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Would You Put Your Life in the Hands of People Like This?

June 11, 2012

Doctor: The following was left as a comment in response to Sudarshan Kriya and Bipolar Disorder. I have updated that post to reflect the information which “ex teacher” has provided in the comment below, however I feel that the comment provides so many invaluable insights into what is wrong with Art of Living teachers and the TTC that it ought to be published as a separate post.

by ex teacher

Doctor, correction to your article: please note that it has always been the case that people with bipolarity should NOT take SK. It’s been in the SK notes since the first day and it is still there.

However, as a former teacher, I can say that the problem has to do with control, and lack of critical thinking and professional training. Teachers rely too much on “guru’s grace” and magical thinking, and TTCs are about “guru stories” rather than real training. Thus, at the time of interviewing students, details are overlooked, plus, with the ambition of recruiting more people, less or no time is given to reviewing the contents of the registration forms, and giving personal attention to those who need it.

Also, teachers are air-heads themselves with a hype that is almost suspicious and unsettling. Then there is no way one can tell if a student is writing the truth in the form or not. And, nowhere in the form, or in an intro talk, or in the course, does a teacher tell the students there could be a problem if (there are many ifs) …. for example, people with high blood pressure, cardiac problems, epilesia, pregnancy, glaucoma, schizophrenia, also cannot take SK, to name a few. Including (in the early days), people who consumed recreational drugs and/or alcohol (of course, this had to change since otherwise he’d lose numbers!). Not only that, people with certain thyroid problems cannot do bandas and bhastrika, and so on.

However, none of this is informed privately or publicly in a course. Most teachers probably don’t even remember, because they are too caught up in magical thinking, air-heads, and because their only training relies on more magical thinking! To make it worse, in the last years, anyone is made a teacher. Thus, there are many people who themselves are unstable and suffer of untreated psychological disorders acting as teachers.

On the other hand, as a former teacher who discussed these issues many times with him, you must know he himself does not understand why people with bipolarity cannot take SK! He has MANY times “authorized” me and others to teach it to people with severe bipolarity disorders. People I know who have been hospitalized for it, heavily medicated, who have had severe psychotic breakdowns. At some point, for him, numbers/income is more important than well-being. Sadly, I also have seen people dragged straight from course to psychiatric hospital because they had a psychotic outbreakdown but were not bipolar or psychotic prior to SK.

The scientific research he and teachers grab on to are not even complete. If you show them to any serious professional, they will tell you it’s kindergarten stuff: incomplete and immature. The professionals who contributed to the papers are brain-washed devotees seeking for attention and blessings, and not doctors I would visit myself!!!!! (would you?!). I have seen his arguments used negatively in some scientific researches as well. Bottom line: before one engages with practices and groups like SK and AOL, one must inform oneself A LOT. Fortunately, there is internet today. What looks nice could be hell. Isn’t that how the devil paints it when it tries to cajole a “client”? Noone would tell you, “come it’s great, it’s hell”, on the contrary.

More importantly, it’s not just whether there are papers that support the SK or not, or whether there are diplomas/prizes for RS. We should only look at the actions of those who have been with him for a long time. Even to his own behaviours when he is not in a public satsang “on stage”. Do devotees look and behave themselves better with the practice of the SK? Or do they act with aggression, anxiety, hyperactivity? Do they have a tendency to lie more, saying one thing in public, another in private? to be fanatic? to assault anyone because they don’t agree with them that AoL is the best? to disregard values in order to achieve their goals? Do they seem to have lost their own decision-making power? Do they seem to be brain-washed? Are Harshal and company, for example, people who transmit peace, love, joy, compassion, spirituality, stability? Does Ravi transmit that himself or the contrary? Are the people who claim to have been “rescued” and “transformed” really seem equanimous or restless? Sick or healthy? despite their discourses?

As to the swami defaming a teacher for being bipolar, the nasty point is not that the person is bipolar and they ruined her by letting her do SK. The nasty thing is they (alleged spiritual people) accuse someone of being bipolar as if it was something criminal, only because they suspect this person started a blog and had the courage to speak up, and that this person is NOT bipolar at all. It also shows they have no understanding of bipolarity or in fact, any disorder, and that they are after money and not well-being.

Many people today suffer of bipolarity and many great people have it. One should ask oneself how sincerely spiritual are these people if they persecute someone using an illness in a cruel way? Would you put your life in the hands of people like this? Would you put your mind, your health to people who act this way when they feel threatened? Further, it is an offense to all people who really suffer of a psychiatric illness! Why would then one seek refuge in the AoL? They have absolutely no compassion nor care for anyone!

