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The Price of “The Knowledge”?

March 2, 2012
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by Jai Ram

I recently got this email from AOL:

Upanishads 2012

SAVE THE DATES

Upanishads with Guruji is tentatively set from April 13-16, 2012
We invite you to reserve these days for UPANISHADS 2012, a precious time of incomparable knowledge and commentary on the Upanishads by Guruji at the Los Angeles Center.

For those of us who attended last year’s Katho Upanishad discourse with Guruji, it was an unforgettable experience. Guruji expounding on the secrets of death, just as Lord Yama did to Nachiketa ages ago, was definitely an experience to behold!

Stay tuned for the registration announcement with the confirmed dates and session times. Watch our website, http://www.artoflivingla.org , for up to date information, as it unfolds.

Jai GuruDev,

Art of Living Center, Los Angeles

I remember the first time this was announced in 2010, when I still was active with AOL. It was hailed as the highest knowledge to be given by Guruji. It was the most expensive 3 day course ever ($1500 a pop) and it was sold as ‘THE KNOWLEDGE’. During the conference call with Rajshree Patel when I raised the issue of excessive course fees, she got angry and just flipped with the usual excuses, “do you know how much it costs to run an ashram?”, “do you even know how valuable is this knowledge?”, “It’s a blessing to have a Live Satguru impart this knowledge”, “only a few will be selected by Guruji to be in here” and all the crap. Now it is 2 years now and I am wondering, if this is really “THE KNOWLEDGE”, how come the DVD’s are not out there or even better why is the video not on Youtube.

I know better now, and I think this is how this will play out

  1. Milk this as much as possible, lure teachers/volunteers/devotees with all these special knowledge and charge 1500$ per course. Reduce the course fees for future courses to lure more people (this will again be advertised as special gift from Guruji to share this knowledge with as many people as possible).
  2. Once the # of suckers (volunteers/AOL devotees) dwindles for the courses, then release the DVD’s of course at exorbitant prices (200$ at least)
  3. Once that DVD market also dwindles, then release snippets of it on Youtube to advertise other AOL products and how much AOL is doing to bring ‘THE KNOWLEDGE” to the general people.

Also to top it all off, they were offering TAX savings (out of the $1500 or so, $900 will be treated as a donation) and the rest as course fees. They also figured out a way to milk the United States Internal Revenue Service (IRS). So in effect the people of the United States of America are footing the bill for ‘THE KNOWLEDGE”.

They were also spreading all these stories of volunteers working long hours in gas stations to make it to LA for this “THE KNOWLEDGE”. What an outrageous way to cheat these sincere volunteers of their hard earned money.

Any volunteers/teachers who plan on attending this session, ask these questions to AOL directors/Rajshree Patel or Guruji and see they have to say?

  1. You claim this knowledge to be very precious, why don’t you share this with the rest of the world, what happended to Upanishads – 1 and Upanishads – 2?
  2. Now since almost $2million has been raised in Upanishads – 1 and Upanishads – 2, why do you still charge these outrageous prices? (No one knows for sure, how much was spent for the LA ashram. In Upanishads – 1, there were 1008 people registered and including some freebees, I estimate an average revenue of $1000 a pop, which makes it a min of $1million, estimating the same for Upanishads-2)

For those of you who are not aware, Upanishads 3 day course was first started in US in 2010 in Apr and again in Apr 2011. The prices for these course were set to $1100-1200 for early bird and $1500 for regular (I might be off by a few dollars).

I have also started wondering, why is Guru Poornima always in the US? How come the devotees in other countries are not given the priviledge to host this great event? The real answer is “It’s all about the moola, stupid!”. July/Aug is when Guru Poornima falls, and it is summer time in the US, when devotees can travel with their family and when the most money can be made. The cost for an advance course is atleast $700 and all the other courses also suddenly become expensive.

So in short, I think it is all about the money. How sad and disappointing. I am finally awake from the clutches of AOL and able to see the truth. Wanted to share this with all of you so that the AOL devotees can also ask these questions and figure out the truth.

Spread the Truth

Jai Ram

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75 Comments
  1. stupidseeker permalink
    February 27, 2012 12:16 pm

    The complete translations of the Upanishads by noted Indologist max mueller can be found here:

    http://www.sacred-texts.com/hin/sbe15/index.htm
    http://www.sacred-texts.com/hin/sbe01/index.htm
    http://www.sacred-texts.com/hin/tmu/index.htm

    http://www.sacred-texts.com/hin/index.htm

    Pls. dsitribute far and wide to all those who may be interested.

    Incidentally the upanishads were a reaction to the concept of yajnas (rituals) and polytheism (multiple deities) as enshrined in the vedas. The concept of paramatman (supersoul) who is equally divided in all and who may be reached by the practice of yoga is not to be found in the Vedas who stress yajna, and varna ( caste system)and multiple deities.

    But HHSSRS maintains his spiritual aristocracy ( enlightened being vs. ignorant unenlightened), freely indulges in Yajna and milks the Upanishads for all they are worth.

    • Jana permalink
      March 2, 2012 2:46 pm

      Max Mueller was shown time and again to have subtly distorted the texts in ways that were calculated to undermine the history and civilization of India. There were often racist overtones but subtle and far apart so as not to be obvious to most. He did significant work with the translations but there was quite often a twist.

      At some point, we get saturated with all these teachings from the vedas, upanishads and so on, and that’s the time we drop it all, go back to the roots and learn from direct observation.

      • stupidseeker permalink
        March 3, 2012 5:00 am

        @Jana,

        Thanks for your reply. I really am in no position to comment on whether Max Mueller did or did not distort the meaning Upanishads during translation, since I’m neither a scholar of either the Sanskrit or English language and neither is HHSSRS in verifiable terms. All he has as his baton of spiritual authority is not scriptural scholarship, but his personal experience of “oneness” as enlightenment. This is confirmed from the fact that he considers himself to be the extant master of the Shankaracharya lineage. And it’s on the basis of this personal experience that he considers himself capable of selling the “translations” of the Upanishads for obscene amounts to the public who may believe that the Upanishads are the scriptural validation of HHSSRS’s “enlightenment”.

        That apart, by highlighting those links, I only wished to broaden the scope for discussion around the Upanishads, for those who may be interested in more than one version and that too for free.

        Another thing that I wished to highlight was that the Upanishads stressed upon the universality of the atman equally distributed in all and untouched by karma, the limitations of yajna and of the gunas and that paratman could be obtained by all by the practice of yoga. This is in oppostion to the brahmanical vedas who stressed upon varna, the gunas and yajna for fruitive karma. Some commentators have mentioned that the upanishads were a reaction of a sacrifice sickened society to the oppressive vedic caste system and that the Upanishadists and the Vedic brahmanas made the Bhagavad gita the battleground for their mutual sectarian war where krishna alternate between Upanishadic philosophy at some points and then upholds Vedic Yajnas at another.

        http://nirmukta.com/2010/02/17/the-gita-becomes-the-battlefield-for-the-great-sectarian-war/

        http://nirmukta.com/2010/01/10/how-ashoka-the-great-gave-brahmins-the-gift-of-a-song-with-which-they-conquered-india/

        Speaking in the context of HHSSRS, it seems he belongs to all the camps. As I mentioned in my earlier post, on one hand he keeps his spiritual aristocracy intact (no one in aol has yet achieved enlightenment except HHSSRS) and on the other hand preaches the universality of the atman. On one hand he teaches yoga to get rid of karma and on the other freely charges money for yajnas to obtain fulfillment of wishes. He takes great pains to portray himself as non sectarian and non brahmanical and on the other hand freely cosies up to the BJP and RSS/VHP, traditional bastions of the hindu upper caste.

        Lastly you mention that you are saturated with all the vedas and other scriptures and now rely on direct perception as a means to learning. This school of thought was traditionally held by the charvakas. The scripturally learned brahmanas conquered them in ancient times and the modern day “enlightened beings” with their personal experience as their baton of spiritual authority, thanks to vivekananda and his “scientification” of the oneness experience, continue the domination to the present day.

        http://kelamuni.blogspot.in/

      • Kitapati permalink
        March 5, 2012 9:28 am

        For a more dharmic interpretation of Upanishad you can check out the publications of Chinmaya mission, Ramakrishna Mission and Arsha Vidya Gurukulam. If you want a free form interpretation listen to Osho discourses on updanisha. BTW, Ravi Ravi does a lot of plagiarism of Osho. During his ashtavakra discourses in the early 90s he used to prepare for it by getting notes from Osho.
        His upanishad discourse will be no different, just same old second hand third hand trash.

