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Begging in Bali- A TTC experience

October 14, 2010

Relieved permalink October 13, 2010 

 Freeagain I honour you for telling your story and for presenting everything you have to say in a succinct way. Your story has once again opened the last part of my AoL journey that has stayed with me and has caused me shame.

I too was at the 21 day TTC, although as I had done TTC 1 at the ashram I did not have to attend the first few days. This one was held in a 5 star hotel in Bali and we were often told it was the 5 star TTC. My reservations grew whilst there, things did not seem right to me on many levels. I have to say that my time was easy, I was never in the hot seat but found it hard to bear witness to it and at times it almost felt voyeuristic. We were sleep deprived, the evenings finished late and the mornings started early but I can honestly say it was not as intense as the ashram schedule.

My real discomfort came with the Buddha process – which entails going into the streets to beg. We were told to wear our dirtiest oldest clothes, not to brush hair and to look as scruffy as possible. We were all given a letter to keep with us at all times in case we were caught by the police as begging is illegal in Bali. Those of us of western descent were told we should not beg and they wanted us to promise we would do this in our home cities, I made no such promise. Instead of begging we were told we had to go out and earn food and drink by offering to work for the locals. I started off with a friend and in the first place the lady wanted to cook us breakfast and we had to then shun her hospitality as she was about to cook us eggs that we were not supposed to have. We then split up, the only places to ask was in shops or hotels for work. One place I went to was a tailer’s shop and I was asking to sweep the floor in exchange for some water, the lady was not able to understand me so when an american customer came in who spoke the local dialect I asked her to translate, which she did and got an answer from the shop keeper that still shames me. She told me that I was asking the impossible of her as I was ‘high caste’ and she could not ask me to work like that. I felt such a fraud, I was going back to the nice hotel, to as much food and water as I wanted. At that point I felt I could do no more and went for a walk and ended up working with room service cleaning rooms.

Those that had been begging all came back with money that was handed over and I have no idea where it went to, although I think it was staying in Bali and I hope was given to a charity. The Balinese are kind generous people and gave freely to my classmates, including new clothes and food and showed great concern to those seemingly reduced to beggar status in their country. They are not a rich nation and income is largely from tourism that of course was reduced after the Bali bomb. We were told that it reduced karma to take from those who had less than us and not to worry about it.

It is with relief that I tell this story that has haunted me and I am so grateful that this site provides the means to do that. It has certainly been a healing place for me as I have made my way back to being the fun loving, creative person that I lost along the way. I too thought that AoL was my calling, in many ways I am grateful to have gone through the experience and come out the other side with having learned so much and with my dignity and integrity intact.

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82 Comments
  1. Shallow waters permalink
    October 14, 2010 6:58 pm

    Well i dont see anything wrong in begging process. it had a purpose and those who did it know it too. I dont see why we have to condemn every process and every act.

    • someone permalink
      October 14, 2010 7:27 pm

      sorry, how begging and pretending that you’re homeless is leading you to good spiritual way? Maybe I’m missing a point, then I’ll be glad if you explain it.

  2. freethinker permalink
    October 14, 2010 7:39 pm

    @Shallow waters

    Couple of things to note

    1) This information is valuable to many seekers when they are deciding to do TTC, if they want proceed taking TTC or not. So something doesn’t think he/she can get through this they didn’t have to take the course.
    2) Also take a notice about how and where the money collected goes.

    It was his/her experience that he/she has posted, doesn’t mean you have to condemn it.

    • Ronin permalink
      October 14, 2010 7:57 pm

      Hi Shallow waters

      I agree the begging process does have some value. But again it is my opinion to look at it in the whole context. What happens if someone does not agree to participate in this process. He or she is immediately made an example to the whole group.

      Placed in front belittled of having now courage, of not having any faith in the MASTER, and therefore as an conclusion not ready to receive his grace or become a teacher. The group will have their say as well, and more often then not you break, cause you don’t want to be looked at as a looser. You give into your principles.

      Question is this correct to do, breaking down some one’s boundaries in such a manipulative way. These psychological games, I often wondered why hey are played or have them. Who truly benefits from them.

      This process indeed lets you see everything through a different set of eyes, and you become more openhearted. This is great were it not that according to the game book it is exactly what they (the TTC trainers) want to happen, at this point the real hooks get set. You come back from the process so elated, and then the gurupuja is done, the guru stories are shared. The greatness of ravi is poured in everyone without any one critically thinking anymore.

      So it is not the process, it is how it is implemented and in the end used by those who implement them.

  3. Shallow waters permalink
    October 14, 2010 8:20 pm

    The Buddha process as the name implies, was as buddha did to all those rich and famous who came to him. To drop their identity and be humble. buddha handed the prince and princess a begging bowl. Well you can see it from any viewpoint. if u want to see flaw, then for sure u will find many.

    Apart from that those who begg dont collect any huge donation. only in rare case one end up with some resonable amount. in most cases it is just enough to have a meal and travel cost and a bit of surplus.

    well that process did help me in some way to understand how it is to be one of those begging and if one can drop identity?

    The process itself had no manipulation. yeah the overall TTC might have other purpose that we didnt understand at that point of time. but now we do.

    The process was anyway not meant to make u feel happy while doing it. It had some purpose which it does bring up to some extent in everyone who goes through it.

    • Miles permalink
      October 14, 2010 9:42 pm

      Dear, YOU were manipulated and YOU manipulated the ones you begged. First, they gave you instructions that were not sincere, then, you got into a disguise and told lies about your needs. It has manipulation written all over! Some people believed and gave you something when you REALLY did NOT need anything! but just to survive that exercise and not be crushed upon your return to the TTC. Maybe you felt more humble at the end of the exercise, but subliminally, they taught you all to LIE and manipulate, which is what you did for as long as you begged. Wrong wrong wrong.

    • Amit permalink
      October 15, 2010 4:24 am

      Comparison with Buddha is totally out of context. When Buddha gave begging bowls to his disciples, he was himself living a life of mendicant. He was not flying first class and staying in hotels where Bill Clinton stayed. Buddha was born in palace but chose a life of poverty. Ravi Shankar was born poor but lives in palaces. There is no comparison.

      Ravi Shankar did not get Nobel Prize. Buddha also did not get Nobel Prize. But the similarity is totally out of context. We cannot take superficial similarities as valid basis for comparison.

  4. Prairie Princess permalink
    October 14, 2010 8:33 pm

    James Arthur Ray, famous for having several people die in a sweat lodge in Arizona during a very expensive “self-development” course, and Byron Katie have also used the process of having people on a course pretend to be homeless. Even this process has been co-opted by TTC and ravi ravi. Wonder how this process would play in the forests of Canada. To not be able to walk away from an organization that would do that to its most sincere devotees speaks to serious brainwashing.

  5. WhistleBlower permalink
    October 14, 2010 8:50 pm

    When I did my begging process, I learned:

    A- That even a beggar has a job to do and a role to play. His time is important to him. And a good beggar needs to apply good skills.

    B-That there is so much love and kindness in this world. I did this process in India and was overwhelmed with people’s generosity and kindness, even the other beggars!

    C-That we don’t know what role we end up playing in this life and always have utmost respect for everyone no matter what role they play.

    And of course in TTC, they say the above learning is the purpose of this process.

    However, after so many years in AOL, I can see why AOL teachers are put through this process:

    A-The life of an AOL teacher is the life of a beggar. We always had to say we didn’t have money and get everything for free, free food and accommodation when we teach courses, free venue to teach the course, free promotion for courses, free everything for AOL events, you name it. Real beggars beg for themselves and their families, we had to beg for AOL, which we would say is a charitable organization, so making our begging an honourable one.

    B- The life of an AOL teacher is the ability to lie. Even though SriSri had told us that not a cent of money from courses can go to any charity project (we had to fundraise for those separately), we still had to tell course participants that their fees go to charity projects and they get a double blessing from that too!

    C-The life of an AOL Teacher is full of acting and playing many deceitful roles and deceiving others. The ability to lie and deceive and play roles is pre-requisite to be an AOL teacher. That is why you see a lot of actors and salespeople ending up as AOL teachers! The ones in inner circle of RS, and senior teachers are the ones who can lie better and play the roles that AOL expects from them and deceive people better.

    D- Just like the begging process where money collected from begging goes to AOL, with no question asked by those who collect it, same happens with AOL teachers, collecting money and passing it to AOL and not asking where the money goes. And you can be sure, money is not channelled back to the poor and the needy!

    E- An AOL teacher is not supposed to worry for the poor and the beggars.That is just a role they play in this life time! Our role as AOL teachers was to promote SriSri and get him NPP and honorary doctorates as he couldn’t get any degree himself (too lazy to study!)

    So as you see the begging process is a very necessary process for grooming AOL teachers for a life of begging for AOL. There is no difference between an AOL teacher and a beggar who works for his syndicate boss, taking money from everyone to his boss who uses that to buy real estate and luxury houses for himself and even pour it to his other businesses.

  6. Miles permalink
    October 14, 2010 9:34 pm

    What’s wrong with the begging process? Maybe nothing, but I am pretty sure Buddha did not do it as a “process” but as something beyond just an exercise. His disciples and Buddha himself really gave up everything to live in humbleness and simplicity, unlike SSRS and his disciples. On the other hand, what one learns with the AoL begging process is that everything goes as long as it leads you to your goals. In other words, lie if you need to, manipulate if you need to, ie. pretend you are poor and that you are in need, even if it means you take from someone who worked REALLY hard to earn just that little they give you that day because you told them you needed it badly (!). Anyway, it will be their good karma. A lot of BS. Whatever people have they worked REALLY hard to earn it. And begging in a place like Bali, I find it even more disgusting. I believe the author of the article expressed it carefully: these people are good-hearted and struggle to earn the little they have. This is what AoL/SSRS do overall if you take a look carefully: they try to get everything for free, maximize their profit even at the expense of good souls who fall for the trap, poor or rich, no discrimination, ie. halls, housing, donations, properties, ANYTHING! “in the name of seva” – not! I consider this BAD EDUCATION and a lot of crap. The AoL Buddha process is just a little version of the bigger scheme and another proof of its foul education. Again, no conherence between words and action. Further, Ravi would never beg in a million years! He has TOO much pride to begin with. In any case, he simply steals through manipulation. Bottom line: BEG only if you need to, but you can also WORK HARD and be grateful for everything that you get. The ego will not be crushed by just a few hours of a sadomasochist exercise. Noone is cooler or better because they “dressed down” and cheated on some nice people “in the name of spiritual education”. Noone got more spiritual nor more educated by it. On the contrary! BS! Thank you Relieved for sharing.

