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The game of specialness in AOL

October 21, 2010

Ronin permalink October 12, 2010 6:25 pm

Dear Freeagain,

First thank you for sharing your story and welcome back. Welcome to being you again. If we were to share like this on TTC we would have gotten the full brunt of the TTC trainer. I am thankful (@ Skywalker) that we can do it here and not be humiliated and degraded. Although some do try.

What you have described is very recognizable and is indeed the case in many AOL centers. And it is inherent (as WhistleBlower has mentioned) in they way the organization is set up and reflects the inner workings of the organization as a whole. The sad part is that those teachers who truly care and show a great sense of integrity are pushed out in the most nasty way possible, and then the supposedly truly gifted ones take over. What you see is that the numbers will go up indeed but the quality of teaching is not there. But as we all know large numbers means more REVENUE.

All of this jockeying for position happens in order to eventually be close to the MASTER, and he does not stop it either why should he. He is getting better devoted employees oops sorry teachers who only strengthen the corporation…slipped again sorry foundation.

During one’s time in AOL and actually straight from the beginning you are so indoctrinated (through various angles like the guru stories) that Ravi is the greatest gift to humanity. And that WE are part of this wonderful organization, and through his grace we fall under his umbrella and his watchful eyes. And as teachers we are his arms and legs, his body, HIS mind guiding us as we bring this knowledge and way of life to the people. We are part of his Parampara, the custodians of the knowledge and the teachings. So our minds are put in neutral and his MIND is guiding us to teach…….It is all HIM.

Very very smart strategy, I would love to see the TTC trainer manual or notes, it probably reads, have fun with the devotees at their expense, but makes sure to identify the ones who are talented and have the most charisma, who can recruit and sell the products AOL offers. Make them feel special don’t bother with the others. CEO Ravi has created such a fail proof employee hiring process it is called TTC. They are able to cherry pick those who the corporation can use the best in a 21 day elimination process. And they are handsomely paid to do this it as well……. Crazy is it not……but very real.

Since Ravi is the divine person, the fountain head of all the knowledge in the organization. To just be in his presence is to be blessed for life times, this is what the senior teacher preach to all the devotees. It is no wonder that people will stand in line for hours to have a meeting, a close encounter with him. To be able to say, I spoke to him and he received me, what they are really projecting is seeee I am special I spoke to him and he spoke to me. …….your not. How many times were you not asked did you meet ravi in person….. Like it is some sort of passage of rites, only then do you belong.

I remember people saying, wow he looked at me as he passed by and felt like he uplifted my soul…….. Or he threw a candy at me as I had the question in my mind for him ….. And I thought Am I missing something, actually all I saw during satsang was Ravi falling a sleep on the couch….hahahaha. But when I jokingly said that to a senior teacher I was scolded how dare I say that, it is obvious that he was going into Samadhi…… we will never know will we……although I am sue that if his microphone was on we would have heard him snore…

And thus people will do anything to feel special and be in his presence, and this is what the corporation plays on big time. What they don’t (myself included at the time) see is that it is a clever strategy. To divide and conquer, and keep the machine running keep giving it the fuel it needs. So they selectively invite people in and just say some rubbish to them and they come out feeling blessed and will give their 200%. Or they will be made to feel bad and then they still go out and give their 200%, see the catch 22. It is such a win – win for the Corporation. It is like a casino, the odds are always stacked in their favor.

But we all know and even have experienced it maybe. You were given a free pass if your family was wealthy or you had wealthy contacts, or had very good connections with the government. You would not have to stand in line actually you are brought in and get lots of attention this too is very clever strategy. You are an valuable assets therefore are of more use to them then an ordinary devotee and they will leverage that to their favor. Again you are in his presence and his grace and you feel SPECIAL your told he actually made time out of his busy schedule to meet you and your family. And subtly you will be asked how you think you can help AOL, that you can do such great things for humanity and your family would receive such great benefit.

Lots of people were used and paraded as spokes persons for the Corporation some not even knowing it until they found through other people. And families were torn apart as issue’s around donations to AOL (read money) started to play a role.

Ones family wealth or status and form of work should be closely guard from AOL. Cause they will latch on it.