      • Anonymous permalink
        March 5, 2012 3:55 pm

        @ stupidseeker
        March 3, 2012 5:00 am

        “…(no one in aol has yet achieved enlightenment except HHSSRS)…”

        I once heard Rajshree Patel saying in an advance course that enlightenment is not a great thing. What greatness is conferred when some one gets enlightened – there are so many who got enlightened. And there are so many who are living enlightened lives for the rest of their life 60, 70, 80… years. Forget getting a glimpse of enlightenment as something extraordinary, even maintaining that state of enlightenment for 80 long years is not a big achievement. Not a big deal even if you extend it to few life times.

        But Guruji is the one who has been maintaining that state of enlightenment since eons, since the beginning of time. His’ is the eternally pure consciousness, untouched and untainted ever. Our small minds cannot even fathom the magnanimity of such an untainted pure consciousness. And we are so lucky to share the space with such an eternally pure being.

        ps. In one of the volumes of “an intimate note to the sincere seeker”, it is written in ‘news flash’ that seven devotees got enlightened that day.

  2. March 2, 2012 4:03 pm

    I have no problem with AOL charging high rates for special events as a fundraiser. That is not uncommon for not-for-profits to do. It is a way for them to get money. What I do object to is the emotional blackmail that goes into it. There is an undercurrent of belief that if you don’t go to these events then you are 1) missing a rare opportunity in you life 2) not really dedicated to Guruji or your spiritual life 3) selfish and ungrateful 4) lacking support of nature and the Divine (ie you are not that spiritually advanced) 5) missing a special grace that Guruji will bestow on only those who come. 6) small minded and stuck in ego. Sometimes these beliefs are just implied. Other times they are explicitly stated (as in the case of missing out on rare knowledge). This guilt tripping and manipulation is what turns me off of AOL. Fundraising is fine. Mental coercion lacks integrity and honesty and is a typical attribute of a cult. .

  3. March 2, 2012 4:09 pm

    JUST FOR 100 USD you have all that you need except watching the real live scences of “A greedy monk turned to crazy celebrity”

    http://www.sacred-texts.com/cdshop/dvd90/index.htm

  4. VSS permalink
    March 2, 2012 6:56 pm

    Wow !!! That’s a LOT of money !!!

    I dunno how it’s in the US but I think that a lot of people in India would be respecting SSRS simply because of his ability to make so much money.

    I think there must be a lot of people employed by AoL who must be thinking that they will be able to make pots of money at some point in their career. This kind of wealth must be making them very hopeful. It must be fueling their aspirations. By the time they realize that SSRS shares this wealth only with his relatives and possibly Bawa and Dinesh, it must be either too late for them to find employment outside AoL, or, they would simply be thinking that maybe the “seva” they’re doing for SSRS for small salaries is what true compassion is all about. It would take true compassion and only true compassion to serve someone who will never ever recognize the contribution of his employees — either through bonuses or through a fair appraisal and promotion system or through a strong reward and recognition policy.

    SSRS has come up with the perfect business model. He is the CEO who no one can question. Most of his employees think he is God, none of them ever become visible, none of them ever get paid handsomely, and, he lives in luxury. Every once in a while he must be dangling some kind of a carrot to manipulate people into thinking they might be able to prosper in AoL. So, he must be ensuring employee engagement and preventing attrition. Since he is an expert at convincing people it’s all for a “good cause”, he must be succeeding in ensuring a high level of general motivation.

    Basically, he is an ace manipulator. That is why it takes years for people to see through his tactics and leave AoL. By the time they leave, they are exhausted. Or, sometimes, they are too exhausted to leave.

    That is why AoL is still in business. Staying in AoL is so exacting, that people lose their spirit and stamina to fight against an obviously corrupt cult, even after they leave it. I think this blog is a stupendous effort. In fact, it’s a heroic effort. I think that it may take time, but this effort will definitely succeed in exposing the corrupt practices of AoL.

    A NOTE TO THOSE WHO ARE IN AOL AND READING THIS BLOG

    You are not at fault for being in AoL. The kind of abuse that you are being subjected to is “spiritual abuse”. If you think that you are going to somehow make money by sticking on in AoL, sincerely investigate about how many people in AoL have made money in the last 30 years. You will find out that it’s mainly people who are related to SSRS or a select few like Bawa and Dinesh. Please find out how much people are paid at various levels. Please find out what the R&R (rewards and recognition) Policy is. Please find out if employees receive an annual bonus in the year that SSRS and AoL make more millions than usual. Please also find out if there is a proper Appraisal and Promotion System in place.

    These are the benefits that trainers in any organization get, even those organizations that make far less money than AoL.

    Also, if you’re staying in AoL because you think there is opportunity to do “seva”, then please google the term “Corporate Social Responsibility”. You will find that most organizations that recruit trainers and offer the aforementioned benefits to their employees (policies mentioned above), also have one or the other Corporate Social Responsibility Project which is contributing to rural development in some part of India.

    If you find AoL is not good as an employer but SSRS is “very nice”, which is very possible, then please look for a trainer position in a proper organization, earn a far more decent salary than you can in AoL, and, by all means spend money doing Advanced Courses with “Guruji”.

    Please don’t make the mistake of thinking that you will make pots of money by working for AoL. That ain’t gonna happen. The post above proves that. It proves that SSRS is making millions since a long time and sharing it with his relatives or a select few. If he was sharing money and visibility with several people, then the videos of many others would be there on AoL sites.

    You won’t be able to manipulate the ace manipulator. It’s not happened in 30 years and it won’t happen in the next 30 years. What is, however, likely to happen is that the ace manipulator will get exposed.

    When that happens, you won’t be serving any “notice period”, or, getting any kind of “severance package”. So, please err on the side of caution and start looking for trainer positions in organizations that have proper policies and benefits for employees.

    Yet, if you still don’t want to leave AoL, because of an emotional or devotional attachment, then please ask your bosses / supervisors to formulate proper policies, and publish them on the web site. You deserve that. If they don’t, then you’ll know that you’re working for the wrong organization.

    If they do, then AoL will succeed in attracting many more employees.

    Last but not the least, please ask for health care benefits too. Meditation, Sudershan Kriya etc. may be good for general well-being but I don’t think they can take care of specific ailments in all instances across the board.

    If AoL is truly an organization that has integrity, then it’ll put these policies in place and benefit from this initiative because many more people would want to join it.

    In fact, those critics of AoL, who feel that employees are being ill-treated, will be silenced for good.

    How about that ?

    • hari permalink
      March 2, 2012 8:25 pm

      @ VSS… that is the most perfect dissection of AOL I have come across in this blog so far…

      Though it would be great to see you write here, I wish you to move on and enjoy your life to the fullest extent… and do visit the blog once in a while, who knows, there may be more surprises in store for you about AOL…

      AOL thinks they could “package” spirituality like aerated drinks… say like mini-coke for a beginner’s classes, a pitcher for advanced classes, a visit to the coke facility to see how bottling is done in the name of direct sessions with HHSSRS himself… different price tags for different products… but in the end, its nothing but “burp” and “pee” after you drink it… burning a hole in your wallet and gaining nothing out of AOL

  5. VSS permalink
    March 3, 2012 9:06 am

    @ hari

    Thank you for your kind words and concern, and, your insightful remarks on AoL. The “coke” example illustrates your point brilliantly.

    Life is a fascinating experience. Living it to the fullest involves living several of its dimensions to the fullest. Contributing to this blog is one of the several dimensions of my life. It is not an “enjoyable” experience, but it’s definitely an enriching one. That’s because it’s rewarding and empowering.

    I think that somewhere down the line, all of humanity took freedom for granted. So, when some of our fellow humans went an surrendered their freedom to cults such as AoL, and cult leaders such as SSRS, we didn’t get alarmed. We didn’t act. We didn’t think that something needed to be done right away. We didn’t even consider urgent interventions.