If the teacher would have been bipolar, this is how they treat her? If the person was and they let her do SK knowing it is not good, then, who is criminal? The “bipolar” or the bipolar guru who not only let her do it but exploited her for many years? Cuz, after all, for many years RS bragged about her and used her as a model in TRMs. Is that the best argument and accusation he could come up with just to lure people away from the blogs? From criticisms? The letter in itself should make everyone wonder what he is made of and what moves him for real. The law suit should make one wonder too. Not only does he owe an apology to this teacher and her family for the defamations, but also to EVERYONE who suffers of a psychiatric disorder. And of course, to everyone who sincerely had a quest for spirituality that he exploited for his own ambition.

Ravi is the Kadafi of “spiritual business”.

(Read Sudarshan Kriya: Freeing or Frying the Mind posted on KLIM’s blog. That helped me understand many things).

  1. Anonymous permalink
    June 11, 2012 7:17 pm

    Excellent post! Is funny how AOL believes that the difamed teacher has something to do with this blog and dared to insult the teacher and relatives. If that teacher wanted to really hurt AOL in the countries where she/him worked for AOL for many years, the most effective way would be to sue AOL for labor exploitation and for having not paid the tax obligations regarding her/his social security. The sue would be a total success, actually, a millionaire one… shame on AOL trying to discredit the ex-devotees by acusing them of anything. If some of the sexual abuses reported in India went public, AOL would surely put the blame on the victims. Outrageous!

  2. Doreen permalink
    June 11, 2012 7:44 pm

    I had heard nothing about that person being bipolar before that Swami’s blog post. I doubt that he/she is bipolar but even if he/she did have a diagnosis, I doubt very much that Swami/SSRS/AOL would know about it.
    Therefore I don’t believe there’s any weight to the argument that AOL pushed SK on someone whom they believe was bipolar and unstable. I think the Swami did something completely ignorant and reprehensible in a different way. He used the accusation of mental illness as a tool to discredit someone.

    • Dayalu permalink
      June 11, 2012 9:36 pm

      Point to note is that SSRS himself came up with the ‘bipolar’ theory (during a TRM in Bali, as reported by another ex teacher in this blog) and the Swamy just parrotted SSRS’ statements intented at explaining the existence of KLIM’s blog. As per SSRS, KLIM was the lady in question, although people who were following the blog closely could easity make out the fallacy behing the argument.

  3. Anonymous permalink
    June 11, 2012 9:37 pm

    “…..for example, people with high blood pressure, cardiac problems, epilesia, pregnancy, glaucoma, schizophrenia, also cannot take SK, to name a few”

    It was a surprise to me when I heard from Sangeeta Jani in a mega course that people with high blood pressure, cardiac problems and epilesia should not do the short circles. That was 8 years after my first basic course.

    I had done basic course many times and none of the teachers had mentioned about these things. Nor did I hear about these problems during other AOL courses and follow-ups.

  4. ex teacher permalink
    June 12, 2012 1:37 am

    “… There is an official word on SK, and it includes the instruction not to teach fast circles to heart patients, and not to teach people diagnosed with bipolar who are on lithium-based medications. These are simply facts, whether they support your point or not.”

    Though it’s correct what “Doreen” stated, problem is there are discrepancies even about how to facilitate and practice SK, cuz “some may support the point or not”. Though instruction is people with heart problems should not do fast circles and should do it lighter, most teachers overlook this, because they have not received proper training, and, the stronger the “merrier”. The stronger the breaths, the more catharsis there will be, ie. more yelling, more acting out, more twisting of hands, etc. More “experiences” to share, more drama, easier to convince participants the SK does something, and this is where they start feeding some magical thinking! Sadly, at that point, the person is hyperventilating and frying brain cells. Then, with the increasing demand and pressure from RS to get more people, and the endless competition between them (which RS feeds himself to get his numbers) really, how much careful supervision can participants get in large courses? Especially when most teachers (inexperienced even in life!) are walking on thin air and “surrendering” it all to the guru? Sad truth is most problems are overlooked and everyone gets put in the same basket and if you have problems as a consequence of SK, “well, it’s your bad karma”, “well, you did something wrong”. And, most importantly, RS does not care whether they “support the point or not”. He only cares about NUMBERS and getting BIG. Whether you get fried in the process or die, that’s not his problem. It’s your karma! After all, noone in AoL ever takes responsibility for any mistake. In fact, you start by clearing them from any responsibility by signing an agreement at the end of the form. That in itself needs to make you wonder, from that early on, what are they so eager to protect themselves from? What problems can this technique and course bring? Furthermore, it’s not only poor or lack of real training and unlimited arrogance, but, has anyone seen RS practice SK?????????? I mean, to even get an idea of how it should be correctly done (since he claims to have “created” it)? Anyone? Fact: he himself does not practice SK. Let’s wonder why, because regardless of how “enlightened” he could claim to be, his body is mortal and we all notice he is stressed and miserable! If he cannot walk the talk, then why even talk?