So with this as a back drop it does not surprise me (now) that indeed it is the survival of the fittest, a take no prisoner attitude just to be recognized……. To get that pad on your shoulders or nod from the master yet in this game there is only one winner and I think we all know who that is……

And I agree and have mentioned it as well just like the Doctor and others did that my concern is for the young ones. I sincerely hope parents will do their research and realize that there are healthier ways to introduce their kids to spirituality. I hope that those in college have friends who they will listen to, when they tell them they will take this YES+ course.

In the past only one side of AOL prevailed. They now know that for many the bubble has burst and we don’t fall for their rhetoric and fake it till you make it life strategy anymore.

The master is seen for what he is a clever business man with a great management and marketing team.

The little giant has awakened.

  1. Dear Moderator permalink
    October 21, 2010 2:57 am

    Dear Moderator:

    Please let me know if there is a site from where i can download long kriya mp3.
    My email address is .

    Thank You

  2. Independent Observer permalink
    October 21, 2010 3:35 am

    The ART of Living GDP (Glorified Digging Program)

    INCREASING THE GDP…..THE GRAND PLAN for power and control

    How can we design a program in such a way that the devotee starts digging a hole, keeps on digging until they are so deep in it that they cannot get out. Then they are at your complete mercy.

    Subtle brainwashing and using knowledge in such a way that it is twisted to suit the needs of you know who. “know that you are on the path”…

    Notes to a sincere seeker

    Everything is aimed at how to make you a better and more sincere seeker.

    When you pay so much attention to something it begins to grow and grow and grow. You become a better seeker, an even better seeker, a proud seeker, a senior seeker, a sincere seeker, a guide to other seekers….all the while strengthening SEEKERSHIP. (I seek because I do not have….you not having ness keeps on growing.

    By the same token if you have really attempted to assimilate the knowledge (Ashtavakra and others)….there is nothing to seek. The very seeking is the hindrance. Whereas AOL makes sure they drill this into you at every event possible that you are very very special because you are a seeker…

    GUYS….”YOU ARE ON THE PATH”…………How many times have you heard this.,.and being in AOL with this Master this is a much better path than other paths….(All this is feeding the seeker’s ego and AOL cult ego)

    Wake up every day and know that you are blessed to be a AOL seeker (remember you are on the path, being on the path means you have to do 1,2 ,3… many things to subscribe, so you can be a good seeker) and that you are getting to be a better hole digger everyday … after day…the hole gets bigger……the only way to get out of that is someday when the hole gets so big that it becomes the WHOLE…..Totally Hollow and Empty.

    But there is NOTHING to seek. That is the biggest illusion.

    I picked this below train of reasonong from one of Osho’s ZEN articles…

    Everything is maya…right ?. It it all happened in a dream state…right ? It is in your state of unknowingness that you accumulated all that Karma right ? Now you are awake !!! You know all that was a dream. Why bother about all the supposed karma that you acquired when you were dreaming ?. Just that you are now awake and knowing it was all a dream is enough. Now there is light…..the darkness is gone. There is all there is.

    We wake up. Simple and elegant.

  3. Independent Observer permalink
    October 21, 2010 3:49 am

    STANDING INSTRUCTION to AOL teachers from the top management ——-DON’T READ THAT BLOG !!!!!

    The biggest hindrance to the AOL GDP is a seeker waking up….

    Bawa has told all his followers “Don’t read that BLOG” its bad karma, bad energy and negativity. You will be spreading negativity.

    There are special sessions in TTC for objection handling. Many aspirants ask this….when you chant Ohhhhmmmmmm thats a Hindu practice. How can we convince participants that this is not a Hindu thing.

    The AOL response is this….

    You are German but you eat Italian food right ? Is anything wrong with that ? Do you become Italian by eating Italian food ?

    You are Indian but you wear chinese silk. That does not make you chinese ?.

    IS YOUR FAITH SO WEAK IN YOUR OWN RELIGION THAT BY CHANTING OHMMMMM YOU WILL BECOME IMPURE (THIS IS THE HARD HITTER). And then eventual course participant’s are coerced to relent and the rationale is pretty decent.

    Using the same rationale above…..I want to ask this of all the AOL teachers that were told “DO NOT READ THIS BLOG”…….”

    Is you faith so weak that this blog can take you away from AOL ? Do you trust yourself to STAY on your path….No matter what !!!!! ???

    ….or do you think you are easily influenced by weak, off the path, disgruntled bloggers

    Its crunch time.

