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The Big Picture: An Oveview of the Core Issues in Art of Living

November 7, 2010

Having spent a good part of the last few months reviewing all the material contained in these blogs, I have come to realize that the one thing we are missing is a birdseye view of all the issues that have been raised so far.

In any one post, a single issue is usually discussed, and although it makes sense to many people who have been following the blogs from the beginning, often I have seen individuals question the relevancy of certain posts. This is due to the fact that each issue raised represents one piece of a much larger puzzle, and there are many who don’t have visibility of this larger puzzle yet. The purpose of this post, then, is to give our readers a much needed holistic perspective of the core issues in Art of Living.

I originally posted these in response to a comment which Doreen made in which she attempted to summarize the issues documented in that post as boiling down to:

[…]money, claims about the practices, and AOL culture.

I wasn’t wholly satisfied with Doreen’s summary as I didn’t feel it adequately covered the core issues. So I came up with a more detailed list, which I posted here. Since then, I have spent more time thinking this through and as such have further refined the list and settled on the following:

  • DISHONESTY AND DECEIT
  • LACK OF INTEGRITY AND UNETHICAL PRACTICES
  • ABUSE
  • CULT CULTURE AND BRAINWASHING

Disclaimer: I reserve the right to revise this list at any time, especially as new data comes in which may supercede existing material and hence necessitate that this list be updated.

For each of these core issues, I plan to write a separate post detailing the evidence we have for the specific core issue in question. There are a number of good questions that have been raised over time which I will re-quote on each relevant post (Doreen posted some in response to my original comment above – no I haven’t forgotten Doreen!)

For now, I want to ask two questions which naturally arise as a result of being presented with these issues:

  • Where do these core issues utlimately stem from? Do they simply arise because Art of Living is an organization, and so suffers from the same political, hierarchical problems that plague all organizations? Or, as many people including myself believe, do they stem from the core of the organization, that is, from Sri Sri Ravi Shankar himself?
  • What level, if any, of the above issues are YOU willing to accept in a spiritual organization?

At the end of the day, it is a matter of personal choice whether or not you wish to have any association with Art of Living. We can argue if Art of Living are doing more harm than good in the world until the cows come home, but ultimately it is you who needs to make the choice as to whether you want to have any association with the organization or not, and if so, what level of association.

I have already made my decision to end my association with Art of Living based on a combination of my own personal experiences and a number of things I have read here which corroborate my experiences. I am not going to make any attempt to force my opinion on you, and I would encourage you to be wary of anyone who does. I simply want you to have as much information upfront to help you make as informed a decision as possible if you are considering having any future with Art of Living. Above all, my advice is to you is to question everything, not just those those things which come from Art of Living, but even the things on this blog.

It may be difficult for you to answer the above questions right now, especially if you don’t have full visibility of all the information. If this applies to you, please keep these questions in mind as you read through the posts which go into the detail of each of the core issues.

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81 Comments
  1. Thanks for saving me permalink
    November 8, 2010 12:36 pm

    I have done the same thing, ended my association with the AOL, though my association started only 18 months back I had done quite a few courses (part1, part 2, eternity, dsn, sahaj, sri sri yoga). Reasons are the same too much of secrecy which leads to dishonesty, cult culture and brainwashing. This blog has played a great role in ending my association with the AOL, otherwise I would have ended becoming teacher myself.

    I thank both pro and con bloggers here for making my decision.

    bye

  2. belle permalink
    November 8, 2010 2:43 pm

    i am so happy that you have managed to leave aol, i’m trying to leave my own cult (prem rawat), but the thing is prem rawat is so unbelievably tricky in the way he talks…

    for instance recently he goes “when christ was crucified, there were ppl in the crowd who hated him but then there were others who saw the same and saw him as god”

    meaning if we see faults in him, even if he does wrong, it’s our fault. we are less then worthy.

    he comes out with these hook statements all the time, to keep his followers where he wants them.

    you are so lucky that your guru comes across much simpler and nicer then mine!

  3. Think permalink
    November 8, 2010 3:52 pm

    I want to say one thing to my fellow bloggers. Lets have a perspective while we push hard on certain things. I personally am turned of by certain elements of the AOL organization. I sincerely believe that most people posting on this blog are fair and reasonable people as are a significant percentage of Art of Living people.

    Which ever side of this (or any other ) issue we are on. We have to strive to be fair, keeping the greater good in mind. In the end truth, honesty, fairness and compassion will triumph over others. We have to aspire for fairness and decency (even when sometimes other people are not behaving that way).

    Let us not get carried away by our strong emotions and strong will power. Lets not become like the very people we choose to blame or condemn. Lets try to be fair, balanced and compassionate towards every issue and every person involved.

    • Thanks for saving me permalink
      November 9, 2010 5:01 am

      “I sincerely believe that most people posting on this blog are fair and reasonable people as are a significant percentage of Art of Living people. ”

      In fact, most of the persons posting here have had long years with AOL.

      I completely agree with you that we have to strive to be fair, balanced and compassionate.

  4. November 9, 2010 11:24 am

    To be honest I have read your blog most of it seems to hearsay and extremely emotional hence bit a dubious to say the least. Secondly there seems to be a lot of generalisation in your blog, you seem to have attached the words of a few individuals as a tagline for the whole community which extends to hundreds of thousands of people.

