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About

This blog is intended as a space for healing, for people recovering from AOL. You may comment as you like, or if you want to share your story in a post send it to reklawyksekul@gmail.com.

We are several people working together making this blog, but we retain anonymity even amongst each other. The need for anonymity has been proven well founded after AOL’s attempts to defame an ex-teacher.

Also important to stress is the fact that we editors do not necessarily agree with each other. Our common ground is the experience that not all is, as it should be in the Art of Living, an organisation that claims to be humanitarian. Most of us tried, as active members of the org, to adress these issues internally. That was not allowed, and the serious nature of these concerns, combined with our need for healing and closure, has compelled us to start this blog, and to contribute to this blog.

For further explanation of the purpose of this blog, please read this post.

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59 Comments leave one →
  1. June 14, 2010 8:27 am

    Ever hear of a woman Mystic Saint from Haryana called Anand Murthi Guruma…try and find out her connection with Ravi Shankar, Morari Babu, Avdeshananda, Ramdev and others. Oh yes they are very intimately connected. Guess whom Ravi Shankar bought a doll for on one of his very early trips abroad….

  2. September 1, 2010 9:09 pm

    You put AOL in a very narrow-minded and simplistic box. People who follow Sri Sri Ravi Shankar are ‘brain-washed’ or whatever. I’m sorry, but I don’t recognise myself from your simplistic descriptions. I met Guruji more than 20 years ago, I spent some seven years away from Him, angry because I felt he wasn’t there for me. I had demands that were not being met. So, I do know what it is like to feel let down by a spiritual movement. But even when I was away, I didn’t feel that I had been brain-washed or controlled. I have met the most remarkable and diverse characters in the Art of Living, and full of energy too – zombies they definitely are not. As for suppressing freedom of speech, well it’s a great rallying cry for any journalist but it doesn’t describe my experience of being around Sri Sri. The Art of Living is a fairly chaotic organisation most of the time. If you meet a spiritual movement without politics or conflicts, then nothing is happening. Sri Sri, like Maharishi, is a worldly guru, he operates here, now, in this world (contrast Osho who just wanted to be left alone with his followers, no judgement implied). He meets the movers and shakers because by influencing them he can have a disproportionate effect on the consciousness of the world, but it does not follow from that that he doesn’t care about his individual devotees. And I can vouch that Sri Sri, even today with such a large following, does meet with plain, ordinary devotees if not one-to-one, then still in small groups. As for the terrible people you describe as being around him, representing AOL, well the first course point is to accept people as they are, so, yes, we get some characters, at all levels. We don’t turn them away, why should we? Your anger is like salt: a little bit of it is okay, but you’re drowning in the stuff. No one can have clear perception with so much anger and self-righteousness. One final thing: even if you can’t stand the AOL as an organisation and think that Sri Sri is a money-grabbing fraud or whatever, have you at least watched or listened to his commentaries on Ashtavakra Gita, Bhakti Sutras, or Patanjali Yoga Sutras? How about you go beyond personalities and movements – they’re only temporary, after all – to the knowledge, which is timeless? Can you really say from your heart that it’s rubbish? Can you listen to a talk as beautiful as Permanently Impermanent and not be moved?
    Your mind wants clear categories and distinctions of everything, everything neatly boxed and explained. Please, go ahead, keep demanding, but you’ll never be satisfied with any explanation given. You’ve mastered the art of the double-bind: whatever your prey does they are made wrong. They can’t win. Enjoy your meal of salt. What Sri Sri is offering is too for you to digest right now.

    • November 1, 2011 10:05 pm

      Beautiful reply, Nyles! I couldn’t have said it better.

    • Anonymous permalink
      February 11, 2012 9:15 am

      What do timeless knowledge like “Ashtavakra Gita” and “Yoga Sutras” have to do with Sri Sri? The credit goes to Ashtavakra or Patanjali, not sri sri. Sri Sri, because he did not get correct knowledge, is going after “money,” which is what is traditionally called part of “Deha-Vasana” or desire for body and “fame,” which is nothing but “Loka-Vasana” or desire for fame. In other words, Sri Sri is Vasana full. If you read Ashtavakra gita, Ashtavakra recommends to give up all Vasanas…

      • Wilson permalink
        June 9, 2012 2:01 am

        Anyone can interpret the ancient texts, even you. If others gain a deeper insight into the ancient knowledge by hearing your interpretation, then the credit goes to you. It seems you are more interested in attacking Sri Sri than helping anyone.

