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Refuting “Scientific Research” on Sudarshan Kriya

May 8, 2011

The following excerpt is taken from http://etd.lsu.edu/docs/available/etd-04122005-173708/unrestricted/Shankar_thesis.pdf. Many thanks to Dayalu for bringing this to our attention. It is a fascinating read as it actually reinforces many things covered throughout these blogs, yet it predates their existence by several years (it was published in 2005). In future we hope to publish excerpts from this thesis, and I would strongly recommend that if you have the time to read through the document in its entirety.

It also sheds a whole new light on the purported scientific research which Art of Living claims has been carried out on Sudarshan Kriya, and this again leads us to question the lack of ethics which we are now finding seems to be rampant in the organization.

From Anonymous May 6, 2011 6:32 am:

That is an in interesting read. The author has spoken to the actual guys who conducted the research on SK.
If you see the Aol research site, http://www.aolresearch.org/published_research.html – they used the name of Dr Janakiramaiah, N and all. I heard that name even in some basic courses.
Funny, and here is the extract where the author of the thesis is actually speaking to Dr. Janakiramaiah

There were others from the scientific community especially who did not have many good things to say about the Art of Living. Dr. Janakiramaiah was one person who recognized the marketing behind the spirituality and expressed dissatisfaction with the fact that although the research had been conducted jointly between the Art of Living and NIMHANS, he felt that the research findings had been published much before any valid testing could be done to prove the results were valid. Especially claims like improved areas of function in the brain etc were not done according to the approval of NIMHANS. The preliminary ‘positive’ effects had been observed and then published and used as a validation for the SKY before any actual scientific testing could be done.

He referred specifically to one example and said that in one of the brochures they describe that doing SKY leads to a tingling in your fingers and toes. The brochures claim that this has to do with ultimate brain function and is a result of SKY. “But if anyone keeps breathing like that- essentially they are hyperventilating and flushing their body with oxygen, which is what is going to happen. There is no mystical meaning behind the tingling in their fingers and all that.

Then you have those people who will say that they felt guruji’s presence while doing the SKY and when you ask them why they will say the same thing- that they felt this tingling sensation-Arre if you keep breathing like that then what else will happen. I know these things- they say all this because they are swayed into believing that what is happening to them is spiritual or mystical but it is not. It is a common physiological reaction to hyperventilation. Then they throw in all this science and research that they have done with SKY and all that. One very clever thing they do- they tell you that other than teaching you the SKY method the rest is up to you. They have this subtle way of attributing any changes to you and this goes down very well with the western audience. It is easily accessible also so there are a lot of people who are coming in to do AoL courses.’ By attributing some aspects of the course as appealing to the western audience, Dr. Janakiramaiah is referring to the marketing of the AoL which takes into consideration the different backgrounds of people that it can refer to and then works on that basis.

Many of the conclusions drawn in the above excerpt have already been expressed elsewhere on these blogs, and summarized in the post https://aolfree.wordpress.com/2011/03/05/is-sudarshan-kriya-safe/. In particular note what Dr Janakiramaiah has to say about the effects of Sudarshan Kriya being the same as hyperventilation, and also that participants are made to believe that they are having some sort of spiritual experience whereas in actual fact it is just the known effects of hyperventilation.

However, what is most startling about the above is that it came from one of the key people who Art of Living claims carried out the original research which they say verifies the many benefits SKY purportedly gives its practitioners.

Doesn’t this simply indicate that Art of Living are in fact lying about a great deal of what they claim about Sudarshan Kriya, and that in actual fact there is insufficient scientific evidence to support their claims?

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34 Comments
  1. May 8, 2011 8:15 pm

    It’s very possible that there is insufficient scientific evidence to support their claims *and* they’re lying. Just saying, those possibilities are not mutually exclusive…

  2. observerjr permalink
    May 8, 2011 8:30 pm

    Glad to see this an its own entry. Get ready for lots of AOL spam and more Harshal’s throwing big bags of salt.

    • anonymous permalink
      May 9, 2011 2:13 pm

      @observerjr: are you sure you have the right letters between the ‘s’ and ‘t’ in the last word of your post? 😉

      • Meditator permalink
        May 10, 2011 5:33 am

        🙂

  3. Independent Observer permalink
    May 10, 2011 2:18 am

    All AOL does is drop names. The actual research content is quite unscientific and non detailed.

