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He Just Lies, and Devotees Innocently Perpetuate His Lies

April 16, 2012

by IO

[In Response to this comment by The Seer]

Based on my observations I am attempting to qualify and quantify some of these figures.

AOL retention –

Background – Lets say I was a much above average AOL teacher and for most parts actually walked the talk. I have been teaching for 5 years. I teach once a month on a average of 20 new students in a batch. In 5 years I would have taught about 1200 of them.

This is assuming that as a teacher you operated in a fixed geography.

Now lets take the Definition of a retained AOL person :

a1. Folks that come for weekly long kriya regularly (80%+ attendance) – Typically about 40 of the 1200. Thats 3%. (This is for the better than average teacher). If you are among the “fluffy teachers” which today they are producing a dime a dozen…..then folks will avoid your follow-up sessions. It could go to as low a figure as 2 or 3. The 2 or 3 that come will be devotees that come only because the venue is in their own building….or for some other distinct material comfort.

a2. Folks that come for Satsangs. This number usually stays constant. Irrespective of growth. Folks that come for Satsangs are typically Hindus by birth. The rest invariably drop out. Hence its usually a very small number. In anycase if you do not serve prasad (food) after satsang the number will drop down even further (at least by half). The Satsang people and the weekly follow-up people will have different crowds. (More women and kids in the Satsangs…….this has been my experience and observation). The Hindus observation is quite valid even for the USA, UK, Canada, Middle East (Where you many many Indians of Hindu Origin). In other countries Germany, Poland and son…this does not apply.

b. Folks that do advance courses every year. About 8 of the 1200. Thats 0.67%.

c. Folks that are regular in Seva (same as above, above 0.67%)

After 10 years the same scenario as above (half the above)

Approximate Time period – 1999-2008.

From my experience I have also noticed hat the core team of dedicated volunteers that do work does not change much whether it was 5 years, 15 years or 25 years after the 1st part-1 course. Its the usual suspects that always pitch in. The Geography will get split into many smaller geographies with similar numbers. However, when all the geographies attempt to get together to do one large project…. it rarely ever takes off (Classic case – Berlin fest). The patterns are very interesting.

Each AOL faction (Chapter) develops its own identity and ego….depending on the lead teacher. They cannot get along with the other teams / chapters. Most AOL teachers have one common lament. “I do not have enough volunteers”. Volunteer grabbing is the norm. In fact many AOL teachers will host Satsang’s and food parties in their homes just to entice other teacher’s volunteers into their fold.

In geographies outside India, a Senior visiting teacher would for a short period be successful in integrating the local chapters ….but only for short periods (read weeks). Once they leave there would be more dis-integration and disharmony than anything else. However, these days this is dwindling as DSN, Sahaj and Advance course teachers are now available locally. And thats usually not charming for a new aspirant and an existing aspirant wanting to do a new course (they already have a flavour of the teacher).

If you watch carefully, very few Sr teachers have managed to keep their charm in a sustained way with their older students. Simply because over a period of time the students will wake up and see through the hypocrisy. Hence to get their energy fix, Sr teachers are often greedy / hungry for fresh faces in their courses. Hence the need to travel out of their home territories.

However, typical AOL volunteer’s number representation will be as follows……

1. Any number that SriSri throws will be repeated verbatim until its even published as the truth (We have 2.5 Million people for Silver Jubilee, We have adopted 30,000 villages, We had 50,000 attendees at Berlin….to understand what this means please google what a packed Eden Gardens Calcutta or a Chinnaswamy Stadium Bangalore looks like and then take a look at the Berlin Photos). Then make up your minds about the 50,000 claim.

2. I have seen Sri Sri himself claim some amazing numbers. He just makes them up. While that was happening, it would sound very incongruent as I would have been involved in the fund raising and organisation at all levels. There are times when I even thought that the Master was demonstrating that it was important to magnify and highlight positivity when negativity was being so hyped and magnified by the rest of the media. While it would not come naturally to me to do the same thing…..I felt that maybe I was handicapped and that I needed to look at things at a larger perspective which I was not doing. After Krishna is also known to have been a consummate liar. I ended up feeling down and defeated, even though some amazing work had happened.

Much later, when I started to listen to myself more and back myself more…..I realised I was attempting to mask and bury my disappointment that my taken on Master was a liar. I was so desperate to protect my earlier decision to take him as my Master that I would rationalise it any which way to explain the situation to MYSELF. Do this once and you will do it again…..it becomes easy the 2nd time around. Once you lie to yourself, you will not stop other’s from believing the same lie. For most AOL devotees, they like to perpetrate the same lie again and again. Just average human tendency…to pass stuff on. Then it gets into emails, fliers, facebook and folks such as those on the blog now will question it and provide a counter rationale.

Things are much more pacier now than 10 years ago. So, if you have been with them for a few years, then, only those that are able to live with their own compromised integrity will find it easy. Otherwise, if you still find yourself inside, you are probably totally blind and stupefied to what is really happening right under your nose…..or your self esteem has taken such a beating that you feel you cannot survive without the backing of the cult. However, thats the mistake, the cult backs no one…..everyone is expendable.