        If you truly believe that Sudarshan Kriya is harmful, then why have a download link on your site? By doing so, you are effectively spreading more harm.

      • The Doctor permalink
        June 9, 2012 6:38 am

        @Wilson – the answer to that question is in this post if you care to take the time to read it.

  3. Peaceful Warrior permalink
    September 1, 2010 11:20 pm

    Things are not black and white in AOL- the brainwashing is subtle which is why critical thinking is needed to see through the deception.

    “Can you really say from your heart that it’s rubbish?”

    Knowledge is not rubbish. But he wants to use knowledge as power to control people and build his empire.

    For that matter, the maharishi you tend to speak so highly off was also quite a fraud. It is well known – he was not respected by his peers in India, his offices were raided for financial fraud because of which he had to leave india in 1988. Claiming that repeating a mantra will make you fly – yeah right! Mixing half-truths with bullshit is an art which RS has perfected. It would put even George W. Bush to shame.

    “You’ve mastered the art of the double-bind: whatever your prey does they are made wrong.”
    When have Art of Living people made any substantial comments. Every few days there is another person here who shares his same old talking points. Then they give up and start blaming the intellect.

    “Can you listen to a talk as beautiful as Permanently Impermanent and not be moved?”

    Shame on fake gurus who use knowledge as power to manipulate people. Just because someone gives a good talk on vedanta, does not mean that he can do anything he likes. For his scholarship and insight he gets the credit – for his manipulative actions he gets brickbats. What’s so wrong about that.

    Just because we criticize AOL does not mean that we are pathetic losers or have no spirituality in us ? What makes you think we are unspiritual people. This story best illustrates the process that is happening – you don’t have to be a great saint to recognize false spirituality, and neither should one feel guilty of criticizing false gurus.

    Once Sri Chandrasekhara Saraswati Swami of Kanchi Mutt (Sri Periyava) had camped in North India. The then Prime Minister, Smt. Indira Gandhi, came to have His darshan.

    The Prime Minister of India placed a similar question in front of Sri Periyava, “If you would pinpoint the persons who, in the name of spirituality, lead the people in a wrong way I will take action against them.” Sri Periyava laughed and said, “No! It should not be handled in this manner. Those who approach such fake swamis will themselves, after a time, understand their standard of maturity.”

    Sri Periyava knew that this reply did not satisfy Smt. Indira Gandhi. Someone had offered a basket full of mangoes to Periyava. It contained many unripe and a few ripe fruits. Many devotees waited outside for Sri Periyava’s darshan. Sri Periyava instructed the attendants to bring a child from amongst these devotees. A child of about 5 years was brought to Him. Pointing to the basket Periyava smilingly said to the child, “Take whatever you want.” After a search the child picked up a ripe fruit.

    Sri Periyava pointed out to Smt.Indira Gandhi who was watching this, “Just as the way a child knows what is ripe and what is unripe, so too would those who go out in search of Truth recognize a true Mahan at some point of their life.”

    • Peace Seeker rather than Warrior permalink
      March 6, 2011 1:05 am

      When I was very young, I truly felt connection to other people. Real sense of belonging! As I acquired “wordy” education I started thinking, analyzing, finding the most efficient way to do something or reach somewhere. This started introducing unknowingly “limited-ness.” So to use the so called “limited resources,” I started planning and most of it was how I can get them at the least cost to me from others. This started creating tension and stress. To relieve form that I started reading spiritual books. But I was already programmed to compare, analyze and finding the teaching which is least costly to me in all respects. The focus on cost made me lose peace and sense of belonging with others. …. Can you relate? We do this in Guru shopping as well. Bloat our ego.

      If you do not like SSRS leave him. Your real war is trying to reach the One deep within you. When you reach deeper you will spread the bliss and wisdom around you. That will even help even SSRS to change to better. Personally I feel SSRS is fine as he is.

  4. goneagain permalink
    September 2, 2010 12:52 am

    Excellent PW, you said it nice. While many of the AOL-iltes learn about their false guru some time in their own time, many people in this blog simply validate those experiences, and of course save many gullible before even get into the sink hole.

