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