    Slightly unfair in my opinion.

    Thirdly there are a lot of accusations, but I don’t see any real proof . And whenever someone questions you guys, one of you reply saying the person doing the questioning has no idea what they are talking about and you proceed to call them names like lackeys. Aren’t you doing exactly what you accuse AOL community members of doing.

    I am an AOL’er I have been in the community/organisation for over a decade.

    I have never really seen most of what you talk about. Some of what you say is just outrageous and untrue, some of it is petty, some of it is correct but again these are not big issue cause it seem to me only a few individuals out are perpetuating your stereotypes.

    And yes the site seems to perpetuate stereotypes, and somehow everyone fits the bill attitude is taken towards AOL its teachers and its participants. Not to mention Guruji.

    Some parts which I do agree with are not really reasons to complain , unless you don’t have common sense and they certainly aren’t things which Guruji says, from what I can see you have taken to heart things said by a few individuals , seen these things as though they are written in stone, and when things didn’t work out you threw a tantrum.

    Rightly moving on I suggest that if you actually have proof of corruption, proof of wrong doings, you come out in the open and present them via proper forums. I.e use the law

    To sit here and just whinge if well your prerogative but it didn’t really do anything for me . hearsay cannot be an automatically seen as reality.

    Lastly I find your need to conceal your identity quite unreal, we have laws in most countries for a reaosn and there should be no real reason for you to conceal your identities, but again you have the right to do so. Also you never mention anything really significant about the incidences, like where these incidents happened or who was responsible which again makes me doubt and hence I can put it down to nothing but hearsay.

    I have been in the AOL for a long time, and to be honest since there are so many members of the community, I have come across all kinds of people, with all kinds of personalities from the so called senior teachers to the volunteers , anyone who ever used their common sense took a step back and saw what Guruji was saying would never fall into some of the situations you guys fell into . E.g some person complaining how she was always forced to say YES to everything. Really? Hmm .

    I could go on but I won’t

    Anyways if you don’t take anything from what I have said , I say take this. Whatever you do just try to be happy and know everything changes , and yes you are more than welcome to write this blog it is your right to do so, but don’t do it from a place of anger (if that is true) because then the only person you are hurting is yourself.

    Have a good happy healthy life and I wish you the best . JGD.

    • The Doctor permalink
      November 9, 2010 9:57 pm

      @P,

      When I discovered this blog, I was at a place where I was about to become an AoL teacher, and I really believed in so many things I thought the organization stood for. As I read through the various posts, initially I thought that these things were just hearsay and that there was no proof for anything, that it was just some group trying to defame and malign the organization and Sri Sri unjustly.

      But as I read more and more, I started to see things written there that I had experienced myself, in a relatively shorter period of time of just a few years. Even then I was hoping it was just one or two small things, but over time these things grew to a point whereby the issues were so great that I could no longer accept being associated with Art of Living.

      The one thing that really confirmed a great many things written in these blogs and which ended up making me support this blog was the following post from Swami Sadyojatha, one of the senior-most Swamis in Art of Living and someone who is purportedly “Guruji’s right hand man”:

      The truth about the negative blogs – by swami sadhyojathah

      This post contained all the proof I needed that so many things contained in these blogs were genuine and not hearsay. This one single post speaks volumes about what kind of organization Art of Living really is, and what sort of person Sri Sri Ravi Shankar really is. And it also shows how brainwashed a great many followers really are when you consider the majority of responses to that blog post.

      Now, if there’s something specific you believe is unjust or unfair and you think we are wrong about it, please mention it here and we can discuss it. But please don’t just make a sweeping generalization about the whole blog, especially as you are criticizing us of making generalizaztions and stereotypes. Highlight specific cases and we can take it from there.

      As far as our need to keep our identities anonymous, this has been discussed ad nauseam so many times on this blog. Please see:

      The Purpose of these Blogs

      And just so you know, I am not against AoL as such, as a great many people who are close and dear to me are still in AoL, and it makes absolutely no difference to me that they’re brainwashed or that they’re part of a cult and behave in a very cult-like way themselves, I still have so much love for each and every one of them. And I’m sure there are thousands of good people in AoL too. But none of these things will make me ignore the issues contained in these blogs and just turn a blind eye to them. The truth has to get out, and it will.

    • anonymous permalink
      November 10, 2010 9:40 am

      Oh proof ? LOL
      Okie n whats your identity? who are you – Pee ?

    • Peaceful Warrior permalink
      November 10, 2010 11:12 am

      “To be honest I have read your blog most of it seems to hearsay and extremely emotional hence bit a dubious to say the least”

      another pathetic attempt by an AOL lackey to put us down. If you have not really seen any of these things maybe it’s because you choose to ignore them. Seriously have you never ever questioned why the high fees or where the $$ goes to ? An stock answer is always given to these questions, but it’s never the real answer. Have you never questioned RS’s family’s extravagant lifestyle ? Have you never questioned that the numbers they put on paper (for e.g about the number of rural schools) and in reality are not even close ?

      Does it not bother you that RS who is ostensibly projected as god by people in his organization (what about the ethics of that) is so paranoid that his organization projects the sound of gunshot fired in the air by a farmer as an attack on the life of his holiness (so much for knowing everything).

      Does it not bother you that these things go on in the name and place of spirituality ?

