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Slavery agreement with Ravi Shankar – I shall be a good slave!

September 16, 2010

Thanks to our reader from Italy sending us the latest AOL slavery agreement, enclosed below. Also thanks to Ronin for his sharp insights, also enclosed below.

More damning than the slavery agreement itself, is the email sent to TTC graduates afterwards (see below), clearly showing they were forced to sign an agreement without having time “to read it through”, making that signed document worthless and illegal. Seems they even didn’t get a copy of what they signed at the time!

If AOL was doing things legally, they should have given the graduates the agreement to take home and discuss it with their family members and lawyers and give them 30 days to submit it with a signature (not the other way around!).

I wonder if the agreement TTC graduates are forced to sign would hold up in any court of law, esp. Western ones, where slavery is long abolished!

AOL lawyers, such as Sue hindle (being bribed by positions like becoming part2 teachers, board members, etc.) should be ashamed of themselves if they have composed such slavery agreement for AOL, to take advantage of young, innocent minds.

Usually other schools of Yoga, which charge for their teacher training programmes, give their graduates their diplomas. These graduates then start working for themselves and recover the money they spent on earning their diplomas.

In AOL however, slaves have to pay for their own slavery training, then have to pass on all the income generated from their courses (apart from 10 to 20 percent they are allowed to keep) to AOL and they have to continuously attend further AOL courses and slave retraining courses (TRMs) at their own expense. And a good slave is one who recruits more slaves and bring the highest $$$$ to Ravi.

Italy permalink September 14, 2010

Dear TRM 2010 participants,
We spent such a beautiful time together which we will remember for a long time. I miss you and your enthusiasm, laughter and love. Thank you for your presence.

On the end of the course we asked you to sign new agreement between International Art of Living Foundation and teachers. Unfortunately there was not enough time to read it through. I’m sending it in attachment, so that you can read it carefully and in peace. You have 30 days from today on to recall your signature if needed.

All my love and support,
JGD, katja

**************************************** 

Agreement for The Art of Living Teachers

between

International Art of Living Foundation
c/o Fischer & Partner
Schulhausstrasse 9
CH-6052 Hergiswil
Switzerland
(Hereinafter called ‘IAOLF’)

and

each individual volunteer teacher who completed the teachers’ refreshing training
on 5th of August in Bad Antogast, Germany
and whose name, address, country, date of birth and signature
appears at the end of this Agreement.
(Hereinafter individually called ‘Teacher’ and collectively ‘Teachers’)

The joint vision of the parties is a stress-free, violence-free world where individuals have the opportunity to maximize their potential for personal and spiritual growth and contribute towards creating a One-World-Family. The Teacher’s commitment as a volunteer helps to fulfil that vision and supports the aim to support needy people by
charitable, humanitarian and educational projects. Inherent to this vision is the creation of a sense of belonging amongst people of all religions, cultures and backgrounds, recognising that these teachings are universal.

Terms and Conditions

In signing this Agreement, the Teacher understands and agrees to the following:

1. To fulfil the joint vision of a stress-free, violence-free world, the Teacher has undertaken the Teacher Training Course (hereinafter called ‘TTC’).

2. In his/her capacity as a Teacher for IAOLF under this Agreement the Teacher is authorised to teach the courses designed by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, as shown on the Schedule to this agreement, alongside the name of each respective teacher.

3. The Teacher commits himself/herself to:

• Regular practice of the techniques taught in the Art of Living Part 1
course
• Regular teaching of such courses that he or she is personally authorised to teach by IAOLF.
• To comply with the administrative rules and regulations of the IAOLF and the national Art of Living organisation in the country where he/she is active.

4. Teaching special target groups (e.g. prisons, health services, educational establishments, business communities, substance abusers) is not covered during the TTC. Before addressing or teaching such groups the Teacher must receive the approval and instructions of the recognised teacher trainer for that group.

5. The Teacher understands that as a volunteer he/she is not employed by IAOLF or any national Art of Living organisation and is aware that it is the Teacher’s own responsibility to obtain and maintain any necessary insurances and/or necessary permits etc.

6. The Teacher will not request IAOLF or any national Art of Living organisation for any payment for his/her voluntary work and (apart from the right to get refunds for his/her expenses) the Teacher is not entitled to any benefit whatsoever.

7. The Teacher will contact and liaise with the Board of the national Art of Living organisation before any activity on its territory. He/she will get familiar with the local administrative rules and regulations and – if desired by the national Art of Living organisation – sign an agreement with the organisation governing his/her activities on the organisation’s territory. Whenever the teacher travels to teach abroad, it is the responsibility of that Teacher to first contact the international
coordinator appointed by IAOLF.

