Skip to content

The Duality is Gone!

January 17, 2011

-by the Observer

My experience with AOL is I believe like most people on this site – it wasn’t black and white. There were many things AOL gave me that I still believe to this day have helped me, and continue to do so. For a long time, I was in limbo in how I felt about the organization and its founder. The conflict inside took a long time to sort out.

My story began about eight years ago. I was a college student suffering from a lot of stress. I was agnostic, although I started to pray for the first time in my life. I felt so hollow and empty in my life – there was a lack of meaning and great deal of confusion. I had trouble sleeping at night and would worry constantly.

One day I stumbled upon the AOL and soon afterwards took my first course. It appealed to me because I wanted more out of life. I wasn’t content with going to bars and sleeping around. I wanted more from my life than cheap thrills. I wanted to feel more spiritual, more alive, healthier, etc. I also didn’t want anything to do with organized religion or cults.

I felt my prayers had been answered. I saw signs, the subtle kind that only the person experiencing them can see. Sure, I didn’t agree with the teacher on signing an agreement not to teach the techniques. But I signed it anyway because I gave them the benefit of the doubt and tried to keep an open mind. I had just had some surgery done a few months before my basic course. My first kriya experience was intense, although nothing flashy happened. I noticed that the area of my body which had surgery, was getting a lot of physical sensations from the breathing. The kriya also gave me some relief from the overwhelming emotions and thoughts I was feeling in college.

Weeks and months after the course, I continued to do the practice. I noticed that I also seemed to get sick less. My eyes also looked different when I looked in the mirror. The bags were gone under my eyes. Surely this was only a positive thing, right? Years went on and I finally did a few advanced courses and the Sahaj meditation. I surely felt that the meditation processes, healthy food and silence was extremely refreshing to my agitated mind and tired body. Sometimes I was even in the presence of SSRS.

I continued to question why teachers when asked about showing these techniques to others replied that “showing people opposite nostril breathing is not a good idea.” I couldn’t understand how anyone could do that technique wrong or hurt themselves. I also thought that “shouldn’t this knowledge be free and available to everyone who needs it?” Certainly not everyone could afford the $300, but they needed this knowledge as much as myself. But I still gave the benefit of the doubt to the teachers because of the positive experiences I had with practices. I couldn’t find any bad information about this organization on the net, so I assumed the founder and the teachers had good intentions.I became so convinced that this was my calling and that I wanted to become a teacher.

One problem for me was that I struggled to be a strict vegetarian, which everyone who wants to become a teacher knows about. For years, I forced upon myself this diet without doing proper research. I felt spacey at times, but surely this was just cleansing for my body from all the toxins of eating meat. I would struggle with this so much being in a western country that I was always in guilt for eating meat at times where it was impossible to avoid. I felt like I wasn’t strong enough to become a teacher. Inside though, I also felt a conflict. I felt that eating meat a few times a month would certainly not affect ones ability to teach for AOL. “How could this possibly affect the ability to teach” I would ask. But then, I would hear others say that teachers have a big responsibility to be clean on the inside. Again I gave AOL the benefit of the doubt.

I also noticed that many of the teachers and some long time members of AOL did not smile much or seem to enjoy their life with much enthusiasm. Some looked unhealthy and very pale. Some developed lots of allergy problems or other health problems. Some seemed so void of joy and could only seem to get excited in life when some knowledge with Guruji was presented. I thought “Is this really what a person should become like after enlightenment? Is being dispassionate really a good thing in life?”

More years went on and I continued to live in this duality of doubt about the organization vs. faith in SSRS and the AOL knowing better than myself. I continued to do the kriya and meditation but I noticed that I wasn’t feeling so good after kriya. I talked to teachers and asked them why I was feeling tired and unfocused. The answer was usually “keep doing it…” or “your body is working through something…” I continued to do it, still seeing that my immune system was strong. But I couldn’t ignore the feelings of fatigue or the health problems that were starting to come into my life or the increasing allergies. I decided to give it a break.

To my surprise, I felt so much better when I stopped doing kriya. My mind felt sharper – I could think critically again. My endurance and concentration was back. I no longer felt sleepy in the afternoon or evenings. I no longer yawned excessively during the day. All the things I was told kriya would help with were now what I was experiencing when I gave it up. My allergy issues also began to go away once I stopped practice. For the first time in my life, I decided to listen to my body and not just go by some ideals that AOL was prescribing me.

Then there was the day I was looking for the sequence to one of the yoga practices and I accidentally stumbled upon this blog. I was horrified in many of the things I had read. I never thought such corruption could exist in this organization.

After carefully reading this, I felt the long years of the duality of conflict finally died. A shift had happened in my consciousness and it was very clear to me that I did not want to be part of this organization anymore, and that I certainly did not want to become a teacher. The clouds had cleared and I felt so much liberation and relief.

Those of you who have shared your personal stories should be very happy knowing that you have saved me (and others) from going over the edge. I am so grateful to you all for doing this seva for me. So now this leaves me with a wiser perspective on things. I certainly don’t wish to do any harm to AOL – I only want the facts to be out there and let people decide for themselves. Much of the knowledge I have learned from AOL I still practice. Helping others with seva is still something I believe in. The yoga and meditation practice still helps me feel relaxed in my daily life. I still eat a mostly vegetarian diet, but I don’t force it upon myself strictly. These are things I feel AOL helped teach me.

But the best lesson I learned from all this is that things in life are not black and white. Just because your prayer gets answered with some course does not mean one should embrace everything without challenging it. One should pick and choose what works for them without giving the organization the benefit of the doubt and forcing any practice against oneself. I believe some of these techniques were shown to help me along my journey, but now I realize I need to use my own discrimination and listen to my body and mind.

I hope some other persons in their twenties can read my story – perhaps it could help them. That’s why I’m posting this. I’m not here to say AOL is bad or good. Take all this in and decide for yourself. Chances are, your conclusions won’t be black and white.

Advertisements
98 Comments
  1. ex-cultie permalink
    January 18, 2011 3:24 am

    Pick and choose. You got that right. I’d say this is the key. This is where AOL fails.

    After nearly ten years of blind following, I slowly woke up to this fact. With AOL it was always an “all or nothing” approach where you’re indoctrinated into not questioning the techniques. Recall the three doubts in the advanced course, “doubt in the technique, doubting oneself and doubting the master”, how you are told to ignore these and blindly follow.

    This led to health problems for me – uncontrolled blood pressure changes, blood sugar changes, dizziness and headaches during and after the kriya. Questioning the techniques and changing them to suit one’s body type helps. Yoga cannot ever be “one method fits all”.

    The same comment applies for all their other philosophies and teachings. Question them. However you will get no logical answers.

    • Srikkanth permalink
      February 20, 2011 5:14 pm

      AOL has NOT failed me. I am in AOL for the last decade. I am making this statement on my own free will. NOt due to brainwashing or some such supposed things assumed by a lot of anti-aolites in this forum. things have been working fine for me. One should really experience AOL authentically to feel the grace and should not go by the negative propoganda of this blog. I feel many of such anti-AOL statements are coming from people who were first of into AOL for the wrong reasong – taht is not for spirituaity but for some power or ego trip. then of course they got disappointed as their ambitions did not get fulfilled. And they are gettig their ambitions fulfilled by maligning an organisation like AOL.

  2. Peaceful Warrior permalink
    January 18, 2011 5:44 pm

    “But the best lesson I learned from all this is that things in life are not black and white.”

    That was my biggest lesson too. In AOL I settled into intellectual laziness, begun to accept partial truths as dogma. Now that I’m on my own, my understanding is richer and deeper.

  3. Eindran permalink
    January 20, 2011 12:19 am

    At the outset I would like to sympathize with your AOL experience . I appreciate you candor in acknowledging the positive aspects in your life that you experienced while doing kriya and meditation.

    Following a vegetarian lifestyle is one of the cardinal aspects of spiritual traditions that has its origins in India. There are many millions on this planet earth who sustain their earthly life based on a vegetarian diet. Even many sports personalities like Martina Navaratilova and Carl Lewis adhered to a vegetarian lifestyle. I do understand the limitations and restrictions that come with this way of life and it is not meant for everyone. AOL does not insist that every one doing their kriya at home need to follow this kind of lifestyle. Becoming a teacher in AOL is whole another thing altogether. It was , I guess, your voluntary choice to become one.

    With any spiritual practice one would hit this plateau that you experienced. It is not a disqualification for the practice in any way. Infact , by stating that you hit the plateau , you are in a way endorsing regular practice of kriya and meditation. This kind of plateau manifests itself in different persons in very different ways. For eg, in the case of Bill, Mike, Azah , Anand or Rishi it came out as sheer arrogance and their short tempered outbursts at very normal disappointments on very casual situations. All the more it shows that these people are human beings like us, may be at times with a bigger load of ego. I would say that it is actually an expression of their humane nature with genuine character flaws. Unfortunately many seek perfection in these very genuinely imperfect people and they are baffled and disappointed like King Janaka in the second chapter of AVG.

    Now comes the criticisms made in here and elsewhere in this blog about the rampant financial/moral corruption that is being so prevalent in the organizational aspects of AOL. The hefty sums of money being demanded by AOL to teach the process of listening to a tape and breathing should be worthy of deep introspection on the part of AOL. The massive appetite to amass real estate properties in US, India and elsewhere, maintaining opulent lifestyles and financing these by selling over-priced tickets to listen to very ancient scriptures or silence courses shows the cheapness and the moral depravity of this organization.

    It would be worthy not to get too much involved with the organizational aspect of AOL , as it might ruin one’s personal life to a great extent. At the same time, the spiritual practices as rightly pointed out by you do have some merits.

    • January 20, 2011 8:13 pm

      “AOL does not insist that every one doing their kriya at home need to follow this kind of lifestyle. Becoming a teacher in AOL is whole another thing altogether.”

      Why, Eindran, is that another thing altogether? Why different standards for teachers’ lifestyles?

      • Doreen permalink
        January 20, 2011 8:40 pm

        “Why different standards for teachers’ lifestyles?”

        Hi @Skywalker,

        In order to be representatives of the organization, AOL teachers agree to follow certain guidelines set by the organization.
        If they don’t want to follow the guidelines for any reason, they are free to choose not to be representatives of the organization.
        Everyone else can follow the guidelines if they wish but have no obligation to do so.

      • January 21, 2011 4:00 pm

        Yes yes, but why those guidelines?
        Why vegetarianism, devotion to the Guru and total abstinence from alcohol?
        Why not personal integrity, empathy and a gentle, tolerant and loving approach to people in general?

