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AoL Teachers Finally Waking Up and Asking Questions

April 18, 2012

by Ex-AOL Teacher

Teachers Refresher Meet or Sales Seminar? My cousin who is an AOL teacher in Singapore shared the happenings in the recent TRM in Bali. I motivated and inspired her to become a teacher but have left the AOL scene since the last six years.

She is one dedicated teacher who would not hear anything negative about AOL though very subtly I have tried to talk to her to read this blog and get an objective view of AOL. But good to say that this TRM has opened her eyes and mind to what AOL actually is.

The TRM was just a platform to brainwash the teachers – each teacher paid USD500 to attend this TRM, my question is why should teachers pay when they work so hard to fill the coffers of AOL. The first day Guruji was apparently justifying the existence of this blog – he said that there was a lady who threatened to post negative articles on a blog if she was not paid USD3000 a month.Guruji said she was a bipolar and that she should not have been allowed to do the course. AOL refused to pay the money and hence this blog was born. My cousin said it seemed like Guruji was doing a lot of damage control.

According to my cousin, the rest of the TRM was talking about challenges – some countries talked about lack of transparency, AOL was a fraud organisation and a cult etc. Guruji debunked all this and in his smart and witty way made the teachers feel guilty of even thinking of AOL in these terms.

Countries talked about their achievements – applauses and accolades like it is done in an annual multi level marketing sales seminar.

Planning for the ensuing year – all talk was about numbers,no discussions on how to improve teaching skills or how to genuinely take up service projects – everything was to do with how to increase the number of participants in every country.

When I heard this, realisation dawned upon me that AOL is slowly loosing its clout – people are beginning to question and debate the claims, one cannot cheat people all the time, the truth is bound to prevail, AOL is dying a slow death and its just a matter of time when its glories will be a thing of the past.

I accept that the organisation has a lot of faults,having said that I still have a very soft spot for Guruji

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68 Comments
  1. VSS permalink
    April 18, 2012 1:42 pm

    “The first day Guruji was apparently justifying the existence of this blog – he said that there was a lady who threatened to post negative articles on a blog if she was not paid USD3000 a month.Guruji said she was a bipolar and that she should not have been allowed to do the course. AOL refused to pay the money and hence this blog was born.”

    Does anyone know what poof / evidence Mr. Ravi Shankar has in support of this claim?

    Anyone?

    • Jr. permalink
      April 18, 2012 4:47 pm

      Yes. As Harshal would agree, this needs to be proven in court, or it’s not true.

      • VSS permalink
        April 18, 2012 6:48 pm

        @ Jr. [April 18, 2012 4:47 pm]

        My friend in the Bangalore Ashram just emailed me to say that he hasn’t heard anyone (and he knows hundreds of AoL members) ever mention that Mr. Ravi Shankar came up with any proof / evidence in support of this claim — he just makes the claim.

      • Jr. permalink
        April 18, 2012 7:01 pm

        Here’s what strikes me as odd. Let’s just assume for a moment that what he is claiming is true. Who’s fault is it? If a bipolar woman was allowed to take a course, but she “should not have been allowed to do the course,” who’s fault is it? Do we blame the woman who has a serious mental health issue, or should AOL take responsibility for this, since they only allow chosen ones to take these courses? Once again, more blame while taking no responsibility. AOL always preaches taking responsibility for one’s life, yet the organization is blaming someone with a disease. Where’s the spirituality and wisdom we were taught in AOL?

      • VSS permalink
        April 19, 2012 8:11 am

        @ Jr. [April 18, 2012 7:01 pm]

        Yes, that’s very odd. What I also find odd is the complete absence of compassion towards the mentally ill. I wonder if everyone in AoL is taught to have similar negative feelings towards someone who is mentally ill.
        Plus, I don’t think Mr. Ravi Shankar knows how blogging / commenting on blogs works. It doesn’t seem like the education he received / his exposure to the contemporary world is adequate in any way.

    • FACTS permalink
      April 18, 2012 9:02 pm

      Come on! Let’s use some common sense, which seems to be something one loses in the AoL:

      US$3,000 is just too little to “blackmail” anyone. Keeping silence would be worth much more, especially considering the organization is billionaire. And as far as I’ve heard, she is quite well off. $3,000 is not that much. Which means to say, it is a ludicrous statement RS obviously has not thought through because he is too caught in his hurt ego. Furthermore, “bipolarity” is a silly justification and accusation. First of all, it’s not that bad. He makes it sound as if someone bipolar is dangerous and evil. Many people suffer of bipolarity and many would take his statement as offense. Many great people are bipolar. Second, he used to brag about her and used her as a model to all teachers, even in TRMs, and many of us have witnessed his words and the results of her work, for ex. a film I saw at the German ashram of her work in a prison in South America and it was not bad at all. So, who’s bipolar now? Third, if she was so horrible, then he has only bad seeds spread all over Latin America since most of the teachers there are her students and trained by her. Fourth, if she was bipolar, and they let her do the course, then they should be sued for malpractice and not she the one accused. And, if that was the case, people should see that defaming her (and others), only shows they are not about spirituality but about fame and money. AoLers should realize this could happen to anyone. Love is not unconditional for Ravishankar. 

      Facts: the person is not bipolar. The fact is it was RS who offered HER US$3,000 per month for as long as she needed when he realized she was leaving. Fact is, if he was a true guru, he would not mind any bloggers. Fact is, if none of the entries of the blogs were not somehow true, he would not be that worried to accuse anyone (with lies) nor defend himself, nor justify anything. Fact is, she is not even behind this blog. 

      He is not that all knowing after all, is he?! 😉

      • VSS permalink
        April 19, 2012 9:31 am

        @ FACTS [April 18, 2012 9:02 pm]

        What an insightful post!

        If he was a truly “enlightened” guru, he would’ve said something like:

        “Let mentally ill people write whatever they wish to write. Let us not judge them. They are less fortunate and less blessed than us. Let us pray for them together (saamoohik prarthana).”

        If everyone in AoL prayed for all the mentally ill people in the world, wouldn’t there be greater WORLD PEACE? Can someone from AoL please explain to me how not having compassion for mentally ill people leads to WORLD PEACE? I’m unable to see the connection. Why don’t you guys pray for all us mentally ill people who write and post comments on this blog? Don’t you like to do seva for those who are less fortunate than you? Don’t you like to do sadhana for personal and world peace? Don’t you like to sing bhajans for those who are not as blessed as you? Why do you waste your time in reading and commenting on a blog that has mentally ill contributors? How can mentally ill people possibly comprehend your “enlightened” abuses? Please do seva, sadhana, and, satsang. Pray for all the mentally ill people in the world.

        At least, pray for all the mentally ill people in AoL — who you accidentally recruit. May they not start more blogs in the future and make you even more intolerant, insensitive, and abusive. Happy Praying!