    • goneagain permalink
      October 15, 2010 3:04 am

      Well said @Miles.

      It reminds me of a story read long ago. People were praising a new play in the theater about acting of the lead role and a man heard lot about it so he decided to go and see. He went and saw the play and he thought it was very good so I decided to go back stage and praise the actor. He went there and said that you acted so well as a beggar even the real beggar could not play like that. Actor said thanks, the only difference is that I know at end of the show it is over and screen comes down and I get to live my life. I know it is not what I have to do in real life, not real suffering and I know it is just an act.

      You may see the difficulties of beggars but you know for sure it is not your life you just put up the dress and show up for few hours just like that actor. However humbling it may be you know it is for few hours.

      Buddha didn’t do it for a process or learning exercise rather it was his way of life. He was renounced materialistic life and like many sadhus he begged alms for living.

      So What does Ravi Ravi has to say about renunciation:

      http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/console/p0090py7/The_Interview_14_08_2010_Sri_Sri_Ravi_Shankar

      (Listen to this interview – if you are lazy seek to 20:50 – 21:10, just 20 seconds)

      Q: Do you believe spiritual leaders should deny themselves worldly pleasures, they should live in poverty, they should suffer a little?

      RaviRavi: Anyone who wants suffering is not normal. There is some psychological defect in them!

  7. freeagaiin permalink
    October 14, 2010 10:01 pm

    @Whistleblower – well said. The training as a beggar is akin to the training of an AOL teacher. Convincing, manipulating and getting the necessities of life for free. I can say i have met that type of teacher many a times in AOL . Surely a worthier process would be to have students treat the beggars like kings for a day. To feed, clothe, walk with a beggar and to see life from their point of view. I think i recall that at the end of the process, the expected answer about the experience was “I experienced Guruji’s grace”. As opposed to the reality, which was “i experienced humanity”.

  8. Peaceful Warrior permalink
    October 14, 2010 10:57 pm

    Many saints in hindu, buddhist and jaina traditions live on alms – so the begging process is not without value. Having seen people’s generosity in supporting AOL – how can people sleep well at night, knowing that money is not being used for it’s intended purpose – but is ending up in private accounts.

  9. Doreen permalink
    October 14, 2010 11:50 pm

    Hi – Many years ago SSRS recommended that we experience what it’s like to rely on the universe, or the consciousness, to take care of us. It wasn’t structured, it wasn’t part of a course, he just suggested that we each do it on our own, in our own cities and towns. “Have a new experience,” he said. “See life from another angle.”

    I did it and it was an incredibly touching experience. Most of us have the luxury of having full control of our daily lives so it was a completely new experience to be at the mercy of the kindness of others. It was very humbling to have to ask other people – complete strangers – for help, and wait to see if they were going to ignore me, reject me, or even stop to talk to me.

    Some people didn’t just give me their spare change but sincerely inquired if I was ok. Someone bought me a sandwich.

    I saw how much humanity is out there, how much innate goodness, generosity, and caring – and how much I could learn from these complete strangers who were willing to be of help, no questions asked. I got a glimpse of the walls that I had built between myself and other people in my own mind.

    So for me it was a very valuable experience.

    I gave whatever little money I collected to a group of homeless people, and went home with pockets as empty as when I had left.

  10. Abhilash Shastry permalink
    October 15, 2010 1:20 am

    “The Buddha process as the name implies, was as buddha did to all those rich and famous who came to him. To drop their identity and be humble. buddha handed the prince and princess a begging bowl. Well you can see it from any viewpoint. if u want to see flaw, then for sure u will find many.”

    @Shallow Waters:

    Buddha didn’t do it as a technique. He was asking them to follow a lifestyle. It was not a single-day exercise that you do for your own personal growth with no regard to the fact that you are actually manipulating the feelings of the donors by faking to be someone that you are not.

    Did I benefit from the Buddha process? I certainly did. It gave me a different perspective on life. However, in the hindsight I can realize how self centered the whole exercise is. The people who gave me money did so because they thought I was a beggar. They did it out of the goodness of their soul. But I was not a beggar. I was doing it as an exercise for my own personal growth and for getting a different perspective on life! So what those unsuspecting kind hearted souls ended up doing was to pay me for my own personal growth workshop without even knowing. I manipulated their kindness to meet my goals.

    And don’t forget that over the years people (esp. in B’lore) have read and heard a lot about these fake begging sessions. So now when a real needy person approaches them, they have this lingering doubt on the back of their mind before giving anything.

    • ?Jyoti permalink
      April 10, 2011 1:48 pm

      How much you can beg in a day for a process. To remove ego, Chinese Management Schools practice this process for a few days. kindly look into the net.

  11. mello permalink
    October 15, 2010 1:48 am

    What can be wrong with misrepresenting oneself? And then laying claim to others’ attention and a tiny part of their resources because it is helpful for one’s own growth?

    I doubt the begging experience can get through if you end up treating it like a fancy-dress party. My suspicion is that the process often ends up making these ‘dude beggars’ more smug at the end of the day. Look at these guys:

    http://www.mid-day.com/news/2009/aug/040809-Art-of-Living-Sri-Sri-Ravi-Shankar-disciples-posing-beggars-Bangalore-news-Kanakapura.htm

    Wonder what goes through the mind of truly desperate beggars when they see the swank competition.

    • goneagain permalink
      October 15, 2010 3:28 am

      Exactly (thanks to mello for the mid-day link), what do they have loose at worst, 3:00 Pm the show will be over and they can go home. Let’s they didn’t get anything by begging just no food till 3Pm then they get to go somewhere when the act is over. It is not like real beggar who gets nothing by begging he gets nothing to eat that night not only for that day for any number of days/nights he/she will go to sleep with nothing in his/her stomach and hoping someone will donate something next day.

      This process absolute ridicule to me. I beg to differ with many here that this is some how a personal growth?

    • goneagain permalink
      October 15, 2010 3:35 am

      If anyone see these “dude beggars” in Bangalore in future, please call police for help. These folks will learn real lesson that way instead of the fake lesson their instructions given them.

    • October 15, 2010 6:04 am

      I like this comment, on the post:
      Ego is not the problem!

      Posted by : guest
      13 August 2009 17:23:31

      What is this insane fixation about destroying the human ego. It is just another natural part of our innate Beingness. For too long now Gurus and so-called spiritual paths have declared a futile 'jihad' on parts of wholeness — whether it's the ego, our desires, our ****, our greed, whatever… they see us as never ok with who we are and create an unnecessary internal division, personal war, and self-hatred that never ends.
      The entire landscape of spiritual seeking and paths to awakening needs to be explored and examined in a new light.

    • The Doctor permalink
      October 15, 2010 7:55 am

      The following comment from Karnataka’s social welfare minister:

      “They haven’t taken any special permission from us,” said D Sudhakar, Karnataka’s social welfare minister. “Such permission can’t be given either.”

      really sums it up: soon-to-be AoL teachers are being taught that it is ok to break the law in the name of personal and spiritual growth, and in fact have no choice but to go through this exercise as it is necessary for completion of TTC.

      As WhistleBlower alluded to above, this psychologically prepares teachers for any future situations whereby it is also ok to break the law to achieve a desired purpose.

      I can see some benefits from doing this process, but when the benefits come at such a high cost, are they really worth it?

      • Yoga permalink
        October 15, 2010 9:46 pm

        Doc – I like many of your posts which are fair and balanced. But this post is an example of reading too much into nothing!!!

  12. wassup permalink
    October 15, 2010 2:39 am

    Me thinks ravi ravi should do some buddha process as well, oh wait, the guy have never done a thing his whole life, his life is one big buddha process

    • Kitapati permalink
      October 15, 2010 5:02 am

      In bangalore since last 3 -4 years it is a common sight to see hijras (transgendered folks) begging in busy traffic signals. One good process I can suggest for curing the megalomania of HH SS Ravi Ravi is to do the Hijra process. Shave off his beard, wear a saree and he can do begging in the traffic signals. A guru has to walk the talk.

  13. Swami Poopiji permalink
    October 15, 2010 5:24 am

    Another technique which can help get over possessiveness is spouse swapping. I was part of this process along with my ex-wife in 1974 in Osho commune pune. Beleive me it was an intense, insighful and transformative exercise. I have never been the same again. The buddha process of begging which osho also taught is a lower graded exercise than the spouse swapping one. I wish AOL teachers try this and be liberated from the canker of possesiveness.

  14. ex-cultie permalink
    October 15, 2010 6:22 am

    You may be able to bluff your way out in a country like Indonesia or India, but a blunt-hammer approach like this without tailoring it for the locale, society and local laws leads to serious problems in some other countries. I recall an encounter many years ago, probably around 2002-2003 when a few of us traveled to Singapore for some course, don’t remember if it was DSN or some other program.

    We were asked to go out in the streets, approach strangers and convince at least five of them to sign up for an AOL basic course. I am told that even buskers, street performers and peddlers need permits in that country, however, we have often seen people handing out fliers for sales so we thought this exercise should cause no problem.

