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In Further Defence of Eng An

February 18, 2011

by thereslifebeyondaol

I first went to an aol meditation many years ago by invitation of my sister in law.
I remember a large room with soft music, candles, people sitting in silence. In the front of the room my eyes were caught by this porcelan-alike figure sitting in a lotus posture. With clear Oriental features, her face was glowing with kindness and serenity. She was youg, and her words were soft and low, but full of authority. As an artist, I couldn´t help to compare her with a talking figure of Kuang Yi. Only that her name was Eng An, and she was the most beautiful teacher ever teaching in The Art Of Living. Hey, hey, I didn´t get a crush for her… I´m an artist and as such, beauty really moves me.

It took me a couple of years to take the part 1 course. When I finally went to the placed they indicated me, I found another nice lady sitting in front, older than the previous one but still as friendly. Her name was Beatriz. By the end of the course I felt tempted to ask about eng an but something in the air told to better not.

As I got involved with the group while doing seva I also learned that Beatriz had been actually a disciple of Eng an, and that both woman befriended easily due to their love for the master. Beatriz then started assisting Eng An´s on eng an courses learning quickly and showing how good teacher she could also be.

Sadly, the devotion that united them at first soon turned into celousy and competition to get more personal attention from guruji´s side. And then -as well as nowadays- the way to guruji´s heart had more to do with figures -whether money raised or souls recruited.

I never knew much of Eng an´s background, only that she was a succesful bank executive before dropping it all to follow the master. Beatriz was married to a wealthy man and also came from a whealthy family, wich, in combination with her profesion -corresponsal journalist- allowed her direct access to the most important figures; artist, politicians, business man… you name it. With a bolding innate ambition and agressive determination, she rapidly put guruji´s name in the mouth of that people, plus his picture in gigantic billboards around the city. It was no brainer to foresee Beatriz winning that secret and hostile competition with Eng An… soon the country turned too small for both of them and Beatriz clearly showed she didnt want to share her new conquered territory with anyone!. The war was declared, and Beatriz used her experience, charisma and influences to make eng an feel like a missfit. Guruji soon got the news.

Not wanting to spoil Beatriz aggressive “Go-getter” qualities, he convinced Eng an about moving to Brazil and start pionering aol there. Although her feelings were hurting from loosing the armrestling, she hang on her love for guruji and did as he said.

As the years passed, aol argentina kept growing tremendously, but always under a too tough mandate of Beatriz, so much that many times the seva workers suffered a dictatorship. Those teachers not fully in agree with Beatrice´s manners were turned into enemies right away. Everyone had issues due to her constant mistreatment and terrible manners. There was a permanent display of two personalities that got many people very upset, but, again, most everyone stayed in aol for the love of the guru, and any possible report sent to guruji reporting the situation was quickly put away for the papers he wanted to see were the numbers: numbers in collecting and number of recruited.

regarding Ignacio, I first saw him playing bhadjans one night. he had the phisique do rol of aol teachers -very good looking- but except being the musical star during the satsang he was never there. Sweet eyes, a little melancholic, skeeny, one would offer him a glass of vitamin C and a blanket. I knew by then that he and Eng An had some history in the past, and although she wanted to break up she had to stay more in the relationship as per gurujis especial request. Another no brainer, Ignacio also comes from a very good family with influences in the media.

Finally, the last time I saw her was by gurujis kutir during the silver jubilee. A beautiful flower as always, her eyes looked sad though, and while we were chatting I could sense that the argentineans passing us by were discretely outcasting her. It gave me the chills to think that Beatriz was controlling who would dare to approach her.

Later that day chatting over a chai with my roomate, he says: That is not the way to treat an old timer devotee like her. That Argentinean girl loved guruji up to the point of almost getting married to a powerful man in brazil as per gurujis indication. And now she fell from his grace? why? she didn´t collected enough for the crown this time?

Finally my dear friends, and regarding her being said as bipolar, two things: 1) if she had it before AOL it was aol´s serious mistake having place such burden on her shoulders. 2) If she turned bipolar later – again is aol´s responsability for letting her so alone. Now that she left them, they find no clever way to assure she will keep her mouth shout by threating her and difamating her. That makes me think that AOLers outraged complaints for the way they feel the master is being diffamated, well, maybe is a cause and consequence effect… this Karma thing is actually super cool.