  2. Harshal permalink
    April 18, 2012 3:28 pm

    BBS: I can bet a 10000$,— if you were to go to a psychiatrist you will be diagnosed with some serious psychiatric condition- perhaps a premature menopausal depression or a pre-traumatic stress disorder.

    • Anonymous permalink
      April 18, 2012 5:38 pm

      and Harshie would be diagnosed with impotentia coeundi and impotentia generandii or perhaps a homsexual crush on SSRS, Bawa and the like

      • Dayalu permalink
        April 18, 2012 8:32 pm

        Now that explains it, Anonymous! These two conditions (coeundi and generandi) compel him to come to this blog in order to get entertained. Poor fellow!! He has no other avenue for entertainment. So please understand folks, and let him get thoroughly entertained here.

      • prairie princess permalink
        April 19, 2012 1:11 am

        I just thought he was a mean-spirited ignorant troll.

  3. Anonymous permalink
    April 19, 2012 4:43 am

    RS’ extortion charge is nothing new. I have heard this on the evening of April 17th, 2010 at the LA center during a Q&A Session. He intentionally triggered a question by asking something like
    ” ….Do you want to know about the blog ….” and answered that he was threatened by an AOL
    teacher about starting a blog if RS did not pay USD 3,000 every month.

    At that time this blog was not even existing. Only KLIM’s blog was existing then. He had no idea that this blog would come up.

    I also came to know that during the Upanishad sessions on the preceeding days he was frequently speaking about this in detail.

    I have also read a similar extortion charge against Agni Sridhar. It seems RS uses this spiritual process to tackle people exposing him.

    • VSS permalink
      April 19, 2012 9:52 am

      @ Anonymous [April 19, 2012 4:43 am]

      It’s clear from your post that only a person running an extortion racket would see extortion in everything. In the garb of promising proximity to God, Mr. Ravi Shankar plays the quintessential middleman between individuals and God — taking a commission at every step — what else is it but extortion — blackmailing and brainwashing people into paying for proximity to God. His entire business model is based on extortion — that’s why it’s not working. That’s why more and more people are beginning to see through his blackmailing and brainwashing tactics.

    • Jr. permalink
      April 19, 2012 4:31 pm

      The fact that they continuously keep mentioning this blog and KLIM’s blog at events shows these blogs are a huge success. It’s only going to wake more people up from here.

  4. Harshal permalink
    April 19, 2012 9:04 am

    The problem with bipolar people is that …ummmm…you cant take their word for granted. Sometimes things are all good for them and then at other times things are all bad for them…there is no normality, they always tend jumble into extremes of distribution..take for example BBS…if hers is not a state of bipolar mania, I cannot imagine what it could be…if someone knows her they should take her to a nice little hospital…or she might harm herself or others…and that will be the day we suddenly stop hearing from her..

    • anonymous permalink
      April 20, 2012 2:14 am

      extremes of distribution. That sounds familiar, ha ha harshal. looked in the mirror lately?

  5. Rabaadi permalink
    April 19, 2012 9:05 am

    In reply to “AoL Teachers Finally Waking Up and Asking Questions”

    Guys this is very good news for me as the AOL teachers have started questioning the self proclaimed His Hipocrite SS Ravi Shankar.I am so excited.By the way I will narrate you people a guru story that was fed to us in one of the AOL course.the story goes like this:
    One of the course participants of some previouis DSN was a ‘Doubting Thomas’ and he was not convinced and did not believe the guru stories of miraculous healing or guru saving someone from death etc.Now what this guy did is that he decided to meet the guru and told to himself that if the guru is all so powerful and can connect to his followers in his own way(maybe some private carrier frequency or brainwave) and always the grace of the guru is behind the seeker to protect him/her, he pledged that he wont spend a penny from his pocket and let the grace of the guru work for him,let the grace take care of the train tickets and all other expenses that would occur enroute to the bangalore ashram.Now this guy started from his city ,went to the railway station and sat in the general class without any train ticket.After a while the TTE came and asked him for ticket and he said he does not have a ticket and is travelling WT.The TTE asked where he was going ,to which he replied that he was going to meet someone in bangalore and does not have money nor the ticket.Snap ! the Guru grace starts to work and the TTE says nothing and moves on to the next passenger.The guy gets off at bangalore station at early morning like around 4:30 and comes out of the station looking for another free ride to the ashram.While he was contemplating what to do next a gentelman approaches him and casually asks him “Ashram??” and the guy nods in agreement.The altruist gentleman offers him to join him as he too was going to ashram to meet Guruji.Enroute to ashram the good kind gentleman learns the story so far and at once gives him whatever cash he has and says that he just an instrument(nimitta) who is used by the guru/god and is doing seva(really devoted rich seeker i must say).By the way the rich seeker gentleman gave the guy around some 1000 rupees.Our guy is now smiling and has started to believe in guruji’s grace but on second thought still there is a little doubt in his mind and discards the grace thing just as a mere coincidence and embarks on the vehicle and sets off for ashram.He reaches the ashram in barely 30-45 minutes and enters inside the ashram.He strolls here and there for a while hoping that he might catch guruji taking a morning walk but to his dissapointment nothing of that sort happens.so he enquires the sequrity gaurd about how can he meet guruji.The gaurd says that he can meet guruji in darshan line today but that will be late in the morning some time and it is too early that he has arrived.the guy sleeps inside the vishalkshi mantap(vishalakshi mantap is not open for visitors to sleep like that,general people do not have access until there is any course going on,but the gaurd opens the vishalkshi mantap just for the guy ,again guruji’s grace works here).Now when the darshan line is announced the guy is waiting for the guru to come to him so that he can tell the story so far to him.As soon as the guru comes to him he looks into our guys eyes and says “you have come from Poona right”, and holy goodness the guy is stumped and cannot believe his ears and at once falls on to the guru’s feet.So now guruji knows the whole story and asks him to go and eat sth and rest for sometime.Our guys is so ecstatic that he is almost crying.He decides to rest and eat sth.As soon as both the tasks are finished the guy decides to leave and he is happily walking towards the main gate.He reached the main gate and guesss what !!! the same guy was there who met him on the staion and bingo ! again a free ride yessss !!! guruji is awesome.Enroute to station the gentleman asks the guy that he is returning back by bus and is going to the bus stand(the bus stand is infront of the bangalore railway station) and he has an extra bus ticket because the other gentleman who came alongwith him decided to stay back in ashram for some more time or whatever, and he can come along if he wanted. Our hero has now no doubt that the guru grace funda is for real, I mean the guy was penniless one day back and he is now returning with around Rs 900 hard cash(100 spent on lunch/breakfast).Who knows he might have become a AOL teacher by now.After listening this story people started clapping and the session ended with the salutation “Jai Gurudev”. Anyone who heard a similar story ??? Please stand up! Please stand up !

