Monday, June 26, 2006

Sri Sri's Plan For Happy Kids

File under: The Siddhi of PR

Operating under the delusion that he is an impressive and inspirational public speaker, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar trots around the globe giving speeches at conferences while shilling himself as a Nobel Peace Prize nominee. But recently he brought it all home to his Art of Living center in Bangalore for a conference on education. And what is Sri Sri's solution to the complex problem of education in the modern world? Keep the kids happy:
'Aren't we making education so dry that children find it difficult to assimilate?' he queried, referring to increasing cases of suicides and dejection among school children. 'We should make education happier! We must ponder over this.'
Apparently, the problem has nothing to do with living in an increasingly complex society. We just aren't laughing enough:
'One says a child laughs about 400 times a day. By the time the child becomes an adolescent the number of times he or she laughs drops to just 17 times. And by the time adolescents become adult, they simply stop laughing.'
Besides being a crock of shit loaded with his characteristic hyperbole, the fact is that living in the world is sometimes serious business. But since folks throw money at Sri Sri like it was confetti, we imagine he's come away with a rather skewed point of view, allowing him (and those dumb enough to follow him) to believe that facile pronouncements like these are the highest wisdom on planet.

20 Comments:

At 6/26/2006 6:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Okay -- these bullshit statistics actually come from a comedy routine by Jeff Garlin, who plays Larry David's agent on "Curb Your Enthusiasm." The punchline is sort of along the lines (not quoting directly here but from memory) "By the time you're an adult you hardly laugh at all and then it's only in that bitter way when you see someone slip and break their back."

 
At 7/03/2006 7:52 AM, Blogger ontheotherhand said...

How interesting that a supposed guru would blather on and on about the need to laugh....a man of equanimity sees laughter and crying as the same thing. Guess SSRS again missed the boat on yet another front -- enlightenment.

 
At 7/06/2006 4:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sri Sri's message is to be innocent as a child again :) that includes just laughing without any reason.

And this is exactly what I experienced on a Art of Living Course. I felt like I had forgotten to laugh, and in the course, I started laughing again... yes, like a child. For no reason at all! But just as an expression of the joy within!

OnTheOtherHand, your comment reflects a limited understanding of equanimity :)

A man of equanimity sees happiness and sorrow as the same thing, which gives him the freedom to laugh at anything and everything in life.

 
At 7/06/2006 4:11 PM, Blogger jody said...

Sri Sri's message is to be innocent as a child again :)

And Sri Sri's plan is to fleece his "children" by conning them into believing he is innocent.

 
At 7/06/2006 8:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well... Jody, that is your judgement about the fleecing.

The people who pay for the courses know the difference that has happened in their lives. And that is why the course are so popular.

Personally the difference that I have seen in myself cannot be measured in rupees and dollars :)

 
At 7/06/2006 8:58 PM, Blogger jody said...

Personally the difference that I have seen in myself cannot be measured in rupees and dollars :)

You could have received the same benefits from any of the hundreds of other meditation practices offered for sale, some at much lower cost than Sri Sri's.

There is nothing that Sri Sri is selling that is any more effectice than any of the other meditation "products" being offered. The efficacy is in the application of the customer's will and belief, not in any qualities or characteristics of the technique.

If anything, Sri Sri sells the feeling that it's working, which engenders a confidence in the practice which then results in the immeasurable "difference" you feel has been made in your person.

In other words, Sri Sri provides a simple practice he cribbed from ancient yogis, and he provides a carefully designed psychological atmosphere which enhances the idea that his techniques are special. Your own power of mind and will does the rest. Sri Sri is taking credit for what you yourself are doing on your own. That is his flim flam, regardless of the real or imagined benefits folks believe themselves to be extracting from their purchase.

 
At 7/07/2006 9:51 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Again Jody, this is all just your judgement.

Just because this is what you think does not make it automatically correct.

I think the people who experience these courses are the best people to decide what works for them, and what it is worth.

 
At 7/07/2006 9:56 AM, Blogger jody said...

I think the people who experience these courses are the best people to decide what works for them, and what it is worth.

Actually, because they have no critical distance between themselves and the AoL propaganda, they aren't the best people to decide the efficacy of the practice. They are invested in AoL with both their time and money. Of course they're going to say it's the bomb. Nobody wants to believe they are wasting their money, even when everyone else can see that they are.