      “Whatever you do just try to be happy and know everything changes , and yes you are more than welcome to write this blog it is your right to do so, but don’t do it from a place of anger”

      Words of wisdom – people like gandhi, and all those pesky investigative journalists who work to expose corruption should heed your advice and just be passive. I think we should edit the bhagvad gita based on your wisdom – krishna will no longer tell arjuna – do your dharma, even if you have to fight your closest relatives. He will say – just accept treatment given to you by duryodhana – so what if it is not fair – at least you won’t be fighting family like drona and bhishma – and so many lives will be saved.

      “To sit here and just whinge if well your prerogative but it didn’t really do anything for me ”
      Glad to see that it did not get any reaction out of you 😉

    • guru ho ja suru permalink
      November 10, 2010 4:51 pm

      peple who choose keep their eyes will definitely not be able see any thing close lol

  5. Naresh permalink
    November 9, 2010 5:32 pm

    I hate religions. I like being a Hindu as it is a way of life and gives you options and elbow room. My art of living group resembles these set of values and I am comfortable with it. I think it is important to be spiritual, especially so in today’s world where evangelism is the root cause of most problems. Religion equates to politics and has nothing to do with God or being spiritual.

    I’ve never particularly trusted gurus, swamis or god-men and the like.

    I like the effect pranayam, bhastrika, meditation, chanting ohm and kriya have on me. Helps me keep calm and starts the day off nicely along with yoga. I like my local kriya group and I especially like my teacher. I like the one or two satsangs each month. These are good things for the mind and most of the Art of Living teachers and groups are doing some powerful work in conducting these workshops regularly.

    Hope this helps

  6. Abhilash Shastry permalink
    November 10, 2010 2:16 am

    @P

    ### Rightly moving on I suggest that if you actually have proof of corruption, proof of wrong doings, you come out in the open and present them via proper forums. i.e use the law. ###

    Yeah sure. And will you bear the cost of litigation?

    This argument from AOL lackeys like you is full of cunning. You want people who had bad experience with AOL to not vent their experience on a free public forum like this. Rather you want them to go to a court of law at their own expense because you know that it would be substantial for an individual to ruin him financially but is really a pittance for an organization like AOL.

    And you know pretty well that even after spending his personal money and effort- win or lose- an individual would hardly get anything out of it . For an individual – unless he is filthy rich – it is really a “lose or lose” choice. So, if you are able to divert some people on this dead end path, you have done your bit of seva and earned some brownie points for you from your guru. Why, if the guru is sufficiently pleased by your effort, you may even get his holy washings to drink! Think of that!! Meanwhile, your crook guru and his empire of deceit are safe for some more time. What more can you ask?

    So even if you find the articles on this blog based on mere hearsay, you don’t have to lose your sleep over this. Please drop your innocent concerns for the quality of this blog. No one is interested in applying for an ISO-9001 for the quality of this blog.

    The job of a public forum like this is to raise awareness about AOL’s misdeeds and to warn potential recruits against its danger. Prosecuting an organization like AOL should be left to law enforcing agencies. If an individual had been fighting against Nithy’s misdeeds, he would have been ruined by now and Nithy would still be frolicking with his mistresses.

    ###Whatever you do just try to be happy and know everything changes , and yes you are more than welcome to write this blog it is your right to do so, but don’t do it from a place of anger###

    Yeah. Anger is bad. What is the bid deal if you got cheated of your trust, a few years of your life, and a few thousand rupees? In the bigger scheme of life, it is nothing. Move on. Drop your negativity. People get cheated everywhere. That’s how life is.

    ### To sit here and just whinge if well your prerogative but it didn’t really do anything for me .###

    Good to know that all this whining didn’t do anything for you. Enjoy your JGD.

  7. vedagama permalink
    November 10, 2010 1:29 pm

    okie i do agree that there are some problems in almost all spirtual and regilious org be it aol, the catholic church, tm, baba ramdev or world vision or iskcon. Most of these problems stem from ignorance of the high and mighty in the apex bodies and misinformthe ceos of the org same as in business….but some orgs are changing for the better and i guess if one is on the periphery and not into the core circles then no harmis really done.. i know lots many ppl in aol and their health and concentration has improved. i have seen them planting trees and visiting old age homes and affluent people going to the dirtiest villages and slums in india and setting upschools and providing water purification system i donot know if its aol funding or individual effort but its still good work so one can overlook some negatives sometimes its fine…

  8. Kingofking permalink
    November 10, 2010 1:35 pm

    Hopes NS and PS doing well!!

  9. belle permalink
    November 10, 2010 3:14 pm

    actually i take back my words, i initially thought that you guys were better off with your guru then mine, because you will never ever meet a more fame whoring and cunning individual then my ex guru, but now it seems after reading the comments from PP, you guys seem to have the same devotee types that are in my cult.

    we share the same type of devotee people anyway, but i still think your guru comes across less fame whoring then mine. i could be wrong. but mine has delusions of taking over the whole world through 24 hour tv channels and travelling world wide constantly and making vague huge promises of world peace that he never seems to deliver on.

    and delusions of being ram, krishna and jesus all in one, infact he’s the bigger version of all three. bye one get two free!

  10. Kingofking permalink
    November 10, 2010 7:17 pm

    Bloggers!!!!!!
    Who’s this Nandini Sen And Priya Sen?????

