General Response to AoL Extremists on This Blog
It seems that over time a number of individuals have surfaced on this blog who I can only term “Art of Living Extremists” since they appear to be trying desperately hard to prevent us from achieving what we have set out to do in this blog, in many cases employing extreme and unpleasant behaviour to achieve this end.
Rather than waste time responding to individual comments, and since the same questions and comments keep coming up over and over again, I thought I’d save us all a great deal of time and effort and collate the various responses which would have been posted to the individual comments here. Many of these things have been covered adequately elsewhere, but it seems that these people are determined to overlook them and choose to see only what they wish to see.
Although a lot of the comments posted by these individuals actually help to support this blog, some comments are just outright spam and don’t serve any purpose whatsoever. As such, from now on anything which falls into this category will simply be deleted.
The Purpose of This Blog
Firstly, to expose the lies, deceit, fraud, corruption, hypocrisy, unethical practices and the various physical, psychological and spiritual abuses in Art of Living.
Secondly, to all those who have been part of Art of Living and who have since left, or to those who are having doubts and who are thinking about leaving, to offer support, encouragement and a place of healing from their experiences.
For a more detailed overview, see: The Purpose of These Blogs
We post anonymously for the following reasons:
- We are genuinely concerned about what Art of Living can do to us if they discover our identities. Swami Sadyojatha’s letter in which he outright names and disgraces an ex-teacher combined with the lawsuit which Art of Living foundation is trying to bring against a number of key bloggers is enough reason for this precaution.
- We do not wish our names to be associated with what we have every reason to believe is a dangerous religious cult.
Calling us Cowards
In response to those of you who call us cowards for posting anonymously, you are actually admitting that if we were to come forward with our real identities then there is indeed something to be afraid of. Think about it.
Criticism versus Negativity/Hatred
Many of you seem to think that we are just pouring out negativity and hatred towards Art of Living, but nothing could be further from the truth. The majority of us have already talked about our positive experiences, and continue to point these things out in spite of your accusations.
Rishiji Nitya Pragya elaborates on the idea of looking at both sides of the coin during his talks, and that is exactly what we are doing in these blogs: considering both the positive and the negative aspects of Art of Living side by side. You can deny theses things to yourselves as long as you like, but deep down inside I suspect that the reason you even visit these blogs in the first place is because you know that they are true yet you are trying desperately hard to convince yourselves otherwise.
Lies and Defamation
Many of you have called us liars and claim that we are defaming SSRS, although as yet you have been unable to point to anything specific that you believe is a lie. Let me tell you right now, the reason this blog carries so much weight and is seen as a such a threat to Art of Living is for the simple reason that it contains so much truth that Art of Living is very scared of its existence and is trying to do everything to silence us.
If we resorted to lies or defamation, we would be exposed soon enough and this would damage the reputation of this blog. However, because of the various truths printed in its pages, and because of the personal experiences which resonate with so many readers, this blog has actually gone from strength to strength and will continue to do so far into the future.
Sudarshan Kriya Download and Notes
To those who have criticized us for posting links to the Sudarshan Kriya download and notes, doing this actually serves the purpose of this blog in the following ways:
- It exposes one of the most fundamental lies told by Art of Living to anyone who has ever taken the Basic Course, and that is that the tape does not work without a teacher present. It also exposes the biggest lie told to those who are about to undertake TTC, that “Guruji’s Grace” is responsible for the positive effects of Kriya. Those who have downloaded the MP3 have verified for themselves that these things are simply not true.
- It then follows that those who still wish to practice Long Kriya can do so without having to travel to and from their local Art of Living center, further freeing them from any bonds they otherwise had to Art of Living, and in some cases saving them costs they would have otherwise incurred in going to a Long Kriya session.
- Although Sudarshan Kriya may have some benefits, too many individuals have reported unpleasant side effects, especially after prolonged practice over a period of several years. The Sudarshan Kriya notes actually contain a number of dangers and precautions when it comes to practicing Kriya, and as such we strongly feel that those who wish to practice Kriya, or those who are considering learning it, need to be informed of these dangers and precautions.
To date, not one person has been able to provide any explanation whatsoever as to why the Kriya tape works with no teacher present.
To date, not one person has been able to explain why Art of Living inform teachers that Guruji’s Grace is responsible for the positive effects of the Kriya, and not the breathing itself, when clearly this has been proven to be a lie.