    Its important for readers to also know how many AOL practitioners have amazing healing experiences.

    Is it the SKY ? Is it the Grace ? Does it happen only with AOL ? Are there other possible explanations ?

    If you see the below Youtube videos you will see that such positive experiences can happen due a wide variety of reasons which AOL will not share with you for 2 reasons

    1. They want to take the whole credit when they have done maybe just 5% of the job.
    2. The AOL teacher/system is clueless about such knowledge themselves

    In the final analysis, all the positive experiences and feelings were already housed within the individual. Every practitioner needs to recognize that. We have all paid all of their dues to AOL for facilitating some of the remembering when the paid a very high course fee. There is simply no need to sell your soul to RaviRavi and be a part of an Multi Level Marketing and Ponzi Scheme called AOL.

    Hmmmmm, at least in the MLM’s you get paid for your effort !!!!

  4. Researcher permalink
    May 10, 2011 4:25 am

    Much of the stuff AOL comes out with are outright lies. I’d written to the Nobel media team about SSRS claims of being a 3-time nominee for the NPP here:

    https://aolfree.wordpress.com/2010/10/05/who-gets-the-nobel-peace-prize/#comment-5602

    Would someone trust a “spiritual” organisation whose “enlightened master” lies outright just to grow their flock?

  5. May 10, 2011 10:06 pm

    From Margaret Singer’s “Cults in Our Midst”, describing Lifton’s Eight Themes of thought reform:

    “#7 Sacred Science: The leader’s wisdom is given a patina of science, adding a credible layer to his central philosophical, psychological, or political notion. He can then profess that the group’s philosophy should be applied to all humankind and that anyone who disagress or has alternative ideas is not only immoral and irreverent but also unscientific.” (1995, p 73)

  6. stupid seeker permalink
    May 11, 2011 3:16 pm

    My mum suffered a cerebral stroke last year, March. The doctors diagnosed her to be severely diabetic at the time of the stroke . She had to be hospitalized for almost a month, but thanks to the care provided by the hospital she pulled through. She is currently on insulin therapy and other antidiabetic/antihypertensive medication and is currently stable.
    People were a little surprised why something like this could happen to someone who was into AOL big time. Over almost 15 years of association with AOL she had given HHSS Ravi Shankar a place among the various Gods and Godessess in her puja room. She had also done almost all the courses offered by AOL one after the another, including three advanced courses in outstation places, the sahaj samadhi meditation course, the padma sadhana course and some others. A very active member of the AOL and a regular practioner of the SKY.
    While not commenting upon the efficacy, or the lack of it, of the SKY, it is clear to me now that the medications she once looked down upon are irreplaceable and are her life support. And whats more, we can get tangible answers to questions regarding, adverse effects, efficacy and so forth of the medications and the treatment/ dietary regimens.The medical doctors do know a bit about these things though they may not be quite so knowledgeable about things like “healing using the consciousness”.
    Interestingly, In an interview with Shobha De, HHSS Ravi Shankarji says, India needs fewer hospitals, because only then people will learn to live life healthily. Somehow the link between fewer hospitals and people living a healthier life escaped me, unless HHSS Ravi Shankarji had an alternate healthcare system in mind. His sister Bhanu didi then goes on to say that some people have reported SKY to be a definite cure for asthma.
    Quite an achievement one might say considering that pharma guys even after years of research and tonnes of investment have yet to do that for a common cold much less asthma or even Cancer and AIDS. Pls. find the link to the interview below for your interest

    • anonymous permalink
      May 11, 2011 3:50 pm

      Sorry to hear about your mother, and hope that she recovers well and lives a good life. SSRS is notorious for giving personal, wrong medical advice. He has many times privately advised people I know, and myself, to not go to a doctor, to do more practices, even that a ‘cure’ was in the works due to affiliation with him. I developed asthma only after some years of SK practice and association with SSRS. Also allergies. He even bragged that an illness I had was because of him, and because I had spoken back to him, and disobeyed him (!) when in fact, it was simply an untreated internal illness which should have been treated by doctors earlier, the very doctors he advised against. I feel badly for your mother and all others who suffer needlessly from all the misinformation given by Art of Living and SSRS. People get sick and need medical attention. Professional medical attention. They should not be told to just take herbs or meditate or pray or breathe when more intensive therapies are needed. Nobody likes to question when they are in Art of Living. If they do question, they either leave, or are put down or called ‘schizophrenic’ or ‘blue star’ or ‘crazy’ or ‘not sufficiently devoted’. Whatever. I left and got a life. I realized that Art of Living was not a life. It is a mental hospital filled with patients, and I just didn’t feel sufficiently crazy to stay. 🙂 I hope that all involved in AOL go out and get a life instead of living Ravi Shankar’s agenda.