    Most people just ignored us when we tried approaching them, but I guess some of our course participants got cocky and aggressive, and started pestering some passers-by. It also happened to be close to the Istana which is the president’s office, so I guess there was a security concern. The police were called and a few of us were questioned. They don’t tolerate any BS in that country, and as we were foreigners, none of us had any local ID. We were all escorted to our hotel to get our passports and taken to a police station where our particulars were taken down, and our passports and ID’s were scanned and stored on their systems. We were let go after a little lecture and warning.

    Fortunately, they were polite and professional about the whole affair, though cold and clinical. We were all treated with dignity and respect, none of us were harassed or abused.

    I was told later by some of our local participants that nothing was ever forgotten in that country once these details are in their highly networked systems, and our getting busted might have an impact on future travel, visas, or employment in the country.

    We cannot blame the country or their systems, but it is ridiculous that AOL or the latest visiting teacher tells people to do this sort of stuff without being aware of the local laws, and the trouble you can get into if you.

    When we came back to the course, the teacher once again gave us the rubbish that “guru’s grace saw us through the ordeal” and that it was his way of empowering and strengthening us for the challenges that lay ahead. Will SSRS fly down to talk to the local authorities if we have visa or other problems in future since we got busted because of following his orders many years ago? No? Right, I didn’t think so.

    • Story2Reality permalink
      October 15, 2010 6:39 am

      I remember reading a news that few art of living people who were doing this begging process got beaten up near BTM.

      http://www.bangaloremirror.com/article/1/20100808201008080134278042ae0a70f/BTM-layout-residents-mistake-%E2%80%98Buddhas%E2%80%99-for-thieves-beat-them-up.html?pageno=1

      The should have told that they gained a lot of good karma via public beating

      • goneagain permalink
        October 15, 2010 10:33 am

        Future one’s are warned. Poor souls should read these articles before trying TTC in future and save some torture (possibly life) – especially when people think if someone will snatch their kids they will be overprotective, rest assured they would do anything to save their kids!

      • October 16, 2010 5:30 am

        I remember incidence in my DSN course. We were told at night (around 11.00 pm after Satsang) to go out and pretend like mad person. Few over-enthusiastic participants started shouting on road that ‘I am mad’. The residents of nearest building came out and warned in some harsh words. Some of the participants were in the mood of argument but some wise person asked us to go back. We were saved from getting beaten by the local residents or police. Guru is Great.

    • Independent Observer permalink
      October 15, 2010 7:35 am

      The begging process was very powerful for me.

      I jumped into it just as I would have jumped into playing a game. Play acting. All of us are acting all the time…different roles. While I can talk for myself….there was no manipulation in me…just give the process a 100%. And the way the world responded was indeed awesome. I was completely touched by the kindness and compassion I saw and experienced in every human being I begged from. That itself was enough to show me back to me. I was also arrested by the police as my buddy and colleague in the process was carrying a gold credit card. However, it turns out that after listening to the whole story the kind cop gave me money to go back to the Ashram.

      Its not just the intent of who is asking you to do it. It is also the intent of the person who decides to do it. There are no victims unless you want to be one.

      If as a part of the TTC you were not in agreement with how things were being done I think the most sensible thing to do is challenge the process / intent or the teacher and say I am extremely uncomfortable…and take a stand. It could have potentially helped others in the room.

      • WebSeva-ite permalink
        October 15, 2010 9:47 am

        Its not just the intent of who is asking you to do it. It is also the intent of the person who decides to do it. There are no victims unless you want to be one.

        Hmmm, sounds like the familiar “She was raped because she was asking for it.” I hope when one of your near and dear ones becomes victim, you apply the same (il)logic and tell them “you are only a victim because you wanted to be one.” Pathetic.

      • Researcher permalink
        October 15, 2010 10:10 am

        @independent observer: Problem is, during the TTC you are conditioned to such an extent that you do not think to question the teacher or the instructions when instructed to do a process. I’ve never seen this happen. The group dynamics at that point really force you to comply.

        It’s easy to come out, sitting here at our chairs and pontificate over what could or should have been done in the TTC, but it just never happens.

      • Researcher permalink
        October 15, 2010 10:20 am

        @independent observer: one more thing, most of the time when I saw people get up and question the teacher even if it was a genuine concern, we would be told to just go along with the process and not pay attention to the questioning mind. Give your 100%, don’t question, don’t say no – it was not tolerated. “Yes, yes, yes” for anything and everything.

        I guess if someone had got up and refused to do the Buddha process the answer would be – you are not ready for the guru’s grace, do more seva, do more satsang, do more advanced courses, DSN, and try again.

      • October 15, 2010 3:27 pm

        “There are no victims unless you want to be one.”
        The implications of that statement are pretty scary. Please read this.

    • The Doctor permalink
      October 15, 2010 8:03 am

      @ex-cultie,

      This is actually a terrible thing to have happened to you, and is an example of how irresponsible Art of Living are when it comes to the welfare of their students.

      It is also a clear indication of brainwashing: making people believe that guru’s grace is protecting them at all times, including from the law, hence effectively giving them free reign to believe they are above the law.

      This is extremely dangerous as it leaves people wide open to abuse by the organization, and at the same time with no real protection from the org should anything bad happen to them.

      • Independent Observer permalink
        October 15, 2010 10:56 am

        @Researcher

        Hmmm. Looks like I have not communicated my message clearly. What I had wished to convey is that anyone who feels any discomfort with a certain method or process should in their own personal best interests express that at the time it is happening. I feel that it is not fair so assume that the rest of the class is already brainwashed and that you will not receive any support. Why not assume that your classmates are fair and just people and potentially waiting for an opportunity to be heard too. No ?

        At no time did I wish for anyone to take what is being dished out to them lying down, especially if they do not like it. But its better to speak out your mind at the time it is happening.

        I know for instance that the get out into the street and recruit for the part-1s as a part of the DSN course was not taken very well in the USA. Many participants protested and this process was subsequently down played and not as rigorous as it as been in other territories. This is not a justification for any of the processes, however, it is to state that

        “When a few good people don’t act on an unfair/ unjust practice, the practice continues to flourish”.

        I gave a decade plus of my life to AOL, generated much interest and resources…and then one day it all fit in (ie all the unanswered questions and doubts that I kept ignoring and burying just clicked together)…So, I decided that supporting this organisation is not who I am and who I want to be.

        Its easy to blame SSRS or AOL as an organisation, the media, or my part-1 teachers for mis-leading me …..but the point is at that time I was able, willing and open to doing what I was told at that moment. I bought into it totally. I had lost my sense of discernment. It made me happy, gave me fulfillment and at that time felt like the right thing (AND very often the ONLY thing) to do.

        Now, after all my mistakes and learnings I know better. I know that much of the AOL stuff works in the short to medium term even but in the long term as you get more exposed there is a clear issue of Sustainability of the belief system and the practice. ie there are too many inconsistencies and disconnects. I definitely do not support the simplified and partial views that aspirants are given during many of the AOL courses by their instructors. However, in terms of sheer practicality of it all, it was never going to be a complete picture anyways (not in AOL, not in conventional education…in fact far from it). Hence at all times, it puts the learning responsibility fairly and squarely on the shoulders of the one that is seeking.

        You have to depend on yourself. Educating and Sharing information with each other is fine. The rest is free choice based on as complete and information set that you can have at that time. What all of us are sharing through this blog is hopefully providing a larger gamut of information and options to potential new aspirants. Perhaps they may not invest wastefully the amount of time, resources and money as did many of us contributors. Perhaps, this blog will give them a better all round view of this movement that we all call AOL.

        After this the choice is the readers and theirs alone.

      • Independent Observer permalink
        October 15, 2010 11:32 am

        @Researcher

        I have observed the same thing you say. The group dynamics indeed makes it very tough. I have had situations where I did not voice my true feelings. However, I suffered the pain later as it catapulted into multiple unwanted and awkward situations for me. I decided therefore to change my behavior whenever I became fully aware of myself and of my shyness/inability/lack of courage to express. By the same token, on many occasions, being very deliberate, I challenged Sr teachers at AOL including SSRS. In a lot of such instances they actually changed their stand. So, I truly have seen both sides of this situation. That is why it is even called group dynamics (ie our actions/words can make a change / difference).

        Scenario – I am in TTC. I am asked to do some processes which I simply cannot connect or relate to. In fact they cause me extreme discomfort. If I continue with the process at the cost of my personal integrity (because I want to fit in, I don’t want to voice my discomfort etc as I might cause displeasure and seemingly unwanted interrupts)…thats my call. I have to live with myself after that.

        Lets look closely, what will happen in the worst case ? I will not be made a teacher. But, I would at least have my integrity intact. The TTC teacher at that time can make me understand or can bully me into complying. If I don’t understand and therefore don’t buy into it, AND if I at that time, relent to the peer pressure and the group dynamics then I have already made a big big compromise with myself (my integrity). Are we not making the compromise because we badly want to become a teacher ? In which case we have to be prepared to pay a certain price.

        To stand up and say “I feel discomfort, I need understanding and help. Please can this be done differently.” This is not about whether the teacher present would even give you a hearing let alone understand you. This is about taking a stand, expressing yourself, caring enough to give it all your energy (a 100%) and seeing it through till the end, especially when all of the potential ramifications impact you directly .

  15. anon1 permalink
    October 15, 2010 3:13 pm

    what a terrible thing to have done! begging for beggings sake!
    my ex guru prem rawat also firmly beleives in this. he wants us to beg to him for for our very breath!

    though sometimes i dont know who the beggar really is, me or him!
    the amount of times he’s begged us to make him rich, i’ve lost count.
    he’s a slave alright, but not to god but to money!

    funny that, prem rawat remains a slave to money and lust but he still demands we beg to him. talk of hypocrisy!

    just shows that anyone can read and memorise the scriptures, learn to talk in a certain way, wear the right image and voila – your a guru!

