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Drugs are Friday Nights, Cults are 24/7

September 19, 2010

By Mary Jane Shankar

The title is controversial but not as much as the title of the article dictated by Ravi Shankar (yes, cause he dictates – the man does not write – even letters allegedly “written” by swamis): “Krishna was a communist.”

AoLers are probably already taking out their shields and spears, feeling defensive, and some are just eager to see what’s next, with a whimsical grin, ready for some fun.

First, I’d like to state I do NOT support, encourage, approve or agree with drug consumption. NOT AT ALL. Second, I never consumed any drugs. NEVER. Third, I don’t think recreational drugs are good. However, on the same note, I’d like to also state I do NOT support, encourage, approve or agree with cult membership and activities; and yes, I must confess I was once a consumer and addict of the latter.

Somehow, there are interesting similarities between both, yet I dare state cult consumption and cult addiction are just as dangerous and damaging as drug-addiction.

Without any doubt, both drugs and cults provoke addiction, they both brain-wash and produce brain-damage and “depersonalization”. When consumed in excess, both provoke one to take a “leave of absence” from society, and have thoughts only about “that”. However, one can at least walk out of drugs and seek rehabilitation, and won’t get letters from Mary Jane or Lucy that start with, “I belong to a royal plant and xxx is bipolar.” Most certainly, neither Mary Jane nor Lucy promise enlightenment or salvation, nor ask you to recruit people, or suggest you pray to them or put a picture of them in your altar to “protect you from evil forces.”

Moreover, drugs are used only once in a while. For some, once out of curiosity, for others, once in a blue moon or just on the weekends or once every other day or just for “social bonding”. Not even junkies do it at all time, every minute, every moment of their existence.

On the other hand, cults promote and cultivate incessant consumption. Cult participation and content becomes ones thoughts, feelings, mind, heart, and existence – day and night. Cult members end up breathing (literally in our case), sniffing (literally in our case), thinking, dreaming, eating, talking, sharing “it” minute after minute. The contrary condemns one as a “low prana”, “weak faith” or “not devoted enough”. In fact, one should “think of Guruji at all times”. “If you do not know how to proceed in a situation, think what Guruji would do in this case.” “If you think of Guruji, your prana will immediately rise.” “If you think of Guruji you will be saved.” “If you think of Guruji at the moment of death, you will be received by him in the doors of Heaven.”  (Hallelujah! Amen!)

Sounds freaky, I know, but those who remember are nodding. And those AoLers who are green in rage, deep inside, know their day-to-day mind process was just described.

How many have not been in situations or met AoLers who believe going to the movies, watching TV, going to a café, drinking wine or talking about anything that does not include the words, “Guruji or Seva” is low prana or a hindrance to evolution? (Funny, the definition AoL gives to knowledge is “everything that relates only and only to SSRS and his mission”. Based on which, I am glad people like Einstein, Edison and Oscar Wilde were not “in knowledge”). Hence, not speaking “knowledge”, not thinking only of Guruji or a way to recruit more people to “salvation” becomes a 24/7 consumption and addiction, with no breaks in between. And if you are a tough one to crack, just attend a couple of TTCs and the job will be done!

How many have never heard or witnessed someone flip out, in need of an AoL fix?

“Oh, I am so tired, I need a fix of satsang.”

“Oh, I am doubting Guruji, I need a fix of kriya.”

“Oh, I had sex, I need a fix of padma sadhana.”

“Oh, I was just at the mall and spent time with non-AoL people, I need a fix of Part 2.”

How many have not met people who dropped out of the AoL yet they miss the “thrill” of teaching or the “thrill” of satsang or “just a good trip” of a long kriya or meditation? How many have not met people who dropped out but keep going back to it, “just to see the Guru – just a little“, or look for another cult to find the next fix? The dependency is there just as much as the addiction.

I know AoLers will find these comparisons preposterous but I know those know they suffer of these symptoms too. In fact, some may need a “fix” after reading this article to “get back to center”.

Of course, some may argue drugs are worse and AoL is not an addiction but a “way of life”. Note: there is a difference between discipline and addiction. In discipline one does not feel bad about not doing it one day nor need to enroll anyone everywhere. In addiction, one needs it everyday, as in “you MUST do kriya everyday, if you don’t, you will be low prana!” or “I must teach if I want to feel good”. In any case, is freaking out if you don’t see the guru not an addiction after all?

At least, the tobacco industry is more transparent. Perhaps, before the UN keeps accrediting cults as NGOs, they should force them to add a label to all their propagandas: “Membership can make you subject to brain-washing, brain-damage and abuse. Only for people above 30.”

Often, drug use is criticized as a need to “escape”, especially during troubled teenage years, or looking for some “comfort”, or wanting to “see reality”. Does this not occur also in cults?

How many AoLers do you know are “running away” from “the world”, hiding in the AoL and disguising it with words such as, “seeking for evolution”/ “spiritual path”/ “doing seva for humanity”/”wanting to grow”? Both drugs and cults can provide a glimpse of reality, hallucination, even a sense of invincibility and power. Moreover, most cult members are recruited in tough moments.

