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Art of Living is a business – So what’s the big deal?

July 11, 2011

The following comment was recently left on one of the posts and I thought that as it raises some good questions about a number of criticisms raised across these blogs, the comment should be made into its own post, with my responses afterwards.

by Spiritual Seeker

1. AOL is a business in the guise of spirtuality
2. A lot of people in this business are hypocritical- they do not practise what they preach and they have one rule for themselves and one for others
3. There is no fair, ethical and moral treatment of those in AOL and of those outside of AOL/potential new comers
4. Some or many of those who are associated with AOL become financially, phyisically, emotionally and psychologically destroyed

So what is the big deal?

If a mutinational business does this and survives 10-20-50 years and there are tons of such institutions which practise the above in real world and have managed to survive longer, the world has no problem with it but why do we want a spiritual organisation to be above board? Why- the samehypocritical people from real world populate the spiritual organisation as well- It is not that because they join a spiritual organisation they will behave like saints instantly

AOL is a mirror reflection of outside world. If you see corruption, bureaucracy, nepotism, hypocricy, immorality in real world you will see it in AOL as well. Just that you have reprogrammed yourself immediately after first day part 1 course- to expect AOL to be better than the world outside. The problem is your expectation. Expect AOL and its people to be no more than the self centred, politiking, hypocrites of the corporate world- you will have no problem

Yet a lot of schools are set up, a lot benefit from water and other projects, there is a lot of good work done. See it as a business imperfectly run without morals and ethics for a good cause. There will be acceptance and peace. Accept AOL as it is !

AOl is a cult- Again what is the big deal if it a cult? Our problem is that many in AOL behave like in a cult yet they do want to call it so- What is the big deal- this is another form of hypocricy

The end justifies the means. This is the gross reality of nature and existence in this material universe. So long as the end benefits the world more than imperfect means with which the end is achieved, nature and existence will support it. Bin Laden was supported by the world for 3-4 decades- when nature saw the means could not support the end it finished him. US and navy seals were only an instrument!

Can we view AOL as a spiritual organisation and SSRS as a spiritual master. In spirtuality there is no right or wrong, there is no good or bad there is no polarities. You just see one common fabric of existence. Appliances may be many -some dysfunctional some functioning exceptionally well yet electricity is one. There is no airconditioning electricity or amplifying electricity. All electricity are the same. All Creation is one. Bin Laden, SSRS, Krishna, you me are one- this is spirtuality

Each cult has some benefits to offer. Each cult works for a greater common good as its end. the means adopted may vary and because it is a cult is always imperfect. The day when the means cannot justify the end- Nature, Existence or God whatever you call it will end it. AOL will be finished and some other cult will rise. Bin laden is finished- does that mean it is the end of terrorism. Bin Laden represents a cause. AOL represents a cause. SSRS represents a cause. True AOL followers are those who represent the guru’s cause and there are many such good people in AOL. The rest are rotten apples- so what they are also evolving in their own way. Bin laden has evolved . These AOL rotten apples will also evolve

Dear AOL bashers- Accept this reality and move on. This is how Nature, Existence or God functions in this imperfect world. Take the best out of AOL and move on. As to its imperfections leave it laws of nature and God who will take care of it

There has been and is and willnever be a perfect spiritual organisation. AOL is not perfect. Do not worry about its imperfections. The world is not perfect. Even our extreme selflessness in our behaviour produces only selfish results. If this is how Universe and Existence has been designed by God, let us accept and comply

Selfishly take the best out of AOL and move on

Jaigurudev!

My response:

1. AOL is a business in the guise of spirtuality

This issue is at the core of much of the criticism. A multinational business makes no pretense about being a spiritual organization, whereas Art of Living makes every effort to convince people that it is both a spiritual organization and a charity. If it were to admit that it is actually a business, then this would go a long way to addressing many of the criticisms voiced in these blogs and elsewhere.