  4. coward permalink
    October 21, 2010 9:01 am

    Furthermore, only a rational mind gets benefits from chanting Om, not a idiot who worship guru before God.

  5. Gretchen permalink
    October 22, 2010 4:47 am

    This blog is very helpful. First time I read it, almost all my love and devotion died. Second time I read it, I got enlightenment about how things are and it seemed like someone is wording my own concerns. Third time I read it, I questioned myself…now I still have devotion, love and gratitude towards the Guru principle and I am strongly determined to stick to my path of self-discovery, self-realization and I have strong faith that if I am good and if I practice the right attitude, right knowledge and right yoga…Gods and gurus will come to pour grace onto me. Thanks for making me so aware….We have a problem —-either we worship people or we totally shun them. I would say, it is good to be aware and not do what you do not feel right, if possible make others aware too but always keep in mind your spiritual quest and see to it that you are growing, preparing yourself in ways suitable and comfortable for you. A truly realized master can never be a black magician, businessman or a violent being. So do not be afraid. I would say, take this blog to the next level——–do what you can to stop evil practices in the name of spirituality——-go to the court with bad effects of SK, and forgery and fraud practices of AOL. After all this is a duty—if you are aware something is wrong——taking a responsible informed action is a good thing. HHRS only has taught us this—-to be responsible and lord krishna had instigated Arjuna to fight against his own brothers. Really the corruption should not be there in a spiritual organization. Spreading false, immature, borrowed, manipulated, half knowledge and harmful techniques to the innocent people to fill the purses of full time teachers or God-knows whom…is the worst crime. Its high times that AOL gets divided into lunatic half and aware half..the aware half should have Mahabharata with the lunatic half..and let Sri Sri decide whose chariot he would be on…Duryodhana’s or Arjuna’s. If I were him, I would wake up and become a sarathi for Karna and finish the corrupt kauravas and pandavas both who were corrupt in their own ways…kauravas because of their demon nature and pandavas because of nature of their illegitimate birth from air, water,!!
    Anyway, God bless you guys…you rock..and my blessings work even when I have not taken the obnoxiously over priced blessings course…I have an idea for ex-teachers, why don’t you start teaching your own yoga techniques to people–take from AOL whatever you think is not harmful and make a free course for people…and share the experiences…modify SK in some way…may be change the sitting in vajrasana to sukhasana or siddhasana and do not make those postures in three stage pranayama…instead instruct them for yogic breathing to different chakras and this can be followed by pranayam taught in scriptures which involves breathing naturally and not stopping between breathing in and breathing out…after 15 min of this practice, ask them to learn to sit in a posture for quite sometime…then observe breath and then mind.. Seriously, we need some real good yoga, pranayama and meditation teaching learned saint…who can bestow samadhi on the seekers by touching their third eye chakra…like Paramhansa’s guru. May the force be with you.

  6. harshal permalink
    October 22, 2010 7:43 am

    about Gretchen:

    First he says this

    ‘Spreading false, immature, borrowed, manipulated, half knowledge and harmful techniques to the innocent people to fill the purses of full time teachers or God-knows whom…is the worst crime’

    and then he says this

    ‘se…I have an idea for ex-teachers, why don’t you start teaching your own yoga techniques to people’

    and then he also goes on to give some techniques himself…

    what more can someone say…

    • BrightFaith permalink
      October 22, 2010 12:37 pm

      @Harshal, May I suggest you stop reading this blog? Your comments are hateful and probably come from feeling like we are unfairly hurting you or RS or AoL and so you are reacting. Why put yourself through it? I understand, you disagree and it makes you angry. I once felt that way too when people accused my guru of things I thought were unfair. It sounds like you are off the wall with anger. I could understand if you were here to dispute some of the facts. But, why come on here and call people names and spread hate? It’s not like you’re helping AoL, in fact just the opposite. What is your point? Why are you here? To make yourself miserable? This blog is for people who have somehow been hurt by AoL or who disagree with the way they conduct business. That is not you. I cannot figure out why you are here or what you think you are accomplishing other than making yourself sick with anger and attacking everyone here b/c they don’t share your view. Why not go on a pro-AoL blog? Surely, you will feel better there. You are the one being hurt the most by your posts. Most people here could care less and are ignoring you completely. Why put yourself through it? No one here can even have a conversation with you because you’re so angry. So, again, why are you here?