It is not all the same shit after all?

Maybe a perfect slogan for the next Sri Sri tour should be, “Be happy, Mary Jane is coming to town.” J  The pot community may be offended with these comparisons. They can also argue they promote peace and love. At least Bob Marley, the king of peace and love, was more transparent about his actions, drove his BMW with no shame and had multiple lovers and children out in the open. Bob also had “knowledge” and sang a beautiful “bhajan”: “One love, one heart, let’s get together and feel all right!” Is it not the same message as Ravishankar’s “Vasudeva kutumbakam”? (OMG, did I just discover another Sri Sri plagiarism? Of course, AoLers will argue Bob Marley stole it from Ravi because he was a devotee of his in a previous lifetime, but dropped off the path and reincarnated into the weed community, and worse, will be born a “bong” next lifetime! Poor Bob, he missed his chance!).

After leaving the AoL, I myself, like many others, went through many ups and downs. Many of us sought help in therapy and unfortunately, found out not all professionals understand cult psychology. For those who found one who did, healing was faster. Some did cult-exiting therapy, which turned out quite effective. And some underwent deprogramming. In other words, cult rehabilitation.

The danger of cult consumption/addiction is that unless one has been part of it, or unless the group does not end up in a mass suicide or a Charles Mason modus operandi, one thinks it is just a group of harmless lunatics selling, promising salvation and proselytizing. The danger is you just never know when and how the cult leader will react next, and when one talks about the abuse one undergoes “in there”, one could be threatened, ostracized and/or accused of “bipolarity” (as if that was so bad) and other “scandalous” things for rejecting the “Guru’s Grace” (who is the drama queen now, I wonder?). Let’s agree no one needs to be murdered or commit suicide or threatened or defamed before one should be alerted of the dangers of a cult!

Inevitably, there is brain-washing in cults that produce life damage and/or depersonalization. I find it is especially most dangerous for those who join at a young age.  Sadly, it is the target of all cults to fish them while young. Not only are they more susceptible but also have more energy, enthusiasm, idealism and naivite to join and work … for free. Sadly, the damages are then worse.

Just like anyone who goes thru drug withdrawal, I also did, through dissociations, panic attacks, anxiety disorder, depression. I had my own “trainspotting” experience and went through all sorts of withdrawal symptoms. To my surprise, doctors explained it is very common in breaking out of cult brain-washing. Take note: when one undergoes brain-washing, the brain produces certain chemicals to survive in “the system”. Thus, when one breaks away from brain-washing, the brain again, resists changes and produces chemicals. The very same process a drug-addict goes through withdrawal. Just as it is common that addicts (be it of drugs, alcohol, cigarette, sex) run back to a fix after rehab, so do cult members. “I just need just a little bit of that. Just once more.” The difference is addicts know it is bad. They just can’t help it. Cult members, on the other hand, convince themselves it is just a way to be with God and help humanity. The danger is in the subtleties, the unspoken and the unseen, not in the obvious.

On the brighter side, managing to endure the “train-spotting” and making the shift bring great relief and ownership. It is good to own ones own mind and life and not need any “fix” in order to be well, happy or close to God.

So, are drugs worse than cults or cults worse than drugs? To make everyone happy, let’s put it this way: they are both just as bad, yet drugs are Friday nights and cults 24/7. The rest is for each one to decide.

The ludicrous attempts to deceit the youth thru “Drug-free Yoga Raves” are just lame attempts that can be translated as simple as, “let’s just exchange your possible drug consumption with cult addiction. Your Mary Jane for my Ravi Shankar.”

Let’s face it. It is all the same shit after all.

The world would have made a real change when it finally announces, “Beware, there is a guru who recruits in town.” Until then, hold on tight to your soul!

Note: Mary Jane is a different name for marihuana. And Lucy for LSD.

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56 Comments
  1. anon1 permalink
    September 19, 2010 7:28 pm

    a wonderful post mary jane, thankyou.

  2. WhistleBlower permalink
    September 19, 2010 7:56 pm

    Simply Brilliant. One of the best posts I have read, if not the best;hilarious, yet with a serious message. This should be published in mainstream newspapers/magazines.

    As an ex-junkie “AOL addict” I have to admit I was exhibiting all the symptoms!
    And when I first left AOL/RS, I had these two contradictory feelings/desires. One part of me wanted to find another guru (that is the part you are describing as looking for another fix), the other part was saying: “I am done with gurus”, “avoid gurus at any cost!!”, “No more guru for me!!” Glad to report that the latter won.

    “The danger is in the subtleties, the unspoken and the unseen, not in the obvious.”………….. So true!

  3. Peaceful Warrior permalink
    September 19, 2010 8:36 pm

    I’m not sure if it’s apt to compare meditation to being a junkie. Meditation brings one in touch with infinity – and those moments are truly sublime. It does raise one’s consciousness from a mundane level to the level of the being. I have only good things to say about meditation (one does need guidance in the beginning).