  16. Peaceful Warrior permalink
    October 15, 2010 4:09 pm

    @Independent Observer

    I agree that one has a choice whether to participate or not. However, it does not mean that people should not be held accountable, nor does it absolve AOL from their misdeeds.

    and btw. they make it very hard for you to make any kind of rational decision. They always say that you are making a choice, but that is an illusion. You are sleep deprived and tired, and not in any frame of mind to ruminate or think. It’s easier for you to go with the flow – and people do.

  17. Anon permalink
    October 15, 2010 11:34 pm

    @Independent Observer

    “I know for instance that the get out into the street and recruit for the part-1s as a part of the DSN course was not taken very well in the USA. Many participants protested and this process was subsequently down played and not as rigorous as it as been in other territories”.

    May be true. Instead of making people to go on the streets during DSN, they are being asked to arrange mega basic courses. After DSN the course participants are slogging out in streets recruiting people to fill Sri Sri’s coffers. A recent example is the mega basic course which came out of DSN, both taught by Sangeeta Jani in SF Bay area.

    “Lets look closely, what will happen in the worst case ? I will not be made a teacher. But, I would at least have my integrity intact.”

    Yes, definitely you can save your integrity by losing $5000, air fares, time etc.

    • Yoga permalink
      October 16, 2010 3:10 am

      There is a +ve side to DSN type courses and there is negative side to it as well. In life we can complain about everything and anything. It is so easy to do. Overall it is a good course and there is do doubt about it. Most People in my course really had fun. In my course, a lot of people were not that outgoing and don’t talk to strangers that easily. It was a great experience for such people. . Let us remember that what we learn from DSN can be used for our own advantage too. Not everyone in SFO DSN course was involved in organizing a Mega Basic course. Only 15 people were involved. Obviously the rest were not forced upon to do it. The rest can surely use DSN to their own advantage instead of (in your language) filling up AOL’s coffers.

      • Abhilash Shastry permalink
        October 16, 2010 7:51 am

        @Yoga:

        “In life we can complain about everything and anything. It is so easy to do.”

        If you are talking of absolutes, then it is true. Even the best things in life have some negative side. However, it doesn’t mean that since every action has some negative karma associated with it, nothing is ethical or unethical. If good and bad are all the same, then what are the shaastra-s for? Lies, and deception are wrong on any ethical standard.

        Saints also have some flaws and crooks also have some positive traits. Still they are not the same.

        “Overall it is a good course and there is do doubt about it. Most People in my course really had fun. ”

        Our interpretation of events changes with changed perspectives. Signs of AOL’s lies and duplicity were there, even when I was into AOL. However, I continued to swallow the explanations given by senior teachers (who probably themselves might have been unsuspecting victims of brainwashing and mind manipulation). However, once I opened up myself to the possibility that SSRS might be a crook, the cumulative weight of evidence was too much to ignore. The hold of AOL/ SSRS on my mind came collapsing like a house of cards.

        You don’t have to believe what I or anyone else says. Just consider the possibility that SSRS might be a crook. Play it as a “what-if-SSRS-were-a-conman-game” and reinterpret your experience in AOL. Then follow the evidence wherever it leads.

  18. puddin' permalink
    October 16, 2010 2:25 am

    When I recall the begging process I went through in my TTC, I realize that I put myself in real danger. A nasty man took particular interest in me and the other female I was teamed up with. He would not stop following us and kept offering his place for us to stay for the night. He even suggested which one of us could share his bed. He dropped a few coins in our cups, and then expected something in return. Thankfully we didn’t have to face this perv alone, and together, we managed to shake him.

    The fact is, unsuspecting course participants, with their heads full of this “guru’s grace” nonsense, can get themselves into any number of dangerous situations. It doesn’t surprise me that some of them got beat up recently in India (I’m referring to the link posted by @story2reality.) I wonder how the teacher managed to rationalize the incident and twist it into some karma-burning good thing. What’s it going to take to wake these people up?

  19. Doreen permalink
    October 16, 2010 2:53 am

    Do you object to the begging exercise in general (apart from AOL)?
    The fact that some people in TTC don’t want to do it but feel shy saying so?
    Or to the idea that some people doing it feel they are protected by a shield of grace and so don’t keep their wits about them, potentially putting themselves in danger?

  20. Anon permalink
    October 16, 2010 6:27 am

    @Yoga

    I am not complaining here but alerting others not to be deceived by courses like DSN whose only aim is to recruit people.

    Instead of AOL paying them for marketing, it gets paid in the form of course fee. I am surprised that Better Business Bureau is not aware of this practice.

    This course has nothing positive in it. By outgoing do you mean begging on streets for people to do part1 course. If you want to talk to strangers easily there are various avenues. Asking them to sign up for the course is not the only way to talk to a stranger. I have known several people who have taken DSN and have not found them in anyway better than others. It was not just 15 people but around 50 of them were pushed to work for this. No one can use DSN to their advantage but only to AOL’s advantage to fill its coffers.

  21. BrightFaith permalink
    October 16, 2010 12:05 pm

    @yoga:
    “In life we can complain about everything and anything. It is so easy to do.”

    Have you been talking to Ravi Shankar lately? He is focused on this blog as people simply “complaining”. At least that’s what old friends in AoL tell me.

    Q: What if someone’s complaints are legitimate?
    SriSri:
    That is how everyone feels. When they complain they feel their
    complains are completely legitimate. Wake up and see. If you see through
    knowledge, you always get what you deserve. Nature has that principle.
    …Skill is needed to acknowledge the negativity, yet not… agree with it and then to break it. And move on, feeling lighter….

    So, how do we interpret this?
    Shut up and stop complaining. Everyone thinks their complaints are legitimate but they really aren’t. If only you would wake up, you would see that your complaints aren’t legitimate. If you were skilled, you’d never have a complaint. And, my personal favorite: You get what you deserve so you should never complain about it. (huh? what if I get raped?)

    Does anyone else think this is completely nuts and manipulative?

    First of all, anyone has a right to complain to a business. That’s why customer service was invented. Any good business person knows this is actually the key to good business. People have a right to know where their hard-earned money goes. And if they can’t find out, they are going to complain and more importantly ask questions. There actually are legitimate complaints and people have a right to question. How does this guy run such a lucrative business? Well, by manipulation and brainwashing b/c it sure isn’t from good customer service.

    Second, He is playing pure mind games. He appears to want everyone to shut up and to never question. He is great, He is God, end of story. It is manipulative and a way of keeping his flock under control. One should never question the master! Even if someone is merely asking where all the money goes, he calls that a complaint. Of course it isn’t legitimate and the person is simply “not skilled” enough to see that.

    Third, this blog is not simply a bunch of whiners. Actually, this blog is not simply a complaint, but action. It’s an action taken to inform others of the harms of his con business. That’s threatening to RS because it loosens his control over his followers. People could read the blog and leave him! He can’t have that. So, best to say people are simply complaining and whining. Make them into the problem just like all cult leaders do. If you question, if you say something isn’t right here, if you have a legitimate complaint, he will find a way to manipulate it so that the other followers will think you’re the one with the problem, not him.

    And this is supposed to be an answer to someone’s question? In other words, someone came to the master, trusting him to give wisdom, and this is what they get? A manipulative answer to assure that people don’t ever question or complain. Wow, what a Guru!

    • Peaceful Warrior permalink
      October 16, 2010 2:32 pm

      So when Ravi shankar complains about police not investigating shooting properly it’s not a complaint, but when people raise questions about Art of Living it’s complaining ????

      “If you see through knowledge, you always get what you deserve” Exactly – Ravi Shankar deserves the criticism and bad reputation that is coming his way. Why is he whining ?

      Skill is needed to acknowledge the criticism – without letting guilt ruin you. But, you cannot play mind games to dissolve the “negativity” – you have to reflect, and acknowledge mistakes, make amends and then you can move on. Ravi Shankar thinks that there are no problems with his organization and it’s just people who like to complain – but that’s not how it is. His organization is rotten and has ruined many lives. Of course, RS like his mentor maharishi is not capable of such reflection – which is why any hopes of art of living reforming itself are futile. Better to leave this rotten organization before your reputation is ruined by association with this corrupt guru.

  22. Anonymous permalink
    October 16, 2010 1:16 pm

    There is no use removing doubts. If we clear one doubt, another arises, and there will be no end of doubts. All doubts will cease only when the doubter and his source have been found. Seek for the source of the doubter, and you find he is really nonexistent. Doubter ceasing, doubts will cease. – Sri Ramana Maharishi

    All that is required to realize the Self is to Be Still. What can be easier than that? – Sri Ramana Maharishi

    • Peaceful Warrior permalink
      October 16, 2010 2:37 pm

      Anon:

      Why bring the pure knowledge of ramana maharishi in this discussion. He meant it in a different context. It is okay to doubt corrupt politicians and gurus – if you don’t use critical thinking how can you diffrentiate ramana maharishis from Ravi shankars and chandraswamis of the world.

      • Original Anon permalink
        October 18, 2010 6:24 am

        I meant it in a different manner..

        First piece of knowledge… was a intended as a comparison to what Sri Sri says about doubt …according to AoL ‘s removal of doubt :- fast, pray, meditate, do more practices, (interestingly people who do more practices here are labelled as blue stars … Paramhansa Yogananda used to practice 8 hrs a day many a times.. .and this is encouraged)… Ramana Maharishi – no need to remove the doubt, just find the source of the doubter….

        . .the second piece was.. all that is needed to realize the self is to be still.. what can be simpler than that.. you don’t need to spend thousands of dollars for the same.. It requires self effort… . need not be a begging bowl…

      • Peaceful Warrior permalink
        October 18, 2010 3:35 pm

        @Original Anon

        Indeed – Your point is well taken. Also, pls. see my earlier reply below.