    On a last note, notice that he wants to discredit someone, he ALWAYS accuses them of suffering some mental disorder. Usually, bipolarity. The teacher he accused of being bipolar is not, just as so many others who left him and whom he labeled as “blue stars” or “bipolars”. Notice that, coincidentally, everyone who left him and, especially, those who had big secrets about him, he ripped them apart by accusing them of some mental problem and lied extensively about them. I myself know of many, not just that teacher! It started making me wonder if it is not just his own projection (of himself) after all.

    Doreen: the swami only followed R’s instruction. RS is the master head and he is the source of all this hatred, thirst for revenge and persecution. It’s his MO, his pathology. We know the person he defamed is none of what they spread. It is all flawed, but mainly and firstly, the “guru”. The seed is rotten.

    • Doreen permalink
      June 12, 2012 12:20 pm

      It’s not my experience that teachers don’t pay attention to the health part of each participant’s AOL course application form but it’s conceivable that some don’t. It is part of the teaching instructions to review the forms before each course so if teachers are truly obsessed with “the Guru’s word” then they would be following that. I have personally never heard of anyone having a psychotic breakdown after Kriya.

      I don’t think it’s unsavory that AOL asks people to sign a waiver. Go take any personal development program or a yoga class at a studio and they will ask you to sign a waiver too. It’s common practice.

      There’s a curious dichotomy I’ve noticed among some comments on this blog. Some people say “SK is a sham, it does nothing for me” and some people say “SK is dangerous”.

      • VSS permalink
        June 12, 2012 1:10 pm

        @ Doreen [June 12, 2012 12:20 pm]

        There is a third category of people too — those who feel that SK awakens the kundalini and causes enlightenment.

        Since these three perspectives are expressed with heartfelt emotions, let’s assume they are true for those who have these perspectives.

        Let’s say a person wants to practice SK.

        How is the person to ascertain that SK will cause kundalini awakening or enlightenment in his or her case?

        What is the information that I need to determine if SK will work for me or not?

        Is this information easily available?

        @ anyone who is reading

        I ask you the same question. Is there some place where I can find detailed information that’ll tell me whether or not SK will work for me?

        I would like to know the mental, physical, and spiritual preconditions that are necessary for SK to work.

      • Doreen permalink
        June 12, 2012 2:46 pm

        There is a fourth category too. People who don’t know think about kundalini and enlightenment but who say, when I practice SK I have more energy and enthusiasm to do the things I want to do in my life.

      • VSS permalink
        June 12, 2012 3:13 pm

        Of course. I’ve read this too.

        I forgot about this one. Thank you for reminding me.

        I so hope someone can come up with all the information about the mental, physical and spiritual prerequisites needed for SK to work. There should be some clarity on this. It’s been more than 30 years since SK was practiced. I want to see where this information has been documented. It can’t be just verbal or just conjecture. That would be too frivolous.

      • Doreen permalink
        June 12, 2012 3:44 pm

        You’re asking for certainties but there are no certainties. Even doctors giving medicine which has gone through rigorous testing don’t give certainties. Instead they say, this medicine has worked for many other people in your situation. Give it a try. If it doesn’t work for you I’ll prescribe you something else.

      • VSS permalink
        June 12, 2012 4:53 pm

        @ Doreen,

        Doctors who prescribe medicines have studied medicine. In India, they have to study for a minimum of four years (if I’m not mistaken) to complete their MBBS. The medicines that I may have consumed in the recent past — for purposes such as improving my general well being — are tested in laboratories, list potential side effects, are certified by the Government of India etc. etc.

        Has Mr. Ravi Shankar done MBBS ? Is he a qualified physician from a registered medical school ? I was not aware of this. I have not seen this mentioned anywhere. I have read that he might have studied Physics (this is not certain — I have read a post by IO that proves that he hasn’t) not Physiology or Psychology. I do not recall reading any post or comment on this blog that mentions that Mr. Ravi Shankar is a doctor or a psychologist. He has no formal education in Medicine or Psychology or Stress Relief or Conflict Resolution, as far as I know. Even Bawa and Dinesh are engineers — they have no relevant formal education.

        None of them are actually qualified to do what they’re doing.

        A person who prescribes something he or she is not qualified to prescribe is referred to as a quack.

        Please correct me if I am mistaken about the educational qualifications of either of these people.

      • Doreen permalink
        June 12, 2012 4:59 pm

        Read my comment above again – in no way did I imply that SSRS or AOL teachers were doctors.

      • VSS permalink
        June 12, 2012 5:25 pm

        @ Doreen

        I assure you that I’ve read your comments. You gave me the example of doctors. Doctors prescribe medicines by virtue of having studied for at least four years (here in India).