2. A lot of people in this business are hypocritical- they do not practise what they preach and they have one rule for themselves and one for others

This doesn’t readily lend itself to businesses. The hypocrisy in AoL stems from those who run the organization preaching a set of values which they themselves do not follow, whereas multinationals generally aren’t in the business of preaching. One cannot make an analogy here.

3. There is no fair, ethical and moral treatment of those in AOL and of those outside of AOL/potential new comers

This is a sweeping statement. Can you elaborate a little more?

4. Some or many of those who are associated with AOL become financially, phyisically, emotionally and psychologically destroyed

This generally does NOT happen with employees of multinationals, although there are a few exceptions such as those who are made redundant. If anything, people gain financially from corporations, or they wouldn’t work for them in the first place. As for physical and emotional damage, again I would say the majority walk away from companies relatively unscathed.

If a mutinational business does this and survives 10-20-50 years […] the world has no problem with it but why do we want a spiritual organisation to be above board? Why- the samehypocritical people from real world populate the spiritual organisation as well- It is not that because they join a spiritual organisation they will behave like saints instantly

We want ALL organizations to be above board, not just spiritual ones. Just because an organization claims to be spiritual, it shouldn’t be excluded from the rules and regulations that organizations have to submit to. Also our experience here is with AoL. If we had uncovered these same issues with any other organization, we would feel duty-bound to report them instead.

AOL is a mirror reflection of outside world. If you see corruption, bureaucracy, nepotism, hypocricy, immorality in real world you will see it in AOL as well. Just that you have reprogrammed yourself immediately after first day part 1 course- to expect AOL to be better than the world outside. The problem is your expectation. Expect AOL and its people to be no more than the self centred, politiking, hypocrites of the corporate world- you will have no problem

Most of us are willing to accept that AoL will have exactly the same problems as any other organization. The issue is not that we are naïve to believe it doesn’t have these problems, it’s that AoL goes out of its way to deny that a lot of these things are happening and tries to paint a picture that everything is roses. Further, if anyone raises any grievances they have with AoL, whether people still in the organization or who have since left, rather than handling them in any appropriate way, the individual(s) making the complaints are labeled negative, low prana, mentally unstable and various other things. In other words, there is no forum within AoL for expressing issues and doubts one may have. Most businesses, on the other hand, have procedures in place for dealing with issues, and some even have human resources departments dedicated to this sort of thing. If in AoL people’s complaints were actually listened to and handled appropriately, then this would be another step closer to addressing a number of criticisms we have made.

Yet a lot of schools are set up, a lot benefit from water and other projects, there is a lot of good work done. See it as a business imperfectly run without morals and ethics for a good cause. There will be acceptance and peace. Accept AOL as it is !

I agree, there is a lot of good work done by AoL and many do indeed benefit. This has never been the subject of any criticism, though. Rather, we would really like to know, how much good work has actually been done by AoL, and most importantly how much of the money collected in the name of charity has actually been spent on humanitarian projects? This is still very much a mystery, since AoL’s accounts in India haven’t, at least to the best of our knowledge, been audited. This is a problem for anyone who gives money to AoL in good faith that it will be spent on service projects as most of us here have done.

And just because an organization does good work, it doesn’t mean that it shouldn’t be criticized for any wrong it is doing.

AOl is a cult- Again what is the big deal if it a cult? Our problem is that many in AOL behave like in a cult yet they do want to call it so- What is the big deal- this is another form of hypocricy

It isn’t so much whether it is a cult or not, rather what aspects of its being a cult are likely to cause issues, especially for its members? Note that in this aspect AoL differs radically from traditional businesses. Most businesses do not have a leader who everyone worships as God (I said “most” for a reason here, because yes there are a few exceptions to this!), and most do not convince their employees to go out and recruit as many people to work for the business. Also, businesses pay their employees a salary in return for services rendered, whereas in AoL unless you are a full-time teacher you don’t receive any money from the organization and you give your services for free, or in return for “bad karma” being removed.

The end justifies the means. This is the gross reality of nature and existence in this material universe. So long as the end benefits the world more than imperfect means with which the end is achieved, nature and existence will support it.

