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9 Steps to organise a Part I course

-by a very, very senior teacher…

  1. Set up a date, time and venue for a Part I course. Get dates from a teacher. Make sure the teacher you are getting the dates from is one you get along well with if you have a choice in the matter :-). Don’t hesitate to ask for help or advice from this teacher in any of the steps mentioned below if you need it. The dates that you get should be at least 15 to 20 days away from Day 1 below. See that you do your Sadhana every day. It will make all the difference. Before embarking on anything you do, always pray to Guruji.
  2. Days 1, 2: Make a list of 30 people you know who have not done the course. Call them up one by one and use all your guiles to get them to do the course. Cajole, nag, request, blackmail, ask it as a birthday gift… do whatever it takes, but get them to fill up the form and pay the money. You should NOT pay for them under any circumstances. Just don’t take no for an answer. It is called being a bit rude but with utter belongingness. Don’t worry about being polite here, just use all your authority and make them sign up.

    Understand that a person who has not done the course is not qualified to take a decision about it whether he wants to do it or not, because he has not done it yet. You cannot make an informed decision about something you have no idea about. So you will need to make that decision for them, and then see to it that you enforce it.

  3. Days 3, 4: Now make up a list of 10 people you know who have done Art of Living, but are not too actively involved in Seva or Sadhana. So this list should exclude names of teachers and strong volunteers. Call them up and inspire them to enrol just 2 people for the course. Now you have the right to do that because you yourself have done it. Again use authority with belongingness. See to it that you make it possible for these 10 people to be able to conveniently get the filled up forms and the money to you.So firstly you should get at least 5 blank forms to them, and then make it possible for them to painlessly submit everything filled up and completed to you. Once they have done their job congratulate them and thank them. Make them feel really good about what they have done.And most importantly from now on see to it that you stay in regular contact with them.
  4. Day 5: This is the day of consolidation from steps 1 and 2. Once you finish this take a rest. Have a party!
  5. Day 6: Now you need to learn to reach out to strangers. Go out for as long as it takes with registration forms and your best smile, and talk to total strangers about Art of Living and how you have been benefited by it. Make sure that you get a minimum of 3 confirmed registrations. Don’t come back home without them.

    For a lot of people this exercise is the most fun so far, for others it can be the most intimidating experience. If you feel you just cannot talk to strangers, enrol some friend to go with you. You will see that once you have talked to 3 to 4 people, it will become easy, and enjoyable.

  6. Days 7, 8: Now you need to be able to ask for money without flinching. So on these days, go and get 2 registrations for Dharma Stumbh Yojana. It may be from Art of Living or non Art of Living people.
  7. Day 9 to day before course day: You have now learned how to talk to people you know, how to get people you know to work for you, how to talk to people you don’t know, and how to ask for money. Its now time for you to become even more efficient.At this point make a list of as many people you know, excluding teachers and strong volunteers. Call them up one by one and ask them to get 5 to 7 people (maximum 7) over to their house for some snacks. Tell them that you will come as well and talk to the guests about Art of Living very informally. Inspire them to do this for you. Fix a time.Show up 30 minutes before the scheduled time, and talk to the host. Inspire the host to share a few nice experiences with the guests. Once the guests come in, get the host to introduce you to them and then very casually talk to them about the course. Again with belongingness, firmly get them to sign up for the course. Normally in 30 to 45 minutes you should be able to get all the guests signed up. Once they leave, thank and congratulate the host and ask when you could do this again… say it was a lot of fun and compliment the host on the food. Make sure you now stay in regular touch with the host. This is called the HIT or the Home Intro Talk. It is one of the most efficient ways of enrolling people.
  8. During and after the course: stay in touch, stay in touch, stay in touch… now you have got all these new people to use step 7 on :-)!!!
  9. Teach other people to do what you are doing. Pass the technique on.
24 Comments leave one →
  1. Peaceful Warrior permalink
    October 5, 2010 10:34 pm

    “Understand that a person who has not done the course is not qualified to take a decision about it whether he wants to do it or not, because he has not done it yet. You cannot make an informed decision about something you have no idea about. So you will need to make that decision for them, and then see to it that you enforce it.”

    This is the big elephant in the room. Where do I start – the volunteer bringing his friends in is not making an informed decision after weighing pros and cons – he is just acting as a tool for the teacher by following orders. For making an informed decision one has to have information and use critical thinking – something which is lacking in most people who are in AOL daze.

    AOL people don’t want people to make informed decisions – this is a feature of the organization. Anyone who has been involved with AOL will agree that it is a large and complex organization, and yet one is programmed to think and tell others that AOL is the best thing since sliced cheese.In a subtle way, telling other people that AOL is great and awesome, makes oneself brainwashed. We lie to ourselves that AOL is the greatest – that is how people remain stuck in a cult. This kind of salesmanship is not part of any tradition, not even TM. If you take a break from the salesmanship you will see things clearly.