8. It is the Teacher’s responsibility to collect the course fee from each participant.The national Art of Living organisation will provide the Teacher with a fee structure and all instructions on how to deal with the collected fee according to their national rules and regulations as well as the national law. The Teacher will provide the national Art of Living organisation with regular reports on the collected fees, expenses and also adequate documentation (receipts, bank statements, list
of participants etc.).

9. The Teacher is aware that his/her conduct may have an impact on the reputation of IAOLF and the national Art of Living organisation. The Teacher will therefore undertake to comply with local law and not act in a way that may discredit the national Art of Living organisation’s reputation in particular and the worldwide Art of Living Organisation’s and its members’ and representatives’ reputation in general.

10. Whenever the Teacher represents IAOLF in public (events, media, courses, meetings, etc.), he/she will be aware of the importance of maintaining the purity of the knowledge and teachings designed by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. The Teacherwill follow the description in the Teacher’s Manual in accordance with the instructions received from the official trainers, during and after the TTC. Under no circumstances shall other techniques, processes or knowledge be added. IAOLF will not accept any responsibility or liability whatsoever for any loss or damage that arises from any conduct of the Teacher in breach of the obligations within this agreement.

In particular the Teacher agrees:

i. Not to identify the AOL teachings with one specific religion, nor will he/she use the AOL teachings to support or promote a particular political/economic system

ii. Not to convey the AOL teachings in his/her own name but on behalf of the organisation.

11. IAOLF will provide the Teacher with printed and recorded material such as the Teacher’s Manual and the Sudarshan Kriya tape in order to teach the courses. This material remains the property of IAOLF. The intellectual property rights to this material as well as the knowledge and techniques taught in the TTC do not pass to the Teacher.

The Teacher agrees:

iii. To keep confidential all teaching and operational instructions, materials and manuals specific to the training and teaching of courses designed by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and will not disclose these to anyone not authorised to receive them, both during and after the termination of this contract.

iv. That he or she alone, personally, is the authorised user of the Course materials and will not pass them to any other person or group for their use.

v. Not to make copies of any teaching materials without written permission from any officer of IAOLF

vi. To return all such teaching materials to IAOLF or their nominated
representative on the termination of this agreement.

12. The Teacher acknowledges that IAOLF reserves the right to revoke at any time and for any reason any rights granted under this agreement. In such a case the Teacher may not claim any compensation.

13. This Agreement may be terminated at any time by either party giving notice in writing to the other.

14. The Teacher agrees that on termination he/she will immediately cease all teaching activities in the name and on behalf of IAOLF or any national Art of Living organisation.

15. This Agreement has been prepared in English, which shall prevail over any translation thereof.

16. If any court or administrative body of competent jurisdiction holds any provision of this Agreement invalid or unenforceable, the remaining provisions will not be affected.

17. This Agreement shall be construed and governed in accordance with laws of Switzerland, excluding its conflict of law provisions.

18. In the event of any dispute arising out of or in connection with this Agreement that cannot be settled amicably the competent courts of Basel, Switzerland shall have exclusive jurisdiction, except that if appropriate IAOLF is authorised to seek interim injunctive relief in any local court of competent jurisdiction.

For the sake of clarity it is noted, and the Teachers are aware, that by signing this Agreement each Teacher enters into an individual contract with IAOLF and does not form a simple partnership according to Article 530 et seqq. of the Swiss Code of Obligations with the other Teachers.

IAOLF thanks all the Teachers for their valuable efforts.

Bad Antogast, 5th of August 2010

International Art of Living Foundation

_________________________________

Regina Boensel
director of TTC department in Europe

Bad Antogast, 5th of August 2010

I the undersigned Teacher agree to the above Terms of this Agreement

No. Name Date of Birth Country Signature

Ronin permalink September 14, 2010

And why are we not allowed to call AOL a Corporation.

“For the sake of clarity it is noted, and the Teachers are aware, that by signing this Agreement each Teacher enters into an individual contract with IAOLF and does not form a simple partnership according to Article 530 et seqq. of the Swiss Code of Obligations with the other Teachers. “

Can someone please explain to me again why AOL is not a Corporation but a foundation as they so claim. You sign a document which becomes a legal binding agreement between you and AOL. It is no different than signing a contract with a fortune 500 Company for employment purposes. The only difference is that the AOL contract is drafted in such a way that all the benefits are in favor of the AOL corporation. The employee has no rights sure you can terminate your agreement with the corporation at any time, how convenient.