    WB’s point about “original sin in AOL” is well taken. Also the fact that there are no shortcuts to bliss – doing 20-40-40 or following a guru blindly is not a path. To be on the spiritual path means to take responsibility for oneself and living the values every moment. It’s not meant to be easy – taking refuge in an ashram is okay when you are beginning, but life has to be lived not run away from. I hope the shenanigans of one rogue guru does not turn people off from spirituality. I’m no Richard Dawkins – I do believe in god and infinity – but I don’t have much respect for RS and his ilk.

    • September 19, 2010 9:06 pm

      I am a Richard Dawkins, actually. But I still believe in meditation. Problem is the way meditation is practiced in new age circles: as a way to reach enlightenment. That negates the true purpose of meditation, as I see it: to go deep into the now, to be present and in acceptance. How can you do that, when all you want is to be enlightened, as you are clearly not?
      Meditation in aol mutated into dissociation; an escape from reality rather than an embrace. “Oh, I feel bad, let me meditate”. Where is the acceptance in that? And the continued chanting of mantras, the focus on the master, the “keep your head empty” and “doubts are just low prana” lulled our intellect asleep, to the point where many of us started performing worse in our jobs and private lives.
      The “being in touch with infinity” moments of meditation are nice. And rather useless, in my opinion. So what, if afterwards your are still a miserable prick?

      Meditation is supposed to make you a better person. If it doesn’t – time to quit, maybe?

  4. Shallow waters permalink
    September 19, 2010 8:39 pm

    a simillar comment written by someone on: Confessions of a Guruholic

    Post: The joy of sects according to The Simpsons

    http://artoflivingfree.blogspot.com/2010/03/joy-of-sects-according-to-simpsons.html?showComment=1268680271952#c2827122718355734295

    – Chanting and repetitive catch phrases (“the leader is good, the leader is great”, “we love the leader”, “we’re serving the leader”, “we surrender”, “loving serenity”, “bliss”).

    – Interesting how in the end it is the singing of a “bhajan” (nananananana leader) that finally zombifies Homer, where pure chanting had failed previously. Music has a powerful influence. (Satsangs every evening was compulsory for everyone in the Bangalore ashram. And those AoL bhajans contributed greatly in creating and sustaining a susceptible mindset in me – continuously thinking of Ravi while experiencing the music’s subtle moods of tremendous longing and devotion, created a very powerful association, leading me to believe Ravi had those qualities, which he didn’t, in fact. He isn’t worthy of those moods.)

  5. Prairie Princess permalink
    September 19, 2010 9:38 pm

    Great post. Could someone tell me how choking a fellow AoL teacher or beating one is a sign of high prana? Maybe you could just say enough “om nama shiviya”s and it would be all right.

    I also worry about those water containers that I saw at the large courses. I would advise people who are still going to these large courses to be careful about drinking the water
    Glad I ran after a couple of basic courses and some part 2s & 3s. This organization is very disturbed. Pray for your friends and family that are still involved.

    Maybe there should be a push to outlaw cults rather than drugs. It doesn’t seem like there is a “medical” use for AoL brainwashing.

  6. Sincerely..... permalink
    September 20, 2010 3:30 am

    Very wonderful post. Yes, I went into AOL because I was running away from my difficult marriage. When I left AOL, I had the same symptoms like you did–like a drug addict going through withdrawal process. I was lucky enough then attending many 12 steps programs to heal my addicitons and understand what it meant of loving myself, finding the GOD within, not without. If I could not find the GOD within, I would always search GOD outside of me, which was only an addiction. Thank you again for such beautiful post. We are here, really, to support whomever decides to leave AOL, and know that there is a life, a beautiful life outside of AOL cult. I have not done breathing since I left few years back (I was AOL teacher for years). I am much happier with myself and I finally have a wonderful life in every way, since I am more loving and forgiving of myself and others. I am still learning. And, the only thing I can say is: Finding the Higher Power Within, Is the MOST BEAUTIFUL THING I COULD HAVE DONE FOR MY LIFE.
    Believe, there is hope, and have faith. Sincerely…..

  7. Svetana permalink
    September 20, 2010 4:28 am

    Thank you, for the most beautiful and deep post.
    It’s exactly what any cult, including AOL, is about – ADDICTION. It’s easy to fall into it and difficult to get out of it, like with any kind of drug.
    Yes, younger people are especially vulnerable to drugs, so they are usually introduced to them by the older, more experienced drug addicts. The same happens in AOL. One is sinking deeper and deeper into addiction, thinking that he/she is on some spiritual path. Theatrical decorations of stage with flowers and Sri Sri sitting on a throne in white robes help to finish the process of surrendering to addiction.

