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Art of Living: Breeding Intolerance and Crushing Individuality

April 12, 2012

by VSS

@ Anonymous [April 10, 2012 4:39 pm]

“Accept people and situations as they are.”

Well said. Your entire comment and observations therein are very valid.

In fact, it seems to me that the only problem is that though these words are parroted in AoL, the exact opposite is practiced. Actions speak louder than words and the actions of Mr. Ravi Shankar and company breed nothing but intolerance. Intolerance can only lead to lack of personal peace along with the lack of the ability to peacefully co-exist with people with a different point of view.

I find that those who are in AoL or still suffer from the hangover of being in AoL are sitting on hot bricks just because of a blog (which is probably one of many million blogs). If a blog is all it takes to make them lose control and become abusive and enraged, then they are actually distanced from any kind of enlightenment whatsoever in AoL. They are, in fact, susceptible to getting stressed out by the mere hint of disagreement.

How does it matter if some people are posting some words that they don’t like? So what? What is the big deal? For any idea that exists in the world, at the very least — there exists a set of people who agree, another set that don’t, and, yet another who probably don’t even think about that idea.

Continuous and relentless expression of abuse and ridicule by AoL supporters will not and cannot in any way silence those who don’t like the idea of a religious cult which has and continues to deceive, exploit, and, abuse the faith of several people.

If AoL was not a religious cult, but a school of thought or a philosophy that facilitates and ensures the general well-being of people, the first evidence of that would be the fact that AoL supporters would have absolutely nothing to say on a blog like this. They would read what critics have said and simply think that the critics are people with a different point of view.

However, the truth is that the very name “Art of Living” is symptomatic of utter intolerance. How can one person possibly think that only he knows the “Art of Living” and all others who disagree don’t know the “Art of Living”. This is an anti-diversity line of thought — it is anti-acceptance, anti-pluralism, and, hence, anti-democracy and anti-people.

AoL supporters should meditate in a relaxed setting about how it would be if there was an outfit called the “Art of Giving” that claimed that it alone knew the art of giving.

Similarly, what if there was an outfit called the “Art of Writing Poetry” that claimed it alone knew the art of writing poetry?

What if there were outfits like the “Art of Composing Music”, the “Art of Painting”, the “Art of Sculpting”, the “Art of Movie-Making”, etc. etc. ?

Wouldn’t everyone have to follow what the leader of each of these cults was saying? Wouldn’t there be a complete loss of freedom and creativity? Wouldn’t human beings become robotic in every dimension of life?

Isn’t any art a celebration of an individual’s creativity as well as an individual’s creative interpretation?

How can the “Art of Living” be about the art of living if it not only imposes one individual’s creative interpretation on all followers, but also incites and reinforces intolerance in those followers towards other interpretations?

Further, don’t we celebrate the excellence of different artists in different fields? While someone excels in painting, someone else excels in sculpting, someone else in music, and, someone else in making movies.

For someone who excels in painting, the art of living is different. For someone who excels in music, the art of living is different. For someone who excels in a sport, the art of living is different. Different people are inspired by different things — different things inspire different people to achieve greater excellence.

Can you imagine what would happen if say Sachin Tendulkar, A.R. Rahman, Narayana Murthy, and, Amitabh Bachchan were made to live in exactly the same way from morning to night — day after day, week after week, month after month, and, year after year ?

They’d go crazy.

For that matter, if different cricketers were made to live identical lives, they’d go crazy. Each individual is different — even two successful people in the same field are not alike.

The uniformity and conformity that is imposed in AoL is disastrous for individuals because it simply does not cater to individual creativity, and, it is disastrous for society, because it makes the individuals in AoL intolerant towards all those who are not following the AoL way of life and are critical of it because of the uniformity and conformity it imposes.

For me, the biggest evidence of brainwashing, and that too, successful brainwashing, is the fact that AoL claims to stand for world peace and a violence-free society and defames the one man (Mahatma Gandhi) who is known for literally embodying the ideal of world peace and non-violence like no other.

And, while they exercise their freedom to do so, they cannot tolerate the freedom of those who disagree and stand by Mahatma Gandhi because he seems to them to be the one man who actually gave the philosophy of non-violence to the world without demanding money, worship, or, anything else as a fee.

This is indeed Kalyuga.

Those who make money by selling peace have a problem with those who didn’t make money by selling peace. That is why the followers of a “spiritual businessman” do a verbal tandava in rage the moment someone supports one of greatest leaders mankind has ever seen — the one man who personified non-violence and peace — the one man who achieved way more than what Mr. Ravi Shankar can achieve in a million lives with a million volunteers without enslaving people, without brainwashing them, without battering them, without asking for a fee, and, without abusing and ridiculing his critics.

I find it absolutely ridiculous that those who claim that they stand for peace and non-violence defame Mahatma Gandhi. Only fools would do that — headed by a supreme fool — with a biographer who projects foolishness as greatness.

The Art of Living is nothing but the art of being foolish. It is sad that many of us have been fooled skillfully, but what is inspiring is that some of us have not been turned into permanent fools because we have realized that ignorance is not bliss and foolishness is not enlightenment.

  1. Anonymous permalink
    April 12, 2012 4:38 pm

    In reality 90% of the world population is filled with fools that’s why people like George W. Bush, Hitler, Mussolini, Idi Amin, Ravi Shankar (so called guru), Satya Sai Baba, Mata Amratanandamai, Santosh Madhavan, Osho, Swami Nithyananda, etc………. are able to attract people to themselves. Otherwise how can a Rational Being get attracted (and stay attracted for years) to these people. There is no way to help these people. They want someone to control their lives. It’s sad, but that’s the truth.

    • VSS permalink
      April 13, 2012 10:40 am

      @ Anonymous [April 12, 2012 4:38 pm]

      “In reality 90% of the world population is filled with fools…”

      This is not true. Only a fraction of people in the world are trapped by religious cults. I think more than 90% of the world’s population is outside religious cults at this point in time. While it is distressing even if one human being is trapped in a religious cult, we must not believe in or perpetuate cynicism. If you are genuinely thinking that more than 90% people in the world are trapped in cults, then this thinking is not only not true, it is extremely cynical. Please read up on how many people are trapped in religious cults. Find out.

      “There is no way to help these people. They want someone to control their lives.”

      This is also not true. All of us, by virtue of being human beings, experience adversity. Those of us who are secure inside and resilient find answers on our own and help ourselves. However, not all of us are as fortunate. When people turn to a religious cult, they are absolutely unaware of what is to follow — they do not know that their lives will be controlled — emotionally, physically, and, financially. They simply do not know that they are going to be brainwashed and abused by skilled manipulators.

      People turn to religious cults because the cult promises them happiness and good health. (Please see the comment posted by Minal below.) Please also read about the process of conversion and recruiting. Cults accomplish this very skillfully. Anyone can fall into the cult trap — absolutely anyone. Just because an individual is not resilient enough to resist the manipulative and brainwashing tactics of a cult at a given point in time does not mean that the individual cannot be resilient ever.

      In fact, if you read some of the posts on this blog, you will be astonished to see how people have learnt from their AoL experience — how they have said that their time in AoL taught them exactly what the art of living is not.

      Cults like AoL thrive because they exploit individuals who are not resilient at a given point in time. With the passage of time, as civilization progresses, people will become more discerning, cautious, and, aware. More and more people will know how to distinguish between a cult and a humanitarian organization. No cult will be able to exploit people in the garb of being a humanitarian organization. Please don’t underestimate the power of Google. Once an individual wakes up, Google empowers the individual with multiple sources of accurate information about cults and cult abuse.

      Please have faith in the innate intelligence of human beings. Please also have faith in society’s ability to evolve continuously. Have patience.

      There will come a time when every time anyone anywhere in the world is invited to enroll for a course, the individual will Google AoL and reach this blog. Once there is a drop in the number of new recruits, fence-sitters within AoL will wake up, start looking for information, and, land up on this blog.

      This blog succeeded in preventing me from getting recruited — that too when I had compelling personal reasons for joining AoL. It has also succeeded in making fence-sitters ultimately leave AoL. It’s just a matter of time before society progresses and evolves to such an extent that people not only not join AoL, but there is also an overall decline in the number of people who turn to other religious cults. Right now, a few years seem like a long time — but a few years in the span of an individual’s life time — are not much at all.

      Wait for a few years. The truth will reveal itself very, very clearly.