Trying to contact either ignacio or beatriz will no bring light nor redemption to all this…only guruji could, at least in recognition for the love, devotion and loyalty of a young talented woman who devoted -and lost- a great deal of her youth.

Namaste everyone
And all for what? because she walked away. And unlike many of us, she knows a lot. Hence the reason -unreasonable excuse!- to blacken her name.

Triying to get either ignacio nor beatriz to testify will bring nothing more than more rubish to pile up in her absence.
I only now, guys, I really hope all this aol matter is buried in her past and she is getting a life finally. but if someday she needs it, every aol victim will be having a moral responsability to evaluate… because we could have become her, we just happened to be lucky.

See also:

  1. Observer II permalink
    February 18, 2011 10:08 pm

    This is incredibly sad, but no longer surprising to me. All these stories seem to have a pattern in their destruction. I can say the link to the Swami that bad mouthed this poor woman on his blog was the last straw for me leaving AOL. I needed no more proof than that to see how screwed up this organization was.

  2. Peaceful Warrior permalink
    February 21, 2011 11:03 pm

    “….she had to stay more in the relationship as per gurujis especial request.”

    Shocked to hear that – never realized that people let him control their lives to such an extent.

    Sadly, RS is not above politics as people think he is. People think that sending him a message, will help resolve disputes that crop up – but it hardly works that way. He either ignores things or plays favorites. This is also true of AOL top management everywhere – they want you to do seva, but not to question their judgement. Ideally, a satsang group should evolve on it’s own and a leader should emerge naturally – but in AOL it works differently. People who emerge like this, are seen as a threat, especially if they are smart and ask questions. They would rather have people who follow orders blindly – hence the increasingly cultish nature of the organization.

    Every volunteer who dedicates himself to seva in AOL faces this fate. People who remain end up either becoming sycophants, or just disheartened devotees who learn to ignore these things and focus on teaching, not realizing that they are hoisting the same fate on to the lives of innocent and unsuspecting newcomers.

    • thereslifebeyond permalink
      February 22, 2011 12:57 pm

      That´s right, peaceful warrior. Regarding weddings, well, you know that since the male devotees of RS in India would use to go after him and forget totally about their social duties -such as getting married and raising a family- many parents complaint to Guruji for that. As a result of ir, many years ago AOL opened a inner marriage agency -sort of Indian to help it´s devotees find their soulmates inside the organization. Isn´t that an indication of how difficult is not to be -sometimes literaly, sometimes partially- abduced? When a spiritual movement is openminded, a person should be able to perform their social roles and it´s devotional practices, whitout none inhibiting the existence of the other. I believe some cults like Jehova Witnesses or Scientology, for example, evolved and turned into accepted “religions” only when they allowed their people to live their daily lives as regular citizens.

      The slogan used by AOL during the 25th. anniversary -One World, One family- is a contradiction in terms, since Aolers move around the world clearly differenciating themselves from the world, wishing that as many people as possible would join AOL but, in the meantime they´re “not family yet”. And I believe they do not dress uniforms yet -as the Hare Krishna not to raise their defenses in advance. Hare Krishnas try to preach in the street, Aolers, instead, they offer a breathing technique to get rid of stress, then the people do not suspect they could end up swamped in something preeety thicker than that.

      Before leaving AOL I really wished there was a way to continue teaching and sharing and recommending the breathing techniques without going any deeper in the organization, but they push everyone too much to do it. So I didn´t want anyone risking to go through what I went through. Simply a shame. Whitout the whish of reaching political influence -via Nobel Prize- nor pushing the people to go that far away, the movement would have preserved its original brightness. I recommend a great book called “The Dark Side of the Light Seekers”; everyone should read it as a vaccination! 🙂

  3. Peaceful Warrior permalink
    February 22, 2011 4:28 pm

    No amount of reading can prevent people from following gurus – people give more weight to their experience and feelings, not realizing the manipulations that go on. I think the best we can do is help people get out by making them acknowledge reality.

  4. Anonymous permalink
    February 24, 2011 9:32 pm

    Find out what is happening behind their World Culture Festival???? The truth is nasty and bitter!!

  5. Anonymous permalink
    February 24, 2011 9:34 pm

    You need to bring this to the attention of more people. Contact more media and go public. Do not stop telling the truth.