      • Seeker permalink
        January 21, 2011 11:34 am

        Hi Skywalker,

        I went through your sharing reg the exps with AOL. I am not here to pass any comments on AOL. But I saw the seeker in you and really want to render my help. I am in Oneness for past 15 years. In my journey with Oneness, today I stand where I could proudly say that the divine is my friend. Transformation is an every happening to my. Past charges have got cleared and I am in such a state where I am a witness to all that which is happening within. In such a state stress, frustration, non acceptance of the what is is not possible, help there is just a smooth flow in everything I do. And then I have my divine within who guides every moment. Awakening is not a philosophy or a bookish terminology here, but an every day happening. Oneness is like a sugar that could be mixed with anything, i.e. being in your faith you could experience the wonders that oneness does to you. If you are intrested, log on to the Onenessuniversity website and go through it.

      • January 21, 2011 3:51 pm

        Good for you, Seeker. If one day Duality sneaks back in your life, go and read this: http://www.enlightened-spirituality.org/deeksha_oneness.html.
        Say hello to your buddy The Divine, from me.

      • Doreen permalink
        January 28, 2011 12:21 am

        @Skywalker,

        That’s a different question than the one you asked. You asked “Why different standards for teachers’ lifestyles?”

        Lifestyle standards are concrete so they are much easier to dictate and regulate.

        How would you regulate the level of loving in a person’s attitude?

    • Kshatriya permalink
      March 25, 2011 7:45 pm

      Eindran

      Being an Indian and a Kshatriya I can assure you that vegetarianism is not a pre-requisite for spiritual advancement in Indian spirituality.

      Of course, some fanatic Brahminist schools do insist on vegetarianism and I often wonder what Sri Sri Ravi Shankar is gaining by promoting this myth, a myth which he himself used to debunk hardly ten years earlier.

  4. Lasha permalink
    January 20, 2011 12:45 am

    “Sure, I didn’t agree with the teacher on signing an agreement not to teach the techniques. But I signed it anyway because I gave them the benefit of the doubt and tried to keep an open mind.”

    “One problem for me was that I struggled to be a strict vegetarian, which everyone who wants to become a teacher knows about. For years, I forced upon myself this diet without doing proper research. ”

    “For the first time in my life, I decided to listen to my body and not just go by some ideals that AOL was prescribing me.”

    “I believe some of these techniques were shown to help me along my journey, but now I realize I need to use my own discrimination and listen to my body and mind.”

    All of these comments reveal that you were weak-minded before, and since AOL became mentally stronger and had a better sense of self, which is what this journey is about, for everyone. Nobody in the AOL forces you to come to weekly followups and nobody forces anyone to become a teacher, it is ALWAYS an individual choice. If you didn’t agree with the requirements for becoming a teacher (or the requirements didn’t agree with you), that was your fault for pursuing something you didn’t agree with, or that stretched you beyond your limitations, and your fault for not doing research about how to properly transition to vegetarianism or why a vegetarian diet is recommended to anyone sincerely interested in a spiritual path (not just AOL people).

    People are welcome to participate in AOL at any level they want to and if you don’t want to, you just stop attending AOL events and courses. It’s that simple. Your comments show that you are beginning to take ownership and responsibility for the choices YOU made.

    There’s a difference between saying, this worked for me and now it doesn’t or simply sharing your story (good and bad) compared to starting a blog that’s extremely negative and makes tons of generalized and false statements about AOL and Sri Sri without any substantial proof and without having the decency and fairness to say who is doing the accusing. That is just LAME.

    “I continued to do the practice. I noticed that I also seemed to get sick less. My eyes also looked different when I looked in the mirror. The bags were gone under my eyes.”

    “Much of the knowledge I have learned from AOL I still practice. Helping others with seva is still something I believe in. The yoga and meditation practice still helps me feel relaxed in my daily life. I still eat a mostly vegetarian diet, but I don’t force it upon myself strictly. These are things I feel AOL helped teach me.”

    It’s a shame that you recognize how much you’ve benefit from your AOL experience and that you’re still doing some of the practices, and practicing vegetarianism, and using language from the course, AND you would still be associated with this particular website. Even if that was it’s original intention, this website is not about simply sharing stories and expressing a difference of opinion anymore. It is much more bitter and negative and hateful, than that.

    “I also noticed that many of the teachers and some long time members of AOL did not smile much or seem to enjoy their life with much enthusiasm. Some looked unhealthy and very pale. Some developed lots of allergy problems or other health problems. Some seemed so void of joy and could only seem to get excited in life when some knowledge with Guruji was presented. I thought “Is this really what a person should become like after enlightenment?”

    Not all AOL teachers are enlightened or saints. Does that really need to be said? They have real issues and problems that they deal with even with the AOL techniques that have given them a greater awareness to make their lives better. Everyone in AOL is on their own individual path and at various phases along that path. There are ups and downs as you already know. Attending a teacher training session doesn’t make you enlightened or mean you will experience bliss and joy forever more, it simply gives you the ability to bring a technique that has helped you,to help others, and to move forward on your own path. There are 10,000 AOL teachers, and the majority are not pale, afflicted with health problems, and devoid of joy. Quite the opposite. There are many mechanisms put in place for teachers to stay rested, rejuvenated, in good health, and full of joy, and putting the knowledge they’ve learned into daily practice — people make their own choices whether they choose to do this or not.

    Lastly, the kriya is a detoxifying and purifying technique but it is not some kind of cure-all. Research other natural methods of detoxification, such as herbs, a raw food diet, or fasting and try them. You will see that as your body and mind starts to heal, new physical and mental symptoms appear and old issues flare up and get worse before they get better as your body rids itself of various toxins. Allergies and skin rashes appear, emotional outbursts, extreme fatigue, to name a few. Sometimes it’s called a “healing crisis”. And it comes in waves depending on how toxic you are. Continue to use your own mind and look into these things and try them and you will see what happens when your body starts to cleanse itself internally and maybe that will give you pause before associating symptoms of not feeling well with doing kriya.

    • The Observer permalink
      January 20, 2011 3:14 am

      Wow, just wow. Comments like the one above are just going to justify this blog more and more. Do you realize this? I also love how your tone is soaked in blame, defesiveness and a lack of compassion. Do you realize all these qualities are ones Guruji says one should avoid? One again, confirming that AOL members are like what much of the blog has stated.

      “All of these comments reveal that you were weak-minded before, and since AOL became mentally stronger and had a better sense of self.”

      To an extent, I agree with you. I was a bit weak-minded in college, as most of us are. I don’t agree that became mentally stronger with AOL. In fact, I tried to surrender my intellect more and more with my involvement with AOL and just try to trust in the big mind and the Guru.

      “If you didn’t agree with the requirements for becoming a teacher (or the requirements didn’t agree with you), that was your fault for pursuing something you didn’t agree with, or that stretched you beyond your limitations, and your fault for not doing research about how to properly transition to vegetarianism or why a vegetarian diet is recommended to anyone sincerely interested in a spiritual path (not just AOL people)”

      Where did I ever say I wasn’t responsible for my own decisions? I take full responsibility for my ignorance and the hard lessons I learned. My hope is that others won’t have to learn the hard way like I did – that is the purpose of my contribution to this website.

      As far as vegetarianism, it wasn’t that black and white as you state. I wasn’t trying to become vegetarian just for AOL. I also had read from numerous sources about the benefits. To this day, most of my diet is vegetables and greens. But I don’t feel guilty if I have the occasional fish or white meat.

      “It’s a shame that you recognize how much you’ve benefit from your AOL experience and that you’re still doing some of the practices, and practicing vegetarianism, and using language from the course, AND you would still be associated with this particular website. Even if that was it’s original intention, this website is not about simply sharing stories and expressing a difference of opinion anymore. It is much more bitter and negative and hateful, than that.”

      Where else on the net is there a place for neutrality? Certainly won’t find it on the wikipedia article on AOL. I certainly can’t post this experience on an AOL site, right? They would delete it.

      I do agree that some of the comments are negative. But as Guruji recently said, the bitterness of life is the part of life essential for growth. We can’t just survive on the sweet side. People need to be able to see both sides, and just accept that there may be some flaws on this blog, just like how there are flaws in AOL.

      Lastly, I am very grateful to God and to AOL for the meditation and yoga I have learned. However, I don’t consider these practices something AOL owns, or at least not anymore. I can say that these practices of meditation and yoga continue to help me tremendously, but I still do them with a sense of caution.

      ” You will see that as your body and mind starts to heal, new physical and mental symptoms appear and old issues flare up and get worse before they get better as your body rids itself of various toxins. Allergies and skin rashes appear, emotional outbursts, extreme fatigue, to name a few. Sometimes it’s called a “healing crisis”. And it comes in waves depending on how toxic you are. Continue to use your own mind and look into these things and try them and you will see what happens when your body starts to cleanse itself internally and maybe that will give you pause before associating symptoms of not feeling well with doing kriya.”

      I did kriya for over 8 years. I’ve been healthy all my life, and the doctors say I’m in good health. I have exercised, I almost never drank, never smoked, etc. The fact that I started feeling worse the longer I did kriya and back to normal when I stopped is proof to myself that this practice was not helping me. I’m not saying it’s good or bad, please re-read my original post. I’m saying that it can be dangerous for some people – not everyone. People need to warned of potential dangers of doing these practices. Kriya may very well help lots of people, but it’s obviously not helping you respond without blame, defensiveness and little compassion.

      I will not continue arguing with you, as Guruji has said that arguing just makes the ignorance grow. I sincerely hope you take off the mask and look at this site for what it really is – perhaps it could liberate you as it did for me.

      Thank you everyone again for all your comments on this site. I have my life back.

      🙂

      • Harshal permalink
        January 20, 2011 10:56 am

        …… I have a rule of thumb….when someone says things like ‘this website could liberate you as it did for me’ or ‘I have my life back’ — or a more cooler version… ‘A shift had happened in my consciousness’….. i know for sure that this person has some serious confusion issues….not sure how someone can have so much free time to write such big essays on this blog!

      • Peaceful Warrior permalink
        January 20, 2011 3:53 pm

        I also have a rule of thumb….when someone from AOL comes and pours vitriol on this blog, or people posting here – I know for sure such a person is living in denial, and has serious dissonance issues. Not sure how someone can have so much free time, to keep doing the same stupid thing over and over again with exactly the same results.

