you wonder if you are the only one not getting it and if there’s something wrong with you inspite of all that faith and the months/years of ‘seva’ you sincerely did.
    I hope all those aspiring for TTC expecting some bliss to descend onto their lives read your post and take the wise decision to keep away!

    • vijay khambati permalink
      September 16, 2010 4:41 am

      how much are the fees for the DSN and TTC in india?

      • Anonymous permalink
        September 16, 2010 8:54 am

        DSN varies from 2200 to 4000/- depending on the city and the teacher, in smaller cities can be less, if they get some sponsorship.

        21 days TTC is 11ooo/- rupees plus 500/- for the teachers kit, plus few additions like 100/- for Sri Sri Yoga Practice manual etc.

  8. srikkanth permalink
    September 11, 2010 5:51 pm

    Sometimes I feel pained by all these negative propoganda, not for Guruji, but for all these unfortunate fellows who run these blogs. Some of them seem to be AOL old timers. First of all these disgruntled fellows never came to AOL for spirituality or service. They came for some personal agenda like more fame or ego satisfaction. But a real Guru takes away your ego. This they do not understand.

    • Shallow waters permalink
      September 11, 2010 8:45 pm

      @ Srikkanth,

      At least u seem to be wisest of all. finaly we have our savior!! You have judged us too quickly dear. dont judge, just wait!! dont find intention behinds peoples mistake.

      the first step of solving the problem is to acknowledge that yes it is a there. and then the next step is to think of genuine solution to cure it.

      Could you please help?

    • zhoro permalink
      September 11, 2010 8:45 pm

      srikkanth, so if he is a real guru, how come he didn’t take away the ego of the “unfortunate fellows” who run this blog? Isn’t the ego powerless in the presence of Truth?

      The ego is “taken away” as a result of the realization of the essential unity of all existence, which happens with self-inquiry. What happens in AOL is that duality is constantly reaffirmed with the guru seen as representing a superior reality. AOL’s so-called ego-busting sessions do not at all take away the ego. On the contrary. Look into this closely, please.

      Not leading aspirants anywhere close to the truth that a spiritual path is supposed to lead to while claiming to do so is AOL’s biggest fault. All the rest are really just details.

    • WhistleBlower permalink
      September 11, 2010 9:36 pm

      If SriSri can take away anyone’s ego, he better start with himself, as he seems to have plenty ego!
      Indeed he is a narcissist megalomaniac and all his actions are driven by ego.

    • vijay khambati permalink
      September 16, 2010 4:51 am

      it seems, from the rampant dissent on this and so many other fora,that your guru equates ego with money……and thus starts by taking your money away in the noble act of helping you shed your ego!!!………….AHO ! kaise kaise log hoten hai !!!…..

  9. harshal permalink
    September 11, 2010 11:18 pm

    @Zhoro: In your resignation letter , you have said ‘I would like to follow my path outside the confines of AOL’. Is this your path?

    • zhoro permalink
      September 12, 2010 12:15 am

      @harshal: what do you mean by “this”?

    • goneagain permalink
      September 12, 2010 2:25 am

      @Harshal,
      Things are unravelling so fast, seeing many teachers come out and saying their experiences from many countries. I understand you are trying so hard to save your master, if God-Incarnate can’t help himself, what can you do?

  10. taking the road less travelled permalink
    September 12, 2010 12:11 am

    Wow, its finally happening. people are starting to speak up. I completed TTC 1 & 2 and i came out of it so disillusioned. It took me a while to realise that games and manipulation that take place. I watched people get humiliated and stripped of their dignity in TTC. I myself was very sick during TTC – having to do it in a foreign country – picked up a fever and all. I was told not to take medication and wait for blessings. Surely we are all blessed anyway, why do we need blessings. But after TTC, came the real challenges – watching “teachers” with inflated egos, wanting to teach and apply the manipulation techniques. I attended a course, where one person actually said “i don’t need this” i am happy regardless.
    Sri Sri Ravi Shankar – is a manipulator of people. He chooses who to speak to, who to talk and mingle with. Some teachers in our country are ex bankrupts, one is a sexual predator of young women who join the group, others just pick favourites – i.e anyone who will do their bidding.
    Teaching – is a privledge, human beings are entitled to dignity, and surely spirituality endorses humanity. Re: DSN – that course is a farce. i undertook DSN, i stayed for the whole course, but i watched a senior teacher just work on students to market the courses. The extra challenge was to go out at night and recruit people. So finally its a relief to hear people speak up. I am not a teacher, i will always be a student all my life, for life is about learning. I do not have all the answers and i never will, for the answers lie in each person.