  11. goofy permalink
    November 11, 2010 3:54 am

    The blog is becoming so boring , same stories in different themes and actors!!! Like the same vine in the new bottle!!!

    • Peaceful Warrior permalink
      November 11, 2010 8:31 pm

      Well – if you are looking for entertainment and spectacle this may not be the best place for you. This blog exists for healing, and support of ex-aol folks and a forum for debate regarding it’s actions.

    • freethinker permalink
      November 11, 2010 8:36 pm

      @goofy

      Visit

      http://bawandinesh.name/

      You might find real entertainment there, don’t miss this

      http://bawandinesh.name/birthday-gifts-ii/

      thats the best part.

  12. Jabba permalink
    November 11, 2010 11:11 am

    Ravi’s long lost twin brother who went bad?

    • OASCS permalink
      November 11, 2010 1:39 pm

      Lol… funny… but one would really have to stretch one’s imagination …

  13. goofy permalink
    November 12, 2010 10:59 am

    @peaceful warrior
    Actually this forum is getting bored and bored becoz there are lot more things which shld be discussed, Y can’t You discuss abt 2G scam , The Indian’s don’t have any interest in all those stuffs which you are discussing here , what all you are talking is just waste abt the blog and the criticism , you are serving the vine in a new bottle , the essence of all criticism is the same to the first 4 or 5 post!!! For this time go and do your house work ,

    • anonymous permalink
      November 12, 2010 11:09 am

      LOL
      Dear GOOFY
      thnx for making this blog more interesting and entertaining with your comments…
      this is hillariuos…Goofy u r so into reading this blog and on other hand u tell us no one wants to read it its boring…..
      i cant stop laughing
      its like u go to a restaurant which u hate n u eat the same dish tat u disgust everytime n then comment of tat resturant is not serving good food
      Goofy u reallt live upto your name
      Thanks for the advice n entertainment goooooofffyyyyyyyy

  14. Meher permalink
    November 12, 2010 1:38 pm

    @anonymous
    See , evry1 have their freedom to comment in this blog , its not You who’s handling the Blog, let the owner respond to each post , and also Gooffy or who else is here have their responsibility to comment their opinion , its the blog owner who shld respond to it , Also one more thing , tht who ever comments any complaints are always humiliated like this

    • anonymous permalink
      November 12, 2010 4:31 pm

      @Meyer,

      Want to see humilitated? Just read what has happened to former AOL teachers, full timers, etc., who dared to leave SSRS. Read Klim’s blog. Then you’ll get a taste of what humiliation is! There is nothing in this blog that even comes close to the kind of abuse and humiliation and defaming and shaming suffered by devotees who walked away from SSRS and AOL because they found out the truth of him and the organization. I’m one of them, so I know first hand. He will stop at nothing to stop people from talking about him. He lies, cheats and steals. He is not a saint, nor a guru. He is simply a leader, charasmatic person, who was once, possibly (in my opinion) a yogi on the path to Freedom. He left that path in favor of name, fame and money.

    • anonymous permalink
      November 12, 2010 5:18 pm

      @ goofy meher
      dont be so senti meher ..or r u gooofy’s advocate
      Do u undersatnd what blog are and how they work…everyone is free to comment n everyone is free to reply to comments…who said its Blog owners duty..funny u r

  15. belle permalink
    November 12, 2010 5:06 pm

    @meher

    are you kidding? your throwing my words about. yes everyone has the freedom to comment but is goofy really providing a comment? or just goofing around? puhlease i say things in a diff context and its certainly not to support anyone coming on here and saying this blog is boring. whether this blog is boring or not to someone is not the issue at all. it is here to provide support and healing to those that are recovering from cults. it is not for goofys or anyones entertainment. and thus i donot support goofys comment at all.
    and nor should anyone else. and plus its not even a comment tbh, he’s making fun of everyone on here and all their expereinces in the cults.

  16. The Doctor permalink
    November 12, 2010 7:55 pm

    @Meher, @goofy, @Kingofking,

    Although your IP address gives you away as the same person, people have pretty much worked this out already from the drivel and nonsense you’ve been posting!

    I’d really love it if someone who was pro-AoL could come on here and discuss things in a civilized manner, but all we’ve seen so far is childish abuse from the majority of you. I know for a fact there are good people in AoL, and I’m even tempted to call some of them up and get them to post on here, if anything to provide a sound and fair representation of AoL.

    But you my friend are not doing them or AoL as an organization any favours whatsoever, no matter how many aliases you post under.

  17. 2bit permalink
    November 13, 2010 2:52 am

    @Doctor
    I like the exploratory nature of your post, much improvement from the conclusive tones in the most (pro or con) posts around here…and I like that you are careful to not blow your personal conclusions into careless generalizations…would definitely like to read evidence on issues (especially Money scam), instead of general scatterbrain accusations throughout this blog…

    • Abhilash Shastry permalink
      November 13, 2010 9:22 am

      Now that “2bit” has clearly told what s/he would like to read, why can’t you guys pull your act together? This is not fair. How many times you have to be told what to write and how to write? Have you considered that if you don’t comply his/her instructions s/he may even form a low opinion about this blog? Think of that.