      I also suggest that no one try to rationally talk to you because it does not work. You are way too angry. Again, I understand why you are angry but it doesn’t help to be here. From this point on, I am not even going to read your posts. I sincerely wish you all the best and if you love AoL and RS, good for you!

      • WebSeva-ite permalink
        October 23, 2010 7:19 pm

        Oh no no. It is our way of doing seva for AoL. We have been instructed to do so.
        Ok, fine…. its only me. I dunno about Harshal.

  7. Question permalink
    October 22, 2010 1:10 pm

    Is it legal for Art of Living to conduct courses in peoples homes in the USA and collect thousands of dollars in total fee (from all students combined) ?

    My strong suspicion is that it is illegal for them to do it in a whole lot of states. A class conducted with a fee over a duration has to be conducted at a business location (not a residential location unless resedential location has special zoning permissions). That is my understanding.

    • Peaceful Warrior permalink
      October 22, 2010 2:01 pm

      I think it may be borderline. Is Art of Living a corporation or a volunteer based non-profit ? They give the appearance of a non-profit, but at it’s center it is a corporation. Only people who’ve been in AOL for long realize this fact.

    • Abhilash Shastry permalink
      October 22, 2010 3:27 pm

      I have had a problem on this issue in India.

      I used to live in government quarters in Mumbai. It is illegal to use government quarters for any commercial activity. To avoid commercial activity tag, I agreed to give my place for a part 1 course on the condition that it would be a voluntary donation course . I was very happy when the teacher readily agreed to keep the course as voluntary donation course. Imagine my horror when during the course she clarified to the participants that “voluntary” donation was actually “mandatory”! I came looking like a cheat.

    • Sincere Seeker permalink
      October 22, 2010 4:19 pm

      I think that is a very good question! Whether non-profit or corporation there are city, state and Fed rules. I will look into this for my city and state. My gutt feeling is that it is NOT legal to have commercial activity (having a fee based service or selling products) in a house. Even for having a garage sale or home based business you need a permit/license. All the club houses of apartments for that reason do not allow AoL courses.
      I don’t know if the AoL officials are aware, they probably are but just don’t enforce it since they have been getting away with it.

  8. Relieved permalink
    October 22, 2010 9:03 pm

    A great 10 page article has been printed in the October issue of a magazine called Investigate that is printed in New Zealand. It basically sums up everything that is written on these sites and presents a good, well balanced and thoughtful article. It seems that the article is not available on line but you can order a copy of the magazine from

    • John permalink
      October 22, 2010 10:48 pm

      Is the article specific to AOL or generic for all similar guru businesses/cults?

  9. not tellingyou permalink
    October 22, 2010 9:45 pm

    Who’s the guy in the picture? Skywalker himself? Or are you using pictures of just anyone?

    • not tellingyou permalink
      October 22, 2010 9:52 pm

      How come Darshak Hathi’s picture is there for everyone to see? Obviously, he’s quite active on his other blog, too. Is he some kind of sous-marin? Please respond on this blog! Thank you!

  10. Relieved permalink
    October 23, 2010 2:50 am

    @ Is the article specific to AOL or generic for all similar guru businesses/cults?

    The article is purely about Art of Living John, very well written, a few pictures of Mr Shankar as he is referred to. It is written by Bethany Wright, but not sure if that is a pen name. All of her connection has been in NZ. The article is titled “Profits of the New Age – a story about a questionable charity, and their charismatic guru”

    • Independent Observer permalink
      October 23, 2010 5:54 pm

      @ Relieved

      Cant find it. The URL is also missing a “z” in the magazine spelling

  11. Dayalu permalink
    October 23, 2010 3:12 am

    See AOL attempt to manipulate Amazon rankings:

    to *****************
    date Fri, Oct 22, 2010 at 7:45 PM
    subject [USTeachers] #1 on amazon – make this happen!
    mailing list Filter messages from this mailing list
    unsubscribe Unsubscribe from this mailing-list

    hide details 7:45 PM (2 hours ago)

    Dear Teachers,

    This morning we found out that ‘Stumbling into Infinity’ – Mikey’s book could easily become a best seller on Amazon if we were able to concentrate our purchase of the book within the next 24 hours. Imagine the exposure we get from having a best selling book as an AOL publication! It helps us reach so many people, who we haven’t been able to reach before.