    What real seekers should remember, though, is that spiritual progress means growing in Freedom, becoming more and more one’s own master. In case of AOL reverse is happening. One’s freedom is shrinking more and more, self respect is shrinking more and more, ability to use one’s mind is gradually shrinking to the extend that a seeker, finally, voluntary agrees to sign “Slavery Agreement”. https://aolfree.wordpress.com/2010/09/16/slavery-agreement-with-ravi-shankar-i-shall-be-a-good-slave/
    Who can do such a thing to one’s own life and soul? The answer is quite clear.
    For those who decide to brake their slavery chains: it’s a difficult process and requires courage, but you will be rewarded, feeling forgotten taste of FREEDOM again and having in-depth knowledge of its true value.

  8. Abhilash Shastry permalink
    September 20, 2010 5:14 am

    Another trait that cults like AOL share with drug abuse is confusion about moral values.

    Though I would not say that in this regard cults are more dangerous than drugs, yet they do affect our moral values in a warped way. Consider this. In AOL circles you can back stab your friend, tell lies, cheat, deceive people off their money, yet continue to lead a moral life by doing your regular kriya, attending satsangs, not smoking, not drinking etc. Your innate moral values that benefit society as a whole are replaced by a sense of puritanism and personal purity that don’t benefit anyone. People feel ‘chosen’ not because they help another human being, but simply because they meditate or don’t eat meat.

  9. mello permalink
    September 20, 2010 6:13 am

    It seems SK is a medicinal drug as well as recreational. Look at this:

    Q: How does Sudarshan kriya help in curing illnesses?

    Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You know Sudarshan Kriya helps in preventing many
    illnesses. A professor who is working on genes in Oslo university, Norway
    says that there are 300 chromosomes which are responsible for hypertension,
    cancer etc. And Pranayama and Sudarshan Kriya suppress these 300
    chromosomes. So, if one keeps practicing these techniques there is less and
    less chance for getting these illnesses.

    From:
    http://wisdomfromsrisriravishankar.blogspot.com/2010/08/there-is-way-to-get-body-mind-and.html

    • Bogus Research permalink
      September 20, 2010 7:06 am

      Then why do so many AOL senior teachers have so many ailments. Which chromosome made Dinesh spend three weeks in Shaw-Majumdar cancer center hospital.

      • ex-Ashramite permalink
        September 20, 2010 8:25 am

        As long as I remember Dinesh has had one ailment after the other, mainly to do with his digestion system. All that Kriya, part2, DSN, blessings never helped him.
        Bawa is not much better, quite often disabled by bad back pain. I have seen him teaching YES+ and DSN courses, while in severe pain himself, not able to move. Sangeeta Jani is even funnier, as she takes so many pills behind the stage, then she goes and teaches blessing courses!
        Most of the senior teachers have serious ill health issues. SriSri used to send them all to Dr. Bernadette, while she was in the Ashram, that is when she was not treating SriSri himself. Dr. Bernadette wasn’t shy to boast about treating SriSri or senior teachers. She was quite often heard saying to another ashramite, while having a cup of tea at the Ashram’s cafe, that “I just came back from treating Bharat Bhai or this or that teacher”, or “SriSri wants to take me with him to such and such place.”
        I guess now that Dr. Bernadette is not in the Ashram, SriSri sending them back to Ayurveda clinic and they all get the same tablets, no matter what ailment!
        By the way, someone should ask Dr. Bernadette why she doesn’t want to live in Bangalore Ashram any longer. I bet she has lots of juicy stories to tell!

    • anon permalink
      September 20, 2010 4:06 pm

      Normal homo sapiens have only 23 chromosomes. May be homo aoliens like Ravi Ravi have 300 chromosomes…Probably Ravi Ravi got his advanced degree in science at age 17 in Genetics. Instead of lobbying for NPP, he should lobby for Nobel prize for Medicine or Chemistry. He would have a better chance.

      • freethinker permalink
        September 20, 2010 8:21 pm

        It is 46, except the reproductive cells which has 23 chromosomes so that it becomes 46 when merged, but definitely not 300. Obviously all those doctors/engineers/scientist sitting in front of RS didn’t question, of course any thing comes out of his mouth must be true, he is god himself, who can or will doubt him? So much for those educate souls.

    • Peaceful Warrior permalink
      September 20, 2010 4:38 pm

      I’m not sure about sudarshan kriya – but asanas, pranayama, and a sattvic diet definitely helps in keeping the body healthy. It’s not a cure-all elixir – but these practices do help to maintain a sound body and mind. Countless studies on yoga and meditation show this (not just the bogus AOL ones) to be true. These time-tested practices have been embraced by modern medicine and are slowly finding their way into the mainstream.

    • goneagain permalink
      September 21, 2010 1:26 am

      May be our god-incarnate has 300+. just to remind the normal souls –

      Q:Is an organism with a chromosome number of 300 is more complex?
      A:”No, just because a the number of chromosomes are higher, does not make it complex. There are certain plants with over 1,000 chromosomes, while we only have 46 and we are definitely more complex than a plant.”

  10. Sincerely..... permalink
    September 20, 2010 11:50 am

    There should be: guru addictions anonymous or cult addictions anonymouse 12 steps meetings…..

  11. harshal permalink
    September 20, 2010 12:14 pm

    looks like you have hired a 10th grader to write new posts, as you seem to be running out of topics and ideas..

