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Time to Fight Back

January 11, 2011

UPDATE: Please send your lists of AoL contacts to my email address If the recipients cannot understand English, please remember to let me know which is their main language.

From the start, I was only ever interested in finding out the truth about Art of Living. At least that’s what I signed up for when I first came on board here. And looking around me now, I know that a great many of you feel exactly the same way as me.

I never intended to fight against Art of Living, just to discover how on earth I became so entangled in the organization in the first place, to recover from the major loss I experienced when I left, and hopefully in learning these things to share them and so to help others benefit from what I contribute here. It has always been a place where we can share our experiences and help each other to heal. It has never been about defaming or creating an “us vs them” culture, although I admit there have been those on both sides who have tried to make it seem like that. It has always been about being truthful, and sincerely helping those who needed to recover from their negative, and in some cases traumatic, experiences with Art of Living.

But upon learning that AoL have taken this extreme measure to expose the identities of some of the major contributors here, who I have come to know from my time here have nothing but good intentions to help many people like myself and others who have had similar experiences to them, it has completely changed my perspective on this whole affair.

I now no longer believe we should just sit here and do what we have been doing this entire time, which has been to passively maintain this blog and hope people will find it through Google, or that those who have read it may pass it on to people they know who might benefit from it.

Between all of us here and on KLIM’s blog, we have produced the most incredible resources to help expose what we now believe to be a very dangerous religious cult. And let’s face it, by taking this extreme action and also considering Swami Sadyojatha’s attacks last year, it shouldn’t take much to convince any sane person that Art of Living really is a a dangerous religious cult as we are claiming.

If those who were instrumental in the creation of these blogs were to be legally prosecuted, and the blogs themselves were to disappear as a result, this would be an extreme injustice and would be a huge loss to all those who visit these blogs regularly to find solace and comfort in the words contained within, not to mention thousands who have yet to discover them in the future.

As such, I have absolutely no intention whatsoever of just sitting back and letting these bullies get away with what they’re trying to do here. I am going to do whatever it takes to fight this, and I could really use the help of as many of you as possible here. Innocent people should never be victimized in this way, and we need to send a message to Art of Living to let them know that we will not bow down to this or to any other threats they make against us.

We may not have the resources to fight a legal battle against them, but there is so much we can do between us that soon this legal battle will pale into insignificance.

A Letter to Devotees
First and foremost, I am busy drafting an email which explains everything we’ve been doing here, as well as relating everything which Art of Living have tried to do in order to silence us. I intend to send this email to each and every single AoL devotee worldwide whose email address I can get hold of.

I myself have been sitting on a list of some 1,000 email addresses for a very long time now, waiting for the best time to contact these individuals and let them know of what we are doing. And I really can’t think of a better time to do this than right now. Can you?

And I’m sure many of you have similarly acquired lists, maybe people you know who are still associated with Art of Living, people who have attended various events you have been involved in organizing, courses so on.

So, if you do have any lists of email addresses, no matter how large or small, and you would like me to send an email detailing what we are doing on this blog to these individuals, please send this list to and I will see that these people receive the message anonymously. Your name will never be mentioned here at all, so you can remain at ease.

Translators Wanted
If the email list you send is intended for people who do not speak English, please let us know the best language to contact them on so that we can post them an appropriate translation.

In fact, if you can help to translate the email into any other languages, please contact us letting us know which language(s) you can translate into.

I will post the email here shortly as soon as it is ready, so that you can see exactly what it is I plan to tell all these devotees.