This is very subjective, and as such I would have to disagree with you here based on everything I have seen. However, as always I will leave it to the reader to make up their own minds about this based on all the information available.

Bin Laden was supported by the world for 3-4 decades- when nature saw the means could not support the end it finished him. US and navy seals were only an instrument!

Supported by “the World” – are you absolutely sure about that?! If, as you say, nature was responsible for employing US navy seals to finish him off, how do you know that nature isn’t employing this blog to expose AoL, and that those behind this blog aren’t also simply instruments? 😉

Each cult works for a greater common good as its end. the means adopted may vary and because it is a cult is always imperfect.

I don’t agree with this statement at all. Evidence has shown that most cults work for the good of its leader or the group in control of the cult. Cults do however portray an image that they are doing at least some work for the common good, and while most do at least some good  they generally tend to exaggerate exactly how much.

AOL represents a cause. SSRS represents a cause. True AOL followers are those who represent the guru’s cause and there are many such good people in AOL. The rest are rotten apples- so what they are also evolving in their own way. Bin laden has evolved . These AOL rotten apples will also evolve

What exactly do you think “the guru’s cause” is here? There are certainly many good people in AoL who are doing good work around the world, but is this the same as “the guru’s cause”? It seems as if the “AOL rotten apples” are at the center of and hence running affairs in AoL.

Dear AOL bashers- Accept this reality and move on. This is how Nature, Existence or God functions in this imperfect world. Take the best out of AOL and move on. As to its imperfections leave it laws of nature and God who will take care of it

We have accepted AoL as it is, and we have moved on. That’s why we’re here, in fact, otherwise we’d still be in AoL and you wouldn’t hear from us at all 😉 But joking aside, you can accept something and still warn people about the experiences you had with it. I will be the first to put my hand up and tell people I had mostly good experiences, however it doesn’t mean to say I should turn a blind eye to all the questionable  things that are clearly going on in AoL, especially if I am aware of them. I, like most others, feel obliged to reveal everything we know about AoL, both good and bad, if it will help people make a more informed decision as to whether or not to associate with AoL in any way.

It’s a free world and just as we’re free to post our experiences here on this blog, visitor’s are free to choose whether or not to read and accept these things. Maybe some day someone who is in a position to make a difference in Art of Living will even realize that it’s better to take on board these criticisms and start doing whatever they can to ameliorate the situation than to continue with the status quo. Over time I’ve lost all faith that this will ever happen, however if it did then there may be still be some hope left for Art of Living  …

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39 Comments
  1. Jr. permalink
    July 11, 2011 9:26 pm

    “you can accept something and still warn people about the experiences you had with it.”

    Exactly.

    Just another AOL clone who wants this blog to go away. The real problem for AOL is this blog going away won’t accomplish anything. More blogs will come in the future.

    The truth won’t be silenced.

  2. Dayalu permalink
    July 12, 2011 1:23 am

    Wow! This guy is comical

  3. Independent Observer permalink
    July 12, 2011 7:15 am

    Accept AOL as it is !!!! Yeah Sure !!!

    You figured out that your child is a drug addict. You accept them as they are and do nothing…..just close your eyes and it will go away ???? . Is this what the respondent wants everybody to do ?????

    The very logic is absurd. By his/her own statement they say that there is exploitation, politics, corruption…..

    What would you do if you found your child was an addict…..anything you can to help them out of this potentially disastrous habit …right ?

    So why isn’t this happening with our Spiritual Seeker ?. He or she should do whatever they can to stem the negative practices. This means living your life with integrity……saying what you think and doing what you say. That takes courage and self awareness and the knowing that the Guru cant curse you or ever harm you if you are living the dharmic path. This means a deep sense of identification with the truth and with your own personal dharma (in whatever form it be….non-violence, non-exploitation…..whatever).

    The possible explanation is that he/she does not feel any real closeness to the organisation except that it has some misc benefits, ….he/she is using the system for their own personal agenda. As the entire tone of the message suggests its a business benefit. All networking, the business leads….and so on.