    • Anonymous permalink
      April 19, 2012 1:12 pm

      I really don’t understand why Ravi Shankar, with his huge organization and zillions of followers would care about this blog. It really makes me wonder. I mean, this is a small effort, with sincere people posting some experiences (except for some of the Art of Living trolls here to disrupt). Why would a guru care about this? Aren’t they supposed to be above all this type of stuff? Why would he bring this blog up in a teacher’s meeting overseas? It’s very strange. Is Ravi Shankar more disturbed than anyone thought? And why would he say some woman was bi-polar and was blackmailing him? Wouldn’t a true guru keep that private, if it was even true? All of this makes me think he is actually to be pitied rather than ‘busted’ as some of these posts would seem to say. He seems mentally deranged, if he actually is speaking publically about some little blog like this.

      • VSS permalink
        April 19, 2012 6:23 pm

        @ Anonymous [April 19, 2012 1:12 pm]

        Your comment is very thought-provoking. Now that I think about it, it’s very possible that he’s deranged. Everyone in AoL is brainwashed — they feel that anyone who rationally critiques AoL is insane. That means they suffer from at least a partial loss of sanity.

        Someone who seems “enlightened” to people who’ve lost their sanity and ability to think rationally at least partially — could very well be deranged. That could also be the rational explanation behind why he’s smiling all the time — and why he brainwashes everyone in AoL into doing the same. Most people who’ve left AoL have mentioned how fake those smiles are — and how people are smiling on the surface but miserable inside.

        Besides, as you correctly pointed out, there is absolutely no reason for such an “enlightened” guru to be so afraid of a little blog. Why does it cause him any stress at all? He should be able to ignore it and make all members of AoL ignore it. Why do they get affected by mere words written on a mere blog? Surely they have better things to do than getting stressed out by mere words on a mere blog.

    • VSS permalink
      April 19, 2012 2:33 pm

      This is so sad. How can anyone possibly buy such blatantly fake and false stories? If people can’t see through the outright stupidity in all of this in 2012, it’ll probably take people another century to wake up — at the very least. Our education system has completely failed us all. If religious cults are flourishing based on such idiotic tales, and getting away with calling them tales of “guru grace”, I think people are sleepwalking through life — getting brainwashed at the drop of a hat — or worse still, at the mere sight of a hat.

      Those of us who can see through all this stupidity and idiocy that AoL sells to people are very fortunate indeed. Now I can clearly see why everyone inside AoL thinks everyone outside AoL is mentally ill. There is no sanity in AoL — so — to people inside AoL — all outside it seem insane. How utterly and terribly delusional! They don’t even realize that not even one per cent of the world’s population is in AoL even though AoL has been in existence for almost 31 years now.

      And now, after reading this story, Mr. Ravi Shankar seems even more pathetic to me than he did earlier — manipulative to the point of being obnoxious and horrendous — toxic for all those who believe in him. What a thing to do to people — lock them up in an unreal world and tell them it’s good for them — what an absolutely infradig way to make money! What regard must he have for human beings? None at all — using them like they are nothing — emptying their minds — putting all kinds of nonsense in their minds — and telling them they’re getting closer to God via him. This is so unbelievably sad.

    • Anonymous permalink
      April 19, 2012 8:00 pm

      This story is “inspired” by the story in Autobiography of a Yogi.

    • Anonymous permalink
      April 19, 2012 8:02 pm

      Ravi Shankar should educate himself on bipolar disorder

    • stupidseeker permalink
      April 20, 2012 6:50 am

      @Rabaadi,

      In “Autobiography of a Yogi” by Paramahamsa Yogananda, the author challeneged by his atheist brother, successfully undertakes a train journey to Agra and back, meals included, completely penniless, dependent only upoon the grace of god. You can read the relevant chapter here:

      http://www.crystalclarity.com/yogananda/chap11.php

      The story you just narrated eerily matches the one in the book.

      • stupidseeker permalink
        April 20, 2012 6:54 am

        @Rabaadi,

        in the above story its not agra but vrindavan to where yogananda makes a journey to, completely penniless.

      • VSS permalink
        April 20, 2012 7:29 am

        Oh, God! The story is stolen?

      • freeOne permalink
        April 20, 2012 6:14 pm

        Stolen? Sure RS clan would recycle stories to fit present day circumstances. They have done that many times. Some from Maharishi and others… Yogananda was couple of generations older who would remember stories from that time, except few like Anonymous andstupidseeker. Seems like good marketing plot. I guess bunch of the likes of Harshie would sit down and write these stories (copy sometimes) then make sure it is dispatched through proper channel (teachers -> devotes/students) then stories would take its natural course. spreading through word of mouth.

  6. Harshal permalink
    April 20, 2012 9:06 am

    ya it is stolen from the same place where you sold your brains.

    First you say it is false, then you say it is stolen, without realizing that there are hundreds of thousands of spiritual texts with hundreds of thousands of stories and given the nature of these things, there is a high prior probability of something matching somewhere…

    but FU$%$^ed up people cannot see beyond the dirt in your heads.

    • Jr. permalink
      April 20, 2012 4:19 pm

      “but FU$%$^ed up people cannot see beyond the dirt in your heads.”

      The irony in your comments. Wow. 🙂

    • VSS permalink
      April 20, 2012 4:46 pm

      Dear Readers,

      Just as true stories can be stolen, fake and false stories can also be stolen. Plagiarism is not limited to true stories alone.

      Here’s the definition of Plagiarism:

      The practice of taking someone else’s work or ideas and passing them off as one’s own.

      VSS

    • stupidseeker permalink
      April 21, 2012 9:53 am

      @freeOne,

      Pls. note that i never claimed that the AOL story was stolen from Yogananda’s book. By providing the link I only invited readers to ponder over the close similarities between the two stories. Secondly,the YSS or yogoda satsanga society founded by Yogananda and based in Ranchi is a well known organisation in spiritual circles which continually keeps alive Yogananda’s work by continously printing his work. Even though the Gita is thousands of years old it is still today a much respected scripture

      • Harshal permalink
        April 21, 2012 10:06 am

        ” note that i never claimed that the AOL story was stolen”

        This is how you guys start your gossiping. You asked people to ponder then biopolar burnt bitch syndrome concluded that it was stolen.

        No one ever made and attempt to check if this was a real story. Based on what some anonymous posted , you made your assumptions and then gave your judgements based on those assumptions.

        Keep the entertainment coming.

      • VSS permalink
        April 21, 2012 3:25 pm

        @ stupidseeker [April 21, 2012 9:53 am]

        This is AoL’s position on all stories:

        “…there are hundreds of thousands of spiritual texts with hundreds of thousands of stories and given the nature of these things, there is a high prior probability of something matching somewhere…”

        It’s about “high prior probability” owing to “the nature of these things” even though there are “hundreds of thousands of stories”.

        This is why all past, present, and future “stories” are likely to be a case of “something matching somewhere”.

        Therefore, my request to you would be to not expect any original “true stories” from AoL — that would be asking for something that has low prior probability.