 
At 7/07/2006 10:51 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jody, are you saying that you are not invested against AOL emotionally?

Somehow, from reading your comments, I don't get the feeling that you are a completely impartial oberver :)

 
At 7/07/2006 11:15 AM, Blogger jody said...

Jody, are you saying that you are not invested against AOL emotionally?

I am invested in revealing the truth about Sri Sri, that he is a self-aggrandizing seeker after name and fame, and that AoL meditation techniques are no better than any of the other millions of practices available.

In other words, if you pay AoL, all you are really getting for your money is more press exposure for Sri Sri. The technique was copied from basic yoga practices. There are thousands more available for free that would be just as effective. Sri Sri lies right out of his teeth when he tells you his is better. He knows otherwise, but also knows that lying this way is what keeps the cash in the coffers.

 
At 7/07/2006 11:43 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

:) I don't see any point in continuing this debate, because for a debate to take place, both sides have to be willing to be open to what the other side says.

Anyways... just one thing I wanted to clear up. I have been with AOL for three years. I have met Sri Sri many times, listened to countless knowledge tapes by him, and am very regular with my practices.

Never have I got the impression that Sri Sri feels he is better than anybody else.

Different people feel a connection to different gurus. Wherever you feel a deep connection, that is the right place to be in.

Anyways... bye bye. Have fun! And thanks for opening my eyes as to the contents of this website!

 
At 7/07/2006 12:40 PM, Blogger Jan said...

Jody, honestly I feel that your comments are comming from a totally shallow understanding of the subject.
To take a statement that was made and use it out of context, itself shows the limited undersatnding of the person or the foundation. You are entitled to your opinion, however, know that the number of people who continue to improve their lives hrough his inspiration, run in millions and vary from diplomats accross the world, to slum dwellers and prison inmates. You could probably check out the amount of service activities being conducted for free in developing areas to understand the extent of upliftment and selflessness.
It also takes some amount of benevolence to see that and to see the larger picture of the truth and situation, not getting stuck to a limited opinion or understanding.
Jan

 
At 7/07/2006 12:40 PM, Blogger jody said...

Never have I got the impression that Sri Sri feels he is better than anybody else.

I never said that Sri Sri feels he's better than anyone else, but if you read the comments from Ontheotherhand, a devotee formerly very close to Sri Sri, you might come away with the impression that Sri Sri thinks he's better than other folks.

What I'm saying is that Sri Sri is in the game for himself. All the seva bullshit is a smokescreen for funding and fame. Sri Sri enjoys being famous and wants more. That's why he campaigns so vigorously for the Nobel Peace Prize for himself. Were he truly, truly humble, he'd never even think to do such a thing. He'd be campaigning for anyone other than himself.

Sri Sri is a name and fame seeking Maharishi wannabe. The whole impetus of his satsang is to show his guru up. Helping people is only the somewhat fortunate side-effect of his lust to see his name in the papers. And the help that they get is not unique in any way except the fact that they have to pay way too much for it.

 
At 7/07/2006 12:46 PM, Blogger jody said...

You could probably check out the amount of service activities being conducted for free in developing areas to understand the extent of upliftment and selflessness.

It's all just more name and fame for Sri Sri. Some folks get helped with the government funding Sri Sri extracts with his NGO status, and he gets even more famous for being a "savior" of the downtrodden.

 
At 7/21/2006 6:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

How can someone who has never done the AOL course ever talk about it? How can someone who has never met Sri Sri can ever talk about him? Check it out first and then say anything you want. At least, you'll know what you're talking about! Oh, but of course, the course fee will stop you and yet, if you were given the course free, you would think it's just propaganda or that there nothing to it because it's free. The mind can go anywhere it wants. And some people choose to spend their time critising stuff they do not even know...

 
At 8/13/2006 9:38 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, I did the basic course in 1996 and advanced course in 1997. It was a time when numerous other courses like DSN, YES, YLTP etc. had not yet cropped up.

From the very beginning, the course started with deception. The teacher told us that the course fee was Rs. 1000/-. Guess what? When I saw the enrollment form, there was no mention of 'fees'. It was mentioned as 'donation'. The course was at the house of one of the devotees (as it is usually done). To bypass the society rules, the teacher had informed the housing society that they were holding a 'shraadha' at the place. Somehow, the society got wind of it. That time AOL was not so well known. He asked us to vacate the place. So for the last day of the course, 'shraadha' had to be done at another place.