      • anon234 permalink
        November 14, 2010 5:40 am

        @Abhilash, you are hilarious!! you sound witty and intelligent, how did someone like you entangle yourself with AoL? Or maybe, at that time you were younger so more naive? I used to see some pretty intelligent ,educated, well placed, good people bowing down to SSRS. Why does that happen? IITians, doctors, Wall Street guys, lawyers, senoir IAS officers???

      • November 14, 2010 8:03 pm

        @anon234

        >>I used to see some pretty intelligent ,educated, well placed, good people >>bowing down to SSRS. Why does that happen?

        Lot of intelligent professional western women date waiters and bouncers and are in abusive relationships.

      • Yeah,right. permalink
        November 15, 2010 7:38 am

        I have also seen some intelligent well placed educated people realise that AoL is a cult, and get away quickly. So, it can work both ways.

      • 2bit permalink
        November 15, 2010 9:09 pm

        @Abhilash
        …how log (and how many courses) did it take you Abhilash to conclude “AOL no good”? I think it was not because you are not intelligent (perhaps you are as clever as you think you are), but intellect can get in abusive relationship with emotions and you may conclude “AOL = all good”, and the same can happen when one concludes “AOL = all bad”…it seems constructive to take an objective view as Doctor is presenting in this post.

  18. The Philalethist permalink
    November 13, 2010 8:05 am

    @Doctor
    I have always found your posts / comments – very precise, rational, unbiased and well thought of. Am sure none of us here are cooking stories and wasting time, we all have had our share of experiences,been deeply hurt… deep enough that today we are on this Blog..expressing our experience and views and in a way healing ourself and helping others to see through more clearly instead of reaching the stage that we reached…
    I really appreciate the way you put it across.
    I wonder if you have gone through my post “abused and discarded” , I would like to hear your views on it, your words are inspiring and I guess they will help me understand AOL even better.. help me heal ..
    Keep the good work flowing Doctor.
    Regards

    • The Doctor permalink
      November 13, 2010 10:22 pm

      @Philalethist,
      I did read your original comment asking for my point of view and I’ve had it on my todo list for some time now. I’m just in the middle of something big in my personal life so haven’t had much chance to respond to you yet. But I definitely will within the next week or so.
      Just to say right now, like you, I’m sure no one here is cooking up stories, because it’s so obvious right now to anyone who’s been following these blogs and who has their eyes wide open that there is something seriously wrong with AoL. Rest assured, the truth is coming out, and nothing can stop it.

      • Anonymous permalink
        November 14, 2010 12:25 am

        I wish that was true. It´s really necessary, I fully agree. Unfortunately I don´t think it will happen. There is so much support from so many people, so many devotees, who only see it from a very superficial level, who don´t know anything. They will never be able to see what´s really happening behind the scene. How could they? All the important informations are secret… And as so many politicians with a big name are starting to get involved people will say: It must all be good, otherwise why these politicians would support the organization? And all those awards? And this new event which is taking place in Berlin 2011? Are you aware of the amount of people they are going to reach with this?

  19. Hello permalink
    November 16, 2010 6:19 am

    Its seems a hand in hand work is goin here between the bloggers and Aolers , they all need some publicity and even the public don’t even knw abt the people whom u have discussed her , let me ask u both bloggers and aolers , who’s all these teachers , faculties or saints those who have mentioned here ,I believe Indians really honour Spiritual Leaders like Sri Sri , Sai Baba etc . And we all wish to see India to Be a Hindu nation!!!

    • Prakash permalink
      November 17, 2010 6:45 am

      Let’s keep this blog the way it is meant to be. Skywalker, Doctor Abhilash and others, all are trying to contribute. No question of them being hand in glove with AOL.

      Second what is this bull s*** about Hindu Nation?

      Prakash.

      • OASCS permalink
        November 17, 2010 1:36 pm

        @ Prakash.. .. Ignore hello… he/she hasn’t read the blog and is just writing to divert the topic …

        But please do not use abuses with the term Hindu Nation. Honestly it kind of hurts.. .. And this is precisely how “hello” wants others to react… you are playing into his game…

      • goneagain permalink
        November 18, 2010 3:30 am

        Another PR, just try to drag people into unrelated issues to deflate any criticisms on RaviRavi/AOL. Don’t waste your time on these kinds.

    • Abhilash Shastry permalink
      November 17, 2010 3:25 pm

      @Hello:

      “And we all wish to see India to Be a Hindu nation!!!”

      Your master needs to come clean on this.

      Does your master favour a theocratic state in India? If yes, then why is he shy of accepting this? He has been hobnobbing with ultra-right for quite some time, all under the garb of providing spiritual guidance. Then, why does he show a bogus liberal front to the world? Let him declare openly that he favours a theocratic state in India instead of a secular one and see how many westerners he is able to trap afterward.

  20. Venkat Rajaram permalink
    November 16, 2010 1:00 pm

    Whats happening to the blog? Its almost ten days since the last posting. Hope alls well with you Skywalker.

  21. Peaceful Warrior permalink
    November 16, 2010 6:57 pm

    This is a bit off-topic, but pertinent. Found this while reading a book. I thought I’d share. A good teacher will usually say these things. Anyhow – enjoy!

    One repays a teacher badly if one always remains nothing but a student. And why do you not want to pluck at my wreath? You revere me; but what if your reverence tumbles one day? Beware lest a statue slay you. You say that you believe in Zarathustra? But what matters Zarathustra? You are my believers—but what matter all believers? You have not yet sought yourselves; and you found me. Thus do all believers; therefore all faith amounts to so little. Now I bid you lose me and find yourselves; and only when you have all denied me will I return to you.”