    The result of that inertia and apathy is that today there are several cults and several million people in those cults. Therefore, I have two options. I can either pretend that cults don’t exist, or, do the little I can, by way of writing on this blog, and acknowledge the existence of those who are suffering in cults. Maybe those who are in cults don’t even realize that they are suffering because of ruthless manipulation and deceptive exploitation.

    Maybe cult leaders succeed in making them experts in the art of pretending that there is no world outside the cult. However, I am not an expert at pretending that there are no cults inside this world. To me, it’s is like walking down the road, witnessing an accident, and, not even doing the least that one can do.

    By writing here, I am merely doing the least that I can do.

    Recently, I came across this quote on an AoL site:

    “Change your breath, change your mind. Change your mind, change your emotions.”

    I was shocked — as shocked as I would be if I witnessed an accident that killed several people. I couldn’t believe that this could be sold to people and that they would actually be buying it. As I’ve mentioned in an earlier comment on another post, this is like saying that if your breathing is irregular because of some stress, instead of addressing the reason for stress, start breathing differently. To my mind, that’s what a quack would say — a quack who is not only a con but has a grotesque sense of humour.

    If someone came to me, for instance, and said that they were stressed out because of a problem at work, I would listen to them and try and find a way of addressing the problem through discussion and experience-sharing. I wouldn’t say “you’re stressed out because you don’t know how to breathe, so give me money, i’ll teach you sudershan kriya, and everything will be alright”. I would simply not be able to ridicule the intelligence and sensitivity of that person with such a preposterous and exploitative suggestion. This is not just bizarre, this is a very macabre kind of bizarre. It’s horrifying beyond measure.

    Just imagine what would have happened if Lord Krishna had told Arjuna to do Sudershana Kriya — there would be no Bhagvada Gita. Arjuna would have said “I’m getting stressed out because of the Kauravas”, and, Krishna would have responded with “Change your breath, change your mind. Change your mind, change your emotions.” Then, Krishna would have asked Arjuna for a substantial fee, to make Arjuna appreciate his advice. And, they would live in Vrindavan for the rest of their lives, doing satsang and yoga raves with Radha and company (in an alcohol-free and smoke-free atmosphere in the nightclubs of local five star hotels). Sometimes, they would also organize a “flash mob” on the streets of Vrindavan to get more people to live like them.

    If this had really happened, and there was no Bhagvada Gita, then Hinduism would simply not be the religion that it is. I think that all those who think that SSRS is a subject matter expert on Hinduism should think again — not only is he not an expert, he is actually in the business of selling a philosophy which is not a part of Hinduism.

    If you apply his philosophy to the Ramayana, can you imagine what he’d have advised Sita? He would have said, “Change your breath, change your mind. Change your mind, change your emotions.” And, if Sita listened to him, she would have started feeling differently about Ravana. She might even have fallen in love with him. Ditto for Rama. He would have found someone else in the forest. There would be no war between Rama and Ravana. There would be “world peace” as defined by SSRS.

    In one of the videos on the AoL web site, SSRS says to someone who can’t forget a guy in her life, “Wait till you meet someone else.” All those who are in the audience laugh their guts out. It’s a nightmarish experience to see that video. One knows pretty much what he would say to the wives of those soldiers who lose their husbands to war. Widows must have the freedom to decide what they want to do with their lives. Remarriage is not something that works for everyone. People are different. For some, “moving on” means “remarrying”. For some, “moving on” means finding a new purpose, or, a set of new purposes.

    There’s a book called Mila 18 by Leon Uris. It mentions one of the tactics used by Hitler to “train” his soldiers. He would make them take care of a pet dog for a year, and, at the end of the year, make them kill the dog. Most of those soldiers went on to kill whoever else Hitler asked them to kill. A few stopped believing in Hitler because they believed in life more than they believed in killing living beings.

    I write on this blog to support the type of people who are like the people who had the courage and the sensitivity to stop believing in Hitler; I also write to sincerely appeal to those who are like the people who believed in Hitler, to leave life in a cult by facing life outside the cult with greater courage and sensitivity. That, to my mind, is the art of living. Hence, I am definitely living life to the fullest by writing on this blog.

    Thank you again for your kind words on my earlier comment, and, your concern. I am well. I consider myself lucky to have found this blog. Also, it doesn’t burn a hole in my pocket. And, it reinforces my faith in freedom.

    • prairie princess permalink
      March 3, 2012 2:59 pm

      Very beautifully said. Slavery is slavery whether it is physical or mental. A cult can do both. Raviravi seems to be a master at enslavement.

    • Ronin permalink
      March 3, 2012 4:00 pm

      Very true indeed a keen insight for someone who is not involved in the AOL corporation.

      You should if you haven’t already check out earlier posts whistleblower and the early pioneers had some as well.

  6. Anonymous permalink
    March 3, 2012 3:08 pm

    Well, what did you expect? If the early, senior teachers get angry when someone questions the money asked for these things, ask yourself this: What happened to their careers? They were snookered and brainwashed early on by SSRS and now have nowhere to go. If people don’t pay lots for those courses, who will pay for their food and clothing and shelter? Did you think these people were independently wealthy when they entered in their 20s to this group? They were not. You can find out easily. They were failures in the world, so they took up with AOL. Now they rely on SSRS and AOL for every morsel of food that goes into their mouths. You could say “maybe so and so married well and has own money?” Look deeper you’ll see not. I pity those who are still AOL lackeys. They will never get anything from SSRS except commends to pull more and more money, and then some payment from him. Most of the early teachers know exactly what SSRS is, have long wanted to leave, have expressed it openly, and said they had nowhere else to go. One even said “I get to travel nicely, I’d never get that opportunity if I went back to my life”….This is the level of ‘seeker’ that is running the organization from the top down. What did you expect? $1500 to listen to SSRS talk about the Upanishads? Good luck to those who are fooled into paying it. But I honestly pray that they will at least get something out of the course beyond the cheap ‘shot’ of energy that always comes from SSRS. I hope they actually get their eyes opened as to the hypocrisy and greed of AOL, and they walk away after the experience to get on with their lives. I hope they see what they have contributed to, and view it as having been robbed by somebody, and maybe they won’t get robbed again. I pray they will see that the old teachers are filled with hatred and anger and meanness, and will wonder “after all this time, shouldn’t these people be enlightened or at least polite and in control of their emotions a bit?” And who knows? Maybe they will even come away having heard some of the Upanishads and gained some actual knowledge that they could of, of course, gotten on their own from a bookstore for a few rupees/dollars.

  7. StrongVolunteer permalink
    March 4, 2012 4:08 am

    Stumbling into the Infinity by spending infinite money on the courses.

    Thanks for revealing the Truth – Satyam Param Dhimahi……………

  8. Anonymous permalink
    March 4, 2012 8:14 am

    Is ssrs gay ?

    • March 5, 2012 9:09 am

      SSRS is half Shiva & half parvathi, like half men half wonen,
      That is is why no sex scandle can touch him 🙂

    • Chindu permalink
      March 5, 2012 9:39 am

      Nothing wrong being gay. He has lot of Gay tendencies which I have witnessed. Some of his close disciples who get to stay late in his kutir are Gay.

      • Anonymous permalink
        March 5, 2012 5:49 pm

        Absolutely nothing wrong with being gay. Something terribly wrong with hiding behind white robes, and claiming bramachari for years if that’s all a lie, though. I wonder which disciples would stay if they knew the truth? If he came out and said “I’m this” or “I’m that”. A master should not be afraid of the public opinion. If he is, then he is not a master. Just some nervous little man. It’s wrong to deceive people when you are taking so much money in the name of charities. People should get to choose to whom to give their money with the full facts in their hands. Lots of people would not choose to give to a Gay Guru, or a Guru who has sex with female disciples either. Many people want a master who is what he says he is, not pretending to be something he is not. I personally couldn’t care less about whether the man is gay or straight. But lying about either is unacceptable to me. EVeryone is different though. Some people don’t care what he does, even lying, as long as they feel good. That’s cool.