From the very beginning it was evident that money played a very important role in all AOL activities. Teachers and other high priests continued to pressurize new members in subtle and not-so-subtle ways to bring more new members. Flush with the enthusiasm of a new recruit, I offered my place for holding basic courses. Mine, being a government residence, I requested to make these courses 'voluntary donation' to avoid any problems. There was another teacher this time who promptly agreed. However, after starting the 'voluntary donation' course she most unabashedly declared that nothing in life was free. Whoever wanted to do the course should bring Rs. 1000/-. I cursed myself for misleading the people. She told everyone the story of a poor boy from Pune who saved for AOL fees by walking 5 miles to school everyday and saving on bus ticket. I kept thinking of the commitment of this boy to do the course and meanness of AOL teacher to demand money from the poor guy.

I continued with AOL for some more years. Seven to be precise. Thinking foolishly that everything will change once it is brought to the knowledge of guru-ji. Whenever I got a chance to meet him, I raised my concerns. He would brush away these concerns with his characteristic smile making me feel guilty for raising the doubt. These were petty issues compared to the grand humanitarian work, AOL was doing. I told myself there must be some higher purpose, which I was not knowing at that time.

Things started becoming worse as time passed. Sri Sri now aggressively started wooing the rich and the famous for propogating his organization. He never missed any photo-op and any opportunity to come in the news. Whether it was Ayodhya or Kashmir or Sri Lanka, you could see his grandiloquent claims competing with top politicians for limelight and hollowness. Of all his claims of stopping this or that strife, how many has he actually succeeded? Things started becoming further messier. "A dollar a day". Nobody knows where the money went. "Dharma Stambha Yojana". "Silver Jubilee". There was no end to monetary demands at the AOL.

Do I regret my decision to join AOL? Certainly not. It allowed me to see from very close how a cult develops and sucks gullible and innocent people for its aggrandizement. I got to see the mind manipulation techniques gurus use to dupe their devotees. I got to see how insecure and falliable these gurus are despite their supernatural claims. It cost me several thousand rupees in fees and various donations and a lot of emotional investment, but at the end of the day I am wiser.

 
At 12/01/2006 9:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You all are correct in one way or another. Ha!
I have been studying Guru's for yaers,. Been up close and personal with a few. They are all in "show-Biz" In one way or another. I took Sri Sri's Basic course One and part two or "advanced" course twice. Some Guru's do give out practices and mantras for "free" or so it seems. They all get you one way or another.Don't believe that "free "stuff! Nothings free !
I love Sri Sri's Knowledge,
Dancing, singing, ect.
So what if He is whatever people say God, Crook , Scammer, Godman, Maharishi wanabe....on and on. I take the best and leave the rest.
Just enjoy the Show and know nothing is real and never loose your common sense and you will be fine, no matter what the path or guru or whatever!
Ha!
I even follow Borat. So Hum So What ! Larry David 's Not bad either. ENJOY IT ALL !

 
At 1/14/2007 5:12 PM, Blogger bhattathiri said...

Your website is divine, beautiful, informative and Excellent.

Article by M.P. Bhattathiri, Retired Chief Technical Examiner , to The Govt. of Kerala. Humble request that it may be published in your website and magazine after editing if necessary