        We’re in a conversation.

        When you mentioned doctors, I wondered aloud about the complete absence of professional qualifications in people who represent AoL and prescribe practices relating to things that they are simply not qualified in.

        They are not at par with doctors. Please re-read my comment.

        I am clearly stating that doctors and AoL are incomparable. Compared to doctors, who are qualified, and subject matter experts, through academic qualifications, AoL is not. Effectively, Mr. Ravi Shankar is a quack. So are Bawa and Dinesh. So are the teachers.

        They are not qualified the way doctors are. That is why they are not able to handle the adverse effects of any exercise / practice in any session. That’s the point that ex teacher also made. People are not qualified. Going to AoL is like going to quacks. Quacks are not at par with doctors. I would never go to a quack nor would I send anyone to a quack.

        Thank you for mentioning doctors. You successfully demystified AoL for me. All of us, all this time, have been discussing why quacks are behaving like quacks. Thank you for facilitating greater clarity of thought. I’m very grateful to you. You totally put things in perspective for me. I feel foolish for expecting quacks to behave like doctors.

      • Doreen permalink
        June 12, 2012 5:40 pm

        I’m sorry I wasted my time in trying to have a conversation with you. Instead of responding to what I actually wrote and having a real conversation, which could have been interesting, you jack-knifed into a fresh tangent that is unrelated to what we were talking about.

      • VSS permalink
        June 12, 2012 6:01 pm

        Oh! I’m so sorry. I really didn’t go off on a tangent. I thought you raised the issue of uncertainty. And, I realized that there are degrees of uncertainty. We, as human beings, tend to choose the less uncertain option. The very topic of this thread is “Would You Put Your Life in the Hands of People Like This?” and I’ve expressed my perspective on this even before we got into a conversation. I have repeatedly said on this blog that there isn’t proper information about SK. Through talking to you, I realized that I am expecting from AoL at least as much as I would expect from AIIMS (All India Institute of Medical Sciences). This is very foolish on my part. You opened my eyes to my foolishness. How can I expect medical information from someone who is not a doctor? Also, SK is credited to Mr. Ravi Shankar and he is not a doctor. Most medicines are created by doctors or those who are qualified in the creation of medicines with advanced degrees in Chemistry — meaning subject matter experts. AoL is simply not a subject matter expert in all that it is doing. I don’t know why my perspective offends you. In India, it is normal to refer to someone who is not qualified in what they practice as a quack. I’m baffled by your response. I beg to disagree with you about going off on a tangent. I completely stuck to the topic of this post. I’m so sorry you’re upset. Please forgive me. I did not mean to offend you in any manner whatsoever. I’m so very sorry. I’m grateful to you and you’re upset with me. I hope you feel better soon, Doreen.

      • The Doctor permalink
        June 12, 2012 8:46 pm

        @Doreen: There’s a curious dichotomy I’ve noticed among some comments on this blog. Some people say “SK is a sham, it does nothing for me” and some people say “SK is dangerous”.

        In fairness, the majority of people who support this blog, myself included, claim that SK may have some benefits, but may also have harmful side effects. A large number of contributors here have come forward and shared their bad experiences on the blog. I don’t think anyone has ever outright stated that they believe SK is a sham, though perhaps a very small minority do claim it does nothing for them.

        One of the biggest issues with regards to SK is that Art of Living do not warn participants upfront of any of the harmful side effects, and worse still they do not even admit that SK has ever caused any problems for anyone. This is obviously completely untrue, and is something which seriously needs to be addressed. Whatever benefits SK may produce, if it is potentially dangerous to someone, shouldn’t they be warned about it upfront?

      • Doreen permalink
        June 12, 2012 9:12 pm

        Teachers following the teaching instructions review each student’s health form before the class starts so they’re aware of any health issues that could be impacted by SK – things including heart conditions, high blood pressure, and asthma. If they have questions they will talk to that student before class starts to get any clarification needed. Some teachers make it a point to talk privately to each student before class starts to double-check that they haven’t left anything off of their application form.

        If a student does have one of the conditions on the list, they will give that person instructions for doing a modified version of SK.

        That sounds reasonable to me.

      • VSS permalink
        June 13, 2012 3:57 am

        @ The Doctor [June 12, 2012 8:46 pm]

        In 2008, someone really close to me was diagnosed with Stage 3 cancer. The individual has since recovered, and the active part of the treatment is over. But, as you might be aware, the effects of chemotherapy, radiation, and radical surgery can be pretty devastating.