    Ee are not experts in automotive engineering, yet we all buy cars. We are not medical experts, yet we choose doctors. The notion that one cannot make an informed decision about something one does not know is ludicrous.

    Bawa is not suggesting that one should not just recommend AOL to one’s friends – rather one is encouraged, even valorised for manipulating them into taking the course. Shows you how much these people respect your decision making capabilities.

    I can understand people being enthusiastic about “spreading knowledge” – what I cannot fathom is the feverishness and the lack of ethics, or regret for manipulation. One can clearly see that bawa is aware that AOL people engage in manipulations, but he encourages, and even valorizes such things.

    This mentality of seeing friends and acquaintances as potential sales targets can seriously screw someone up. At the very least it leads to frayed relationships – people start to see you as an amway salesman and the only relationships one is left with are with AOL people. Of course bawa is not going to take responsibility for that. Their solution to strained relationships is to “bring them to AOL” – instead of dealing with the situation as it stands, relating to people as people, and nurturing friendships.

    Many AOL teachers are really immature. All they know is how to follow the script for the course. All their energies are focussed on selling the course – such people cannot teach you how to live your life fully. Caveat Emptor – Buyer beware.

  2. freethinker permalink
    October 6, 2010 12:15 am

    “Make a list of 30 people you know who have not done the course. Call them up one by one and use all your guiles to get them to do the course. Cajole, nag, request, blackmail, ask it as a birthday gift… do whatever it takes, but get them to fill up the form and pay the money. You should NOT pay for them under any circumstances. Just don’t take no for an answer. It is called being a bit rude but with utter belongingness. Don’t worry about being polite here, just use all your authority and make them sign up. ”

    Wow… What to say. If anyone wondered (in fact many did in comments of various posts here and KLIM’s blog) why these AOL guys are pestering so much to take a course? now we know why? This is the worst form of CULT I have ever heard.

  3. Bling Bling permalink
    October 6, 2010 12:59 am

    @Peaceful Warrior

    “Bawa is not suggesting that”

    How do you know these instructions were drafted by Bawa?

    It is called being a bit rude but with utter belongingness.
    Again use authority with belongingness.
    Again with belongingness, firmly get them to sign up for the course.

    So belongingness is the key to brain-washing !

    • Peaceful Warrior permalink
      October 6, 2010 3:08 am

      How do you know these instructions were drafted by Bawa?

      I’ve seen the circulating email from which this is taken.

    • Ex-Ashramite permalink
      October 6, 2010 4:13 am

      Shame Bawa’s belongingness didn’t stretch to Manisha Mehta (Senior AOL Teacher)! He used to boycott her courses and prevent volunteers from helping her. He made it impossible for her to teach in her own home city! Bawa was acting like a Mafia lord, as usual.
      Of course, Bawa wasn’t like that toward Manisha before she became a teacher. He used to go out with her and a bunch of his friends and let Manisha pay the bills, usually for his favorite food, i.e. pizza.
      Bawa always have felt belongingness in that regard to other people’s pockets. Most of his students have had to pay for a lot of his expenses, esp. those wanting to get admitted to TTC.
      Basically Bawa thinks (a bit like his master) that the world owes him. He is one of the most lazy people I have ever known, always leaving off other people’s hard work and bullying his way forward in AOL. Very arrogant and egotistical individual bereft of any values or morals.

  4. Abhilash Shastry permalink
    October 6, 2010 1:32 am

    It is interesting to note that there is not much of a difference in the methods of religious and secular cults. I have seen Amway people behaving exactly the same way. Anyone who comes in their contact is either a potential recruit or a means to reach a potential recruit. Similarly, the emphasis on Home Intro Talk as the most effective recruiting tactics, crucial to Amway is also just like AOL. At no point does this teacher forget about his central theme – get the money, get the money, get the money. TM, by comparison, would appear an angel.

  5. Jenny permalink
    December 26, 2010 8:58 pm

    Wow. And people like Bawa made AOL to an organisation I had to leave, before knowing about those kind of instructions. I haven’t heard about her so I must have been a very very very senior teacher. It’s a pitty. The pure knowledge is great but misunderstood, bend and abused by followers (human beings…).