        Hope the difference between “prior probability” and “probability” is also clear to you now. It’s a very subtle difference but a very significant one. Usually, only people in AoL are able to see this difference in meaning.

  7. VSS permalink
    April 20, 2012 10:26 am

    Assuming for a moment, that some person afflicted by a mental ailment started this blog, what about others who post on this blog?

    According to Mr. Ravi Shankar, are they all avatars of that same person?

    If yes, then she must have been / is a goddess. Right?

    OR

    Does he think that they are different people but they all post because they asked for money which he didn’t pay?

    If yes, then what evidence / proof does he have that not one but several people asked him for money?

    Does anyone know what his “enlightened” explanation is for the fact that several people post on this blog?

    Anyone?

    • prairie princess permalink
      April 20, 2012 11:38 am

      In my short time in AOL I never personally met Ravi Ravi but saw him on a course. I read this blog and occasionally post to understand why I was vulnerable to a cult and possibly to help others who might be going through a similar situation. No one offered me money for anything. I paid for the courses and then decided that there was something fundamentally ill about AOL and the incessant agitation about their brand of “seva”, There is plenty of service one can do in his/her community that has nothing to with AOL and doesn’t not come with organizers that are feverishly agitated. The only mental illness I saw was among the teachers, most of whom needed real lives outside the confines of AOL.

      • The Seer permalink
        April 20, 2012 3:37 pm

        As far as I have seen from my experience with the AoL, there are three types of people that gets caught in the AoL net.

        1. People who have health related issues. The techniques taught by the AOL does solve many of these issues. But then, these yoga and meditation techniques are not unique to AoL. There are various other institutions, other schools of yoga teach these methods without any hype and in a much more sincere way. But AoL projects an image that everything has come from SSRS, and this projection is beefed up by stories about the guru’s grace and all such brainwashing. Although the AoL may verbally state that most of the methods they teach are age old yogic methods, practically they drive into the minds that all healing happens only through the guru’s grace. People equate their health and well being with the time they spend taking courses in AoL and they are hooked up. Even though they hear an inner voice telling them that all is not well with AoL, they can’t leave because they are afraid that if they leave they may lose their health. It need not be that way, they need not equate the methods with AoL or the guru.

        2. People who need quick fix to their problems. The problem could be spiritual, or financial, career related or relationships, or anything. They buy into the spectacular guru stories and hope that the guru will solve their problems in a miraculous way. Their whole life becomes a quest in perfecting their devotion to the guru. If by any chance their problem gets solved, or even if they see just a ray of hope, they attribute it to the guru’s grace, they become happy, take more AoL courses. If their problem gets worse, they are told it’s because of their ego or imperfect devotion, and how do they get rid of the ego or perfect their devotion to the master? by taking more AoL courses.

        I’ve got something to say to these people, but let me just quote Swami Vivekananda’s words because he says it much much better than me:

        Say,’This misery that I am suffering is of my own doing, and that very thing proves that it will have to be undone by me alone.’ That which I created, I can demolish; that which is created by someone else I shall never be able to destroy. Therefore, stand up, be bold, be strong. Take the whole responsibility on your own shoulders, and know that you are the creator of your own destiny. All the strength and succour you want is within yourselves.

        3. People who want to do seva. I fell into this category, most young people fall for this. They see all the media stories about AoL’s model villages, disaster relief operations, etc., etc., and want to be part of this revolution. But as we go deep into the AoL, we see that their real definition of seva is canvassing people to take AoL courses and collecting money in the name of donations to service projects, not much opportunity is available to be part of real seva. Granted, there are some real service projects that happen in the name of AoL, but you’ll find that not much money and resources come from AoL to these real projects, the volunteers themselves raise funds, do all the hard work, and AoL takes the credit.

        You don’t have to work in an organization to do seva. Whatever little you do to reduce the suffering of someone is seva, wherever you do that. Helping an old lady cross the street is seva. Helping your mom in washing dishes is seva. I have seen people who won’t even clean a dust in their own homes, but hope to be a sevak and be part of the AoL revolution. If you can take care of yourself and be self-reliant, that itself is a big seva! Once again, let me share a quote, this time from Jiddu Krishnamurti. Someone asks K, “I want to help people, serve them. What is the best way?” and K responds:

        The best way is to begin to understand yourself and change yourself. In this desire to help another, to serve another, there is hidden pride, conceit. If you love, you serve. The clamour to help is born of vanity.

        If you want to help another, you must know yourself for you are the other. Outwardly we may be different, yellow, black, brown or white, but we are all driven by craving, by fear, by greed or by ambition; inwardly we are very much alike. Without self-knowledge, how can you have knowledge of another’s needs. Without understanding yourself, you cannot understand another, serve another. Without self-knowledge you are acting in ignorance, and so creating sorrow.

        ….

        To help another, you must know yourself; like you, he is the result of the past. We are all interrelated. If you are inwardly diseased by ignorance, ill will and passion, you will inevitably spread disease and darkness. If you are inwardly healthy and integrated, you spread light and peace; otherwise you help to produce greater chaos, greater misery. To understand oneself requires patience, tolerant awareness; the self is a book of many volumes which you cannot read in a day, but when once you begin to read, you must read every word, every sentence, every paragraph for in them are the intimations of the whole. The beginning of it is the ending of it. If you know how to read, supreme wisdom is to be found.

        (From here)

        And there are other kinds of people who get attracted to AOL because of its riches and the money, I don’t have much to say about them.

      • VSS permalink
        April 21, 2012 5:51 am

        @ prairie princess [April 20, 2012 11:38 am]

        I am absolutely certain that no one offered you or any other contributor any money — and so are all the (rational) readers of this blog. I found this blog a few days before I was all set to relocate to the Bangalore Ashram, so I haven’t met Mr. Ravi Shankar either.

        I think Mr. Ravi Shankar simply does not know how blogging works — the explanation he offers — true or false — at best only caters to how this blog was started — it, in no way, caters to where it is at right now.

        Further, I don’t think his devotees / disciples are bothering to educate him about how blogging works. Consequently, he is going all over town — rather all over the world — and making a complete fool of himself with his bizarre explanation. The art of living seems to be the art of coming up with bizarre explanations — whether they’re to do with this blog or “guru grace” stories.

        I am eagerly waiting for Mr. Ravi Shankar to come up with a story involving him and the Yaksha of blogging — that’s what he does typically — first he reaches “bizarre” and then he transcends “bizarre” to reach “beyond bizarre”.

      • Jr. permalink
        April 21, 2012 5:53 pm

        Another well-thought out post from the Seer. I admit I took the bait with “point number 2 – People who need quick fix to their problems. ” A lot of young college kids are confused and overwhelmed at that age, which is easy. It makes them vulnerable to dangerous things like AOL, as I was one of them when I first joined.

      • VSS permalink
        April 22, 2012 4:10 pm

        @ The Seer [April 20, 2012 3:37 pm]

        I agree with Jr. Your post is truly insightful and empowering. I learnt a lot from your post.