Lets watch the fun when the severe financial mishandling and misappropriation and reporting of Sumeru Ayurveda and publicly listed Inwinex pharma gets highlighted. The reports clearly point a finger at Banu’s hubby and 2nd son. What will take priority…..family or the business ? I wonder what is happening with all the real estate cases in court ?. Have they managed to buy them off again ….and simply quell any new articles ? In the Bangalore city circles, the average jack openly talks about how AOL has been paying the Times of India for all the coverage it gets.

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36 Comments
  1. VSS permalink
    April 16, 2012 11:38 am

    What an eye-opener this post is, IO! It’s just so insightful. Thank you so much for taking the time out to demystify the terribly, terribly inflated numbers that AoL relentlessly projects. Posts such as this one help one to look at the real picture — and it is extremely revealing.

    My first thoughts after reading this post were about how — even as a business model — AoL has failed. If such a small fraction of people return to AoL for Courses, then it’s obvious that AoL Courses don’t work. It seems like AoL succeeds in getting people to try AoL, but that’s about it.

  2. VSS permalink
    April 16, 2012 1:38 pm

    “I was so desperate to protect my earlier decision to take him as my Master that I would rationalise it any which way to explain the situation to MYSELF. Do this once and you will do it again…..it becomes easy the 2nd time around. Once you lie to yourself, you will not stop other’s from believing the same lie. For most AOL devotees, they like to perpetrate the same lie again and again. Just average human tendency…to pass stuff on. Then it gets into emails, fliers, facebook and folks such as those on the blog now will question it and provide a counter rationale.”

    I just read your post again, IO, and the part I’ve quoted struck me as particularly significant. Though I didn’t join AoL, I have experienced this need to defend an error of judgment. The process is precisely as you have articulated it — once one begins to lie to oneself, it becomes easier to lie to oneself again, and it becomes easier to lie to others as well.

    I think that it’s very possible that Mr. Ravi Shankar knows this element of human psychology and intentionally exploits it. By linking a teacher’s self-esteem to how many people he or she can convert and then retain too, Mr. Ravi Shankar skillfully manipulates all teachers. In the video that was posted on this blog a few days ago, Bawa is seen to be doing precisely this — directly holding people responsible for the lack of interest of potential converts by saying something like don’t give power to the non-interest of potential converts.

    It seems that AoL simply does not acknowledge the possibility that someone may be genuinely uninterested in joining AoL. This reeks of fascism — there can be no milder word for this kind of non-inclusive mindset — which simply does not allow for any difference of opinion even prior to conversion. It is almost as if people have no right to not join AoL. It seems that once someone meets someone from AoL, they simply do not have the option to say they don’t want to try AoL. If they do, then the AoL person who has been assigned the task of converting them will be ridiculed within AoL and will be made to feel inadequate and ineffective. This is insane — the kind of insane that is far removed from even a tiny hint of enlightenment.

    Therefore, I think it is ABJECT CRUELTY — and i am choosing my words very carefully — to make teachers and volunteers responsible for the number of people they can convert and retain. It is PSYCHOLOGICAL TORTURE of the worst kind. Because of the tremendous pressure to convert, which is seen as the true measure of a member’s potential / devotion / sincerity, the teachers and volunteers inflate numbers.

    So, you lied to yourself, and then lied to others as well. If you didn’t, then you wouldn’t have been able to convert as many people as you would with the help of lies, and, all sorts of judgments would have been made about why you could not effect the “desired conversion rate”. You would have been accused of “low prana” etc. etc. and branded as someone who was not as successful as others in AoL. I completely understand and can clearly see why and how you were manipulated into lying about the number of people who are active members of AoL. This is all a part of a much bigger scheme (rather scam) to manipulate teachers and volunteers into converting more aggressively.

    You are remarkable, IO, for not just seeing through all of that, and being able to regain your tuning with your inner true self, but also for expressing the dilemma you went through so candidly that those fence sitters who are going through the same dilemma — can read your words, relate to what you’ve expressed, and, if they are as courageous as you, free themselves from the shackles of AoL.

    • The Seer permalink
      April 17, 2012 6:18 am

      By linking a teacher’s self-esteem to how many people he or she can convert and then retain too, Mr. Ravi Shankar skillfully manipulates all teachers.

      Yes, I have attended quite a few volunteer meets and the talk most often revolves around numbers, everyone attending the meeting is asked individually, ‘how many people you can bring?’ and ‘how much money you can collect?’ and we are asked to take a sankalpa (commitment) based on the number we specify. Not so much is discussed about how effectively to conduct the course or the event, quality is almost always never dicussed, the focus is only on quantity. And as you say, within the meeting, the number is linked to the self-esteem, people come up with some brilliant numbers knowing fully well they have no chance meeting those numbers. When in such a group, it’s just impossible to be realistic, peer pressure and the fear of losing self-esteem forces you to come up with a big number. If you are a conscientious person, you actually work hard to meet those numbers and eventually end up feeling guilty. (Thankfully I have not become a teacher, so not sure if TTCs and ‘teachers meets’ discuss a lot about the numbers, most likely they do).