I wonder why someone would sign such a contract then I remembered that when you sign you are still under the AOL spell and being brainwashed with guru stories thus you will sign anything. Your helping to create a One-World-Family, or so you are led to believe. From the AOL corporation perspective it gives them complete control, or actually it gives Ravi the CEO full control.

“It is the Teacher’s responsibility to collect the course fee from each participant. The national Art of Living organisation will provide the Teacher with a fee structure and all instructions on how to deal with the collected fee according to their national rules and regulations as well as the national law. The Teacher will provide the national Art of Living organisation with regular reports on the collected fees, expenses and also adequate documentation (receipts, bank statements, list
of participants etc.).”

As I and others have mentioned before the management information which is gathered through all the different channels for the CEO (Ravi) is extensive. Now as teachers ooops sorry, as employees is it not funny that one has to adhere to all these protocols (bank statements etc.) yet the Corporation as a whole does not produce any clear figures at all. And actually discourages (in nasty ways) its employees to seek answers.

Inquiring minds want to know where does the money go…..…..but before you ask I will remind you of the following article in your contract:

“The Teacher acknowledges that IAOLF reserves the right to revoke at any time and for any reason any rights granted under this agreement. In such a case the Teacher may not claim any compensation.”

So if you become critical and start to ask questions be forewarned, they will come after you. The sad part is that when the curtain drops you realizes that it was all in vain, that only one man his family and those in his inner circle got the benefit, and you end up with nothing but a few guru stories and the tape,…….sorry not true you have to give it back see your contract.

So the CEO is living his plush life staying at 5 stars hotels and flying first class and you as an employee are thrown out on the streets (read various posts on this blog) without healthcare benefits or a pension wondering what to do next.

“IAOLF thanks all the Teachers for their valuable efforts.”

I am sure that the AOL Corporation is very thankful. I wonder if they will give their employees (teachers) a well deserved bonus at Christmas for all their productive efforts in signing people up and giving courses. A bonus (money)…..don’t think so but I am sure for those who did very well the Guru (CEO) will give them extra grace and a blessing. While he looks over the figures (profit and loss statement) and smiles handsomely.

The little giant has awakened.

WhistleBlower permalink September 14, 2010

Well observed and well written Ronin.

I think you are being far too generous calling AOL a corporation. AOL is slavery operation of the worst kind, in which the slaves are so brainwashed that not only think slavery for RS is an honor but also recruit other slaves for him, including their own friends and family.

They are so brainwashed, even displaying their yoke of devotion (read slavery) to SriSri proudly, that they don’t even realize what miserable slavery agreement they have entered to.

The agreement is all in favor of RS. Basically, slaves work hard and send their earnings to Ravi.

They turn a blind eye to all the buildings which go up for sale by Sumeru real estate from the money they earn and , leaving behind dispossessed villagers. They turn a blind eye to all the businesses and fat bank balances of SriSri and family and their extravagant life styles and instead, like programmed robots, deceive public and their students by saying the money from courses go to charity causes.

They mention Haiti project, forgetting to mention that not one dollar from AOL (or any courses) went to Haiti. Any money for that project was donated separately.

They forget to tell their students that it is Ravi’s strict instruction that no money earned from AOL courses can go to any charity work, that all that money is his and his alone. If anyone wants to do the charity work, they need to do their own fundraising. Ravi is only interested in using any publicity generated from any such work to dupe public to donate more money to him so he can expand his empire.

The slaves even happily pay from their own pockets to attend “slaves orientation weeks”, commonly known as TRMs, to be trained on how to earn more money for Ravi and be reminded of their good fortune to be Ravi’s slaves.

Any slave that questions where the money goes, will be shown the door, followed by defamation threats and public attacks (such as those demonstrated by Sad. Swami’s letter).

Such slaves are no longer good for Ravi and he can’t afford to have them around, as they may infect other slaves with free thinking and wake them up from their hypnotized zombie state.

These slaves are the ones that build Ravi’s ever expanding empire stone by stone. And if in the process they die off exhaustion, or from the dark culture of back-stabbing and dirty politics of AOL, they are simply buried among stones.

goneagain permalink September 15, 2010

I suppose these agreements are more recent as some of the Ex. AOL teachers mentioned they didn’t sign such agreements. Any info on when they started these? Looks like AOL is more defensive now?