Further Ideas
We should also look into other areas such as:

  • Contacting schools, colleges and universities worldwide and warning them about the different guises AoL takes to lure in the young, such as ART Excel, Yes!, Yes We Can, Yes!+, Yoga Raves / Yoga Jams and any other similar courses and activities. You can really help us here by compiling a list of universities in your country and appropriate email details of the right people to contact. We should probably coordinate this effort to ensure that no duplicate work is taking place.
  • Media: we really need to contact the media, mainly in the US and in India, and let them know that this is happening. In the US, we need to let the media know that Google are being subpoenaed by a dangerous religious cult and if Google do give in to this, they will be exposing innocent people to potential abuse from this cult, thus putting them and their families in danger. In India, the emphasis should be on the fact that a large number of former members have discovered that Art of Living is a cult and now AoL are taking action to try to silence them.
  • Documentaries: I found this clip on youtube posted by a former member of Landmark Forum (which incidentally Rishiji used to be a member of before joining AoL – if you have time to watch it, see if you can see any similarities to AoL here. You may get a surprise or two.) In the clip, the presenter mentions that he was part of a documentary which aired in Sweden and which exposed Landmark Forum to be a cult, and also part of a similar documentary which aired in France. I’m going to contact a friend of mine who has worked on documentaries in the past which have aired on one of the most well-known TV stations in the world and discuss the possibilities of producing a documentary which exposes Art of Living to the world. If any of you have similar contacts, please can you approach them and discuss this with them?

These are just a few ideas for now, if you have other ideas, please post them here.

As I said above, I’ll post the email I plan to send to devotees very soon here, so keep a close eye on these blogs.

I want each and every single person reading this to know, we are going to fight this all the way and there is no way on earth we are going to let them win. We believe in freedom of speech, the freeing our minds, in truth, in justice, and we will fight anyone and anything which tries to take these rights away from us.

Love & Peace, (and may the force be with you ;-))

The Doctor

  1. The Doctor permalink
    January 11, 2011 9:49 pm

    Please read latest post above as we are leaving the fund raising post as sticky.

    • Dayalu permalink
      January 12, 2011 2:04 am

      Doctor, please post your email address. I shall send you all the AOL contacts that I have.

      • The Doctor permalink
        January 12, 2011 6:40 am

        Hi Dayalu, I’ve added it to the top of post above.
        Thanks, Doc

  2. Mac permalink
    January 12, 2011 4:00 am

    Dear Doctor,

    Hope you have really stood back, had a good look at yourself and what you are doing. As an SSRS devotee i had subscribed to read, to see and to decide if all this make sense. Earlier there was just a hint of contradiction and below the line blogging in your and related author’s posts. Now more and more it looks like you are acquiring all the characteristics of the organization you are fighting. Going by what you say…as such there is a major injustice going on in this world through AOL..I wonder, why create another…..

    One question that always comes up: Who are you? What are your credentials? Isn’t this all stories made up by a good writer to make easy money? What are you doing in your life to make any real difference to the society. If all this is true why are you hiding? Why all this nonsense about hiding identity, protection, donation for legal fees etc etc? If you are fighting to give us all freedom, please stand up on your feet and fight so that we can all be behind you.



    PS: There are much better ways to save people. Wake up!

    • John permalink
      January 12, 2011 5:56 am


      – the need for anonymity has been explained many times earlier. you only need to read Sad swamy’s post to realize how far AOL will go to discredit, insult, abuse, and threaten you, your family and friends once they know (or even kind of guess) your identity.
      – i guess doctor should not be a football of Mac’s opinions. he should do what he judges to be right 🙂
      – obviously there’re million plus ways to help people but individuals feel very strongly when a so called spiritual org has wronged them
      – btw, how do you think doctor is making money by writing on this blog? If you want to see how to make money by making up stories, you should attend some AOL courses and see how they do it.

    • The Doctor permalink
      January 12, 2011 6:47 am


      I really think that both the post and everything detailed in the blogs is self-explanatory by now. If you’ve read everything from the start, you will know exactly what we are doing here, and why we have to do this.

      Art of Living are threatening us, and they are threatening freedom of speech. Whatever good they have done in the world, they are responsible for a great many bad things which they don’t want the world to know about.

      We have a moral obligation to tell the world about these things. I don’t see this as an injustice in any way, in fact this is what I would call bringing them to justice.

      And please stop asking who we are and what our credentials are. None of these things matter whatsoever, all that matters is what we are saying. If the things written here resonate with you, then we hope we can help you. If not, then I recommend you don’t come here. But do not try to stop what we are doing here, because like it or not we are helping a great many people who have been abused by Art of Living. Accept this and move on.