    The Bay Area teachers all decided to buy copies of the book to give away as Christmas presents. – teachers & volunteers have bought 10 books each .. just to give as presents. Within hours the ranking moved from 1,200 to 238.. yes 238 (among ALL books on and #12 among books on spirituality!

    You too can help. You will be buying Christmas gifts anyway, there is no better gift than the gift of knowledge. This book is a really good start for people who haven’t begun their journey yet- just buy your gifts in the next 24 hours and you will move the book to the best seller ranking. Btw – All author royalties benefit the Art of Living Foundation.

    Buy here:
    If you have bought your copies, please forward to other teachers.

    Jai Gurudev,

    • Yoga permalink
      October 23, 2010 11:19 pm

      Once again someone’s personal mail id is posted here without her consent. May I request the moderator to remove person’s name and email id? While it is good to post and point out things that you believe is not correct, it is not a bad idea to post it after removing personal name/info.

      • The Doctor permalink
        October 24, 2010 12:41 am

        Completely agree, and removed.

        @All – in the event you post any internal AoL emails, please endevour to remove ALL personal contact information.

  12. Relieved permalink
    October 23, 2010 8:25 pm

    @ Independent Observer – Cant find it. The URL is also missing a “z” in the magazine spelling

    oops, sorry about that, the z must have got lost in the copy and paste
    If all else fails try google and it pops up.
    The article is not on the web and I imagine that there would be copyright issues if it was put on this site – but maybe we can find a way to do that.

  13. Sincere Seeker permalink
    October 23, 2010 9:21 pm

    @Dayalu – Michael Fischman’s (President AoL) was released on Friday and spurred another mass fever to all AoLers to buy the book to get the ranking to #1. But really the Guru also is looking for that recognition, the people and culture in an org reflect the nature of the leader – if not the person leaves the org. There is nothing wrong is supporting the book – but isn’t feverishness (Raag) something spiritual seekers need to vanquish? Does this mass hysteria reflect dispassion? And this corporate marketing person (Karishma) – bringing the corporate culture of manipulations, tactics, and shrewd games into a spiritual org. in which the whole point is to see all this as Maya and get away from it?
    If this book is really good then it will become #1 on it’s own account, and won’t that be truthful and honest way of making it #1 rather than a whole bunch of AoL people buying multiple copies of it to get it there.
    If Sri Sri is truly spiritual to the core – and geniune – people will recognize that on their own account, same goes for the organization’s people, courses, activities. People are a good judge of knowing, don’t force things down their throat.
    I remember Sri Sri always sets up for VIPs, does his usual sugar coated stuff, and once they are roped in, works his way through other people to get them. A true spiritual master would truly be dispassionate no? What do you think?

    • Yoga permalink
      October 24, 2010 3:29 am

      Every book gets promoted by its Agent and Author. Your formula that some how if the book is good it will automatically become #1 is only a day dream. That is not how this industry works. If AOL people believe in this book let them promote it. There is nothing wrong in promotion or marketing something as long as the person does not do anything illegal.

      • Observer permalink
        October 24, 2010 11:47 am

        Why does Aol need the book to become no. 1; trying to coerce members to buy book just to make it no. 1, just so that aol can claim how popular it is, is BOGUS. It is faking if aol people buy multiple copies for gifting etc., and later claim things like -“see how popular AoL is? This book was #1 and tens of thousands of people bought it. How can so many people be wrong?”
        I don’t hav problem with normal publicity by agent and author, in general. Hope u can see the difference.

      • Sincere Seeker permalink
        October 24, 2010 5:07 pm

        @Yoga – everyone has their own perspective and you can use logic your own way. I am not convinced by your opinion you are not by mine. It’s fine. It is not what you do but how you do that’s important. Yes other spiritual orgs. also let people know that their President, swami, etc. has come out with a book, but I have never seen such marketing tactics, feverishness, and mass buying to get to #1 in those that I consider “spiritual” orgs. that implement spiritual values. I consider AoL a spiritual hypocrasy. You can have your own judgement.

      • goneagain permalink
        October 25, 2010 1:09 am

        Right, Ravi Ravi and AOL is nothing but marketing the gimmick. There is nothing spiritual there. This very idea explains why Ravi Ravi was trying so hard marketing himself for NPP even lied that he was a finalist for NPP.