WhistleBlower permalink September 15, 2010

Yes, I certainly didn’t sign such an agreement, but the treatment was the same. I guess they formalised the unwritten rules/policy just in case anyone had an illusion that AOL is a fair employer, so everyone knows AOL means slavery to SriSri and there is only one way flow of $$$ from slaves to SriSri.

I wonder if any respectable court of law anywhere in the world would uphold such an slavery contract, esp. one which is obtained under cult brainwashing programmes!

Besides, the agreement is null, as the AOL vision stated is not true and only a deception, front cover for AOL sleazy business, i.e. the bit which says:

“The joint vision of the parties is a stress-free, violence-free world where individuals have the opportunity to maximize their potential for personal and spiritual growth and contribute towards creating a One-World-Family. The Teacher’s commitment as a volunteer helps to fulfil that vision and supports the aim to support needy people by charitable, humanitarian and educational projects. Inherent to this vision is the creation of a sense of belonging amongst people of all religions, cultures and backgrounds, recognising that these teachings are universal.”

One can argue that building an empire for SriSri and family is certainly not consistent with the above vision. And AOL organization itself is ridden with conflict, disharmony, mistrust and is extremely racist organization. There is no sense of belonging among the teachers and SriSri rules his empire by having his teachers in perpetual conflict and competition and encourages backstabbing, spying and betrayals. AOL organization is very violent and abusive environment and there are documented cases of violence between senior teachers all encouraged and condoned by SriSri himself.

 

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28 Comments
  1. goneagain permalink
    September 16, 2010 1:21 am

    “The Teacher understands that as a volunteer he/she is not employed by IAOLF or any national Art of Living organisation and is aware that it is the Teacher’s own responsibility to obtain and maintain any necessary insurances and/or necessary permits etc.”

    “The Teacher will not request IAOLF or any national Art of Living organisation for any payment for his/her voluntary work and (apart from the right to get refunds for his/her expenses) the Teacher is not entitled to any benefit whatsoever.”

    – Why would anyone in the right mind would sign a slavery agreement and also pay ($$$ for TTC) for it ? No where in the world I heard that, even any corporation sends their employees to course or seminar which usually pays for it so that the things learned will help the corporation, here (AOL) you have to pay the corporation for the things that will benefit the corporation and become a slave for the corporation.

    I guess if the entity is particular about making money/profits you can call a corporation, but for keeping the unpaid slaves and milking money out of them – what do we call that? I guess English dictionary might be lacking a word for it. May be we should invent one?

    • WhistleBlower permalink
      September 16, 2010 1:32 am

      How about “Jai Guru Dev Slaves” or “JGD Slaves”?

  2. Peaceful Warrior permalink
    September 16, 2010 1:57 am

    I don’t know how a lawyer can draft this contract. Any legally binding contract must have “consideration” – in simple words there has to be a “price for a promise”. No consideration, no contract.

    Secondly the contract is asymmetrical – it outlines the obligations of the teachers, but not of the foundation which teachers are signing the contract with. Any contract has to state the obligations of both parties (see consideration above), otherwise it is not valid legally.

    If there are any legal experts, please comment. From what I know about contract law – this agreement is not legally enforceable.

  3. September 16, 2010 3:06 am

    What’s with the slavery talk. I was a full time teacher in AOL and I did what I did as a free thinking volunteer. Yes, I may have been duped into believing all kinds of crazy stuff and yes, I may have been lied to. And at the end of the day, I chose to stay out of my free will. I was getting something for staying and serving. Even if what I thought I was getting was a fantasy, I was still getting something from it. To say I was enslaved is not being honest with myself. Its an exaggeration and a bit hysterical. Real slavery is a truly harsh, cruel situation. Going around teaching and organizing courses and having the freedom to come and go at will is hardly slavery.

    I find this blog very helpful at times. Other times I think, it wallows in “poor me” hysterics and saying we were enslaved is one of those examples. Can we at least try to be honest with our experiences in AOL and not slide too far into hyperbole. I understand the anger and resentment (believe me, I do), but enslavement?!? Shshshsh! What’s next? Are we going to start comparing our experience in AOL to the holocaust? Lets try to keep some perspective here, can we?

    • Independent Observer permalink
      September 16, 2010 5:28 am

      Slavery is harsh usage. The Slavery angle comes into it only when you start to compare the financial benefits…and who gets what.

      The question I asked myself, being an ex-teacher …would I do this if I were to get 50% of the proceeds for myself…. and the answer is No, I would not care to.