      But this is what I mean by lack of honesty in AoL. Honesty and truthfulness is not just speaking facts in front of others. More importantly, honesty is what you tell yourselves. When there is misalignment between what you actually believe and what you say yourself you believe, you are not honest to yourself, and when you go on this way, you lose your ability to see things as they are, you become delusional. This is more dangerous than not being honest to others. If you are not honest to others, you only lose your credibility, your name and fame, but if you are not honest to yourself, you lose your mind, your power of discrimination and clarity of thinking. Repeating yourself that you can do something you deeply know is just unreasonable only makes you delusional. This is different from encouraging yourself to leap higher, setting realistic targets and challenging yourself.

      • VSS permalink
        April 17, 2012 10:41 am

        @ The Seer [April 17, 2012 6:18 am]

        Your comment is extremely insightful. I found the following parts especially revealing:

        “Yes, I have attended quite a few volunteer meets and the talk most often revolves around numbers, everyone attending the meeting is asked individually, ‘how many people you can bring?’ and ‘how much money you can collect?’ and we are asked to take a sankalpa (commitment) based on the number we specify. Not so much is discussed about how effectively to conduct the course or the event, quality is almost always never dicussed, the focus is only on quantity.”

        I did not know that members are actually made to take a sankalpa (make a commitment) — this is a terrible kind of coercion.

        “If you are not honest to others, you only lose your credibility, your name and fame, but if you are not honest to yourself, you lose your mind, your power of discrimination and clarity of thinking. Repeating yourself that you can do something you deeply know is just unreasonable only makes you delusional. This is different from encouraging yourself to leap higher, setting realistic targets and challenging yourself.”

        I can now see clearly that AoL is a religious cult that promises stress relief but what it actually delivers is replacing all other stresses with the stress of converting others — this becomes the main stress — and the brainwashing process is so powerful that this stress drives members into becoming delusional.

        The kind of brainwashing that AoL is indulging in is undoubtedly disastrous and damaging — turning people into tools for expansion by exerting this kind of psychological pressure to “perform” in terms of “achieving conversion” is an insult to all human beings. I don’t know how anyone who can see through this brainwashing can possibly claim that AoL is a “humanitarian organization”. To me, what they’re doing, seems like nothing short of cruelty. They are causing trauma in the garb of providing stress relief. This is not just sad and distressing — but tragic beyond belief.

      • The Seer permalink
        April 17, 2012 11:08 am

        Of course, when you are in such a meeting, it doesn’t look like cruelty from the outside. There are smiles all around, bhajans, the stories of guru’s grace, etc., but inwardly you feel the unease and have questions that you can’t freely ask because it will be ridiculed and it looks irrelevant. You inwardly think you are the one that lacks belief and not upto the task, but probably everyone else in the gathering feels the same.

        The ‘sugar coated poison’ term is very very apt.

  3. Dayalu permalink
    April 16, 2012 2:33 pm

    Kudos! Excellently put by IO.

    SSRS loves inflating numbers and often does it in multiples of 10. In the list of unwritten spiritual rules that govern Art of Living, half lies are okay in order to bring more people into the ‘knowledge’. However, it does not take much time for those half lies to become full lies, but who cares as long as they brings more people.

    I remember a TRM, about 3 years ago in which the golden lady of Latin America (Who was much talked about in the blog earlier when the subject of Eng An came up) was sharing her success stories of Brazil and Argentina. She said, one of the things she never hesitated to do was to inflate the numbers and the justification she gave was ‘The divine loves exhaggeration’. Of course that was a 100% true, coz in her definition divine = SSRS.

    It is not only her ‘divine’ that loves inflating numbers, politicians, timeshare or used car sales man, Amway folks, and many others inflate numbers. And the one common thing among all these people is that they lack credibility. No one takes their words at face value; but the difference between them and AOl folks is that none of the others claim to be spiritually evolved or make claims about saving the world. Whereas AOL folks utter these lies pretending they are on a higher moral pedestal than the rest of the world. And that is where AOL lies become much more toxic to the society than the lies of the other folks mentioned above…..

  4. Hari permalink
    April 16, 2012 2:55 pm

    AOL is for “spiritually bankrupt” people… they would suck up anything sold “spirituality” … AOL is the cleverest design for luring such people… not to mention the likes of Amirthanandamayee or Nithyananda or the Sai Baba clan

    • VSS permalink
      April 16, 2012 5:59 pm

      @ Hari [April 16, 2012 2:55 pm]

      no human being
      is “spiritually bankrupt”
      nor was
      nor will be
      the spiritual quest
      of every human being
      is authentic and genuine
      we all search for answers
      always have
      always will
      we may be misled
      we may be blinded
      but no human being
      is “spiritually bankrupt”
      nor was
      nor will be
      so no human being
      who lands up in a cult
      is inadequate or less
      nor was
      nor will be
      to judge human beings thus
      is the biggest blasphemy
      always was
      always will be

      Anyone can make a mistake. To err is human. The act of making a mistake doesn’t make a human being “spiritually bankrupt”. We have no right to judge any human being who was trapped by a cult — no one gets trapped by a cult intentionally. Usually, those who are in a cult don’t even know that they are in a cult — they’re brainwashed so comprehensively. They may be ignorant but they’re not “spiritually bankrupt”. No human being is “spiritually bankrupt” — no human being can be — it’s just not possible.