    • October 16, 2010 3:25 pm

      Earlier I would have accepted these words as wisdom. When you start reflecting a bit more and learn to trust your personal experience, what do these words mean?

      They are as shallow or profound as a child muttering statements. Its your trust and devotion towards the person that makes them profound and nothing else.

      • Peaceful Warrior permalink
        October 16, 2010 6:13 pm

        The way ramana means it and way RS uses knowledge is very different.

        What ramana means is that even if a guru or perceptor were to answer all your questions – you will not necessarily see the divine presence. For that you have to go deep on your own.

        The way RS means is that ignore all your doubts about me surrender to me. There is a world of difference between the two. And btw. RS is not really known for settling doubts about him by giving direct replies – giving evasive answers is more his thing. No wonder people don’t take his answers as genuine.

    • AnotherAnon permalink
      October 16, 2010 6:28 pm

      @Anon,

      You are just finding a justification for yourself to ignore the valid questions here. Doubt is one thing, critical thinking is something else.

      “Yukti yuktam upadeyam vachanam balakadave” .. Even if a child explains something with enough ‘yukti’ in it, you should accept that.

      • OriginalAnon aka SCS-Sincere_Confused_Seeker permalink
        October 18, 2010 10:45 am

        How do you know I have ignored it?Are you some enlightened soul. I have been reading this blog thrice a day for the last 4 months and I do acknowledge the issues raised in the Prosecutor post.. I do agree that something is indeed grey somewhere… but I do feel the truth lies somewhere between the fanatical aol devotees and over cynical anti devotees… I do have my respects for SW, PW, Prosecutor, Doc, Doreen, Sincere Seeker and the other balanced posts on this blog.. We have to hit the truth… And we have to search for it together… This will happen when we post our true experiences(good or bad) .. only then can we really judge….. Some of the posts that I liked were “The Prosecutor”, A letter of concern, life after leaving aol, many moreetc but some posts are overly cynical like reverse-sucking of energy by the Guru, comparing AoL to friday night parties/drug addiction, calling aol a cult etc …. Many comments are very over cynical.. yes the aol devotees also respond in no dignified manner… But probably they don’t have info abt what is going on…

        Frankly speaking I haven’t seen violence in Art of Living… at least no extreme physical violence … yes though I have seen sexual gestures/molesters being ignored… I have seen ppl sleeping around become adv course teachers….. but there is no underworld type of violence.. There is touching, no talk about controlling the senses, etc.. divorces because of aol n all… but still its not as bad as Osho.. who totally disregards the concepts of families… It is not violent enough to be a cult..

        AoL did bring about a discipline in my life.. It brought about a regularity in my practices… Seva did increase my confidence, clarity and sense of commitment.. yes I did mess up my career a bit, I feel it was because of my own mistakes rather than Art of Living or Sri Sri Ravi Shankar….. the issue out here is that many people out there do need spiritual practices … there are people who are stressed and there are people who need yogic practices… Art of Living is the one of the few organizations who reaches out to them.. The benefit I feel Sudarshan Kriya gives is it enables people to close their eyes and meditate.. it helps people who cannot sit still and are totally new to meditation..the mind is restless.. okay so the Guru says you count your breath…. Many people have been transformed for the better .. yes on the other hand I have seen people who have been in the organization for quite some time behave like brain dead zombies too … and they don’t seem enlightened either…

        What I wonder is why do we feel good when we do Seva?
        When I first was asked to distribute pamphlets after my first advance course, I was very shy, but some nice lady asked me to speak out to people while distributing pamphlets ..I did.. Though I personally could not enroll anyone … but the entire two three days of distributing pamphlets was very blissful, it really opened something up in me.. my confidence improved so much…

        But somewhere I also feel betrayed and cheated.. I do not like Narsimhan… I do not like his nephews.. BhanuDi is fine .. but seems a bit dumb… I do not like few of the Swamis and Rishis (the others I dont know very well) ….. Some senior teachers one does tend to like.. but when they come into their I-am-superior-to-you behavior then they do piss me off.. there are people you like at first but when they behave in their over fanatic manner they piss you off… but you still like them .. you hate their behavior … that irritates you… but you still like them.. one wonders is something wrong with me.. does my devotion lack somewhere….. I hate people doing ooooooooooooo…Guruuuuuuuuujiiiiiiiiiii,…. thats fine… they dont stop at that.. even senior teachers …… oooooooooooo … (B&D/Swamijiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii/Rishiiiji/Atikadiiiiiii/SJ/MG/AR…etc etc ) …………………… Honestly I hate it…. And thats why I love this blog.. coz I thought there was some problem in me… some ego problem which did not make me like the over fanatical devotion to Guruji….

        But still the truth is that I did feel intense love for Guruji after my first advance course.. the truth is that a drop or two of tears do well up in my eyes when seeing Guruji after a long time…. all the charges in the prosecutor seem logical… but why does one feel this love?

        But then again I do feel that somewhere I have benefited and somewhere I have suffered too…. Though the suffering can be attributed to my own short comings too…

        Question in my mind is .. is it possible Maharishi was a genuine descendant of Swami Bhramanand Saraswati? And Sri Sri is actually carrying out the tradition of Swami Bhramanand Saraswati(Jyotirmath) …. One thing I remember is that Swami Bhramanand Saraswati used to say that one should never copy or behave like your Guru. . but what happens in Art of Living is quite opposite of that… people seem to just grow long beard and hair and copy Sri Sri Ravi Shankar… But our judgement cannot be based on zombie-devotees…

        The truth is the knowledge sheets also were quite helpful in developing a clear understanding.. but then again the zombie like devotion to knowledge sheets can be harmful(open the page and it will be the one you require- which i have observed may not always be true). This zombie-devotion can send somebody in the wrong direction….

        The truth is I am not able to accept the superiority of the I-am-superior-than-you type of teachers.. but is this my ego? what is this? This does create in me a desire to defeat these teachers in organizing courses….. The truth is I do not like these Swamis/Rishis and the truth is that I do want to defeat them in their game… that’s the reason I do want to still organize courses and beat them in their numbers game… there is no other reason why I want to organize courses just want to quit this organization as a winner.. not as a loser….

        The truth is one does enjoy organizing the courses…. knowledge sheet did help… My relationships with parents did improve after going through the Yes!+ course.. Family life has improved over the period of years… Though they are still waiting for me to settle down( I am a full time teacher btw… ) and I am also waiting for the same…

        Yes in between I felt deserted by Guruji and the Art of Living, I do think that Guruji does not care personally for you as many people think he does, but I do feel that for “humanity-as-a-whole” he does care.. I do feel he is concerned about the growing Maoist situation in the country .. he is concerned about reviving the lost Vedic traditions… he does seem concerned about war in Iraq, civilians being killed in Sri Lanka…. yes he may not be concerned about my career and my goals in life and my relationships (And I do feel cheated for that .. because I thought he did care for that too, or probably he does care and I cant see it.. …probably I need to take responsibility for my career and not leave it up to anyone else.. It seems an uphill task from here though to get my career back on track.. but I still feel its more because of my shortcomings than anything to do with AoL)

        But again somewhere I feel some many comments are wrong.. for example somebody commented once that he never asks women with rich husband to separate because he has his eyes on their money .. I personally know one lady whom he did ask to separate and her husband was filthy rich .. rich to the heights of being in Forbes Magazine… I have heard that he turned down donations from Vijay Mallaya for the ashram which he said will be built by the people so that they can feel belongingness to the ashram.. I have heard that he has turned down huge donations and lovingly accepted small hundred rupee donations with his own hands …

        Yes I have gone through the Buddha process and unlike others in my group who felt Guruji’s grace etc.. I was just waiting for the process to get over.. though I did feel more strong.. but Guruji’s grace no… I saw people getting beaten up .. I saw people(participants) getting arrested.. I saw people getting mobbed…. But the truth is that I did benefit…. I felt stronger…

        Honestly in my 9 years of Art of Living I may not have really experienced something called Guru Grace.. but the truth is I sincerely felt Guru’s Love.

        I am at a junction here in my life.. where I feel I may say goodbye to AoL and hop on to some other path(probably SRF or YSS i dunno).. or I may continue here.. I honestly don’t know… waiting for the clouds to clear and the truth to shine through… I am looking around for jobs too.. I am feeling a little disappointed more with myself than anybody else.. and yes I am also hoping that somewhere something will shine through.. somewhere somebody will correct him/her self… maybe me maybe art of living….. somewhere I hope something shall go right…

        My only appeal is that let our criticism be the truth… not opinions but the truth… our true experiences … that will be of real help.. otherwise such blogs can really be a waste of time and can also mess up people as bad as any cult can do… This also applies to the random comments that keep popping up here and there…

        Would like to sign off by saying that this blog did help clear some clouds…. though some over cynical posts do irritate you… as much as zombie-devotees

        SCS-Sincere-Confused-Seeker

      • Chiranjeevi permalink
        October 20, 2010 3:58 pm

        “I have heard that he turned down donations from Vijay Mallaya for the ashram which he said will be built by the people so that they can feel belongingness to the ashram.”

        This is absolutely bogus. Sri Sri courted vijay mallya very badly. This was in 2002-03. Mallya wanted to try his hand in politics. He went about touring all the religious heads and he got hold of sri sri. After some initial media bilitz and a few satsangs later Mallya realizd clearly that Sri Sri is useless. He dumped him very badly especially after he lost elections. Sri Sri and his people desperately tried for almost one year to get in touch with Mallya and get into his good books. Mallya was too busy to even care for Sri sri with his nely launced kingfisher airlines. Sri Sri claiming that he has turned down donations from mallya is a story of fox and sour grapes.

        This story and Sri Sri lobbying for Mallaya’s attention is well known among several UB employees of mallya.