  11. ex-ssy-teacher permalink
    September 13, 2010 4:45 pm

    Namaste all, I got an email about this blog some time back and decided to post today.

    A few of us teachers who were not into mainstream courses and teaching the basic course also do exist. I am one such person who found sri sri yoga to be the path for me.

    A few of us attended the TTC in China at Huangshan a few years ago, taught by Krishan Verma. After reading about the normal basic course TTC I feel the SSY TTC is quite different. We did have some uncomfortable moments but for the most part it was a lot of learning about the parts of the body, their functions, foods and their effects, asanas and their effects, and a huge amount of yoga practice. It was tiring but I mostly enjoyed it, and came back as a SSY teacher.

    Since I had at the time quit my job because of my husband’s travel schedule I had a lot of spare time. Some basic course teachers persuaded me to sign up for TTC-1 which I did after six months of postponing.

    TTC-1 was nothing like the SSY TTC. I felt uncomfortable from the start. With SSY I connected with the other students, we had this thirst to learn yoga, most of them were very honest and sincere. There was nothing much else to learn there. Here in TTC-1, it was a lot like Ronin describes. I understand there are some processes like the hot seat that are supposed to help you overcome your inhibitions, but I saw many people totally lose it.

    First thing I learnt was to keep your secrets. Don’t open yourself and share everything with the group. I saw one lady verbally assaulted so badly it was worse than a bunch of gangsters, she was targeted because she told someone she had an abortion some years ago. They picked on her, tried to shame her and dig into her guilt. At one point she completely lost it, cried non stop and no one came to help her. I didn’t see her after that.

    Another person had a problem with his accent. He was also what the people there considered “backward” because of his background. He was constantly targeted, schoolyard bully style, and verbally beaten up.

    I am ashamed to have been there. It was like a bunch of thugs and bullies finally allowed to vent their true feelings and at the end pretend to be all sweet and nice and go away with smiles and jai gurudevs.

    What really shocked me was the teacher did nothing to control the often vicious attacks on some participants. There was a large amount of partiality as some particular students were shielded.

    I saw many people who had just given up towards the end. They looked defeated and sunken. We were told all along, guruji’s grace will be with us, we will all emerge blissful. I did not see that at all. I asked the teacher about this and he said the same nonsense about some people not being ready for the grace, they have to do more seva, volunteer to help more courses and try again.

    I like to think that was the turning point. What I saw was a few sincere seekers and a whole bunch of narcissists, fakers, pseudo-seekers and brainwashed devotees with a sickening fake smile on their face all trying to please the teacher and not get skewered alive. There was nothing true or deep there. I quit. Bye bye to the bunch of scam artists.

  12. Amit permalink
    September 15, 2010 5:02 pm

    I think this blog is immensely sucessfull! The TTC in US/ Canada was one of the smallest ever. They had 45 people after they *combined* US & Canada TTC together. This inspite of all the mega course all over US. In fact the TTC for this winter has been cancelled as they had no registrations yet.
    The courses all over the country are becoming smaller and smaller, this inspite of hundreds of more teachers and much lower cost of the course.

    All the hard work the blog owners and posters had put in is bearing fruits.

    I have personally benefited from the course, but I feel somewhere down the road, the organization lost its focus and became more intersted in setting mega course, world records and mass producing teachers and devotees.

    Here is an interesting article by NY Times just this morning, no suprises here:)

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/15/world/europe/15iht-moscow.html?_r=1

    • WhistleBlower permalink
      September 15, 2010 8:25 pm

      Many Thanks Amit. Funny he is advising Russians against corruption, when he and his family are most corrupt themselves! Infact Art of living = Art of corruption and deceit.

      It seems to me that he is now targetting Chinese and Russions and South Americans, as the markets in English speaking countries are dying down!