  5. Harshal permalink
    April 16, 2012 3:03 pm

    “spiritually bankrupt people”- Of course. AOL, Amirthanandamayee or Nithyananda or the Sai Baba all are not for highly advanced spiritual bullshitter like you. Why cant you leave them alone?

    • Hari permalink
      April 16, 2012 5:29 pm

      @ Harshal permalink
      April 16, 2012 3:03 pm “leaving them alone”… wow… they should be behind bars for cheating… all these pseudo-enlightened businessmen are much much worse than the corrupt politicians, hard-core criminals… all you mindless morons, when would you ever wake up and realize that, there is no one common path to enlightenment and the one who “sells” as “the path” is a ***king businessman and not a spiritual being to begin with… Ravi is the most hardened “criminal” under the guise of “spiritual man”… and there is a supreme power looking upon this circus at AOL… remember what happened to Sai Baba clan? the same downfall is imminent for AOL too… Ravi is not immortal, is he?

    • Hari permalink
      April 16, 2012 5:33 pm

      the day when AOL, is dismantled completely and its “riches” is distributed to the poor and the needy, I would celebrate it like a festival… and yeah, there would also be the only moment, when I respect what AOL did!

    • stupidseeker permalink
      April 16, 2012 5:33 pm

      @Harshal,

      The Orissa government gave AOL 200 acres of land for their Sri Sri university. The land on which the university is built came from three preexisting villages. The fate of the villagers who were parted from their land is still unknown. Care to tell us about their fate ??

  6. stupidseeker permalink
    April 16, 2012 4:47 pm

    This video was posted here earlier, but in the context of the above post I felt it somewhat pertinent to repost it. In it, a questioner asks HHSSRS whether practice of SKY can change the DNA of the person (1.20) and HHSSRS,not knowing any better, answers “yes” and then without a backward glance calls in the next question. At the end of the video another questioner asks the all knowing guru, that where were we when there was no earth(6.28) and for once the guru gives an honest answer saying ” woh to mujhe bhi nahin pata hain” or “even I don’t have an answer for that”.

  7. Hari permalink
    April 16, 2012 7:11 pm

    When Satan preaches the Bible – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0_Qf8aDDqdo

    • Hari permalink
      April 17, 2012 1:12 pm

      here is the embedded version – http://youtu.be/0_Qf8aDDqdo

      • VSS permalink
        April 19, 2012 6:55 pm

        @ Hari [April 17, 2012 1:12 pm]

        I finally got a chance to view this video — and it’s absolutely hilarious! Thank you for the link. The Ravana and the Aham Bramhasmi parts, respectively, were particularly revealing. Mr. Ravi Shankar was being very defensive — and some of his dementia was also on display — especially when he mentioned the doctor in some place who was involved in some racket. His tone and inflection throughout the discussion were pretty strange too. He goes on and on and on in a semi-wailing mode.

  8. The Seer permalink
    April 17, 2012 5:20 am

    IO, thanks for sharing your observations.

    To a certain extent, it is acceptable to project one’s own positives ahead of the negatives. Every one of us, every individual, every organization does that. But when someone comes up with such inflated numbers and highly exaggerated claims, they only end up losing credibility in the long run. I would even say it’s foolish in this age of information explosion, they lose credibility a lot quicker. But hey, who knows, AoL doesn’t care about credibility, they only care as much as it helps them make heaps of money in quick time.

    Each AOL faction (Chapter) develops its own identity and ego….depending on the lead teacher. They cannot get along with the other teams / chapters. Most AOL teachers have one common lament. “I do not have enough volunteers”.

    This is very true. The teacher in charge of our local center always laments that she doesn’t have enough volunteers, she doesn’t have any co-operation, etc. However much we do, she always makes us feel guilty that we are not doing enough seva. For a long time after taking the Part I (basic) course, I didn’t go beyond my local center, so I thought only this lady is like that, she’s a dark spot in the AoL, after all AoL is a such a big organization changing the world with millions of followers, active in 150 odd countries, etc., But only when I started going around to other centers, taking up advanced courses and all that, I realized that almost every teacher is like that. And worse, I felt they don’t do it consciously, it’s kind of programmed into their brain to act that way. The exaggerated storytelling, the obsession with numbers too, I think is programmed into their brain.

    And there is a lot of power struggle between teachers heading different chapters in the same locality, sometimes it can get ugly, so much for an organization that believes in ‘one world family’. Sometimes it’s funny when you consider what these teachers are running after. The bulk of the course fees collected goes to Bangalore, and these teachers get only a small percentage (I think 15%), and most of the time, it’s not even enough to cover the expenses of conducting the course. Many times I have seen the local teacher spend money out of her pocket to conduct the courses. Really these teachers lose a lot for nothing, they are so thoroughly brainwashed they don’t see this.