  5. Anonymous permalink
    September 9, 2010 3:38 am

    Subscribe to this site by email. ThanQ

  6. Joseph permalink
    September 11, 2010 10:39 am

    I had a positive AOL experience with the Part 1 course and imagine thousands (if not hundreds of thousands, even millions) have had likewise positive experiences and are benefitting from the breathing techniques. For this reason alone, regardless off what happens at the TTC’s do you not think criticism of AOL is really rather selfish? I have to wonder at your motives…

  7. anon1 permalink
    September 11, 2010 12:30 pm

    “Ever hear of a woman Mystic Saintfrom Haryana called Anand Murthi Guruma…try and find out her connection with Ravi Shankar, Morari Babu, Avdeshananda, Ramdev and others. Oh yes they are very intimately connected. Guess whom Ravi Shankar bought a doll for on one of his very early trips abroad….”

    yes i’ve heard of her, but i dont know about her connections to rrs, mb or the others. can you pls explain what you mean?

  8. ramesh permalink
    September 13, 2010 6:17 pm

    Dear friends first have the guts to give your real name. also realise that life is very short. dont waste too much time in finding fault . i assume that pw is a tamil brahmin like me. i wasted 40 years now i am 46 blaming all gurus instead of my own stupid intellect. now the issue due u need enlightment. if yes how serious. if u r serious u will not waste your time blaming someone. just imagine if what u say is not true. pintho. the karma u earn for blaming a true guru is untold. i have done enough blaming starting from krishna to saibaba . now guru is only an excuse for u to go inside and handle your ego. if u dont like one guru just ignore go to next if not go inside KADAVUL. if not dont spread illwill unless u r doubly sure. if your doubly sure take legal action instead of just throwing doubt seeds . taking one prospect from the steps of enlightment is what is called as brahmaghathi dosha. as sri sri say nothing can give u enlightment. taking the ignorance out of u is enlightment. remember christ was cruzified and krishna was hunted. all enlighened masters go through these.
    if still want to continue do it. and see what purpose u want to achieve rather than creating a negative sensation. if u are damn serious and want to save the masses collect proof go to court. i willback u MAAAN.

    • goneagain permalink
      September 14, 2010 1:44 am

      @Ramesh

      Seems like you feel you have wasted your entire life (40 out of 46? except when you were kid) searching for gurus, seeing your success finding one false guru after another false guru makes me understand why do you feel that way. I am sure every time you found one false guru you probably thought you found the ‘true guru’, isn’t it.

      “remember christ was cruzified and krishna was hunted.”

      Seems like that is another tag line told by AOL to use it freely to save the GURU/AOL.

    • Peaceful Warrior permalink
      September 14, 2010 5:02 am

      Man the first person I blame is myself – for being so stupid in being caught in the cult. The second thing is that knowing what i know about this cult – I have to expose the lies. Yes, I’m pretty convinced that AOL is fraudulent and to ignore wrongdoing is not dharma or spirituality. It may be true that you get bad karma from blaming an innocent person, but it is equally true that you get bad karma if you ignore wrongdoing – especially out of fear that you may get bad karma.

      Why should not expose fraudulent gurus ? What is so wrong with that ?

      Secondly, just because you spent your life blaming gurus does not mean that I do. You are projecting your garbage on to me/us. I for one, live my life fully – each day. – I’m happy and free.

      Thirdly, I don’t see how giving my name makes any difference. Why do people keep insisting that we do ?

      P.S: I’m not a tamil brahman

  9. wasssup permalink
    September 13, 2010 9:54 pm

    @ramesh – might be very true for an Indian. But for a westerner doubt is the liberator. It is doubt that sharpen your intellect, make you able to discriminate and ultimate set you free. Doubt has served us very well. The kind of blind faith and ignoring the ills of the present has only brought pain.
    Life has shown us that in the end what pains you on the death bed is not what you did, but what you didn’t. Its not the fights you took but those you didn’t take. People who have lived a life of joy, happiness, prosperity, abundance and peace, regrets they did not stand up for the wrongs they met in there life. When the voice of doubt came, if it really could be right what was happening, they just ignored it instead of hearing it and following it to the best of there fellow human beings.

    The blind faith and lack of individual discernment of what was right and wrong, brought us the evils of fascism and Nazism. Plagues that have killed so many people that we have vowed for it to never happen again. There for the individual and individuality is sacred here, and it is a crime to turn of ones own intellect and critical judgment in the name of peace.
    One needs to take a stand when evil is met in life. And evil is in our eyes the dissolution and suppression of the individual by the leader as seen in the aol.

    To understand this western perspective see the movie Doubt with Merryl Streep, it is very good.