  2. D-Seeker permalink
    April 12, 2012 5:29 pm

    Guys !!! I am not sure how many people read this blog of yours. Why dont you spread it….spread the word about this blog and let people come and read and decide and be their own judge.AOL mostly targets those who are educated and rich enough to donate and pay for course fees.Such people always have a little doubt somewhere in their hearts(until and unless completely brainwashed by aolers) , that whether the money collected by them is actually put to help the needy and downtrodden or not. Spread it !

    • Anonymous permalink
      April 13, 2012 2:01 am

      no need to spread. Those looking for review of aol can find by simple google search.

      • D-Seeker permalink
        April 13, 2012 5:33 pm

        ya right ! we should wait for more people to get a bad experience from aol and then come searching for a panacea for that sufferring.Prevention is better than cure, you might save some one from getting abused tomorrow or the next moment.AOL is not shy to spread its stories(mostly fictitious and false) why should we ?? Spread the word, save someone from the sugar coated poison.

      • Anonymous permalink
        April 13, 2012 10:29 pm


        One assumes people are intelligent enough to do their research before paying $$ for AOL course.

        It is one thing to give a movie a bad review, and state it publicly… quite another to go out of your way to badmouth a movie. There is a fine line between free speech and defamation. If you want to go to press – you need solid facts and numbers – we all know AOL finances are shady – but the financial records are well kept secret.

        Word has already spread….believe me.

      • D-Seeker permalink
        April 14, 2012 6:51 pm


        Dude/dudette i m not saying go to the press or go defame these people. I say spread about this blog with whatever way you can and i guess you know about twitter/fb and the all mighty internet.I guess free speech does cover the act of letting people know about this blog if not forcing them to read it.
        If you talk about intelligence then If it had been for intelligent people who did their research before joining AOL and paying through their nose under the mask of seva then AOL would have had not grown to its present size and clout.I just hate the thought of aol teachers abusing girls in the name of god and guru.What a shame !!! And you know what I did not come to this blog because some one told me …nope ! I was preparing to become an AOL teacher dude….I was planning….how to spend the rest of my life making people smile…but one fine day ,just like that I thought that let me see on web something about this and so i typed “aol teacher” and the link which was on the top was of this blog.I read it all day…I felt as if I have been left alone…felt like a fool…but then I realized that no matter how much sadhana,seva or watever good deeds you do…you will have to suffer IF the ALMIGHTY wants you it previous karma…bad luck…god’s entertainment… god hates me only..blah blah !!.I never believed the guru miracle stories told in the aol courses i took…because i knew the miracle stories are never traceable…BUT i liked the guy HHSSRS because of the fact that his organisation adopted 25000 villages,sponsoring some 3000 children education and what not.I thought that this guy may not be a miracle showering sage but yes he definitely helps the poor and i was happy that there is one genuine guy who is just committed to help people…be it by teaching the rich people how to counter stress or by giving aid to the poor. But then this blog happened and the “Custom Made AOL Spectacles” which were on my eyes began to crack.I thought that if someone is doing so much good work how come is it possible that there are people who have been cheated,abused and defamed by the same person or his disciples.It is not possible at all that a spiritual leader who genuinely helps people will genuinely hurt people, but then Mother Teresa crossed my mind ! She genuinely helped people.. no money, no TTC fees, no display of clout like the world culture fest,no fees for babysitting,no charging for preferred seating(sankalpa),no titles,no stories,no heaven promises,no abuse in the name of divine love,no real estates,no universities and luckily no brainwashing. Henceforth I decided to drop the teacher idea forever. I am still seeing my friends doing aol TTC courses and they definitely did not do research and some are definitely more intelligent than me.You say the word has spread ! Maybe I am wrong or may be you…It Is fine if you dont want to spread the word and argue about it.I am not forcing anyone here is just a suggestion..I think you are Intelligent enough to distinguish between the two.

      • VSS permalink
        April 15, 2012 2:17 pm

        @ D-Seeker [April 14, 2012 6:51 pm]

        “But then this blog happened and the “Custom Made AOL Spectacles” which were on my eyes began to crack.”

        It’s inspiring to read your story — truly inspiring. You are very courageous.

        I can only guess how overwhelming life must be for you to right now — since you’ve only recently discovered that AoL is not what you initially thought it was.

        I wish you as much resilience as you need to feel stronger inside and triumph over the pain that you might be experiencing as a result of being deceived.

        As far as this blog is concerned, we have all done (and continue to do) what we can to “spread the word”. For instance, I have informed all my friends — Indian Nationals as well as Foreign Nationals.

        You might be aware that AoL took this blog to court in the United States. The owners of this blog were able to deal with legal proceedings. The American Judiciary ruled in favour of this blog and hence AoL did not succeed in shutting it down / getting it deleted.

        Now, I don’t know if you are familiar with the Justice System in India, but I can tell you that it acts incredibly slowly because India has a massive population and not enough judges. I, for one, am also poor. If I were to comment on AoL in any space that is under the jurisdiction of the Indian Judiciary and was taken to court on any pretext by AoL, I would simply not be able to afford a lawyer. In addition, I would put my family through considerable inconvenience and even pain.

        If you can afford a lawyer, and your family is an established family with wealth and resources, by all means please go ahead and “spread the word” about this blog in any which way you deem fit. None of us are objecting to that.

        Having said that, I’d like to share some statistics about this blog with you — on 5th April, 2012, the total hits on this blog were 6,07,789 — this was at around 10 pm Indian Standard Time. Right now, that is 15th April, 2012, the total hits on this blog are 6,18, 222 — and it is around 7:30 pm Indian Standard Time.

        What I’m trying to say is that there is no reason for despair. Have faith in human beings. Just as you found this blog and I found this blog, many others will find this blog. It’s just a matter of time — a few more years at the most. The world is moving to a point where people will deploy google to research AoL before joining it. So will fence sitters within AoL. Be patient. The truth will definitely prevail — it’s never been dependent on anyone or anything — it has a momentum of its own.

  3. visitor permalink
    April 12, 2012 6:44 pm

    well as far as gandhi is concerned, i dont think speking negative about him makes anyone a villain…he was a follower and preacher of physical non-voilence…but that doesnt make him an absolute benchmark. btw i dont know what ssrs says about gandhi. neither do i know gan

    who knows gandhi was like ssrs and there were people who wanted to tell the world his shortcomings….as you are trying to bring ssrs’s….but there were poweful people who shut others…and today many are convinced that gandhi was an absolute godly person..

    • VSS permalink
      April 13, 2012 8:37 am

      @ visitor [April 12, 2012 6:44 pm]

      “well as far as gandhi is concerned, i dont think speking negative about him makes anyone a villain”

      This is true. To refresh your memory, here’s what I’d said:

      “I find it absolutely ridiculous that those who claim that they stand for peace and non-violence defame Mahatma Gandhi. Only fools would do that — headed by a supreme fool — with a biographer who projects foolishness as greatness.”

      “he was a follower and preacher of physical non-voilence…”

      This is untrue. First of all, he was not a “preacher”. Secondly, he was not involved in mere outward / physical behavioural transformations. What you’re saying is completely incorrect factually. He was not a superficial individual.

      “btw i dont know what ssrs says about gandhi. neither do i know gandhi”

      What should you do when you don’t know something? Should you land up on a blog, twist the words of others, create doubts where none exist, and make contradictory comments to brainwash readers?

      If you don’t know, how do you know if Gandhi can be considered a “benchmark” or not?

      “but there were poweful people who shut others”

      You are sadly and badly mistaken. Please deploy Google for researching what the critics of Gandhi have to say. Please also read what Francois Gautier, Mr. Ravi Shankar’s biographer has to say.

      They defame Gandhi — say absolutely anything about him — freely.

      But if others say anything about them — freely — they behave like villains and post abusive comments.

      I don’t think they are villains — I think they are fools — with double standards. They do not extend the same freedom to others that they themselves exercise.

      Why? Do AoL people have more human rights than other human beings?

      If they have the right to exercise their freedom of expression about Mahatma Gandhi, why should they become abusive with anyone who exercises the same freedom to speak about Mr. Ravi Shankar? This is utter intolerance, and intolerance cannot lead to personal or world peace. The members of AoL do not have more rights than those who are not in AoL.

      “and today many are convinced that gandhi was an absolute godly person”

      Please don’t mislead readers. No one is saying that he was “an absolutely Godly person”. He was not the head of a religious cult. He did not ask anyone to worship him. People called him Bapu (Father). He did not take money from people. He did not sell “enlightenment”. He neither claimed nor projected he was the incarnation of one or the other God. He did not deceive, abuse, and, exploit people. He also did not deceive, abuse, and, exploit Foreign Nationals who have a genuine love for India. He never took his critics to court. He didn’t sell religion, peace, or, non-violence.