    • Eindran permalink
      January 20, 2011 4:06 am

      Dont see intentions [:)]

    • Dayalu permalink
      January 20, 2011 4:12 am

      “If you didn’t agree with the requirements for becoming a teacher (or the requirements didn’t agree with you), that was your fault for pursuing something you didn’t agree with, or that stretched you beyond your limitations, and your fault for not doing research about how to properly transition to vegetarianism or why a vegetarian diet is recommended to anyone sincerely interested in a spiritual path (not just AOL people)”

      @ Lasha,

      ‘didn’t agree with Requirements’: Are you kidding? Are there any? I am an ex teacher and from experience I can tell you all these requirements are only on paper. Chapters and senior teachers all around pressure volunteers to take the TTC. When I took the TTC in India a decade ago, I was told it was just another self development program and I’m among the few chosen ones to be fortunate to get this opportunity. Then, before I realized I was sucked in to the post TTC-I seva, someone filled the form for TTC-II, and after attending the program, I became a teacher. And I am not complaining, I enjoyed that special seat, the status, taught many many courses, enjoyed the adulation, but as time went by, at the innermost core, I knew something is not right with this guru and the organization. Everything in and around the organization had some fake element associated with it. And this became more evident after I moved to US. I started to witness the organization’s lust for publicity and fame, the unscrupulousness methods used to get people to courses, the hypocrisy and what not.

      “Lastly, the kriya is a detoxifying and purifying technique but it is not some kind of cure-all”

      – but unfortunately Lasha, Sri sri and his inner circle propagate the myth that it is a cure all, among the ‘devotees’. I have come across many cases where kriya has harmed the health of practitioners, but nowhere in the kriya instructions does it say who are the kind of people who are not supposed to do Kriya. No does the organization do any research or take any action whatsoever when such cases are reported, rather they bury such cases under the carpet.

      This blog reinforced in me the conviction that my decision to quit was correct. I rediscovered yoga under the ‘Anusara’ system after I quit AOL. I can claim the same kind of benefits, or even better benefits but without being enslaved to an organization and a guru who demands devotion and unconditional surrender. The fact is that the diligent following of any system of yoga will give benefits, but if you are getting those through a personality cult like AOL, you are also getting a lot of heavy baggage filled with trash along with it.

    • ex-cultie permalink
      January 20, 2011 12:45 pm

      What an idiotic comment by Lasha (Jan 20, 12:45). According to you, maybe rape is good for a woman because it sometimes kindles the warrior within her to fight her oppressor?
      Your comments show absolute lack of recognition and blindness to the facts presented here, by parroting the usual AOL (and other cult-) mantras.

    • Kshatriya permalink
      March 25, 2011 7:48 pm

      Art of Living course is nothing original. It is a copy-paste job from thousands of years of Vedantic tradition of India mixed with teachings of modern psychology and even other Yoga masters.

      The only unique (not original) thing in it is the Sudarshan Kriya.

      And vegetarianism is NOT a pre-requisite for spiritual progress.

      So my dear Lasha, stop fooling yourself.

  5. Harshal permalink
    January 20, 2011 4:02 pm

    what an idiotic comment by ex-cultie January 20, 2011 12:45 pm…why is it that you guys tend to compare everything with rape?….sets me into thinking….

    • Dr Yes permalink
      January 20, 2011 6:20 pm

      Maybe its because cultic, coercive behaviour is a form of “mind-rape”. When people are guilted, shamed, put in the hot seat, told to suck it up, coaxed into paying hundreds of dollars for the privilege of being further bombarded with requests to go out and fundraise, that is a form of mind-and-soul-rape.

      As a teacher, about three years ago I brought a couple of new “graduates” with me to the Montreal Ashram for a Part II course, where the Master was supposed to be present and guiding Hollow and Empty meditations.
      For two days people sat around in the hall waiting for him to show up, while “guest speakers” cajoled the innocent crowd into going back to their home communities and doing some serious fund-raising in preparation for the Might Silver Jubilee, which was destined to change the course of history.

      Where else can you pay hundreds of dollars for a course that never materializes and instead be drilled constantly about the need to do seva?

      I was truly ashamed at having brought my enthusiastic friends on a nine hundred kilometre road trip for that experience…

      Dr. Yes

      (Remember, the cure to all that ails you is to respond to every situation with a “Yes” mind!)

    • anonymous permalink
      January 20, 2011 7:14 pm

      255,000 + hits. Wonder how many of them are the “oh-so-satisfied” members of AOL? Since there are supposedly only 5 or 10 disgruntled teachers posting here, who keeps hitting this blog? Hmmmmmmm. Think on that.

  6. Lasha permalink
    January 20, 2011 9:15 pm

    It amazes me that you quote Sri Sri, call him Guruji, still practice and praise all the techniques, eat a vegetarian diet, and can still support a site like this. You say the duality is gone, but I still think that the fact that you can do both, must be very confusing for you internally. And no I don’t agree this site was your only option for sharing your story and no I don’t agree that if you posted a comment on the Art of Living blog it would be deleted, and no I don’t agree that you’re innocently interested in just putting things out there for people to decide for themselves.

    You can’t just give up your freedom to choose and make decisions for yourself and blame AOL for your weak-mindedness and say “they pressured” me and then generalize your own experience to the entire organization and ignore everything Sri Sri has been quoted saying contrary to all of that. AOL does not require everyone to dump their intellect and give over their lives and all their money, nor is this encouraged everywhere even if this was your personal experience. Sri Sri has repeatedly said things to discourage this and asked people to give and serve skillfully. He’s put limit on certain donations, he limits the amount of time certain people can be full time teachers, he encourages people to keep their jobs and be productive in society even as they serve in other capacities.

    Just because you stopped thinking for yourself, doesn’t mean it’s a general AOL requirement and that’s not what “surrender” means. I didn’t dump my intellect. I know plenty of other intelligent AOL people that understand that you don’t stop thinking in order to practice kriya, or to teach, or to digest the knowledge or to recognize that Sri Sri is a wise man who has improved the lives of many people (including you) and encouraged them to do their part in changing the world for the better.

    Some of the AOL techniques/processes and courses are not completely new. Almost nothing in life is ever really original. However, I believe the surdashan kriya technique specifically is new. In any event, the fact that Art of Living has managed to bring these techniques to so many people in the world in so many different cultures, and at a time when they are so needed, is so very profound and has never been done before. The fact that Art of Living has inspired an “army” of volunteers to do service and organize these courses and spark the inspiration to do service in the people in their lives is profound. It’s the chain reaction that’s important. Don’t you get that? That’s the only way the world will change — one person lighting up the next person, whose “light” has gone dim for whatever reasons.

    And furthermore, if the Art of Living model was free, the reach would have stayed small. Many people including myself would never have benefited or known that these techniques were possible for me. That is not something that can easily be glossed over. I have seen discounted scholarships offered to people who can’t afford the course fee, at every course where there is enough revenue to cover basic course expenses.

    Also, Sri Sri has said you can’t do charity with charity and he’s right. It’s well know that non-profit organizations that do well and have the largest reach are run like businesses, but instead of the revenue/wealth staying with investors, it’s re-invested in the mission of the organization, which is what AOL has done with transparency. The fee is also charged so that people value the techniques. And with value, there’s a sense of honor brought to the practice and daily commitment which is what’s needed to see benefit with any of these practices. Creating a sense of value and honor was always done historically when these types of techniques and this level of wisdom, were passed down from Master to Disciple.

    Why don’t you try generating that level of commitment or honor by giving these techniques away for free? You will get nowhere. Sure people might read about the techniques on your blog or download the free kriya mp3’s that have been made and say way to go for posting it for the masses! Few will try the techniques on their own and even fewer if any will be consistent with it. That it why I’m so amazed that you (and everyone who is apart of this blog) have taken all of these things for granted. You have been given such a gift that someone took the time and made such a monumental organized effort to make sure this knowledge and these practices could get to you. I am amazed by this blog response and the negativity. Absolutely amazed.

    And according to your account, you were not 100% healthy and well before you started doing kriya. You said after kriya ” I noticed that I also seemed to get sick less. My eyes also looked different when I looked in the mirror. The bags were gone under my eyes”. You referred to the practices helping your “agitated mind and tired body” and initially said you started the practice because you “wanted to feel more spiritual, more alive, healthier” and you also referred to having “some surgery done a few months before my basic course”. It’s not that I don’t have compassion that you weren’t feeling well towards the end of 8 YEARS of doing kriya. It could have been simply the kriya, but I’m saying there are plenty of factors/reasons that could account for you starting not to feel good, including changes in diet/lifestyle, detoxing symptoms, improperly doing the kriya, among others. Aren’t you just the least bit curious why a breathing technique that has improved your life and health in so many ways for 8 YEARS could just suddenly stop working and turn dangerous, when so many others have been doing it for much longer with no symptoms? Have you sincerely inquired into other reasons for this happening? Or simply attached yourself to this one based on your own biases?

    People are welcome to offer their varying opinions about Sri Sri and about AOL and be critical and disagree with how much they charge for these techniques. Fine. But I still stand by earlier comment that this blog has become something much uglier and hateful than that. It is on your own conscience that you continue to contribute to it, as well as your legal liability. If you believe your purpose is to support this negativity and bring down/expose the fraud of Art of Living and Sri Sri by all means necessary, then stop hiding behind this blog, go for it, and as Sri Sri says, put your 100% into it. Lol. Good luck to you and everyone behind this blog. I wish you the best and that you find the truth and peace you’re seeking.

    • zhoro permalink
      January 20, 2011 11:47 pm

      “And no I don’t agree this site was your only option for sharing your story and no I don’t agree that if you posted a comment on the Art of Living blog it would be deleted.”

      Lasha, reality check:

      I tried bringing up a list of issues that I was finding with AOL in my resignation letter, which, before I made public, I only intended for the teachers’ and volunteers’ circles in the US. The letter never made it to the intended audience – it was sensored by the list moderator. AOL is NOT willing to address such concerns.

    • Peaceful Warrior permalink
      January 21, 2011 12:05 am

      Whether sudarshan kriya works for you or not is a matter of your experience and opinion. Those who feel they don’t like it, drop off early.

      My/our criticism for AOL is that it is a for-profit organization driven to fulfill one’s family’s desire for wealth and power, than the non-profit organization devoted to spread of dharma. The high fee is justified in the name of supporting service projects and supporting fulltime teachers – but we all know in reality that full-time teachers get little support, and social projects depend on people’s initiative and fundraising – there is no organizational thrust. There is severe lack of accountability and transparency in the organizations – people are duped into working for the organization in the name of spreading dharma, while SSRS and his family hoard public money and live in opulence. You are naive to think that the organization invests money in itself to do more good. Where do you think funding for Sumeru Software, Iniwex Pharmacuticals, Sumeru Real estate comes from ? Who do you think owns these companies ? Is it a public trust, whose accounts are audited and for all to see ? No – these are private entities, owned by RS’s family.

      Clearly then it is not a non-profit organization but a for-profit entity selling yoga and self-help courses, and it is dishonest for the organization to claim otherwise. All this and more going on in a spiritual organization, which supposedly carries guru parampara from the shankara tradition, but follows none of the edicts of the same tradition. In guru-shisya parampara, the guru also has to follow certain guidelines. The way AOL is structured, the shishyas get a raw deal. Embrace SSRS as your guru at your own peril.