      As far as the time we ( I use we as we were a teacher family) spent for AOL, we spent it willingly and with joy (most of the time). Until, the cracks began to appear and we started to look at the broken promises, false claims and then it started to look like any other business. If you see AOL with this new view then it appears that they extracted all the work out of through deceit and took tremendous advantage of inherent weakness/goodness….form that perspective its does feel like slavery. We consider those as slaves that live their lives on other people’s terms for very limited benefit to themselves. NO ?

      Hmmm…..Slavery is a harsh word….!! Or is it….? If it helps wake somebody to the reality of AOL…maybe such harshness may work ?

    • Peaceful Warrior permalink
      September 16, 2010 9:28 pm

      DW people like us were smart in waking up soon – but many, who are not so quick,continue to languish in AOL – blissfully unaware that they are being used. The problem is not with the people who do seva – but with the people at the top.

  4. goneagain permalink
    September 16, 2010 3:07 am

    Nithy’s victims signed ‘sex contract’, while many said these are not enforceable in court of law, but no one actually filed a complaint against Nithy, I guess fear of repercussion is more than enough to silence the victims, of course ‘Guru’s curse is more than enough this case?’ Who will dare to go against this gang to court, at least not many try in India, western countries where the rule of law is stronger some may go against AOL gang when they wake up from the delusions.

    http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Godmans-flock-signed-sex-pacts-/articleshow/5846585.cms

  5. profhughakston permalink
    September 16, 2010 3:46 am

    So popular has the big fat Indian divorce become, that the Doyenne of Divorce, Liz Taylor, is planning to come to India to get divorced according to traditional Vedic rites, with Sri Sri Savvy Shankar – the celebrated guru of the Art of Splitting – officiating as pundit.

    As no one – including Ms Taylor – could remember if the Hollywood star was at the current time in between marriages or in between divorces, it was thought best to employ what in the movie business is known as a body-double. The use of a double – or a stand-in – would legitimately enable Ms Taylor to divorce herself from herself.

    Or, as Sri Sri Savvy Shankar once summed up his Art of Splitting: Ek ticket, doh mazaa.

    (appeared in today’s Times of India: Divorce outstrips Marriage by Jug Suraiya)

  6. PasserBy permalink
    September 16, 2010 5:15 am

    I find this blog very helpful at times. Other times I think, it wallows in “poor me” hysterics and saying we were enslaved is one of those examples. Can we at least try to be honest with our experiences in AOL and not slide too far into hyperbole. I understand the anger and resentment (believe me, I do), but enslavement?!? Shshshsh! What’s next? Are we going to start comparing our experience in AOL to the holocaust? Lets try to keep some perspective here, can we?

    Yes, i agree in this case, but overall the blog does a decent job of ‘trying to be honest with experiences’, that i cannot deny. It is because of the sincerity sharing of one’s experiences in AoL (that comes across clearly to the readers) that this blog is so popular. Though you may not agree with some conclusions/ judgements passed here.

  7. Italy permalink
    September 16, 2010 6:54 am

    Emails keep coming. We want this, we want that..

    Dear Friends
    Jai Guru Dev

    As we gear up towards our 30 year celebrations in Berlin next year with so many exciting things already happening in our respective countries it would be wonderful to start putting together all the resources available in a structured way to make Berlin 2011 a resounding success globally and historically.

    For this we would need to stay in close contact though email & skype. If you have a skype ID please send it to us right away & include the following details in your email:

    Name:
    Country:
    Skype ID:

    Please let us know In which way would you like to be involved/contribute towards AOL’S 30 year celebrations in Berlin. We all have many skills, talents, useful contacts etc, all of which will be needed.
    If you have free time to dedicate towards this event please indicate the time frame so that we can be in touch with you. Please send us your details as follows:

    Name:
    Country:
    Area of contribution:
    Time available:
    Contact numb:

    For all your PR material and general updates please contact our Berlin Events Office in Bad Antogast
    Tel: 7804/ 97 39 6509
    Fax:7804/ 97 39 6510
    Email: 30@artoflving.org

    We all have a valuable contribution to make.
    Look forward to hearing from you soon.
    Sanghachattvam – Lets Move Together

    • WhistleBlower permalink
      September 16, 2010 7:57 am

      Yes, with AOL, it is always a matter of “what can you do for us (and for free)?” And there is no end to it, till someone either dies or leaves!

  8. anon1 permalink
    September 16, 2010 1:57 pm

    Dear DW, my friend the day you wake up to this cult, that will be the day you will question everything you are saying. all cults exist to exploit people like yourself, that is what their main target is.

    you can describe poison in flowery language if you want, its still poison.

  9. Ronin permalink
    September 16, 2010 2:57 pm

    There must be a reason, although I can not find one based on Humanitarian values.