      I also said:

      “Those who make money by selling peace have a problem with those who didn’t make money by selling peace. That is why the followers of a “spiritual businessman” do a verbal tandava in rage the moment someone supports one of greatest leaders mankind has ever seen — the one man who personified non-violence and peace — the one man who achieved way more than what Mr. Ravi Shankar can achieve in a million lives with a million volunteers without enslaving people, without brainwashing them, without battering them, without asking for a fee, and, without abusing and ridiculing his critics.”

      My humble request to you would be to read about Mahatma Gandhi and his achievements. These are documented on the internet. Please read about who planned and carried out his assassination and why. Please read about why billions and billions of people in the world across religions, cultures, and, nationalities think that his contribution to making the world non-violent and peaceful is unparalleled. Read about why he is the Father of an entire Nation — which happens to be one of the largest democracies in the world. Read about what he did for rural development and how. Read about khadi and the philosophy behind khadi. Read about the Swadesi Movement. Read about Satyagraha. Read about the Civil Disobedience Movement. Read about the Quit India Movement.

      Read about his lifestyle. Find out how many cars he owned, how many times he stayed in luxurious hotels, how many people he mocked and abused, what he said to the British when the British said that Indians had no experience of governance, what kind of clothes he wore, how many other nations he inspired to achieve independence through non-violent and peaceful means, etc. etc.

      Please read before attempting to mislead readers with lack of knowledge, cynicism, foolishness, and utter ignorance.

      Read. Study. Think. Analyze. Understand. Learn. Grow. Evolve.

      Attempting to brainwash readers by making contradictory statements — intentionally or unintentionally — will not do you or readers any good.

      Readers, please equip yourselves with information, so that your decisions about anything are informed decisions. Read about what makes human beings violent. Read about what makes human beings non-violent. Today, we live in a world that has more non-violent people than violent people. Figure out what lies at the heart of being peaceful. It’s not rocket science, and it’s really not dependent on a breathing technique that can be learnt for a sum of money. Human beings are much more than how they breathe or don’t breathe. And, most of all, no human being should have to pay money to become non-violent and peaceful. Whoever is selling non-violence and peace to you, is taking you for a royal ride. There are billions and billions of people out there who are non-violent and peaceful without paying money, without worshiping someone, without being humiliated, and, without being intolerant towards anyone who is not doing one or all of those things, and, without being abusive.

      Read the comments of AoL members on this blog and think — would people who are claiming to be relieved of stress forever become abusive at the mere sight of some words they don’t like?

      Is that how peaceful people deal with a point of view that is different from theirs?

      • visitor permalink
        April 13, 2012 5:51 pm

        hi vss, well thanks for the details…one small thing…I am not willing to brainwash anyone…i admit i dont know much about gandhi or ssrs…but i definitely know something about them..and i am expressing my views…with the information that i dont know much. So that if a reader finds my article confusing, he/she can call me stupid…instead of thinking sth about gandhi or anyone else. And if any reader does get brainwashed by it…i feel sad for him/her coz there is brainwashing stuff everywhere…the newspapers we get in the morning, the TV…reports, ads…everything is like that…

        vss…i dont mean to write against waht you have suggested…but i m perhaps justifying my writing even when i dont know much….

        we speak even when we dont know much…..if we wait till we know much…i think we will live our life in silence…if we are honest enough (it may be a better world though!!)

        coming back to gandi and ssrs…, as you have pointed out, they are very different..and i am not comparing them.

        (….and arguemnts can be ambiguous/misleading…..see the way you tell me about gandi (that i am twisting the words and leading to brainwash etc…as i dont know much, though i am not intending to brainwash anyone) and many other use the same argument…that how can you judge it (e.g. sk) when you have not done it 100%….)

        i dont want to say you are not correct…but same words can be used to guide or mislead….very often we are trapped in our own interpretation..but sometimes it is indeed the speaker who uses the words intentionally in a twisted way to achive his interest.

        maybe i can tell about my background with aol…i dont have much interactions with aol…but i have had many interactions with people/good friends from different groups (aol, osho, satyasai baba, gandhi NGOs, premis etc..) and thats the basis of my words…i dont claim my information/knowledge to be necessarily true or proven…so anyone is free to have any opinions about words written by me..
        (and the owner of this blog is also free not to publish my posts if he/she feels its inappropriate)


      • VSS permalink
        April 13, 2012 7:19 pm

        @ visitor [April 13, 2012 5:51 pm]

        You’ve simply not understood my comment. Please don’t twist my words.

        Below is what I had requested:

        “Please deploy Google for researching what the critics of Gandhi have to say. Please also read what Francois Gautier, Mr. Ravi Shankar’s biographer has to say.”

        I had also requested the following:

        “My humble request to you would be to read about Mahatma Gandhi and his achievements. These are documented on the internet. Please read about who planned and carried out his assassination and why. Please read about why billions and billions of people in the world across religions, cultures, and, nationalities think that his contribution to making the world non-violent and peaceful is unparalleled. Read about why he is the Father of an entire Nation — which happens to be one of the largest democracies in the world. Read about what he did for rural development and how. Read about khadi and the philosophy behind khadi. Read about the Swadesi Movement. Read about Satyagraha. Read about the Civil Disobedience Movement. Read about the Quit India Movement.

        Read about his lifestyle. Find out how many cars he owned, how many times he stayed in luxurious hotels, how many people he mocked and abused, what he said to the British when the British said that Indians had no experience of governance, what kind of clothes he wore, how many other nations he inspired to achieve independence through non-violent and peaceful means, etc. etc.

        Please read before attempting to mislead readers with lack of knowledge, cynicism, foolishness, and utter ignorance.

        Read. Study. Think. Analyze. Understand. Learn. Grow. Evolve.”

        I don’t think you followed what I said. Please read the above again.

        I really don’t understand what your problem is in acquiring information that is freely available on the internet. Do you have a problem with acquiring knowledge before speaking? Do you not like to learn? Do you not wish to become a more discerning human being?

        I’ll request you again — please read.

        Aren’t you familiar with the term “well-read” ?

        Do you not know the benefits of being “well-read”?

        Don’t be foolish. Read. Then you won’t be foolish. Seriously. Read as much as you can. The most knowledgeable people in the world have acquired their knowledge through reading.

        I don’t think you’re in the habit of reading — that’s why you neither read my comment properly nor understood it.

        If you don’t read and resist reading, I’m afraid you’ll learn nothing.

        And please don’t defend “not reading” in the future. It’s a request. There is no substitute for reading.

      • visitor permalink
        April 14, 2012 8:48 am

        i wonder if any other reader is also finding my words twisted, misleading with lack of knowledge, cynisism, foolishness, utter ignorance (!!!) … allegations you habve made above. i know enough about what i am writing.

        i am really surprised by your comments….on one hand you are trying to bring the truth about aol to others (which is a big responsibility in itself)….and on the other you yourself are making such allegations on me so quickly based on my post.

        i dont want to get into a discussion on gandhi…people can read about him everywhere..

      • VSS permalink
        April 14, 2012 9:57 am

        @ visitor [April 14, 2012 8:48 am]

        “…on one hand you are trying to bring the truth about aol to others (which is a big responsibility in itself)…”

        You are terribly mistaken — terribly, terribly mistaken.

        I’m doing no such thing.

        Therefore, kindly stop twisting my words.

        You are simply not aware of the fact that I am not stopping anyone from joining AoL. I have, in fact, repeatedly said in several comments that those who wish to join AoL, are free to join AoL. And, those who want to become teachers in AoL are free to become teachers in AoL.

        Let me add that I don’t intend to stop anyone in the future either.

        (I haven’t stopped anyone in the past either.)

        Please do not jump to conclusions without reading. I have not taken any such “responsibility” as you mention. Your suggestion is an utterly preposterous and ridiculous suggestion and reeks of a very high degree of ignorance.

        Why don’t you read properly?

        Why are you so anti-reading?

        I’ll humbly request you again — please read. As I had mentioned to you earlier as well, the most knowledgeable people in the world acquire their knowledge through reading.

        If you continue to resist reading, you will be harming yourself.

        Therefore, please read. Seriously.

        Happy reading!

  4. Hari permalink
    April 12, 2012 7:19 pm

    I am looking forward to reviews and comments from the forthcoming Upanishads “sale” in LA later this month… going through the link for registration – , it looks like even daycare for children comes with a “nominal” price-tag of 130$… wow, even the most corrupt politicians need to learn a trick or two from these guys

  5. Minal permalink
    April 12, 2012 11:03 pm


    Look at this headline!