    • Dayalu permalink
      January 21, 2011 12:47 am

      Ha! Lasha. I guess all of us who post ‘negative’ comments here were at some point of time, as naive as you are now. Had I come across this blog 3 or more years ago, I would have reacted the same way as you do. But better sense prevailed and I was fortunate to get out. So far you have seen too little of the organization and sri sri. Wish you peace and good luck.

    • Elle permalink
      February 25, 2011 8:48 pm

      Damn, that was long……..

    • Kshatriya permalink
      March 25, 2011 7:51 pm

      Lasha

      There is no information available from the AoL about how much money they generate in course revenue and donations and how much of that money goes in their service projects. Without this information, believing that all the money that the organization generates goes into sewa is a matter of faith and personal belief without any valid reason.

  7. anonymous permalink
    January 20, 2011 9:56 pm

    @lashya, Since you are so “amazed” that people have less than flattering, negative things about your Guruji to say, I suggest you read Klim’s blog. All of the ugly things done are not even posted on these sites. You have zero clues about your “master” or else you have no morality whatsoever (if you do really know much about him). And no, I won’t share what I know first hand. The goons might come a-knocking. Good luck to you, sir or madam, whomever you are, if you are following Ravi Shankar and Art Of Living. I have not seen anything on Klim’s blog that speaks untruth. On this blog, I’ve seen some simple ranting. Most of it looks sincere. The wrongs done are not even 75% posted on these sites. You really just don’t know! Get very close to RS, stay close, and find out for yourself. Then you will run so fast, so far. If you are very close, and you really know him well, then you are just a liar, if you say this site is a site filled with lies and hatred for no reason, by a few disgruntled people. You are just wrong on this one.

  8. Asshole permalink
    January 20, 2011 10:01 pm

    Check out some comments on Yelp
    http://www.yelp.com/biz/the-art-of-living-san-francisco

    “Definitely increasingly CULT-LIKE as the course progressed. The god-like reverence with which they talked about their guru Sri-Sri made me very uncomfortable. One day they brought in a surprise guest speaker who had been to a Art Of Living retreat to talk about how magical it was and how wonderful Sri-Sri was. (um, not what I signed up for) ***I read up on cults after taking the course and recognized many ‘cult-like’ activities and psychological techniques that were used in Art of Living.*** You will read a lot about this if you google it. If I had researched this before going I wouldn’t have spent the money.
    ~Lots of pressure to sign up for (even more expensive) additional courses right away. (and they talk as if there’s an assumption that this is just the beginning…) Once on their mailing list, you’ll get lots of invites to expensive retreats and requests for donations.”

    “I haven’t been to the art of living course but a close family friend is a teacher and friend of the main guy and all I can say is total new age cult. They have a shrine to him in their house. Her beliefs are so sketchy and so weird and she is very aggressive about them to anyone she meets even when they are not interested. She goes to India every year for weeks and leaves her small children.”

    “They were very persistent at trying to get me to come to the weekly breathwork sessions and guru talks. They keep putting me on their email lists even though I keep unsubscribing and asking to be left off. Uck.”

  9. The Observer permalink
    January 20, 2011 10:23 pm

    (Deleted, on request by The Observer)

  10. Lasha permalink
    January 21, 2011 1:06 am

    It was wrong to enter into this discussion and get worked up over this and waste all this time typing. This blog and discussion is negative and petty and unproductive and being in this type of company lowers the prana.

    If healing is what you’re looking for, I sincerely wish it for you and everyone else involved in this blog and anyone else in the world who feels like they have been duped or victimized by Art of Living. If your life happier without Art of Living, I’m happy for you. If your health is better without kriya, I’m happy for you. Whatever flaws and frauds and lies exist within Art of Living, if any, may they be exposed and instrumental in making Art of Living a better and stronger organization, that can continue to reach even more people and offer them stress reduction techniques and happier lives. Whatever teachers, if any, who are abusing their authority and not living the knowledge, I hope that they are disciplined and righted. I return my attention to acknowledging the millions of people all over the world who have benefited from the Art of Living.

    The justice system will resolve legal disputes judiciously.

    The truth will prevail, it always does.

    I’m out.

    • Peaceful Warrior permalink
      January 21, 2011 3:15 am

      “This blog and discussion is negative and petty and unproductive and being in this type of company lowers the prana.”

      I agree that, hearing opinions contrary to your own is painful but it is better in long run. Is your conviction in your beliefs so weak that you dare not expose it to contrarian ideas ? Seriously thinking about these issues is the most productive thing you can do. Ideas are negative only to the dogma that you have been fed. If being exposed to eastern wisdom was a step up in your life, moving away from it does not have to mean going back to the life you had before it. You have the option of moving forward, and I hope you do.

      As far as returning to acknowledging millions of people who have benefitted from programs – that is all in the past. The present truth is that organization is rotting and destroying many people’s lives with it. Many people who read this blog have indeed chosen to remain with Art of Living – that of course is personal choice – but I hope it is with a certain degree of awareness regarding the nature of the organization, and I hope they don’t trust RS or teachers blindly, especially when it comes to giving up personal goals for the pursuit of guru “seva”.

  11. ex-cultie permalink
    January 21, 2011 2:14 am

    “This blog and discussion is negative and petty and unproductive and being in this type of company lowers the prana.”

    Wow, spoken like a true cultie. Since you wish us so well, let me reciprocate by wishing you a wonderful fairies and ponies and bubble filled life filled with prancing swamis in the AOL la-la-land of dreams 🙂

  12. freeagaiin permalink
    January 21, 2011 5:18 am

    how does robust, honest debate become “negative and petty and unproductive and being in this type of company lowers the prana.”

    boggles the mind…seriously.

  13. anon permalink
    January 21, 2011 7:55 am

    Why are AoL people such an angry lot? My neighbor is a staunch AoL follower for the last few years, assists teachers, holds classes in her house etc etc. A couple of days back she screamed at her domestic help (bai) for being inefficient. She ridiculed her about her poverty and lack of education. This bai works paart time in my house. The language used by those who write defending AoL is also as insulting.

    • harshal permalink
      January 21, 2011 5:58 pm

      Dear anon: please forgive the AOL people for not being perfect…..

      • anon permalink
        January 22, 2011 3:47 am

        compassion, dear harshal, is not perfection but a basic human trait….

    • The Doctor permalink
      January 22, 2011 9:51 am

      @anon,

      In fairness, not all AoL people share the views of those few who have tried to defend AoL on this blog. Many are decent, sincere, well-meaning people who would be horrified to see the comments left here by AoL supporters.

      We really should be asking why certain AoL supporters, including very senior teachers and Sri Sri himself, are unable to follow many of the basic knowledge points taught by AoL, why in particular they are unable to accept any level of criticism towards AoL and instead react by being abusive, and why do they see everything as black and white, for example insisting that everything contained in this blog is simply “negative” when it is clear that for the most part this isn’t the case?

      Why in some cases after practicing the techniques for many years are these individuals still unable to control their emotions, and instead of showing any compassion exhibit highly abusive behaviour? What does this tell us about the quality of what is taught in AoL in terms of both the practises and the knowledge?

      With regards to the knowledge, how many in AoL actually live the knowledge, and how many simply parrot it? In fact does AoL even teach people how to live the knowledge, or do they simply relay the knowledge to their followers?

      It really is ironic not to mention unfortunate for AoL that those who have tried to defend AoL on this blog are actually causing much damage to AoL instead.

      • harshal permalink
        January 22, 2011 11:05 am

        @anon…compassion is a basic human trait..so please forgive the AOL people for not being compassionate all the times…also do tell us your secret mantra which has enabled you to be compassionate at all the times in your life..i think AOL people are not compassionate all the times because of all the meditations they do..

        Also, i would suggest that you guys start asking more money for the psychiatric treatment of this fake doctor…I am happy to donate for that cause…I dont undertand what and who gives him the right to ask questions like ‘With regards to the knowledge, how many in AoL actually live the knowledge, and how many simply parrot it?’….I think he is some delusional state ……

      • ANON permalink
        January 23, 2011 4:11 am

        “Also, i would suggest that you guys start asking more money for the psychiatric treatment of this fake doctor…”

        @Harshal

        Psychiatric treatment?

        I thought everything could be cured by drinking dirty waters of your master – like you cured yourself.

    • Elle permalink
      February 9, 2011 10:53 am

      Oh, I can answer that one! It is because of the abusive way that they are encouraged (even non-teachers) to go out and put together a course. After my first course, I went to a weekend course with Rishiji. One of the days he requested we go out in the afternoon and walk the streets and convince people to sign up for a course being offered in Houston, Texas. Ha! Not my home town. We all paid $225 to come back and be told that we could go out one more time and better not return to the conference empty handed or we would be asked to go home. Yeah, right! I ended up talking a friend into letting me pay for her to attend a course, just so I wouldn’t have to leave because I didn’t drive! After that incident, I realized I was in the wrong place. I always give 100%, but sometimes 100% doesn’t mean you get results (just ask a scientist). That is just life. He tried to cheat me out of my weekend, which had been ruined at that point, just to increase enrollment in the next course. It was truly pathetic. People stupid enough to take it as he was teaching them about only half getting the job done should be taken advantage of. I didn’t sign up for that conference with the impression I was going to be harassed to sign someone up for a course. How stupid.

      • Peaceful Warrior permalink
        February 10, 2011 4:17 pm

        @anon – I don’t think AOL is at fault there. Increased anger is a natural consequence of becoming increasingly aware. However, increased anger is not to be confused with increased viciousness and intolerance. That arises from being dogmatic – and you are right to fault AOL for that. In fact, it is a common feature in the right wing – across the world, religious people turn from being kind and compassionate to being nasty and intolerant when their beliefs are challenged.

  14. suneitha permalink
    January 21, 2011 1:58 pm

    @the observer that was a well written critically observant post.. i joint aol whe i was about 17years or so…i was suffering frm weight gain, acute chronic sinusitis with a bleeding was on steroids etc etc i si my kriya regularly for 2 years but i have always prefered to do the gudided meditation without the sahaj or even padmasadhna at times as its been about 6 years without medication (nadi shuddhi has helped a gr8 deal) yes as with all spiritual orgs aol does have points of criticism and nothing is ever perfect neither is sri sri in my opinion but however some people claim him 2 be god re-incarnated when he isnt im quite happy eating my seafood meal one/twice a week and doing my long kriya once a week/once every alternate week… well there are a lot of volunteers in my area that genuinely do “seva” in reputed old age homes, spastics society(where i go myself 2 volunteer once in a week), teach in the slum schools and this is genuine ..i do 1 adv course a year and i like the way aol has revived ayurvedic and naturopathy in india where it became almost extinct but yes credit deserves 2 be given there 2 both ramdevji and sri sri…some ppl misinterpret the meaning of jai gurudev..it originated amongst the followers of the ancient jyothir math and so is the guru pujs.. apart frm that sri sri or rather aol has taken me back 2 my indian roots and i have discovered the essence of my culture once more and feel more connected to the likes of swami vivekananda.. well some teachers put a lot of pressure but there are now a few moderate teachers as well….and aol blessings is simply based on ancient vedic healing and pranic flows..hmmm …

    • Blossom permalink
      January 27, 2011 10:58 pm

      @ Suneitha – It is really good that you are regularly helping out at the Spastics Society. It is people like you who make the good part of AOL. But AOLs contribution in this will probably only be to put in touch with a few like minded people. You must have observed many non AOL people also supporting the cause, in many ways.