      And remember, Krishna told Arjuna to fight, and that is exactly what we are doing here as well, fighting for what we believe in.

  3. January 12, 2011 7:01 am

    There are lots of youtube videos on ssrs which are not posted by aol org, one could post the link to this blog in the comments section of those videos. Start with the most popular ones.

  4. landmarkeducationinaustralia permalink
    January 12, 2011 7:26 pm

    Whatever happened to free will? You may have a very legitimate dispute with AoL, but this characterization of them and other groups as nefarious brainwashers seems to combine a deep grudge with conspiracy theory thinking. The last person I read about who strongly believed in sinister organizations brainwashing people was Jared Lee Laughlin. I’ve been involved a lot of new age stuff, from Yoga groups to Landmark, to different Buddhist sects, and they were all pretty benign. None of them were perfect, and many of them were trying to make a buck, but nefarious brainwashing? Nah.

    • January 13, 2011 3:39 am

      I agree with you. I don’t think organizations purposely set out to brainwash people. What does happen though is an organization will lie about itself, create a larger than life mythology about its leader/itself, and use that mythology to manipulate its followers. Is it intentional? I don’t think so. Does it happen? Absolutely. If that mythology gets challenged in any serious way there are significant consequences to pay – usually social stigmatization, guilt-tripping, shaming and if the person is so involved there is a threat of loss of financial security.

      Many people make the mistake to think that brainwashing or mind-control involves making someone very zombie like or disabling them to think for themselves. It is much more complex than that. It can be compared to being involved with a manipulating parent or lover. Most of the time the manipulator doesn’t even recognize that they are being manipulative and the one being manipulated can’t see it either. In the case of an organization, it gets even more subtle and complex because the mindset of the group does all the manipulating and the followers play along (including the person themselves). It isn’t any one person doing it. It is all your social circle and yourself doing it.

      People can be very well intentioned, kind and loving but still play into and support unethical control. For instance, in the days of jim crow laws, there were many people in the South who were very kind and loving people who played along with the ingrain prejudice of the times. Not to do so, would entail huge social cost. And much of the time, people didn’t think it was all that wrong – people couldn’t conceive of it ever being different. It was just the way black and white people are suppose to live. It was just the way things are. Like that, in a high demand organization like AOL, a social culture gets create where there is great pressure to go along with everything the leader/organization wants. No one person (not even SSRS) is creating the pressure, everyone is. It is the group think. When you are inside of it you don’t see anything as wrong. The deception or misrepresentation to the public, the fuzziness around money, the glossing over of serious problems within the organization all become how life should be. It is just they way things are. It doesn’t look wrong until you step out of the mindset and begin to see how crazy some of this stuff is.

    • January 13, 2011 6:35 am

      There is a grudge maybe, no conspiracy theory thinking however. The grudge could be that how someone as smart as me could believe in guru tales or guru magic.

      Everyone is trying to influence people to their way of thinking, that is how idea evolution works.

      Why does Proselytization feel so good? Something to ponder over. I think it might be our nature to spread whatever we feel and know to be the best at that moment.

      • The Doctor permalink
        January 13, 2011 6:48 am

        Very philosophical @Dont. I I too have made similar thoughts on this, which I’ll share here.

        We are naturally drawn to people who are similar to us, and based on certain similarities we form groups. Over time, we tend to self-identify more with the group, and so lose some of our individuality. Whenever we come across those who are not part of the group, we naturally seem to take one of two courses of action: we either i) try and draw them into the group (proselytize), or ii) treat them as an enemy, a threat to the group, and hence attack them in whatever way we can.

        Cults and religions generally adopt one or other of these, and in some cases they even adopt both. AoL is no exception here. Their main modus operandi up until now has been to proselytize, however now that they have identified a threat to the group, namely us, they themselves have made us into an enemy. This actually has some seriously disturbing consequences if we look at similar behaviour in other cults that have existed over time, but this is a discussion I want to defer to another time. I also really hope that it never comes to anything like this, for the sake of those who are still trapped in AoL.