    Indian Royalty to Visit Calgary to Provide Health & Happiness Workshop
    CALGARY, ALBERTA–(Marketwire – April 11, 2012) – The Art of Living (AOL) Foundation welcomes Swami Sadyojathah of the Kerala Royal Family (India) whom will be leading the Health & Happiness Workshops in Calgary on April 22, 2012, Fort McMurray on t
    he 23rd, and Edmonton on the 24th. In September 2010, similar workshops were also conducted in Edmonton and Calgary.

    • Anonymous permalink
      April 13, 2012 12:32 pm

      Starving people will eat any food. Those who go to these conferences and are not that ‘hungry’, will quickly see the ridiculous and will regret spending their money foolishly. Those in search of just anything to alleviate their loneliness or pain from the world, may hang around awhile, and do “seva” and give more money. Eventually they will find this and other blogs, and start for themselves, and realize that Sudarshana Kriya didn’t make them happy or healthy, and that the organization called Art of Living is taking them for a ride. The normal people with good minds, will figure it out and won’t stick. They will leave and go about their day to day lives.

      • Anonymous permalink
        April 13, 2012 4:12 pm

        Its the Young, who haven’t seen life much and the Sincere seekers, who suffer the most. People who continue practising SK will definately not be completly normal as they would have lost their critical thinking ability. God Bless the Bog owners and the other contributers because of whom people have started seeing AOL for what it is.
        This opportunity was not available some years ago.

    • VSS permalink
      April 14, 2012 9:29 am

      @ Minal [April 12, 2012 11:03 pm]

      Thank you for the link. Mr. Ravi Shankar and his battalion are making hay while the sun shines for AoL — and it will shine till the time we, as a society, before going for any “workshop” organized by a religious cult, deploy Google to look for information that will help us arrive at an informed decision.

      Today, they are selling breathing and smiles. Tomorrow, they might sell blinking and winking. Who knows what they might come up with. Maybe they are capable of the kind of bizarre products none of us can even imagine in a million lives.

      Their perspective is well stated in this comment:

      Here’s an extract from this comment:

      “Gurus has appeared differently for different disciples throughout ages, at times may be even in a negative roles, but only for the further spiritual growth of the disciple. The key should be faith on the divine and the Guru who has shown divine to the disciple. It had been very difficult to understand highly evolved souls for common man…”

      Now, a person who thinks this will say that AoL volunteers went an taught villagers in a particular village in Karnataka how to route drinking water through what were previously waste water drains, made them take an oath that they would not wash their clothes with clean water, and, also made them take an oath to not bathe animals with clean water, so that the villagers could get infected by water-borne diseases, and learn about water-borne diseases through the experience of dealing with water-borne diseases. Therefore, in this case, the Guru played a negative role but it was for the spiritual growth of the villagers.

      Going by this logic, perhaps the best way to spread AIDS awareness is by ensuring that more and more people are infected by AIDS. Us mere mortals cannot possibly understand the behaviour and logic of “highly evolved souls”.

      I agree with this entirely. I am an ordinary human being — I simply cannot comprehend the bizarre behaviour of Mr. Ravi Shankar and his battalion. It seems when they are being positive, they are being positive, and, when they are being negative, then also they are being positive. Wow! They are perfect. Therefore, when they ask for Canadian dollars to teach health and happiness, they are of course doing a great service to all participants.

      Participants will, of course, pay because they are exhausted from dealing with the lack of health and happiness — so exhausted that they don’t want to think. After the workshop, some of them may realize that there is something more painful than the lack of health and happiness — and that is being conned and exploited by a religious cult in the name of guaranteeing health and happiness.

      Maybe some of them will realize that if money could buy health and happiness, then no wealthy person in the world would ever suffer from the lack of health and happiness — they would simply buy health and happiness from AoL. For a little more money, they would buy enlightenment too. For some more money, they would probably buy the opportunity to become teachers who then teach other people how health, happiness, and, enlightenment can be bought for sums of money specified by AoL.

      In that Shobha De interview, Mr. Ravi Shankar talks about love. The moment I heard that part, the Beatles classic “Can’t buy me love” started playing in my non-brainwashed head, especially the line — “I don’t care too much for money, money can’t buy me love.” Now, based on real data, I can say that those who think money can buy them love are far less than those who think money can’t buy them love.

      Love, health, happiness, enlightenment et al are not commodities that can be bought or sold. People know this. But, sometimes in times of adversity, people stop thinking. When that happens, Mr. Ravi Shankar and his battalion trap such people and con them.

      It will take society time to reach a point when the education we receive empowers us in such a way that we don’t succumb to the deception of religious cults the moment we are intimidated by adversity. When we reach that point, not just AoL, but all other religious cults will shrink considerably.

      It’s just a matter of time — just a few more years.

  6. Anonymous permalink
    April 13, 2012 12:34 pm

    @VSS It’s really great that you didn’t get sucked up into Art of Living in spite of the draw, and in spite of whatever personal pressures you experienced to join. Your mind is very acute and you would have, at least temporarily, abandoned your good common sense and become part of the herd mentality that is the cult of Art of Living. Ravi Shankar really missed out when he missed you! If successful, he could have used your mind to sell his products. 🙂

    • VSS permalink
      April 13, 2012 6:32 pm

      @ Anonymous [April 13, 2012 12:34 pm]


      That is a pretty amazing thought and an equally amazing compliment!

      Thank you so much!

      (So far, I haven’t thought about how I might have defended AoL, but now that you’ve planted the idea in my mind, I’ll “meditate” about it — should prove to be an interesting exercise.)

  7. Anonymous permalink
    April 13, 2012 2:13 pm


    ” how can a Rational Being get attracted (and stay attracted for years) to these people ”

    Pls go thru the link to understand how people get attracted to these Fake/ Tantric gurus..

    How many of us here had wonderful experiences during our initial years in AOl, especially while practicing sk? and how long did these wonderful feelings / great experiences last, despite continuing with our practises? How many of us repeated courses to get back that wonderful experience? and how many of us discussed (in part 2 group sahring sessions)that we missed that great feeling we experienced in the 1st course and now we dont feel good at all.

    Does anyone have any info about the Late night pujas during Navrathri, that only the inner circle teachers could attend?

    I feel too sick to even think about all this. But, I cant keep my eyes closed either, can I?

    • VSS permalink
      April 17, 2012 7:07 pm

      @ Anonymous [April 13, 2012 2:13 pm]

      Thank you for that link. [ ]

      I finally got a chance to read it and thought that the following part of it is particularly insightful:

      —- What we often don’t suspect, is that the spiritual cord which the “guru” establishes with his student through these practices, is able to carry energy both ways. When the “guru” has dubious connections himself, or has motives that are rooted in ego and spiritual empire-building, the cord can be used to direct the energy-flow the other way and literally “vacuum-out” the unsuspecting student, vibrationally. This could explain why, after being in the presence of certain “gurus”, what may have started-out feeling quite nice, suddenly doesn’t feel good at all.

      Initially, in these unscrupulous practices, the student is given a little dose of energy. At first. In this way, any doubts or concerns one may have had are soothed. And we become open …and trusting. It is only later that the tap is re-directed, and the energy begins to flow the other way …from the student to the “guru.” —-

      My guess is that the “wonderful experience” of the first course does not get reinforced by subsequent courses, and, in fact, gets diluted because of what is explained in the lines above. I think what those lines say is a very valid explanation of the flow of energy in the beginning and how it is later reversed.

      The same can be understood in rational terms as well — if you can probably think back and ascertain if, by the time of the second course, there was any new factor that emerged which diluted your experience. My guess is that it could have been the pressure to convert others that corrupted the joy of the first experience, but it’s only a guess. And, please don’t close your eyes. Instead, please try and recall your experience as vividly as possible and share it with others. I’m sure many would benefit from your findings and observations.

  8. Anonymous permalink
    April 13, 2012 2:39 pm

    I sometimes wonder if this Swamy from the royal family is really brainwashed / naive, OR is he aware of the Truth of Aol and RS? And does Sad. Swamy / all the other swamys practice SK regularly?

    If Sad. swami is aware of the truth, why is he propogating aol courses? Doesn’t he feel miserable for having been manipulated? afterall, he can meditate more peacefully in his Palace!

  9. Anonymous permalink
    April 14, 2012 5:19 am

    The person who started this blog – in ravi ravi’s words.