      If you shift your seva to spread the knowledge i.e., recruiting, you will soon have no time or energy left for all this. Is your local teacher actively involved in any such stuff? Its not only for occasional Part I, it is for DSN, Non residential adv course, ashram adv course, Rudrapuja, kids courses, SSY…. Everything revolves around spreading AOL awareness. I remember a close friend and seva partners dilemma when he/she had a satsang at their place by a visiting Swami. Guilty for telling me about it as strict instructions were given to call only non AOL people and also for excluding me from it. The idea was to have more satsangs by Swamiji at more places in the area. I had gate crashed then with another friend of our group who had felt like attending a satsang somewhere.

  15. The Observer permalink
    January 21, 2011 9:07 pm

    I asked my previous comment be deleted because I don’t wish to get tangled in an argument with anyone on this blog. If anyone responds to me with compassion, kindness, and without blame or arrogance, I’ll gladly respond to you.

    For the record, I just want to it to be clear that I have had no major illnesses or health issues in my life, and that I’ve led a fairly healthy lifestyle throughout my years with AOL practices. I’ve always been a healthy weight, and my surgery was due to an injury, not a health problem. The bags I had under my eyes were due to lack of sleep in those college days – not some serious health problem. I ate healthy, exercised, saw the doctor for checkups, etc. I was and still am a healthy person in a family with a history of good health.

    Why am I mentioning this? Because I don’t want anyone to believe I was sick prior to or during practicing of sudarshan kriya. I mentioned kriya had some positives effects at first. The bags under my eyes disappeared, I felt some sensations in my body where the surgery was done, I felt some relief from my fast-paced lifestyle of worrying.

    I began noticing the negative effects after practicing kriya for 4 years. I practiced it with a very light breath, and for only 9-10 minutes. You could only barely hear me breathing if you sat next to me. I began noticing though that I was yawning excessively in the day and evening. I felt very tired in the afternoon, and would meditate to try to overcome those effects. Sometimes it helped, other times it didn’t. I also felt this weird sensation that my body was overly sensitive all the time to everything around me. I didn’t like this feeling, and I’m not sure everyone has this same experience from kriya. Has anyone else had this experience? Like you were picking up on all the garbage around you with your being. I also felt my enthusiasm for life disappearing, most likely from the lack of energy in my body. I also noticed that I was developing dark circles around my eyes. I continued on thinking something was wrong with me, and that perhaps I just needed more of it over time.

    4 years went by, and these symptoms became worse and worse. I even began developing allergy issues for the first time in my life. I was stupid for continuing to do this practice. I should have listened to my body instead of trying to live some idea that kriya would fix everything. I hope others reading this can learn from my mistake.

    As I stated above, my energy level returned to normal, my eyes looked better, my skin looked better and my allergies gradually went away after stopping the practice of kriya. The results above were proof enough for myself that this practice wasn’t good for me anymore. Perhaps it was good for me short term? Perhaps.

    I’ve mentioned above that I continue to practice meditation and yoga. However, I now do these practices with a sense of caution. If I experience adverse effects from meditation, I’ll stop. I have only had good things from meditation in my life, and I’m still grateful that I got a chance to learn it. I appreciate that AOL brought these things into my life, but I also don’t consider meditation and yoga exclusive to AOL. These things have been around forever.

    Lastly, I’m not saying that kriya is bad for everyone. Some people on here have posted that they enjoy it and feel it gives them health benefits. That’s great. If it helps some people, then wonderful. I wish I could say it had the same effect on me. I again suggest to use caution though, with kriya or any practice. As others have mentioned many times, one size does not fit all.

    Thank you everyone again for your courage to contribute to this site. I know it attracts a lot of negativeness, and that can be very unpleasant.

    -O

    • Original Observer permalink
      January 22, 2011 8:04 am

      @Observer, I am a bit intrigued by the description of SK that you used to practice. The way it was taught to us, the Home Kriya takes a minimum of 30 minutes (including the pranayam, bastrika and the SK), and the breathing is by no means light; you can actually hear it all around the house. No doubt you picked up your practice from some authorized teacher. This shows that different teachers have different ways of introducing SK, and some may not even bother to correct you if you are doing it wrong (especially if you are part of a course in which hundreds of participants are taking part). Actually, AoL does not give you any opportunity to distinguish good teachers and bad teachers. In fact, most diehard AoLers insist that all are same, as all of them are empowered by the Guru’s grace. In this context, let us look at a couple of excerpts taken from the legal notice (https://aolfree.wordpress.com/secret-aol-knowledge/sudarshan-kriya-notes/) given by none other than the Trustee and Chairman of VVK, the owner of AoL, to this blog:

      “The SK Technique is taught by us to the course participants only through authorized and well trained Art Of Living Teachers. The authorised Teachers are provided an instruction manual known as the Sudarshan Kriya Notes (“the SK Notes”). These Notes are strictly confidential and are read out to authorised Teachers who copy the same in a note book.”

      “Any misuse of the Notes by any visitor on the said blog could cause serious harm/injury to others, in the event any attempt is made to teach the SK Technique on the basis of and pursuant to the unauthorized publication of the SK Notes on the said blog.”

      Thus, by AoL’s own admission, SK can be seriously harmful if practiced inappropriately. Now, several questions arise on this count: What steps has the AoL taken to make sure that ALL their authorized teachers adhere to standards required to teach SK properly ? If the instructions are only “read out” as mentioned in the above legal notice, they are so critical to the teaching of SK, and it all depends on the skill of the trainee teacher to take proper notes, does it not amount to a huge risk ? Do they adequately warn the participants on the potential harmful effects that the SK can cause from inappropriate use ? Does AoL give any undertaking to the concerned Governments that their “authorized” teachers are certified to teach the SK without causing harmful effects ? If an “authorized” teacher decides to leave the AoL, does all the skill imparted by AoL magically disappear ?

      That said, my own personal experience is that the SK is just hyperventillation. In the beginning you experience strange sensations, but they wear off over a period of time, and it becomes ritual later on. I stopped it now, and find no recognizable change, in body or mind.

      • The Observer permalink
        January 22, 2011 5:14 pm

        Sorry, I should have been more clear. I did practice pranayam and bastrika before kriya. I stopped doing both of these in addition to kriya. I don’t even do ujjayi breath anymore for yoga – I use normal breath and let my body decide it’s own rhythm.

        It’s true though, there is a wide variety of ways in how kriya is taught. Some are taught to breathe very loudly, and some (like myself) very softly. It certainly seems plausible that breathing super intense might be very harmful for some.

    • Blossom permalink
      January 27, 2011 11:07 pm

      @ The Observer – “I also felt this weird sensation that my body was overly sensitive all the time to everything around me. I didn’t like this feeling, and I’m not sure everyone has this same experience from kriya. Has anyone else had this experience? Like you were picking up on all the garbage around you with your being. I also felt my enthusiasm for life disappearing, most likely from the lack of energy in my body.”

      This happens to extremely empathic people who are sensitive to other people’s energies & emotions. I came across this in a Zen based book – Meditations for a Vibrant Life by Donna Thomson. She recommends psychic protection for it with a simple Rainbow shield, best done after a Rainbow wash.

      Rainbow wash – Imagine that you are standing or sitting under a rainbow. The rainbow moves thru you from head to foot. Imagine that all the colours of the rainbow are passing thru your body – red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple. You can visualize this, feel it, or simply tell yourself it is happening. It may pass thru you in waves or one colour at a time. Feel the colours pass thru you and out your feet, dissolving away into white light. Ask the rainbow to cleanse your energy; ask that any negative energies expelled in this process be returned to the light. This cleanses, recharges and balances you. Can do it slow or fast.

      Rainbow Shield – Every morning before you leave your house, do rainbow wash exercise and then imagine yourself surrounded by rainbow light. You can imagine the spectrum of light with red closest to your body or purple – whatever feels right to you. The colours in the rainbow go from red to orange, then yellow, green, blue and purple. The rainbow extends out in every direction from your body as far as you would like. It can be a sphere or it can shape itself to your body as an aura. You can visualize this or simply tell yourself that it is there. Return to your awareness of this rainbow light throughout the day, esp if you are feeling tired. Practice the rainbow wash again as you fall asleep and imagine the shield around you as you fall asleep.

      Hope this helps! I guess variations of this is there in AOL too wherein we are told to sleep in lap of divine etc in knowledge sessions.BTW my dark circles have visibly reduced, probably better sleep.

      http://www.jaicobooks.com/j/j_searchtry.asp?selcat=author_name&keyword=Donna+Thomson

      • harshal permalink
        January 27, 2011 11:43 pm

        hahahaha….red ,orange, blue, purple…rainbow……this is why i find this blog amusing…

      • Dayalu permalink
        January 28, 2011 1:11 am

        In that case, you should be finding all SSRS meditations even more amusing.

    • Elle permalink
      February 9, 2011 11:02 am

      Hey Observer;

      I, too, had issues with practicing kriya at home. I didn’t practice it as long as you (only seven months), because I discovered early that AOL was not what it appeared to be. For me, I would feel even more depressed, lethargic, and though it controlled my appetite, I just didn’t care about anything afterwards. I would do my practice in the mornings, but my life as a student ensured my schedule would constantly change. My biggest complaint, though, was I couldn’t sleep after doing the kriya. It didn’t matter if I did it in the am or pm, the result was the same. I mainly practiced long kriya with my local group for the seven months before completely stopping. I haven’t had any problems with depression to that degree since.

      • Thanks for saving me permalink
        February 10, 2011 4:46 am

        You are lucky Elle. It took me about 18 months to realise true nature of AOL. Though I did not practice SK regularly. Whenever I used to do long kriya, Iused to feel numb or more like zombie.

  16. Anonymous permalink
    January 22, 2011 1:46 am

    Thanks for your sincere sharing, Obserer. I practiced SK for a couple of months but I did not feel well. Luckily I stopped it and all my symptoms were gone.