    Doc, you patience for even engaging with this respondent is amazing.

  4. Harshal permalink
    July 12, 2011 9:26 am

    “Doc, you patience for even engaging with this respondent is amazing”

    Its not patience. Its just lots of free time..old age, nothing to do…

    • anonymous permalink
      July 12, 2011 12:01 pm

      The poster said: “Can we view AOL as a spiritual organisation and SSRS as a spiritual master. In spirtuality there is no right or wrong, there is no good or bad there is no polarities. You just see one common fabric of existence. Appliances may be many -some dysfunctional some functioning exceptionally well yet electricity is one. There is no airconditioning electricity or amplifying electricity. All electricity are the same. All Creation is one. Bin Laden, SSRS, Krishna, you me are one- this is spirtuality”

      This is true when one reaches a particular level of being. Approaching this from the non-dualist angle, in this case, even goes against your own Guru’s teachings (which he borrowed from a Zen story)

      SSRS used to tell a story about a Zen practioner who smoked cigarettes. Feeling that the teaching was “everything is one”, that person went into the temple where there was a Buddha statue and flicked ashes from his cigarette onto the statue. His master came in and said “what are you doing??” The student told him “all is one, so it doesn’t matter where I flick these ashes”. The Master corrected him and said “But holy is still holy. Stop that at once.”

      So, according to your own master, Ravi Shankar, you cannot simply treat wrong actions as right actions. There are plenty of ‘wrong’ actions in Art of Living and done on the part of your master, that they can be addressed and questioned. A better question than yours: Why can’t I just accept AOL as it is?” Is why Ravi Shankar cannot accept this little blog and leave the blogmasters alone? Heis apparently suing them for something. He just cannot stand to be contradicted. This was my experience of him in person, and I see it exists even today. Too bad. Why can’t he accept differences of opinion on how he runs his business? Why can’t you accept that this blog is fine as it is? Because you perceive some evil in it and want to correct it, I assume……

      When actions damage the earth and people on the earth, it is the duty of those who know about it to do something.

      A great Master, Amritanandamayi Devi said that if a man sees a wrong being done and does or says nothing about it, there is a special place reserved in hell for that person 9who doesn’t speak up)..

    • Anonymous permalink
      July 12, 2011 3:47 pm

      And what prompts you Harshy? When you make useless posts, it is for entertainment, when some one else post something straight forward, that is because of their old age?

      You are an awesome dude Harshy 🙂

      • harshal permalink
        July 12, 2011 6:28 pm

        if you havent noticed, i dont write essays like these good for nothing old farts. Just a few lines. I think AOL is doing a great job by giving them something to do. I wonder if AOL didnt exist what would they blog about and how would they spend thier enourmous free time.

      • Jr. permalink
        July 12, 2011 9:15 pm

        Still hating your life Harshy?

  5. Peaceful Warrior permalink
    July 12, 2011 2:51 pm

    “Accept this reality and move on.”

    That is the whole point of this blog – to give people a dose of reality, and open their eyes from AOL brainwashing. Once they have a complete picture of the organization and it’s spirituality – they can make their own decisions. Unfortunately, many don’t get to see this face of the organization till much later, and get trapped in the vortex and sometimes it is too late to go back.

    • anonymous permalink
      July 13, 2011 3:37 pm

      You are right, Harshal. You don’t write essays, nor anything at all meaningful — just crudely worded insults directed towards anyone you suppose is older than you are, younger than you are, more or less educated than you are, or female, or just doesn’t like your Big Brother, Ravi Shankar. Basically, you don’t seem to like anyone who is not you! LOL I cannot figure out why you continue to come here except that you are horribly frustrated and want to vent somewhere, and are not allowed to in Art of Living. If you said anything like the ugly posts you print here in AOL, you’d be told to leave because you are “negative”. So vent on Harshie. Your venting proves the point of this blog: that Art of Living creates ugliness and bigotry wherever it goes. You are living proof.