    • WhistleBlower permalink
      September 21, 2010 7:45 am

      No Harshal, as long as SriSri runs a Con Scheme called AOL cult-cum-fraud, we won’t be running out of topics or ideas.
      And no, we haven’t hired anyone to write anything. All contributions are voluntarily from people’s own experiences.
      I don’t know which level of education Mary Jane has, but if she is a 10th grader and has so much wisdom and such a fantastic writing ability, she sure has a bright future ahead.

      BTW, talking about 10th grade, could you please check with your boss/employer/guru, what level of education he graduated with, where and when?

      PS. You and Alex really messed it up with Wiki, hope SriSri wasn’t too angry with your muckup! What is the implication for your salary level with such a poor performance?

    • Shallow waters permalink
      September 21, 2010 5:32 pm

      @ Harshal,

      Who is running out of topics?

      just see the charge 60 on the page “The Prosecutor”

      60) Charge: The knowledge base of Sri Sri has nothing new to offer now!

      For a while I did some seva in the Bangalore Ashram’s Publications Department, and I was disgusted at the number of times the same talks were re-published in different collections.
      I thought people would feel cheated, especially people like me who were true “Sri Sri Addicts” and wished to have his every single book, CD and DVD, but didn’t have much money. You may be able to afford only two or three books and then end up with a lot of identical stuff in each book – and there weren’t many talks in a book anyway.
      It also made me realise that the Master wasn’t coming up with new stuff anymore. All the “illuminating” talks were obviously given in his youth.

    • Shallow waters permalink
      September 21, 2010 5:47 pm

      @ Harshal,

      Moreover, Guruji has also done the same thing. he has just translated few old english tapes in to hindi!!

      At the most he might come up with “Vignan Bhairavi”, as it would be easy to copy from the audio tape already made by Osho!!

    • goneagain permalink
      September 22, 2010 3:38 am

      @Harshal

      Thanks for your concern on topics and ideas, there is enough topics/posts in this blog already make your livelihoods threatened – as you guys tried all possible means to block these blogs. As long as AOL can find gullible there will be enough experiences to talk about, yes the source is AOL not the bloggers.

  12. Mandarin guy permalink
    September 20, 2010 1:37 pm

    Dear Skywalker
    I really hope that you would install the google translate in the blog. I have forwarded the
    blog address to most of my English speaking friends. There are a substantial
    percentage of Mandarin speaking members in AOL who have so much of blind
    devotion to Sri Sri,it’s scary.

    It’s pertinent that we reach out to the Chinese community soon before Sri Sri visits
    China in November – that would be the best seva.

    • September 20, 2010 5:04 pm

      Eh? I am not sure I can install google translate on the blog. Isn’t it something that you install on your pc, and it translates any website?
      Alternatively, if you want to translate key posts, do that and send them to me, I will upload them on a seperate page on the blog.

      • freethinker permalink
        September 20, 2010 8:16 pm

        I suppose you can embed the Google translator; Take a look Ramana’s site, they have done it. Don’t know how easy or hard to do it. There may be more material on web to show how? Integrity of translation is questionable though.

        http://www.sriramanamaharshi.org/

  13. Suzy permalink
    September 20, 2010 1:54 pm

    For me meditation isn’t a drug, more like a vitamin 🙂

    Though I suppose anything can be used as a drug, to not feel or not face something.
    (Even blogging…)

    I don’t think you have a problem with meditation but with I-need-a-fix-of-something thinking.

    I get it.

  14. Bling Bling permalink
    September 20, 2010 5:26 pm

    Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: “You know Sudarshan Kriya helps in preventing many illnesses. A professor who is working on genes in Oslo university, Norway says that there are 300 chromosomes which are responsible for hypertension. And Pranayama and Sudarshan Kriya suppress these 300 chromosomes. So, if one keeps practicing these techniques there is less and less chance for getting these illnesses.”

    anon September 20, 2010 4:06 pm : “Normal homo sapiens have only 23 chromosomes. May be homo aoliens like Ravi Ravi have 300 chromosomes ”

    @Anon,

    Good catch. If I am not mistaken, “chromosomes” should be replaced by “genes”. Doctor Harshal, if you are still around would like to correct your Guruji’s mistake?

    http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/20834.php
    More than 300 new hypertension genes discovered

    • Prairie Princess permalink
      September 21, 2010 3:51 am

      23 Pairs of chromosomes for a total of 46 total chromosomes in a normal human. Someone with Downs or some other syndromes contain one more chromosome for a total of 47. Additional chromosomes usually cause serious and deleterious problems for humans. Each chromosome contain many genes.

      • anon permalink
        September 21, 2010 5:51 pm

        My humble thanks to those who corrected the number of chromosomes to 46. But hey, I am not all knowing. I am just an ordinary human being, susceptible to mistakes every now and then. Look it is easy to admit ones fault, when one considers himself the lowliest of the low..