    One of my close friend continued pratices SK daily for about a year and I did notice she graduately developed dark circle around her eyes and they were becoming more and more invisible. And she often looked very tired (she used to be quite energetic). Even though she keeps telling people how great SK is (she is a teacher now and she is passionally trying to sell AOL courses to the public), I suspect she is in a self-denial mode since her more and more visible dark circled eyes and tireness is telling me a different story. We can deceive ourselves and others by words/thoughts but our body/face just can’t . They reveals the truth.

    I did some research and I realized the dark circles around eyes is due to oxidizing hemoglobin.:
    http://www.darkcircles.net/under-eye.html

    Might long time SK pratice cause Oxygen Defficiency in the brain cell which might cause those symtoms? I don’t know but I think we definitely shall be cautious no matter how much benefit it can bring short-term. At least, we shall make people be ware of the potential of long term SK pratice.

    AOL preaches ‘the more responsibity you are willing to take, the more powerful you are’ in their basic course. I think is ironic they don’t take responsibility to warn people the possible side-effects of SK and potential long term risks.

    I appreciate all the people sincerely sharing their stories in this blog to give people a more complete and balanced view about AOL and the techniques they are selling. Thanks for taking such responsibility to take care of other people’s health and well-being. I am sure this blog will become more and more influential and powerful.

  17. WIDE AWAKE permalink
    January 22, 2011 11:31 am

    My experiences wrt sk are mentioned here. pls scroll down to check. https://aolfree.wordpress.com/2010/11/27/what-is-spiritual-abuse/

    With all those problems then, I beleived that I was taken care of by Gurudev. Remember 99% grace and 1% technique. However that 1% needs to be done correctly. ( I was taught part1 by a very Sr. Aol teacher). So, when I did my TTC, I made sure that i get my counts, stages and breath checked. Everything seemed alright, but I used feel drained of my energy and lacked enthusiasm. I found myself going into depression ……..
    I dont even want to recollect that traumatic phase and the effects that I have mentioned in my earlier post.

    Now, the question is, is the 1% technique faulty or the 99% grace ?
    Whatever, Since I stopped practicing sk, I’m feeling much better now.

    I just happened to go thru the aol website and some old part 1 pamphlets, where they have mentioned that sk reduces stress, anger, depression, worry, improves memory, interpersonal relationships, energises your body and mind etc..

    I found sk “damages” all that, Aol claims you will benefit, by practising it.

    They say : “With Sudarshan Kriya, you can experience the power of breath and understand the link between the body and the mind”.

    Yeah, I have understood that if you jumpstart with pranayamas w/o adequate practice to open the blocks in the nadis, the energy backfires and messes up ones health.

    In my case I felt Lobotomised.

    I hope research is done on the long term effects of sk, especially on the home kriya, by some qualified and unbiased people.

    Thank you Klim, skywalker, whistleblower and all the contributers….. you guys helped me wake up! Thank you

    • anonymous permalink
      January 24, 2011 2:17 pm

      Slightly Different Take:

      A very knowledgeable yogi, whom I met at the ashram (he was visiting), observed the SK and later told me this:

      He had not seen such unhealthy looking people as those doing the practices. He said that this type of breathing practice is indicated for those living in pristine, clean environments, such as the Himalayas, and living a particular, austere lifestyle, which no worldly people would be interested in living. Otherwise, he said, these SK would cause health problems of all sorts, in his opinion, and his observations of the group, he felt, supported his opinion. I stopped the SK after that conversation, and did leave AOL. My health improved immediately, slowly returning to normal after about a year of not doing SK.

      • Original Observer permalink
        January 24, 2011 9:18 pm

        I don’t know much about the ideal environmental conditions required for the breathing processes, but I can definitely endorse that the conditions in which the large groups are made to do the various exercises are outright unhygienic in many cases (even in Bad Antogast). There are often too many people in the room, as they keep admitting participants without any regard to the number of people the room can hold with adequate space around individual participants. I would like to particularly point out some of the padmasadhana positions where one is made to lie on the stomach with nose touching the floor, covered with a dirty and dusty carpets, and imagine how much dirt/germs one inhales with each of those ujay breaths one is asked to take. The teacher in most cases is apparently oblivious to the dangerous health consequences such conditions can have, and does not even caution the participants about it.

      • The Observer (not the original) permalink
        January 27, 2011 11:51 pm

        There are some really interesting theories listed here. It does make one wonder if kriya could be potentially helpful in a very pure environment. I can say that I’ve done kriya in some fairly pure places such as alone on the beach, and in the forrest away from most pollution. But I still had the same effect of being tired and all the other sensations I already talked about. I think Peaceful Warrior had a very good analogy in calling it medicine. Surely one wouldn’t want to take Tylenol everyday over a span of 8 years. I think that’s a very possible reality kriya may be for some like myself – it can help short term, but is detrimental long term.

        @ Original Observer – sorry for taking your name. I was not aware there already was an observer here. I’ll need to find a new name. 😉

        @Blossom – thanks for your suggestions on the post above.

        @AOL’s – I’m disappointed with the exception of Doreen, that we haven’t had one reasonable, constructive response on here. My intention was not to start a war with my small contribution. If you read my posts, you can surely find many points that I praise AOL for. Surely we can disagree without the need for immature and offensive language. Let’s try to help each other on this blog instead of creating more pollution – even if we disagree.

  18. anon permalink
    January 25, 2011 4:27 am

    I have only just completed my PART 1 course and reading this blog am quite surprised about the havoc SK can cause, as AoL says things differently. And since there are a lot of people , like Harshal, who post here, defending AoL, would request that you counter these comments too, to give clarity to newcomers. Is SK harmful?

    • The Doctor permalink
      January 25, 2011 8:50 pm

      Here are some links you might want to look at:

      http://artoflivingfree.blogspot.com/2009/12/sudarshan-kriya-is-it-freeing-or-frying.html
      http://artoflivingfree.blogspot.com/2010/02/20-40-40.html
      https://aolfree.wordpress.com/2010/09/24/does-kriya-cure-aids/

      What I can say for sure is that contrary to what AoL says, some practitioners do experience detrimental side-effects and the technique most certainly isn’t for everyone. Add to that there is no consistency whatsoever in the way the technique is taught by different teachers.

      I would strongly recommend you read up as much as you can about it and then decide for yourself. The technique did certainly help me when I first started with AoL, but after some time I no longer felt I was getting any benefit from it. I have personally stopped practicing it because I don’t want to take any risks whatsoever. And as others have reported, since stopping the practice, my energy, memory, concentration and sleep patterns have improved dramatically.

      • Doreen permalink
        January 28, 2011 12:34 am

        Hi @anon,

        I’ve been practicing Kriya regularly for more than ten years. I’m still a big fan of the practice. I feel good. On the odd day here and there that I skip, I don’t have as much energy as I usually do. I still feel fine, but not as great as on the days when I do it.

        Everyone is different. My suggestion is, give it a shot and see if it works for you.

      • Observer II permalink
        February 7, 2011 7:45 pm

        I’m curious, has anyone else had allergy problems or other auto-immune problems happen as a result of practicing kriya long term?

        I have stated before that kriya kept my immune system strong, but I wonder if the kriya process made my immune system too strong, or knocked it out of balance, creating allergy issues.

      • Observer II permalink
        February 7, 2011 7:48 pm

        Also, one more question. It appears that sk has caused a lot of health problems for people. Do you think we’ll eventually see a lawsuit against AOL for the damages? This could easily cripple the organization if it worked. But when people sign up for the course, I’m guessing they have you sign something saying you won’t sue, right?

    • Yoga permalink
      January 29, 2011 5:04 am

      Man…listen to your body. I know a lots and lots of people who have never had issues with SK after practicing for 10 plus years. I know a small percentage of people who did have a problem. Kriya is even better when you mix it do it in this sequence Surya Namaskar, Padma Sadhana and then Kriya. Walk for 30 minutes, shower and then do Kriya. You may end up having a good experience.

      • Dayalu permalink
        January 29, 2011 3:41 pm

        Yoga,

        The official statistics of AOL says that only 10% of the people who do the course continue the kriya for more than a year. Assume these are the people who find the kriya beneficial at least in the beginning. As an ex teacher I can vouch that among these 10% some of them drop out later due to multiple reason including kriya leading to health problems. So the so called ‘people who practice kriya for years’ are a tiny fraction of the so called millions who do the course. If an objective study is done, you can find ten times ‘the lots and lots of people’ who stopped doing kriya either because they didn’t find it a big deal or because their health deteriorated.

      • Yoga permalink
        January 29, 2011 9:21 pm

        Dayalu,

        I know that even 10% is a higher number. I can only share with you what I observed. Most people don’t practice daily…main reason is “No time”. Personally, I have no had any issues with SK. There is no doubt that it has helped me a lot. btw, if you take any physical activity like walking or running or Gym or Yoga activity for that matter, less than 10% do it on a consistent basis.

      • WIDE AWAKE permalink
        February 8, 2011 7:35 pm

        “I know that even 10% is a higher number”.

        Yeah, thats true.
        Even if 50% of this 10% suffer health problems due to sk , that would be a big number too. This clearly means that the technique is NOT FOR ALL.
        Is aol / THE compassionate Guru not RESPONSIBLE for ruining others health at every level of their existance?

      • Yoga permalink
        February 9, 2011 5:15 am

        Wide awake or sleeping? You make a baseless assumption and then based on that you accuse someone?

      • WIDE AWAKE permalink
        February 9, 2011 8:14 am

        Was sleeping as long as I was in the AOL CULT, practising SK. I was assuming that I was being cleansed , when experiencing all the -ve effects, ofcourse beleiving what the sr. teachers told me.
        My experience is my reality. As you have mentioned earlier, even if a small percentage of people do have a problem with sk, is aol not supposed to declare that SK IS NOT FOR ALL? why does the Guru ignore these questions raised by his devotees? Is not their health and life important ?
        Its atleast important to the individual and their family.

      • Weidman permalink
        February 9, 2011 8:54 am

        Ever since I started practicing Sudarshan Kriya, I started feeling heavy and dense, as though someone has beaten me up black and blue. I started getting dark circles around my eyes. Psychologically I was feeling a growing stupidity at my core. I got rid of all this few days after I stopped practising. This is my personal experience and true. How can I deny this.

  19. Peaceful Warrior permalink
    January 25, 2011 2:37 pm

    @Anon

    Experiences vary – some people have absolutely no problems while doing it over a long term, while for others it has caused health problems in the long run. There have not been any good scientific studies on it – the only advice I would give is if you are doing it every day for a period of years, you should monitor your health carefully and slow down if you see it affecting your health.

    My personal opinion is that kriya is good medicine, but it’s not food. Do it if you need it. Meditation, on the other hand, I would highly recommend.