  6. Anonymous permalink
    July 12, 2011 3:58 pm

    “Just that you have reprogrammed yourself immediately after first day part 1 course- to expect AOL to be better than the world outside. The problem is your expectation”.

    The problem is the expectation set by AOL co. and marketing. You can’t sell water as perfume and then get away by saying the problem is with the customer expectation. Any corporate will get sued for that, but more importantly – that is not ethical at all.

    I don’t think AOL will endorse that above post, or if they do, they should include this as a disclaimer in all their products and offerings 🙂

  7. ex-cultie permalink
    July 12, 2011 4:57 pm

    Another AOL apologist. “Bin Laden has evolved”, indeed. He was shot dead, got his brain blown clean off. If AOL calls that “evolved”, I truly don’t want to be anywhere near them 🙂
    Move on – this is the best advice. However, for that, people need to get their heads out of the brainwashing and guru cult-of-personality worship they’ve been subjected to.

  8. You am I permalink
    July 12, 2011 5:21 pm

    Great dissection there!

    It’s high time that multinational soul harvesters be made as transparent and accountable as other MNCs.Also, if a spiritual organization patents its teachings and content and makes you sign a NDA then there should be no tax exemption for a such an organization IMHO

    • stupidseeker permalink
      July 13, 2011 11:27 am

      @ You Am i
      And which spiritual tradition has not patented its teachings ??? Any inputs on that.

      • You am I permalink
        July 15, 2011 7:04 am

        is Patanjali Yoga Sutras patented? is asthavakra, avadhoot, rama git patented? is hatja yoga patented? are chandogya, brihardaranyaka,mundaka, isa, mandukya upanishads patented?

        these are dedicated to all humanity.It’s another matter if some idiots patent a plagiarized mildly deviant product out of these…this is happening all over the world. Hanging yoga, mat yoga , matless yoga, sk, all the books on “the here and now” , “non-duality” etc. – what are these if not the productivity of freely available knowledge

      • You am I permalink
        July 15, 2011 7:05 am

        *productifying

  9. anonymous permalink
    July 14, 2011 10:37 am

    I LOVE LOVE LOVE doing my practices. Kriya and meditation. I love the knowledge from Ashtravakra and the books. It’s genuinely changed my life. And I’ve seen them positively change other people’s lives.

    BUT,

    There are many problems with this organization, and ultimately, those problems are the problem of the leaders. Someone has to take responsibility for them.

  10. anon permalink
    July 15, 2011 2:43 am

    AOL Business – A Curse on humanity

    OWNERSHIP

    AOL is the business of SSRS wherein estate of his Late father, sister, brother-in-law and lately sister’s two sons are the beneficial owners.

    PRODUCT

    Product blueprint is mainly stolen from his previous employer i.e. MMY

    Spiritual raw material is lifted from Hindu scriptures and talks of other spiritual leaders including OSHO.

    Spirituality and charitable aims (not actual charity) are the raw materials which are mixed with religious dope and repackaged.

    Both Capital and Labour are provided by the volunteers.

    There is no quality control process, however fake and non-genuine research is often claimed.

    PLACE

    The manufacturing plant is called ‘Ashram’ and every volunteer is invited to learn the process on payment basis.

    Community halls, temples, church halls and education institutions are taken on free or subsidised hire to prepare and distribute product.

    PRICE

    The term price is not used in selling the product.

    A compulsory donation is demanded and receipt is issued reluctantly.

    All the sales proceeds are routed mostly to India and Switzerland.

    In India the money is kept in form of cash, gold and property at the disposal of AOL beneficiaries only (not is SSRS name).

    In Switzerland the money is kept in numbered accounts maintained by both SSRS and other beneficiaries.

    PROMOTION (MARKETING)

    The product is sold using a multi level marketing network where the upper network is taken care of, middle network is given peanuts and lower network gets nothing.

    Few mega channel leaders in this multi level marketing chain are also appointed e.g. Krishnaji (yoga line), Mahesh Giri (MLM expertise), Bawa (youth buyers), Vikram (Music), Nitin (Gujarat).

    The lower network is made up of teachers and volunteers.