The American justice Dept. have recently approved the power of yoga and meditation vide a recent judgement in the American court."Man Who Slapped Wife Sentenced to Yoga, It's Anger Management, Says Judge." First there was house arrest. Now there's yoga. A judge ordered a man convicted of slapping his wife to take a yoga class as part of his one-year probation. "It's part of anger management," County Criminal Court at Law Judge Larry Standley said of the ancient Hindu philosophy of exercise and well-being. "For people who are into it, it really calms them down. " Standley, a former prosecutor, said the case of James Lee Cross was unique. Cross, a 53-year-old car salesman from Tomball, explained that his wife was struggling with a substance abuse problem and that he struck her on New Year's Eve during an argument about her drinking. "He was trying to get a hold of her because she has a problem," Standley said after the court hearing. "I thought this would help him realize that he only has control over himself." The sentence came as a surprise to Cross, who was told to enroll in a class and report back to Standley on his progress. "I'm not very familiar with it," Cross said of yoga. "From what I understand, it may help in a couple ways, not only as far as mentally settling, but maybe a little weight loss." Darla Magee, an instructor at Yoga Body Houston in River Oaks, said she would recommend that Cross take a basic yoga class emphasizing breathing and including a variety of postures -- forward bends, back bends and twists. "Yoga can help us to get rid of many emotional issues we might have," she said. "It's a spiritual cleanse." Prosecutor Lincoln Goodwin agreed to a sentence of probation without jail time because Cross had no significant criminal history http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/ssistory.mpl/metropolitan/2365341.
Yoga which is one of the greatest Indian co tribution to the world has got vast potential in all fields. In Tihar jail India Yoga is experimented among the inamtes and found successful. Their criminal mentality is changed. This study aimed at investigating the effect of Budhist Meditation on Quality of Life (QOL), Subjective Well-Being (SWB), and Criminal Propensity (CP) among inmates of Tihar Jail, Delhi. To this effect the following hypotheses were formulated. 1. There will be a significant positive effect of VM on the QOL of inmates of Tihar jail. 2. VM will have a positive and significant effect on SWB of inmates. 3. Criminal propensity (CP) of inmates will decrease significantly after attending the VM course. 4. There will be significant difference in SWB and CP of experimental (Vipassana) group and control (non-Vipassana) group. 5. Male and female inmates will differ significantly in SWB and CP, as a result of VM. In the famous "Time" magazine the importance meditation and yoga, an ancient Indian system, is high-lighted that the ancient mind- and spirit-enhancing art is becoming increasingly popular and gaining medical legitimacy. It is a multi billion dollar business in US. In many Universities it is accepted as subject and included in the Syllabus. In the latest famous book "Inspire! What Great Leaders Do" written by Mr.Lance Secretan recently published by John Wiley and sons, the benefit of meditation is elaborately described for good corporate governance. By practising transcendental meditation, or TM, many people have got relief from back pain, neck pain, depression. The mind calms and quiets, . What thoughts you have during meditation become clearer, more focused. Anger, anxiety and worries give way to a peace. In the world exhorbitant medical expeneses one can definitely make use of meditation. Maharshi Mahesh Yogi and Sri Ravi Sankar are poplarising this. The Iyengar Yoga institute in US is famous.
In Bhagavad Gita Lord Krishna has inspired Arjuna to rise from his depression by preaching Gita in the battlefield and to rise from the depression to do his duties. In Holy Gita we can see, being hidden by the cosmic overview of any institution beset with myriad problems, not the least of which is its lack of moral probity, there is a groundswell of educated people seeking answers to deeply personal but universally asked questions. Chie Executives taking lessons from yoga, meditation and learning how to deal with human resources equations in an enlightened manner. Individuals from every walk of life can get ideas of how to be better human beings, more balanced and less stressed out.
Medical studies continue to show regular meditation working magic in reducing blood pressure and stress-related illnesses, including heart disease. Brain images show that regular meditation helps calm the most active sensory-assaulted parts of the brain. The ancient Hindu sage Patanjali who had mastered the secrets of the human mind has written a book "Yogasutra".In this book we can see how super powers can be achieved by meditation. It has both cosmic relevance and cosmic resonance. In spite of its universal appeal, for most people total control of mind remains an elusive goal and daunting task. From time immemorial, there have been many attempts throughout the world to unlock the mysteries of the mind and to achieve total control over it through a variety of techniques. One of the most powerful of these techniques is meditation.
Many spiritual leaders, sages, saints, and holy people such asSri. Buddha, Sri Ramakrishna, Madam Sarada Devi, and Swami Vivekananda have practised this. One of the ways to control physiological reactions to psychological stimuli is meditation, Yoga, Zen Buddhism etc. The scientists take Transcendental Meditation (TM) as the uniform technique, and base their observations on the study of the subjects engaged in this form of meditation. In summing up the results the scientists have come to conclusion that the effect of meditation is a "wakeful, hypo-metabolic state". They have found that: 1) Yogis could slow both heart rate and rate of respiration, 2) Yogis could slow the rate of metabolism as confirmed by decreased oxygen consumption and carbon-di-oxide output. 3) Electro-Encephalo-Gram (EEG - recording of brain activity) in Yogis showed changes of calmness in the form of "alpha rhythm" during both eyes closed and eyes open recordings. 4) Th ir skin resistance to electric stimulation was increased (indicating increased tolerance to external stimuli). Our usual 'defence-alarm' reaction to emotional and physical stress is in the form of "fright, flight, and fight" mediated through over-secretion of certain neuro-transmitters and neuro-modulators, namely adrenaline and dopamine by way of stimulation of sympathetic nervous system. Under the influence of these chemicals and hormones, we reflexively become panicky or aggressive, our blood pressure rises. Thus stress and anxiety is the end result if we allow our natural age-old sympathetic reactions to act and to come to surface. We try to run away, become fearful, or fight the situation. But today these 'defence-alarm' reactions have no place in our lives. Rather, they should be replaced by more calm and serene reactions of equanimity and fearlessness. The need is to just 'face the brute, and it will go away'. Such desirable reactions of non-aggression and peaceful attitude are generated by Y ga and meditation. EEG Studies on Yogis and The Zen Meditations: Yogis practising Raja-Yoga claim that during the state of samadhi they are oblivious to the internal and external stimuli, and they enjoy a calm ecstasy during that state. A study was undertaken to record the electrical activity of their brain during this state by means of a regular and useful test known as electroencephalography EEG. Physiological and experimental studies have demonstrated that the basis of conscious state of brain, among other things, is due to activation of "reticular system" in the brain-stem in response to internal and external stimuli. These stimuli bring about various changes during sleeping and wakeful states of the organism and these can be studied by EEG. The study was carried out on four subjects during the state of concentration and meditation. Effects of external stimuli, like a loud gong, strong light, thermal simulation, and vibrations were studied. The results were compiled and analyzed. It was observed that two Yogis could keep their hands immersed in extremely cold water for about 50 minutes (raised pain threshold). During state of meditation, all of them showed persistent "alpha activity" in their EEG with increased amplitude wave pattern, both during 'eyes closed' and 'eyes open' recording. It was observed that these alpha activities could not be blocked by various sensory stimuli during meditation. It was also observed that those, who had well-marked "alpha activity" in their resting EEG showed greater aptitude and zeal for maintaining the practice of Yoga. Similar observations and results were obtained when EEGs were recorded in persons adept in Zen Meditative technique. Can we say that only those persons who exhibit such recording of "alpha wave rhythm" in their EEG are fit for Yoga? and be designated as right candidates for meditation and Yoga practices? (Such experiments are indeed very few and the number of yogis examined is also very small. Therefore, scientifically and statistic lly these observations have only a tentative importance. Further research is definitely called for, albeit it will have its own limitations.) It is said that in the unknown period of Lord Jesus Christ , He was under meditation.
Ref. .buddhanet.net