        At every stage, doctors in AIIMS (All India Institute of Medical Sciences) informed the patient about every single thing that could happen as a result of the process of treatment. They welcomed questions. They would show the patient illustrations. They would draw impromptu diagrams. Till today, the sheer rigour with which they ask questions during a follow up consultation is absolutely astounding and awe-inspiring — they are so meticulous that they inspire patients. The patient in question tells me that each time during the follow up — and it is not always the same doctor — new questions are added to ascertain the patient’s state of well-being. Every answer provided by the patient and any change in the patient’s condition is noted in the patient’s file. The attention to detail is reassuring beyond measure.

        In the case of AoL and SK, no matter how wonderful a human being connected to AoL is, the human being is not a doctor. The person who created SK is not a doctor. They simply do not have the knowledge that doctors have. They simply do not have the insights that doctors have by virtue of having studied human beings and their physiology for at least four years. They have no relevant work experience. Doctors don’t just learn in those four years but learn after that too because they have to keep in touch with new medicines and new research.

        In AoL, since there is secrecy surrounding all things SK, and zero documentation of the side effects of SK, and zero updates on new side effects reported, there is chaos.

        Without any bias in your mind, please reflect about doctors and a hospital and AoL teachers and AoL. You will clearly see that all this while we have been expecting AoL to behave like AIIMS (All India Institute of Medical Sciences). We are expecting quacks to behave like doctors.

        Would a doctor ever coin a term like “blue star” ?

        Would a doctor ever discriminate against someone for being bipolar?

        Would a doctor ever demolish a patient’s reputation for a certain medical condition or falsely allege a medical condition?

        Would a doctor reach or perpetuate a preposterous conclusion like a bipolar person started a blog?

        Would a doctor question anyone’s sanity at the drop of a hat?

        AoL does all of this. But this is only one part of it.

        The other part of it is that AoL members feel that they’re “right”.

        Many of them have a lot of conviction in this belief.

        When they visit this blog, they suffer from righteous indignation.

        Why is this so?

        This is so because all quacks don’t see themselves as quacks. They perceive themselves as being at par with doctors or even better than doctors.

        During a recent TV debate, Shekhar Gupta (Group Editor of Indian Express) and a former head of NCERT (National Council of Educational Research and Training) and now a Baba Ramdev supporter got into an argument about this very aspect. Shekhar Gupta said that Baba Ramdev is not a qualified Ayurveda Doctor. The Baba Ramdev supporter said that 200 years ago, they were no Ayurveda Doctors. The moderator (who hosts the television show) said that what was done 200 years ago is different. And then, Shekhar Gupta asked about the economic solutions that Baba Ramdev was offering and said that they were dangerous because they are based on bizarre calculations.

        The same applies to Mr. Ravi Shankar. He is not qualified. If he is doing things based on how things were done 200 years ago, then he is regressive and archaic. He and his followers believe in what he is doing because they are thinking in regressive and archaic terms too.

        Therefore, any debate on SK on this blog, is taking place between those who believe in doctors and progressive ideas (such as research) and those who believe in quacks and regressive ideas (such as no research).

        The same applies to the court case. AoL took Skywalker to court because according to Indian tradition, anyone who speaks about someone who calls himself a Guru critically, must be punished. In India, to disagree with someone who is older, is a social sin. It is an immoral act that invites social condemnation.

        There is this comment on this blog — I do not recall the specifics — but in the comment, the AoL member says my guru is like my mother. If someone says something to my mother, I will take him to task — something to this effect. Now, I know a certain mother who harmed her child and was punished legally for her actions. Therefore, how does the law operate? The law operates on principles. The law treats everyone equally. It doesn’t matter who is older and who is younger. The offender is the offender. Social relationships don’t matter. The law distills all situations to determine how the law was violated and by whom without taking into account any social factor. Hence, in the case of this blog, the law protected Skywalker’s right to free speech on an issue that is of public interest — even though Skywalker is not a US national.

        The judge didn’t say that because Mr. Ravi Shankar is perceived as a maternal figure by many, Skywalker should not speak about the misdemeanor of a mother figure. In fact, the judge said that because people perceive Mr. Ravi Shankar as a public figure and he may be in a position to harm them, it is okay to engage in a robust debate about his activities and actions.

        Now, AoL members are unable to cope with this situation where Skywalker’s right to free speech has been protected by law. They would be far more comfortable if things were as they were 200 years ago.

        So, what does this tell us about AoL? This tells us that AoL is not helping / empowering people to live in a way that they may be able to cope with the situation in circa 2012. Hence, AoL is really not helping people live better. It’s really not helping them feel less stressed out. The more they encounter things that are not archaic and regressive, the more stressed out they get.


  5. VSS permalink
    June 12, 2012 6:51 am

    Would You Put Your Life in the Hands of People Like This?

    I would not and I did not after reading these blogs.

    And, now I know why all AoL members verbally thrash me on this blog — because I believed what I read and did not relocate to the Bangalore Ashram.