    They are given product samples (tape/CD/DVD/live webcast) to use. They bring unsuspecting people to their RAVE (called satsang) parties and provide free doses of dope and food (prasad).

    Once the new group is hooked they become good for nothing else and work as unpaid slaves as part of lower network.

  11. exaolteacher permalink
    July 15, 2011 7:40 am

    harshal can not stop posting his crooked comments here. As i come to from my sources with in AOL, harsal circle of influence has increased in AOL just by posting his pathetic comments on his blog . the posts are now a source of identity for harsal.

    • Jr. permalink
      July 15, 2011 1:21 pm

      Harshal has dodged every important question asked at him. He never even has explained why he thinks it’s “entertainment” to insult others or laugh at their pain. I would like to see him be forced to answer some basic questions we’ve all asked him, or remove all his future posts until he does this. He’s had enough time to ask his own questions, but he never addresses our own.

      • Harshal permalink
        July 15, 2011 2:38 pm

        @Jr.: Which basic questions? name a few, I will answer..

      • Jr. permalink
        July 15, 2011 3:20 pm

        Ok Harsh, here’s a few…

        1. Why do you continue to continue to post insults when you know it accomplishes nothing and is not a quality of a sincere spiritual person?

        2. Would Sri Sri support your comments on this blog? Doesn’t it go against his teachings?

        3. Why do you continue to post comments accusing this blog of attacking AOL, claiming everyone here is stating it’s ‘all bad’ when in reality, we have stated dozens of times that it’s not all good or all bad?

        4. How can you be prove that there are no negative effects from practicing kriya?

        Awaiting your answers (not holding my breath, as you always dodge questions).

    • anonymous permalink
      July 15, 2011 2:49 pm

      That’s interesting, exaolteacher — but it doesn’t surprise. When I was in AOL it was not unusual to see praise heaped on people who were insulting, rude, arrogant, and just plain liars, if it suited SSRS. Why should it be different for Harshal? He’s making himself a name with SSRS by being crude and insulting. I actually have wondered if he is sitting with SSRS himself before posting, as the tone of many of his comments is so exactly the same as the tone I saw many times come out of the “master’s” mouth, when he was feeling sarcastic and mean.

      • Harshal permalink
        July 15, 2011 3:15 pm

        ” as the tone of many of his comments is so exactly the same”- no what is same is your dirty mind. It will only see dirt.

  12. stupidseeker permalink
    July 15, 2011 7:51 am

    @ You Am I,

    Then are the other religious texts like the bible and koran and talmud and guru granth sahib patented ?? Are they also not for the whole of humanity ???

    • You am I permalink
      July 15, 2011 8:16 am

      @stupidseeker

      i knew this was coming 😉

      apart from Guru Granth Sahab , the other two texts have less spirituality and more dogma. nothing of spiritual value can be derived from Holy (is it ignoble?) Bible or Noble (is it unHoly?) Quran IMHO.

      Abrahmic texts are meant to maintain a divide in humanity – the followers get the passes to heaven and the non-followers would definitely go to hell.This is natural animal behavior – form a group and attack and conquer the “other” – If you insist, i can say that this kind of doctrine can at best be called primate spirituality 😦

      even if you patent the abrahmic books ..how will you charge the monkeys ?

    • anonymous permalink
      July 16, 2011 12:01 pm

      LOL! @ Harshal! And that is exactly what SSRS used to say: if we observed anything and objected to it, it was the result of our “dirty mind”. Are you sure we are not speaking directly with SSRS? Or perhaps one of his many white clothed clones? LOL I can’t believe how you sound like some propaganda spouting follower with no brain left. His work is done. You are his.

  13. stupidseeker permalink
    July 15, 2011 9:29 am

    @ You Am I,

    And now you as a Hindu, a member of that “great” faith that preaches that all religions are but different ways to reach the same truth, has now divided the world into hindu and non hindu.
    You are now acknowledging that the Abrahamic religions lead not to truth but to darkness,in contrast to what your religion purports. Therefore in terms of secularism you have proved your faith no less adept than the abrahamic faiths in dividing people on the basis of religion.