  9. VSS permalink
    April 17, 2012 9:10 am

    @ Hari [April 16, 2012 5:29 pm]

    “…all you mindless morons, when would you ever wake up and realize that, there is no one common path to enlightenment and the one who “sells” as “the path” is a businessman and not a spiritual being to begin with…”

    I think your observation about Mr. Ravi Shankar is absolutely accurate. But I don’t think that those who are in AoL are “mindless morons”. That’s just not a fair description. I feel you are completely underestimating the power of brainwashing. Anyone — absolutely anyone — could be brainwashed — and brainwashed absolutely. Religious cults in India have mastered this art of brainwashing.

    Yet, this is no reason for despair. I don’t know if you had a chance to read Shekhar Gupta’s column in the Indian Express last week. It said very clearly that the BJP is losing its political space rapidly because the urban Indian is fast becoming liberal and not interested in validating a Right Wing political party. As most of us know, the BJP is right of center. As most of us also know, AoL is Right Wing too, and actively hobnobs with the BJP and the RSS.

    For those of us who are “enlightened” enough to know that Right Wing ideologies are as far removed from enlightenment as utter ignorance is, it is distressing to watch silently as Right Wing religious cults brainwash more and more people. What do we do? We express ourselves and our perspective and hope that those who are reading will be able to regain control of their minds and see through the brainwashing that they are being subjected to. Though this does happen — it definitely happened in my case — and it happened before AoL could trap me — the ideal scenario would be if the words we post would instantly impact all those who are brainwashed and reading — irrespective of which stage of brainwashing they’re in.

    So far this is not happening. It’s because — for some reason — the education system and society as a whole — does not make people as receptive as is needed to prevent / cure brainwashing through well-articulated ideas. So far, the pen is not mightier than brainwashing. It ought to be but it’s not.

    However — and this is something that IO’s brilliant post has opened my eyes to — in addition to all that I have read about AoL — AoL is failing in retaining people because of the emphasis on achieving a certain “conversion rate”. Look carefully at what is happening. Because members are being held accountable for the number of people they convert and the number of people they retain, when members encounter failure in achieving the “conversion rate” acceptable in AoL (whether it is by inflating numbers or other manipulations), they begin to realize that if AoL is not spreading like wild fire, it’s not because of them.

    Once they realize that, although they don’t consciously realize that AoL’s “knowledge” is not helping them deal with the stress of failure — which is probably the mother of all stresses — they do consciously step back and start thinking about what it is that is preventing AoL from spreading like wild fire. When this line of thinking gets triggered in their minds, they look back at all they have done to spread AoL like wild fire and realize that most of the tricks they used for selling AoL were tricks — most of which included all sorts of lies.

    So, suddenly, they wake up to the realization that they’ve been selling lies through lies, and they’ve not made any qualitative difference to their lives or the lives of others. This is an excruciating realization to wake up to. AoL prevents people from waking up to this realization sooner because it uses charity work like a shield — meaning that people keep sleep-walking through the brainwashing because they think that “seva” is happening.

    Recently, I was in a conversation with a friend about “seva” and she said something very insightful — she said that in a country like India, a million opportunities for “seva” stare at us a million times a day. We bump into several poor people all the time and no one is stopping us from helping them. “Seva” is not something that can only be done through AoL. In fact, “seva” that is done through AoL is done in the name of Mr. Ravi Shankar, for the purpose of promoting him and AoL, and is, therefore, tarnished by ulterior motives.

    On the other hand, the “seva” that we do for the poor or less fortunate people we bump into can be done without expecting anything in return, and hence, can be genuine and authentic “seva”.

    The same applies to “sadhana”. While in AoL, it is done with motives, in our own lives, it need not be done with motives, and hence, it can be far more pure and pristine.

    The same applies to “satsang” as well. Isn’t sitting with one’s family in the living room and listening to some good music — even singing along — “satsang” in spirit? Isn’t sharing good music similarly with friends “satsang” in spirit? It is — and it is much more authentic — if it is not motive-ridden.

    Everyone knows this. Yet, people who start cherishing “seva”, “sadhana”, and, “satsang” — in principle — don’t find company. Sometimes are families are not interested in sharing and sometimes are friends are not interested in sharing either. The lack of interest that our families and friends exhibit on such occasions drives us towards a religious cult where we hope to find many people who are similarly interested. The religious cult works because suddenly we are surrounded by people who — in principle — cherish “seva”, “sadhana”, and, “satsang”.

    However, almost as soon as the “honeymoon period with the cult” begins, the cult begins to extract a heavy price for bringing like-minded people under the same roof — it begins to pressurize people into getting more people. At first, people ignore these pressurizing tactics, because they are too “happy” to find themselves in a gathering of like-minded people. But over a period of time — and it is different for different people — they realize that the cult is simply not interested in the very things it propounds — it is simply not interested in the higher philosophies and finer things it claims to stand for. They realize that the only thing the cult is interested in is profit and expansion for more profit.

    All this learning happens through experiential learning. There’s nothing in our education system or social system that equips us with this knowledge of how to recognize religious cults and prevent our own exploitation by these religious cults. If there was something in our education system and in our social system that made us so discerning that we were able to recognize a religious cult from a distance, no one would get trapped in a religious cult ever.