        In terms of why proselytization feels so good, it is because when we are successful in converting someone to our beliefs, so that they can then become part of the group, the group grows as a result and because we identify with the group, we feel we too have grown.

      • Peaceful Warrior permalink
        January 13, 2011 4:29 pm

        @Don’t – Nature holds many possibilities – you can just as easily argue that the opposite is our nature too.

        Personally, I don’t feel bad for spending time in seva – given the information I had it was the right thing to do. It was later that I realized that $$ was going into coffers of one family, and not actual seva of people who need help. If AOL were genuinely and sincerely doing work to help the world I might still be part of it.

  5. Independent Observer permalink
    January 12, 2011 8:13 pm


    I sent you an email. It has some pretty big attachments. All put together about 13 MB. Please make sure it goes not to the junk folder. Info in the email is not for the blog, hence the email to you direct.

  6. ANON permalink
    January 13, 2011 1:24 am

    Costs of joining ART OF LIVING

    I give below costs (course fees, donations and airfares) incurred during last four years of my association with AOL.

    *Year 2007 (introduced to AOL): $553.30

    *Year 2008 (became volunteer and attended more courses): $2,998.75

    *Year 2009 (became AOL Zombie, Doreen, please note): $7,866.97

    *Year 2010 (introduced to ART OF LEAVING; thanks to GOOGLE): $347.50

    Financial Costs sub-total: $11,766.52

    There are other costs which were not financial in nature but I can still quantify with my present middle class earning level.

    *Year 2007 (attended satsangs and SK only): $ NIL

    *Year 2008 (volunteered an average of two hours per week): $3,000

    *Year 2009 (average increased to six hours per week, volunteering, meetings, correspondence, accounting etc.): $9,000

    *Year 2010 (dropped AOL like burning coal in February 2010): $720

    Non Financial costs sub-total: $12,720

    Thus the total financial impact in last four years is $24,486.52.

    The above does not include time and petrol wasted in bringing AOL swamis, rishis and other teachers from Airport, taking them around the city, spending money on their food expenses, driving new participants to AOL courses (seva), following SSRS, spending on his trivia but costly tastes etc. The communication costs (phone and mobile) are also not taken into account.

    The purpose of this detailing is to make people understand that how their time, money and life is taken over by AOL, slowly but surely. It is not that every one who does a basic course end up spending these amounts but some do and they (like me) are fit to be called AOL zombie.

    I will end up giving another cost which I have incurred today (year 2011) due to my previous association with AOL.

    *A small donation of $100 to BAoL Legal Defense Fund.

    • French Fry permalink
      January 14, 2011 6:00 pm

      Oh you poor baby! Somebody other than yourself made you do all these terrible things! Don’t take any responsibility for yourself! Sue AOL! That’s it! Make them give you all your money back. Did those swamis hold a gun to your head to make you drive them to the airport? I hate when they do that!

      • Peaceful Warrior permalink
        January 14, 2011 8:49 pm

        As I have stated countless times – fool me once shame on me. We all hold ourselves responsible, first and foremost for being duped and brainwashed. Then we decide to not keep fooling ourselves and we leave AOL. That’s taking responsibility of oneself.

        AOL is not your family, no matter what the marketing says. They are a business. Depend on AOL at your own peril!

      • ANON permalink
        January 15, 2011 6:42 am

        “Did those swamis hold a gun to your head to make you drive them to the airport? I hate when they do that!”

        No. They duped me by glib talk.

        Now don’t tell me that before me no one else in the world was duped by this tactics.

  7. Anon xy permalink
    January 13, 2011 8:41 am

    Read this sentence in below article !!!

    `He went to an Art Of Living meeting five days before his death and after that he became psychotic and unable to go to sleep.’