      • kevin permalink
        March 9, 2012 5:28 am

        lol,,,,!! sounds funny,,,, chindu,, can u cite me some prrof for wot u’ve claimed,,,?

  9. StrongVolunteer permalink
    March 4, 2012 4:20 pm

    Q: How do we overcome the six enemies of the mind (Arishadvarga – Desire, Anger, Greed, Attachment, Pride, and Jealousy)?
    Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: If you have nothing to do then lust bothers you. If you are busy for the entire day, these thoughts will not come up in your mind. You will come back tired and go to sleep. When you have a big goal in your life, small desires will not trouble you. If thoughts of greed or possessing more and more bother you, be greedy for the highest. And what is the highest? The Divine.
    Be angry against injustice. Be angry with big matters and not small ones. Be proud that the Divine belongs to you. Be jealous about seva. If someone is doing seva, do more seva than him. If someone is good-natured and generous, be more good-natured and generous than him. Above all, do pranayama. With pranayama, all these impurities go away. Pranayama is the biggest of all penance.

    From Guruji’s Post on http://celebrating-silence-of-life.blogspot.in/

  10. Anonymous permalink
    March 4, 2012 7:07 pm

    Dear All,

    I was a part of AoL about 10 years ago. As a teacher from India, I saw SSRS closely. It’s been 10 years and I haven’t been in touch with AoL at all. I’m curious- is it still doing well?

  11. Anonymous permalink
    March 5, 2012 1:30 am

    Anonymous PERMALINK
    March 4, 2012 7:07 pm
    Dear All,
    I was a part of AoL about 10 years ago. As a teacher from India, I saw SSRS closely. It’s been 10 years and I haven’t been in touch with AoL at all. I’m curious- is it still doing well?

    Depends on what “doing well” means.

    If it means making a ton of money.

    1. They still have people flocking to them. However, many I know have become wise…they do not invest….in fact they are looking to gain back on their past investments. Hence new contributions have to be bought in. Hence the recruitment drive for new fresh brain-washable minds. Is that happening….yes it is. How much money are they actually making…..you should ask the CEO of AOL corp. Dr HHSSRS.,,,maybe he knows. He will tell you about his costs…..ask him about his revenues and how many trusts he has and which collection goes into which trust. When you know please post it here. Its nice to know for what and whom I raised money for a decade before exiting.

    He is man of numbers after all. We have adopted 25,000 villages. We had 2.5 million people for SIlver Jubilee.

    Maybe if AOL had a CFO they could answer this question. Or their auditor…..the face of whom changes every year. Why not find and ask the many many CAs who volunteered to work for AOL whether they would stake their names and reveal the real numbers behind the ALL-IN-ONE corporation.

    2. Doing well, do we mean that they still have unconditional followers who will follow everything a “Sr teacher” says with no questions in their minds……..absolutely……THEY ARE STILL DOING GREAT on that front.

    3. Are they close to winning the Nobel peace prize……or ushering in world peace during the current Avatar and timeline of avatar of Dr HHSSRS……..that is a miracle in the making….if ever there is going to be one. The jury is out on this one. What’s your guess ? Afterall he is turning 56 this year. Not much time left no ?

    4. Will the AOL devotees experience a living mix of Krishna, Jesus, Shiva and Shakti…….Well some say that this a special Darshan that can be arranged when a 100,000 people pay US$ 1000 each and are able to all assemble together in America, given specific Vaasthu conditions and specific Lattitude Longitude coordinates, the time has to be just right, the place has to be just right…..and when all 100,000 people are ready to pay for their karmas without hesitation…..it will happen. Dr HHSSRS is not just a regular teacher. He walks the talk and the path and he will take you to the final destination…..”Bankruptcy”….Is AOL doing well …I guess they are.

    5. Is AOL richer than what they were when you were in. I would imagine so. More land (Acquired using every means possible) . More for profit companies. More followers with pockets to be tapped.

    6. Has it become more interesting as a corporation. More courses, more politics (Anna Hazare, RSS, Internal AOL politics), more countries, more scandals (buried and not talked about), more teachers, more Ashrams, more hysteria, more violence (assasination attempts). Do they have a 2nd string of mangers now ? The Menons, The Bharats, The Sadyojatahs, The Bawas, The Ravindra Prasads,…..Yes and NO. Some division of territory and spoils have happened. So, each forms his own niche and does what they want within that niche with a certain amount of impunity. After all they all know enough to expose the whole madness. So, in that position you can get away with a little stuff from the great man….

    However, the current AOL volunteers and teachers have one thing which I never had when I was in…..”This BLOG”.

    7. Are they more popular than before ?. Absolutely as per marketing expert Shri Harshal. Every successful organisation will have critiques. You will know that they are enjoying great success when the criticism is also strong. This BLOG is very strong. By inference as per our very own usually harsh expert harshal…AOL is doing very well.

    8. Are more happy people on the planet happy because of AOL ? That depends on what you mean by happy. I know that I have left my engineered happiness behind when I left AOL and am now more genuinely myself than ever before. If that is the case, then the tribe of the number of people that have voluntarily left AOL is increasing…..YES AOL has indeed created more happy people.

    9. How many more enlightened masters has the Super-master gifted the planet during this lifetime…….the rumour is that there will be special blessing course for this on 21-12-2012. The Donation amount is being finalised. The reason it has not been finalised so far is that many people feel that this could be the end of the world the way we know it. It may potentially AOL’s last big course on planet earth…hence the fee should be the highest ever. Anyone that can afford the fee will be given enlightenment. However for your enlightenment entitlement the following have to be strictly adhered to (other than the fees that is)

    a. You should have attended atleast 25 part-1 courses in the last 5 years.
    b. You should have assisted alteast 25 part-1 courses in the last 5 years other than the ones you attended.
    c. Minimum 3 blessing courses and 3 advance courses with 1 of them in the presence of Dr HHSSRS in the last 2 years, once of them being away from your country of residence.
    d. You must have generated directly or indirectly, a minimum of US$ 100,000 for AOL corp in the last 5 years. A detailed report is to be prepared by you to be ratified by your part-1 teacher and the local Apex body.
    e. You should have bought (using your credit card, cash purchases not valid) 1 cop of Ashtavakra Gita, 2 copies of Yogasara Upanishad, at least 20 Bhajan CDs, 1 personal item of HH Dr SSRS in an auction..IF NOT you should have eaten at Bawa’s and Dinesh’s canteen for more than 5000 Rs in a calendar year …….please furnish all the receipts along with the application.
    f. If you do not have any of the above, a letter of recommendation from Bhanu Didi will suffice.

    Hence there is a big drive to finish all the 25 mandatory part-1s quickly.

    10. Are they getting better known ?, do they have more publicity than ever before.
    Absolutely, Yutube TV Channels, Nobel peace Prize nomination, Anna Hazare events, larger Navaratiris and Shivaratiris, bigger weddings at the Ashram, Berlin Yoga festivals, …….free PR after dog shooting exercises…..YUP…doing very well.

    • March 5, 2012 4:38 pm

      With regards to “special blessing course for this on 21-12-2012 and the last blessing course of AOL”
      Indeed it is true, in 2013 AOL will be exposed for all cult activities.
      Also due to planetary change in 2012 people start recognizing the fake Gurus and organizations..

  12. StrongVolunteer permalink
    March 5, 2012 4:38 am

    Yeah, He is doing well.

    Since there are so many weak minds in the world and are attracted to glamor world of him and his full time slaves who are blind and not using their intelligence whether they are on right path or not ?

    They are planning to open an Meditation Center at Cosmos to teach meditation / yoga to Alieans and earn money from them by brainwashing them…………

    • Anonymous permalink
      March 7, 2012 6:16 pm

      I did the basic course many years back…in india it was free to repeat..in europe it its not free to repeat…(and they dont tell you in india that a repeat is not free everywhre…anyway labour is cheap in india..)
      anyway after so many years. I want to do it again…meeting new people and good entertainment for Rs. 1000 (if you dont know waht do to with your money and time 😉

  13. Vuvuzela permalink
    March 5, 2012 5:49 am

    Hey Everyone!

    Love the comments from VSS!