    • Dayalu permalink
      September 14, 2010 3:30 pm

      @wassup.
      That is absolutely not true for Indian traditions. All established Indian traditions based on the Sanathana Dharma encourages questioning and self inquiry. Vivekananda mentions ‘a curious skeptical mind’ as a prerequisite for spiritual advancement. But as we all know, such a mindset would be detrimental to the existence of cults like AOL and it is only in these pseudo Vedanta cults that doubt is considered blasphemy, just like in most organized religions.

      Dayalu

      • wassup permalink
        October 3, 2010 9:34 pm

        @Dayalu
        This is actually very interesting. I feel the debate for me as a westerner is becomming very stale. When I take my starting point in western this whole aol problem is very clear.

        The foundation of both ethics, economics and social science is transparency and the critical mind. Remebering this it all becomes very simple.

        Where is the transparency in aol?

        Where is the money?

        Where is the social projects?

        Where is the documentation for the health results etc. ?

        And what is the validity of the “knowledge” of aol?

        seen in this light the truth about the aol easily stands out. However it seems to me that so much of the discussion about aol is really to be taken in the Indian and Hindu realm. Because aol is constantly hiding behind the exotic hindu/Indian/gurutradition card. And many of our experience with these is only through the aol (sadly). So as far as I see it only the Indian/hindu community can truly settle the score with the aol. We can kick them out of the west, and we will. But only you can truly make them pay.
        So far I dont experience that the Indian/hindu community really engage the aol. But I really hope it do. It would make the whole debate much more interesting. On a personal level it could also restore some of my faith sympathy for Indian/hinduism which have been very much abused by my experiences in the aol. And there are so many interesting questions, like is the aol interpretation of disremination really in line with the hindu tradition? And is the very used technique of the hot seat really a legitimate hindu technique? I can only wonder… In the west all this very clearly translate into power abuse, bad ethics and cultic nature. But it would be so refreshing to get an answer and a vibrant input to the debate from our hindu/Indian friends.

      • abhilash shastry permalink
        October 4, 2010 8:13 am

        “On a personal level it could also restore some of my faith sympathy for Indian/hinduism which have been very much abused by my experiences in the aol. And there are so many interesting questions, like is the aol interpretation of disremination really in line with the hindu tradition? And is the very used technique of the hot seat really a legitimate hindu technique?”

        @wassup:

        Unlike many other religions, Hinduism is very loosely structured. There is no single prophet, no single book, not even single God. Even within the same religious fold, you can find two persons adhering to diametrical opposite metaphysical views and still both legitimately claiming themselves to be Hindus. An outsider might view it as a spiritual chaos and he would not be very off the mark.

        On the positive side, this has allowed spiritual aspirants and sages, great variety of experimentation without fear of heresy. Based on their intellectual disposition, sadhakas can choose their spiritual sadhana from purely ritualistic to pure philosophizing, all within the same fold. On the negative side, a loose structure like this leaves out major gaps which can be and have been exploited by crooks like SSRS to their own advantage.

        Under these circumstances, the only real test of genuineness of a spiritual practice is ‘time’ — whether the practice is time-tested or not? That is why all gurus – new agers or otherwise – try to latch up their name to a respected tradition. Credentials of a start up guru are always suspect in the eyes of traditional Hindus. Thus people like MMY or SSRS, who are really not from any tradition, also feel obliged to claim inheritance of some tradition via Brahmananda Saraswati or may be some other.

        I understand that this is not an ideal situation, more so for a westerner who doesn’t have any previous exposure to Hinduism. However, it seems to me that fortunately as human beings all of us are born with an innate sense of ethical values that cuts across cultural boundaries. Our ethical values precede our religious training and if hey are violated, it is a red flag in any culture, any religion.

  10. Ashwani Gupta permalink
    September 21, 2010 1:51 pm

    Watever! All said and done the organization, volunteers, teachers are doing a lot for the society, that’s what matters. Kudos to AOL and Ravi Shankar to keep continuing the good work, it’s been 30 years!! And millions lives touched, with many many more to go..:)

    • Shallow waters permalink
      September 21, 2010 5:15 pm

      @ Ashwani Gupta,

      I agree with you. Out of those 30 years i have been with it for half of its time. but somewhere as a teacher i did not like spreading the way it spreads now. Even Hollywood movies are just like that. it appears all nice on screen to viewers.

  11. Anonymous permalink
    September 29, 2010 11:00 pm

    I am scared to give my mail. But I have so much to say.

    • goneagain permalink
      September 30, 2010 12:50 pm

      You can create anonymous email account in gmail and send email from it.