    • You am I permalink
      July 15, 2011 3:11 pm

      @stupidseeker

      if i see a thief ..and shout “look there’s a thief” ..does that make me a thief?

      the rational answer is NO ..but the pastor’s answer is yes!

      • anonymous permalink
        July 15, 2011 3:13 pm

        Snore — do either of you now know or have you ever known Ravi Shankar? Is this blog about your views on hinduism and christianity or about Art of Living, and people’s experiences with them? I don’t remember that it’s about any particular religion……What happened?

      • You am I permalink
        July 16, 2011 5:28 am

        @anonymous

        I didn’t initiate the digressive dialogue. You can corroborate this from my posts prior to pastor @stupidseeker’s appearance in his irrational evangelical avatar.

        Please appreciate my indulgence as an effort to stop such people from hijacking the blog and making it an anti-hindu or anti-east playground.In my personal opinion, Manu Joseph’s adolescent article was the trigger.

        I have made my position on AOL clear.I see that the Truth lies in-between.While this blog asserts that AOL may have been involved in some secular peccadillos , i find it strange that some people are using it as a stick to beat eastern spirituality.This despite the acknowledgement by the blog owner that the spiritual benefits cannot be denied.

        having said that, i am in sync with @Doctor that abetting “customers” to become “disciples” is unethical – both secularly and spiritually.In eastern spiritual tradition , it’s the Guru who yearns for a true disciple and not otherwise, for if a Guru cannot find one, he dies in debt of not having fulfilled the promise to his own Guru of passing on the knowledge to the next generation.

  14. Anonymous permalink
    July 15, 2011 8:16 pm

    Get back to posting Aol comments. these religious views are irrelevant to this blog. What’s happening to Ravi now that Berlin fest is over? has that boosted sales for aol? and wish we could have so more comments from people who attended the fest. also did ravi commmit to rain not happening that day?

  15. stupidseeker permalink
    July 16, 2011 4:27 am

    @Anonymous,
    Snore — do either of you now know or have you ever known Ravi Shankar? Is this blog about your views on hinduism and christianity or about Art of Living, and people’s experiences with them? I don’t remember that it’s about any particular religion……What happened?

    This blog is about the skeptical mind confronting the believing mind, is it not.If you critique AOL and HHSSRS, then you also critique Eastern philosophy in its various forms and its various tenets.This is not so obvious at first, because these eastern philosophies project themselves as secular and universal and non sectarian, even while trying to win “converts” in the west,to their philosophies and ways of thinking.
    So,for example, when you say the Sudarshan Kriya doesnt work for some people,you are actually saying that maybe yogic kriyas have some limitation.Then by extension we could say that the eastern philosophies, which have birthed these kriyas, have limitations themselves.Hope Ive managed to make myself clear.

    Regards
    SS

    • anonymous permalink
      July 16, 2011 11:59 am

      My comments have never been about any religion at all, only about my particular associations with Ravi Shankar and his organization. I have seen only a few comments that would lead me to suspect that people who have left AOL are anti-Hindu. I have seen posts that look like some who have left are anti-anything remotely resembling religion, because they, perhaps, mistook AOL and Ravi Shankar as representatives of Hinduism. I never made that mistake, personally. He, for me, is not a representative of Hinduism, only of self-serving behaviors. Having known him well, I view him as a “wanna be” in the world of real Hindu saints and real Hindu scriptures, which I love. Just because a man hosts large pujas doesn’t make him a reprentative of Hinduism. I feel that your comments and those of your ‘opponent’ on this blog have nothing to do with Art of Living, the problems caused by it and it’s leader. And those problems are many. Because the name of the blog is AOLfreee, I assumed it was intended for people to post their experiences with this group and it’s master. You clearly see it as something else.

