How Art of Living gets away with abuse
By Independent Observer
We have been discussing spiritual abuse. Why does the regular/average AOLer not able to discriminate or identify exploitative behaviour and guard against being exploited by SSRS ?? When you go a little deeper there is something interesting that emerges. I found that deliberately creating a FUZZY picture helps AOL get away with anything….especially participant abuse.
Recently, I (ex-teacher, 10 years, at one time almost inner circle, big money generator) was having this discussion with a group of teachers who ARE currently on the wall AOL people (I don’t like what is inside, ut I am stuck, I have created such a noise about my teachership with family and friends). I once again, simply presented all the facts about AOL the way I know it. Their fear was simply palpable….I could see that all of them entertained the same questions that I had in their own minds but would not voice it for it would be heard within their immediate world. Why shake the tree …….???? (because if you shake it…all the rotten fruits will fall….OF that they are all sure. They know this within themselves as deep down you can recognize the rotten fruits you placed there yourself).
However what was most VISIBLE among them is the lack of energy/guts/interest to investigate any of the allegations that each one of them ideally has to FIND OUT FOR THEMSELVES. After all these folks dedicate so much time into AOL and away from their core businesses and families. They simply seem to have no ability to do the necessary critical reasoning. This I find not just in AOL folks but folks in general. People are too busy existing that they do not want to look deeper. A convenient belief system that suits me for today will do. Why break my head figuring things out. ? In anycase everybody around me does AOL.
When faced with any allegation / fact the kind of stories / imaginative justifications and perceptions that a “I desperately want to believe” AOL volunteer conjures up are simply amazing. I found them that they fabricate things and pass them as facts and completely ignore facts I am presenting…Repeatedly…Truly and Thoroughly Stuck.
Now, this was very interesting, here I was trying to say something to them and they always understood it in some other ways and would defend my allegation now albeit tangentially. AND all of them were senior execs and well known successful business figures in the local business circuit. So, Given this situation, which was so amazing..I started to wonder of how someone would actually go about suing the Art of Living. I am looking at how we would present something like this for eg in a people’s court. FIRST, for this you would need to establish who / what is AOL.
Let us s say we put forward this question to regular contributors to this BLOG….”Art of Living”….who are they ?
Depending on who you ask you will any of the following replies
A1) Oh Art of Living they are a group who teach courses and do seva.
A2) Oh the Art of living is a course (curse to some of us).
A3) The art of living is a way of life (we have everything classes, yoga, Ayurveda, singing, community service etc)…and btw it’s a free lifetime membership thing. Anyone can join in.
A4) The Art of Living is all about breathing
A5) It is all about this wise (vice) man who is doing some great humanitarian work
A6) Its the world’s largest Spiritual Movement
A7) Its a new age religion with some basis points borrowed from Hinduism and the Vedas
Group ? Does that mean it is a company ? Is AOL a established company ? This is a question that each AOL volunteer today needs to ask his AOL entity in his or her country.
Now to this refined group, pose question 2 ……
In how many chapters / states / countries is AOL established as an NGO / Not for Profit and whether it is called “AOL” in the first place.
In most places where it is set up legally and in some countries where it is also called AOL (or its local language equivalent) you will find that there are no legal papers drawn up that clearly connect and define an ownership structure to VVMVP in India.
Next what is the relationship of this country AOL entity to the below entities ?
- Sri Sri Ayurveda
- Sumeru Real Estate
- Aravind Imports Exports
Again you will draw another blank. When we setup IAHV in my country the papers submitted to the local govt authorities were that of another IAHV in Europe. However I feel that the way AOL and IAHV Germany are setup legally there unlikely to be any clearly legal financial links (to be read tax implication) to the other AOL parent entities in India such as VVMVP.
The point here is Art of Living is just a name…its just a brand name….. under which anything can be done. So when you get specific about a particular accusation for anyone who AOL generally (Including us on this blog)….the very use of the phrase/terminology”Art of living” is bound to create a FUZZY understanding or interpretation. People just don’t get it. It is time to take a surgical view of each of the legal entities within the AOL fold (again this is notional) but it’s a start. So, here are the questions I would ask.
1. How does Sumeru Real Estate (A for Profit Company) raise money in Singapore or Dubai or London for instance? They are not legally present in most countries. They do it through the local Art of Living right ?…Or do they ?
2. How does Sri Sri Ayurveda do this…..?
Now ask…is AOL legal in its home country ? Is it an Not for Profit or a commercial entity (In most countries setting up as a Non-Profit is very difficult…almost impossible, given Parent AOL’s financial mis-handling)
What you will also find is that there will be a significant amount of “UNTRACEABILITY”…everything simply vanishes into a black hole. There are NO clear legal / financial inks between these legal country entities with VVMP or is it SSRVM.
Why even in India…Art of Living is just a brand there is no such legal entity.
Conclusion – You cannot sue “Art of Living”…….for they don’t exist. It is an just a magical illusion…..
It is easy to just disappear and no one will be any wiser.
There are NO TRAILS.
This is why Sri Sri makes sure that above the line thinkers and Professionals will never head his organisations. It will always be the blind follower that heads the local chapter. Usually, they are kinda dumb and they will have a small set of followers who are even dumber or plain lazy to use their own capacity to think and reason out for themselves. Most other volunteers who are not in the main stream management functions are too busy with their everyday lives to question the activities of this small POWER coterie that runs each region or country. Now this coterie gets addicted to the power of running this loosely knit THING called AOL where you can do literally anything with the money you collect under any cause an IAHV seva project or A dollar a day or AOL courses Or whatever is the flavour of the day (haiti for instance)
For there is no written agreement or constitution on this anywhere…in terms of how it all rolls up into the non-existent AOL parent company.
Follow my train of reasoning and I think the Pandora’s box will start to open….
So, asking Doctor and the Prosecutor here….can we prepare a small simple checklist of questions to ask that should give you precise answers….a GRAND Art of Living Quiz……with a GRAND PRIZE for all winners and correct answers…(We deliver UN-Enlightenment….GUARANTEED….or all your money you spent on AOL back will be refunded back to you…just give us a expense statement and no questions will be asked…….sounds familiar….doesn’t it ? for we too are loose bunch of nameless people…no real group…no real company…just a bunch of loosely coupled people—-Well all the AOL companies you will find are the same.) .
I suspect that we will find that the only common factor will be the names of trustees on the boards of all these companies in India. Sri Sri can simply disown anything in any other country and get away scot free. He can easily claim that he never knew some of his followers would actually set up companies and do BUSINESS using his name in the front.
In fact some friends of mine recently told me about such a venture which apparently is causing a lot of heart break in the Gulf countries.
It is called Kayan. http://www.mykayan.com
This company I understand was setup with no proper or clear legal documentation from any parent AOL company. It is just a small bunch of local volunteers who did it all by themselves AND all the while the original Art of Living organisation was also existing in parallel . Nobody has any idea how this got done.
For spiritual businessmen in the making—–If the above is true….This could your grand opportunity to set up a local AOL franchise…after all there is really no Franchise fee…….except perhaps 1st your mind and then your soul.