      • Yoga permalink
        October 25, 2010 10:21 pm

        If some people feel strong enough about the book .why not? these people are any way going to spend $ in buying gifts…if they feel strongly about it…let them spend the same money in buying this book. I do not see anything wrong with it rather I look it as a smart way of promoting a book. sorry…Nothing illegal or immoral about it. Marketing good things with good tactics is okay. I am fine with it as long as it is not illegal.

  14. Manipulation Alert permalink
    October 24, 2010 5:23 pm

    Can someone forward the AOL email to alert amazon about this manipulation.

  15. Peaceful Warrior permalink
    October 24, 2010 11:55 pm

    just read the book and post a negative review if you feel so.

  16. really? permalink
    October 26, 2010 12:38 am

    I got uber-spammed this weekend about buying the latest art of living drivel publication. If the teachers need to be pestered into buying it, how good can it really be? Here are just a few of the e-mails flying around on the lists. I’ll leave it up to Skywlker to leave the names or delete them, needless to say, the first letter is from the ex-president of the US aol, and the second is from the current accountant of the foundation.


    Dear U.S. Teachers
    What a great idea! If each one of us bought just one copy of Mikey’s book to give as a holiday gift in the next 24 hours I’m sure that would bring it very high on the list. If you are reading this now you can buy a copy of the book online at Amazon in less than five minutes… lets see as a group how high we can bring the ranking and cause even more readers on Amazon to notice and buy along with us!
    Jai Guru Dev
    John Osborne


    Dear Art of Living Teachers,

    Michael’s book Stumbling Into Infinity is an excellent vehicle for getting Guruji’s message and teaching out to many new people. It makes the teaching and path very personal and accessible. It would be great if everyone could buy copies of the book today (Friday) or Saturday for yourselves, family and friends. Also, you can encourage your students to buy this book during these two days. This will really set a wave of momentum as the book is just being officially launched. As an official Art of Living project we are really hoping the book is successful and helps spread this knowledge to new areas of our society. See the details below about how to buy the book online and the locations where Michael will be speaking about the book.

    With All Love and Respect,

    Jai Guru Dev


    Jeffrey Houk
    PO BOX 50003


    Dear All,

    Mikey came to Raleigh last week, and it was so much fun! Not only was it great to have him in our town, but it was really inspiring to see people respond to his story, and stories that he told at the bookstore and at the meeting we had for devotees. All of the quotes on the book and the advertising are true, and truer still is the fact that you are right there with Mikey and Guruji, step-by-step. It is a very precious adventure to which we not only have front row seats, but “we are Mikey” and Guruji is holding our hand. A-M-A-Z-I-N-G G-R-A-C-E!

    People who came to hear him were having him sign 10-12 books that they planned to give as gifts to friends and family — so for all of you to whose city he is coming on tour, order books this weekend! Then even MORE people will show up when he comes to YOUR town, because they will have read the book and passed it on to friends, who will come to get theirs signed….

    Truly, this is the energy we need to magnify in order to have ONE WORLD FAMILY. Buy a book soon; buy one often. Or, better yet, buy a dozen today. Buy them to resell in your Divine Shop. Buy one for every library in your city, and every campus library for the colleges and universities in your city. Leave them on park benches or on a Metro seat. . . . be creative!

    I hope you all are as delighted with the magic that happens in your town as we were blessed to have in Raleigh, NC.

    Lots of love,
    Martina Straub



    Dear Teachers,

    This morning we found out that ‘Stumbling into Infinity’ – Mikey’s book could easily become a best seller on Amazon if we were able to concentrate our purchase of the book within the next 24 hours. Imagine the exposure we get from having a best selling book as an AOL publication! It helps us reach so many people, who we haven’t been able to reach before.

    The Bay Area teachers all decided to buy copies of the book to give away as Christmas presents. – teachers & volunteers have bought 10 books each .. just to give as presents. Within hours the ranking moved from 1,200 to 238.. yes 238 (among ALL books on and #12 among books on spirituality!

    You too can help. You will be buying Christmas gifts anyway, there is no better gift than the gift of knowledge. This book is a really good start for people who haven’t begun their journey yet- just buy your gifts in the next 24 hours and you will move the book to the best seller ranking. Btw – All author royalties benefit the Art of Living Foundation.