  22. Hello permalink
    November 16, 2010 7:21 pm

    @venkat see this blog is a planned drama by both ex and present for all their fame!!!!

  23. Hello permalink
    November 17, 2010 7:21 pm

    @abilash
    See I’m not a member of any organization , but as an Indian , as a Hindu , I feel proud of all Leaders for their hard work to bring back the heritage days of Hinduism!! Also I pray the next Govt . Shld be Led By the BJP , so that India could witness a period of transformation!!!

    • HaHa. permalink
      November 18, 2010 7:54 am

      Like the BJP now in Karnataka, sure! i want my whole country to be transformed into a land scam!! Let’s all pray for it together…. NOT.

  24. Hello permalink
    November 18, 2010 8:12 am

    @OASCS
    See wat happened to aol after these blog started nothing happened , so from this for publicity a drama is being planned!!!!

    • Anonymous permalink
      November 18, 2010 2:04 pm

      @Hello … the purpose of this blog is not to defame aol or to reduce the popularity .. the purpose is to bring out the truth(good or bad whatever) abt the org and to provide a healing space to those who have left the organization… And I think it is doing well in this direction…. Nothing will happen to AoL because of these blogs.. There are full fledged websites(lots of them.. will not be posting links to them) who have solid proof of Islam not being a religion but a system of fascist rule.. but has anything happened to islam ..governments are still indifferent to the dark side of islam.. even though it has been responsible for more than 16401 terrorists attacks after 9-11.. so neither will this blog result in anything happening to aol nor it is meant to…. at the most fewer people will sign up for the course… Anyway lets not divert from the topic … and please go through this blog… Don’t just pass comments by reading a post or two.. btw what is ur story with aol.. why are you so much against it.. aol is infact reviving vedic practies (one point i appreciate about aol)? It would be better if you cud come out with experiences rather than random comments, would be helpful to all….

      • Abhilash Shastry permalink
        November 19, 2010 9:26 am

        @Anon:

        “. ..aol is infact reviving vedic practies (one point i appreciate about aol)?”

        Can you please be more specific about which vedic practices AOL is reviving? To the best of my knowledge none of the practices of AOL have vedic origins-unless you believe in the right wing propaganda that confuses “ancient” with “vedic”.

      • OASCS permalink
        November 20, 2010 10:41 am

        Hi Abhilash.. OASCS here … forgot to post my name… vedic practices which I was talking about are specifically…

        – Devi Poojas
        – Rudra Abhishekam & Puja
        – Many other Homas performed near the Gurukul (inside the ashram near the lake)

        Many veda boys are trained in these homas etc..

        And my personal experience in these poojas has been very peaceful and energising.

        But again the poojas if one wants to conduct for oneself is very expensive though one can also attend these free of cost … atleast the rudra puja in the ashram

      • Abhilash Shastry permalink
        November 22, 2010 4:29 am

        @OASCS:

        Sri Rudram is a part of Veda, others are not. If you want to know how authentic AOL version is, you can find many shrotriya-s in Bangalore. Get their opinion.

        Hearing of proper vedic chanting in itself is very soothing and is a powerful meditation. If you are interested in authentic vedic chanting, AOL ashram is not a good choice. As with everything else, they have developed a pop version of it that can be learnt with minimal effort and does not demand any commitment from the listener either.

        Among the authentic sources of vedic chanting, Shankar Mutts have branches in most of the big towns in India. Jeeyer Mutt is active mainly in the South. You can visit any of them and hear authentic vedic chanting free of cost.

        There, you may even find someone who can chant Vedas in ghana paatha – a rare treat to ears.

      • OASCS permalink
        November 22, 2010 6:31 am

        Interesting.. Abhilash… Will surely check it out.. N btw considering your knowledge on hinduism, vedas, scriptures n all…. you should seriously consider having a blog of your own on these topics…. It will be a great help to all who are seeking true authentic sources of vedic chanting.

        N btw I saw a Maharishi Mahesh Yogiji’s inspired site which I suppose (am not sure) has around all the vedic chanting that AoL does and much more.. http://sanskrit.safire.com/….

        Btw im curious to know .. Where do Devi Pooja and The others homa originate from if not from the vedas? Are they authentic ?

      • OASCS permalink
        November 22, 2010 6:33 am

        @ Abhilash.. are there any Shankaracharya’s Mutts in Delhi/NCR area and also in Mumbai?

      • Anonymous permalink
        November 22, 2010 9:35 pm

        Abhilash… Will surely check it out.. N btw considering your knowledge on hinduism, vedas, scriptures n all…. you should seriously consider having a blog of your own on these topics…

        @Abhilash,

        You could call it “Art of Chanting” by Sri Sri Abhilash Shastry with the epigraph “Sound is the link between mind and body” 🙂

        Question: What would AOL call a breathing course for dogs?
        Answer: “Art of Panting” !!!

      • Abhilash Shastry permalink
        November 23, 2010 4:03 am

        @OASCS:

        In Mumbai, they have a shankar mutt in Matunga. On Sundays, there used to be a class on Vidyaranya’s “Anubhuti Pariksha” – one shloka, every week. I am not sure if that class is still going. In NCR, Shringeri mutt has a Shankar Vidya Kendra in Vasant Vihar.