  12. Bling Bling permalink
    September 30, 2010 1:46 am

    “I am scared to give my mail. But I have so much to say.”

    Just leave a few long comments and ask Skywalker to make an article out of it

  13. Bling Bling permalink
    September 30, 2010 7:43 pm

    Another lackey… 😦

    >> “I am sure she is bipolar as my father is bipolar”

    Give us proof.

    >> “I have personally seen many documents showing the nature of the trust and how the money is distributed, I am a cynic at heart and I am telling you I have seen documents disproving a lot of what you have said.”

    Give us proof. Where does the money collected for charity go? Where did Arvind Varchaswi Narasimhan get the money for his Sumeru group of companiues ?

  14. merry-go-London permalink
    September 30, 2010 10:00 pm

    As far as i know she never worked with you nor you spent time with or around her, since with the description you gave, I have a pretty good idea who you are. I know Eng-an very well and keep in touch with her and your medical statements of her are a bit far off. As well, i have visited the projects and the money I made for the organization alone could cover that. Also, many of the papers went thru my hands as well so theres a bit of difference there as well. The only reason I am not publishing some papers\letters\emails here is because I don’t want to get some people who are still my friends in trouble. But you never know. Keep pushing my buttons 😉

    • Truth permalink
      September 30, 2010 11:25 pm

      I highly doubt you have any idea who I am… I would love it if you did and we could talk about this without being hidden behind anonymous names. If you can see the email address linked to this post email me and we can talk. If you do know me, then you’d know I’m a pretty open minded person and love open and honest debate…

      I highly suggest if you feel there is something illegal going on, publish this documentation.. People who are in positions of power and abuse it should be bought to justice! Do it you have it.. If you don’t you are an accessory to these crimes and thus if you don’t publish it then you are an accomplice. I know you are full of BS and if any of you had ANYTHING you’d do more than writing on a blog.

      There’s no men in black or as it is in AOL men in white robes coming out to get you. There are a few people who don’t seem to communicate well trying to defend AOL and frankly making more of a stupid mess of things. That’s about the only thing I can see going on from the AOL side and all I see from all of you is a bunch of random accusations with threats of proof with nothing behind it.. So if you wanna fight with AOL and ‘bring it down’ then do it and stop talking nonsense, rise to the challenge if you feel so strongly about it. Your friends will survive the fall out but if you truly believe all you say then do all you can to change what you think is a terrible thing.

      Everyone who has REAL proof of anything that is illegal or immoral then show it to the world! What’s stopping you all. If Guruji is so evil, and he has done so many bad things then bring it on. I for myself know only that I have gained so much benefit from my experiences with Guruji.. The organisation and politics are the reason I am not involved – but I respect Guruji and his work as I have seen it first hand.

      Trust me below person, I am not using reverse psychology. I am writing what I think.. How is saying what Swamiji wrote to be unfair and harsh reverse psychology when I am saying a fact?

      The truth will set you free so stop hiding….

    • merry-go-London permalink
      October 1, 2010 10:00 am

      (I can’t reply to your post so I’m sending here)
      If what you wrote is a provocation, tough… it didn’t work 😉 Some of us are not so easy. Indeed, slowly but surely truth will set us all free. Everything in its own time. Don’t you worry about that.
      Just because i do know you i was surprised with what i have read. In the end i did include your name in my post.
      Nice of you to think things thru and apologize. You know how it goes, accept and respond rather than react. Well, hopefully next time 🙂

      • Truth permalink
        October 1, 2010 3:09 pm

        This conversation is turning into a Merry-go-round…

        This should not be some childish mud slinging match.. You think what I said about your friend is unfounded you have the right to be upset and I apologise to you both. It was pathetic and I feel I reacted in a bad way, because well I’m human I wrote a bunch of crap about two people I had enough interaction with to make a judgement call about – and yes it was WAY overboard..So, in actual fact all I did was make myself look like an idiot.. I also feel I could have done damage and hurt someone that I now believe had nothing to do with any of this and I will be sending her a personal apology. I honestly, hand on heart feel horrible about it.. If you do know me you would know I am not a bad person and I was just reacting in a stupid, childish way..

        What this little mental jaunt into cyberspace has really uncovered for me is that (I am NOT trying to provoke you) if you have information that proves your point isn’t your moral obligation to release it?? I am not trying to insight some war with anyone if what you are all saying is true then please by all means stop this ridiculous hearsay rubbish and be in your belief 100% and prove what you say.. If you are right and the information you have proves to be correct then good on you for standing up for your rights! I would be the first to commend you on your actions, but until you are willing to do that, don’t talk unfounded rubbish. It makes you look as foolish as I did.