  6. December 27, 2010 2:45 am

    Good lords, those who have spoken and good lords those who are still quite. Lets take all your beliefs and make one good strong hold and manifest it into reality. I want one man to name himself as a leader and bring out a movement. Good gracious, you would ruin this planet of its existence and deprive the meaning of sustainability. You must learn something beyond your ignorance. Starting from today if you grow awareness and knowledge, you must get back to Path of the righteous action.
    1. AOL has a motto ” stress free world and violence free society”
    To imbibe this into society we need to work, there is no written rule. One man has stood for it, and he knows nothing of miracles, but started all alone. Its good to criticize and be careful which edge you stand. You may drown within your criticizem and blind your eyes from knowing the truth.
    2. Those who left, we have no pity nor have lost any gems, as you were bound to be. You shall realize that you neither work nor have any initiation to spur any such movements.
    3. Its a real fact that even during existence of lord Krishna, Jesus, Allah there were traitors and you reflect them and their sentiments.
    You are all very convincing, buddy if i had limited knowledge like you, i would have ended up being one of you. Not to be a fanatic just a simple touch of your own making. Tax evasion is not good and no one wants to break that law. Any wise-man shall not be provoked by a fools question who tries to stir his wisdom. Learn about tax and be a commoner at the same time. You will find the answer for yourself. Well, its good to know you exist. Keep up the work, for every good thing there has to be an opposite that exist. You have got good attention and would continue to get one, where the other shall grow and you shall not be forgotten. Hope you take on the fight with bad and corrupt rather than attach good. If you have an iota of brain, you know whats good and whats bad. You dont need a blog full of mind.

    Jai gurudev.
    Empower yourself, not for bad but for good.

    • Chinni permalink
      December 27, 2010 7:37 am

      In the meanwhile can you also enlighten us on what is the per square feet price of sumeru reality complex – soudamini.

      • OASCS permalink
        December 28, 2010 8:04 am

        lol… good one…

    • Observer permalink
      December 27, 2010 10:27 am

      What a post, filled with cult-porgrammed nonsense!
      Starting from today if you grow awareness and knowledge, you must get back to Path of the righteous action.
      Yes, that path is called Sanatana Dharma or hinduism, and many of us are already in it, thanks.

      You are all very convincing, buddy if i had limited knowledge like you, i would have ended up being one of you.
      All human beings have only limited knowledge, period. Despite mealomanical claims by some gurus to be God, etc.

      You dont need a blog full of mind.
      Mind is not evil. Yes, it has its problems, but you have to live with it as long as you are alive; inspite of how ever much you and your guru try to pretend to have gone “beyond the mind” – it ain’t gonna happen. WAKE UP!

    • Prakash permalink
      December 27, 2010 11:17 am

      “Those who left, we have no pity nor have lost any gems, as you were bound to be.”

      **Yes. It is true AOL has no pity, no compassion and also no shame. Any one who opposes, either has big ego or small mind.

      AOL has a motto ” stress free world and violence free society”

      **Forget society, your post itself is full of violence.

      “I want one man to name himself as a leader and bring out a movement.”

      **What is the big deal in looting unsuspecting people. Charles Sobhraj was a big crook, not many are like him….so what? Does that absolve him of his crimes?

    • Peaceful Warrior permalink
      December 27, 2010 11:55 pm

      1. AOL has a motto ” stress free world and violence free society”

      Oh come on, just because someone has a noble goal – they are above criticism ?

      2. Those who left, we have no pity nor have lost any gems, as you were bound to be. You shall realize that you neither work nor have any initiation to spur any such movements.

      So the aim is not to have a stress free violence free society, but to have a religious cult ? If goal was to have a stress free violence free society, you should be happy with giving knowledge and people getting back to their life. Why do you expect people to stay in the organization….unless behind the stated goal, is the goal of political power.

      3. Its a real fact that even during existence of lord Krishna, Jesus, Allah there were traitors and you reflect them and their sentiments.

      I’m sure you can argue your case without resorting to mythological parallels. Your statement however is revealing. You think and act like Ravi Shankar is god incarnate – and to criticize him or his organization is an act of betrayal. It is precisely this kind of B.S that turned many people off AOL. RS seems to welcome, and cultivate this kind of sycophancy. Thank god I’m not one like you.

  7. Santosh Mujumdar permalink
    December 30, 2010 9:11 am

    It has become fashion to critize. Even Krishna, Rama and Jesus were criticized. Hence Sri Sri Ravishankar is no exception. The same people who have gained advantages initially after some time turns back. I remember one gentleman who has undergone by pass surgery few days back came to me and got himself enrolled for basic course. After the course was finished, I asked about his experience. He had tears in his eyes and exclaimed that this is the best thing I have ever done in my life and all those internal disturbances from within got subsided and now I am feeling calmness and serenity. I said you continue with kriya and attend followups.
    After some days when an intro talk was arranged in my home the same gentleman who claimed to have got lot of advantages after basic course was critical about the Art of Living on some filmsy grounds. I reminded him that you were in tears of gratitude after the course. How can you forget that and now what has happened. He was not having any convincing answer.