      • Prakash permalink
        May 12, 2011 4:30 am

        At a “free” meditation sessions held at University of Maryland, attended mainly by immigrant Indian students, AOL vultures were trying to convince poor students to give up their health insurance and rather take one of their courses as insurance of good health! A good percentage of these students anyway can’t afford a proper health insurance – trying to make both ends meet on meager fellowships – and thus leave themselves to fate. Being away from home they are emotionally vulnerable and easily preyed upon by AOL vultures. OTOH if the ailment happened to SSRS’ mother (may God rest her soul in peace) or high priests of AOL, they do not believe in insurance of good health provided by kriya. They need care at finest private hospitals in Bangalore and elsewhere.

      • freeOne permalink
        May 12, 2011 2:00 pm

        Prakash brings up an interesting point, when it comes to the high priest they take no chances, following “Chronicles of BnD” shows how little they trust their master – they go to the best hospital there is to get cured – obviously SK, SSRS grace are not good enough.

        http://bawandinesh.name/knowledge-from-a-fever/
        http://bawandinesh.name/fever-buddies/

  7. Peaceful Warrior permalink
    May 12, 2011 4:05 pm

    Why such an obsession with Sudarshan Kriya ? Do I really need to do kriya, like I need to brush my teeth ? This is the question we need to ask ourselves – Maybe even try going without it for a month, to see if one really needs it.

    For me kriya was nothing but a crutch. Want good health ? Eat a balanced diet, live a healthy lifestyle, exercise regularly, and spend some time in silence. That is what works for me. It is better to go through some discomfort in the short term, it pushes you to towards where you want to be.

    Feel good techniques won’t work for you if you are not making lifestyle changes, and living with wisdom. And if you are doing that, you may realize that you don’t need to rely on techniques anyway. Don’t listen to kriya marketing – listen to your body, and your heart. As a movement, AOL is targeted towards the beginner, which is why it is stuck in kindergarten and always will. One has to be smart and realize when the time has come to move on.

  8. Harshal permalink
    May 12, 2011 5:59 pm

    Eat a balanced diet, live a healthy lifestyle, exercise regularly, spend some time in silence and ‘help spread rumours on a blog’- This is what works for pw!

    • Peaceful Warrior permalink
      May 12, 2011 6:25 pm

      I leave the spreading rumors, gossiping about people, and playing silly politics, to AOL teachers. Not everyone thinks like you do Harshal.

      I’m asking some tough questions, and pointing out obvious inconsistencies.

      Rumor mongering is when your neighbour shoots a gun in the air to scare away dogs, and you scream to the whole world that an assassination attempt has been made on your life. Maybe it was true after all – the neighbor may have used the word dogs metaphorically.

    • Observer Jr. permalink
      May 12, 2011 6:53 pm

      Ol’ angry, bitter Harshy just can’t bring himself to leave this blog. 😉

      • Observer permalink
        May 13, 2011 3:47 am

        he is most likely in that phase (‘something nagging at the back of my mind’), and cannot stop visting this blog, although under the excuse of ‘throwing salt’ or ‘entertainment’. If only he could ‘expose’ these people to be the Aol rejects, who cannot move on etc. then he can leave. Also, he looks to be a fairly smart/ intelligent person. Such people often find it very hard to accept that they have been in a cult… and will go to great lengths to prove otherwise.

      • Harshal permalink
        May 13, 2011 9:30 am

        The reason why you keep visiting this blog, is that you are not sure if you did the right thing by leaving AOL. Something hits you inside, so visiting this blog is some sort of defence mechanism ,a positive reinforcement to yourself that you did the right thing. However, it still doesn’t convince you and you know that you are on the wrong side of everything that is right.