    • Anonymous permalink
      April 17, 2012 4:15 pm

      Hey, the left is brainwashed elitism as much as the far right. As the saying goes – reality has a right wing bias.

      Also it’s funny how AOL is right wing in India and left wing in America.

      Lets not make this about left and right. That is a different can of worms.

      • VSS permalink
        April 17, 2012 5:24 pm

        @ Anonymous [April 17, 2012 4:15 pm]

        Hey, you are free to think what you wish. Do not impose your narrow perceptions of reality on me. I reject them outright.

        The reality is that AoL is a Right Wing Hindu Cult that hobnobs with the RSS and the BJP. It also makes all sorts of false comments about Mahatma Gandhi — much like the RSS.

        Right Wing Hindus are not going to govern India — not politically and not in the media — and not religion-wise either. Please read the data quoted in the post above. AoL has failed and is not spreading like wild fire.

        As far as the Left is concerned, I am not a Leftist. If AoL is considered Leftist in the US, it just goes to show the extent to which AoL has conned and deceived Americans about its true colours.

        AoL’s business is very much about politics — it is proactively mixing religion with politics. If you haven’t done your homework before making utterly ignorant comments, my humble request to you would be that you read. Find out about how AoL is mixing religion with politics and then comment.

        Please don’t mislead readers. This blog is not going to be a space where you will get away with your brainwashing tactics.

        Happy reading!

  10. Anonymous permalink
    April 18, 2012 2:36 am

    “This blog is not going to be a space where you will get away with your brainwashing tactics.”

    Who is brainwashing ? I’m well aware AOL supports BJP. And why, I don’t think AOL has any business supporting BJP or Congress, I happen to be a BJP supporter myself – and I don’t see why there is anything wrong with that. There are millions of people in India who do support BJP….clearly you mean to say all of them are brainwashed and intolerant hindu supremacists.

    This blog is not a place for that debate and please don’t make it about that. Keep it about AOL.

    • VSS permalink
      April 18, 2012 2:41 pm

      @ Anonymous [April 18, 2012 2:36 am]

      The best part about the UP elections is that the people of UP neither voted for a Right Wing Party like the BJP nor a corrupt party like the Congress.

      And, for your kind information, AoL is mixing religion with politics. If you don’t know about that, then you should read about that.

      If you don’t know that History doesn’t forgive anyone who mixes religion with politics, then you must read History.

      Please read.

      And yes, the BJP is Right of Center. Those who are in AoL and vote for the BJP because Bawa posts on his blog “vote for the lotus” are definitely brainwashed.

      No religious cult should tell people who to vote for.

      By the way, do you know what the definition of a religious cult is?

      I humbly request you to read.

      I don’t understand why you don’t read.

      Why are you anti-reading?

      Kindly read. Learn. Seek knowledge and information.

      And, please stop misleading readers. This blog is not a place for lies and misinformation — particularly about AoL and its obvious efforts to mix religion with politics.

      Once again, happy reading!

      • Anonymous permalink
        April 18, 2012 4:37 pm

        Not disagreeing with you that AOL is not a forum for pushing politics. Just wondering, would it have been ok if AOL pushed for congress….like churches in kerela ask people to vote for the “party that is not communal”, or “the party that belives in god”.

        But you think congress does not mix religion and politics ? Guess which party proposed 9% quota for muslims in UP elections. Guess which party opposed. How about elections in Goa and Kerela. Don’t churches and mosques push people to vote based on religion. What ends up happening of course is that minorities end up grabbing power, and silent majority suffers. Hindus are of course supposed to be tolerant and be silent while the mongol hordes loot the country. Not to say anything about the fantastic track record of incompetence and corruption that the Congress has shown. That is the nature of politics in India, and it was not the hindu majority which started it….but now there is no choice. Of course this is a complicated issue – it has nothing to do with AOL cult.

        I’m not defending AOL here. Just saying that there are genuine reasons why someone might vote for BJP, which may or may not have anything to do with being part of AOL. Media clearly does not like BJP, but there are a lot of people who vote for BJP….and that does not make them rabid hindu supramacists. Politics is about taking a stand and choosing between two evils.

      • VSS permalink
        April 18, 2012 6:04 pm

        @ Anonymous [April 18, 2012 4:37 pm]

        What is your problem?

        Why don’t you read properly?

        Did you not read what I said in the following lines?

        — The best part about the UP elections is that the people of UP neither voted for a Right Wing Party like the BJP nor a corrupt party like the Congress.

        And, for your kind information, AoL is mixing religion with politics. If you don’t know about that, then you should read about that.

        If you don’t know that History doesn’t forgive anyone who mixes religion with politics, then you must read History. —

        Do I seem like a Congress supporter to you?

        Do I seem like someone who says that politics and religion should be mixed by any political party?

        Why are you going on and on about how corrupt the Congress is?

        Everyone knows how corrupt the Congress is — they have a track record of one scam a day — they’ve looted crores from the National Exchequer. It’s not rocket science nor is it a national secret.

        Why don’t you read a comment properly?

        Please read. It’s a humble request. And, please don’t mislead readers by not reading comments properly. I’m not a Congress supporter. I am not a Leftist. Please don’t imply these things even unintentionally.