    Buy here:
    If you have bought your copies, please forward to other teachers.

    Jai Gurudev,


    Dear Teachers,

    To continue the momentum for Michael’s book that will help generate more awareness for AOL, please include the blurb below in your weekly satsang newsletters. We will have maximum impact if we can send out this blurb in all satsang newsleters by Saturday morning.

    Jai Gurudev,

    It is a pleasure to announce the release of Art of Living president Michael Fischman’s book Stumbling into Infinity: An Ordinary Man in the Sphere of Enlightenment (Morgan James Publishing, Oct 22, 2010).

    Michael was one of the founding members of the Art of Living Foundation in the 1980s, and he started writing this book as a way to share what it was like in the beginning days of the Art of Living, and especially what it has been like to see Art of Living founder, His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, up close for so long.

    The book takes readers on a spiritual journey that goes from Michael’s challenging childhood to his unlikely role as friend and helper to an enlightened seer. Many who have read advance copies have found it candid and inspiring.

    “Michael Fischman’s journey reveals how fears and negative emotions can be transformed into love, compassion, and higher consciousness when a student has an authentic relationship with a wise teacher.”
    -Deepak Chopra

    “Stumbling into Infinity has deep knowledge, humor, and moments of grace. Ultimately, this book will inspire you to see how much better your life – and the world – can be through meditation, service to others, and deep gratitude.”
    -Carol Kline, co-author Happy for No Reason and Chicken Soup for the Mother’s Soul 2

    Purchase a copy now online:

    Watch a trailer for the book:
    *author royalties benefit the Art of Living Foundation. Buy in next 24 hours to propel the book into best seller ranking*

    Visit the newly launched Stumbling into Infinity blog for stories and experiences from the tour:

    • Abhilash Shastry permalink
      October 26, 2010 2:21 am

      What is most interesting and revealing about these emails is that there is hardly any emphasis on reading the book. All the feverishness is about making the book a “bestseller”. It is all about number game – top 10, top 20, top 100… Perhaps even hardcore AOLers know that there would not be anything worthwhile in the content. So, why emphasize reading?

      Sometimes I am surprised at my own gullibility that despite such obvious signs of greed and manipulation at every stage why I took so much time to realize that AOL was a money making racket headed by a conman and his family.

    • jaijaiguruguru permalink
      October 28, 2010 2:44 pm

      Here’s something that’s appropriate, given the coverage of this stupendous earth shattering book:

  17. Peaceful Warrior permalink
    October 26, 2010 1:16 am

    I for one am waiting for klim to finish his book ;).

    I hope people who review the book for newspapers realize that there is a darker truth behind the simplistic message fischman portrays. The happy faces are really artificial smiles behind which is a darkness that is being suppressed. A lot of the book is marketing material – not sincere sharing of good and bad that one expects from a memoir. I hope they find this blog, and find out the real nature of the Art of Living cult.

  18. Prairie Princess permalink
    October 26, 2010 4:07 am

    Isn’t this the same guy who beat up a couple of women? Does he address that in his book?

    • Anonymous permalink
      October 28, 2010 9:24 pm

      I bet he doesn´t…

  19. The Doctor permalink
    October 26, 2010 7:11 am

    Interestingly enough, the Amazon ranking of the book has actually gone down in the last couple of days!

    On Sunday it was at #102, now it’s #648.

    Based on what is written here, it sounds as if to get a high Amazon ranking, people need to be buying the book continously, otherwise the ranking will just drop back, which it clearly has here.

    I really don’t see any harm in promoting any book, as it is really the quality of the book which will ultimately sell and not the amount of promotion that goes into it. If a few thousand AoL devotees buy it now, then unless the book is so good that it will appeal to the mass spiritual market, the chances are that there won’t be interest in the book afterwards. Unless it really is any that good of course. 😉

    @Princess – according to this comment, yes it does mention it:

    • BrightFaith permalink
      October 26, 2010 12:37 pm

      It’s not selling the book that I have a problem with. It’s their idea that the knowledge needs to be spread with religious zeal. My experience with AoL was that the people really wanted to recruit me and show me the one true path but seemed oblivious to the fact that maybe I was okay without AoL. They were extremely pushy and insistent that I get the knowledge. These comments show that attitude very well.