    Meditation cult `drove my son to his death’

    Mail on Sunday (London, England), The, Oct 13, 1996
    Byline: Nick Buckley
    A FREELANCE photographer who committed suicide was driven to his death by a strange cult, his mother said yesterday.
    Patrick Engelen, 34, died hours after his badly burned body was found by the charred wreckage of his family’s Volvo.
    There was no suicide note or hint of explanation to his family.
    But his mother Susan Gregory believes her son was pushed over the edge by his involvement with the mystic cult, Transcendental Meditation.
    Patrick had spent the last five years seeking to reach a `higher level of consciousness’ through the movement led by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, the guru consulted by The Beatles in the Sixties.
    He became a senior TM member with the alleged ability to levitate while meditating. His family suspect he may have donated thousands of pounds to the organisation, which has more than 160,000 supporters in Britain.
    Mrs Gregory, 59, of Ottershaw, Surrey, said: `It must have been TM that caused his death. He was a normal person until he got involved with them.
    `He lost weight, became withdrawn and got hooked on meditating like a drug.’
    Patrick had also become involved with sitar maestro Ravi Shankar’s Art Of Living movement, a splinter group from TM, in the weeks before his death.
    A letter found in the burned-out car in Wraysbury, Berkshire, last month contained the group’s headed notepaper.
    Patrick’s step-sister, Sue Clark, a 33-year-old osteopath, said: `He went to an Art Of Living meeting five days before his death and after that he became psychotic and unable to go to sleep.’
    Ian Haworth of the Cult Information Centre, commented: `This is not the first time I have been aware of somebody in TM attempting to commit suicide.
    TM has been of great concern to people in our field for many years.’
    Yesterday Peter Warburton, spokesman for the Maharishi Foundation, the charity which teaches TM in Britain, said: `Patrick may have mixed different forms of meditation and that is where the complications occur.’
    Public school-educated Patrick emigrated to Australia 10 years ago but returned to Britain for the summer.
    Sydney psychiatrist Dr Byron Rigby last night defended TM and said that members were encouraged to meditate for 20 to 30 minutes at a time.
    He said: `In 25 years, we have had only one suicide here. I don’t recall this young man, but I understand that he was involved with another organisation and that he had been meditating for at least five hours a day.
    `Anyone who sits with their eyes closed for five hours a day is going to end up very unsettled.’

    • French Fry permalink
      January 14, 2011 5:57 pm

      What’s your point? It’s always tragic when someone commits suicide. But to claim that TM or AOL “caused” the suicide is ridiculous. Plenty of people do TM and SK with no suicide problem. Having been in the TM movement I would fault them for not referring people out to medical professionals at times when they see that someone is obviously disturbed in some way. To claim that TM or AOL caused the suicide is as ridiculous as claiming the recent shootings in Arizona, USA were caused by right-wing rhetoric.

      • Peaceful Warrior permalink
        January 14, 2011 8:36 pm

        “To claim that TM or AOL caused the suicide is as ridiculous as claiming the recent shootings in Arizona, USA were caused by right-wing rhetoric.”

        Man you are such an insensitive D-Bag just like them fox news anchors.

        Have you actually read the article at all ??? The person in question used to be a normal person until involvement with TM changed his personality. How is TM not responsible ? If they deserve credit for your spiritual growth, then they deserve censure for this too.

      • January 15, 2011 6:54 am

        I was in TM and I don’t think TM (technique) would cause someone to commit suicide, but I will say that TM’s anti- professional help for all things mental health may. TM and AOL have a strong bias against seeking professional help when it comes to psychological issues. I have seen people suffering for years with symptoms of depression and anxiety and refusing to get help because they think if they only are on the ‘program’ more or through the grace of the master they would be healed. It goes on for years and nothing gets better. It is quite needless. And I believe the cognitive dissonance caused by staying in these groups exacerbate the issues.