        As far as AoL is concerned, please read about how AoL is promoting which political party and what its views are.

        Find out how it influences AoL members to vote. Find out about what kind of blog posts AoL teachers post and what kind of text messages they send.

        Find out what AoL’s stand is about Mahatma Gandhi.

        Find out what role RSS played in the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi.

        Find out what Mr. Ravi Shankar’s stand is on Mahatma Gandhi’s assassination.

        And now, please don’t tell me that Mahatma Gandhi is the property of the Congress Party. He is the Father of the Nation — the entire nation. I don’t have to have any respect for the Congress Party to respect the Father of the Nation — the man who gave the world non-violence and peace — without charging money for it through a Right Wing Hindu religious cult.

        Find out why he was successful. Find out the factors that led to his success.

        Read. Please.

        The only way to make an informed political choice is by reading. The only way to know if AoL is a Right Wing Hindu cult or not is by reading. The only way to know the RSS-BJP connection is by reading. The only way to know the RSS-AoL-VHP connection is by reading. The only way to know what happens to Right Wing political parties in any country is by reading.

        So once again, happy reading!

      • Anonymous permalink
        April 18, 2012 8:22 pm

        My friend….you don’t get to know the truth by reading. You get it by reading between the lines. There is plenty of leftist propaganda that masquerades as truth. Look at ground reality, and exercising your brain.

        You think RSS is bad and evil. That is standard narrative of press which wants to paint things in black and white. Truth is, and you will know this if you actually speak to someone from that generation who was there at that time, is that RSS used to attract the good guys. And to this day, they do lots of actual charity work…running schools for kids which imparts much better education than government run schools.

        How about you read about the role of RSS in protecting the Sikh’s in their 1984 riots instead of mouthing popular platitudes about RSS and VHP being evil. The shankracharyas of puri and sringeri also support VHP. I guess that makes them evil, progress hating bigots.

        Life at the grassroots is complicated and does not yield itself to such simplistic narrative – which only people sitting in their living rooms reading newspapers believe in. I don’t love RSS, but i understand why it exists, and the role it plays. Maybe you need to do some research yourself.

        You are not a congress supporter or BJP supporter. It is easy to be neutral and say everyone is corrupt. But to stand for something, even when you know it is not pure and pristine, takes spine and courage.

        I do understand your objection to AOL promoting BJP. A lot of AOL people are being conned into support BJP because RS believes in BJP and pushes his agenda on to them. Not to speak of RS having his own political agenda and using brainwashed supporters for his purposes.

        But you know, there is a significant chunk of AOL who are BJP supporters…some are more strident than others. Even if RS did not tell them they would still support BJP.

        And btw. there is no known proof of RSS’s involvement in Gandhi’s assassination. What exists is libel, because the nutcase Nathuram Godse was an RSS worker. I will admit, RSS seems to attract some disturbed people…in fact it has a lot of them. It does not mean one bad person represents the entire ideology or movement.

        Every kid knows about RSS-VHP-BJP Bajrang Dal connection. It’s part of the baggage. The only part I agree with you is that one should make the commitment to supporting a party, knowing the muck that exists in it – not because your guru or peer group wants you to believe in that ideology.

        Also, gandhi is not above critique….just like RS is not above critique. Why should we blindly worship the gandhian way just because he was great man ???? Great men also make mistakes, and it is important to know and critique them and their philosophy. You are saying the same thing as AOL supporters – you can’t critique Ravi Shankar, or you can’t critique gandhi just because he is in exalted position.

      • VSS permalink
        April 19, 2012 6:57 am

        @ Anonymous [April 18, 2012 8:22 pm]

        Your problem is that you don’t read. You just don’t read.

        If you read, you’d know that Mahatma Gandhi has been critiqued extensively and that I have said in an earlier post on this blog that people should read the critique of Mahatma Gandhi’s philosophies and actions as well.

        Please do not misrepresent what I represent.

        Go and read.

        I am not recommending a particular source of information.

        I am not recommending a particular set of search words that you can use on Google.

        Why don’t you read about everything and everyone you mention?

        Why?

        As far as Mahatma Gandhi is concerned, he was not a middleman between individuals and God, exploiting people and eating a commission interminably. This is a fact.

        His achievements include making India and the world “violence-free”. His philosophy of non-violence helped not just Indians but many others. This is also a fact.

        Repeatedly I say on this blog that to err is human. He was a human being. I have said clearly that neither he nor anyone around him claimed that he was the incarnation of one or the other God.

        Why do you constantly jump to conclusions?

        It’s because you don’t read.

        If the objective of those in AoL is to truly create a violence-free society, would they rather study the achievements of someone who actually achieved it — with the objective of replicating the successful elements of the Gandhian methodology or practice (leaving the unsuccessful elements) ?

        OR

        Would they rather worship a ponga pundit (an outrageous and foolish fraud), pay lots and lots of money, behave like abusive and insensitive non-thinking humans, feed the lust for conversion by inflating numbers, etc. etc. ?

        What is the objective?

        If the objective is to lick the soles of a ponga pundit’s feet, by all means please do it.