        I have a question about the following part:

        “But then, these yoga and meditation techniques are not unique to AoL. There are various other institutions, other schools of yoga teach these methods without any hype and in a much more sincere way. ”

        Is the yoga and meditation taught in AoL religion-independent ?

        I want to know if there is any hint of religion in the yoga and meditation as recommended / taught by AoL.

      • The Seer permalink
        April 27, 2012 10:41 am

        @VSS (April 22, 2012 4:10 pm)

        Well, I have not done that many courses… Part I, two part 2 courses, and one DSN, that’s how far I’ve got. As far as I have seen I can say the yoga and meditation taught in AoL has nothing to do with any particular religion, any person with any religious faith can learn and practice the yoga and meditation without losing their faith.

        However if you get intimate with the AoL and go deeper, there are various yagnas and poojas performed, obviously these are part of the Vaidik religion. And SSRS likes to extol Hinduism and the superiority of ancient India. I’ve seen that in satsangs, he lights up and gives a big lecture whenever there is a question about the Vedas or Hindu rituals, not so much when a question is asked about other faiths. I’m not saying this is good or bad, maybe it’s because he knows a lot about his own faith and not about others. Just check his ‘wisdom blog’ and see for yourself.

    • Anonymous permalink
      April 20, 2012 12:27 pm

      Really a good point VSS! LOL! Good one. Every person sharing here must be bi-polar, or an avatar of someone creating this blog. Hysterical!

      • VSS permalink
        April 20, 2012 4:36 pm

        @ Anonymous [April 20, 2012 12:27 pm]

        Precisely! Give Mr. Ravi Shankar some more time — he’ll come up with something like we’re actually not human beings but creatures masquerading as human beings. He’ll say there is some supernatural force behind this blog. Give him some time. This version of his is, by no means, the final version. It’ll be revised several times. I don’t think he has any real knowledge or sense of how the internet works. So, with the passage of time, his claims will become even more bizarre. In some ways, he is stuck in time. He’s still talking about how this blog was born — he’s completely missing the fact that however it may have been born — it’s come a long way from that.

        I’m not sure if those who read this blog and report to him about what’s being written here have actually bothered to explain to him how blogging works. All their time is usually spent on discussing how to achieve a better “conversion rate”. If you see in the above post as well, the focus during the conference was achieving a better “conversion rate”.

        One doesn’t get a sense from the account of the writer that Mr. Ravi Shankar asked people if they’d read the blog, and if there was anything mentioned in the blog that bothered them. If he’d asked them, they’d have told him, and he could have addressed at least some of their concerns. He’s more interested in shoving some explanation down everyone’s gullet and getting everyone to agree with him.

        As we all know, there is a zero-tolerance policy towards any and every disagreement in AoL. Besides, as is usually the case in every religious cult, the mere mention of the word “negativity” scares the hell out of everyone. Consequently, once he rattles of his version of why this blog was born, everyone lapses into silence. No one dares to mention what they read that bothered them. They never get into specifics. They avoid discussing details.

        Mr. Ravi Shankar doesn’t know about the God who lives in all details. So, he simply ignores that God — not knowing that eventually it’s that God who’ll get to him — and it’s that God who is already getting to him. Enlightenment is not something that happens one day and lasts forever — enlightenment is something that has to be sustained everyday. It is a high degree of consciousness — a consciousness that misses no detail — because of any prejudice or bias.

        Have you ever heard of an enlightened person who was prejudiced or biased in any way? You wouldn’t have — because no enlightened person can be biased or prejudiced towards anyone — especially his own critics. True enlightenment brings with it a remarkable degree of alertness — the ability to factor in the tiniest of details — the ability to see what others who are not enlightened may miss.

      • April 21, 2012 3:05 am

        Just to be safe…..lets all be bi-polar-avatars.

        Then what happens to Harshy ? What does he become ?

        Maybe we can call ourselves known bi-polar-avatars and Harshy can be a known-non-bi-polar-avatar.

        It is similar to his master’s name…..Sri-Sri-….. except this one is with a twist….it’s a Known-Non

  8. Harshal permalink
    April 20, 2012 10:46 am

    Here is an example of bipolarity

    But I don’t think that those who are in AoL are “mindless morons”- BBS April 17, 2012 9:10 am

    There is no sanity in AoL — so — to people inside AoL — all outside it seem insane BBS April 19, 2012 2:33 pm

  9. VSS permalink
    April 20, 2012 4:03 pm

    Dear Readers,

    No human being is a mindless moron. Those in AoL suffer from the temporary and partial loss of sanity and ability to think rationally — owing to comprehensive brainwashing. When they leave AoL, they recover, as is the case with all those who have left AoL. Those in AoL currently cannot comprehend this as a brainwashed person, at the time of being brainwashed, doesn’t know that the person is brainwashed.

    Please disregard the comments of (currently) brainwashed people who post on this blog and please pray for them. They deserve our compassion and empathy. No one gets spiritually abused intentionally. Not even Harshal. I’m sure he’s a spectacular human being who has just been brainwashed.

    He respects Mr. Ravi Shankar based on the belief that the Guru is like a mother and thinks that it is his moral responsibility to defend his Guru on a blog like this where his Guru is being critiqued. His thinking has become archaic and regressive. His love for his Guru is so blinding that it has pushed him to a time several centuries ago. Consequently, he is absolutely unable to acknowledge every human being’s inalienable right to express themselves freely in 2012. He’s unable to respect the verdict of the American Judiciary.

    He has abused me severely several times but I pray for him every day. One day, he will be able to see the truth. He’s being abusive and derogatory all the time simply because he is severely brainwashed. It could happen to absolutely anyone. He’s an example how someone with an intelligent mind can be brainwashed and lose his sanity and ability to think rationally because of severe brainwashing.

    He has lost his personal peace. He has lost control over his language. He’s simply unable to ignore this blog. Every day he feels the need to abuse someone or the other on this blog. And, he simply does not realize that this is just one of many million blogs on the internet. Mere words on this blog drive him to lose his temper very often.

    He thinks he’s proving his loyalty to his Guru because AoL members are not taught that abusing others, no matter what, is not a spiritual thing to do. Every day he becomes more and more abusive — off late he has been bringing my death into it. I am astounded by how brainwashing can drive someone to start saying things like “why are you alive” because of mere words on a mere blog. It’s really not Harshal’s fault. No sane human being would become this morbid just because of hatred for the words of one person. This can only be the behaviour of someone who has been rendered incapable of rational thought.

    So, I request you all to join me in praying for Harshal’s peace of mind. He really needs it.

    Thanks,

    VSS

    • Jr. permalink
      April 21, 2012 5:49 pm

      This is perhaps the best response to Harshal of any I’ve read. Somehow, based on past experience, I doubt Harshal will take into consideration the truth of this post. Or maybe the overpriced unpannished course that is going on right now could help him, that is, if they allow such disturbed people.