    Often people, when they know a little, it gets into their head. It’s the heady people who get stuck in the paradigms and they don’t go into the paradigm shift because they know that they know it thoroughly well. They think, “Who are you to teach me business? I’ve been in business since the past forty years, man. What do you know? You are a kid.” Those of this older generation who have been successful businessmen, they are closed to new ideas from youngsters. They just shut off. They think, “They are kids and don’t know anything. I am expert in it.” Then they really bite the dust. This has happened over and over again. We have heard many such stories and incidents. They think they know.

    The same things happen in teaching also. Teaching is a very dangerous job. It can get to your head. Everybody adores you: wow, such a great teacher, such nice knowledge. It happened to one of our teacher, a very brilliant person who had the gift of the gab, good language. So, of course, he became a teacher of the Art of Living and started teaching and everybody started appreciating. It went to the head right away: “What Guruji can do, I can also do. I am also a great teacher. Everybody is flocking and appreciating me so much.” Then, no sooner than when things go to your head, you don’t know what you do. Everyone started disrespecting that person because he was not behaving properly. He was very arrogant. So, everyone complained and started moving away. They said, this is not what the teaching is. This person is not walking the talk. Whatever respect this person gained in a few years, in a couple of years he lost all the respect. When I happened to visit that country, this person came to me and said, “Guruji, none of these people respect me. You tell them to respect me. They don’t listen to me and they don’t respect me.” I said, “Listen, I will not tell anybody to respect anybody or not to respect anybody. You have to gain it. It doesn’t come by demand. If you have lost it, you better take some break. You have lost the respect of people. They say you are not walking the talk. Okay, say everybody is wrong. Not everyone can be wrong. All your students are wrong? Your own students? You are complaining, ‘No, you tell them that they should respect me.’ They all pleaded with me, “Please take this person from here. Give us a break. We want to meditate. We want to do seva together, but here this person yells, screams and demands. It’s so horrible.” Demanding respect is impossible. You can’t demand it. It has to come by your virtue and even if it comes, you shouldn’t mind it. So, what if they respect you or do not respect you. If you think that you are doing right, you should go ahead.

    That person said, “Now I am going to write a blog about the Art of Living.” I said, “Ok, do it. Write, whatever you want to write.” He said, “Otherwise, give me three thousand dollars.” I said, “No, you write whatever you want to write. Good.” When someone says I am a senior teacher and I don’t like the Art of Living because nobody walks the path, then people suddenly think, “Oh yes, there must be some truth to it.” It’s good because you can filter away all those people because I am not going to give you a pie. You can’t demand respect. You can’t demand money. These are extortions, not the spiritual path, not the spiritual way. When things get to your head, these sort of things happen. We are so fortunate in the Art of Living that among seven and a half thousand teachers, not even a dozen people have gone like that. Because people cannot handle love, handle appreciation, then things get into their head. They cannot handle knowledge also. That’s why in Sanskrit there is a word called patrata, your capability to receive and hold the knowledge, it has to be there.

    • VSS permalink
      April 14, 2012 3:34 pm

      @ Anonymous [April 14, 2012 5:19 am]

      This is indeed a fascinating insight into the way Mr. Ravi Shankar’s “enlightened” mind works. It reminds me of the following quote:

      “A noble man compares and estimates himself by an idea which is higher than himself; and a mean man, by one lower than himself. The one produces aspiration; the other ambition, which is the way in which a vulgar man aspires.” (Marcus Aurelius )

      Interestingly, I was just researching this quote to be able to quote it precisely and landed up on the following link:

      Someone named Charlie has explained this quote in the following words:

      “The definition of the words “mean” and “noble” is what is important to the interpretation of the quote. A noble man in this sense is a man of high character and integrity. He looks at his actions from the perspective of how they will affect his community or the world. A mean man is a man of average character and integrity. He will look at the same actions and decide only what is best for himself. Many such men who are overly ambitious look at those they see as of lower status such as an employee and decide how to succeed by taking advantage of or tearing down the lower man. The noble man then becomes the one others look up to and aspire to be while the mean man becomes the one everyone just despises.”

      By “tearing down” employees — even if it’s just about a dozen out of seven and a half thousand — Mr. Ravi Shankar has successfully demonstrated what kind of a man he is.

      What I find most amazing about this man — Mr. Ravi Shankar — is that he is so judgmental about human beings across the board — from Mahatma Gandhi to “Blue Star” disciples and teachers — that it’s impossible for me to believe that he is even remotely humane. Rarely does he exhibit any compassion or sensitivity.

      In fact, he is cynical, bitter, and full of vengeance. I recall a television interview of his (the interviewer was Rajdeep Sardesai) where he intentionally steered the interview towards Aruna Roy to deliberately bad-mouth her. When Rajdeep Sardesai asked Mr. Ravi Shankar about his participation in a VHP function some years ago, he steered the interview to Aruna Roy and labeled her as a “prejudiced” person. He was venting big time on live national television — lashing out and seething — sour to the core. I think that interview is still there on you tube — see it if you have time. You’ll know precisely how “enlightened” he is.

      As far as his explanation for this blog is concerned, it is beyond bizarre — he truly lacks intelligence and creativity, not just integrity. He should have come up with something that was at least a bit believable.

      Why would anyone ask for three thousand dollars for not starting a blog?

      How outrageously preposterous is that?

      Assuming, for the sake of argument, that this story did take place, why did he take this blog to court after he said he was okay with anything being written?

      Why do AoL members land up on this blog and get abusive?

      Can Mr. Ravi Shankar and his battalion not respect the verdict of the court?

      Or, will they now say that the American Judiciary needs to earn their respect? Do they want the people of the United States to explain their Constitution to them? Are they so unhappy about and stressed out by American laws that they cannot tolerate them? How on earth do they even talk about world peace when they cannot accept a simple court verdict favouring the freedom of expression?

      And, what happened to the famous “accept people as they are” AoL philosophy?

      Why can’t Mr. Ravi Shankar and his battalion accept that there are some people in this world who absolutely do not buy all that they are selling?

      In just a few years, there will be many more blogs like this. AoL needs to set up a team of volunteers to “meditate” about what stories to cook up to explain each of those blogs. They should try to concoct stories that are at least a bit more intelligent and a bit more believable.

  10. stupidseeker permalink
    April 14, 2012 9:39 am

    Did the electricity come back on when Gandhi was born, as it did when HHSSRS came into the world ??? For the answer check out the yesplustv video, made by Bawa, below :

    • Anonymous permalink
      April 15, 2012 6:59 pm

      ha….there is a sucker born every minute…and in india, an enlightened man born every hour 😉

  11. stupidseeker permalink
    April 14, 2012 10:06 am

    Ok, the video above doesn’t answer the question posed, but it seems to suggest that the electricity comes back on when “enlightened” people take birth.

    • VSS permalink
      April 15, 2012 6:36 am

      @ stupidseeker [April 14, 2012 9:39 am]

      “Did the electricity come back on when Gandhi was born, as it did when HHSSRS came into the world ???”

      No — no such thing happened when Mahatma Gandhi was born.

      He merely succeeded in driving the mighty British Empire out of India, through peaceful, non-violent protests — with the help of millions and millions of Indians all over India — without selling peace and non-violence to them for a sum of money, without selling enlightenment, without selling health and happiness, without selling one or the other breathing technique, without making them worship him, without battering them, without selling ayurvedic products such as magic drops, and, without starting a religious cult. He also inspired and continues to inspire millions of others in other nations.

      But to answer your question yet again and very, very clearly — no, he had no “special” powers — especially over the power supply in India.

  12. Anonymous permalink
    April 14, 2012 4:21 pm

    Once in New York we were there, John Osborne and Bhanu were with me in a house and it was in the middle of the night, sometime around three or two o’clock and the yaksha spirit of New York came. It was the first time I interacted with the yaksha of New York. It said, “What can I do for you?” I said, “Thank you, nothing.” Whenever someone asks me what can I do for you, I say nothing. It looked a little disappointed and went and the next morning they all experienced that at that time suddenly, a presence had come, which was so tall and beautiful. It was like a huge energy coming into the hall, just being there. The next day, I had a talk in the U.N. When I was sitting there in the hall where I was supposed to deliver a speech, there were hardly ten, fifteen people in a hall for five hundred people. I knew that this was the job of that yaksha. It was disappointed and didn’t send anybody. I just said, “Oh, good this!” I acknowledged, oh, you have done this. And in two minutes, the door opened and the hall was filled.

    I told our eight, ten organizers who were sitting, that I should have asked for something. For example, give us some centre or do something. Then it could have been happier. I said I want nothing, so it felt so disappointed. It wanted to do some service, something. Later on I thought, probably I should have asked for something.