        If you were completely convinced that AOL is all bad, you would not even care to come here. Just like you wont visit the blogs claiming fake moon landings, or osama conspiracy theories you would just avoid this blog and move on. But you cant and you need to ask yourselves …why.

      • May 13, 2011 2:44 pm

        Harshal,

        You are right about why I visit the blog. I am not sure I am seeing AOL correctly. I have so trained my mind to disbelieve anything negative about SSRS/AOL. I was in denial for years about questionable activities I saw with SSRS/AOL. So it is hard for me to deprogram myself and I find this blog very helpful in that. I find that this blog gives voice to my doubts and fears about AOL and SSRS. This blog allows me to process and consider things differently then when I was with AOL. I don’t see SSRS/AOL as all bad. If I did, it would be easy to just leave it all and forget about it. I don’t think anyone on this blog would say that their time with AOL was all bad. It is a mixture of both good and bad and I for one am trying to find my balance with it all. Why is that hard for you to understand?

      • Observer permalink
        May 14, 2011 4:53 am

        . I don’t see SSRS/AOL as all bad. If I did, it would be easy to just leave it all and forget about it.
        Exactly.people here keep saying this, yet the likes of Harshal often bring up the ‘aol is all bad’ strawman. Sigh.

    • ex-cultie permalink
      May 14, 2011 10:01 am

      Don’t feed the trolls, ignore them and they’ll get bored and leave.

  9. Independent Observer permalink
    May 13, 2011 2:34 am

    A new year.

    Happy Birthday to HHSSRS and best wishes to all of us on this occasion as without this avataar we would have probably not go together in this way and form. Amongst all the adulation that he would be receiving today…..and the celebrations that happen all over the world….it must be tough being him knowing that

    a. All this fame game, money and power is built on untruth and falsehood
    b. Deep within you know that the actions and goodwill of millions of so called devotees is what is making you famous
    c. By naming them as my devotees I now own you (see ! Its just a matter of nomenclature, thats why I name all my senior crime-mates as Rishis and Swamis). In traditional India, it is the father (symbol of authority that nobody questions) that names the child. By naming you, I now become your symbol of authority (Subtle programming)
    d. Well, I could even get you married. That cements my position.
    e. Bless you all. For the sake of the survival of my lifestyle and untarnished power, you all have to continue to sleep…..by dearest Sheeple
    f. To look at every face that comes close to pay tribute and doubt whether they are going to be the next turncoat
    g. To worry if many of the visitors seeking my blessings are prying into the EMPIRE

    Would I trade places with him……???? This question is not even worth pondering.

    I like sleeping when I feel like it. I dont have to look behind my back to see who is going to stab me. This freedom and peace is mine. Why give this up ?. I have understood and realised the true meaning of freedom and slavery.

    I cannot imagine HHSSRS ever being able to drop what he is doing today and simply relax. He is stuck in the quagmire of what he has created. If you are a real and true HHSSRS devotee and truly love him…..then set him free him from this bondage of having to be your Guru. (trust me its a definite burden to have the Harshy’s hanging around you all the time) …..or do you believe that you cannot let go of your Guru because you desperately need him to BE THERE FOR YOU otherwise you feel LOST and empty …..in which case its time to wakeup and realise who the ultimate parasite is. You DO very much deserve what you have.

  10. zhoro permalink
    May 13, 2011 2:05 pm

    “If you were completely convinced that AOL is all bad, you would not even care to come here. Just like you wont visit the blogs claiming fake moon landings, or osama conspiracy theories you would just avoid this blog and move on. But you cant and you need to ask yourselves …why.”

    Harshy, the logic of the above ‘argument’ is beyond repair.

    • Harshal permalink
      May 15, 2011 1:36 pm

      “the logic of the above ‘argument’ is beyond repair”

      Expecting that you will not have any physical ailment in your life(like for example back pain and surgery) if you are doing padma-sadhana portends a logic which is much more beyond repair.

      Expecting that a world wide organization will run by “my perception of what the track should be” because “I have nothing else to go by but my perception” portends a logic which is even more beyond repairs.

      Saying these two things in one sentence “I am grateful for my experiences with the organization in the last few years, but I cannot sincerely invite people I care about into it in the future” portends a logic which is much more beyond repair.

      what are you STILL doing here zhoro? I am having some fun? You?

