Debunking “Guruji’s Grace” – Part 1
Shortly after the inception of this blog, WhistleBlower wrote a post entitled Original Sin in AOL & the final Salvation in which he discusses one of the most powerful techniques which Art of Living employs to ensare its followers. This technique goes by various names throughout both this blog and AoL, but here I will refer to it simply as “Guruji’s Grace”.
In his original post WhistleBlower defines “Original Sin” in Art of Living as follows:
What is this Original Sin? Simply put, it is attributing the student’s healing, spiritual experience or insight, gained through some spiritual practice or knowledge, to the guru, in this case Ravi Shankar. This happens in AOL, right from the word go & continues throughout & it gets hammered into conscious & subconscious of the students by so many subtle & not-so-subtle ways & means.
As an interesting sidenote, if you re-read the article you will note that WhistleBlower predicted “By the end of this year  Sri Sri has to think of more effective damage control measures than his two current counter-blogs or sending threatening legal letters to those whom he suspects are the authors of artoflivingfree blog”. Lo and behold, barely had the New Year started when Google and Automattic (owners of WordPress) were served with subpoena’s demanding that they reveal the identities of a number of key contributors to these blogs.
Another interesting thing mentioned in WhistleBlower’s post is that those who unwittingly fall victim to Guruji’s Grace become completely blind to all the wrong-doings in the organization and will in fact exonerate the guru from these happenings. Since that post was written, we have seen so many Art of Living devotees on this blog who even though they have admitted they are aware of some of the wrong-doings going on in Art of Living, find it almost impossible to believe that SSRS is responsible for them. So intense is the power of this mechanism for enslaving people.
In this post, I’d like to cite a number of examples which I feel go a long way towards debunking “Guruji’s Grace” and verifying what WhistleBlower wrote about it previously. In a future post I will go into detail into some of the psychological techniques which Art of Living employs to make people believe in Guruji’s Grace.
Anyone who attends a Basic Course and asks if they can take the tape or a copy home with them is inevitably told that the tape won’t work for them, that it will just be silent or contain static, or some variation of what we now know is a complete lie told to participants who want to take the tape away. This lie is part of bigger lie surrounding the Kriya tape, and that is that the tape will only work when a teacher is present to conduct the session.
We know this is a lie because many of us have tried listening to the Kriya tape with no teacher present and can verify that the effects are exactly the same. But Art of Living followers are led to believe that those who undergo TTC become channels for “Guruji’s Grace” to flow through, and that it is Guruji’s Grace which is responsible for any positive effects received during Kriya. As a sidenote, shouldn’t Guruji’s Grace also be responsible for any negative effects received during Kriya???
So, if no teacher is present, how can the Kriya tape possibly produce the same effects as if a teacher was present? How does “Guruji’s Grace” make its way to the participant? Furthermore, what about the short kriya? This is done in the privacy of one’s own home, usually by oneself. Again, how does Guruji’s Grace come to the home practitioner? If they happen to live with a teacher then I can understand it, but for the majority who don’t, there doesn’t seem to be any way.
From this we can conclude that the effects of practicing Kriya, both positive and negative, have nothing whatsoever to do with Guruji’s Grace, but are entirely due to the technique. The lies told are simply to enslave people to the tape, the organization and ultimately to SSRS.
Reviving the dead, but unable to prevent accidents?
There have been various rumours that SSRS had once brought back someone from the dead. The following was posted on esatsang last year and provides a good example of this:
Date: 7 February 2011 22:03
Subject: Guruji’s Grace
When we are all in bliss still trying to come out of 30th Jan 11. I wish to share the news as how Guruji’s grace has flown and we have seen a Miracle during Naadhavaibhavam. While I am writing this I am getting goose pimple all thru my body.
One of our Pillars of Nanganallur Centre, Mr K M Subramanian, (Facilitator-Nanganallur) affectionately called as KMS mama was brought back from the jaws of death. We all have been working in the Musicians Volunteers team for nearly 1 month at his residence. He works like an 18 year old boy with full of enthusiasm.He has been an inspiring figure for all of us.
on 16th Jan Sunday KMS had some pain in his Left shoulder and left hand. But he ignored it considering the work load. More over he had similar muscular pain few months back. He got treated and came out of that. Probably that has made him to think that it may be due to physical strain. He used some balm and other methods to reduce the pain,
The next day (17th) morning as usual he was on Nadhavaibhavam duty though the pain did not subside. He went to handover the donor pass to one of the devotees place .Came back and did his regular Pooja at home and after having Brunch he went to the nearby Sri Chakra Hospital for check up. He took his wife Smt Gomathy along with him in his own Scooter. Smt Meenakshi another Seva warrior of Nanganallur Centre helped him to get the emergency appointment with the doctor. ECG was taken and doctor did not see anything unusual . But within a few minutes, in the hospital itself KMS mama collapsed.He had a massive Heart attack. Immediately he was taken to the ICU and started the treatment. Few minutes later the Doctor (Dr.Satyanarayana) called up Mrs Meenakshi to tell her that Mr Subramaniam is no more. But she said a person who does Guruji’s work tirelessly cannot leave and requested the doctor to do everything possible to bring him back .The doctors have put in their best efforts to revive his heart pumping again. This is when Guruji’s grace was seen by everybody. The doctors have started giving us a ray of hope. Every hour passed by he has started responding to medicines.Though his heart started functioning,the doctors had put him on Ventilator and termed his condition as critical . Only after 24 hours anything can be decided they said. By this time the news reached all the volunteers and we all surrendered to Guruji and prayed for his speedy recovery. Guruji answered our prayers. Guruji says YOU DO MY WORK AND I DO YOURS. Even today the doctor says its a Miracle that he survived. Thank You Guruji Its all because of you.