    • VSS permalink
      April 14, 2012 7:33 pm

      @ Anonymous [April 14, 2012 4:21 pm]

      To celebrate 25 years of a band called Jethro Tull, a recording company invited Ian Anderson (their lead singer) to India. He was staying at Taj Palace. An impromptu concert was organized at Taj Palace by the recording company. An individual called Susmit Sen (he is now a member of an Indian band called the Indian Ocean), who was then an employee of the recording company, did all the running around to make the concert happen. This concert was only for employees of the recording company. I was studying in high school at the time. I found out about the concert through a friend’s friend. I said aloud “God, please let me be invited to the concert” just once. Only once. And then I let go of my wish.

      Within a minute, my phone rang. I was invited to the concert. The nightclub was specially opened during the day for the concert. Ian Anderson said there should be no alcohol and no smoking while he was there. The energy in the nightclub while he performed was amazing. It felt as if all Gods — from the Greeks to the Indians — were present. Everyone was ecstatic and smiling their most divine smiles. It was a divine experience. All angels from all religions seemed to have blessed all those who were invited to the concert. That day even I thought that I should have asked God for something else — such as an invitation to the moon. I desperately want to travel to the moon at least once in my life. But I didn’t. Maybe I should have.

      Oh, and I forgot to mention, I was not a part of any religious cult at the time. Hell, I hadn’t even been to the temple for maybe a couple of years or even more. I hadn’t prayed every day in the morning for even more number of years. I do not recall doing anything religious or spectacular to have deserved the invitation to a divine concert where it seemed like all the Gods of all religions along with all angels of all religions were present. Yet, I haven’t felt more blessed than I did that day. It was one of the brightest days of my life and I carry the joy and happiness of that day in my heart every day. What’s even more miraculous is that everyone who was invited to that concert felt the same way. And yes, we were invited. We didn’t buy tickets because there were no tickets — it was an impromptu concert. Very inexplicable. Ian Anderson mentioned that in 25 years, that was the only time he performed at an impromptu concert.

      After the concert, all of us got to interact with Ian Anderson. He has an amazing smile and a lot of positive energy. All those who were present felt incredibly blessed.

      We didn’t have to enroll for any course. The word enlightenment wasn’t mentioned. Nothing was sold to us. We weren’t promised personal or world peace. There was no smoke and no alcohol. There was no mention of any religion. We were all extremely ecstatic and smiling heartfelt smiles continuously. The happiness of that day is so real that it overwhelms my heart even today. It was pure bliss.

      Miracles happen all the time. Every human being has experienced a miracle. Some weeks ago, I read the FAQs section of the YES PLUS site — someone asked “do miracles happen?” And the answer was — “Yes. Black cow eating green grass and producing white milk is a miracle.” The site also mentioned that YES PLUS survives on miracles.

      So do I.

      Thank you for sharing your story with the readers of this blog — especially me — I got a chance to remember one of the most precious miracles in my life. Ian Anderson inspires me because whenever he performs, and wherever he performs, the venue is full of people in no time. Like me, he is also not a member of any religious cult. But then, who says one has to be a member of a religious cult to experience miracles?

      For me, this blog is a miracle. Words are a miracle. Poetry is a miracle. Music is a miracle. Movies are a miracle too. The internet is a miracle. The English language that allows us to share miracles with each other is also a miracle. In fact, all languages and their uniqueness, are an ode to miracles. Nature is a miracle — the sheer beauty I see in nature takes my breath away. Children are miraculous and divine too. I absolutely adore them. My nephew inspires me every day. Mothers are a miracle — the unconditional love they give is a miracle too. Oh, there are millions and millions of miracles. If I truly started to list them, I could go on typing for decades.

      I believe in miracles. I love them.

      I don’t believe in religious cults. I don’t love them.

      • Anonymous permalink
        April 15, 2012 4:37 am

        I was not sharing my story. these were the words of ravi ravi from the kena upanishad talk. Like astavakra gita this is also full of himself and used as a promotional medium for aol. it is complete bullshit sold at a price.

      • VSS permalink
        April 15, 2012 1:32 pm

        @ Anonymous [April 15, 2012 4:37 am]

        Well, I’ve never seen a “Yaksha”, but like I said, I have sampled other miracles — such as this blog, the internet, etc. etc. (If you need to, please refer to my list in my previous post.)

        I don’t think that any human being needs to join a religious cult and pay money to experience any miracle.

        I think it is third degree psychological manipulation to sell “miracles” to people in order to exploit them financially and spiritually.

        I am one of those people who think that life is a miracle in and of itself.

        My guess is that Mr. Ravi Shankar resorts to these rather base tactics to manipulate those people who have been so struck by adversity in life that they’ve lost faith in its ability to restore itself.

        This loss of faith in life is something that I have experienced — and during that phase — I remember turning into someone who was vulnerable and was susceptible to cult abuse. It’s something that could happen to anyone.

        I hope that with time people all over the world will become more emotionally and psychologically resilient and not fall into the trap of any religious cult.

      • stupidseeker permalink
        April 15, 2012 4:48 pm


        Ok, my deepest apologies then. Lets leave that poor new york, yaksha to his goddamn business anyhows.

    • stupidseeker permalink
      April 15, 2012 9:00 am


      Can you request that same yaksha to kindly transfer ten million USD into a Swiss bank account in my name ???

      • Anonymous permalink
        April 16, 2012 3:29 pm

        Sorry SS, I already asked that yaksha privately, and he did it. I’m so rich now :p

  13. Anonymous permalink
    April 14, 2012 4:28 pm

    So many miracles happen. There are so many, plenty of them we can do, but we don’t get trapped or entangled in it. If it happens, it happens naturally. If someone says, I am bringing out a ring or this jewellery, don’t get charmed by those things. No. So many yakshas are ready to come and do miracles. A siddha, a Sadguru, a Guru will not utilize all those things. You hear so many of the miracles that Jesus did, they are all done by the yakshas. One loaf of bread fed so many people, and these things happen. It happens all the time with us. There are people bringing food for four persons and forty or fifty people eat that. There is plenty of food available. Things happen in an inexplicable manner, there is no logic or reasoning for it.

  14. Anonymous permalink
    April 14, 2012 4:34 pm

    I really appreciate your blog and courage to speak out. Please ask news media to do some investigations on their own and then these fraud gurus will be exposed in such a way that people will not believe them anymore. Indian News Media can really do help you spread the message.

    • VSS permalink
      April 15, 2012 6:03 am

      @ Anonymous [April 14, 2012 4:34 pm]

      Please have faith in the innate intelligence of human beings — including those in the Indian and Western media. Please be patient. There is no need to panic. The truth will reveal itself — it doesn’t need to depend on anything or anyone. This blog is a repository of information — those who seek that information will find their way to it — just as you have. All human beings have the potential to uncover the truth on their own — when they are ready and receptive — whether they are journalists or common citizens — whether they are Indian Nationals or Foreign Nationals. Additionally, so far, AoL has not been blacklisted by any nation. Therefore, I don’t believe in stopping anyone from joining AoL. At the same time, the American Judiciary has upheld the freedom of expression, so this blog exists. The validation of the American Judiciary, in my mind, is an acknowledgment of the fact that there is no one view of AoL that needs to be imposed on all. This blog is accessed by several people. In the future, it will be accessed by many more people. Some of them may even be journalists. Maybe journalists are already planning a sting operation. Who knows. Time will tell. I have great faith in the Universe and in people — including Indian and Foreign journalists.

      (Unfortunately, the Congress Government at the center is keeping at least Indian journalists very busy these days with its track record of at least one scam a day involving — in most instances — the big time looting of the National Exchequer — hence there is little time, currently, for relatively much smaller crooks. Hopefully, this situation will not last forever.)

  15. The Seer permalink
    April 15, 2012 7:25 am

    Thanks a lot for the contributors of this blog. AoL claims it has so many followers based on the number of people who took up the Part I course. But I am sure the number of people who never returned after taking up the Part I course is much larger than those who stuck on. Even those of us who stick for a while, as we go deeper and take up more courses, we get to see the hypocrisy face to face and many of us decide to leave. So, the number of followers the AoL claims to have is utterly wrong, and that in itself is a big hypocrisy for an organization that claims to promote human values. Of all the values, honesty is the very basic value, it is the foundation. Without honesty, whatever you do to help the world will come to nothing, in fact you will only add more misery to the world. AoL doesn’t consider honesty an important virtue, anyone who spent even a little time with AoL will know this. Teachers tell all sorts of stories to glorify the image of their master, most of the stories are fictious and inconsistent. You are encouraged to do anything, even lie, only if you can bring more participants to the course.