    I am one of those who read these blogs before joining AoL — and did not join AoL — and the fact that there will be many others in the future terrifies them.

    The internet is more powerful than AoL — and the truth resounds in this post.

    Thank you infinitely, dear ex teacher, for this incredibly empowering post.

    @ The Doctor

    I agree with you — this comment is so insightful and empowering that it deserves to be a main post. There will be many like me who visit this blog before joining AoL and this post will definitely empower them. If they decide to join AoL after reading this post, they will be prepared — forewarned is forearmed. If they decide not to join AoL — it’ll be because they feel prevention is better than cure.

  6. Wanderer..sid permalink
    June 12, 2012 10:03 am

    After reading this i feel i did the biggest mistake of my life joining AOl. thank god i am safe now and out of AOL, months ago, deep inside i started feeling that at AOL i am at a wrong place. . thanks to my inner self.

  7. ex teacher permalink
    June 12, 2012 3:59 pm

    Doreen: it’s not common practice to sign a waiver before taking a yoga class or personal development courses. I never did except with AoL! Ask around and you will see it is less common than what you think. If there is something to hide or protect, if something is not transparent, then an agreement is good for protection. AoL hides too many things and is too anxious to protect itself from just too many things! Including negative criticism. What is he so afraid of? There are too many secrets. “Don’t tell, don’t share, don’t ….” That is the first indication it is a cult. Too many “no nos”, too many secrets. He can’t control everyone’s opinions. Some will like him, some will not. Except, now, every negative criticism that floats around the world, he thinks it comes or was provoked by the teacher he defamed, and he will attack him/her. How childish, don’t you think? How opposite of everything he preaches, don’t you think? Some people don’t feel any results with SK, and some people have fallen very sick from the practice of it. If you need a practice to have the energy and enthusiasm to do things in your life, well, you need to question why can you not do that without the help of a placebo? This is the flaw in the whole AoL package: it makes people rely on outside sources, instead of valuing, relying and believing in oneself more. But, he makes you believe you are. Fabulous! If you can’t do any of that without the practice of it or RS, then it means all of that has no value at all!

    PS: and, because you yourself make sure you follow instructions to facilitate SK, or have not seen anyone go “bad” because of SK, does not mean that is not happening too much elsewhere. Again, there are too many secrets in the AoL. There is life outside of the bubble.

  8. June 12, 2012 7:53 pm

    “Thus, there are many people who themselves are unstable and suffer of untreated psychological disorders acting as teachers”

    Please have a separate post on this. This is one of key issue.

  9. June 12, 2012 8:00 pm

    There are many teachers in AOL who have Personality disorders. They are not frank psychotics but have many traits of different personality disorders. Kindly devote a seperate post on this please.

  10. Anonymous permalink
    June 12, 2012 9:48 pm

    A friend of mine who´s a Forensic Psiquiatrist told me: “Psycothic teachers are something to worry about: Psycopath teachers are something to be scared about!”…. AOL is plenty of them!!!

  11. Michel J. Grenier permalink
    June 12, 2012 11:53 pm

    The only fact that somebody can self-proclaim himself His Holiness shows clearly that he has a big problem !

  12. Anonymous permalink
    June 13, 2012 4:02 am

    “Teachers following the teaching instructions review each student’s health form before the class starts”

    I have seen only one teacher doing this. Most of the teachers are not aware of student’s health because these forms are reviewed by their assistants who look only for student’s signature freeing AOL of any consequences.

    “they will give that person instructions for doing a modified version of SK.”

    The only modified version I have heard is skipping short circles. Are there other modified versions of SK.

  13. stupidseeker permalink
    June 13, 2012 5:21 am

    One of the major dictums of modern medicine is “Do No Harm”. What this means is that, it should be the aim of the healthcare system to not worsen the condition of the patient even if the applied intervention fails to improve the condition of the patient. This dictum in not a divine revelation or a divine personal insight and thereby unfalsifiable. It is the consequence of the philosophical discussion on the practice of medicine.

    Given the ability of Yoga to effect physiological changes one wonders how qualified are the teachers in AOL to assess the impact of the yogic intervention in diverse individuals, healthy or otherwise, and also on what basis, even as they parade the innumerable health benefits of the SKY??
    Given that mere demonstration of efficacy, which anyway is commonplace for most physical activities in general and yoga in particular, does not imply freedom from adverse effects, have they performed any controlled trials which demonstrate the safety of the SKY when practiced on the long term??

  14. The Doctor permalink
    June 13, 2012 7:27 am


    “Teachers following the teaching instructions review each student’s health form before the class starts so they’re aware of any health issues that could be impacted by SK – things including heart conditions, high blood pressure, and asthma. If they have questions they will talk to that student before class starts to get any clarification needed. Some teachers make it a point to talk privately to each student before class starts to double-check that they haven’t left anything off of their application form.

