Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Sri Sri Sucks Up Another Award

File under: The Siddhi of PR

He may not have been able to snag the Nobel Peace Prize this year, but that's not stopping Sri Sri Ravi Shankar from collecting yet another empty accolade in his quest for the perfection of his self-aggrandizement. This time it's an honorary PhD in Holistic Medicine from the Open International University for Complementary Medicine in Sri Lanka. Not surprisingly, the reasons he's getting the award are a bit shaky:
Ravi Shankar, who commands millions of followers worldwide, has added a holistic dimension to healthcare by reviving ancient healing techniques and practices and presented them in a way that is suitable for modern lifestyles.
It would more accurately read: by appropriating an obscure pranayam technique and then trying to pass it off as an original creation, even going so far as to greedily attempt to copyright it. That puts him on the same plane as "Bling-Bling" Bikram Choudhury here in the States, who recently attempted to copyright his sequence of common hatha yoga postures.

Sri Sri may be a bit more subtle about his bling than Bling-Bling, but both are men who lucked into a role as spiritual leader after recasting ancient and commonly-used practices as their own inspired handiwork. Now, they appear to be unstoppable juggernauts of self-glorification, due to the fact there's one born every minute – that is, needy seekers of confirmation in the form of an addiction to a make-it-alright-with-a-wave-of-his-hand space daddy.

Who knows? Maybe Bling-Bling will be able to bring peace to Sri Lanka. He sure couldn't do any worse than Sri Sri.

74 Comments:

At 11/30/2006 1:30 AM, Anonymous Rudra said...

"obscure pranayam technique"?

The Sudarshan Kriya IS an original creation. Where else do you find such a technique?

Scientifically, it's been shown that the Sudarshan Kriya works very well.
But most importantly: Soooo many people have EXPERIENCED the benefits of it. Which is more important than any scientific research. I'm talking about benefits like increased energy levels, drastically reduced stress levels, alot more love, peace and happiness in life+++
What more could you possibly want?

Om Shanti Shanti Shanti

 
At 11/30/2006 1:43 AM, Blogger jody said...

I'm talking about benefits like increased energy levels, drastically reduced stress levels, alot more love, peace and happiness in life+++

Which could come from any one of literally thousands of techniques, all free and commonly known. It's not the content, it's the application. Sri Sri has got nothing that anyone else doesn't who teaches a form of meditation, except a ridiculous amount of self-aggrandizing hype, most of which is quite undeserved.

 
At 11/30/2006 2:47 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Without actually having taken the course making such obscure comments shows your lack of maturity. Sudarshan Kriya is indeed a copyrighted breathing technique which was cognized by Sri Sri. It is not a Pranayama. There are pranyama taught in the course which are part of the ancient tradition. That particular combination compliments the Kriya. I would suggest that you go and take the Art of Living Course, check it for yourself and then write comments. I have been involved with Art of Living & even personally known Sri Sri for the last 5 years. After being cynic all my life to Guru, this is the first time I have met someone who walks the talk. First do the course, practise kriya for 41 days and then talk. Or are you afraid you might actually be proven wrong at the end. You seem to have lot of infrmation . ... knowledge & wisdom is much beyond that.

 
At 11/30/2006 3:44 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

u may be having knowledge of "one of literally thousands of techniques, all free and commonly known", but millions of common persons are not having any knowledge of these so called thousand techs that is why they are using Sudarshan kriya.
Just do it then only one can understand the real meaning of SK.

 
At 11/30/2006 6:21 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rudra,

Sudarshana Kriya may be an original creation, but not by SSRS. Who knows where the technique came from? If you meet enough sadhus in India in out of the way places, you will find that their guru's taught them the same thing, minus someone standing there (with a tape these days) saying "So Hum, So Hum...."

It really is something that has been in existence and practiced for God knows how long.

As for the "benefits".....the people around SSRS are bonkers, imo. Whether or not the Kriya has made them hypocritical zombies following their cult leader around is up for discussion. I'm sure your scientific studies don't follow or observe or take into consideration the considerable misery in the hearts and minds of his followers, and their propensity, in many cases, to violence towards anyone who dares to disagree with their "master", or just to violence in general.

All in all, Art of Living is just another successful business, growing by leaps and bounds, as vulnerable people with problems are sucked into all the promises. This game will go on for as long as there are people who believe that you can make a business out of enlightenment and God, or try their damndest to avoid the pain that is part of living. (I know, I know, opposite values are complimentary -- but have you seen anyone around him following that teaching?? They are all scrambling to get near to him to get a "hit" of energy to feel good. They DO NOT accept that pain and feeling uncomfortable are part of their lives.)

Sooooo many people have also experienced just how far SSRS will go to protect his reputation as a pure person. Sooooo many people have been ostracized and punished and humiliated (by lies told by SSRS) when they have dared to disagree with him, or GOD Forbid, leave him.

Soooo many people have given their life savings to him and then been looked down on by SSRS's own family members (who got the benefit of those poor people's money).

Soooo many people gave to children's programs thinking they were 'adopting' a child, when in fact the money was going into private accounts (he has since cleaned up his financial accountability I heard, so he wouldn't lose all).

Soooo many people have been fooled into thinking that SSRS had "an advanced degree in Physics" -- a non-fact that was printed in Wikepedia, along with lots of inflated trash, and which took others much time to get removed (you edit, they'd put it back). Only when the editors of Wikepedia asked for proof did they remove the lies completely. (He actually didn't make it through the first year of Indian "college" leaving at 17 to join Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.)

I could go on, but you get the idea. Know your subject before you defend it, is my advice.

Your Shanti Shanti Shanti will be long gone if you dare to cross SSRS. Just try it and see. Question him once about any of the above and watch his face turn red, watch him sputter and throw you out of the room. If he doesn't, cool. Maybe he grew up, or learned diplomacy. I doubt it.