    Most of us who spend some time with the org and then leave do so silently, therefore the truth about the numbers and the image of the AoL that is projected to the world is not accurate. In this regard, the contributors of this blog are doing invaluable work. Truth shall prevail.

    • VSS permalink
      April 16, 2012 12:45 pm

      @ The Seer [April 15, 2012 7:25 am]

      Thank you for your insightful comment. The absence of “honesty” is indeed catastrophic for any organization. These are times when only ethical businesses have a real chance of surviving. And, I agree with what you say about this blog — it is invaluable for those who are about to or have already fallen into AoL’s trap. It’s just a matter of time before they will be able to see that AoL is a religious cult that is out to exploit them. Indeed, the truth shall prevail. It has a momentum of its own and it will express itself emphatically.

  16. 2bit permalink
    April 18, 2012 3:23 am

    another “truth shall prevail”…2 years on this blog… and no concrete evidence to back the talk. Wondering if bloggers are incompetent or just bunch of Anonymous Andys making mountain out of mole…what is it?

    • Jr. permalink
      April 18, 2012 3:45 am

      LOL, why don’t you show us proof that we’re wrong? It works both ways… but you can pretend we’re wrong if that makes you feel better. 😉

    • Anonymous permalink
      April 18, 2012 7:22 am

      Hey, wait a minute.. What do you think?!!! What about the experiences the ex-AOL people have shared here? Those are the concrete evidences you are talking about..
      And if you so believe in concrete evidence, why don’t you ask for financial reports to your ‘Guruji’ to prove the charity work he is doing.

      • Harshal permalink
        April 18, 2012 10:15 am

        ‘anonymous experiences’ are concrete evidences? What bull-shit is this. If you have balls prove something in the court of law.

        It is a responsibility of the accuser to provide evidence. For example- if I accuse you of killing cartman, is it your responsibility to prove innocence or my responsibility to provide evidence?

        It doesn’t go both ways…so stop spreading rats ass already.

      • Jr. permalink
        April 18, 2012 4:40 pm

        So court is the answer to proving anything? lol I don’t think your master would agree with this logic.

        Since you accuse us of lying Harshy, where is your evidence? It’s the responsibility of the accuse (you) to provide evidence. Where is it? 😉

        The real amazing thing after 2 years, is that I’m yet to read on AOL member answer any of the legitimate questions posted here on this blog. Instead we get Harshal’s and 2bit’s trying to insult us, while not understanding their own irony when asking for proof.

    • Anonymous permalink
      April 18, 2012 12:24 pm

      No 2bit, just not wanting to get sued for “defamation” by telling too much details, naming names, etc. Also, not wanting AOL thugs knocking on the door to give their ‘message of peace’ from ‘Guruji’. Anyone who has said too much had to go to court, find lawyers, etc. Art of Living is a bullying organization with too much money and lots of paranoia. Freedom of speech, as in this blog, is not tolerated by them. Fortunately, it is, by the American court system.

  17. Anonymous permalink
    April 18, 2012 5:14 am


    That should definitely make you decide to take the AOL Basic Course. Aren’t you the one who is going through this blog for the last 2 years to decide whether to take an AOL course. Whether these bloggers are competent or incompetent, atleast you should be competent enough to decide about taking the AOL course, after defending AOL and attacking these bloggers for the last 2 years.

    Unlike these “Anonymous Andys”, you are not afraid of revealing your identity by your handle ‘2bit’.

    Do you know that you have accepted that atleast a mole exists if not the mountain.

    • Anonymous permalink
      May 27, 2012 1:22 pm

      Sorry for late replies…

      Yes it did help decide…the proof-less whining from all the AAs piqued my curiosity. Had to give it a fair try..,found it to be an impressive technique…you should try if you haven’t already…I have no allegations to make, hence no obligation to reveal my identity…can you say the same about you all the AAs?

      Why are you so defensive? Just baseless allegations don’t help your case…

  18. Harshal permalink
    April 18, 2012 9:51 am

    ‘gossips shall prevail’ should be the motto of this blog. Look at this BBS. She keep pouring all the negativity. If shes so ugly from inside, I wonder how ugly she is from outside…yuck….

  19. VSS permalink
    April 18, 2012 10:22 am

    @ 2bit [April 18, 2012 3:23 am]

    This post is for you and all who might be reading. I’ve intentionally deployed a question and answer format to facilitate a relatively easier reading and comprehension experience. This is the best I can do to answer your question as well as other questions that might be there in the minds of other readers — I am but a mere mortal. (All answers are my answers.)

    > Do you think a brainwashed person knows that he or she is brainwashed at the time when he or she is brainwashed?

    No. If a person knew he or she was brainwashed at the time when he or she was brainwashed, then the person would not be brainwashed.

    > When the experts in brainwashing successfully brainwash people for spans of time ranging from one day to their entire lives, then what is the relevance of a time-frame like two years?

    There is no relevance whatsover. This blog is owned by people who discovered years after being brainwashed that they had been brainwashed.

    > What kind of EVIDENCE EXISTS to prove that brainwashing was and is being carried out in AoL?

    Irrefutable evidence exists in almost all promotional videos of AoL. Those who wish to know more can refer to a recent post on this blog that clearly illustrates how brainwashing is accomplished in AoL.

    > Why do people not readily view the irrefutable evidence available and instead simply insist that no evidence exists?

    It’s because people are brainwashed by brainwashing experts.

    > How can a reader know if he or she is brainwashed or not?

    A reader can know if he or she is brainwashed or not by reading about the process of brainwashing and trying to ascertain if he or she has the symptoms of being brainwashed.

    > Is reading and acquiring knowledge about brainwashing the only way in which a person who has been brainwashed by AoL actually learn about the process of brainwashing deployed by AoL?


    > If all the promotional material of AoL is irrefutable evidence of the brainwashing that goes on in AoL, then why can’t AoL members see through it instantly?

    AoL members cannot see through it instantly because they have been skillfully brainwashed.

    > What triggers the need in AoL members to investigate if they have been brainwashed or not?

    Acknowledging the possibility that AoL could be a Right Wing Hindu religious cult.

    > Why do most members of AoL not acknowledge the possibility that AoL could be a Right Wing Hindu cult?

    Most AoL members do not acknowledge the possibility that AoL could be a Right Wing Hindu cult because they do not read and gather new knowledge and information.

    > Why do AoL members not read and gather new knowledge and information?

    AoL members do not gather new knowledge and information because they have been brainwashed and the key components of brainwashing include mind and information control.

    > When is it likely that even the most brainwashed of AoL’s members will see through the brainwashing that AoL constantly and intensely subjects them to?

    When society, as a whole, becomes more aware of how religious cults brainwash members.

    > Do societies evolve in two years?

    No. Sometimes, it takes societies centuries to evolve.

    > Why would someone then refer to a time-frame of two years to defend a religious cult?

    Someone would do that because the brainwashing that the person has been subjected to by AoL has disconnected the person from rational thought and he or she is, therefore, expecting a miracle from society without any sense whatsoever of how long it takes for societies to evolve and history to unravel.

    > What can one say to such a person?

    One can only humbly request such a person to read, to gather new information, to seek knowledge, to contemplate, to learn, and, to evolve.

    > What is the point of saying this to such a person?

    The point is to make an attempt to enable the person so that he or she may be able to break the shackles of mind and information control being deployed by the cult.

    > If the person resists reading and finding new information and knowledge, what does that tell us about the person?

    Resistance to new information tells us that the person is so severely brainwashed that the person is currently incapable of breaking the shackles of mind and information control imposed by AoL.

    > What can one do if a person is unwilling to break the shackles of mind and thought control imposed by AoL by resisting reading and finding out new information and knowledge?

    One can patiently wait for the person to learn on his own from a place of compassion and empathy knowing that to err is human.

    > What can one do while one waits for people to open their eyes?

    One can write and post information for them that might bring them comfort and solace when they wake up to how they have been brainwashed by AoL.

    > Has this blog brought comfort and solace to the people who’ve woke up and discovered that they were brainwashed by AoL?

    Yes, this blog has brought comfort and solace to several people who’ve woken up and discovered that they were brainwashed by AoL.

    > Why are AoL members not able to see the sheer number of people that this blog has brought solace and comfort to in two years?

    AoL members are too comprehensively brainwashed to hear the voices of those who have suffered in and because of AoL.

    (I, for one, have been severely abused on this blog by AoL members.)