  15. Anonymous permalink
    September 30, 2010 10:05 pm

    What a feeble and pathetic way to defend Swamijis accusations using reverse psychology. So obviously an AOL cybertrooper,

  16. Truth permalink
    October 1, 2010 12:44 am

    I have to be honest I have asked the owner of this blog to remove my comment.. I think I was really harsh and unnecessary.. Having had time to re read this I think I wrote things in haste and I can honestly say I am ashamed I wrote such a nasty post. I do hope that skywalker listens and removes this as I feel what I wrote isn’t what I truly believe and I never should have listened to gossip and should have thought before I wrote…

    I do hope both the women I refer to in this can forgive me for being so unthoughtful and if Skywalker reads my email and removes this first post I made… It was it was wrong of me to say such things. I am truly sorry.

  17. guru ho ja suru permalink
    October 1, 2010 10:42 am

    can any one explain me that why no tax is paid for teaching yoga in art of living courses. in India there is service tax on teaching hatha yoga. but i understand that this is not disclosed to tax authorities. is not it a form of corruption?

  18. October 9, 2010 4:19 pm

    Today’s paradox will eventually dissolve into tomorrow’s version of the Truth.

    Continue your practices.
    Deepen your perspective.

    Stop wasting your minds on futile attempts at measuring Infinity.

    • goneagain permalink
      October 9, 2010 8:12 pm

      If you call raviravi as infinity, we are doing alright. We know what he really is – the truth face. In time you will learn too. Work hard you will get there sooner or later.

  19. Anonymous permalink
    April 15, 2011 6:27 pm

    Please take this seriously for your own good. I recommend you talk about this on the CIA’s website ontheir comment form. Don’t be discouraged as it can be difficult to get the format right so the form submits. You can’t have quotation marks for instance. Don’t be afraid. I have commented to them myself. Have faith and it will do some good. Keep up your efforts. I do think you should comment about what is happening in as much detail as you can to the CIA. Let them know what this big foreign influence is up to. Maybe they can tip somebody off who knows to reveal their money trail and finally bring the truth to light. If nothing else, you will know that your information is in the hands of people who need the insight cuz they are dealing with this fellow at another level. In the future he will lose his power to manipulate and intimidate people because the entire government and everyone will know he tries to silence and defame those who criticize art of living and sri sri ravi shankar.

  20. caipirinha permalink
    May 4, 2011 2:53 am

    I joined AOL in 2000, somehow by coincidence. I liked the part one course and the effects of sudarshan kriya. And when I did the daily breathing and meditation practices, I experienced for the first time in my life some kind of introspection. Six months after the part one course I went to an advance course in presence of SSRS. I felt totally at odd and could not understand why people would make such a fuzz about him. I found him narcissistic, his jokes silly and was convinced that he would make fun out of the crowd at his feet. The whole devotional aspect of AOL turned me off and I decided to continue with the practices and to organize once in a while a course for my friends, but I did not want to have anything to do with the organization. My scepticism remained throughout the years, sometimes stronger, sometimes less. I never believed in their development and charity projects or any of their guru stories. I took AOL as a service for which I would pay and it was fine with me. The daily practices and annual part three courses I attended did work well for me. And I also very slowly started to understand the beauty of the knowledge that was taught and also felt more connected to SSRS and his crowd.

    I experienced profound happiness and peacefulness. I really connected with my inner self, my soul and slowly opened my heart to other people. I evolved from a sad and selfish person, to a happy, loving and caring one. It worked for me. And I met wonderful people within AOL. Not the ones from the inner circle, but all the others, really good people. There is a kindness and humility among them. I actually also feel connected to the people writing in this blog. I find this blog very helpful as AOL does indeed not provide any platform for critiques or debates. It’s a totalitarian system, which is trying to regulate every aspect of one’s life. These blogs are highly entertaining and very very useful. I’m reading them for about a year, starting with Klim’s blog and now this one. And like so many of the readers here I was shocked about Sad Swami’s letter. How could he write something like this? What was he thinking? It’s so abusive. Shame on him! But I also believe that he did it on his own and that he bears the full responsibility for it. I don’t think that SSRS was behind his post.