        I have said earlier as well — those who wish to join AoL must join AoL, those who wish to become teachers, must become teachers.

        As far as anyone who mixes religion and politics is concerned — please read History. Please read about the fate of Right Wing Political Parties in all countries. How are they born? What is their typical growth rate? How do they die?

        Read.

        The more you resist reading, the more you will not learn.

        The only way to know what happens to political parties who mix religion with politics is by reading about them.

        The Congress tried it in UP this time — look at what happened. It lost miserably. So did the BJP — all the crowds at Uma Bharati’s rallies did not ensure votes. Mayavati lost too — her caste card simply did not work — even though it did work before this round. (It, in fact, worked twice before this round.)

        Unless and until you read, you will not learn anything about how societies evolve.

        Not just in India, but the world over, since several years, society treats people who mix religion with politics in certain way. What is that? Why is that? How can you know that? By reading.

        So, please, and I beg with folded hands — read.

        As far as riots are concerned, I condemn all riots. I was in New Delhi at the time of the 1984 riots — I was a very young child at the time — but I have vivid memories of what happened — and they’re devastating. Many years later, when I went to college, one of my teachers was the current Prime Minister’s daughter — and we discussed the 1984 riots during class one day. She told us facts we didn’t know — she told us the extent of devastation. Mr. Rajiv Gandhi — with his nightmarish words — triggered a set of events that caused severe pain and trauma to innumerable people. They have not got any justice till today. This is a fact.

        Please do not assume things about anybody without knowing. One of the things that’ll happen when you read is that you will learn the art of not assuming anything about anybody. That’s what happens when people read — I can tell that you don’t read because you keep jumping to all sorts of utterly wild conclusions.

        So, yet again, I’ll end with the wish: Happy reading!

  11. Nithin permalink
    April 18, 2012 8:32 am

    Sankalpa of 2012 Summer by Ravishankar Venkatraman and team.
    “In 4 months time we will cover the whole europe, let us use blessing course as much as possible, get them know us, let us use Health & Happiness workshop and let them know us… Let us ensure at least 10,000 new members join aol in this summer. I am sending Swami Jyothimaya & sadswamy to help you, i will also be ther through out summer in europe and canada, let us target this place for rest of the year.
    All the best Ravi! and swami’s…do Blessings and talking before touching the pocket.. good statergy 🙂

    • Nithin permalink
      April 18, 2012 8:36 am

      One more thing…
      Please highlight that Swami Jyothimaya was/is christhian and tell that he is from rich family and edjucated person, get almost all christian community and intellectuals and rich ones in to it.

      • VSS permalink
        April 18, 2012 3:00 pm

        @ Nithin [April 18, 2012 8:32 am]

        10,000 new members this summer is the target?

        So utterly unreasonable.

        AoL’s lust for conversion will prove to be its nemesis.

        Now, some more teachers and volunteers will definitely leave AoL.

        We can all look forward to some more people seeing through all the brainwashing that goes on at AoL.

  12. Harshal permalink
    April 19, 2012 7:40 am

    “Your problem is that you don’t read. You just don’t read”

    “read….please…please please please, i beg you..whatever I write you don’t read, you read something else , whole day I keep reading…and then after reading..i writing…i don’t having a job… I wroting on a blog…badmouthing others….please read, reading more….any happying reading..read and then writing bading , about everything…read again your probleming is not reading…”

    funambulus exhimus!… nice psycho-work by bbs

  13. stupidseeker permalink
    April 19, 2012 9:36 am

    @Harshal,

    I hope you attain “enlightenment” even if defending your guru is the only sadhana you ever do.And what a difficult sadhana that must be Harshal, LOL.
    Anyways has HE ever done you the honour of sparing you a glance ?? How much would that one glance be worth to you Harshal, I’d like to know.

  14. Harshal permalink
    April 19, 2012 9:46 am

    @pastor: in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost….why are you so stuck with ‘enlightenment’…

  15. stupidseeker permalink
    April 20, 2012 1:42 pm

    @Harshal,

    No culture other that the Hindu one, has produced more “enlightened” beings over the millenia and you accuse me of being stuck with enlightenment ?? LOL

  16. Harshal permalink
    April 20, 2012 4:46 pm

    so now its out in open…your beef is with hindu culture–go and spread your bottoms on other forums…

    • stupidseeker permalink
      April 21, 2012 9:43 am

      @harshal,

      Thats not my contention. That is the contention of the Hindus themselves.The hindus themselves point to the numerous god-men and god-women that the Hindu culture has produced, as proof of the promise that quite a bit of the Hindu scriptural corpus holds out to the believer i.e that “paradise”,mostly as an unverifiable personal experience,can be obtained while still embodied, by the practice of yoga.
      And I have observed that these “awakened” and supposedly “enlightened” people are some of the most arrogant and egotistical creatures on this planet. They have beheld truth and what are mores or a mere mortal to them? Do the normal rules of civilized society apply to them? Why should they. They are beyond them. They are the true believers. Again, I prefer to remain ignorant and live in the real world with all of its all sorrows and joys.
      And yes, I can see definitely see the “adarsh” which your private schooling no doubt endowed you with. LOL

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