        Not so easy for one who thinks he is G-d….Would Ravi Ravi have the humility to say before the world (or at least to his sincere students) that he too is susceptible to mistakes, that he is not omniscient, that he too hankers after money and fame.. just like the rest of us lowly humans…

  15. Mandarin guy permalink
    September 20, 2010 6:51 pm

    Skywalker, I have come across websites with the google translate widget
    that gives options of viewing the website in any preferred language,When
    the choice of language is selected the entire article/post is translated in a
    few seconds

    If that’s not possible I will translate the key posts and email it to you,

  16. Ronin permalink
    September 20, 2010 6:58 pm

    Loved the post your post.

    “I find it is especially most dangerous for those who join at a young age. Sadly, it is the target of all cults to fish them while young. Not only are they more susceptible but also have more energy, enthusiasm, idealism and naivite to join and work … for free. Sadly, the damages are then worse.”

    I completely agree (have mentioned this as well) and the AOL company is going all out to recruit from this age group. Through their YES plus program and Yoga raves. And they are doing very well in the Latin American countries.

    These college students are putting their life’s on hold and actually taking a step into the abyss cutting their life lines and becoming totally depended and senior teachers and the organization. By the time they realize what happened the road back will be hard if they fully recover at all. The guilt that sets in paralyzes ones ability to move on…….

    That is why it is great to see ex-yes plus students on this blog sharing their experiences I hope more do and ex-YES plus teachers as well. Hopefully students will find this blog catch on and see that they are being used.

    The awareness is getting out there that all in not what it seems at the AOL corporation, lets just hope that when the Guru asked his devotees to drink the nicely colored cool aid (lemonade) they will say why don’t you drink some first. And the wait to see if he does…….

    The little giant has awakened

  17. anonymous critical permalink
    September 20, 2010 7:35 pm

    One of the best post ever on AOL/cults. Nothing but 100% truth. AOL should be seen and assessed through the mirror of this post. This Brain washing and cult addiction is the core theme around which AOL or other cults revolve. Everything else is byproduct of this.
    Psychiatrists allover the world should speak against use of unseen and invisible subtle psychological tools used to brainwash people. The massive harm done to unsuspecting brain may be worse than drug addiction.Cult mind control should be stopped in larger interest of the mankind.
    Psychological tools in the hands of AOL teachers is like Allopathic drugs in the hands of a Quack. They should be prevented from using these tools.
    20% population has Anxiety disorders/ Depression/Personality disorders which is a large number. all these are vulnerable to be sucked in cult like AOL along with ‘normal people in difficult times of life.
    When such large proportion of population is at risk and potential target, no wonder little effort in needed to propagate/ cultivate something like AOL. If this is to be prevented, people should be made aware about core aspect of cult operation- Brainwashing and cult addiction.

  18. Rain permalink
    September 21, 2010 12:43 am

    I just moved to a new state one month ago. I suddenly got an email from AoL asking me to take a course in this new state. I had already turned down doing a course in my old state after being asked at least 6 times to take the course. I had told the people recruiting me that I think AoL is a cult and that I will not do a course and to stop asking me to join. Now, suddenly those people must’ve given my email to the people in the new state and they are emailing me to take a course in the local area. It seems like they are literally hunting me down.

    • Abhilash Shastry permalink
      September 21, 2010 1:09 am

      Time to have some real fun. Go to their course. Tell them you are repeating the course. Ask hard questions in front of the whole group and enjoy!

  19. KriyaExposed permalink
    September 21, 2010 7:16 am

    Interesting post… I would however like to point out that psychedelics have been consumed by humankind for far longer than any spiritual/meditative practices… Whilst I feel for your post.. I also am aware that medicine of any kind – spiritual or physical when taken at a time in need can help you heal… I have consumed many substances of many kinds.. I have never thought of myself as an addict… more of a shaman… exploring the depths of the mind – removing filters of normal perception.. meditating whilst under the influence… there is a reason that many tribes consume ayahuascua or dmt containing snuffs… magic mushrooms or other hallucinogens… they active certain parts of the mind…

    A buddhist once told me that meditation was like climbing a mountain to see the view… taking lsd was like taking the ski lift to the view… of course the view is the same at the end of the day… but do you appreciate it…. well I say yes.. you can… and it can also open your eyes to the possibility of something much greater than yourself that many years of meditation may not even provide…. of course when you combine an age old practise of consuming mushrooms or similar along with meditation then who knows what you might achieve !