    Despite all the critiques I have and always had with AOL I do not believe that it is a dangerous cult. AOL can be good for people. Two of the people I brought to AOL became full-timers and/or deeply involved. Both were mentally and emotionally struggling. Their lives were just painful and they were both very unhappy people. Being in AOL helped to get them out of their depression. It took time, years but they are for sure more balanced and happy now than before. Throughout the years I met many people who wanted to become full-time teachers and almost all of them were actually discourages to do so by SSRS. Only for those who were very much struggling in their lives, he agreed to make them full-timers, for a while. And it did make them stronger, and more balanced. AOL is a place with lots of weirdoes, no doubt about that, but people do become more focussed and more in peace with themselves. That’s at least what I could witness.

    When the blogs started I had the hope that this would bring some changes into AOL. That they would start questioning the functioning of the organization and improve it. I still go once in a while for Kriya sessions and I have the feeling that the AOL folks are becoming less pushy and proselytizing than before. I also understood that many courses are cancelled and somehow I think it is related to the blogs. So things change, also for AOL.

    • Observer Jr. permalink
      May 4, 2011 5:10 am

      While I may not agree with you 100%, I applaud you for this well-balanced and constructive post. If only the AOL people who visit this site could do the same. I agree there’s no need to throw away all of it. We can keep what works for us and discard what doesn’t. It will be different for different people as we have different needs. To this day, I still find Sahaj meditation very valuable in my daily life.

      PS, why do I keep getting the same picture after I post? I’m tired of this purple blank-starring face. Plus it’s the one Harshal always gets.

      • The Doctor permalink
        May 4, 2011 10:41 am

        Maybe you’re secretly Harshal’s alter-ego? 😉

        Ok, if you feel like it you can register with wordpress and when you do so you can select whatever icon to use as your “gravatar”. Try https://en.wordpress.com/signup/ and take it from there.

    • The Doctor permalink
      May 4, 2011 10:38 am

      A very balanced post indeed. However, with regards to Swami Sadyojatha’s letter, I’m sorry but there is absolutely no way on earth it could have been published without Guruji’s blessing. There are even things which Guruji is quoted as having said in the letter which really show his true colours, such as “This will filter the weak and we can identify our strong pillars.” Not the sort of thing a spiritual Guru would say, but definitely a cult leader.

  21. Rohit permalink
    May 13, 2011 5:53 am

    Heloo everyone,
    Hope you all are happy today.

    My take – AOL offers techniques and knowledge, which undoubtedly are worth the time. And it is also true that some ‘small’ minds are around in AOL. so what !
    Let these small minds evolve – let them take their time. Bless them. The others, who are evolved, please take the good and move on. Lets learn to ‘agree to disagree’. There are other better things to fight for – join Anna.

    This mind will be in mud soon, but till then why fill the mind with mud.

    “You can only be young once. But you can always be immature.”

  22. May 24, 2011 2:47 pm

    Thank you for addressing some doubts that I had when I became a recent member at AOL after their YES+ course. Now that I have left AOL( due to my own reasons as well those in this blog) and quit Sudarshan Kriya, could you point me to some good Yoga and meditation places in that are not cults and teach the practice of yoga, breathing and meditation without pushing cult values on their audience. I am in New York City.

  23. anonymousr permalink
    June 8, 2011 1:25 am

    AOL is nothing but a stupid cult… People are joining as teachers and destroying others lives… I have examples in front of me.!!! What kind of teachings does AOL provide… I see unripe teachers and comeptiting with each other as if they will get good grades ..God knows from where…..

  24. Jacob permalink
    June 29, 2011 2:30 am

    On top of a hill is a guy that drives the best cars, has the largest mansion, the best looks and the prettiest girl.

    All of you are peons looking up gawking and pissing in your own inferiority.

    You are the dog that barks and chases the ambulance. You make a lot of noise by barking but the ambulance doesn’t hear and doesn’t care – It just rolls thru traffic not stopping for anyone.

    Art of Living is that Man on Top of that Hill. Art of Living is that Ambulance Coasting thru Town.

    You all are that peon and dog barking….

    Truth Hurts!

    • June 29, 2011 1:04 pm

      Jacob, please post your comments only once, regardless of how intelligent you think they are. I have deleted the other four copies of this one.

      • Jr. permalink
        June 29, 2011 1:18 pm

        So… Jacob is admitting that Art of Living and it’s founder live a lavish lifestyle, and that they buy rich cars and the biggest houses instead of donating the money to charity.

        “You are the dog that barks and chases the ambulance. You make a lot of noise by barking but the ambulance doesn’t hear and doesn’t care – It just rolls thru traffic not stopping for anyone.”