  11. Independent Observer permalink
    May 14, 2011 2:45 am

    Wow…..look at the number of people that actually write back to Harshy !!!! Very Interesting …..

    1. What makes us write back to Harshy ?…..What are the drivers ? Is it Ego (I gotta be right as Harshy has to be wrong ?). Oh its just a simple unthinking retaliation.
    2. A Habit….An automatic unthinking reaction….Somebody hits me, I hurt, I hit back…A unseen motive and drive to win an intellectual debate ? So some sort of Karma / entanglement ??? If so with what ? Need to Kick back / Attachment to current Belief system / Dislike Being challenged ?…..Any of the possible zillions of reasons…
    3. Or…..is that specific time and day it is driven by Compassion……we truly care for that lost mind called Harshy we we reach out !!!! Hey in that case this is called BLOG-Bonding. BLOG+Bond=BLOND !!! What an apt word BLONDING !!!!
    4. Harshy shows me back to me. I remember how I used to be sometime back when I was stuck in AOL. And therefore, I am able to see how I have changed (grown !). Hence another reenforcement of what works for me NOW. This is good for us…..as the healing is now stronger. Thank you Harshy for the Healing. There isn’t anything called dark….its only absence of Light !!!! Hence if Harshy goes away from the BLOG will there be absence of Harshness ? HH may also stand for his Harshness

    BLONDING is good

    • Peaceful Warrior permalink
      May 14, 2011 8:15 am

      You are analyzing it too much…I think is human nature to not take insults lying down. Obviously he is a troll, and some of us take the bait from time to time.

    • Observer permalink
      May 14, 2011 12:42 pm

      How about this – some of us were in the same position like Harshal at one time – and we think we understand what he is going through. I know of many ex-aolites who would at one point, argue and rationalize out all the (now obvious) signs of the deep rot within Aol. They would sound very similar to Harshal – only difference being, there wasnt a blog to post their comments then.

    • Harshal permalink
      May 15, 2011 1:46 pm

      And therefore, I am able to see how I have changed (grown !)

      No. You are exactly the same. No change has happened in you. You were stupid then and you are stupid now. You are trying to understand why people write back. You seem to think that there is a purpose to everything, especially to what you are doing. And you are so lost. You are speculating! You will continue to do so. You will not grow up until you realize that your life is as purposeless as that of the mosquitoes which bite you and inadvertently get killed once in a while.

      • May 15, 2011 9:54 pm

        Please.

        Look at yourself. Listen to yourself.

        Please.

      • Dev D permalink
        May 16, 2011 2:32 am

        The lesson on purposelessness is something AOL people need badly. They exploit this search for purpose and meaning in people to the hilt. Make some token photo op charity while they swallow all the money.

      • Frustrated Aol Teacher permalink
        May 16, 2011 2:36 am

        Harshal just like other AOL teachers I was also so frustrated about this blog. You are unnecessarily getting worked up. AOL could not shut down this blog doesnt mean that it is end of the world. Sometimes you should accept defeat and surrender. Now I have accepted that people can have alternative view points.

  12. Peaceful Warrior permalink
    May 16, 2011 2:55 am

    Looks like AOL is finally starting to change. I hope hardcore devotees realize that truth is not the same as AOL dogma, and the real truth shines much much brighter than the personality of SSRS.
    Despite all the “knowledge” your heart knows this – it will keep nagging you till you see it for yourself.

    A teacher wants his students to surpass him. Not to be addicted to the glow of his/her personality – but see truth for themselves. The buddhists have a koan for this – “If you see buddha in your dream; Kill him!”

  13. Independent Observer permalink
    May 18, 2011 11:47 am

    In a recently released Love Moves the world Video version the “Graduated in Advanced Sciences and Vedic Studies” has changed to Bachelors degree in Physics (not even Advanced Physics). I am told that this video was made in Europe.

    I am not sure of the exact wordings used….can anybody verify ?.

    Guys…things are actually changing……for better…..we are starting to become truthful now……

    Someday, the compassionate Master will see his old teachers coming back ???

    • anonymous permalink
      May 18, 2011 12:08 pm

      His classmates told me he flunked out of high school. He told me he left high school to follow Maharishi Mahesh Yogi at 17 and never went back and never got a degree. Was he lying then or is he lying now? Are his old classmates all liars? How weird.

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