    If a student does have one of the conditions on the list, they will give that person instructions for doing a modified version of SK.

    That sounds reasonable to me.”

    Yes, this does sound reasonable. However this is an ideal situation which is clearly not happening in the real world. If this was happening universally, then people wouldn’t be complaining of all the ailments which they have been. Even when I was in AoL I knew people who complained about various things, and teachers were always telling them to just keep practicing, that they are cleansing, removing toxins and so on. What this tells us is that very few teachers are actually following the teaching instructions.

    It strikes me as interesting that you have chosen to completely ignore 99% of the issues which have been raised on this blog with regards to the harmful effects of Sudarshan Kriya and just focused on this.

    • Doreen permalink
      June 13, 2012 11:12 am

      The ideal situation is for every teacher to always follow the teaching instructions to the letter.
      Are there a lot of teachers who do this? I think so. In my experience teachers see their work as sacred service and so tend to take great care with it.
      Is this happening 100% of the time? No.
      Do either of us have a way of knowing exactly how many teachers do this? No.
      Is 100% compliance possible when dealing with humans? Probably not but if AOL believes in the importance/value of the teaching instructions then they should be working towards it.

      • Anonymous permalink
        June 13, 2012 12:23 pm

        @Doreen I don’t feel a need to apologize for saying this: I did SK and taught it (unfortunately) to many people. It made me ill on many occasions and I never received an acceptable answer from your Guruji as to why, only that I didn’t need to do SK, just teach it to others. When I taught, on more than one occasion, people, whose health I had reviewed and seemed fine, by AOL ‘standards’, became very ill, even unconscious, and it was quite frightening, as I am not a doctor. I even saw someone pass out when Guruji was teaching, and he looked very upset and kept touching the person with fear in his eyes. The person did wake up finally, but I really thought he would die. SK is not safe for everyone. Many people are affected adversely by it. It hurts people. It should be taught very carefully (if at all) in small groups, in extremely clean air (like the mountains) by well-trained teachers. The emphasis to get the numbers must be dropped if AOL is to stop harming innocent people. My experience with Ravi Shankar was that he just didn’t care except for the large numbers. Everything else (like concerns for the students) was simply waved away by him. So I left. why do you come here? Do you have doubts? Or are you trying to convert those of us who have left the clutches of Ravi Shankar and his Art of Living, back to seeing things his way? Or do you simply not believe the huge number of sad stories on these blogs? Sorry, I cannot be more polite like some here. I’m tired of seeing people nearly apologize to Art of Living supporters who come here and basically say that what is posting here is just wrong in one way or another. There is no dichotomy. There are differing people, who don’t know each other (I have no clue who skywalker or doctor or anyone else posting here is, except for some co-workers) posting their true and sincere concerns and negative experiences of Art of Living. I don’t go to Ravi Shankar’s blogs and post negatively (they wouldn’t put the post up anyhow, but still….) Why do Art of Living people who love it so much keep coming here and defending it and picking apart the hurt and concern and truthful experiences of people like me? It’s really not your concern, Doreen. Your master is rich and powerful and doesn’t need you to defend him or promote him. Trust me on this. He hires plently of people to do it. Sorry if this is harsh, but I think you should re-read these blogs.

      • VSS permalink
        June 13, 2012 2:22 pm

        @ Doreen [June 13, 2012 11:12 am]

        Thank you infinitely for this post.

        You’re right — some human beings — such as you — do think that 100% compliance is probably not possible when dealing with humans.

        I vehemently disagree with this perspective. This is precisely what I refer to as cynicism and negative thinking. For me, more than anything else, AoL represents this negativity and cynicism.

        According to AoL, the art of living is to accept this cynicism and negativity, validate it, and nip human potential for excellence in the bud.

        This is how human beings are treated like mere samples of a species.

        Let me tell you that 100% compliance is definitely possible when dealing with human beings.

        Every single human being on this planet — is capable of being spectacular — including you.

        Have you heard about the dabbawalas in Mumbai?

        Have you heard of Vishwanathan Anand?

        Have you heard of A R Rahman?

        Have you heard of Viktor Frankl?

        Have you heard of Kailash Kher?

        Have you heard of any human being who triumphs over all their adversity and excels in the pursuit of excellence?

        If one can, all can.

        Do you know how many flights take off and land safely each day?

        Do you know how many trains run on track?

        It’s because of 100% compliance.

        You know what my biggest sorrow with AoL is — it butchers the pursuit of excellence in individuals, induces cynicism and negativity, and then tells people to smile. That’s why those smiles are fake.

        Read IO’s posts.