It was a set back but with KMS Mama’s Inspiration and Guruji’s Grace ,Tambaram Zone had done fairly a good Job during Naadhavaibhavam.
The Cruel fact is that KMS Mama lost his both the sons few years back. We the Volunteers in Nanganallur are all his sons and daughters. When we say that our eyes become wet. Its true we are one world Family. Dear KMS Mama and Gomathy Mami. You are not alone we are there with you.
JAI GURU DEV.
The following story, taken from artoflivinglifestories website also bears mentioning here:
Sanja Kordić, Croatia
International Art Of Living Teacher, Croatia
I am an international full time teacher from Croatia. In April last year, I had a terrible car accident in Bulgaria. I was injured very much. Art of Living people from Bulgaria found the best hospital for me, came every day to see me in numbers that was problem for the staff in the hospital, bringing me everything what I needed.
From the very beginning of this story, from the accident, I had a very strong awareness of Guruji’s presence all around me. He phoned me twice in the hospital and helped me so much. Also at least more than 10 young Art of Living Bulgarians gave their blood for my operation. A girl from Art of Living Macedonia, came daily from Macedonia to take care of me, and after 15 days came Snježana. Art of Living full time volunteer from Croatia and continued to take daily care until the end of my stay there. I’ve got so many cards, SMSes, from satsang groups all over Europe.
Love Beyond Anything I Knew
After coming home, I was completely immobile and I live alone. So, Art of Living Croatians had a list where they put their names to cover me 24 hours a day. I had full care from them and it wasn’t just bringing me a tea, remember, I was immobile, I couldn’t do anything for myself, even toilet or washing. Still I wonder how they could do this. It was love beyond anything I knew. They gave me so much love, care, attention, service, that for all doctors, my recovering was a miracle. After one year, I started to walk. Ayurvedic doctor recommended 28 massages, 14 Marmas and 14 Abhyangas, you know how expensive that is. Then one couple, both Art of Living teachers from Slovenia took me to their house and during 3 weeks they gave me massages and special Ayurvedic treatments just for seva. After that, I could walk without crutches.
The security and feeling of being protected
I was twice in Art of Living International Center Bangalore to see Guruji. Every time I’ve got the best accommodation and nobody ever asked me for any money. Now, everybody treats me as a miracle. I’m walking, I still have some problems with my body, but Art of Living family saved my soul. From the very beginning of this story,from the accident, I had a very strong awareness of Guruji’s presence all around me. He phoned me twice in the hospital, but I don’t mean just that. It was just a feeling of being protected and security that I’ll have place in his life whatever happened. However this ends, he will give me the meaning of life, include me in spreading of the knowledge. My body was suffering, I was in pain, but my soul was very relaxed. This is the secret of my recovering.
For a year and a half, I was not able to work, but they, the Art of Living Foundation pays me regularly. God bless them all, my gratefulness is unlimited.
I fell so very grateful to Guruji. It is just a feeling of being protected and the security that I’ll have place in his life whatever happens.
One thing that pains me when reading Sanja’s account is that although she acknowledges that so many people gave of their time to look after her and to be with her when she needed it the most, she is strongly hinting that it is because they are Art of Living people, and she gives the impression that ultimately it is all because of SSRS and his purported grace that these people helped her. Otherwise why would this story even have appeared on the Art of Living Life Stories blog? This again is just another example of how the mechanism of Guruji’s Grace is employed to make people feel indebtedness to SSRS by attributing all the good things in their life to him.
Now, going back to the first story above, those who were present clearly believed that Guruji’s Grace was responsible for bringing back the gentleman mentioned from the dead. Likewise, so too did those who saw fit to publish the account in esatsang. And this is what they would rather believe than any other explanation, for instance that it was the doctor’s which brought him back to life or that they might have been wrong in the first place. No, they would much rather believe what they have been conditioned to believe from their time in Art of Living, that those who work hard for Guruji are somehow protected by his grace, and that nothing short of a miracle took place.
Ok, but let’s look at the second account.
Sanja tells us that she was in a terrible road accident, that she couldn’t walk at all, and that “From the very beginning […] I had a very strong awareness of Guruji’s presence all around me. ” Indeed she also tells us “It was just a feeling of being protected and security that I’ll have place in his life whatever happened. ”
Although she doesn’t refer to it by the same name, Sanja here is beyond any doubt talkiing about what we are referring to as Guruji’s Grace here. So the first question is, when she says “From the very beginning […]”, when exactly does “the beginning” refer to? This is absolutely crucial here. At what point did Sanja begin to feel Guruji’s Grace? If she has been with Art of Living for over 10 years and has obviously worked tirelessly given that she is a full time teacher, then surely she must have felt this grace ongoing throughout her experience? And so, surely then, she would have felt the grace prior to the accident happening? If this is indeed the case and that Guruji’s Grace is so omnipresent and powerful, how on earth was it that Sanja wasn’t protected by Guruji’s Grace when she had the accident? In other words, why was Sanja involved in a car accident at all?
On the one hand, we have a story of Guruji’s Grace being able to revive someone from the clutches of death, whereas on the other hand this same grace was not able to save poor Sanja from being involved in a terrible car accident.
If Guruji’s Grace were real, then surely Sanja would have been saved from this terrible accident which left her incapacitated for over a year? But it didn’t. Which begs the question, outside of devotees’ heads, is there really such a thing as Guruji’s Grace?