      • stupidseeker permalink
        July 17, 2011 5:52 am

        @anonymous

        try telling ravishankar and his devotees, that they are not representatives of hinduism. And not all who call themselves Hindu will be free of self centredness.HHSSRS occupies a very important place amongst the hindu clergy in Indian society today. Your opinion of his not being representative of hindus will be met with downright derision amongst mainstream hindu society. And just for our benefit can you name some of those “real saints” you met and loved.

  16. stupidseeker permalink
    July 17, 2011 5:46 am

    You am I permalink
    July 16, 2011 5:28 am
    @anonymous

    I didn’t initiate the digressive dialogue…………………….Please appreciate my indulgence as an effort to stop such people from hijacking the blog and making it an anti-hindu or anti-east playground

    Christianity and islam and Judaism, those abrahamic religions that have divided the world into believer and unbeliever,that seek converts by using persuasion and physical force, are also eastern religions.

    • Anonymous permalink
      July 17, 2011 9:26 am

      You got that right. They are certainly not European or from the Americas.

    • Anonymous permalink
      July 17, 2011 9:30 am

      And Hinduism has been openly at war with two of them (Islam and Christianity) for some time.

  17. Eyes opened permalink
    August 1, 2011 7:41 pm

    —————————————————-

    NAVRATRI 2011:

    Ashram – The word itself gives a pleasant feeling and brings a smile on our face. If one gets the chance to be in this most beautiful and sacred place on the Earth what else one can ask for! And if it is on the special occasion of NAVRATRI, then no one would like to miss the chance to be part of the vibrant and sacred vedic chants, when our beloved GURUJI himself goes in silence for those 9 days.

    From many years, we have been celebrating this beautiful festival of NAVARATRI. The Ashram hosts thousands of devotees from India and around the world, who come to be part of this special and sacred event. The event is managed with the help of the hundreds of volunteers who come every year from different parts of India especially for “Navratri Seva”.

    Navratri is a great opportunity for all those who wish to do Seva in the Ashram. The atmosphere is charged with devotion and festivity, and is incomparable to anything, anywhere else, just to be here is a blessing. The opportunity to do Seva during Navratri is even more special. Every year Sevaks recount the amazing experiences they have doing Seva at the Ashram during Navratri, which probably explains the reason why many Sevaks come year after year specially for Seva.

    Guruji says “Seva brings merit; merit allows you to go deep in meditation and meditation brings back your smile”.

    We would like to welcome all Sevaks to serve and enjoy this great festival.

    When applying for the Navaratri Seva, please keep the following in mind:
    The duration for which Sevaks are invited is from 17th September to 12th October, 2011.
    Sevak must have done Part-2/AMC/YES++ OR DSN course (Mandatory).
    The Ashram is looking for committed, mentally & physically strong volunteers.
    The Seva is really demanding, sometimes you might have to miss Satsang or Homa (Puja) because of Seva. Also during your seva period, you can not attend any courses happening in the Ashram.
    Seva will be alloted at the discretion of the Ashram HR.
    Sevaks are required to wear traditional attire during their stay in the Ashram.
    We are also looking for Doctors (General practitioners)
    Committed volunteers, who have prior experience of coordinating major Art of Living events (like Navratri, Silver Jubilee, Utsav or Maha Satsang, etc.) will be a big asset.
    The Ashram expects volunteers to take care of their to and fro travel expenses.

    If you possess the above mentioned qualities and would like to come and join us in our beautiful Bangalore Ashram as a Sevak for the mentioned period, then Please send us the following details through your local teacher to your State Apex Body:

    1. Seva applicaiton form to be filled up by Sevak (form attacehd here with)
    2. Teacher recommendation form (form attached here with)
    3. Valid Identity proof with photograph (Pan Card / Voter ID / Driving License )

    After receiving your request from your Apex Body, Ashram HR will send you the confirmation letter to your respective Apex Body

    We request all APEX Bodies to collect the above mentioned details and send it to us in the attached format by latest 10 August, 2011. Any information related to Navaratri Seva in the Ashram that reaches us after this date may not be accepted.

    Should you require any further information, please do not hesitate to contact us at hr@vvmvp.org

    Please share with all.

    ———

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