      • VSS permalink
        April 21, 2012 7:47 pm

        @ Jr. [April 21, 2012 5:49 pm]

        Only he can help himself. I guess you said it in jest but I feel no course will help him. No AoL course actually helps anyone. People help themselves. God helps those who help themselves. He suffers from inner rage — his pretext for venting it is defending his guru. Till the time he faces what he’s doing, nothing and no one can save him. We can only pray for his peace of mind. Ultimately, rage is born in sadness. We must all remember that and treat him with as much compassion as is humanly possible in the face of such brutal abuse. Mahatma Gandhi had said something to the effect that an eye for an eye only makes the world go blind. Besides, it’s not his fault. He is severely brainwashed. He really doesn’t know what he’s doing.

        He doesn’t know that he’s being abusive and lashing out. He is also becoming more and more incoherent over time. (If you’ll read his defence of Aol’s “guru grace” stories, you’ll see what I mean. His comment seems to have been written by someone who has absolutely no idea of the sheer number of contradictory things that he is saying.) May God grant him peace of mind soon and relieve him of the agony of being the chronic abuser that he has become. It must be truly painful for him to be the person that he is — it must be taking its toll on him at a subconscious level each and every day. All we can do is pray for his well being and wait patiently, and hope that he is cared for. I wish that he is enveloped by the warmth of those who love and cherish him and he is able to transcend the brainwashing and truly realize his potential as a human being. I have no doubt in my mind that before being brainwashed he was a gem of a person — infinitely more tolerant and infinitely less abusive.

        @ Harshal

        In case you’re reading, please don’t worry. It’s not your fault. We all understand. No one judges you. Sometimes we get hurt because you abuse us brutally — we’re human after all — but the feeling never lingers. Take your time. We know that once you’re out of your current state of mind, you’ll be out of it for good. God bless you. You have a very bright future ahead of you. I’m sure you have the potential to make your family, friends, and nation, very, very proud of you. You will get there when you recover the reigns of your life, your mind, your language, and, your behaviour from AoL. All you need to do is take responsibility for who you are — and you’re bound to become a star. But I understand that these things cannot be rushed. So, please take your time. We’ll all wait with you for better days and pray too while we wait. My friend in the Bangalore Ashram was telling me that he knows someone called Harshal in AoL who is a vocalist. Is that you? If it is, then I believe you have a magical voice and it’s absolutely unforgettable. If it is, then I also believe you have a glorious future waiting for you in the world of music. Good luck and take care of yourself as well as you can. As all human beings are, you too are a precious part of the universe.

      • The Doctor permalink
        April 21, 2012 9:53 pm

        Your observations about Harshal are bang on the money.

        Harshal is only acting the way he is because he genuinely believes this blog is on a mission to purposefully damage AoL, in spite of everything that indicates otherwise. This blog threatens the very foundations of his reality, and even though deep down inside he knows many of the things written here are true, his mind will simply not allow him to accept it and will do everything it can to preserve his beliefs about his Guru and the organization he heads.

        No amount of logic or reason can sway him otherwise. Believe me, I’ve tried this on numerous occasions and it jsut hasn’t worked. In the end I gave up.

        The best thing is to simply let him take all his anger and frustration out on this blog and leave him be. There is no point whatsoever in retaliating to anything he says, he’ll just get angrier and lash out at anyone who tries.

        As you and many others have pointed out, it isn’t his fault he’s behaving like this, he really is doing it simply because he believes his survival is being threatened. And when people are in survival mode, they operate entirely on their primal emotions of fear, anger and hatred. And no one and nothing can get them out of this mode, only they themselves can pull themselves out of it.

        In so many ways he reminds me of the creature Gollum from Lord of the Rings, and I don’t mean that in any disrespectful way. For those who are familiar with the history of the character in the story, he was once an ordinary human being who only became the way he was after finding the Ring. He became so obsessive that he couldn’t live without it and had to find it and be with it at all costs. Gollum too was operating entirely on his primal instincts and emotions, and in spite of everything he did, one couldn’t help but feel pity for him.

        And so too for Harshal. I really hope some day his mind finally wakes up and realizes what’s been happening to him all this time and finds some way to be genuinely happy.

      • Anonymous permalink
        April 22, 2012 6:56 am

        wonderful reply by VSS and Doctor. I personally think Harshal is bold because he is at least peeking into this blog which tells the truth about AOL. I know many others who would fear to look into this blog in the fear that they would lose their false identity they created over years in AOL.

      • VSS permalink
        April 22, 2012 7:43 am

        @ The Doctor [April 21, 2012 9:53 pm]

        You’re right. I feel our hopes shall not be belied. Patience always pays. So do compassion and empathy. Heartfelt prayers also work. Harshal will definitely find “harsh” (which means “joy” in Hindi) in life and in living — some day not too far away.

  10. Harshal permalink
    April 20, 2012 4:45 pm

    LOL…. I saw this big essay coming from the BBBS. No cookies for guessing what the additional ‘B’ stands for ;-)…

  11. Venkatesh permalink
    April 20, 2012 6:03 pm

    @ Harshal
    being so spiritual please mind your language when you write.
    So many people on this blog write but with reasonably decent language
    Your degree of spirituality reflect in you words dear Harshal

  12. Rabaadi permalink
    April 20, 2012 6:43 pm

    @Harshal
    Do you know the story of Buddha ! I will tell you.Once a man went to meet him.He arrived while Buddha was with his disciples talking to them.He spit on Budhdha’s face.Budhdha did nothing but just asked “what next?”.The man left puzzled,he expected Budhdha to react,to get angry or to be cowardly but nothing happened.He could not sleep the whole night.The next day he went to Buddha and threw himself at his feet.He asked for forgiveness and was feeling guilty.Buddha said I cannot forgive you because “you are not the same man that came yesterday, so lets forget about it”.This is how enlightened ones behave.Now dont say that His Hipocrite Sri Sri 420 Shankar is greater than Budhdha.Please ! you will probably cause another Indo-China war .
    One more thing dude I like it when you get angry, I like the fear you have and I would like to see the fear on guruji’s face also when blogs like these are spread and guruji will be sitting alone in Vishalakshi Mantap .Remember what happend to satya sai baba..wait and watch.

  13. stupidseeker permalink
    April 20, 2012 7:05 pm

    he really needs it

  14. Proud Teacher permalink
    April 22, 2012 1:58 pm

    Hello All,

    I have due respect for all of you and your sincere effort in criticizing the organization is appreciated that have already touch millions of life. If you see the organizational structure of Art of Living, it is completely volunteered based organization with more than 10000 teachers and million of volunteers.

    I accept whatever you have said, their might be some loopholes while teaching the course by teachers as well as in volunteer activity. I heard a story of theft at ashram and all.