      • The Doctor permalink
        October 26, 2010 12:56 pm

        @BrightFaith – I too have a problem with this, a huge problem, not least of all because this is exactly what I was like when I was in AoL. I can’t speak for everyone else here, but I can speak for most people I know who are still in AoL: they all behave in exactly this way too.

        It really begs the question: how did I/they and any one else who suffers from this feverishness become like that? Were we always that way, were the seeds there from before our time in AoL, or did something happen to us after we discovered AoL that made us become that way over time?

        And I find it particularly interesting and somewhat telling that you referred to this feverishness as “religious zeal”, especially given that AoL markets itself as a non-religious organization.

  20. BrightFaith permalink
    October 26, 2010 12:38 pm

    My comment should have read “it’s not PROMOTING the book that I have a problem with”

  21. gretchen permalink
    October 28, 2010 10:57 pm

    This is a nice book: one can download online for free: has stripped Guru and God Both–reducing all believers to atheist.

  22. gretchen permalink
    October 28, 2010 11:18 pm

    @Harshal: Sudarshan Kriya is not a new technique. Evidence exists that it finds its origin in many other yogic traditions. This is natural. there is only one God. How can the ways to reach God be so different that they never cross paths? With all due respect to HHSSRS, the form he has given to it can be his genuine poetic inspiration, hence nothing wrong in patenting it. But other people can also have genuine inspiration and design their own courses and at least serve people for free or do something that suits them. Doing Something Now (DSN) is important and urgent. Right? It should not matter how people are finding their enlightenment…by Guru or by self, by one Guru (fraud or true) or by many gurus …Only thing I learned from HHSSRS is to be aware. This blog is a result of being aware. It is okay if people are not blindfolded by anyone or anything. Because it is the questioning tendency that had gotten them here, it will take them further. Who knows the divine is testing them and their faiths or they are aspiring for the truth and for the real love. So please follow your path. I know why you keep writing here. You have an iota of doubt within yourself, deep inside and thus you can’t stand this blog. If you had 100% faith on all crap AOL feeds to people (not necessarily because of the Guru but may be because of Maya and the nature of the people involved who are only half baked by knowledge), then you would not even bother to look at these. I am open to pro- and con- AOL and I am trying to be more aware. This is one way. Other is meditate and know for yourself…follow all the knowledge to your best and find out yourself if there is any God. If there is, then become a teacher of Yoga, with AOL or independently. All of the skeptics and believers evolve together. Their ways are different.

  23. gretchen permalink
    October 28, 2010 11:39 pm

    Somehow can’t stop myself from enlightening Harshal : rechak, kumbhak, purak are breath in, hold, breathe out of pranayama. It is said that if you do not hold your breath meaning do not apply kumbhak between rechak and purak, it means you have conquered the gap between the breaths– which is mind. breathing in is life, breathing out is death but when done without holding….you become deathfree while still living as the circle never breaks. This is similar to So-Hum So-Hum ..the only difference is that it has been facilitated in this way that anyone can do it without ill effects. Also, that the emotional stages of mind that affect breathing pattern is taken care of here. Surely a very good invention (but not discovery). What is there to discover anyway? haan? SK really helps people in distress, depression etc. I am a standing example of it. But now I know when I am getting too much SK or Sahaj or being manipulated by SEVA or half-ripe teachers (especially the YES++…anything is better than hard work/exams…at least they are not committing suicide) but they should never be considered teachers to people beyond the age of 18 or the people with some spiritual maturity. Let alone that, these wayward youth teacher start guiding the most experienced volunteers and make a complete a$$ of themselves 10 yrs down the lane when their half- knowledge stops working.

  24. gretchen permalink
    October 28, 2010 11:50 pm

    Also, many of the AOL techniques like eye gazing exercises are borrowed from Baba Ram Dass’s retreats, whose guru was Neem Karoli Baba. It is good because after all, this is one world one family. Good integration of knowledge to make them most suitable for totally novice who do not know anything about spirituality. I love the simplicity of knowledge in AOL…but because of duality–on one hand it has made God available to even the most spiritually-not-inclined but at the other hand, it has been misinterpreted time and again by followers. I would urge that everyone be aware, grasp and imbibe knowledge slowly and do not blindly follow…faith is another thing, but blind faith without ever grasping it is not right…same sentence makes different senses to people who are unprepared vs people who are. So please prepare yourself.

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