    • The Doctor permalink
      February 25, 2011 4:49 am

      We’re already in the process of contacting local media and many other organizations around the world who may be affected by Art of Living.

      Can you shed a little more light as to what is going on behind the World Culture Festival? If you want, you can drop an email to / and we’ll create a separate post for this.

  6. Prem Anand permalink
    February 25, 2011 11:05 am

    Anonymous, please shed light on your statement, its going to help many sincere devotees to wake up and see the truth behind this lavish event. A friend from Philipines shared that Sri Sri is meeting country co-ordinators and strong volunteers in the Asia Pacific region via teleconferencing to encourage more people to participate in the Berlin event. This friend, a staunch AOL member also shared that it would cost USD4000 for someone from Asia to be a part of the four day event. The teachers further add that it is going to be a historical event and it would be a sin to miss it, members are told to beg, borrow or steal to go.She is in the process of taking a loan to attend this function.

    Is this what a spiritual master should be doing? Subtle blackmail emotionally and mentally to make people attend the function in droves so as to get more fame for himself.

    Why pay such exhorbitant rental for the Olympic Stadium? Why not use all these funds to finance the so called charity projects ?

    Its my fervent hope that someone alerts the media of this and make known to the world that the organisation is not what it claims to be – there is more importance given to numbers, to fame, popularity rather than the spiritual growth of the members.

    • anonymus permalink
      March 11, 2011 2:51 pm

      Yes, Sri Sri met per Skype with satsang groups in all East Europe countries and Russia, because he agitate for Berlin! He have interess only from his organisation, not from spiritual growth from devotees…

      • Phantom permalink
        March 26, 2011 8:24 am

        It is also important that this blog gets translated to german and other european languages. People should be made aware of the true colours of these scamsters.

  7. Kshatriya permalink
    March 25, 2011 7:18 pm

    What kind of a World Cutural Festival has only vegetarian food festival ? The AoL is indulging in discrimination of cultures by imposing their own conditions.

    • Pandarinathan Vaidyanathan permalink
      March 26, 2011 8:10 am

      When Tsunami happened in 2004, some AOL folks descended to the tamil nadu coast near mahabilipuram for their usual satsang photo ops session. They obviously had collected a good amount of money from well meaning but stupid people. In the satsang, one teacher who was introduced as a very senior AOL teacher mentioned in tamil about the value of a vegetarian diet and how we should all turn into vegetarians. I was in the audience along with the several traumatized victims of the tsunami. Most of these people were poor fisherman who lived by catching and selling fish. Fish was their main source of food and it was part of their whole cultural life including their folk dance and singing. These people had lost their fishing nets and boats in the tsunami, their only means of livelihood. Even me being a staunch vegetarian since birth could not resist noticing the irony that these AOL jokers were talking to people in a time when they had been traumatized and needed healing.

  8. anonymous permalink
    April 5, 2011 8:05 pm

    You have no idea how much this blog had actually helped me. I was under the impression that I was the only one in AOL with was is shared here. Never thought I could think/feel this way about all the non sense activities and brain wash that goes on along with all these programs.
    There is definatelly discrimination all the way around. Had you met any poor person join AOL and become an active memeber? It is completelly impossible!! why is that? Because it is all about how much money you can spend on courses, festivities and traveling around the world. In regards to Pandarinathan Vaidyanathan comment, I totally agree…there are different needs on this life for different people. It is a matter of making a change in this world, a real change for what is reallity for each one of us. Becoming vegetarian can’t be a priority for a fisherman…how crazy that can be?
    Instead of love and support there is only demanding of giving…giving more and more and the more people you bring to AOL the more admiration from others – being a full time AOL teacher?? come on!!! there is real world out there for us that have to work and survive in the proffesional world.
    There is no meaning for all this…I had wasted enough time on AOL and tolerating the worst people I ever met in my life!! this is over for good.
    This should get to every person that is about to commit the mistake of getting into all this false movement of recognitiono for some people that needs it.

    • Anonymous permalink
      April 6, 2011 12:55 am

      poor people are made to do “seva” like cleaning toilets etc. they are the labor class.

      • Original Anonymous permalink
        April 6, 2011 11:17 am

        There is nothing wrong in people doing seva. Seva is done in all Gurukulas, its a part of the Gurukul culture. It instills a sense of responsibility. And helps one feel more relaxed and strong.