To date, not one person has been able to provide a satisfactory explanation as to why Art of Living tells participants that the Sudarshan Kriya has only positive effects and no side effects whatsoever, even though a) the SK notes clearly mention the various precautions, and b) Art of Living teachers tell particpants that any negative effects experienced are actually the body “cleansing toxins” and are to be expected.
One of the biggest criticisms on this blog is that whilst course participants are told that after expenses, all money collected from courses goes to charitable projects, SSRS and family control a number of for-profit organizations including Sumeru Realty, Sumeru Solutions and Inwinex pharmaceuticals.
The question that is asked over and over again is simply: where did the money to start these companies come from, if not from the charity money collected from AoL courses, given that the family had no money prior to Art of Living? This question still remains unanswered, and has been completely ignored by anyone associated with Art of Living.
Along similar lines is the question, where did the money for SSRS’s nephews’ education in the US come from?
Both these questions, and any other similar questions relating to money, remain completely unanswered.
Money Collected for Charitable Projects
A common complaint from Art of Living supporters on this blog is that we are criticizing AoL for charging a large sum of money for courses, however since this money is purportedly going to charitable projects we shouldn’t complain.
A large number of accounts on these blogs, including comments made by those who are still associated with AoL, has revealed that in truth many charitable projects are funded directly by one or more individuals as seva, and with no financial help whatsoever from AoL. And in all cases, Art of Living ends up taking the credit for these things, in spite of not providing any support whatsoever.
One of the biggest questions raised on this blog and which is as yet unanswered is: how much money collected from AoL course fees actually goes towards charitable projects?
We know that at least the following expenses are incurred: cost of upkeep of all ashrams , cost of paying full-time teachers (yes, they do get paid contrary to what AoL publicize, that they are volunteers), cost of Sri Sri and family travel (business class on planes, five star hotel accomodation). The underlying issue is that once the money is paid for courses (which indicidentally is done as a “donation”), the donors have no idea where specifically their money goes.
Another question which needs to be asked is: how many charitable projects are actually supported by AoL, and can anyone provide a list? How much money has AoL contributed to these projects, and how much money was raised in the name of charity in the first place?
We have also heard accounts of money which was raised to support a number of full-time teachers but which was never given to them, and as such they had to fend for themselves, often in appalling conditions.
So another question this raises is: AoL claims it teaches free courses, especially in poor parts of India. How many of these courses are actually financed by AoL, and how many are supported from funds raised directly by the teacher and with no support from AoL?
Of the free courses which are taught, how many actually include Sudarshan Kriya?
These are all legitimate questions about facts which charities in general make publicly available. Why doesn’t Art of Living?
Behaviour of AoL Extremists on This Blog
Many of you have been highly abusive, angry, full of hatred, hypocritical, deceitful, fanatical about the organization you are trying to defend, and in short anything but spiritual. This sort of behaviour has led many to believe that Art of Living is full of people like you, and although this reinforces much of what is said in the blog about Art of Living and its followers, it is also completely unfair on all the well-meaning individuals who are actually practicing the knowledge and trying to do good in the world. In short, you are ruining it for all of them and will end up driving them out.
If you wish to live in denial, in complete ignorance of these issues, that is entirely up to you. However, please don’t come here and try to cover up the wrong-doings in Art of Living and to pull the wool over peoples’ eyes. You and everyone else before you who has tried to do this has so far failed, and will continue to do so. In fact, up until now not one person in Art of Living has successfully challenged any of what is written in these blogs, and as such nothing as yet has been refuted.
All the issues in this post and in many other posts throughout this blog still need addressing. I strongly recommend you ask Sri Sri about the things written here, especially the lies we have already exposed about Sudarshan Kriya and the questions pertaining to the money issues mentioned above. When you have answers to these questions, please come back here and post them on this blog, as many of us will be interested to hear what Art of Living has to say about these issues.
But whatever you decide to do, know that it is our duty to expose all the wrong doings in Art of Living and that if you don’t like what you’re reading here, please feel free to leave. No one invited you here and believe me no one will miss you if you do eventually go.
That you choose to come on this blog and abuse people who in some cases have been traumatized by their experiences, and even sexually abused, is beyond reproach. It is indicative of the sickness that seems to stem from the core of the organization and we will do everything we can to expose you and expose those at the core who are responsible for this.