    Im from South Africa, I did my first part 1 course in 2008, one thing i remember is the teacher got so angry because there were too few of us in the course. She kept on saying she wil only do a course if there is more than 10 people.

    Now the way i saw it, if you even have 1 person who really wants to learn this wonderful knowledge, isnt that enough?? Why the emphasis on the numbers??

    I realised then AOL is all about the money, just packaged and marketed very well.

    I do yoga, and kriya when i feel like it, but i cant seem to release myself of AOL completely, because my parents and siblings are all into it. I have spoken to them about how i feel, but they didnt want to hear it!

    I can see they are being manipulated, I want to help them, but i just dont know what to do.

    Thanks so much for this blog, its really helped me realise see the true nature of AOL.

    Cheers

  14. Anonymous permalink
    March 5, 2012 4:09 pm

    ‎”Guruji was in agyaatwaas in Sangla valley for three days from 27th to 29th feb 2012. There were only six devotees with him during that time! Some of the things that Guruji shared with these fortunate people are:

    1.Do “Om Namah Shivay” chanting with the bhav that “I bow to the supreme power who has created this universe”.

    2. Chant Gayatri mantra with the intention ki “bhagwan humari buddhi ko sahi disha de aur humari buddhi koi galat decision na le”.

    3.We ask so many things and questions from God, but how to get our answers? When we meditate regularly our questions and prayers are answered in the form of our intuition. While meditating have this bhav – “Ishwar mein sunne ko tayaar hoon ki tum kya kehna chahte ho”. This is the reason for meditation, and this should be the bhava as well and this is what we get after meditation.

    4.Increase ur sadhana, do more Seva and AOL teachers take more and more courses.

    5.Nischint raho,kyunki prabhu tumhare saath hai.

    6.All blessers to bless Maximum”

    • Anonymous permalink
      March 20, 2012 12:37 pm

      May i know your name and who shares this with you.I was with Guru ji during these days in sangla.jgdv

      • VSS permalink
        March 20, 2012 1:49 pm

        @ Anonymous [March 20, 2012 12:37 pm]

        May I know your name ?

  15. O Ranganaatha permalink
    March 5, 2012 8:33 pm

    I have had a long standing debate with one of my best friends (friends for nearly 18 yrs now) who was pretty much agnostic, not too much into Hindu religious practices, until he found the love of his life a couple of years back. His future wife was too much into AOL, so, he reluctantly tried a few courses (as was forced by his future wife). Now he is too much into AOL thingie that he compelled me quite a few times that it may be necessary for me “to become a better person in life”… however, I have been someone who hates to be preached about how to lead my life… even if I was wrong, I would rather learn by committing a mistake… this being the case, we have had countless number of arguments, back and forth… our phone conversations trickled down from almost many times a day to once or more a week, and then to once in a while and now we have completely stopped talking or chatting as I felt, it got too much and I had to end a more than a decade old friendship… and the saddest part of it is that I did not have regrets letting go of it, as my friend who got into AOL became a completely different person – he became obnoxious, uber-intrusive about my life, would not welcome any critical questions about AOL or his choice of getting deep into AOL… I want to post below some of the arguments that we had over emails back and forth below… and I seek answers and interpretations from the bloggers here… which atleast would be help me in understanding what happened to my friend.
    He always argues “Charity cannot be done from an empty bowl and that is why each course has a fee”
    My argument “How come so many other NGOs run charity based on donations and fund-raisers? Even Red Cross does not have any building even remotely comparable in size than AOL ashrams across the world”
    His argument “We pay for education at school, we pay for education at college, why should spirituality be taught free of cost? If spirituality and the path to nirvaana or mukthi is given away free of cost, no one would take it seriously. That is why it comes with a price tag at AOL”
    My argument “the path to mukhti or nirvana for Buddha may not work for Shankaracharya. The one that worked for Shankaracharya may not work for HHSSRS. The one that works for HHSSRS may not work for his disciples or you. The one that works for you may not work for either your hypothetical identical twin brother or your clone. Then how come AOL is packaging it into – one protocol for all to THE path or THE answer”.

    There were several such examples, but, now, he is ignorant of the impending crisis in his life, ignoring his family, ignoring the realty of life and he talks like a parrot. Its sad at the same time, but I have spent more than 3 yrs trying to coming up with logical replies (in my understanding) to his pro-AOL thoughts. Now, it has only left me with hurt that some friendships are not meant to be and that is how life goes. But I will not forgive AOL for sucking up the best friend of my life

    • visitor permalink
      March 7, 2012 6:52 pm

      one (more) simple argument: a price tag doesnt necessarily help to get more out of sth.

      a rich man can buy some food and throw it if it doenst taste him.
      if you give a cake free of cost to a begger child..he/she will eat it as if it were the best food they ever had.

      second example: this is from the indian university system. there are some paid seats (with heavy fee) and some “normal (minimal charges)” seats in many colleges…if you have studied in such a college have you ever seen someone from a paid seat getting the top ranks?…it will happen rarely..if at all…
      (btw there are also some who get there almost for free due to some govt policies…very often, they are also not the ones who make it to the top..))

      third example: if you win a iPad in a lucky draw,,,i am quite sure you will enjoy it as much as…or even more..than if you had paid for it.

      fourth and last example: I bought computer game for a heavy price..hoping that i will enjoy it…but i somehow didnt like it..i tried to like it (as i had paid good amount for it)..after some hours i kept it aside.
      i bought another game that i got for almost free..and its a fantastic game…i enjoy playing it…its excellet irrespective of its price.

      i m not completely ignoring the money aspect…money has its own role…but more important is your own thirst for the knowledge….you will make most of it if you want (and also are capable to appreciate and handling) it, not if you get it for free or against a payment..

    • visitor permalink
      March 7, 2012 7:26 pm

      dear Rangnaatha,

      your story reminds me of mine 😦
      i also had a freind exaclty since 18 years!!…he was somewhat inclined towars Prem rawats group…i think all these money suckers fame seekers are similar in this respect.
      he tried to get me in…but thanks to Mr. Ravi shanker…i had my interactions with these knowledge sellers…and if you see the ex-premis site, prem rawat looks no different (and more interestingly sudarshsan kriya lookd quite similar to one of rawats techniques…)

      well i had to tell my friend that i didnt like the idea of going to these gurus. well he said that i have had a miserable life and theres no harm in trying something that he tried and is extemely happy…well i admit that i have had miserable life..but still i see no need to go to these suckers for help.
      (I would rather drink, make some girlfriends, give my money to them and die in their arms 🙂

      I discussed my hopelessness with ssrs once….and and he simply asked me if i wanted to be with him…i dint undersand waht he meant ..i said no. and i got no helping advice from him….he just refused to give me any advice. (i dont remember i think he finally said do the kriya etc properly..i doubt if he was at all interested in my querry…strictly speaking one MAY be right in the answer he gave…but that didnt help me at least)

      anyway so i told my friend about ssrs and i said i see prem rawat no diffrent…i tried to make him careful about the money he was spending for the orgamisation…we had less frequent chats with time..he also found a woman who was a premrawat follwer…you can understand the rest..

      rawat is god for him, the world for him…he talks about him, and i think he has lost his mind, at least in that area.
      we are still friends…but i think he has found lot of other like minded peoplein the organisation that he doesnt bother to get in touch with me. and perhaps his wife also donest want him to be in touch with such non-followers like me.

      i wish all the best to him. hope he doesnt leave his good paying job.

      • O Ranganaatha permalink
        March 9, 2012 1:59 pm

        Prem Rawat, Amma, SSRS, Nithyanand all are different cats out of the same bag… with just one single aim – loot money in the name of spirituality… I cannot understand how enlightenment could be packaged as “one size for all”… if it was every disciple of Buddha would have attained the same state as him

  16. Jai Ram permalink
    March 6, 2012 6:15 am

    Here is the link for the course:
    http://secure.artofliving.org/course_details.aspx?course_id=11731

    Excerpts from the link above:
    The course fee for the Upanishad series is to benefit VVM and its programs. To attend the commentary on the Upanishads, the minimum donation is $1,100 per person, and of this, $900 is tax deductible to the individual paying the registration fee. Beginning April 6, 2012, the payment increases to $1,500 per person, and of this $1,300 is tax deductible to the individual paying the registration fee.