  23. The Doctor permalink
    October 16, 2010 4:37 pm

    @Yoga,

    Doc – I like many of your posts which are fair and balanced. But this post is an example of reading too much into nothing!!!

    You are right in one respect – just from reading this post alone is not enough to arrive at the conclusion I stated above.

    However when you look at it in the context of everything else surrounding “Guru’s Grace” it makes perfect sense. Once you get to a certain stage in AoL, you start to believe that “Guru’s grace” is responsible for all the good things happening in your life, and is protecting you from harm and evil. In this case, you are led to believe that Guru’s Grace will protect you from coming to any harm from even the law.

  24. October 16, 2010 5:43 pm

    as for why cults like AOL make you sleep deprived ..check this out..

    btw I am a former AOL-er..what a mistake..

    • October 16, 2010 7:26 pm

      You run a cool blog, NN. How on earth did you end up in AOL?

      • The Doctor permalink
        October 16, 2010 11:48 pm

        Ahem – same question right back at you 😉

    • goneagain permalink
      October 16, 2010 9:25 pm

      @NN

      Love hear your experience with AOL.

  25. Sincere Seeker permalink
    October 16, 2010 7:41 pm

    Preferred seating 🙂
    As you know AoL charges for preferred seating at Navratri under the cover of ‘Sankalpa’ (for getting blessings). For Chandi homa it is somewhere in the range of Rs90,000.

    Now we have the 30th anniversary celebrations coming up next year.
    Chennai will host a ‘Naadha Vaibhavam’ with 5000 carnatic musicians on stage to break yet another Genius Book world record.
    100 lucky souls will get preferred seating on stage next to Guruji and VIPs.
    Price tag: Rs 100,000.
    How spiritual! Makes me feel sick.
    Of course it’s a fund raiser for SSRVM – but who’s going to check on where the money goes, and we all know how transparent AoL/VVMs accounting is. Has any 3rd party really checked on all these service projects?
    But then again we are so busy catching bigger crooks in India.

    • goneagain permalink
      October 16, 2010 9:32 pm

      @Sincere Seeker

      Bigger crooks never caught in India only small time crooks are caught. Bigger ones always escape any problems with law. No wonder RaviRavi is able to command people with his influence in every field of course including politicians.

  26. anon1 permalink
    October 17, 2010 2:02 pm

    brightfaith “…..So, how do we interpret this?
    Shut up and stop complaining”

    thankyou for your wise insights, i cant tell you how similar my ex guru (prem rawat) and yours seems to be. my ex guru would often use these very tactics to shut people up. for instance when faced with some abuse in the organisation perpertrated by his “mahatmas”, prem rawat would say no more to the victim of his “mahatmas” that “it was your karma” and to get over it and live in the present moment!

    so no matter what ever the crime perpetuated on the victim, you’d get the same line. unfortuanately there were many innocent victims of sexual crimes in this way done by rawat’s own people.

  27. Peaceful Warrior permalink
    October 18, 2010 4:06 pm

    @sincere confused seeker

    great post – Your sincerity and earnestness is very touching.

    My two cents on this – There is no easy way. One has to process the knowledge inside one’s head (and in books) by examining at it critically – even if it comes from an ecclesiastical authority – and if one’s guru is a crook one has to accept it, even if it is an unpleasant truth.

    In case of AOL wisdom is bundled together with toxic garbage. It’s too easy to be lazy and not examine the teacher’s words. Many people who have good experience with Part 1 and Part 2 fall completely for all other AOL bullshit.

    For me the silver lining is knowing what not to do. AOL is full of so many fallen yogis (just to use the expression – they never made it in the first place) and seekers and I am only too aware of the many subtle spiritual traps that can bind a person.

    About SSRS and MMY being gurudev’s successors – they are self appointed successors. They use the lineage thing when it’s convenient but they don’t follow tradition when it becomes inconvenient for them. Gurudev placed emphasis on teacher being shrotriya – i.e the teaching should be the traditional advaita teaching and not what comes to one’s mind. He also had high standards of integrity and ethics – which is why he was highly revered amongst his peers. MMY and RS do not have peer respect – that ought to be a big red flag for everyone.

  28. October 18, 2010 6:16 pm

    @ OriginalAnon aka SCS-Sincere_Confused_Seeker

    Well written dear. I hope your comment be posted as a seperate post. It deserves a dedicated place of its own.

    I appreciate your way that you went through entire blog and then wrote this genuine experience which is your very own and not tainted with any other posts or comments on this blog. And you dint jump of to any conclusion.

    I wont give you any advice as i already notice you are on your own to find it. And i am sure you will succeed. You seem to be quite wise. At the moment your state is exactly the way what KLIM had. Your way is just like the one who wish to heal and wants to make sense of all what you experienced during your time with AOL.

    Yes the goodness you experienced in AOL is not all fake. it is like 30% self interest mixed with 70% eternal truth of scriptures.

    I would like to repeat the words of Peaceful Warrior:

    “One thing that i miss the most of my AOL days is the company of good people. It is rare to find a company of good people in this world and there is no dearth of good people in AOL.”

  29. Abhilash Shastry permalink
    October 19, 2010 11:47 am

    @ OriginalAnon aka SCS-Sincere_Confused_Seeker

    Your letter has come straight out of your heart. I can very well understand and empathize with your situation because I have also gone through what you are experiencing now. I have quoted below some of the specific points of your post that I wanted to reply.

    ### Frankly speaking I haven’t seen violence in Art of Living… at least no extreme physical violence … yes though I have seen sexual gestures/molesters being ignored… I have seen ppl sleeping around become adv course teachers….. but there is no underworld type of violence.. There is touching, no talk about controlling the senses, etc.. divorces because of aol n all… but still its not as bad as Osho.. who totally disregards the concepts of families… It is not violent enough to be a cult.###

    Violence is not a precondition for being a Cult. There are many cults which are not violent. I encourage you to read the recommended books (link on the right side of this page) or visit
    http://www.freedomofmind.com/resourcecenter/faq/
    for a quick overview of cult characteristics. You will realize that “Art of Living” is a classic text book case of a cult.

    Every cult has a unique Achilles Heel. In case of Osho, it was Sex. In case of SSRS, it is money and fame.

    ###.. yes I did mess up my career a bit, I feel it was because of my own mistakes rather than Art of Living or Sri Sri Ravi Shankar….###

    Since you are still a full time AOL teacher, how many time have you believed or have been led to believe that whatever good comes to your life has been due to the grace of the guru? I will give you one example. I work for the government where promotions are strictly as per seniority. I was expecting my promotion as per my seniority. By coincidence, my promotion came immediately after my advance course. My teacher publicized it big time as guru’s grace materializing, disregarding my feeble protests that it was a simple case of promotion as per my seniority. I am sure, you also can relate many such examples. This type of magical thinking is actively promoted in AOL.

    The point is if the credit of good things happening goes to the guru, why not the same for the setbacks also? Why is it that all the good that happens is due to guru’s grace and but whatever bad happens is due to devotee’s fault?

    ###… the issue out here is that many people out there do need spiritual practices … there are people who are stressed and there are people who need yogic practices… Art of Living is the one of the few organizations who reaches out to them.###

    Art of Living targets to a very specific segment of the population- Urban, rich and culturally alienated group. It understands its market quite well and has been able to craft its message in perfect fit with this group. That’s it. Full points to their marketing team.

    ###The benefit I feel Sudarshan Kriya gives is it enables people to close their eyes and meditate.. it helps people who cannot sit still and are totally new to meditation..the mind is restless.. okay so the Guru says you count your breath…. Many people have been transformed for the better ..###

    Art of Living offers instant spirituality. It gives you a spirituality, where you do not have to make any fundamental changes in your actions or behavior. Overt promise is simple -Give half an hour of your time daily and you are set for an express journey towards enlightenment. It is a very seductive promise and when you are time constrained, it is hard not to get hooked.

    ###What I wonder is why do we feel good when we do Seva? ###

    We feel good because we are human beings. We want our lives to be meaningful. It does not have anything to do with AOL. It is the goodness of your own heart.

    ###But somewhere I also feel betrayed and cheated.. I do not like Narsimhan… I do not like his nephews.. BhanuDi is fine .. but seems a bit dumb… I do not like few of the Swamis and Rishis (the others I dont know very well) ….. Some senior teachers one does tend to like.. but when they come into their I-am-superior-to-you behavior then they do piss me off..
    But still the truth is that I did feel intense love for Guruji after my first advance course.. the truth is that a drop or two of tears do well up in my eyes when seeing Guruji after a long time…. all the charges in the prosecutor seem logical… but why does one feel this love?###

    This is exactly the phase I passed through. I did not realize it then but over the time, my emotional investment in SSRS had grown so much that it was difficult to accept that I had been conned. I kept shifting the blame from this person to that person and kept hoping against hope that SSRS was above board. Alas! It was not true.

    You may not like Narsimhan or his sons, but they are small fries. You were not conned by them. You did not buy the promise of salvation or the dream of saving the humanity from Narsimhan and his ilk. It was SSRS who sold you this idea.

    There is no freedom from the clutches of AOL cult unless you realize who is the real crook.

    ###Question in my mind is .. is it possible Maharishi was a genuine descendant of Swami Bhramanand Saraswati? And Sri Sri is actually carrying out the tradition of Swami Bhramanand Saraswati(Jyotirmath).###

    Brahmananda Saraswati was a traditional scholar of Vedanta. He never gave any legitimacy to Mahesh Yogi. A detailed interview with him is available at :
    http://minet.org/Documents/shank-4
    (last part of the URL changes from /shank-1 to /shank-5).

    It is a long interview but worth reading. Here is what Brhamanada Saraswati had to say about MMY:

    (Quote)

    Shankaracharya: Only he can dispel darkness who does not want anything.
    Only such a person can drive people out of darkness to light. But
    he himself (Mahesh) is in darkness.