        Obviously the ambulance did here, or else you wouldn’t be here complaining. 😉

      • Jacob permalink
        June 29, 2011 2:58 pm

        LOSERS!!!!

    • anonymous permalink
      June 29, 2011 1:29 pm

      Jacob,

      The guy at the top of the hill, as you put it, was once a peon, who panted madly after his now mentioned lifestyle, and did, indeed, achieve it, as did heads of organized crime, dishonest, uneducated (just like Ravi Shankar) ministers, etc. and so forth, all by deceptive means. As for having the pretty girls? LOL!!! You obviously don’t know this dude SSRS at all! Go meet him some evening, if you are young and male and cute and find out for yourself. Yuck. Maybe you’ll get ‘your Kundalini’ raised….Blech………But, then, Jacob, maybe that’s your style.

      • Jacob permalink
        June 29, 2011 2:49 pm

        Homosexuals are the first to write blogs under anonymity. You should seek assistance from our buddy Baba Ramdev.

        He will show all of you asanas to rid yourselves of this disease.

        Contact Baba Ramdev – He will cure you.

    • anonymous permalink
      June 29, 2011 1:39 pm

      Yeah, Jacob, Truth does hurt, and to prevent the dissemination of that truth, SSRS and AOL will go to any lengths, including suing little blogs where people just speak their experiences and minds. They are so afraid of the truth that they send people like you to try to intimidate people from speaking out. Give up Jacob. Face up to the real Truth — if Ravi Shankar really didn’t care for the ‘barking dogs’ as you put it, why would he sue? Why would he nervously pit his deep pockets against some people who just posted some information about what it’s like to be in Art of Living? And, by the way, what is the ‘ambulance’ transporting in this sad little metaphor? Mental patients who live at the ashram, and who teach for Ravi Shankar? Is it carrying you? At least you admit you are sick. Or perhaps it’s also carrying Ravi Shankar who is being rushed (finally) to a mental hospital for treatment of his delusion and paranoia that his neighbor was shooting at him, not firing into the air at stray dogs to save his livestock? Talk about barking dogs! The man couldn’t even hold a satsang a year later without talking about how misunderstood he was on that matter, which was determined by forensic evidence. He’s a dog that will go on barking his persecution by the government officials who refused to see that the assassins from Kashmir were after him!! LOL What nonsense you follow and what nonsense he still speaks.

      • Jacob permalink
        June 29, 2011 2:59 pm

        Get a Life Loser!

  25. Jr. permalink
    June 29, 2011 1:18 pm

    *hear

  26. raj permalink
    July 4, 2011 10:13 am

    these all blogs are very simple things … that few people are not realized the guru… some one inside.. not the big organization and inside issues .. many of them are locked inside small small issues and small arguments… try to realize U r the true space… focus on U inside U .. find out the guru inside … instead of blaming some organization and some people .. its really shows U r frustrated and u r not yet realized the reality of the world… may god bless U all .. in coming life times to realize urself… to turn back to the mind .. all the best.

  27. Anonymous permalink
    August 22, 2011 8:17 am

    Hi,

    Recently visited your blog to know the facts and reality of AOL. Had done basis course quite many years back and followed it religiously for few months. I somehow could not get associated with this community and their principles.

    Anyways the point is there is a link on your site regarding facts and truth related to Sahaj Yoga community. I recently came across some people belonging to this community. I attended few sessions and could not resonate well with the idea of doing aarti and puja of mataji who claims to be God. I am not a member or preacher of any spiritual institute. I just wanted to know the facts of this community if you have ….. There is a link on your site but i guess it gets redirected to sahaj yoga home site.

    It would be nice of you to share the information about this institute if you have …. I am just trying not to fall prey to any such institutes.

    Regards
    Shilpa

    • August 22, 2011 8:07 pm

      There are many commonalities between AOL cult and sahaj yoga. Some of them are:
      – Both are personality cults
      – both Mataji Nirmalaja Devi and Sri Sri ravishankar have been nominated to Nobel peace prize multiple times as claimed by their followers (It is quite possible that ravi ravi got this nobel peace idea from mataji
      – Mataji and Sri Sri have both exclusively claimed that they have brought world peace in many areas and they have claimed that the collapse of the berlin wall is because of their peace and meditations
      – Both these cults engage in tolen charities and social welfare activities
      – Bith these groups have equally dumb followers who beeleive they have all the answers to the problem of the world

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