      • freethinker permalink
        September 15, 2010 9:02 pm

        It is interesting (and getting well documented) how much money these folks collect (5,000 rubles for Lecture, 1,500 to 3,000 rubles for mediation another 5000 for river cruise) from each person, hope some agencies looking at it and see how they are being routed/channeled. Seems like AOL has to focus more on these emerging markets as blogs like this causing problem in English speaking market place. Need for that language translators to Russian, Chinese, etc more than ever. Any volunteers?

  13. anon permalink
    September 15, 2010 8:32 pm

    but is it not a BIG deal to be featured in NY Times? just trying to figure out where AoL stands in today’s world. I would hate to be like those lackeys living in a bubble, believing that AoL is dwindling.

  14. srikkanth permalink
    September 24, 2010 8:53 am

    I am a little confused by the contradictory statrements of this blog and what is being propogated by AOL. How to get at the truth? Of course i have been immensly benefitted by the AOL practices. At the same time behaviours/attitudes of some of AOL followers (including teachers) are so bothersome.

  15. srikkanth permalink
    September 24, 2010 8:57 am

    I think AOL should have some grievance redressal system so that internal conflicts are resolved amicably before it developes into a public street fight. And they talk of conflict reslution in so and so war torne zone. NOw who will resolve the conflicts inside the war ravaged zones inside the AOL. amen and Jai Guru Deva and Vasudhaiva Kutimbakam and Samgatchhatwam.

  16. Neal permalink
    September 24, 2010 2:58 pm

    Good point Srikkant.. I too have benefited from the course. But over the years I have seen how focus has shifted to marketing,hype and setting records. I wish people from AOL reading this blog and learn and create a system where questions,doubts & grievance could be addressed, rather then supressed for lack of faith ..blah blah!

  17. Peaceful Warrior permalink
    September 24, 2010 4:09 pm

    Candor and good listening is not in the DNA of the organization. At best they will listen and ignore.

    If you do the course, you get the pretty picture – but only when you get to doing seva you realize that the beautiful course grows out the manure that is the art of living. You will not find intelligent people, and sincere seekers in the organization – they ask too many inconvenient questions. The qualities that AOL teachers are selected for are – 1. Loyalty to RS 2. Ability to ignore the wrongdoing and mismanagement (it’s called accepting people and situations) 3. presentability and charisma.

    Most, if not all, AOL teachers are conniving and duplicitous. They justify everything by saying they are doing it for greater good of spreading knowledge and service to guru – but I doubt what kind of spirituality you are spreading if you don’t uphold moral standards yourself.

    Being a teacher of spirituality requires a lot of maturity, life experience, and character. Given the times we live in, very few people are really qualified – and if AOL indeed had rigorous standards, they would have very few teachers. But I think spirituality is such a field, that one cannot and should not compromise on standards.

    People say one should pick up good things from everybody – but it is very difficult to learn from an immoral person. It requires the learner to have discrimination to separate the good from the bad and the message from the person. The sharp critical thinking this requires is not encouraged in Art of Living (in fact they discourage discrimination) – despite viveka being mentioned as one of the 4 essential qualities of a seeker by adi shankaracharya.

    Rather they promote surrender – which is seen as some sort of short-cut to spiritual illumination. Who does not want such a short-cut to spiritual illumination – but beware!. Surrender is a lot more sophisticated concept and not the same as blind following. If you blindly surrender you will become exactly like RS & Co – i.e an Art of Living person. Same combination of fake charisma, Machiavellian politician, and art of living salesman that you see in so many teachers. These people were like you and me once – innocent and beautiful souls – but somehow they got all twisted and tangled up.

    People with sharp discrimination can still learn from Art of Living – but such a person would rather go elsewhere.

  18. Anonymous permalink
    November 7, 2011 7:40 pm

    Does the author of this not have better things to do? i came across this when looking for the TTC application. all i can say is get a life!!! you are too negative!! You must be very popular with all this complaining. There is true corruption in the world: mafias, organ markets, poaching, female infanticide, insider trading, civil wars, ethnic cleansing, terrorism, and more. why don’t you feel strongly about that? a little pathetic, no?

    Money is precious, but knowledge is priceless.
    peace!

    • Suraj permalink
      November 10, 2011 7:20 am

      What nakes you think Ravi Ravi is any better than any of these mafias. Just check out in Udipalya in kanakapura road and ask the villagers and they will tell you who the real land grabbing mafia is.

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