    We should always look at what constitutes a drug anyway… do you smoke/drink/take caffeine/sugar… what about antibiotics/antidepressants… there are many things we call good drugs and what we call bad drugs.. these are usually set by government policy and change over time… we once had prohibition on the states… in the uk people once got paid with beer …. the dutch came along and with them spirits… then the gin act was passed as the workers were all getting too drunk… opium dens were legal – it helped with the chinese immigrants… until policy again changed…. the founding fathers of america smoked hemp… until the cotton industry lobbied the gov for change… When we label anything as good or bad we are just creating an ego trip for ourselves… drugs are neither good nor bad.. but for some people they can aid in spiritual release and for others spiritual demise…

    Its not the how you do it… its the intention behind it.. .its always the intention… who is to say that because I dont sit in a lotus position but i might consume a psychoactive substance that one way is any better than the other… surely this is a world where experience is there to be had and by choosing to label something as bad – you never experience the full nature of that which appears abundantly in nature…

    DMT, Mescaline, Mushrooms, Marijuana, Opiates, Bufotenine -> why do they all have such a massive effect on our consciousness ? Its like we are hard wired to react to them… they exist in nature… they react symbiotically with us…

    To do drugs is not the problem… to do them to try and escape your life is…. to do kriya is not the problem.. but to do it to escape your life is…

  20. mac permalink
    September 21, 2010 7:25 am

    God bless mary jane and these guys!! 🙂 JGD
    ur website is so much fun….
    Its like entering the madHouse or Circus…
    Its like- u r telling the citizens of 151 countries following AOL are mad or…..
    these handful of real philosophers like Dear mary jane are way too smart for them!!!
    real smart stuff…………………hehehhehe
    Keep promoting art of living………..4 free……………
    Even if u dont like my post, i will say the same thing….God bless you!!!
    And keep you happy ALWAYS!!! Jai Guru Dev!!!!!!!!!……..my good….

    • Anonymous permalink
      September 21, 2010 10:55 am

      Hey Mac !!

      AOL is real mad house buddy… Unfortunately brainwashed and psychologically depandant people are in AOL. ( Look at the number of hits this blog spot is receiving and number of active bloggers. This itself is a real indication how popular this blog is. Atleast in my case I have stopped 6 people who were eager to join basic course by asking them to go through blog spot..

      151 countries !!!!!! How many active seekers in each country ????? ( 0.0001% of population of each country or 0.0000001 % of world population !!!). In India I doubt whether there are more than 300,000 active devotees… ( India’s population is >110,00,00,000)

    • goneagain permalink
      September 21, 2010 12:27 pm

      Wellcom mac, Keep coming – we love to hear your wisdom!

    • freethinker permalink
      September 21, 2010 4:03 pm

      @mac

      Your perspective is very interesting, so you are doing AOL course because you saw others do it (people from 151 countries as you say!), and you call JGD because others are doing it. This behavior is usually described as Herd mentality and Herd behavior. Herd mentality describes how people are influenced by their peers to adopt certain behaviors, follow trends, and/or purchase items.

      For some that is enough – do what everyone does, no need to question whether valid or make any sense. But for some they need to question, what is being done is right, why do we need to do it?

      If you ever question what’s going on in AOL is right, do visit this blog or KLIM’s – you may find answers to those questions and yes whatever is clouding your thoughts might clear up.

    • Shallow waters permalink
      September 21, 2010 5:24 pm

      @mac,

      151 countries?

      do u know out of 20 or 40 people who attend the part 1 course only 2 go further? if Majority makes sense then obviously the rest of the world who dont belive in spirituality should have been your inspiration. coz they are certainly in majority

  21. KriyaExposed permalink
    September 21, 2010 8:18 am

    Mac, just because many people follow something that does not make it real… or right….But whatever feels good to you just do it… this blog is not trying to stop you or change your mind… its just a viewpoint counter to the one your ‘guru’ professes…..

    It is better to have a fuller viewpoint.. arguments on both sides to make an informed decision…. AOL is trying to stop any viewpoint that goes against it… of course this by its nature makes people take note and want to express more any concerns they have…

    Flying Spaghetti Monster Bless You !

  22. sreeraj permalink
    April 15, 2012 12:08 pm

    Cancer Clinic, Oslo University Hospital Ullevaal, Oslo,
    and University of Oslo, Norway, is conducting a study
    on breast cancer patients. It is a controlled and randomized trial with 60 patients in each arm of the study. The
    measurements are made at the time of recruitment, after
    the Sudarshan Kriya &P intervention, and six months after the SK&P intervention. The rates of psychological disturbances, such
    as depression, anxiety, and stress, are being evaluated
    as well as the stress hormone cortisol in saliva. Proinflammatory cytokine production and components of the
    antioxidant enzyme system in blood is being measured.
    The study is scheduled to be finished in mid-2012.

  23. sreeraj permalink
    April 15, 2012 12:12 pm

    Do you know that due to these Reseaches & experienced by 20 million people in 160 contries

    *Art Of Living is part of the training for NASA astronauts.

    *It is included in the curriculum in eight German universities and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology among others.

    *It is part of the training for Miss India contestants.

    *It is included in the training for school teachers in Switzerland.

    *Sudarshan Kriya has been acknowledged by the World Health Organization (WHO), All India Institute of Medical Sciences etc.

    • Jr. permalink
      April 16, 2012 1:56 am

      Some of your bullet points are not totally true or exaggerations.

      These “studies” also do nothing to test the long term effects. Many people have experienced health problems from Sudarshan Kriya in the long term, while others have developed severe mental problems such as Harshal.

      • Anonymous permalink
        April 16, 2012 3:27 pm

        I’m checking with NASA and will post their reply.