    Since they force everyone to pay $1100 (early bird) or $1500, why do they consider only $200 for the course and the rest as a tax deductible donation. Doesn’t donation means giving voluntarily? Do you think anyone will be able to attend the course with just paying the course fee of $200 and not giving any donation? I talked to a certified public accountant in the US and he mentioned that this could be borderline illegal for the AOL foundation to do this. He asked me to report it to the United States IRS. I will look into it and notify the IRS soon.

    For those of you who might not be familiar with taxes in the US: by the participants paying $1100 or $1300 as donation, they will get a tax write off of anywhere from 25% to 50% of the donation amount. Usually the tax code specifies that any amount is considered a donation only when no services are being received by the donor.

    In short AOL does anything and takes advantages of not only the volunteers/devotees but also exploit the tax system to their best. What a scam!!!

  17. VSS permalink
    March 6, 2012 11:47 am

    A NOTE TO ALL AMERICAN CITIZENS WHO HAVE BEEN CONNED BY AOL

    Please inform the American Embassy in New Delhi, India, in addition to informing the IRS.

    The American Embassy issues travel advisories at regular intervals, warning US citizens about potential threats. You’d be doing your fellow Americans a great service by informing the American Embassy about your bad experience with AoL. Even if they don’t explicitly mention AoL in the travel advisory but include a word of caution about fake and false spiritual gurus, you might be able to save some people from being conned. This is very important because large sums of money are involved.

    As an Indian, I feel very ashamed of these fake and false spiritual gurus who con foreign nationals in the name of spirituality. I am lucky I found this blog and it confirmed my apprehensions about AoL, thereby successfully preventing me from joining it at a time when I was under tremendous pressure to join it for personal reasons. (At the time, I had begun interacting with representatives of AoL over email, and I was on the verge of packing my bags and leaving for the Bangalore Ashram. I read this blog just in the nick of time.)

    I have informed everyone I know about this blog, including foreign nationals I know personally. I have categorically mentioned to them that not just AoL, but ANY INDIAN OUTFIT THAT SELLS SPIRITUALITY IS INDULGING IN FRAUD. ANY INDIAN OUTFIT THAT IS SELLING INDIAN POVERTY TO CON FOREIGN NATIONALS INTO GIVING MORE AND MORE MONEY FOR CHARITY IS ALSO INDULGING IN FRAUD.

    THERE IS NOTHING SPIRITUAL ABOUT SELLING SPIRITUALITY.
    AND, THERE IS NOTHING SPIRITUAL ABOUT SELLING POVERTY.

    IF SOMEONE WHO CLAIMS TO BE A SPIRITUAL GURU LIVES IN LUXURY, IT’S A SHAME, BECAUSE INDIA IS SUCH A POOR COUNTRY, THAT ANY MONEY SPENT ON BUSINESS CLASS TICKETS AND STAYING IN FIVE STAR HOTELS CAN LITERALLY FEED AND EDUCATE HUNDREDS, IF NOT THOUSANDS. FURTHER, SOMEONE WHO DOES THIS WITH A SMILE ON HIS FACE IS A NATIONAL SHAME AND NATIONAL HORROR.

    Therefore, please protect yourself from this Indian national called SSRS and his outfit called AoL. Please also protect your fellow Americans. I don’t know about other countries, but I do know that the US Government tries to protect its citizens. They are in a position to at least inform all those traveling to India that there are Indian outfits that con people in the name of spirituality and community service.

    Neither the pursuit of God, nor serving underprivileged sections of communities, can be attained by GIVING MONEY TO A PARTICULAR INDIVIDUAL OR A PARTICULAR ORGANIZATION WHO CLAIMS THEY CAN GET YOU BROWNIE POINTS FROM GOD.

    Still, if you desperately need an intermediary between God and you, please find one who does not want money from you. No true man of God will demand money to help you build a relationship with God. If you believe in God, you should know that God cannot be so petty, exploitative, and, manipulative.

    If you want to help poor people, please contact the governments of poor countries. In India, we have the Prime Minister’s Relief Fund. All the money donated to the fund is employed to helping those below the poverty line and those who have suffered due to national calamities. Similarly, other countries that have people living below the poverty line or people who have suffered natural calamities or devastation caused by war, have specific departments that welcome donations. They provide you with proper accounts and proper evidence of how a donation was utilized.

    Please don’t trust anyone else. It’s simply not worth it. And, please don’t trivialize your bad experiences. Help others so that they don’t succumb to the same deception that you succumbed to. Sadly, there are many in India — outfits and individuals — who con foreign nationals. Please protect yourself and whoever else you possibly can.

  18. stupidseeker permalink
    March 6, 2012 1:24 pm

    Anonymous

    “”I once heard Rajshree Patel saying in an advance course that enlightenment is not a great thing. “”
    “”But Guruji is the one who has been maintaining that state of enlightenment since eons, since the beginning of time.””

    And I wonder how Rajshree Patel worked out that Guruji had an “untainted consciousness” since the “beginning of time” ??

    • StrongVolunteer permalink
      March 6, 2012 4:23 pm

      Liar..Liar………..These people now needs to see darkness behind bars to cheat the people on the name of spirituality. This is in no way indian spirituality. I am ashamed of myself these guys are indian and selling indian spirituality this way………..

  19. stupidseeker permalink
    March 6, 2012 1:28 pm

    @Anonymous,

    And I’m surprised that Rajshree patel could say such a thing as “enlightenment” is not a great thing since the whole purport or theme of almost all Hindu scriptures from the Puranas to the Upanishads to the Bhagavad Gita is “enlightenment” or the awareness of one’s “true” nature, and the subsequent dissolution of karma and freedom from the repeated cycles of birth and rebirth.

    And these scriptures stress that once attained, “enlightenment” cannot be taken away or does not diminish.

    • Anonymous permalink
      March 8, 2012 2:01 pm

      @ stupidseeker

      Her intention in saying that is not to belittle enlightenment, but to seat SSRS on the highest pedestal (higher than any other guru), and churn out more devotion from the aol zombies. To reinforce the feeling of ‘my guru is the greatest’.

      Yes enlightenment attained once does not go away or diminish (with some exceptions), but some one who attained enlightenment only 2 years ago is not that great compared to one who made it 200 years back. The later is 198 years senior. This is what she meant. The murky consciousness gets purified on getting enlightened. But SSRS is pure since the beginning, so he is unlike any other guru. He is infinite years senior.

  20. VSS permalink
    March 6, 2012 2:49 pm

    @ O Ranganaatha

    I found many answers in the following post:

    https://aolfree.wordpress.com/2010/05/13/know-thy-enemy/

    @ Vuvuzela

    Thank you for your kind words about my comments. I’m sorry your family is still trapped in AoL. I really don’t know precisely what you could do to help your family, but I would recommend the above link to you as well (for you). This post (link above) empowered me immensely, so I feel it might empower you too.

    • Vuvuzela permalink
      March 7, 2012 6:31 am

      @ VSS

      Thanks for the link, its really an eye opener.

      For a long time, the teacher who I did my first part 1 course with, has always been phoning my parents, and telling them that she will come and do Guru Puja, and satsang @ our home, atleast once a month for the last 5 months they have been doing this.

      I have started becoming really irritable when they come over, for it. I enjoy the satsang, but they just seem so fake, fake smiles, fake happiness, and you can feel they trying to pull you in, with all their stories of SSRS and comparing him to Jesus, and if you hug SSRS all your past karma wil disolve.

      Thank goodness they havent phones this week, i will be crossing fingers.

      Oh ya, they planning to build an ashram in Cape Town. They had a huge fundraiser quite some time ago, and then no news of the ashram… no details on how much money was made, and what exactly it will be used for, nothing!

      Cheers Bru!

      • Jai Ram permalink
        March 7, 2012 7:05 am

        Talking about opening a center, here is what happened in California.