        IO left AoL because IO was expected to tolerate lack of integrity.

        The attitude you reflect is at the heart of that expectation.

        Those who have left AoL left AoL because they could not tolerate the extent of cynicism and negativity that people are forced to accept in AoL. Their hearts just didn’t allow them to continue in an organization that tortured even one human being. And, we all know, AoL has done way more than torturing one human being.

        Your heart has no problem with that because you believe that 100% compliance is probably not possible when dealing with human beings.

        Your expectations are very low — that’s why you don’t have a problem with the problems in AoL.

        Those who do — have left AoL. They aspire for a better world — not a world that treats human beings like mere samples of a species.

        And, I’m sorry if my post offends you, that is simply not my intention.

        I’m simply expressing my perspective about human beings and my expectations from each human being — who I believe — has the potential to be spectacular.

      • Doreen permalink
        June 13, 2012 2:46 pm

        VSS you are the queen of non-sequitors! But thanks for thinking I’m capable of being spectacular 🙂

      • stupidseeker permalink
        June 13, 2012 3:11 pm


        I for one would be interested in what those instructions consist of, especially the contraindications, and how to ascertain for whom the kriya needs to be modified.

        It would be interesting because in HHSSRS’s own words, it was a non human agency which gave the SKY to HHSSRS.

      • VSS permalink
        June 13, 2012 3:18 pm

        @ Doreen [June 13, 2012 2:46 pm]


        I am an ordinary human being. What you say is absolutely true — and a colossal validation — if, from your perspective, AoL is about sequitors, then I am happy, nay ecstatic, to be a mere mortal in the kingdom of non-sequitors.

        Besides, I like my non-sequitors if they convince you that you have the potential to be spectacular and so does every human being on this planet — and make you smile your dazzling smile.

        This song is for you (it’s one of my anthems):

        Hope you like it … and it makes you smile as you listen …

      • VSS permalink
        June 13, 2012 4:09 pm

        @ stupidseeker [June 13, 2012 3:11 pm]

        Even I am waiting for someone to post a clear list of physical, mental, and spiritual prerequisites needed for SK to work. Maybe someone who has a clear picture will educate all of us.

  15. ex teacher permalink
    June 13, 2012 12:50 pm

    “but if AOL believes in the importance/value of the teaching instructions then they should be working towards it.”

    Ha! That is the stem of the problem! AoL, aka RS, does not believe in the importance/value of the teaching instructions. NUMBERS NUMBERS $$$$$$ FAME MARKETING PUBLICITY – these are the values they care and are working towards. The ideal situation you state does not happen in practice. Maybe only you and 10 others (from your comments, you obviously are an “old timer”) do what’s ideal and see the “work as “sacred service”. Catch up with the current reality of your movement, dear. Unfortunately, nothing is ideal anymore. At least, not your ideal, and not the ideal you project in the organization and Ravi. This is the disappointment and deceit most of us feel. We also shared an ideal and regarded it as sacred service. RS had other hidden motives. For most teachers, this as a way to upgrade themselves and get a lot of attention they otherwise would not have in the “world”. Power-attention-approval hungry people, some with altruistic intentions, most without any clue of their intentions but just a “I feel good when people feel good because I am sitting in front of them saving their lives”, and for most senior teachers, they have no clue anymore – most want to leave but don’t know where and how to start to do that.

  16. The Doctor permalink
    June 13, 2012 6:39 pm


    “The ideal situation is for every teacher to always follow the teaching instructions to the letter.
    Are there a lot of teachers who do this? I think so. In my experience teachers see their work as sacred service and so tend to take great care with it.
    Is this happening 100% of the time? No.
    Do either of us have a way of knowing exactly how many teachers do this? No.
    Is 100% compliance possible when dealing with humans? Probably not but if AOL believes in the importance/value of the teaching instructions then they should be working towards it.”

    Whilst I agree that none of us can be sure how many teachers are and how many teachers aren’t staying faithful to the prescribed teaching methods and taking care to observe all contraindications as laid out in the SK notes, the fact that so many people have reported problems when practicing SK tells us that there is a big issue when it comes to teaching SK. If AoL really believes in the importance/value of the teaching instructions, then they should be doing everything they can to ensure none of these things are happening.

    They should at the very least warn people before they take the class of all the various contraindications, but many obviously don’t. Why don’t they? I believe I’ve made a good attempt to answer that in this comment, though I didn’t hear anything from you on it afterwards. I would still like to hear your thoughts on this, because I think it is at the heart of the problem.

  17. ex teacher permalink
    June 13, 2012 9:32 pm

    This seems a most appropriate quote to keep in mind:

    “Optimism is good but it should be cautious optimism. I have come across reckless optimism. A little bit of healthy skepticism is in order.” – Aung San Suu Kyi


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