  24. sreeraj permalink
    April 15, 2012 12:19 pm

    The human body is constantly under various kinds of stress and attack by reactive oxygen
    species (ROS) either generated by external agents or during normal metabolic process. ROS
    can damage cellular functions by damaging lipids, proteins and DNA in the cell [1, 2]. Increasing
    evidence suggests that chronic psychosocial stress may increase oxidative stress which in turn
    may contribute to the pathophysiology of atherosclerosis, coronary heart disease, cancer and
    other chronic diseases [3,4]. Cells can transduce stress into biochemical signals. Numerous
    cellular functions can be influenced by the presence of stress. Several genes and pathways of
    stress signalling molecules are found to be activated under conditions of stress. Some of them
    being heat shock proteins, mitogen-activated protein kinases, stress-activated protein kinases
    and molecules involved in the oxidative stress pathway [5]. Meditation, SK and other techniques
    have been known to relieve stress by causing a relaxation response, a complex compensatory
    mechanism. SK is a breathing technique involving breathing in three different rhythms [6].
    We have shown earlier [6] that SK helps lower blood lactate levels and provides better antioxidant
    defense. However, the biochemical effects and the signal transduction pathways of stress
    removal have not been studied. In this study an attempt has been made to study the effect on
    long term practitioners of SK on genes involved in oxidative stress, DNA damage, cell cycle
    control, aging, apoptosis and several pathways of stress signalling molecules.

    http://www.jbtdrc.org/national%20symposium%20-%202006/proc%20pages/cmb/cmb1.pdf

  25. sreeraj permalink
    April 15, 2012 12:22 pm

    RESULTS:
    A better antioxidant status both at the enzyme activity and RNA level was seen in SK practitioners. This was accompanied by better stress regulation and better immune status due to prolonged life span of lymphocytes by up-regulation of antiapoptotic genes and prosurvival genes in these subjects.
    CONCLUSIONS:
    Our pilot study provides the first evidence suggesting that SK practice may exert effects on immunity, aging, cell death, and stress regulation through transcriptional regulation.

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18222135

    • stupidseeker permalink
      April 15, 2012 3:29 pm

      @sreeraj

      Excellent, that means that those who practise the SKY won’t have to experience the thing called death that afflicts mankind who didn’t the good fortune to purchase it from AOL.

      • Harshal permalink
        April 15, 2012 4:43 pm

        no it means that your mom probably regrets the day when that fu**ked up sperm ruptured that ill-conceived ovum of hers.

      • stupidseeker permalink
        April 16, 2012 10:47 am

        @Harshal,

        How much abuse one has to listen to if one doesnt make claims of being “enlightened” or of being the “chosen one”.
        you are HHSSRS’s reward for his claims of “enlightenment” and the punishment for those who dispute those very claims.

  26. stupidseeker permalink
    April 15, 2012 3:29 pm

    @sreeraj,
    we”ll see what ur guru dies of.

  27. stupidseeker permalink
    April 15, 2012 3:37 pm

    @sreeraj,

    Antioxidants are a bloody dime a dozen as u may very well be able to see fform the wiki link below and not all of them bloody claim hallowed status as being “revealed” during ‘meditation to some “chosen one” bloke.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antioxidant

    So whatr u saying. your sky isn’t any better than eating a carrot or a tomator thats full of beta carotene or lycopene??

  28. VSS permalink
    April 17, 2012 3:02 pm

    I think all those who say that AoL is like all things in life — good and bad — should read this post. I think those who say that it is smoke-free and alcohol-free should read this post. This anatomy of life is AoL is so disturbing that I think if the parents of those who are in AoL read this post, they would have sleepless nights till the time their children left AoL. They would move heaven and earth to make their children leave AoL as soon as possible.

    All those who ask for proof should also read this post — no greater evidence is needed to know that AoL is an absolute sham and scam. Plus, it’s damaging in a truly dangerous sort of way. How can it turn perfectly sane and stable people into cult addicts and keep getting away with doing this forever? It absolutely can’t. This kind of brainwashing can neither be hidden nor masked. Disconnecting people from the real world in this way and cocooning them in a delusional world ought to be a punishable offence — it’s definitely a sin.

    A few days ago I read that AoL has signed a deal with NDTV to provide Mr. Ravi Shankar’s “teachings” to mobile phone users. I think this is wonderful news. I think that AoL has made a colossal mistake by signing this deal — because now someone in NDTV is going to start reading those “teachings” and figure out what sort of brainwashing is happening. Though the details of life in AoL are not reflected in the “teachings” but the “teachings” are so full of contradictions that it won’t be too tough now for someone to detect it.

    I’m going to hope for the best because this kind of damaging brainwashing has to stop. I am not one of those cynics who thinks that it’s a part of life and it will continue to exist in this world forever. I cannot believe that AoL will not be exposed by the Indian media eventually. I think so far AoL has managed to save itself because it has been spreading its tentacles slyly, and the Indian media has been way too busy dealing with bigger crooks than Mr. Ravi Shankar.

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