        About 3 years back, there was a craze to open new local centers. As usual fund raising drives were conducted and monthly commitments were taken from volunteers/devotees to contribute on a regular basis. It was clear instructions giving by AOL corporate that all the expenses will have to be borne by the center and NO assistance will be provided by corporate. Even the strict rules about using only 25% of funds generated during courses were allowed to be used for the center. For the first 1 year or so, all the local volunteers and teachers contributed the funds that were short, but AOL corporate kept their 75% of course fees. Suddenly from the second year, when the centers started making money (meaning 25% of course fees exceeded the monthly expense of the center), the excess money disappeared, it was kept by AOL corporate. And still people who initially put in a monthly commitment for running the center were charged even when the center started making money.
        So in short, AOL corporate keeps the profit and volunteers/teachers foot the loss. What suckers!!
        My guess on how the Cape Town center will play out.
        1. Organize fund raisers, make it known everywhere that running a center costs a lot of money and keep raising money with no visibility on what is the goal and how much has been raised
        2. Once the center is opened, the fund raising money will disappear.
        3. Monthly commitments will be taken from volunteers/teachers/suckers to run the center.
        4. Right from day 1, AOL corporate will keep 75% of the course fees.
        5. Once the center starts making money, AOL corporate will only reimburse the actual expenses for the center and keep the rest
        6. They will keep begging every week during long kriya, courses and keep asking for money
        7. They will never provide any accounting of how and where the money is spent.

        In short a great business model.
        Well this is a proven formula and it really works.

        AOLites, Wake up from your slumber!!

      • Vuvuzela permalink
        March 7, 2012 7:20 am

        Im hoping no more people donate money for this cult, but they have been marketing it very well.

        When someone asked, why the ashram will be built in Cape Town? The teacher replied in a harsh way ‘Never question the Guru’ , and then mentioned something about Table Mountain having a lot of energy which will help solve the crime, corruption and poverty issues in the country, a lot of people have fallen for this nonsense.

      • VSS permalink
        March 7, 2012 3:20 pm

        @ Vuvuzela

        Hold on to your freedom, now that you’ve found it. Protect it. Preserve it. Cherish it. Educate others, whenever possible. If they are able to regain their freedom instantly, then that’s great. If they take time, at least you’ll be there for them when they do. Good luck. Hope your loved ones see through AoL soon. Hope the other people you know see through AoL soon too. There are a lot of people who are working towards exposing AoL here in India. It may take time but they will succeed.

      • Montana Wildcat (aka drpetersutphen) permalink
        March 25, 2012 4:23 am

        Tell them to stop being so fake! What’s wrong with you? Don’t you think you can talk this way to them? Also, tell them to stop telling stories about Guruji because these pearls are not being appreciated.

    • o ranganaatha permalink
      March 7, 2012 2:20 pm

      @ VSS thanks for the link. that was quite informative. I guess it is not proper of me to judge my friend who has gone in AOL’s way… he is doing whatever that keeps him happy…. I hope he realizes that it was indeed a wrong path… and be able to reverse the damage done by AOL to him and his life…

      • VSS permalink
        March 7, 2012 4:27 pm

        @ o ranganaatha

        I’m glad you found that post informative. Those of us who haven’t been trapped by a cult are fortunate. Indeed, we must not judge those who’ve been trapped. They’re not at fault or flawed. They’re just the victims of ruthless manipulation. I too hope your friend regains his freedom soon.

  21. Anon permalink
    March 6, 2012 5:48 pm

    Register early and pay donation of $900
    Register late and pay donation of $1,300
    Clearly donation is tied to conditions here.

    Why can’t they charge all the $1,100 or $1,500 as course fee instead of splitting them into $200 as course fee and the remainder as donation. It could be to get more tax breaks for themselves in addition to motivating the participants with tax cuts. The entire amount is indirectly being charged as a course fee but accounted otherwise to cheat the IRS. Will they allow anyone to register for the course without a donation. If not, is this donation voluntary.

    A similiar scheme is being followed for advance courses in the US. Total course payment is split into course fee and expense fee. They have never come out with expense details to justify the exorbitant expense fee. Why do they split this into two. I am sure they are manipulating this for some advantage. Is it just not to show the amount of expense fee in their accounts or get more tax breaks.

  22. StrongVolunteer permalink
    March 6, 2012 6:02 pm

    The 4 most important qualities of a great leader are to inspire hope, trust, stability, compassion, and live up to them. – Sri Sri

  23. stupidseeker permalink
    March 6, 2012 7:37 pm

    The whole video is worth listening to and the changing expressions of the master are intriguing. All the AOL folk should consider themselves lucky that the master opened the “floodgates” for them and remembers to celebrate birthdays. LOL

  24. stupidseeker permalink
    March 6, 2012 7:42 pm

    In the context of the above video, may I ask HHSSRS how he managed to please his master or did his master in his mercy, taking a different stance, open the “floodgates” for him so that he could make whatever progress he could make ??

    • Montana Wildcat (aka drpetersutphen) permalink
      March 25, 2012 4:18 am

      His Master, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, did the same thing; that is bringing meditation to people that were very clearly not deserving of it, but what the heck! Somebody once asked Maharishi if he was looking for quality or quantity in his TM teachers and Maharishi answered, “Quantity.” Pretty funny, actually. Maharishi said he had the karma of a jackal!

  25. Anonymous permalink
    March 6, 2012 9:34 pm

    In the video Ravi Shankar is applauded when he says that he teaches meditation to everyone whether they qualify or not.

    The only qualification he looks for seems to be the capability to pay him enough money.

  26. Parth permalink
    March 6, 2012 10:00 pm

    You are so jobless…..,..,..u r spending half ur lifecriticising aol and we ppl are enjoying our life…..

    Good day to you,
    May u succeed in ur endeavours,
    Jai Gurudev,
    I support SSRS and am ready to give my life for him

    • stupidseeker permalink
      March 7, 2012 12:10 pm

      @Parth,

      Are you thinking that anyone criticising AOL,will not be enjoying their lives ??

      Another question, can you visualise a situation wherein you might have to give your life up fo HSSRS’s benefit ?? I’d be looking forward to your answer.

      • Montana Wildcat (aka drpetersutphen) permalink
        March 25, 2012 4:13 am

        I’d love to be in a “place” to give my life for Guruji, but I don’t think I’m that sattvic yet. Perhaps one day!

  27. Hari permalink
    March 6, 2012 10:02 pm

    Wiki says HHSSRS is 55 yrs old. That is a nice black colored locks of hairs on his head and beard for a 55 yr old man… Either SK has kept him young that he hasn’t greyed at all or he is using a hair dye… if it was the latter, so much for “enlightenment” that HHSSRS does care for his looks 🙂

    • Chindu permalink
      March 7, 2012 6:56 am

      He clearly dyes his hair. You can make this out when you are with him in person or even in some photographs where the roots of the hair are white. If he has come out from a fresh dyeing session you cannot make this out. I also heard that the hair dye he used is a very costly french brand. Anyone know which this brand is?

    • Anonymous permalink
      March 7, 2012 7:26 am

      I have been reading this blog and strongly believe in it, but I come across the short form ‘HHSSRS’ many times. There is no need. He’s not ‘His Holiness Sri Sri…’ . Why don’t you and all people call him only RS?

      • March 7, 2012 4:03 pm

        I agree 🙂

      • March 7, 2012 6:42 pm

        Honestly .. I still call him SSRS coz of an underlying fear somewhere ..

      • Montana Wildcat (aka drpetersutphen) permalink
        March 25, 2012 4:11 am

        You can call him Bob for all he cares! But if you call him a name out a desire to disrespect, then that’s your loss, not his.

      • Anonymous permalink
        March 26, 2012 5:20 am

        Whom are you afraid of? Call him ravi or shankar, ravishankar, or brother, uncle, dude or slut! Who cares? That man can’t do anything. Call him anything you feel like.

  28. Anonymous permalink
    March 8, 2012 2:25 pm

    http://www.artofliving.org/wisdom-qa

    Q: Guruji, when we do Sudarshan Kriya are we increasing or decreasing our lifespan?

    Sri Sri: This is the specialty of Kriya. By just breathing in different rhythms for some time, we can experience that peaceful state of Samadhi.
    That is why when you learn the Kriya, you should learn it from a teacher because they know the precise timing of the big circles, medium circles and short circles. All these are counted according to time. So by practicing the Kriya your lifespan will increase.