    But, I would like to ask you a simple question, have you seen any bad or wrong in Guruji or his intention. Have you seen some loophole in his words and is preachings. Art of Living is currently running 179 schools in India giving education for free. It has reached wherever it could to help the people be it in tsunami or Bihar flood situations. Does there any negative intention in that.

    In SKY, I know few people have faced problem due to this, hence the tape itself has revamped three times from the inception. The pranayama if some has done wrongly it could harm pituitary glands. (If you want to know the technique behind SKY read patanjali sutra, if you are really sincere you might get the clue for revealing the secret behind SKY). If you faced problem with SKY, have you consulted senior teacher. (I myself facing problem during practicing of SKY, doctor and Swami ji prescribed me thats okie. I haven’t stop practicing as I realized that it is pristine in nature .

    Lets talk something positive about SKY, my migrane have healed ( I have been doing since last 6 years, I took medicine only once after that), I saw BP cured, I have seen asthma got cured and heard many more. Does its mere coincidence or benefit of SKY. The negative result might be practicing the techniques of kriya. (If SKY is not good, why AIMS have recommended that, Why doctors are sending their patients to course?)

    Time to think guys.. grow up.. if you don’t want to do kriya it’s okie for me… if you don’t like guruji its okie for me .. but atleast support the volunteer activity that its doing … (be like swan drink milk and leave aside the water… ) Ignore to negativity and support the positive aspect..

    I am Art of Living Teacher.. During TTC I was asked to criticize and praise the AOL, I have criticized almost everything about art of living at the end I just said one word in praise intention of art of living. As a teacher, I am true business man.. I talk numbers I accept but guruji have never asked me how many course I have taken.. He just ask are you happy..

    • Anonymous permalink
      April 22, 2012 5:34 pm

      What a Teacher !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Seems you are selfish about urself only.

      SKY is good it does not mean everything is good in AOL.

      I accept that Music and SKY is good for human mind, body and soul.

      Whats wrong is on the basis of SKY, once the mind becomes cool and happy, there is going on emotional atyachar with devotees and volunteers for bringing participants for no. of different courses and donations. Here is the problem. Devotee and volunteers are not the easy target for the fund raising or to achieve the target for the course. I hate target word when we are on spiritual path.

      If you think its SKY is really good then don’t you think after 30 years we have enough money then we can declare the SKY free for all the human beings all over world for poors also. That would definitely make Guruji god i think.

      Now the intentions – IF SKY is good, lets teach it to all of them free of cost. instead what we are seeing now-a-days AOL is putting no. of different courses to attract more people instead i say cheat people. Its going on like social club concept to bring all together and share the problems and come out of it. Wow. whats business.

      Don’t you think if 10000 teachers are working world wide with no. of blind volunteers we need to be transparent in financial aspects since all the teachers are the employees of the organization they have right to know where money flows and where we are using it.

      Don’t u find a good service project to utilize peoples money which we have collected on the name of Donations of instead of reality and university.

      How much u meditate human mind is always doubt about hidden or secret things.

      Do u think i need to pay anything for volunteer work ?

      So sky is good accept poor also needs that since they dont have money for medicines and basic Courses too. You are not the only lucky here there are so many people who are poor who also need sky. Think about that if u have right intentions.

      Seems AOL is healing only the reach people – Thats the intention.

  15. VSS permalink
    April 22, 2012 3:35 pm

    @ Proud Teacher [April 22, 2012 1:58 pm]

    Do you believe Guruji is a human being or an avatar of a God ?

  16. Anonymous permalink
    April 23, 2012 6:23 am

    @Harshal are u bawa or dinesh or one of the fools created by these foolmakers in name of YES + ….

  17. It is not needed ...tooch permalink
    April 23, 2012 1:19 pm

    i respect all and their effort are palpable and appreciated delving ,spending the slogging time about the sacred Vedas & Upanishads and could be pedantic in it . I hope all were your concerns are parochial , polemic and hope you are the partisan of yourself .Its not peccadillo that you stated about the fraternity of volunteers and considered it as non- blasphemous. I guess that former aol teachers perfidy in writing all the pejorative comments and might not be profane . I understood your pensive and poignant and penchant towards the organisation and most of the guys philistine it and considered your statements as paradox. I would like say that Guruji is a philanthropist and every one pays their pious heeds to listen to his cassettes. In aol , fraternity of volunteers are pivotal members and the money collected for courses remains postulated . hope you take precipitated decisions in responding to the comments without mite of other time and you have to improve your propriety , i guess all your comments are prosaic ,you need a proponent on this and your efforts might be propitious but not paltry , your comments are parsimonious , and you have paucity of proponents .Might my reply perturb you and please peruse it , this is not mean to proselytize the origins if you consider it , then you might be petulant . Please be plaintive without platitude with plethora of credentials substantiate your comments and treated you as plebeian. this discussion could be polemic and portent of good. be pragmatic and precedent to Vedas . It might be your precept and you have to premise it also . i hope you you are the preeminent of all other non placate guys . You are prerogative to this and you should preclude it and guess that its not your predilection and you should be prudent to purported this and then it will be putative , please dont be provincial and dont take any one to your proximity

    • VSS permalink
      April 24, 2012 10:11 am

      @ It is not needed …tooch [April 23, 2012 1:19 pm]

      Excellent alliteration! It seems like your favourite letter in the English language is “P”. Other than that, I have nothing to say as I have absolutely no idea about what you mean. I am a mere mortal with an average education — you know way, way, way, way more English than I would know in a million light years.

  18. Shakespeare permalink
    April 23, 2012 4:57 pm

    To it it not needed ,,,,,tooch: Huh? can you please write in English, I no understand your language.

  19. Anonymous permalink
    April 24, 2012 5:25 am

    @ProudTeacher
    “I heard a story of theft at ashram and all”

    Is this theft about someone collecting huge amounts and using free volunteer resources in the name of charity and deceiving the public.

  20. Anonymous permalink
    April 24, 2012 5:34 am

    @Proud Teacher

    “Time to think guys.. grow up…”

    You are not the only person asking these bloggers to grow up. I have come across many people who say this.