  25. hello permalink
    November 19, 2010 5:46 am

    @HAHA,
    So wat abt the 2G scam , wat abt the Common wealth games , what happened to Maharasthra ???? The UPA govt is haven Hidden agenda , Sonia Gandhi is showing her Real Christian , catholic nature !!!! The Silence In Ayodhya Issue Shows This!!! Jai Sri Ram , Jai Hind!!!

    • Abhilash Shastry permalink
      November 19, 2010 2:08 pm

      Oh yes!

      And while we are at it, let us also discuss election manifesto of TDP, RJD, ABC, XYZ; global warming, palestine, Y2K and everything in between. In fact, any thing other than SSRS/ AOL would be fine.

  26. belle permalink
    November 19, 2010 3:40 pm

    @hello

    hah! lol!

    you are very funny – unintentionally.

  27. hello permalink
    November 19, 2010 5:53 pm

    @Abilash
    Since Hinduism is here , all other religions exist , india is a secular nation , and Hindu’s made it secular!!!!! First raise Your voice for Your nation!!
    Jai Shri Ram!!! Jai Hind!!!

  28. Peaceful Warrior permalink
    November 19, 2010 5:56 pm

    @Hello

    Is jingoistic sloganeering the best you can do ? You really are an embarrassment to your country, religion, teacher.

  29. hello permalink
    November 20, 2010 6:03 am

    @peaceful warrior
    By reading the entire blog I felt that majority of the article against all those aol people are written by foreigners , who’s don’t even have any rite to comment on the integrity of our nation , see u have a hidden christian agenda and people like abhilash are supporting it . These britishers or americans who are the blog owners are having tht anti Hindu agenda to destroy the real culture , the RAMA Rajya…….. see in india only all these things happen , if U r disgracing A religion or a culture in Muslim nation , U will have to face the real concequences !!! Bharat , The Mother India will Hail!! Bharath Matha Ki Jai , Jai Hind , Jai Sri Ram!!!

    • OASCS permalink
      November 20, 2010 11:15 am

      @ Hello …. I am as much for reviving Ram rajya and the real culture of India as you are.. I too wish this country to be a Hindu nation… but it seems you have misunderstood this blog. There is a pre conceived notion in us Hard core hindus that the entire world is ganged up against our culture.. Yes Christian Missionaries have hidden agenda of conversions in India which I too feel is wrong.. but this blog is not a part of that agenda…. This blog is just providing a critic section which the aol website missed including in their website.

      Yes many posts and comments are overtly cynical and hell bent on proving him wrong… but the hardcore aol devotees are also not far behind in doing things like deifying the Guru etc.. And yes there are genuine experiences of indian’s who have been hurt….

      Infact what I fail to understand why did you say that AoL and the blog owners are hand in glove with each other.. as AoL is itself reviving the Hindu practices and is pro Ram Rajya.. Where as here you state that the blog is run by christians .. the common(also the majority of) christians have no hidden agenda to convert and spoil our culture .. its just those who are part of the church and missionaries who are hell bent in converting the whole world to their religion.. If you look closely on the right hand side on the sidebar.. you will see there is a link to an anti Reverand site too…

      I do very well understand your sentiments as I too share the same.. but this blog is not what you interpret it as…

      Infact you should join hands with the AoL as most people from there too share the same desires as you… but do not become a full timer … do it hand and hand with your job… And do not spend too much in courses.. be alert…

      Bharat Mata shall prevail but through the path of truth .. not deciet…

      Please note I am not criticizing AoL out here.. all I wish is that AoL top bosses read, listen and introspect on what is written in this blog.. which will help AoL come out as a clean organization .. And will be a win win situation for all….

      Jai Sri Ram!!!

      • Peaceful Warrior permalink
        November 22, 2010 5:08 pm

        It would be good to have your idea of ram rajya clear. The idea that RS has in his mind is actually very different from what you might think.

        Ram Rajya happened in a feudal society where a benevolent dictator took care of the needs of everyone, and the people had blind faith in their philosopher king. Both TM and AOL have the same sort of organizational structure, and I’m convinced that it is also the vision that RS has in mind.

        Except that now society is organized around notions of private property and free market – we are not in a feudal society anymore. I think we can easily live and spread the same human values in the current setup. A vision which takes us back to a feudal society is regressive, not progressive IMO.

        I’m sure people who have been in AOL full time have had a taste of what it’s like to live in such a system – it’s not at all the utopia you think it is.

    • Dayalu permalink
      November 20, 2010 1:57 pm

      hello, I am a Hindu and an Indian who is proud of my country and heritage. Do you realize you sound just like an islamic fanatic whom you despise? Go and read the ‘Gita’ and get some idea of Vedanta. You don’t know what our religion or culture is. Also, it would be good for you if you can improve your reading comprehension skills, because they seem to be pathetic.

    • anonymous permalink
      November 20, 2010 4:24 pm

      Why, @hello,

      We must be foreigners because we are living elsewhere (europe or in US)? Just because you speak poor English, have probably never been outside of India and know nothing about the outside world except what you are told on TV, or by bigots, doesn’t mean that every Indian is like you.