  29. Anonymous permalink
    March 8, 2012 2:28 pm

    http://www.artofliving.org/wisdom-qa

    Q: Guruji, when our work gets done by your grace we feel grateful to you but when what we want does not happen then we become sad and miserable. Why is it like that?

    Sri Sri: That is why when you are miserable have the strength to let go. When your work gets done, be grateful and do some seva. Seva purifies our karma.
    Charity purifies the money that you earn. At least three to four percent of what you earn should be given away in charity. A spoonful of ghee purifies food.
    There is a proverb in India, ’a spoonful of ghee (clarified butter) on rice purifies the rice.’
    You know why? This is because if you eat rice just like that it digests very fast and becomes sugar very quickly. Many people who eat rice like that, they become diabetics.
    A cardiologist told me, anytime you take cereals you should have a little bit of fat with it. A spoon of ghee on top of it slows down the digestion. It becomes complex carbohydrates and helps to balance the sugar level in the body and that helps a healthy heart function.
    That is why the ancient people had said this, ‘a spoon of ghee purifies the rice.’
    Similarly, with music the emotions get purified. So everyone must sing, it does not matter if you are singing a movie song but sing. A little bit of singing purifies the emotions.
    Then with knowledge the intellect gets purified. You need to have knowledge. What is knowledge? What we have been discussing here.
    Then, meditation purifies the soul and Ayurveda purifies the body. When we take Triphala two or three times a week, the stomach gets cleaned and the mind becomes clear.
    A saint used to say, warm feet, a soft stomach and a cool head, this is the sign of a healthy person.
    But if it is opposite, feet are cold, stomach is hard and head is hot, it is a sign of unhealthiness.
    For the stomach to be light and clean you need Ayurveda. You keep eating something or the other throughout the day and this has an effect on the body. So to cleanse the body, Ayurveda is essential.
    Through yoga and pranayama also body gets cleansed.

  30. Seeker permalink
    March 9, 2012 12:25 am

    I still fail to understand who told him to dye his hair. Maharishi, Sadhguru Jaggi, Osho…none of them did it. My point is if you have reached such a state of refined consciousness where there is no duality, then does it really matter if my hair is grey, brown or even no hair.

    • Chindu permalink
      March 10, 2012 10:37 am

      Osho also used to dye his hair, but after some time he got a makeover and started dressing in funny costumes.
      It is all about branding. You should look at all these gurus like film stars. They even have the same kind of ego and attention seeking need as film stars. Ravi will probably stop dyeing after he is reaches sixty.

  31. kevin permalink
    March 9, 2012 5:32 am

    this guy ravishankar,, is an exceptional perverted personality,, a fuckin genius yaar,,,,,,,!! he very well knows how to tackle situations,, manage people,, nd lure the max outta ’em,,,,,, damnit,,,,!!!

  32. VSS permalink
    March 10, 2012 11:25 am

    Dear Blog Owners,

    If you think it appropriate, could you please post the following separately with the questions below (this exchange):

    Q: Dearest Guruji, what are the signs that I am growing on the path? I did my first course 10 years back. I have done 10 advanced courses and I am a teacher. However, I still get angry. Sometimes I feel people who don’t do any practices are better when compared to my behaviour. Please guide.

    Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You got it all wrong. You think that just meditation is going to do it all for you. You are just enjoying meditation. Why would you get upset if you are deeply soaked in knowledge? You think keeping quiet for ‘sometime’ is going to do everything for you and you forget the knowledge and wisdom.
    Knowledge is glaring on your face saying, ‘accept situations and people as they are’, and you are not doing it.
    I have said so many times, anger is a sign of attachment to perfection. If you are dispassionate why would you get so upset? Listen, you may do ten advanced courses and you may be just hearing things, but if you don’t take it in then it is not the fault of the course or the meditation or the knowledge or wisdom.
    It is like one of those rubber suits that people who go for scuba diving wear when they go into the ocean. You may get in to the water, but when you come out of it you are dry. Not a drop of water has gotten into your body because you are in that wet suit.
    In the same way, you may do ten or twelve advance courses but if you don’t have dispassion, which you hear so many times then you are bound to get angry. Dispassion is the second pillar of knowledge. If that is not there, then you are bound to be angry and upset, you are bound to be possessive and jealous. No dispassion.
    I have said so many times, ‘So Hum, and So What!’ You haven’t heard ‘So What’. Many times you take it for granted. ‘Oh! So what, I have heard it, okay.’ For now you just sit and meditate, and then you go and never remember. Recollect, let it soak into you. It is not the wisdom that is to be blamed. It is your inability to live it, to take it in and soak it into your soul.
    Do you see what I am saying? You can’t say, ‘I have all this attachment and still I am going to be spiritual’, no!
    Spirituality is to relieve one from the obsession of perfection. Spirituality is being centered. In spite of ten advance courses you are getting angry. Just imagine if you had not done any advance courses, what would have been your status.

    Q1: How many more “advance” courses does the person asking this question need?

    Q2: Doesn’t this exchange reveal that ten “advance” courses are not effective?

    Q3: Doesn’t this exchange prove that “Guruji” does not know if teachers are enlightened or not, and that therefore, many un-enlightened people are becoming teachers?

    Q4. Doesn’t this exchange prove that the only way he knows if a teacher is un-enlightened or not is if the teacher tells him?

    Q5: Doesn’t “Guruji” sound frustrated, agitated, and, angry?

    Q6: How many “advance” courses does “Guruji” need to overcome his own anger?

    Q7: Most importantly, doesn’t this exchange reveal that we’re all human, including “Guruji”; no one has special powers; and, the art of living is nothing but the art of selling “advance” courses?

    Q8: Doesn’t this exchange prove that even if “dispassion” is the goal, neither the teacher asking the question nor “Guruji” have achieved it yet?

    Please feel free to add to the list of questions, if needed.

    P.S. Please credit “anonymous” for this post. I received this on email from someone in the Bangalore Ashram who wants to remain “anonymous”.

    Thank you.

    • visitor permalink
      March 10, 2012 7:17 pm

      i always wonder what is the aim of a guru?..if a guru is a very intelligent,he would know that he cant bring anyone to his state….does he then have to lie, just to make the best out of people?

      or is he himlself not aware of what people can reach to. if this is the case (as it seems to be), then we have wrong concept of guru. and the guru is letting it as it is…for whatever reasons..

      and if he knows that he can bring someone to a perfect state of mind, then there has been no one like that…at least not amongst the ones known to us.

      if you as a AOL teacher have failed to achive constant progress, is it also not the guru’s failure..if at the first place he calims that he can definitly help people.

      i thnk ssrs and other like him is just another smart manipulator, but i think (based on couple of interactions with him and his messangers) he is not worse than many other successful and unethical businessmen…

    • Montana Wildcat (aka drpetersutphen) permalink
      March 25, 2012 4:08 am

      What a wonderful slap in the face from Guruji! If only I was this blessed that a Satguru would cut right through my bullshit. What, don’t you think anger is a tool? A good spiritual teacher uses everything that’s available. Just because your ego gets uncomfortable doesn’t mean that it’s bad! Take your short pants off boys and grow a pair otherwise Kali will have to eat you!

  33. prairie princess permalink
    March 10, 2012 3:24 pm

    Enlightened people do not become teachers of Art of Living. They walk away. I would encourage you to walk away.

    • visitor permalink
      March 11, 2012 12:50 pm

      there is no enlighentment in AOL, or in any group, if at all it does exist, and hence no enlighted AOL teachers, those who leaving it are perhaps shome now not blind enough to remain in.

  34. visitor permalink
    March 11, 2012 1:00 pm

    we are fed up with the monotony, the struggle , temporal and the apparant meaninglessless of this life. enlightment (and religion etc) was an attempt to have something more in life.

    (anyone) take up a job that gives you money and fun. that will help you more than running after enlightenment (and spending money on that).

  35. Montana Wildcat (aka drpetersutphen) permalink
    March 25, 2012 4:01 am

    I got the Upanishad course this year for a mere $1200.00. You chumps spending $1500. SUCKERS!! Flying from Florida to LA.,$285; three nights in a hotel, $375; misc., $250. So, let’s see….$2110! What a deal!

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