  21. April 26, 2012 6:59 pm

    I like to read this blog whenever I am in a “low prana” state. 🙂 Means whenever I am in Doubt. SK worked for me at many levels. I understand it can be hyperventilating to those who breathe heavily during SK- they breathe like they are doing bhastrika. This hyperventilation can cause diseases in some, hallucinations in some one else, cold hand and feet, tingling sensations in some and meditation in some. Also, because of this – SK is harmful for bipolar people or people with mental disorders because it can disturb the chemical balance in their brains. If you overdo it, you too can become bi-polar…or if you had been a little bi-polar without knowing it, it can show up with practice of SK. Be your own judge to your feelings as you sign this agreement with AOL that you take responsibility of what happens to you- its like signing an agreement before going for an operation.
    I have suggested SK to people who find it difficult to meditate. If done properly, it puts the mind in meditative state with ease. One has to breathe normally- this one point is too underrated or said very rarely in the courses- the teachers themselves are half-baked ones- doing it all wrong- with inflated egos and small minds. TM was very nice technique and I think Sahaj is also a very easy and profound version of it. Rest other things like Guru, miracles etc are more a matter of faith. My life has improved in last few years with just the introspection that I did and the simple manner he puts knowledge to you is something that caught me in it. I still listen to it. He rightly says somewhere that no matter how many courses one does- it is not a quick fix, enlightenment is a process, a journey and introspection and awareness is the key. I think this blog challenges blind faith and increases awareness.
    Last few years because of AOL, I could meet some real nice spiritual people and made friends with them- they are my true guides as they help me all the way through this journey. I have to spend a few hundred dollars or few thousand rupees to be able to do a course, see the master and ask a question- of which he may or may not give an answer- but here I have made friends- whom I can call free of cost anytime- they console me, guide me and have helped me. I admire this aspect of the whole thing- how it can bring so many people together.
    One question that has bothered me long enough is- how a person chooses a spiritual path- for me it was a period of challenges, misery and pain that got me here. There were some questions too. If everything in everyone’s life was alright- people would not look for it. Hence you find people with challenges in AOL, people with a lot of money and nothing to do, people who are bored of life and aimless. Now that I have started to live the knowledge, I do not feel like seeing him often, or attending a course. Now that I have started diving deep, I do not need sk or any technique, meditation happens when i close my eyes.
    I guess all these means are there to light a light in you- once it happens – you are on an autopilot- nothing needs to be done- no chasing, nothing. Keep up with this blog and keep shinning.

    • Anonymous permalink
      April 27, 2012 2:04 am

      “One has to breathe normally- this one point is too underrated or said very rarely in the courses”

      During kriya we cannot alter the rate of breathing because it has to be in sync with the so-ham chanting, the only thing that can changed is amount of air we breathe in. if not taking deep breaths during kriya is what you mean by ‘breathing normally’, then that normal breath cannot produce any significant change in the way we fell before and after long kriya.

      All the effects of kriya can be noticed only if you engage in deep breathing and those are the effects of hyperventilation. Gives a high initially but harmful in the long run.

    • Anonymous permalink
      April 27, 2012 2:11 am

      “you sign this agreement with AOL that you take responsibility of what happens to you- its like signing an agreement before going for an operation.”

      you will be told about the success rate of the operation and allow you to take risk based on it and sign the agreement. but in aol they lie that the success rate is 100% when in actuality it is around 5-10% (based on my observation).

      • Ronin permalink
        April 27, 2012 11:14 am

        It is no about the quality of the teachers. They are creating hem like a factory does products. Becoming a teacher getting the tape is like winning a gold medal at the olympics mind you.

        Just look at the teachers they get a the rules verbally given to them you write them in your little note book. you teach once or twice and go on autmatic pilot. I have seen so many young teacher with such entusiashm teach in such a wrong way, blesss their hearts. But they are doing harm.

        And on top if it the pressure to make the numbers is uge and takes away from the quality of teaching.

        But it makes sense to create many teachers and fast to ride the wave before it crashes against the cliffs and drops back into the ocean.

  22. VSS permalink
    April 28, 2012 4:50 pm

    The following, as is the case with all that I have written and all that I shall ever write, is my perspective and my perspective alone. If you can’t identify with these words, I request you to trash them at your earliest convenience. There are different kinds of people who post on this blog. I belong to the category that was only harmed by AoL. If you don’t belong to this category, then please skip reading the rest of this post. Thank you. I appreciate your understanding in this regard.

    @ The Seer [April 27, 2012 10:41 am]

    I asked because I believe that one of the central tenets of Hinduism is the central message of the Gita — which is — do what you need to do and don’t worry about the results — karm karo phal ki chinta mat karo.

    However, the central tenet of marketing and sales strategies is setting a target and doing everything possible to achieve it. A target creates pressure and all the stress that goes with that pressure.

    The philosophy of the Gita helps in letting go of that stress. Even if one has a target that creates a pressure and that pressure causes stress, when the day at work ends, one sleeps peacefully knowing that one did one’s best.

    What I’m getting at is that the absence of stress is facilitated by a spirit of letting go at the end of a day. It’s a simple but powerful philosophy for stress relief — based on learning the art of letting go.

    However, I find that AoL has become an irony (perhaps always was) — while it claims to provide prescriptions for stress relief — by stressing on targets (through the sankalpa practice) — it is, in effect, one of those companies that are into selling a particular product or service.

    Now, if that product or service has nothing to do with stress relief, then the stress placed on targets and achieving targets does not matter.

    But, if the product or service is enlightenment being sold by a Hindu CEO and claims that stress relief is its key impact / benefit, then the stress on targets makes no sense at all. (Of course, what makes matters worse is that AoL claims to be an NGO stressing the hell out of people by stressing on targets meaning exerting moral pressure through the “sankalpa” practice.)

    I don’t think that companies make their employees in the sales and marketing department sing bhajans, place a life-size picture of the CEO, and, take an oath which has a tinge of religious colour in the way that it is taken and its name.

    My guess is that if AoL has stopped making sense to some people, it is because, to begin with, AoL never made any sense at all. Whatever it has achieved so far is based on two things — the stress on marketing — and — more importantly, the good people who accidentally joined it and took on the stress of those targets. Some of those good people post on this blog. Recently, one of them beautifully explained how numbers are inflated.

    (IMHO)

  23. VSS permalink
    April 29, 2012 6:23 am

    Dear Readers of this thread,

    I apologize profusely for referring to any specific person as a brainwashed person. I did not mean it as a derogatory reference as I myself was brainwashed by AoL not too long ago. When I made the reference, I thought that referring to someone as being brainwashed was not an incorrect thing to do. However, I feel differently now. My position on this issue has evolved.

    Whether or not someone is brainwashed and to what extent is for them to decide in the privacy of their own space, along with someone who is not from AoL and can be trusted, and by reading research done by independent academicians who have not written about AoL but written about the prototype of cults (as well as typical brainwashing tools and techniques deployed by cults). In the future, I shall completely refrain from referring to any specific person (other than myself) as being brainwashed at one point in time.

    Therefore, please ignore all my comments on this thread if they contain the word brainwashing / brainwashed, or, any other reference that seems derogatory in any manner. I did not mean to make a derogatory reference to any specific individual and I won’t in the future either. If that was the case, I would never refer to myself as having been brainwashed for a sufficiently long period of time. (I was and it was akin to third degree psychological torture.)

    Therefore, please don’t misconstrue anything that was said. In fact, I would simply recommend that you ignore the said posts. Please don’t waste your precious time thinking about what I’ve written — especially if it doesn’t apply to you and is, in no way, similar to any experience you’ve had with AoL.

    (My experience with AoL was excruciating. It’s good if you can’t relate to what I write about. It means that you escaped the worst that AoL can do. I’m happy for you.)

    VSS

    4/29/2012
    11:30 am (IST)

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