    When I again looked at the contract which the teachers needed to sign again I was intrigued by something which I had not noticed before and surly made me wonder. Actually it made me think something not encouraged by the AOL Company.

    1. Agreement for The Art of Living Teachers
    between
    International Art of Living Foundation
    c/o Fischer & Partner
    Schulhausstrasse 9
    CH-6052 Hergiswil
    Switzerland
    (Hereinafter called ‘IAOLF’)

    The agreement is between the individual and IAOLF. IAOLF is incorporated in Switzerland (just search the internet).

    As we well know Switzerland is known for their financial banking industry, and their bank SECRECY. Because of this numerous companies and private individuals have opened accounts (for various reasons) with well established banking firms. Secrecy meant that agencies like Interpol or the IRS ect could not get any information on the accounts held with the banks. What kind of information well for starters transaction flows (amounts) and to whom transfers were made or information on the account holder (s). Or to track money flows to other offshore jurisdictions.

    Funny Mahesh Yogi also started and spend many years in Switzerland, the son has learned well.

    How convenient to have teachers sign this agreement is the money from courses is also transferred to IAOLF in Switzerland. The AOL corporation states as have those in favor of AOL on this blog that openness and transparency is imbedded throughout the organization. I am sure that only few people know it all……..of course the CEO is one of them.

    The international governmental tax community has pushed for transparency which entails Switzerland will need to adjusts it banking secrecy. Wonder what that could mean for IAOLF, I am sure they have their contingency plans already drawn up.

    See link to article.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/14/business/global/14ubs.html

    Very good for the tax revenue agent……….not so good for IAOLF.

    Fisher & Partner which is also mentioned is listed in the yellow pages as a trust company.

    As a trust company on of their services is wealth structuring ie. Tax advice. A trust company helps clients structure different corporate structures through which money can flow, the objective is to payless taxes, this is not illegal one uses the different tax treaties to ones benefit. But it makes one wonder why would a spiritual foundation require services from a Trust company. It makes for strange bed fellows to say the least.

    An offshore jurisdiction which used to have a strict banking secrecy and a corporation (AOL) that is not forth coming with its way of doing business. All for the creation of
    a One-World-Family……..or so we are led to believe.

    So little by little the pieces of the puzzle are falling in place. As some one has mentioned before on this blog follow the money trail and one will get to the truth. It would be very interesting if a team of forensic accountants were to be asked to look at the financial books of the AOL corporation and disclose their findings.

    Any chance that this will happen in the near future………….you never know Truth works in mysterious ways.

    The little giant has awakened.

    • WhistleBlower permalink
      September 16, 2010 10:12 pm

      Another Superb Analysis Ronin.

      For many of the trusts, non-profit, etc they have set up in countries outside India, the authority to the local organization has been given by:

      INTERNATIONAL ART OF LIVING FOUNDATION, SWITZERLAND

      There is no mention of Bangalore. However, when teachers are sent from India to those countries, the money is transferred to VVM in India (Same as money going to VVM from part2 courses in USA, for example)

      They have set up a very complex maze to cover the trail of money and deceive local authorities in each country. On the surface it looks that each country has its own financially independent AOL organization, but the truth is that these local organizations are set up to channel funds to VVM or Switzerland or wherever else they are instructed to. Huge amounts of money are taken out of these countries, where locals are deceived that it goes to charity, which we know it doesn’t!

      In most countries, all of the local work, including accounting is done by volunteers, i.e no expense whatsoever to AOL, so a net profit continuously goes to Ravi.

    • Abhilash Shastry permalink
      September 17, 2010 2:01 am

      >>The agreement is between the individual and IAOLF. IAOLF is incorporated in Switzerland (just search the internet).

      Unless they are trying to hide something, there is no reason for them to incorporate it in Switzerland.

      Their base is in India so why didn’t they incorporate it in India? Or if they were considering their foreign business, then it should have been the US, which is their largest operational base outside India.

      SSRS knows that he may hoard as much black money in India as he wants, yet even with his high profile contacts he cannot take out more than a fraction of it to a foreign country. So, ultimately he has to spend all his ill gotten wealth in India only and there is only so much one can spend in India. Moreover, as his fame and popularity grow, number of journalists in search of juicy stories will also grow. So, just like his own guru MMY, some day he would also like to settle in a peaceful Scandinavian country where he would need all his wealth back.

      He needs anonymity for his wealth. Switzerland is the perfect choice.