    We want that people like you (interviewer) should tell others that he does not know
    anything about yoga. Neither he is serving American people nor Indian
    people.

    (Unquote)

    ###.. One thing I remember is that Swami Bhramanand Saraswati used to say that one should never copy or behave like your Guru.
    but what happens in Art of Living is quite opposite of that… people seem to just grow long beard and hair and copy Sri Sri Ravi Shanka…###

    It is in fact one of the warning signs of a destructive cult:

    http://www.freedomofmind.com/resourcecenter/help/someoneelse/concern.htm

    ### I do think that Guruji does not care personally for you as many people think he does, but I do feel that for “humanity-as-a-whole” he does care.. I do feel he is concerned about the growing Maoist situation in the country .. he is concerned about reviving the lost Vedic traditions… he does seem concerned about war in Iraq, civilians being killed in Sri Lanka….###

    If he really feels concerned about any of these things, the commitment would show – not in photo sessions or occasional sound bytes but in sustained effort. Where is the sustained effort to engage with any of these?

    If you want to know what qualifies as a sustained effort, just look at his NPP lobbying. By all means, it was a very sustained effort, across the entire organization, across 151 countries and his 30 million or 300 million or whatever followers. The commitment of the organization toward this goal was very visible.

    Have you seen a similar type of commitment of AOL toward any of the other problems that you mentioned?

    ###… I have heard that he turned down donations from Vijay Mallaya for the ashram which he said will be built by the people so that they can feel belongingness to the ashram.. I have heard that he has turned down huge donations and lovingly accepted small hundred rupee donations with his own hands …###

    Funny that you mention it.

    Because I had also heard the same story during my advance course. Only difference is that at that time Vijay Mallya was not yet in AOL. At that time it was some “unnamed rich devotee” who wanted to sponsor the construction of Sumeru but was prevented from doing so by the compassion of SSRS for the lesser folks like me.

    See – the master even fights with his super- rich devotees on behalf of the not-so-rich devotees to protect the latter’s right to donate! Can anyone now say that the master doesn’t look after the interests of his devotees?

    ###I am at a junction here in my life.. where I feel I may say goodbye to AoL and hop on to some other path(probably SRF or YSS i dunno).. ###

    I do not know about SRF, but by YSS if you actually meant SSY, then you are in for a trouble. SSY is run by another of MMY’s disciples and is no better than AOL.

    ###.. or I may continue here.. I honestly don’t know…###

    I can understand.

    Leaving a cult like AOL is not easy. Esp. when you have been into it for 9 years! The time investment, effort investment, money investment and above all emotional investment becomes so huge that you feel lost out of the cult. It becomes all the more difficult for a teacher who has been organizing courses and teaching people and persuading others how wonderful this course is. Admitting that I was wrong is the ultimate test of ego denial.

  30. Doreen permalink
    October 19, 2010 12:02 pm

    @OriginalAnon aka SCS-Sincere_Confused_Seeker

    Being a full-time teacher – having your professional, social, spiritual, and financial lives all hooked into a single organization – can be very limiting. (I say this from observation, not from firsthand experience)

    You may want to think about quietly shifting out of a full-time teaching role and developing other areas of your life – develop your career, spend time with your family and with friends whose company you enjoy. You could still teach part-time if you like. It will enable you to take a few steps step back from AOL, re-asses, and then pick-and-choose which parts of AOL really benefit your life. It may help you find the balance and clarity you’re look for.

    All the best
    Doreen

  31. freedom permalink
    October 20, 2010 5:15 am

    @OriginalAnon aka SCS-Sincere_Confused_Seeker:

    The only times I thought I felt some grace or love from SSRS is during the advanced course when were brainwashed to get into that devotional fervour and mood. I think the so-called grace or love I felt was simply a result of this fervour.

    Coming to think of it, I didn’t really feel any love or grace from SSRS himself. It was the love and support of the fellow participants.

    I never really felt any sincere grace or love from him or the senior teachers. Some of the basic and adv teachers were good people, but the so-called guru’s grace… I don’t know what that is. When he says ‘I am always here for you’, to me that is hot air because he is not there for you, it is illusion and brainwashing.

    Hey, my old grandmother is far more sincere, when she says she is there for me, she is really there to support and advise. No need to say she loves me, I can see it in her smile and in her behaviour. Those are sincere and true people. Aol is not. It is a spiritual and religious business, nothing more.

  32. Original Anon - Sincere Confused Seeker permalink
    October 20, 2010 8:03 am

    @ Doreen & Prosecutor & Peaceful Warrior…. Thank you for your replies. Your words give me a lot of clarity.. And thankfully a job has just come up today just before I write this comment also have applied to few government jobs. I hope God willing it materializes :). Your grace and wishes has I think shone through :).

    @Abhilash… By YSS(Yogada Satsang Society) & SRF(Self Realization Fellowship) both I mean Paramhansa Yogananda…. Though I have put it on hold(its on hold)… I have decided to stick to the asanas I do, fortunately I learnt a lot of yoga from my father too who incidentally turn learnt it from the RSS(free of cost) . And in addition to that I have decided to stick to the practices from AoL, though yes I have decided no more Advance Courses or any other Courses for now. All focus is on getting a job, earning money and clearing my head of everything, including AoL. I have overall decided to give the Art of Living Techniques Only another chance…. Coz I feel the techniques do work.

    In my heart & mind the court case is still on, so I have not really passed a judgement on Sri Sri and the AoL, though atleast the AoL zombie devotees as of now have been held guilty on a few counts such as deifying the Guru etc. Rest assured the law would take its course and truth will come forth and shine.

    Regarding the interview with Bhramanand Saraswati.. I think there is a mistake because when Bhramanand Saraswati passed away Maharishi was just a secretary then. He had not started the TM movement. I think the interview is of the current Shankaracharya of Jyotirmath. And I suppose there are two Shankaracharyas of Jyotirmath as of now… The post itself is disputed. So I dont know even if this Shankaracharya is a real Shankaracharya.

    But never-the-less this does not make Maharishi any less guilty nor more guilty than he is…

    I think we still need to do a little more investigation… and gather more evidence.. my appeal to people who are reading this and have had bad or good experiences with TM or Art of Living, especially Seva projects to come forward so all these financial issues at least can be sorted out. Individual misbehaviors can be difficult to prove and we do need to give some room for mistakes for everyone.. everyone is entitled to some mistakes provided they learn a lesson and improve upon it…

    There are some good things that I learnt from Sri Sri Ravi Shankar(Knowledge Sheets/Ashtavakra Geeta/ Patanjali Yoga Sutras/ Narada Bhakti Sutras/ Basic Course and Yes!+ points), But again not all his words are magic, the ones he speaks directly from the scriptures hold weight, but when he gives explanations they can be a bit heavy and boring.

    1) The importance of honoring the practices(Patanjali Yoga Sutras)

    2) Being regular with the practice( Patanjali Yoga Sutras)

    3) The power of prayer:- not just to the Guru, , I had to pray to either Lord Hanuman, Devi or Shiva or chant mantras to get my prayers working for me. But yes I found that regular prayers do work. But yes I had to learn prayers from Google, coz I simply as of now and could never afford the Guru Puja Course.

    4) The importance of being sensitive(Knowledge Sheets), I was already a very sensitive person(as in moody) before the course, but yes developing sensitivity to how others are feeling. I became more sensitive & aware to the fact that there are people in this world who are underprivileged and poor, I became sensitive to the fact that there are people who may need my help in this world.

    5) His daily sutras on relationships plus Narada Bhakti Sutras were also very helpful. They have actually helped me. I realized the importance of Love and Respect and balancing the same.

    6) I was never a respectful( I was a loving though but not very respectful) child to my parents, though yes after 9 years of being into Art of Living I also started touching the feet of my parents (as a part of our Hindu customs), showing respect to them). So in some ways Art of Living or Sri Sri Ravishankar did bring about a goodness in me. Though this is also because I had to stay away from my parents for a long time, therefore my love and respect for them did increase a lot.

    7) Restless, negative tendencies such as lust and anger did decrease with regular practice and yes over all I did benefit from the Sadhana, though some exhilarating claims by Anand Rajendran that the joy derived from Padma Sadhana is much more than the even the advance asanas of Yoga, is false. If you practice asanas such as Sirsana( Head Stand) etc, you feel a great joy immediately after the asana. Infact I find Asanas and normal meditation(I learnt to meditate before coming into Art of Living from a book- 4got the name of the same though) also equally beneficial as Sudarshan Kriya and Padma Sadhana if not more.

    8) I did meet many good people, my world(number of friends) did expand.

    9) Seva(Inclusive of the process of enrolling people) did make me strong and increase my confidence. Though I was never that good in enrolling people.

    10 Guruji does speak like an enlightened master, at least the knowledge he gives regarding some points is indeed pretty good. He is indeed spontaneous many a times.

    11)There are some experiences of people which indeed come across as miraculous, I did come across some experiences as amazing such as the experience of Dushyant Savadia an international art of living teacher who from his own mouth said that Guruji had brought him back from the dead. Was he lying? I dont know? This happened in Chennai in the year 2000, I don’t remember the hospital. To do miracles such as stopping the rain, fragrances etc can be done through Siddhis, but can a person be brought back from the dead by a Yogi who is not enlightened? I don’t know. Are these stories kind of make me hold back at least to the practices. If somebody is in Chennai, they could help in verifying this story, coz I heard the entire hospital knew about it.

    http://dushyantsavadia.net/

    12) I have enjoyed the Satsangs and the Bhajans (they are one big reason I still hold back here)

    The negatives of being in Art of Living were

    Too much politics/game play/show off/

    …….And Very little real Seva activities happening atleast in the Metropolitan Area. most of the art of living activities in cities are get togethers, going out for movies etc, not even that much campaigning, used to happen. Everyone wanted to be coordinator or some-nice sounding-name-kind-of-post and very few really wanted to do any ground work. But yes there were these few people who wanted to do some real ground work.