      Many of us live in the US or Europe, have been intimately involved with AOL and SSRS, and know how dirty and horrible the whole thing is. Dharma alone says we must stand up and say what has been done in the name of Spirituality by AOL and SSRS.

      What in the world do all your slogans have to do with Spirituality? Sanskrit, Veda, all came from India. But these are for the whole world. Just because you hate anything not Indian, doesn’t mean that educated Indians think like you.

      Try not to be so narrow-minded.

    • anonymous permalink
      November 20, 2010 4:30 pm

      oh @hello,

      Also, since you so hate everything not Indian, you should probably ask AOL and SSRS to give back at least 50% of their land holdings and businesses bought with foreign money 🙂 Cause that’s just what he did — sucked in a bunch of innocent white folks, fooled them, took their money, and built an ashram with it. Indians, if they have brains, can quickly see through SSRS. But for foreigners who tend to be very impressed by anything “Yoga” or “meditation” it’s not so easy. I feel really ashamed when I see these good-hearted people who have been taken advantage of by AOL and SSRS. AOL and SSRS are a disgrace to Hinduism, Veda, and India! Wake up!

      Yeah, the local politicians will not want to because their pockets get lined and they get exposure by being associated with that group and that man.

      It appears the Deccan Herald is afraid of SSRS or else paid off by him. Maybe you are too? Clearly the Revenue Office is afraid or paid off, or these people would have been shut down long ago.

    • Anonymous permalink
      November 20, 2010 7:23 pm

      What is this? Did we change the blog into a fight between Indians and other people? Stop it please… This is not what it is about… PLEASE!

    • guru ho ja suru permalink
      November 21, 2010 3:27 am

      @hello ,
      this one of the funniest kind of defense that is presented by people of your caliber. just writing bharat mata ki jai will not help the country it is better to face the reality and clear the muck created by corrupt people of our nation. before writing the crab that you have written you must under stand the true meaning of words like religion Hindu Christian or even disgrace.

      • November 21, 2010 7:39 am

        Dont feed the trolls aka hello.

  30. belle permalink
    November 20, 2010 2:05 pm

    @hello
    First raise Your voice for Your nation!!

    lol! first of all since most of the fakers are originating from india itself these days, its very hard to do this!

  31. hello permalink
    November 21, 2010 10:09 am

    @guru
    I knw the meaning , its u who have to learn it! A hindu is always secular but a christian will never speak secularity , also they speaks on minority and their rights!!!
    Jai hind!

  32. belle permalink
    November 21, 2010 2:08 pm

    omg, isnt this totally off topic, are we discussing hindus now or wat?

  33. Anonymous permalink
    November 22, 2010 12:51 am

    If this blog goes on like that I´m no more interested… This is ridiculous…

  34. Anonymous permalink
    November 22, 2010 12:52 am

    What happened to skywalker, doctor and others who used to post substancial comments here? I´m missing them…

  35. Abhilash Shastry permalink
    November 22, 2010 2:02 am

    Dear Hello:

    Since you are so convinced that any criticism of AOL is an attempt to destroy Hinduism, why don’t you just ask your master if AOL is a Hindu organization? Somehow, he seems to suggest otherwise. Or is this another of the mysteries like his advanced degrees at the age of 17?

  36. hello permalink
    November 22, 2010 12:21 pm

    @abhilash , You don’t know the real intergrity of the nation , You are just a crack who just wants to support this foreigners who are trying to disintegrate the nation again and again!! My language may not be gud as urs mr.Foreigner But I proud to be born as the son of mother india in the land where all these Guru’s exist!!! In this kaliyug we have to face all these , you are trying to promote your religion , search for wat all activities the chrition missionaries doing in india , they are looting the country and wat abt zakir naik , he even insulted swamiji of suttur mat and also the Hindu’s are being attacked the majority being attacked !! Its our mercy!!! Hinduism is rooted before 6000 yrs where chritianity u say to root before 2000 years!! Santhana dharma will rise to glory !!! India As A Hindu Nation!! Rama Rajya!! Jai Hind Jai Bharath!! Jai Sriram!!!

    • Prakash permalink
      November 22, 2010 12:53 pm

      Hello Ji.

      Biwi se jhagda hua kya? Gussa Abhilash par mat utaro pls.

      Translation for foreigner goons: (Have u fought with youir wife today? Why venting anger on poor Abhilash)

      Prakash

    • Thanks for saving me permalink
      November 22, 2010 12:58 pm

      Dear Hello,

      Why are you hellbent on diverting the topic. If you want to discuss hinduism/ zakir sheik, weterners destroying India or any other such topic, you are most welcome to start a different blog. By the way I am a Hindu & an Indian and most of hindus do not appreciate the type of fundamentalist view you have. We believe in ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbkam’, not just India only. Bharat have survived without the help of misguided souls like you.

    • freethinker permalink
      November 22, 2010 4:15 pm

      I wouldn’t be a bad idae to ban some folks who would like to talk off topics – may be they should post those in bawa’s blog or something like that.

      • Anonymous permalink
        November 22, 2010 8:09 pm

        Doctor, Skywalker… etc. did you leave the blog??? What´s happening here?

  37. Go_Home permalink
    November 23, 2010 5:13 am

    skywalker, Doctor and other main contributor and blog owners have been paid of by AOL

    Please open the next site. AOL crooks are a genius after SK practice

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