        Also being vegetarian is right now a primary concern for the environment. Fishermen in Mauritius are now into tourism, they rent out their sea facing homes and earn so much money that they themselves travel all over the world. Also by stopping to fish the beaches are much more cleaner, the flora and fauna is preservedand there is an increase in the number of tourists.

        The Art of Living maybe (honestly I still don’t know) an immature organization, but vegetarianism and seva are not immature concepts.

      • Prakash permalink
        April 7, 2011 5:42 am

        Seva is the highest ideal of Nishkama Karma Yoga. However, in AOL seva really means marketing AOL courses to as many people as possible. Everything else is secondary. In fact if you are too enthusiastic about non-marketing seva, you may even be discouraged from it. Of course, as every AOLer worth his JGD knows that you should never ever expect any monetary support from AOL for non-marketing seva. The money collected from various AOL courses is not meant for such charities. If you can raise your own funds, fine. Go ahead, who cares?

        And, oh! By the way, if there are any news channel reporters around, please inform the headquarter.

        As far as vegetarianism is concerned, it is definitely a healthier choice. However AOL uses it as fad. They conveniently underplay the cultural aspect of vegetarianism and hide the fact that many acclaimed saints of India like Ramakrishna Paramahamsa and Nisargadutta Maharaj were non- vegetarian. For someone born in a Jain family or a in South Indian Brahmin family, vegetarianism is natural and effortless. It is not the same for people living in mountainous or coastal regions even if they happen to be born in Brahmin families.

  9. Peaceful Warrior permalink
    April 6, 2011 5:55 pm

    “There is nothing wrong in people doing seva. Seva is done in all Gurukulas, its a part of the Gurukul culture. It instills a sense of responsibility. And helps one feel more relaxed and strong.”

    True – but seva is much more than passing out flyers, and doing menial jobs for the rest of your life.. We can do better service to society by being responsible members of society, and contribute by developing our skills and using them for the benefit of society.

    • Observer Jr. permalink
      April 6, 2011 10:49 pm

      True. Seva isn’t just bringing someone to more courses and forcing them to sign up. I don’t even think of that as real seva – it’s more like hard-sell recruiting. Seva can be doing many things, and the obvious one can be our jobs or using our skills for everyone – not just AOL people.

    • Anoop permalink
      April 7, 2011 5:29 am

      Being present in Berlin and also for european tour is also a nice way of doing seva .. 70K people meditating together can bring wonders for world peace..

      AOL is good for rich people to hang out and enjoy!

      • anonymous permalink
        April 7, 2011 12:22 pm

        At the Bangalore ashram I was asked to clean toilets. I did so without hesitation, feeling it was my assigned seva. I then noticed, after some days, that there were never, ever any Indian women doing the same job. They were always assigned to the kitchen to chop vegetables. (I am western and female). I then was told (by a local) that those Indian women would never do that seva, because it is considered ‘unclean’ and beneath them, and that they laughed at the westerners who did this job willingly! How disheartening. One of these women (laughing at the foreigners) was Bhanu Didi. After this, I didn’t do any seva, feeling that it was a kind of abuse. AOL was not for me. Maybe it is for others, but I view it as an imbalanced group of people taking advantage of others, and putting others down, and competing. Not a spiritual organization at all, by my rights.

      • Anonymous permalink
        April 7, 2011 2:22 pm

        beg to differ, I am Indian and female and was told to do seva of cleaning the loos as it burns up a lot of negative karma , and I did that.These assholes manupalate their participants this way to get work done on the ashram so that they don’t have to pay for labor. Laying the concrete and bricks from Bastard’s kutir to the meditation hall ( in the old ashram) to all other jobs like loos cleaning they get done for free. And did you know, Bastard never eats food cooked on the ashram? it comes from Jayanagar and the meal is fit for a king, I was really surprised when I saw this. Why blame him, as the hygene in the ashram kitchen is below poor. One time , unknowingly of course, food was cooked in the water of the sewage pipe that had broken.So people ate toilet food. Needless to say there were illneses reported after that. Ashramites found that funny. All these things happened on the old ashram, I don’t know what the new infrastructure is like.

  10. Melina permalink
    September 10, 2011 2:43 pm

    is Eng An´s blog still avalable? can u post a link to it?

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