  20. Tamil story permalink
    January 25, 2011 6:21 pm

    http://www.tamilnet.com/art.html?catid=13&artid=33467

    Angry public burns cut-outs, banners of Sri Sri Ravi Shankar in Batticaloa

    Angered by the politics and by an extravagant ritual, ‘Yaakam,’ by a Tamil Nadu chaamiyaar (Hindu religious person) Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, at a time when genocide and floods cause desperation, the Eezham Tamil public in Ka’luvaagnchikkudi in Batticaloa on Saturday burnt his cut-out images and banners. He went back to India the following day. Last Thursday, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar honoured the ‘social service’ of the SL president’s son Namal Rajapaksa at a function in Colombo, jointly organized by his outfit to observe the 2600-year of the birth of Buddha. On Saturday, at the ‘Mahaa Rudra Yaakam’ ritual, he honoured the paramilitary politicians S. Chandrakanthan, chief minister for the East and SL deputy minister V. Muralitharan by placing shawls on them.

    Sri Sri Ravi Shankar runs an organisation called The Art of Living. He advocates a meditation programme for a stress-free and violence-free world and is often seen in conflict locations and in the company of politicians.

    The public, which gathered in Batticaloa with hopes to get the spiritual message, was disappointed to see the chaamiyaar honouring the very elements that cause the multi-faceted genocide or play complicity to it.

    They could not see any holiness in the wasteful ritual of Maha Rudra Yaakam either, when hundreds of thousands deluged in the floods are desperate for food and shelter.

    Sri Sri Ravi Shankar aims to make inroads for his organisation in the island, exploiting the political situation, media sources in Batticaloa said.

    The public has a serious suspicion of an Indian agenda working behind the activities of the chaamiyaar, the media sources further said.

    A year before the beginning of the Vanni war, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar visited Jaffna. He also wanted to visit the leadership in Vanni, but he was not welcomed.

    During the war, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar organised a conference in Norway on the conflict in the island.

    • ANON permalink
      January 26, 2011 12:07 am

      I think this has more to do with Tamil and Sinhalese politics of Sri Lanka than with SSRS.

      • Dayalu permalink
        January 26, 2011 2:13 am

        But SSRS is very much involved in the politics.

    • Jagadish permalink
      January 26, 2011 2:38 am

      @Tamil Story:
      Ravi Shankar is a wannabe politician in the making. Remember his statements in 2009 to the SL Tamils, “you will soon return to your homes in peace”
      http://wisdomfromsrisri.blogspot.com/2009/04/you-will-soon-return-to-your-homes-in.html

      His statements were:
      ‘The Art of Living Foundation and I are right with you in your hour of need’
      and
      ‘We have to bring back the principles of non-violence & brotherhood’

      the usual airy-fairy fluff without any substance, typical politician talk, can go on for hours but do not commit to anything or accomplish anything.

      Just like Pratibha Patil’s useless blabbering yesterday about having to ‘tackle corruption, rising above it, seriously look at it,’ and lots more useless verbiage.

      Nothing will be accomplished by these characters except expanding their empire or clinging on to their position.

    • Anonymous permalink
      January 26, 2011 1:04 pm

      Any of the AOL followers can cite an instance where they got money/resources from AOL directly – for a seva/service campaign you organized – instead of you raising it yourself?

      My experience was (and is) that – the support you receive from the bangalore ashram/aol directly is almost zero for any real service projects/seva you organize. You barely see a plan or seva activity with some financial backing from AOL main center.

      The flow of money is always uni directional – not sure if Guruji has anything to do with it :).

      The point is, I wish more money will be spend on real service projects, instead of investing the same for buying companies like Inwinex (Remember reading Charge 11, https://aolfree.wordpress.com/the-prosecutor/)

    • Chamiyaar permalink
      January 26, 2011 11:14 pm

      The official press release paints a rosy picture

      http://www.prurgent.com/2011-01-24/pressrelease145832.htm

      Sri Lanka witnesses the largest Tamil music choir ever

      Batticaloa. January 22.2010. History was created in Sri Lanka as 21,000 singers gathered together to sing the ‘Thevaram’, the richest Tamil devotional poetry sung over centuries. The event was organized by several hundred youth volunteers of the Art of Living in Sri Lanka.

      The grand event was attended by Art of Living founder, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, who is on a three-day tour of the country. Speaking at the gathering, Sri Sri urged people to drop the past and move ahead. He emphasized the need to apply the human virtue of forgiveness in our daily life. He also called upon the people to unite in a spirit of unity and respect for all religions.

      Also present on the occasion was Mr. Chandrakanthan Sivanesathurai , The Chief Minister of the Eastern Province. He thanked Sri Sri and the Art of Living for their wholehearted support in providing relief and assistance in the recent floods that had impaired life in several areas of Batticaloa.

      The event had enthusiastic participation from all sections of society. Students, homemakers, executives and government dignitaries were part of the event.

      • Jagadish permalink
        January 27, 2011 5:32 am

        Gather a few people, sing a few songs, then go back to living in landmine-infested danger zones? This just reaffirms my belief that all these shows are arranged only for publicity.

  21. January 28, 2011 5:48 am

    AOL is organising a Grand Music event in Western Maharashtra. Huge stage is built at the cost of local people, thousands of singers and musician are called to perform, at free of cost, by calling it a spiritual event and their name will be entered in Guinness Book.
    Ok, we can’t win Noble Prize, Lets fill the Record Book now. Ravi Shankar is very smart businessman, Money of some rich doners, labor of volunteers, skill of musicians and credit to HIM.

    • Jagadish permalink
      January 28, 2011 6:25 am

      If it is anything like the “grand 3000-musician event” at the silver jubilee I’d skip it. That sounded like cacophony, not even remotely melodious, and really messed up. The worst part was the saxophones in the orchestra, they sounded off by a quarter note, sounded horrible when combined with the other traditional Indian instruments.

      I honestly don’t see the point of these mega musical events, they are pure publicity, zero music.

  22. Independent Observer permalink
    January 31, 2011 8:31 am

    Once again….We need another Concert Please, after all we do deserve the Nobel Peace Prize

    http://www.worldculturefestival.org/News_CelebratingHarmony.html

    Celebrating Harmony in Diversity

    World Culture Festival, an international peace event and celebration of cultures, happening from 2nd – 3rd July in the Olympiastadium Berlin, Germany The World Culture Festival, to be held on July 2/ 3, 2011, is an event that will celebrate cultures of more than 150 countries. Different cultures from around the world will be showcasing their dance, music and food.

    More than 70,000 participants expected. The Festival will take place in the Olympia Stadium Berlin and is expected to bring together a diverse group of more than 70,000 participants from over 150 countries.

    The Festival will be hosted on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the International Art of Living Foundation, an UN-accredited Non Profit organization which is represented in 151 countries in the world.

    The unique event will felicitate the norms and values of all cultures and traditions of the world. The Festival will especially share the vast cultural heritage of India and will also conduct special programs on Yoga, Indian dance, music and vegetarian cuisine. About 5000 people are expected to travel from India to Berlin for this event.

    In addition to cultural activities there will be some theme parks, conferences and workshops during that time.

    Tickets for this unique event will be going on sale on December 18th and will be available to purchase on http://www.worldculturefestival.org.

    What I find interesting about the above proposed.

    1. Its too long for the 50th Anniv…will happen only in 2031. So lets do the 30th Anniv.
    2. Batches of youth Volunteers (typically sons and daughters of AOL teachers and would be teachers) are making their way to Europe from India and other parts to do seva (help with the execution of the grand dream)
    3. These youth will be paid nothing for their effort of many months until July. On the contrary their parents will foot their air travel, stay, food, local land travel in Europe doing seva.
    4. There is supposedly a bootcamp (1 month of brainwashing) in Feb (Must be in the German Ashram I am guessing)…..I wonder whether the participants will pay to stay and eat and be brainwashed.
    5. I am given to understand that the potential youth team size is likely to atleast 300-400 youths from all over.
    6. Lets say its just 200 youth. Each of these 200 youth (Kids) will need at the minimum about 1000 (very conservative) Euro a month to live and so seva (read as “blindly do as you are bid to do”). And they are all going there for about 6 months. Add airfare at an avg of 500 Euro thats another 100K Euro. Thats Euro 1.3 Million into the Project Kitty. AOL devotees paying their tax.
    7. The other interesting thing on the site, its the same old names from before that are endorsing the event (TOI’s Indu Jain, The ex-first lady of Poland (titles are important….even ex-titles), CEO of Shangri-la (A very very old timer with AOL Mr Madhu Rao). Interestingly, seems like no serious new recruits in the recent years.
    8. Also look at all the names in the reception committee MOST of them are Politicians or from the government. Not too many names from any other fields such as arts or sports or even the Cinema. Hmmmmm Yoga for Government ?
    9. And then tickets are being sold….ONLINE…hmmmmmm Goodies and food will be sold too.
    10. The youth volunteers will be sent all around Europe to recruit after the initial BIG PICTURE during Month one. They will be given targets I am sure.
    11. Now, who do you think is paying for the stadium ? The rental must cost a bomb. Seating capacity of 75000 people. Where is that money coming from ?
    12. 5000 air tickets from India…..hmmmmm….on an average thats 30,000 per ticket Indian Rupees 150 Million only on airfare for this crew. Thats 2.4 Million Euro approx.
    13. AOL gets 1200 man months of free service (At minimum Wage for such talented youth as they will find will be about Euro 2000 a month). Thats EURO 2.4 Million.
    14. Many of the 5000 people coming from India will need hotel rooms/ accommodation. Lets say that devotees houses are there …even so if you average it out it is still going to cost the project 250 Euro per week per person and lets sat that this crowd comes in for just 1 week. Thats Euro 1.25 Million.

    Another 2 Million Euros since its 2 days and you will need equipment, lights, event management, stadium rentals, phone calls for 6 months, Media, website) . So about 9 Million Euros (Conservatively). This is the barest minimum to pull this off.

    Expected turn out 60,000 people, if they can fill up the stadium (this is not India remember…Its Berlin). Lets say that 15% are invited and do not pay, as there will be special guests and in any case all the volunteers will not pay. This means just to meet the incurred costs, each of the 50,000 people has to pay at least 150 Euro each…..)

    And if that happens, guess who would pocket the 9 Million minus expenses (if any?) …And who really is going to be writing out the cheques to suppliers and vendors ? Who is the authorized signatory for AOL that can do this ? How does this all reflect in the books of AOL International HQ, Bangalore (It wont since AOL is non existent).

    However Since AOL will not foot the bill for any of this (A lot of the above…will not be seen as an entry in the AOL Account books). This is a very powerful position to be in. You want to throw this grand party in Berlin and with seemingly no effort you seem to be able to conjure up 9 million Euro…..JUST LIKE THAT !!!!

    All of this works because most of the existing AOL followers choose not to see the “Not so bright” side of AOL.