    • The Doctor permalink
      December 30, 2010 2:24 pm

      @Santosh,

      The following statements do not make any logical sense whatsoever:

      Even Krishna, Rama and Jesus were criticized. Hence Sri Sri Ravishankar is no exception.

      Are you trying to say that anyone who is criticized should be compared with Krishna, Rama and Jesus? Or are you making the even bolder claim that many from AoL seem to make often, that Sri Sri Ravi Shankar is actually a saint, an enlightened being, someone who should be considered an equal to those whom you have mentioned? If so, please can you enlighten me as to what makes you think this?

      Did Jesus, Krishna or Rama spend their time teaching courses to people and charging them money for it? Within their own lifetimes, did any of them start organizations and try to acquire as many followers as possible? Did they then convince those followers that the best way to grow spritiually was to in turn get more people to join their organizations, by teaching them the same courses, and also charging them for the privilige? If not, then you have absolutely no grounds to compare SSRS with any of these revered saints.

      And as for the gentleman in your story, he reminds me a lot of me. I too got a lot of benefits from AoL, but when I realized that many of these apparent benefits I had gained were actually being used by AoL to grow as an organization and gain more money and power, that’s when I left. I took the good and left the bad behind. And because there was so much bad, I felt obliged to tell the world about it.

      We are making these criticisms as a warning to those who may be sucked into AoL, as well as to help those who are already sucked in. If you choose to turn a blind eye towards these things, that is entirely up to you. But we will continue to do our duty no matter what happens.

      • Anonymous permalink
        June 13, 2011 1:26 pm

        @ all critics
        Hi all,
        I have been reading some of the posts here and its heartening to know that all of you are using your sense of discrimination in judging Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and his organization AOL. But as far as calling AOL a religious cult movement, i would like to bring to notice of everyone that AOL is a spiritual organization with no affliation to any religion. People of different nationalities, age groups and religions are part of AOL and gaining benefit from the techniques taught. Also SSRS himself says doubt as much as you can! I have been a skeptic myself and i have been observing him and the ways of the organisation for the past 7 years. After all this time, i have come to the point that at an organizational level, there can be some functional glitches, but SSRS and his views are very secular and open, unlike any ‘religious cult’. Also whatever you feel after the courses is something that you can vouch for yourself…no one makes u feel peace or gratefulness…that comes from within and no one can force you to feel peaceful or happy. The approach to bring people to courses could be debated upon but not the intention of bringing more smiles on everyone’s faces…so its my request to everyone…judge AOL and SSRS with an open mind…just like a scientist who keeps the possibilities open…Till then keep smiling 🙂

    • Peaceful Warrior permalink
      December 30, 2010 5:30 pm

      @Santosh

      Life is complicated dude. One can have mixed feelings regarding people and institutions – in fact that is usually the case. I don’t believe in the simplistic narrative that Sri Sri is god, everything in art of living is good, and we should be obedient followers just because we found some benefit from a course.

    • Bling Bling permalink
      December 30, 2010 10:08 pm

      @Santosh

      We are not criticizing the good but the bad in Art of Living.
      Maybe this should be added as a knowledge point?

    • Anonymous permalink
      March 21, 2012 1:08 pm

      “After some days when an intro talk was arranged in my home the same gentleman who claimed to have got lot of advantages after basic course was critical about the Art of Living on some filmsy grounds. I reminded him that you were in tears of gratitude after the course. How can you forget that and now what has happened. He was not having any convincing answer.”

      Question: If his argument was flimsy why didn’t you illuminate him with reason rather than guilt tripping him?

  8. Anonymous permalink
    November 5, 2011 10:53 am

    Shame on u senior teacher

    • wanderingsage permalink
      February 27, 2012 8:33 pm

      “Shame on u senior teacher”

      Just because you want him to feel ashamed, he is not responsible for your feelings
      so its better you yourself satisfy your own feelings.

  9. Anonymous permalink
    February 28, 2012 6:23 am

    Who is Bawa?

  10. March 9, 2012 7:20 am

    Kal Yug Ka Guru!!

    First Advance (Fees/ Guru Dakshina at fixed rates to be paid in advance)

    Disclaimer of the course…!!!! (AQbsolve the Guru first for anything wrong that happens)

    Copyrigt Guru!!! Guru ka gyan ka copyright……

    Shameless Commercial Model of selling traditional ancient knowledge….

  11. Anonymous permalink
    March 15, 2012 11:11 am

    Thanks for all the insight, I was just going to register for a course without knowing all this. Now that I have knowledge of such things happening in thr group, I should probably back out!
    Anyways the model looks awesome –

    I pay > Attend the course > Feel grateful(compulsory) > Guru asks Dakshina >Bring more people or get guru’s wrath >

    Basically I pay and at last I work for a Guru, if I do not want to live with guilt!

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