  8. Cult help permalink
    January 13, 2011 9:04 am

    Please forward this blog to these organisations:

    Links to International Help:

    (In alphabetical order by country)

    Fundación S.P.E.S

    N.S.S. – National Spiritual Security

    C.I.F.S. – Cult Information and Family Support

    CCG Ministries

    Cult Information Service

    Cult Awareness & Information Centre

    Gesellschaft gegen Sekten-und Kultgefahren

    Center of New Religious Movements Studies

    Contacts et Informations Groupes Sectaires

    Info Cult

    Dialog Center

    Uskontojen Uhrien Tuki Ry (Support Group for the Victims of Religions)

    Union Nationale des Associations de Défense des Familles et de l’Individu

    Centre de documentation, d’éducation et d’action Contre les Manipulations Mentales

    Groupe d’étude des mouvements de pensée en vue de la prévention des individus

    Attention Enfants

    Germany Aktion für Geistige und Psychische Freiheit e.V.

    Sekten-Info Nordrhein-Westfalen Artikel 4 – Initiative für Glaubensfreiheit e.V.

    The Israeli Center for Victims of Cults

    Centro Studi Abusi Psicologici

    Associazione Nazionale Familiari delle Vittime delle Sette

    Pascal Zivi

    National Network of Lawyers Against Spiritual Sales

    Apologetics Index
    New Zealand


    NZ Cult List

    Stiftelsen Liv i Frihet

    C.R.S. – Center of Religious Studies

    Ústav pre vzt’ahy štátu a cirkví (Institute for State-Church Relations)

    Atención e Investigación de Socioadicciones

    Förening Rädda Individen

    Schweizerische Arbeitsgemeinschaft gegen destruktive Kulte

    Family and Personality Protection Society

    Ukrainian National Centre of Religious Safety and Help to Victims of Destructive Cults

    Ukrainian Network “InterAction”

    Wellspring (Rehabilitation Centre)

    Meadow Haven (Rehabilitation Centre)

    Ross Institute


    Freedom of Mind Center


    International Cultic Studies Association (Formerly – American Family Foundation)

    Apologetics Resource Center

    Cult Clinic & Hotline



    Spiritual Counterfeits Project

    Christian Research Institute

  9. Gurudev permalink
    January 14, 2011 2:31 pm

    Hey, watch Guruji live now in Mumbai:

  10. French Fry permalink
    January 14, 2011 6:04 pm

    Hey “Doctor”? Stop saying you’re a doctor when you’re not. I’m a French Fry so I can say that. You’re trying to give weight to your posts by saying this. You’re not a doctor, only a misguided fool.

  11. belle permalink
    January 14, 2011 6:50 pm

    @ doctor

    gosh! i’m filled with admiration for you today, what wonderful sentiments. though, as i said, my involvement here will be minimal for the foreseeable future, i will still drop in from time to time, just to check in on you wonderful guys and gals!

  12. Mac permalink
    January 15, 2011 2:34 am

    “Have you actually read the article at all ??? The person in question used to be a normal person until involvement with TM changed his personality. How is TM not responsible ? ”

    This is as silly as it can get!!!!! This really does sounds like news channels these days! All the very best to you guys!.

  13. Doubtful guy permalink
    February 4, 2011 12:41 am

    I have joined and worked with AOL for some time. I agree with most of the comments here. For a new comer having no idea of spirituality, I feel it it is better do the course to know the basic aspects such as you are not the Body and all kinds of stuff. Yoga , Kriya and parnayam having taught there also will help personally to gain health and well being. Sadahana, Satsang are also good for the Body and Soul
    In that case , Is the organization not helping a person in gaining strength in this World full of Violence ? I thing there is no harm in practicing Yoga and Kriya independently for person’s personal Growth and mental peace.

  14. February 5, 2011 11:09 pm

    Lets translate the letter into binary code and beam it into space!! Maybe an advance race of aliens will come and support your hopeless cause! Weeee…. we can have ourselves a brand new trilogy of Star Wars!!!!!! Luke if your were my son I would certainly have spanked your bottom!!! Naughty Naughty!!!

  15. juan manuel permalink
    April 13, 2011 7:33 pm

    “Patrick had also become involved with sitar maestro Ravi Shankar’s Art Of Living movement, a splinter group from TM, in the weeks before his death”

    Sitar maestro Ravi Shankar??? That’s a different person! At least do some minimal research in google or wikipedia…

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