    > Does that mean that the comprehensive brainwashing done by AoL kills a human being’s ability to see another human being’s perspective on the same thing?

    Yes, AoL’s comprehensive brainwashing completely closes the mind of a human being and the human being ceases to see the same thing from another person’s perspective.

    > What is wrong with not being able to see the same thing from another person’s perspective?

    When a person loses the ability to see the same thing from another person’s perspective, then the person becomes intolerant and insensitive.

    (That is why AoL took this blog to court. And, that is why even after the verdict of the American Judiciary in favour of this blog, AoL members have not stopped being abusive on this blog. They are simply unable to respect the verdict of the American Judiciary.)

    > Does AoL turn people into intolerant and insensitive people?

    Yes, AoL turns people into intolerant and insensitive people.

    > Can AoL bring about world peace by making people intolerant and insensitive?

    No, AoL cannot bring about world peace by making people intolerant and insensitive.

    (Most of those AoL members who post abusive comments on this blog don’t even have personal peace.)

    > Then, why does AoL make people turn intolerant and insensitive?

    AoL makes people intolerant and insensitive because it is a religious cult. If people in this cult start accepting the perspective of others and become sensitive to the experiences of others, they will not convert as aggressively as AoL needs them to.

    > What is the evidence that AoL needs its members to convert aggressively?

    AoL makes people actually take a “sankalpa” (make a commitment) on how many people they can convert and how much money they can raise.

    > Is conversion the essence of “seva”, “sadhana”, and, “satsang”?

    No, conversion is not the essence of seva, sadhana, and satsang.

    > What is the essence of seva, sadhana, and satsang?

    The essence of seva, sadhana, and satsang lies in the practice of all three without any motives whatsoever.

    > What are AoL’s motives?

    AoL’s motives in everything it does is the promotion of Mr. Ravi Shankar and AoL.

    > If AoL was not a religious cult, but simply a school of thought or a philosophy, what would it have done differently?

    AoL would have empowered its members with the knowledge that:

    (a) there is an opportunity for seva staring at us a million times in a day and it does not require AoL’s presence or promotion

    (b) sadhana is between an individual and God and does not require the presence or promotion of a guru

    (c) satsang is simply sharing good music with family and friends who do not have to be members of AoL ( the music may or may not be overtly devotional and does not have to composed by friends of Mr. Ravi Shankar with vocals by Mrs. Bhanumati)

    > Does that mean that AoL has actually no role to play in an individual’s spiritual growth and evolution — that it is nothing but the proverbial middle man between and individual and God — promising the individual proximity to God for profit?

    Yes. That is why there are more number of people all over the world who are outside AoL and close to God without a guru.

    > Is there any historical evidence to suggest that this role of a middleman between an individual and God evolved because of the perpetuation of discrimination in society?

    Yes, it is a well documented fact that corruption in Indian society began in the Later Vedic age — centuries ago — when the Brahmins emerged as Rajgurus (Royal Priests) to Kshattriya rulers and became the interpreters of religious texts as well as the only teachers. They were projected and promoted as scholars and they provided education to the rulers and their families. Education was denied to all others most of the times. Society evolved when everyone got the opportunity to access education and the monopoly of the Brahmins ended.

    (Anyone who has studied Ancient Indian History would know this.)

    > Should anyone have a monopoly over education and knowledge?

    No, no one can or should have a monopoly of education and knowledge — whether it is scientific knowledge or spiritual knowledge.

    > Why does Mr. Ravi Shankar claim that he has more “spiritual knowledge” than others and aspires to head a Spiritual Council should there ever be one?

    Well, most people who claim they know more than others do so because they are insecure about the little they know.

    > Does this insecurity make him arrogant and intolerant?

    Yes, this insecurity makes him arrogant and intolerant.

    > Does his insecurity make his followers arrogant and intolerant too?

    Yes, this insecurity gets transmitted to his followers and makes them arrogant and intolerant too — because he is after all their guru — in intolerance and arrogance.

    > If arrogance and intolerance is not a sign of greatness, then what is the first true sign of greatness?

    The first true sign of greatness is humility — it is the recognition and celebration of the greatness in others.

    (Leadership is building leaders around one, not brainwashing them into following one blindly.)

    > Is the absence of greatness the reason why Mr. Ravi Shankar is unable to recruit and retain more and more followers and has to resort to lies such as inflating numbers?

    Yes, AoL is not expanding as Mr. Ravi Shankar would have liked because of the absence of greatness and that’s why lies are spread in order to convert more and more people.

    > Why does Mr. Ravi Shankar not realize this — why is he not humbled by the lack of expansion?

    Mr. Ravi Shankar is delusional.

    > Is that why the members of AoL are also delusional?

    Yes, that is precisely why the members of AoL are also delusional.

    > Is there an example that illustrates the extent to which Mr. Ravi Shankar and his members are delusional?

    Yes, there are too many examples to quote — but here’s one: Recently, a team of AoL volunteers went and taught the inhabitants of a village in Karnataka to route drinking water through what were previously waste water drains. They also made them take an oath that they would not wash their clothes or bathe their animals with clean water. This entire project is showcased on the AoL website and claimed as an achievement — when anyone with common sense can tell that this is the recipe for disaster — i.e. the spread of water-borne diseases.

    > Do delusional people lack common sense?

    Yes, almost all delusional people lack common sense.

    > Does that mean that AoL members lack common sense?

    Yes, AoL members lack common sense.

    > Once AoL members leave AoL, do they regain their common sense?

    Yes, once they leave, they regain all that they have lost to expert brainwashing at AoL.

    > What is the first concern in the minds of those people who lost their common sense to AoL and then regained it when they left AoL?

    The first concern is to spread awareness amongst those who are still in AoL with the objective of rescuing them from leading delusional lives within AoL.

    > If AoL has been in existence for nearly 31 years now, and this blog (which has been started by those who have regained their common sense after leaving AoL and are concerned about those still leading delusional lives in AoL) has been in existence for only 2 years, would anyone with even an iota of common sense make a comment about the success or failure of this blog right now?

    No, no one with even an iota of common sense would compare nearly 31 years with 2 years.

    > Can one, therefore, derive from this nonsensical comparison that the person making it is brainwashed?

    Yes, it is very evident that the person making the comparison is brainwashed.

    > Does this person and the comparison this person makes be taken as further evidence of the disastrous and damaging results of the brainwashing that AoL is subjecting its members to?

    Yes. This person is definitely further evidence of the disastrous and damaging results of the brainwashing that AoL is subjecting its members to.

    > Isn’t it really tragic that a person asking for evidence is evidence incarnate?

    Yes, it’s very tragic — it’s actually heartbreaking.

    > What can one possibly do for this person?

    One can sincerely pray for this person.

    > Does one need a guru to pray for this person?

    No. One does not need a guru to pray for any person for any reason. Praying is between an individual and God — no middlemen are required especially if they take a commission.

    (P.S. Readers, I apologize for all the typos. Time is just not on my side today.)

    • Anonymous permalink
      May 27, 2012 1:38 pm

      sorry for late reply…

      It was a simple question suggesting the possibility of boredom setting in even in good things. And you seem to think whole lot of of people are just brainwashed, and ‘you’ are not. Good luck with that

      Anyway, thanks a lot for effort

  20. Harshal permalink
    April 18, 2012 7:01 pm

    “Since you accuse us of lying Harshy, where is your evidence? It’s the responsibility of the accuse (you) to provide evidence. Where is it?”

    Why is it so hard for you to remember that I am not here to provide any evidence, not here to have a logical argument or to reason with you. I am here to have *ENTERTAINMENT* –at your expense.

    It is so unfortunate for you, that no main stream AOL person has free time to respond to crackheads like you and BBS.

    • Jr. permalink
      April 18, 2012 8:11 pm

      No, you are here because…

      – you are a really unhappy, agitated person who can’t stand that a blog exists to expose your path
      – you hate everyone on this blog and want it shut down
      – you want to find out the identity of everyone is on here to try to cause harm in their lives by threats or other actions
      – you want to verbally abuse people on this blog
      – you want to discredit the contributions from people on this blog by asking for proof, but you never have any “proof” the contributions here are false

      Quit pretending this is about entertainment – no one is buying it.

      This post shows your true intentions…

      “6) playing with peoples emotions. Knowing very well that founder of AOL is revered and respected by many. A guru in India is considered as a mother. Would you be happy if anyone opened a blog and abused your mother?” – Harshal July 18th, 2011

    • Anonymous permalink
      April 19, 2012 5:58 am

      Jr. is right of course.
      and if you are not here to provide evidence, why do you keep asking others for evidences?

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