  10. Researcher permalink
    September 16, 2010 4:40 pm

    If the HQ in Europe is in Germany, why are they registered in Switzerland and why use Fischer & Partner who are tax consultants in Switzerland instead of Germany? I was under the impression that IAOLF was headquartered in Bangalore, and therefore any contract between a teacher and IAOLF should be governed by Indian law?

    According to their own site:
    http://www.artofliving.org/us-en/overview

    They say this:
    The international headquarters of The Art of Living is located in Bangalore, India. Globally, the organization operates as The Art of Living Foundation formed in 1989 in the United States of America and in Germany.

    According to their Swiss site:
    http://en.artofliving.ch/spip.php?article1

    The Art of Living is represented in Switzerland by “The Art of Living Switzerland”, a non-profit association, located in Basel.

    Since the tax structure of the org is structured this way, I wonder how this is any different from any for-profit multinational corporate entity. Note that the Swiss tax consultants and most probably Swiss bank accounts are used only for matters related to the German ashram. How about the other international orgs? How many accounts do they have in tax havens like Lichtenstein, Anguilla, British Virgin islands, Canary islands, or some of the tax-free Gulf countries?

  11. ex_jaigurudev permalink
    September 16, 2010 7:17 pm

    1.3 trillion dollars from India is in the Swiss banks without individual identities revealed (for India) but country of origin have been released recently. India holds second largest amount in swiss land. Obviously Swiss are happy with the money what ever may be the source.

    Dollar Ravi may be among the corrupt politicians, drug alochol czars who hold billions in the swiss bank. Follow the money…..

    No wonder IAOLF is making the Swiss HQ.
    Since Swiss have a large german population speaking the language , Ravi and team are trying to foray into Berlin and create an aura that is all gobal or all european population.

    Individuals should evalute AOL (by following the money and its expected accountability from a charity) without the marketing hype and PR projected at all levels of AOL.

    Give truth a chance.

    Jai Scam Dev

  12. Peaceful Warrior permalink
    September 17, 2010 3:12 am

    People need to realize that despite claims of “One-World Family”, AOLF is a business. They used terms like creating one world family to appeal to gullible idealists to work for them – while in reality AOLF is a business, with RS and family as benificiaries. I have nothing against people doing courses and learning about consciousness and advaita. However, I would advise people not to fall for AOL propaganda regarding seva. Don’t make AOL seva the center (or even a significant part) of your lives. If you are keen on making the world better, live with spiritual values and do something on your own, and/or with friends. AOL will just use you and worse – it will dampen your faith in spiritual values and idealism, when you see how AOL teachers, and RS act.

  13. taking the road less travelled permalink
    September 18, 2010 12:02 am

    i am going to digress a bit from the current discussion and for my own benefit are we able to compile the number of teachers who have left AoL and where (Northern hemisphere and Southern) it would be really interesting to see the numbers. Also, i am interested in peoples experiences with the following AoL senior teachers : Sangeeta Jani, Atika Dhandia, Sejjal Thakkar, Peter Mittermuller, Rishiji etc..the real PR people. Does anyone have a comment on why the Kriya tapes changed – from the original which was a forceful breath to the current which is a more relaxed breath – i mean if the original came down to him during 10 odd days of silence, why did it need to be changed again – i don’t recall S2 going on ten day silence meditation again. I have made the exit out from AOL, and very glad that i did. And now with the help of the blogs, i have started hearing what has been going through me. I have cut out all AOL contact completely and life is so much better. I could not stay in AOL as free thinking and questioning was not permitted – again if you questioned things – you were not stable. i did have that permanant smile on my face “come what may” but now am happier being true to myself. Am richer as well, since most of my funds don’t go to the AOL coffers. this blog is fantastic as are the others that are popping up. Hopefully the revolution will continue and the empire of S2 will crumble. I guess we should start thinking of how to support those who will be left distraught in the aftermath of the downfall of AOL.

    Look forward to peoples experiences with the teachers i have mentioned. time does not permit me today to write about my own experiences, but i will be back!

    • grateful_reader permalink
      September 19, 2010 2:34 am

      I’ve heard Sangeeta Jani say something like “We breathe day in and day out what is so special about it? You come to these [advanced courses ] again and again, do the same things again and again, how does it help you so much? It’s all b/c of his(RS’s) grace. The grace flows through him to you. People are very suspicious. If you told them they could have grace they would laugh at you or think you are crazy. So we talk about reducing stress and [other topics covered in the part1 course] so people come and listen. ”

      This was a few hours after the supposed shooting at guruji. She was clearly under some duress and much of the class was gasping and in shock after hearing the news. In the moment of shock she sort of dropped the fascade and told us her (seemingly honest) understanding of AOL. She basically admitted stress reduction and any nicities in AOL were a trick to get people to join the guru-worshiping.