    Hmmmm…In any case does AOL Germany have 9 Million Euro + Reserves in the bank ????? Clearly NO. Just see how much they need the backing of unsuspecting devotees.
    This is the strength coming form the ever ready pockets of devoted AOL teachers and Volunteers?

    And for sure in Feb and March 2011 when the brainwashing happens its going to be just one thing…How can go north with

    A. Finding sponsors.
    B. Selling tickets.

    These poor 200 youth will labouring hard for the next 6 months . Their parent’s told them that it’s going to be great fun doing God’s work !!!! We are indeed the privileged ones. This time around he took an Avatar to create world peace and to take a shot at winning the Nobel Peace Prize. We were a part of it..and we are proud of it. Lots of good karma in the bank.

    • Independent Observer permalink
      January 31, 2011 9:31 am

      The event is in itself an even more baffling paradox. Here is why.

      I suspect that the distribution of participants for this event will also be (80-20). 80% Will fall into the “existing AOL person category”. (ie they are from beginners that have done some AOL course and have been coming for follow ups…right up to the teachers teachers) and the other 2o% – will fall in the new recruit category —ie people that have not heard about AOL or know very little about AOL).

      Assuming full attendance, to have 14000 new potential members find their way to the Berlin stadium that will be something !!!! Lets say my ballpark is about right…So I ask myself…..is this being staged for the existing folks or for the new folks… (14K Vs 56K) ??? Also, at a 1% retention per centre which is the about the usual retention ratio, thats just 140 new volunteers (Europe Wide) for AOL from the event. Naaaaahhhhhhh…..thats not very happening.

      So, then, is this whole costly TAMASHA being done JUST to RETAIN the existing deep pocketed, generous, unthinking devotees……keep reminding them how big they are (as long as they are associated with AOL) ???.

      Hmmm…. afterall, this is AOL’s source of wealth. ….Interesting !!!

      They say it takes 10-50 times more energy and effort to get new customers when compared to retaining existing ones. Whereas in this instance all the investment and focus seems to happening on existing customers. However, its a cleverly designed system, the investment is notional…..it does not exist…..the customers keep re-investing on themselves……again and again…..and again…..

      You see if they fear that if they did not continuously re-invest….SriSri’s Grace might just dry up. Whatever they are today is because of him after all. I find this quite similar to all the margin calls that many of the leveraged funds / banks and mutual funds companies made to their customers after the 2008 market crash. Once IN you are STUCK…..its like riding a tiger….can’t get off for fear that it might devour you and you can’t stay on it either because the tiger has a mind of its own and you can only go where it goes. But guess what …the tiger is not going anywhere. Sure you were promised Mukti and Enlightenment…..but remember that is only if you can spend a few 1000s of Euros every now and then and volunteer lost and lots of your time.

      Cya guys whenever you jump off…….I did see an overhead branch sometime back and pulled myself off the Tiger’s back. Now, it does turn out to be a good view from the gallery. So many AOL devotees putting on a show of splendour……to celebrate Harmony in Diversity.

      And YET despite its stated Value of HARMONY IN DIVERSITY….. , AOL cannot stand this BLOG. They have to take us to court. Especially since our view is a more than a little DIVERSE when compared to them. A little beyond their acceptable threshold or should I say “Thrashold”……(Can’t Trash it then Thrash it)

      Too bad that they choose to focus on the HARM in the harmony. AOL’s value statement should be read “Adversity in Diversity” in place of Harmony in Diversity.

  23. Original Observer permalink
    January 31, 2011 11:24 pm

    “…International Art of Living Foundation, an UN-accredited Non Profit organization…”. AOL is claimed to be having a “Special Consultative Status” with the UN (see http://us.artofliving.org/content-global-service-organizations?center=usa). I wondered what this means, actually. So I did some search, and found some not so impressive truths.

    There are three categories of status for UN (Economic and Social Council or ECOSOC) accredited NGOs: General consultative status, Special consultative status and Roster status (http://www.un.org/esa/coordination/ngo/).

    General consultative status is reserved for large international NGOs whose area of work coversmost of the issues on the agenda of ECOSOC and its subsidiary bodies. These tend to be fairly large,established international NGOs with a broad geographical reach.

    Special consultative status is granted to NGOs which have a special competence in, and are concerned specifically with, only a few of the fields of activity covered by the ECOSOC. These NGOs tend to be smaller and more recently established.

    Organizations that apply for consultative status but do not fit in any of the other categoriesare usually included in the Roster. These NGOs tend to have a rather narrow and/or technical focus.

    As on 1 September 2010, there are 139 organizations in general consultative status, 2,218 in special consultative status and 1,025 on the Roster. For a full list of UN-accredited NGOs, see http://esango.un.org/paperless/reports/E2010INF4.pdf, in which AOL is indeed listed under the NGOs having “Special Consultative Status”.

    In summary, AOL is one of 2,218 NGOs in special consultative status accredited to UN ECOSOC, meant for NGOs with a special competence in, and are concerned specifically with, only a few of the fields of activity covered by the ECOSOC and which tend to be smaller and more recently established.

    Impressive indeed. In blowing trumpets.

  24. Peaceful Warrior permalink
    February 1, 2011 12:53 am

    Truly the emperor has no clothes!

  25. Suneitha permalink
    February 1, 2011 4:32 pm

    @blossom sorry for the late reply to ur comments but my local teacher organises like say 3 part 1’s in a year as she is in2 aol only for a support system as her family aint here as i said she is a moderate and does 1 adv course a year doesnt preesurise me or any other so called volunteers in2 org. courses for the great aol but yes she does play the rudra puja chants every morning and i do too as it brings me +ve vibes btw im not the only one who supports child welfare and works with spastics society there are many many more moderate aolers now who are in the org for different reasons…but yes off late ive noticed so many changes happening in aol and other indian spiritual orgs just for the better but they all do have some level of brainwashing what i’d say the meditations help, yoga ive been doing since i was 11 years old i started learning sanskrit chanting when i was 10 frm chinmaya mission and kriya 2 cure sinus has helped so take the good aspects donot get over invoved with the organisational insides do some genuine service and chant or help ppl in any way u can and let the rest be a philosophy of “good riddance to bad rubbish” and forget about the rest okie sri sri speaks some sense sometimes thats that but the politics in aol i believe amongst the swamis and senior teachers is pathetic i mean one world family is their slogan why cant they simply act like a multicultural diverse extended family..??

    • Narasimhan permalink
      February 5, 2011 1:44 pm

      @Suneitha, February 1, 2011:
      Can that please be translated into English?

  26. February 4, 2011 11:57 pm

    If you want to eat meat then why not take a bite of your own hand you whining bumpkin!!! All I hear on this site is whine whine whine whine!!!!!! You guys really need to chill out and go to some far off desolate place and see that you are really lucky to have what you do! Take the most from what you get and move on! Be grateful for what have and what you got… Learn, move on and please for love of GOD simply stop whining! Its like you really like Shaggy… Whine and go up, Whine and go down….

    • ANON permalink
      February 6, 2011 2:09 pm

      “If you want to eat meat then why not take a bite of your own hand you whining bumpkin!!!”

      Right.

      And if you want to drink, why not take a sip from your own body fluids.
      Or better still, from your master’s. It comes with grace included. Harshal would agree.

      • February 6, 2011 2:17 pm

        Now thats just simply Gross! If you are into urine therapy, please don’t force others into it my man!

        I guess you must be the ghost of the late Murarji Desai!

        For you…

        A good pee a day,

        Keeps thirst at bay,

        But a good shit a week,

        Would probably satisfy your hunger you freak!

  27. Observer II permalink
    February 5, 2011 11:18 pm

    SSRS has often said “laugh at others mistakes… it saves your mind.” Perhaps that’s how one should look at these postings by Mr. Correcter. But I do worry about the mental stability of him. In all seriousness, I wonder if all that breathing has made him this crazy.

    Corrector = Harshal?

  28. February 6, 2011 2:14 pm

    Harshal?! Whose that mate? But the only laughing here seems to be me!!!!

    I am confused…. Are you a devotee who is quoting Sri Sri?

    If you aren’t then why hold onto that knowledge?

    Don’t you have your own identity…. which is what you all seem to be harping about.

    Crazy …. No! Just mildly entertained, thats all.

    About the food thing… eat what you like but just don’t eat my head with your nonsense!

  29. Srikkanth permalink
    February 20, 2011 5:11 pm

    I am in AOL for the last decade. I am making this statement on my own free will. NOt due to brainwashing or some such supposed things assumed by a lot of anti-aolites in this forum. things have been working fine for me. One should really experience AOL authentically to feel the grace and should not go by the negative propoganda of this blog. I feel many of such anti-AOL statements are coming from people who were first of into AOL for the wrong reasong – taht is not for spirituaity but for some power or ego trip. then of course they got disappointed as their ambitions did not get fulfilled. And they are gettig their ambitions fulfilled by maligning an organisation like AOL.

    • Dayalu permalink
      February 20, 2011 8:26 pm

      “NOt due to brainwashing or some such supposed things assumed by a lot of anti-aolites ”

      A brainwashed person does not realize he/she is brainwashed while in the brainwashed state of mind

    • Observer permalink
      February 21, 2011 10:52 am

      Have you read the entries by in this blog as well as guruholic blog? Many people have so clearly described how they were originally into AoL for the spirituality and service, and subsequently what led to their disillusionment- why do you think they were in it for “wrong reasong”?
      You know, many of us here were once using the same reasoning because it was implanted into our minds by aol – “if anybody leaves aol, they were in it for the wrong reasons in the first place”. I hope you start thinking for yourself soon. All the Best!

  30. February 21, 2011 12:48 pm

    This whole Zombie thing is getting Old! I know you guys find Milla Jovovich Hot but can you not move on from the whole Resident Evil thing? The last one was terrible! Just Terrible! You guys know so much of brainwashing and Zombies that I would think that this blog was for the undead only! So much compassion and love even for necromancer… it brings tears to my eyes!! Oh Dayalu, Oh Kripalu you should now switch your name to Dracu, in your case because you are so filled with Kripa and Daya for Humans I am sure you will stick to only ketchup! May I recommend A Thai Sweet Chilli Sauce as it really hits the spot! You should also have pre loader for this Blog that states “You Are Now Entering The Twilight Zone”!!! Beware, for we may suck the life out of you with our uncreative banter!

    • Blossom permalink
      February 21, 2011 11:04 pm

      Then take your SK induced creative banter elsewhere.

    • Dayalu permalink
      February 22, 2011 1:29 am

      Flattering yourself by describing your gibberish as banter. Ha ha! You’re so unintentionally comical

Trackbacks

  1. Is Sudarshan Kriya Safe? « Beyond The Art of Living

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: