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To those who ask for proof

February 9, 2012

On so many occasions people have asked us to provide proof for this that or the other that has been written in criticism of Art of Living. The following comment left recently by an anonymous contributor in response to this comment sums up everything any of us could ever possibly say on the matter beautifully.

“Please help. thanks.”

Dear Healer,

Really, what kind of help do you think people here can give you? You have to help yourself. Some have shared their experiences in aol here. Take it or leave it. In fact, I would say, *leave it*. Use your own judgement and think through what happens to you and others in AoL and conclude what you may.

At the time of experiencing all those incidents, i dont think anyone here was ‘collecting proof’ to later start a blog and provide it all to the likes of you.

Those of us who have had similar experiences, it helps to share and get validated by others. No one forced you to read or believe all that is said.

And why should i reveal my identity? Have left Aol and moved on, and certainly wouldn’t like my employer and friends to know i was part of a cult (yes, believe it or not, out in the real world, outside your aol circles, there are many who think its a cult)!

What is the guarantee that my name, address, aol post(s) etc, would convince you that my experiences were true?

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20 Comments
  1. Anonymous permalink
    February 9, 2012 8:03 pm

    For those who believe no proof is necessary for those who don’t no proof is possible

  2. stupidseeker permalink
    February 10, 2012 4:16 am

    @anonymous,

    Tending to agree with your statement. How can someone disprove that the Koran or for that matter the bible or any one of those numerous scriptures that litter human history is/are not the word of God ??
    How can I disprove that HHSSRS has not really united with that state of being called brahman ??
    And then again religious preachers go around providing “proof” that their scriptures are the one and only word of God and all the rest is just garbage and filth even as the PR machine of HHSSRS spares no effort to advertise the “enlightenment” of HHSSRS in myriad different ways.

  3. Ex-blesser permalink
    February 16, 2012 2:08 pm

    Could there be a more arrogant b***** than the private secretary of the esteemed HHSSRS

  4. 2bit permalink
    February 22, 2012 11:55 am

    Whatever has been the excuse/reason for being “critique without proof’, this commenter at least makes it clear that he/she has “no proof”…

    Bravo!

  5. Anonymous permalink
    February 22, 2012 1:13 pm

    I have proof. I’m unwilling to give it to you. Take that back to your slavedriver. :p

  6. VSS permalink
    March 5, 2012 3:53 pm

    SSRS says:

    “First remember you have come to this planet earth to give something; you have nothing to take from it. Second is your own determination. Come what may, I am not going to lose my smile. Let the world be flooded, I am not going to sacrifice my smile – this is dispassion. Let heaven come crumbling down on this earth, who cares? This attitude of ‘who cares, let anything happen’ – keeps your smile strong; then you care for every little thing, every plant and every little creature.”

    Please notice:

    “Let the world be flooded, I am not going to sacrifice my smile – this is dispassion.”

    This is how the seeds of selfishness are sown. This is how empathy and compassion are killed. This is how AoL people think they’re doing a great service by teaching Sudershan Kriya to people who have suffered due to natural calamities.

    Please also notice:

    “Let heaven come crumbling down on this earth, who cares? This attitude of ‘who cares, let anything happen’ – keeps your smile strong; then you care for every little thing, every plant and every little creature.”

    This is how the seeds of pettiness are sown. The “art of living” seems to be to not care about serious human and environmental issues, but holding on to a “smile” because there are butterflies fluttering by and flowers blooming away.

    I agree with the author of the above post when he says:

    “Use your own judgement and think through what happens to you and others in AoL and conclude what you may.”

    It really is a matter of choice. There are people who want to be selfish and petty. There are those who don’t want to “sacrifice” their “smiles” because someone else is in pain or suffered a calamity. They don’t believe in empathy or compassion. They don’t believe in passion either. And, they definitely don’t believe in sensitivity. They believe in becoming smiling cobwebs who participate in the “eternal celebration” of life for world peace. They neither grow, nor evolve, nor learn. They don’t believe in sharing pain. They think that life is about wearing a “smile” every day, like a mask.

    Those who’ve left AoL refuse to wear a mask. They don’t believe in masking anything any more. They don’t believe in a “who cares” attitude. They care about their lives and the lives of their loved ones. They care about what happens to people around them and to people all over the world. They don’t believe that “wearing a mask” will lead to “world peace”. They don’t think that pain is something to be ashamed of. They know it’s natural for human beings to experience pain, and, they believe in sharing pain, as a means to seek relief.

    What SSRS propounds is a very strange philosophy. It’s almost anti-life. If someone who is a member of AoL experiences any kind of pain or anxiety, then that person is made to feel so inadequate for not “smiling” and for “caring”, that the person feels pressured into “wearing a smile”. The price of “not wearing a smile” is being accused of weakness, mental ailments, abnormality in attitude, the inability to let go, etc. etc. This alienates people from their families and loved ones as well. People don’t feel like leaving AoL and telling their families that they are in pain because the concept of “pain” and the concept of “sharing pain” does not exist in AoL. Only those who “wear a smile” are accepted.

    This philosophy of aversion to pain — including the expression of pain and the sharing of pain — as a response to pain, cannot possibly make people courageous or humane. SSRS seems to be creating an army of people who are propagating a kind of selfishness and pettiness that is killing the very core of humanity in human beings. Those who realize how they are being de-humanized wake up and leave AoL. Those who don’t wake up keep sleep-walking through life.

    One thing is for certain — AoL does not make people more compassionate and humane. Those in AoL who are compassionate and humane are compassionate and humane because of themselves. But, AoL does make people more fake and false. In all that I have read by people who’ve left AoL, it’s obvious that what has put them off the most about AoL is how it tried to make them fake and false.

    • Anonymous permalink
      March 5, 2012 5:58 pm

      I understand what you are saying VSS. SSRS’s real intent would have been that one should be dispassionate, keeping their equanimity, and still go on serving in the face of great problems. If you have met Amritananda Mayi Devi when she comes to Bangalore, you would know what the real thing is: she helps millions of people, directly and immediately. She doesn’t shy away from touching people as if they were lepers. In fact, she cured a leper by hugging him over and over again over a period of time! She never cared what happened to her own health. She is that way. She maintains a smile through terrible things, but you would also see that she cries along with the pain of people when they are in trouble. She is the real jnani, not some person making up a mood, telling people to smile. He is right in that one way — we should maintain our balance through all difficulties, but we should, at the same time, have compassion and caring for each other. Yeah, yeah, the party line is “there is no ‘other'” True, still, while we are on this planet, we must act as if there is an ‘other’ and care for that other whenever necessary and possible. Guruji started out sincere. I don’t know what happened to him. He just became a name, fame and money seeker, I guess. Like many yogis, he fell. We should still try to attain what he suggested: keep our smile (inside — our balance) in the face of all extreme difficulties. It is great advice, but is not to be taken superficially like all the AOL zombies do — they have a ‘fake it till you make it’ mentality, and go around with plastic, not real smiles on their faces. Then behind the scenes, they have tantrums and scream and act very vary ugly. He also loses his smile in a major way when crossed or disagreed with. It doesn’t really take much. So I think maybe he just never followed his own good advice.

  7. VSS permalink
    March 7, 2012 11:03 am

    @ Anonymous [March 5, 2012 5:58 pm]

    I think that I was not able to explain my perspective well.

    I’ll try again.

    I simply do not agree with the idea of being “happy” no matter what. I think that if the whole world started thinking like this, particularly artists (painters, sculptors, poets, novelists, film-makers etc. etc.), then the world would be bereft of some of the greatest works of art. The world would be bereft of INSPIRATION. The world would not be MOVED by the suffering of others. The world would not be MOVED by the plight of the environment. The world would not be OVERWHELMED. The world would not be AFFECTED by what’s happening in the world.

    What does the history of human kind tell us?

    It tells us that it’s NATURAL to experience DIFFERENT EMOTIONS.

    Different human beings respond to the human condition differently. For instance, some are moved by poverty and become economists, some write poetry, some make films, some work in villages, some simply make a conscious effort to treat their domestic help better, etc. etc.

    It’s natural to be moved by poverty. It’s unnatural to look at poverty and smile, because one is choosing to feel grateful for butterflies and flowers. This sort of gratitude validates a very narrow view of the world. That is what AoL is doing.

    It is preventing people from acknowledging different emotions. It’s discouraging sensitivity. It’s discouraging emotional expression. It’s preventing the sharing of pain. It’s creating a world in which anyone who even as much as whispers that they are not happy, is ostracized and condemned. It is propagating a strange kind of selfishness and pettiness.

    Every emotion that can be categorized as anything but “happiness” is not just dismissed, but the human being who claims to experience it, is branded as “weak”, “negative”, and, “mentally ill”.

    In almost all the comments that I see from AoL people, I notice an aggressive and almost agitated statement of this “happiness”. Happiness may be many things but it’s certainly not an emotion that one has to express with any kind of vehemence. So, this AoL brand of happiness is definitely not true happiness.

    But the question really is — what is true happiness?

    What is it that makes human beings truly happy?

    If butterflies and flowers made every human being naturally happy every second of their lives, then the whole world would truly be in AoL and never leave it. If people have left AoL, then that means that all that AoL propagates is not effective. If AoL made some people extremely unhappy, particularly about being manipulated into pretending to be happy, then it is disastrous.

    A cult is a cult because it claims to have an answer to every question that a follower has.

    If someone says they’re unhappy, they’ll be told to do an advanced course, or, recruit more people, or, meditate more etc. etc.

    If someone says they’re still unhappy, they’ll be told their problem is their own mind. If that someone then starts saying they’re happy, they remain in the cult. If not, that someone leaves, or, is thrown out.

    A cult is a place where only one line of thinking and behaviour is accepted. In AoL, only “happiness” as defined by AoL has to be projected in the thinking and behaviour of all members.

    Any deviation is not tolerated, let alone accepted and assimilated.

    It’s almost as if anyone who feels unhappy at any point in time or for a period of time is inadequate.

    This is an anti-humanity and an anti-life line of thinking.

    That it is promoted as something which is NATURAL is EXTREMELY HARMFUL, DAMAGING, OPPRESSIVE, AND, INHUMAN.

    It is natural for human beings to feel happy, sad, disappointed, angry, disillusioned, hurt, peaceful, compassionate, empathetic, excited, charged, jealous, greedy, dejected, etc. etc. at different points in time. These are natural human emotions experienced by human beings all over the world since the time human beings came into existence.

    And, HAPPY PEOPLE DON’T MAKE PEACE.

    COMPASSIONATE PEOPLE MAKE PEACE.
    EMPATHETIC PEOPLE MAKE PEACE.
    SENSITIVE PEOPLE MAKE PEACE.

    People who care only for butterflies and flowers live lives that validate the existence of butterflies and flowers.

    People who care for butterflies, flowers, and, human beings, validate the existence of butterflies, flowers, and, human beings.

    The environment needs human sensitivity as much as human beings.

    Being sensitive to human beings involves listening to problems, sharing pain, extending empathy, and, extending compassion.

    Understanding human suffering is the key to understanding human beings.

    Understanding how the environment is suffering is the key to understanding the environment.

    If the response to the expression of any problem is Sudershan Kriya etc. etc., then it is not only an inadequate response, it is inappropriate to the extent of being an insult to human intelligence.

    If the response to the expression of any problem is persecution, then it is not only an insult to human intelligence, but downright abusive and oppressive.

    AoL is creating an army of people who project “happiness” out of the fear of ostracism, persecution, judgment, and, further abuse. This is bound to lead to repression, and, repression, can only harm individuals. It can damage them severely.

    Those who ask for proof are missing the point completely. They’re going off on a tangent without realizing and noticing, that which is blatantly obvious.

    Happiness is not the projection of happiness for fear of abuse.

    Happiness is also not a permanent emotion.

    So, those who are projecting they’re happy every day, are pretending.

    A smile is a response to something beautiful, not a piece of clothing for one’s face, that one decides to wear every day. Happiness is not a decision.

    The exploitation of a human being’s smile to con other human beings into smiling is the worst sort of exploitation. No doubt the idea is original and that’s why AoL has as many followers as it does. But it’s a bad idea, and, that’s why many people have left AoL.

    AoL’s hijacking of human beings is comprehensive — everything from their smile, to their minds, to their money, to their time, to their self esteem, to their words, to their emotions, to their facebook profiles etc. etc. is controlled by AoL.

    Those who ask for evidence should take a good look at their lives and see what it is that they do which is not dictated, defined, and, designed by AoL.

    • Anonymous permalink
      March 8, 2012 1:17 pm

      @VSS

      All really great points, and I agree with your definitions of AOL completely — basically a brainwashing cult filled with unhappy people claiming to be “happy” vehemently.

      you said “What is it that makes human beings truly happy?”

      This is a deep and beautiful question, in my opinion. From my experience, happiness is beyond any moods or emotions. It’s indescribable. It’s not devoid of creativity or compassion at it’s most vibrant. Contrary to that belief, true happiness is, in itself, the only truly compassionate, creative state. True happiness is true dispassion. Not being detached and uncaring, as some people think that word to mean. But rather a state that is quite spontaneous, and experienced by many people occasionally, and a few people contiuously. I have experienced this “dispassion” or Vairagya, many times in my life, for no special reason. My reason for even meeting SSRS and going at all to AOL was to attempt to maintain that state which had visited me from time to time, altering my life each time. I quickly found out that most people in AOL are not looking for that. They just want to be “happy” which is a fake state of “butterflies and unicorns” as I put it. It is not dispassion. It has no knowledge in it, and is totally selfish and ridiculous. But that is their problem. So I left that place as I realized there was nothing there for me.

      That definition of true happiness may not be shared by most people. It does not mean ignoring the world, or not caring. It makes one so completely connected to others that there ceases to be an “other” and the caring is immediate. One wishes to alleviate any suffering that one sees, but at the same time, remains ‘happy’ in the a kind of knowledge I cannot describe any better than this. This is what I was attempting to talk about. But it’s a subject that many people find unapproachable, sometimes due to the fact that this vairagya has never visited them. So they think it means “not caring”. Anyway, that is what I was trying to talk about. In my opinion AOL people know nothing whatsoever about this subject.

      • VSS permalink
        March 11, 2012 10:50 am

        @ Anonymous [March 8, 2012 1:17 pm]

        I hear you.

        “It makes one so completely connected to others that there ceases to be an “other” and the caring is immediate. One wishes to alleviate any suffering that one sees, but at the same time, remains ‘happy’…”

        It is overwhelming to be able to actually help someone. When one is able to “alleviate any suffering that one sees” beginning with oneself, one is able to extend compassion / empathy / solace / relief to those who might be suffering.

        When this happens in the truest humane way, then one does not look at people who are suffering and say things like “you have low prana”, “you are negative”, “you don’t respect yourself”, “the problem is in your own mind”, etc. etc., as is said in AoL.

        The absolute zenith of this preposterous line of thinking — where the individual is “blamed” for suffering any kind of pain due to any reason — is this famous AoL mantra:

        “change your breath, change your mind, change your mind, change your emotion”

        People suffer due to many reasons. The best solution to any problem can be found through a process of discussion and experience-sharing.

        What I’ve noticed through researching the philosophy that AoL is propounding is that A PHYSICAL ACTIVITY (SUDERSHAN KRIYA) CAN ADDRESS MENTAL PAIN.

        ANYONE WHO GOES TO AOL WITH A MENTAL ISSUE (WHAT ELSE IS STRESS ?) IS CHARGED MONEY FOR LEARNING SUDERSHAN KRIYA, AND THEN TOLD TO SAY IT WORKS.

        IF THE PERSON SAYS IT’S NOT WORKING, THEN THE PERSON IS BLAMED.

        THIS IS DISASTROUS AND DAMAGING IN THE EXTREME.

        There are two issues here:

        1. Can a mental issue be solved by a physical activity ?
        2. Can all mental issues be solved by a particular physical activity ?

        Anyone with half a brain knows that we need to be physically and mentally active to lead healthy, balanced lives.

        A physically hyper-active life is as unhealthy as a mentally hyper-active life. If someone is addicted to going to a gym, and, obsessed with physical fitness, it’s a problem. Similarly, if someone leads a completely static life, with no physical activity whatsoever, that’s a problem too.

        Yoga is only one kind of a physical activity.
        Meditation is only one kind of a mental activity.

        So, do people pay pots of money to go to Mr. Ravi Shankar, because he says “do yoga and meditation to lead a healthy life” ? Are they simply paying money to someone who says that ? Someone may argue and say that he also teaches yoga and meditation. So, let’s assume people pay money to hear him say that because he validates the belief in a balanced lifestyle, and, people also pay money to learn one form of physical activity as well as one form of mental activity.

        Then, where does the problem begin ?

        The problem begins when someone says “Mr. Ravi Shankar, what you recommended did not work for me.”

        Mr. Ravi Shankar reacts with RAGE! He PERSECUTES those who don’t agree with him. His FOLLOWERS LAUNCH AN ATTACK on all those who disagree with him.

        This attitude proves beyond all reasonable doubt that diversity has no place in AoL. It proves that all those who are in AoL have to think the same thing. There’s no scope whatsoever for people to try out different physical activities such as cycling, jogging, playing badminton, etc. etc. It has to be yoga as defined by AoL.

        There’s also no scope for people to try out different mental activities such as reading, listening to music, watching films, playing chess, etc. etc. It has to be meditation as defined by AoL.

        So, as far as the prescription for general well-being is concerned, not everyone believes that yoga and meditation (as defined by AoL) make up the only combination that works. However, people who believe in AoL don’t have the ability to accept this simple matter of preference. They get infuriated and enraged. They become abusive. It’s as if they have been attacked personally by enemies, and they not only have to defend themselves, but also defeat their enemies.

        This, in psychiatric terms, is referred to as paranoia.

        It’s a very specific ailment. It is one of the causes of stress. Is it being addressed by the prescription for general well being recommended by Mr. Ravi Shankar for one and all ? The answer is no.

        Hence, one can conclude that though the combination of meditation and yoga, as defined by Mr. Ravi Shankar, may APPEAR to help some people live balanced lives, it makes them PARANOID about anyone who disagrees with them.

        This paranoia makes them abusive, aggressive, and, agitated. There is ample evidence of abuse, aggression, and, agitation, on this blog. There is no evidence whatsoever of acceptance. AoL people can simply not accept another point of view.

        Today, I say this to them:

        Congratulations! You have found the combination of physical and mental activity that works for you. Now, please be happy and smile. Those who don’t believe in the same combination are not your enemies. Don’t get upset. If you’re getting upset and becoming abusive, then look for some other combination of physical and mental activity that relieves you of your stress. Good luck ! Take care. Be well.

        P.S. I don’t think you have “low prana”, I don’t think “you’re negative”, I don’t think “the problem is in your mind”. I just think that you’re unhappy and it’s not your fault. I support you in your quest for a physical activity-mental activity combination that doesn’t cause you stress and make you paranoid when you bump into anyone else who believes in a different physical activity-mental activity combination. It’s really that simple. One of the things that “enlightenment” includes is the ability to tolerate disagreement without prejudice.

        If you have the freedom to say that Mr. Ravi Shankar is God, I have the freedom to say that I do not think so.

        If you have the freedom to say that Sudershan Kriya is the solution to all problems, I have the freedom to say I do not think so.

        If Mr. Ravi Shankar is telling you that anyone who disagrees with you, has less freedom than you, then he is lying to you. He is making you intolerant. He is not teaching you the art of living, and he is definitely not teaching you the art of living peacefully.

        He is teaching you the art of living alone in a world where not even one per cent of the population agrees that your choice of physical and mental activity is the only right choice. He is teaching you the art of fighting with all those who disagree with you on a matter of personal preference.

        It’s the same as being abusive towards someone who doesn’t agree with you when you say that “X is the best colour on earth”, or, “the best ice cream flavour is Y”, or, “the best film maker ever is so and so”, or, “the best musician in the world is so and so”, or, “the best sportsman in the world is so and so”, or, “the best leader in the world is so and so”, etc. etc. All individuals are free to exercise their individual preferences.

        If you notice, on Facebook, often on AoL pages, instructions are given to followers on which AoL link / page to “LIKE”. This is fascism. You are free to like one thing and dislike another. If anyone who disagrees with you infuriates you and makes you abusive, then you are being turned into an intolerant human being. This is bad for you — utterly damaging and harmful.

        And, honestly, if you really want AoL to grow exponentially, then you are damaging your own cause by abusing non-AoL people. From a purely marketing perspective, this kind of behaviour is disastrous. From a rational perspective, this kind of behaviour is completely irrational. From a humane perspective, this kind of behaviour is anti-humanity and anti-life.

        Ask yourselves one simple question:

        Can you tolerate people who don’t agree with you without becoming abusive ?

        If the answer is no, then you need to do what it takes to become someone who is not abusive the moment he or she encounters any human being with a different point of view.

        If the answer is no, then AoL is definitely not making you a stress-free person who is committed to the cause of peaceful co-existence with a wide variety of people.

        Variety is the spice of life, remember ?

  8. stupidseeker permalink
    March 7, 2012 3:14 pm

    @VSS,

    Quite an interesting analysis. I wish to add a few of my own thoughts to it.

    HHSSRS as per his own declaration is the extant guru of the Shankaracharya lineage. Adi Shankaracharya was a proponent of the philosophy of non duality or advaita. According to this philosophy the atman or individual soul is a part of the larger supersoul , paramatman or brahman which is the sole truth. Going further this philosophy says that all individual souls by their association and identification with the gross material body are unaware of their essential oneness with the sole reality i.e Brahman which is the root cause of all misery and suffering.
    Thus in Advaita, enlightenment, or the achievement of supreme bliss, lies in uniting the individual soul with the super soul i.e the annulment of all duality. Once this happens, then all the miseries that the soul suffers by its association with the gross body are extinguished.

    Now as per AOL, HHSSRS is an enlightened master in the Shankaracharya lineage. Thus by definition, he should have achieved the supreme bliss of having united his individual soul with that of Brahman. The most appropriate external manifestation of such a sorrow free state will most likely be an ever present, dazzling, beatific smile. And HHSSRS is known for his million dollar smile as much as for his SKY and “humanitarian undertakings”. His ever present smile testifies to his advaitic purity as nothing else does. It is this very smile that may win him his “one world family” some day.

    Now if HHSSRS has achieved to Brahman, then he has become Brahman himself, since in Advaita duality is an illusion i.e the separation of creation from the creator is only an illusion, and the root of all sorrow. Thus if now HHSSRS is now Brahman himself, then for any AOLite, achieving “oneness” with the guru will be the highest goal. And can those most advanced on the path to this “oneness” ever be in a sorrowful state??

    Thus can it be surprising that expression of emotions such as sorrow, fear, doubt or hurt, in AOL are looked down as being unspiritual, and detrimental to spiritual growth, and only those who present with smiling, brightly lit up faces qualify to be called spiritually evolved ??

    But it is fact that Advaita has barely dented the philosophy of duality that holds each individual soul to be distinct from each other as well as from the creator. Now if the “ignorance” of duality persists in the mind of an AOLite and yet he/she has to smile the smile of “oneness”, or the smile of “I belong to you” or the smile of a “one world family”, that’s when the Harshal’s and Bhanu didi’s of the world are born.
    As for me, I’d rather die in the “ignorance” of duality than embrace the “reality” of Harshal and me actually being “one” . Hope AOLites forgive me for that.

    • prairie princess permalink
      March 7, 2012 3:50 pm

      Why do you need forgiveness when you tell the truth??

    • Anonymous permalink
      March 7, 2012 11:51 pm

      OSHO

      “Personality is a mask. One should live as per its nature. Living naturally is living truthfully and wearing a personality is lie. ”

      Thus, a smile comes naturally to a happy and cheerful person as it comes from your inner being, but a miserable person remains miserable even if he or she smiles outwardly all the time. RS is a miserable person and his smile is just a mask and there are many people who have seen RS without his smiling persona.

    • VSS permalink
      March 8, 2012 9:11 am

      @ stupidseeker

      I hear you, and shall add to what you’re saying. But first I have a question:

      What do you think is the approximate percentage of people in AoL who have what it takes to process the information and spiritual processes that you’ve beautifully explained in your comment above?

      I ask this question because the few people I know in AoL are in the 18-30 bracket, and don’t have what it takes to process the information and spiritual processes that you’ve explained beautifully.

      They are the type who don’t care much about anything except “yoga raves” and “flash mobs”. They are in AoL because they want to learn how to acquire “material comforts” from their “guru”, who they see as the “guru” of “materialism”. A couple of them actually feel that if they hang around long enough, their “guru” will direct some of his millions in their direction. They think that their lives are “set” and “prosperity” is knocking on their door. They believe that “waiting for millions sincerely” will lead to “making millions”. The height of their spiritual understanding is that they “deserve millions” for being “happy”, and, therefore, if Mr. Ravi Shankar can sell his “smile”, so can they. I’m not kidding.

      They are frivolous surface thinkers, who sound incoherent when one tries to talk to them. They are represented by equally incoherent people who churn out regular editions of an e magazine titled “happified”. Here’s the link : http://www.happified.org/

      I must warn you about the contents of this e magazine — what you’ll read will assault you with evidence of how a cult damages the minds of young and intelligent people, turning them into incoherent tools to be deployed for cult expansion. It doesn’t kill their quest for materialism, but in fact, fuels it in subtle and not so subtle ways.

      This confusing materialistic spiritualism or spiritual materialism is displayed in this particular post about Warren Buffet in the e zine:

      http://happified.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=180:warren-buffet&catid=25:happified&Itemid=37

      This post has a presentation that includes “lessons” to be learnt. These “lessons” seem to have been provided by an AoL expert, who is interpreting Warren Buffet’s journey for the 18-30 bracket.

      So, that’s why I was hoping you could give me an approximate idea of the percentage of people in AoL who actually think beyond the level indicated by the post above that I linked you to. I look forward to hearing from you.

  9. harshal permalink
    March 8, 2012 9:34 pm

    @ VSS: you are a perfect example of how so many things can go wrong with human mind.

    • Anonymous permalink
      March 9, 2012 10:12 am

      @Harshal .. You are the perfect weapon for anyone who wants to attack AoL .. If you are indeed a pro AoL guy (i doubt you are ) then you are indeed a disgrace to both the organization and your boss. You are like that footballer who keeps scoring self goals but doesn’t realize it at all ..

    • Hari permalink
      March 9, 2012 1:54 pm

      and @ harshal, you are a perfect example of how systematic and ruthless manipulation can put one’s mind and life to ruins

  10. Anonymous permalink
    March 11, 2012 2:45 pm

    VSS’s comment from 11th march deserves it’s own space as a topic. It’s so to the point. AOL fosters intolerance, indifference (NOT dispassion) to others’ pain and troubles, and a kind of ‘get your own and the hell with everyone else’ kind of attitude in it’s followers. Of course, the party line is different: one should do ‘seva’ all the time. But that’s just to raise money for the Guru’s family and close associates, to keep them in jobs. And the seva mostly doesn’t amount to any good humanitarian work, if you closely examine it. Please ask to be taken, in person, to 5 villages which have been ‘served’ by AOL. Ask to see before photos and stats. Then look at the condition of the village now. Ask the people personally what Art of Living has done for them over what period. Then calculate how much ‘seva’ was actually done, how much of the money intended for charity actually went to each village. If you do this, and be sure to ask for your own list of villages, not the ones they are using as showcases, you’ll find out the bitter truth — all of it is just a company, a business, trying to get out of their tax obligations.

    • VSS permalink
      March 12, 2012 5:21 pm

      @ Anonymous [March 11, 2012 2:45 pm]

      Thank you for your kind words. You are right. What’s happening in AoL is that very little work is being projected as a whole lot of work.

      For instance, there’s an office of one of the wings of AoL in the Bangalore Ashram, which has a very young team. Most people in it are below 30. No real work happens in that office. The people in it do absolutely nothing all day except hanging out on Facebook, and entertaining foreign nationals who are visiting the Ashram. Occasionally, they’re told to write some promotional articles, or, do some coordination work. One of them told my friend in the Bangalore Ashram that some days he feels like he’s just rotting over there. Another has left to try and get some employment opportunity in Mumbai but hasn’t openly severed ties with AoL.

      People who have trouble getting jobs in the real world often join AoL. They’re given very little money, and, on most days, very little work, except “spreading happiness” in the Ashram. What AoL does is that it does just about enough to generate funds. There’s no real work happening there. If anyone complains, they are told there’s something wrong with them.

      There’s no structured “work”. Therefore, there’s no structured “pay packet”. And, there’s no structured “reward and recognition” policy. There’s no structured “bonus” policy either.

      • March 12, 2012 6:09 pm

        no career recognition, no experience gained, if any experience by any chance comes by someone, they are transferred to a different department, hence no chance of a career except being a aol teacher, volunteer, Swamihood or Rishihood,

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