      It was disconcerting.

      • grateful_reader permalink
        September 19, 2010 2:36 am

        Also, after saying that I think she saw some confused/ambivalent responses from the class because she ended w/ something like “Anyway, that’s my opinion.” or “That’s how I see it” .

      • grateful_reader permalink
        September 19, 2010 2:39 am

        And when she said “We breathe day in and day out, what’s so special about it” it was in the context of talking about the sudarshan kriya.

        This was really really confusing because the kriya is trumped up to be a super-special activity and she seemed to be trivializing its benefits as side-effects of worshiping the guru.

      • goneagain permalink
        September 19, 2010 6:45 am

        That was very candid indeed, also shows what many teachers believe in while talking all the pep talk for the gullible at the same time.

        Comment below for Jaina Desais entry in aol blog strike similar tone that ‘guru service is all AOL is about’, I think most insiders alreay know that.


        NIHAR RANJAN said…
        I think you also teach Sahaj Samadhi Meditation. Being truly at service of Guru is the highest kind of bliss.Jai Gurudev

        August 24, 2010 7:40 AM

  14. taking the road less travelled permalink
    September 19, 2010 7:23 am

    Prior to cutting off ties with the Art of Living, i asked questions – i questioned the heirachy of things, i questioned the questionable behaviour i was observing, which seemed very contrary to spirituality and i was labelled as unstable. I hold a great job, which actually requires my stablity. There were a couple of advanced courses which i put my hand up to organise, one of them had Sangeeta Jani in it, and i watched people, push, shove, fight, argue, lie to show her that they had done the work. Not one AOL’er in the organisation chipped in for the cost of hosting Sangeeta Jani. AOL’ers who would never vist my house, dropped in at the most odd hours to be in the company of Sangeeta Jani, without any respect for the occupants of the house. Needless to say it was in that visit, i watched the maestro attempt to recruit people and have it backfire on her. In the name of spirituality, AOL has sold out to too many people. I would say my life is and was so much better when S2 was not in it. I have taken back my power, taken full responsibility of my life again and it feels so good. Never again, will i subject myself to the kind of treatment i was subjected to in AOL. Because i still wish to preserve some privacy in my life and not be harassed by AOL’ers, i cannot mention the experiences in details. But lets just say in general terms, it is no different to what is being said about Engan at the moment. I watched senior AOL’ers and teachers turn a blind eye to the wrongdoings and the defamation that was going on . I could very well say too that there are some very unstable people in AOL. Egocentric, manipulative people. I am so glad i have freed myself of that attachement to an organisation, which in reality does not serve its members/volunteers. No longer am i a slave to S2.

    • Ronin permalink
      September 20, 2010 12:30 pm

      @ taking the road less travelled

      Reading your post gives me a smile. The strength clearly radiates in your words.
      To see the subtle mechanics used to entrap people and mind games AOL plays makes you wake up, and then one needs courage to step away. Which you did and I am happy for you.

      Enjoy this new found freedom, it is something very precious and should never be taken from us.

      The little giant has awakened

  15. Bling Bling permalink
    September 19, 2010 5:45 pm

    taking the road less travelled said “Needless to say it was in that visit, i watched the maestro attempt to recruit people and have it backfire on her. In the name of spirituality, AOL has sold out to too many people”

    Its really annoying that AOL continuously harasses reluctant people to actively recruit others. It stands in stark contrast to the passive attitude of Gurus from an earlier age. Check this out Lahiri Mahsaya in Yoganand’s Autobiography

    “A number of Lahiri Mahasaya’s disciples with influential worldly position were desirous of expanding the Kriya circle by publicity. The guru refused his permission. One chela, the royal physician to the Lord of Benares, started an organized effort to spread the master’s name as “Kashi Baba” (Exalted One of Benares). Again the guru forbade it. “Let the fragrance of the Kriya flower be wafted naturally, without any display,” he said. “Its seeds will take root in the soil of spiritually fertile hearts.”

    I got it @ http://www.crystalclarity.com/yogananda/chap35.html

  16. taking the road less travelled permalink
    September 20, 2010 6:09 am

    I remembered a great quote i read somewhere “A true Master creates more Masters, not followers!

  17. Anonymous permalink
    October 13, 2011 9:06 am

    it is clear from agreement that anybody who does want to join as employee and make living out of it is not well come.

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