    There is no structured knowledge sessions. Every teacher(mostly senior teachers) has his/her own bits to add in their knowledge session. Worst is everyone has some knowledge to preach be it volunteers or teacher they want to preach something to someone.

    Senior teachers seem arrogant
    I once witnessed a very senior rock star teacher making fun of a elderly woman who had hurt herself on her feet. Rather than taking initiative and helping her out, he was laughing and saying “Achha hua, Karm kat gaye” (“Good that you got hurt here in the ashram, your Karmas have been reduced”). I was running like frantic trying to get a chair for the lady and here this senior teacher was making fun of her. Honestly my blood boils when I see volunteers and teachers running around these senior teachers( Oooohhhhhh [Senior Teacher’s Name]……….. and buttering them up. I honestly don;t care even if you have organized a billion courses(assuming that you have done some great work) if you don’t have the basic manners to speak to a person elder than you. Yes though I do forgive you and give you the room to improve.

    Guruji is unneccessarily deifyed.. Even worse even the senior teachers are being deifyed.
    Trying to Krishnize Guruji is I feel a pathetic attempt by ashramites & devotees to Gopi-ize themselves. I can still consider him as enlightened but not as Krishna. Do you have such an identity crisis that you need to identify with Krishna???? Can you not leave Krishna alone.

    So the fight is still on.. and i have not given any decisions yet in my mind, I still will not immediately assume any one guilty even Guruji.

    Regarding the NPP, during 2006 around silver jubilee time, yes there was a campaign, but I dont know whether there was an official campaign or not. I do not know about the lobbying so I cannot comment on that.

    Regarding Grace stories ( regd ur promotion) being forced upon me hasn’t been my experience though there may have been subtle suggestions sometimes somewhere.

    This blog is a good blog and my appeal to art of living is to welcome this blog into their fold, at least it will provide for self introspection and not attack it like they tried to do in the past, which was I feel a very pathetic attempt. As prosecutor said not everything in Art of Living is wrong and neither is everything right.

    • Doreen permalink
      October 20, 2010 2:49 pm

      @Original Anon – Sincere Confused Seeker

      Please don’t attribute “grace” to any of us for that is a loaded word on this blog 😉
      Let’s call it good wishes and leave it at that. 🙂

  33. Abhilash Shastry permalink
    October 22, 2010 4:24 pm

    ###There are some experiences of people which indeed come across as miraculous, I did come across some experiences as amazing such as the experience of Dushyant Savadia an international art of living teacher who from his own mouth said that Guruji had brought him back from the dead. Was he lying? I dont know?###

    @Original Anon – Sincere Confused Seeker:

    I have heard a story.

    +++++

    A swamiji was once telling about miraculous powers of prayer. He told about a man who whose wife had died giving birth to a child. Now the little child was crying for milk. But the mother was dead and the man was too poor to buy milk. So he started praying to God. And lo and behold! Milk started flowing from man’s nipples!!

    Now one of the devotees raised a doubt. “swamiji, instead of producing milk from a man’s nipples, wouldn’t it have been easier for God to produce some money and give it to the man to buy some milk?” Swamiji replied, “your doubt is well taken. But don’t forget that in today’s world it is more difficult even for God to produce money out of thin air than producing milk from a man’s nipples.”

    +++++

    SSRS has said many times that he charges high fees for his courses because charity can’t be done on an empty bowl. I wonder given all his siddhis why can’t he simply produce money out of thin air? Why does he need to charge for courses? It looks like in today’s world it is easier for a godman to revive a dead man than producing some money out of thin air.

    Your question about why Dushyant Savadia claims that he was revived from death by Guruji can be replied in many ways. May be he was not actually dead and thus when he regained his consciousness he thought it was Guru’s grace. But most likely, he is simply lying. There are many such innocent liars in AOL. Their only reason for lying about outlandish miracles of Guruji is to show others that they are somehow special to have received such grace from Guruji.

    Do you know that a few years back Guruji had invoked Goddess Durga in flesh and blood in B’lore Ashram? If you doubt my words, I have witnesses. Bawa and his father Yezdi saw it through their own eyes. Convinced?

    ###There are some good things that I learnt from Sri Sri Ravi Shankar(Knowledge Sheets/Ashtavakra Geeta/ Patanjali Yoga Sutras/ Narada Bhakti Sutras/ Basic Course and Yes!+ points)###

    If Gyan Yoga appeals to you, I suggest that you try any traditional teacher of Vedanta. You will not be disappointed. Shringeri and Kanchi Mutt are good places to start but both are quite orthodox. Adhyatmaprakasha Karyalaya of Holenarsipur is also a very respected name in traditional circles. R.K.Mission is an umbrella organization but quality of teachers varies. Chinmaya Mission is also good, though they teach a diluted version of Vedanta. In North India, Kailash ashram of Rishikesh is known for its traditional teaching. Almost all teachers from Arsha Vidya Gurukulam (Coimbatore) are generally safe bets.

    • Original Anon - Sincere Confused Seeker permalink
      October 23, 2010 10:14 am

      Thanks Abhiliash…

      Is Sanskrit prior knowledge of Sanskrit or being a Bhramin necessary to learn in the Mutts?

      Regarding Dushyant Savadia.. he is an international teacher and had been declared dead by the doctors in a hospital in Chennai. I dont think he was lying though.. Didn’t seem like a lier … nor did he seem like a role mode either … he did not seem like the person one wanted to be like and moreover he looked pretty dead anyway ;)… dark circles around eyes etc… …. But whatever the case .. does not matter now… As of now AoL is in the freezer mode, genuine or not ….. I have to take time of it anyway.. so will focus on the day to day life…

      Regarding Maa Durga being manifested in flesh and blood.. I have no idea… never heard about this.. Even if she did manifest in flesh and blood that doesn’t mean anything .. This is not a sign of enlightenment anyway..this is a sign of power and purity though .. Goddess Durga signifies Power and Purity. One of my classmates Mother in school had witnessed Goddess Kali in flesh and blood .. she fainted there and then on the Darshan.. but that does not mean she is enlightened…But anyway I am surely not going to ask The Batliwalas to verify this statement… Just let it be .. They seem quite arrogant.. atleast the junior batliwala does…

      Take care now…
      And thanks a lot for the info on Vedanta Learning centers… Will surely like to attend classes out here… 🙂

      • Abhilash Shastry permalink
        October 23, 2010 12:06 pm

        ###Is Sanskrit prior knowledge of Sanskrit or being a Bhramin necessary to learn in the Mutts?###

        Being a Brahmin would not be a constraint unless you want to take up formal sannyasa. Prior knowledge of Sanskrit is essential if you want to start from a Mutt.

        For any serious pursuit of Vedanta, knowledge of Sanskrit is essential. However, in the initial stages, you can certainly do without any knowledge of Sanskrit. If you do not have any background of Sanskrit, then Arsha Vidya Gurukulam would be a good choice. All the best.

  34. harshal permalink
    October 22, 2010 5:45 pm

    Shastry: be careful, you are accusing someone of lying on a public forum. As per doctors post it can amount to defamation and you could be taken to court.

    PS: your indulgence in spiritual shoplifting is appalling…

    • Barbarika permalink
      October 23, 2010 1:44 am

      @Harshal: Shastry: be careful, you are accusing someone of lying on a public forum. As per doctors post it can amount to defamation and you could be taken to court.

      Thats great Zombie talk. Come on sue Shastry or anyone else on this (I assume you mean: claim of reviving the dead by supercon Ravi&Company). Thats will be the 21st century version of Scopes Monkey trial. By the way how much Ravi charges for revival of dead?

    • goneagain permalink
      October 25, 2010 1:14 am

      @Harshal

      “PS: your indulgence in spiritual shoplifting is appalling…”

      You seem to refer your Guru here. Not only he shoplifted he is also selling the stolen stuff. That is double crime.

  35. harshal permalink
    October 22, 2010 5:56 pm

    Shastry had his days with AOL…he accepts that he used to fight with people….no wonder he was thrown out!
    …………….
    Abhilash Shastry says:
    June 10, 2010 at 10:22 am
    Bau: How should we respond to something patently malicious? Sometime back, I had a heated argument with one gentleman who suggested that you and Dinesh bhaiyya are in a gay relationship. We almost came to blows. Is it OK to feel outraged on such occasions?
    JGD
    Reply
    Bawa says:
    June 12, 2010 at 9:50 am
    What difference does it make to anyone what relationship anyone has with anyone?
    You should simply laugh and move on
    Please never waste your anger on stuff like this… Use it for big things, to protect the environment, to make people responsible etc

    • Abhilash Shastry permalink
      October 22, 2010 10:22 pm

      @Harshal: Yes. There was a time when I used to fight for AOL. But this was not one. This was more of a tongue in cheek remark similar to what you make here.

    • Peaceful Warrior permalink
      October 22, 2010 10:40 pm

      “What difference does it make to anyone what relationship anyone has with anyone?
      You should simply laugh and move on”

      Why does your friend get angry when bau is referred to as gay. There is nothing wrong being gay.
      It’s your own intolerance.

      Coming to the point – one’s private life is private and indeed it does not matter – except when you are claiming to be celibate (when you are not) and telling people to be celibate. The point is not about them being gay or straight – the point is about them being hypocrites.

  36. harshal permalink
    October 22, 2010 10:45 pm

    @shastry: thanks for answering. One more question…Why is it that when I google your name , I see you arguing on every-other Indian blog?

    • Abhilash Shastry permalink
      October 23, 2010 11:49 am

      Because I have patented my name on cyber space (just like SK). So no one else can use it. Try it yourself. You will get a legal notice from cyber police.

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