Yoga magazines
Newsweek.com
Newyork times
Time magazine

 
At 6/19/2008 10:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

anonymous: about the money.

It seems you missed/ignored a knowledge about power. Saving up for the course fee, gives you the focus and power to do things in life, whereas saying you are poor and getting the course for free, will both give lack of focus and valuation of the course, while aso disempowering you.

Sri Sri is all about empowering people, but of course, you canĀ“t always explain things right away, because your mind will rebel anyways. I wonder about it - must be karma or something..

You have to widen your perspective much more to see clearly. However, as long as you focus on all the mundane aspects, your mind is lost and the conclusions drawn will just perpetuate into hardening the mind more and more unfortunately. Why not just spread knowledge without deriding others and keeping an open and flexible mind?

 
At 6/19/2008 10:54 PM, Blogger jody said...

However, as long as you focus on all the mundane aspects, your mind is lost and the conclusions drawn will just perpetuate into hardening the mind more and more unfortunately.

More cult indoctrination by way of demonizing critical thinking noted:

"If one questions the beliefs of the group or the leaders of the group, one is made to feel that there is something inherently wrong with them to even question -- it is always "turned around" on them. The questioner/criticizer is questioned rather than the questions answered directly. The underlying assumption is that doctrine/ideology is ultimately more valid, true and real than any aspect of actual human character or human experience and one must subject one's experience to that "truth". The experience of contradiction can be immediately associated with guilt. One is made to feel that doubts are reflections of one's own evil. When doubt arises, [inner] conflicts become intense."

 

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