A brief account of Sri Sri Ravishankar and Maharishi Mahesh Yogi by Sudarshan
On reading the blog www.churumuri.wordpress.com I came across a comment by Sudarshan. This is what he had written over there.
“Sri Sri” Ravi Shankar, for the information of all posting here, was a “close” (according to him) disciple of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. He never publically gives that credit to his only guru, however. Privately, to some, he does. In fact, he has been known to say “I AM Maharishi…” and swish away with the same giggle as MMY.
He was born in Tamil Nadu, he said, in a village or small town (can’t remember which) that was wiped out by floods. His family moved to Bangalore when he and his sister were small. He was raised there. He dropped out of school at 17 years old to join Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, and was brought to Switzerland to chant Sanskrit there. He helped to build MMY’s ashram in Noida, outside of Delhi, and became extremely ill there. His father says that he had to go there and bring him home, and that Ravi nearly died. After this, SSRS was told by MMY to gather 200-300 students of Veda and teach them to chant. SSRS’s father went around Karnataka and gathered students from poor villages (only Brahmins). There was a property purchased in 5th block and used for the purpose of housing all of these boys (over 150, I was told) — how? who knows. It’s a three-story, smallish house. But SSRS says they chanted there, and lived there. Then MMY called them all to be moved to Noida. The story from here is that SSRS’s father had promised the parents of these boys that they would never be far from home, and Noida was too far away. So SSRS started his own school for Vedic Pundits right then and there. MMY was extremely displeased and angry with SSRS. One of the first pundits was sent with a missive (this story from that man himself, thank you) to MMY. This pundit claims that MMY was angry and said basically that he would have nothing further to do with SSRS, and sent him back to Bangalore. It is widely known among close early followers, that SSRS used to try to call Maharishi in Holland and would be repeated told he would not speak to him. He was devastated, and used to keep a picture of MMY next to his bed. It is a very sad story, actually.
SSRS’s father went to the local government and acquired the land on Kanakapura Road by using the method of land being donated if someone promised (at that time) to build a rural school to benefit the local villages. A “school” was built (don’t know if it still ‘exists’) in the form of thatched roof huts, where students did cram in to “learn”. This was all a front, of course, to start the Art of Living Ashram. Since the police and local government are mostly bought off by the empire of AOL at this point, the organization, in spite of failing early audits, enjoys not-for-profit status.
SSRS’s mother, God Rest Her Soul, was heard to brag: “My son is a millionaire! He has his own account and has more than a million US dollars in it!” She was very proud of this. This was in the early 90s, when SSRS was already beginning to ramp up the collections from the US and Europe and Canada.
SSRS, btw, never got any degree, and used to publically proclaim the same — that he never finished school. Somehow, in some places (Wikipedia for a while), it is wrongly stated that he earned a degree in Physics, other places says Engineering, etc. It’s false. He has no earned degree in anything, and stopped his schooling at 17 years old.
Obviously, the many pundits dwindled to a small number over time.
It is unknown by this author whether SSRS was ever able to meet with MMY again before he died a few days back.
I personally feel sorry for SSRS. There are many personal things about him that I will not report here, because this is about his organization, not about the man. But the ‘man’ is a sad case indeed.
The organization is totally corrupt, and he tolerates no advice on conducting matters in an above board and honest way.
His followers are indeed, as pointed out by several on this post, like robots.
Many have lost their lives to him, giving up good careers, ruining their health. I heard at least two say “there is nothing else I could do at this point — where would I go? At least he pays our tickets and feeds us….” They laughed but it was a thinly disguised sadness that the laughter covered. They were trapped.
I’m certain that many if not all of his full time teachers are in that situation. Have pity on them. They are brainwashed and sad people with no lives of their own anymore. He has stolen everything from them.
God Bless every one of them, and show them an exit strategy that will give them solace and real Peace of mind, not the fake peace that can be had for a moment scrambling for an audience with SSRS.