Good luck in your search. I sincerely hope you find a real master who can help you.

 
At 11/30/2006 7:42 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

She She's pranayama is exactly the same as "rebirthing" but done sitting up. The distinctions between his thing and ordinary breathing techniques are non-existent.

You have been duped and become a duper of your fellow man. She She doesn't deserve an once of gratitude.

Putting She She up on a throne is like doing puja to Jack Lalane for popularizing exercise.

 
At 11/30/2006 8:23 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Go and find a copy of 'Call No Man Master' by Joyce Collin Smith.

She was a very early member of TM and worked closely with and for Maharishi.

She describes the effects of TM on herself and others.

After doing this, see if there are any similarities to SSRS's situations.

According to Joyce, new people constantly had to be brought in, becasue persons who had done the TM techniques for awhile often had trouble concentrating, and necessary work for Maharishi's organization wasnt getting done.

Its not enough to observe the immediate benefits of any technique or drug. Pay attention to the long term effects on mood, concentration, and capacity to meet responsibilities and remain in relationship--especially ability to enjoy the company of people who love you but who prefer to pursue their own belief systems and religious practices.

 
At 11/30/2006 8:37 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

SK is good and useful. If no one else had known it earlier, Sri Sri has every right to have it patented. To deride one of the really good things about AOL is not done. I have been doing the SK for six years and know its value in terms of freedom from colds, coughs and so on and also stress reduction. Do not care much for some of the egomaniacs in the movement but which place does not have them. Look into your own workplace and even the authors of your posts who sound like pompous asses. Learn to appreciate good first but then this is like casting pearls before swine!

 
At 11/30/2006 9:02 AM, Blogger jody said...

Without actually having taken the course making such obscure comments shows your lack of maturity.

I have plenty of commentators on board who have taken the course and know very well how much it sucks. People aren't coming here for my maturity, anyway.

Sudarshan Kriya is indeed a copyrighted breathing technique which was cognized by Sri Sri.

Said like a man who drank the Kool-Aid.

After being cynic all my life to Guru, this is the first time I have met someone who walks the talk.

You've definitely drank the Kool-AId.

Or are you afraid you might actually be proven wrong at the end.

No, I'm just not looking for anything anymore. I've got all I need in terms of practice and don't find myself on a search for anything except justice against self-aggrandizing nincompoops like Sri Sri.

 
At 11/30/2006 9:03 AM, Blogger jody said...

but millions of common persons are not having any knowledge of these so called thousand techs that is why they are using Sudarshan kriya.

And every single one of them is getting ripped-off.

 
At 11/30/2006 9:05 AM, Blogger jody said...

Learn to appreciate good first but then this is like casting pearls before swine!

Oink, Oink!

Now run along and get another glass of your Kool-Aid.

 
At 11/30/2006 9:27 AM, Blogger jacflash said...

To deride one of the really good things about AOL is not done.

Apparently it is! Or, perhaps, there are no really good things about AoL.

I have been doing the SK for six years and know its value in terms of freedom from colds, coughs and so on

I get similar results from a neti pot. Cost me ten bucks, takes seconds a day. No guru required. Of course, I don't get the "benefits" of being all smug and belonging to a little club that strokes my ego and keeps me well away from anything scary like self-realization, but
for some reason I'm okay with that.

 
At 11/30/2006 5:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

anon said, "Go and find a copy of 'Call No Man Master' by Joyce Collin Smith."

I read that book years ago and found it as silly and self-aggrandizing as Maharishi and Sri Sri. She came off like any other rich woman who got mad because she couldn't get the kind of attention she wanted.

I am not pro TM, but I have been one and known many. I don't find them more or less obnoxious than any other religious group. As for long term effects, I would say that more people than not have good long term effects. I certainly did.

 
At 11/30/2006 5:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

http://www.artofliving.org/

I just followed a link to She She's bio and it still claims he attained an advanced degree in Physics by age 17.

Amazing kid!

But Sly Baba was working miracles by that age, so I guess he tops She She.

 
At 11/30/2006 6:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jody !
Looks like you are very idle with not much work and you started blaming somebody like Sri Sri who is lovongly called as Guruji by millions.

You are just so ignorant Jody so shut up !!!

Better start doing some service to Humanity than wasting time for such arguments. You will not reach anywhere!

But you need to be calm and stress free SO START DOING SUDARSHAN KRIYA to be in a state to serve people

" Service is an expression of Joy".

Lots of Love !!

May God bless you with the wisdom to see beyond what meets the eyes.

 
At 11/30/2006 7:46 PM, Blogger jody said...

Looks like you are very idle with not much work and you started blaming somebody like Sri Sri who is lovongly called as Guruji by millions.

Well, between my full-time job, my volunteer work, my three other blogs, the freelance work I do on the side, along with my many outdoor sports hobbies; yeah, I'm an idle little shit with nothing better to do than pick on holy people for kicks.

Better start doing some service to Humanity than wasting time for such arguments.

Sir! This blog is my service to humanity!

You will not reach anywhere!

I'm not reaching for anywhere. Here and now is all I got, baby!

May God bless you with the wisdom to see beyond what meets the eyes.

Hopefully She'll bless you with a cotton wad to wipe away the hagiographic shit in your eyes.

 
At 11/30/2006 8:34 PM, Blogger facedog said...

I don't think Jody needs any support from another ashole with an opinion, but having meditated for 34 years, done the Sudarshan Kriya for 4 of those years, seen lots of Saints, Gurus, Charlatans, including Sri Sri, I feel that Jody is a great guy doing very high service to humanity through this blog. His heart is good and in full view.

Thanks, Jody for what you are doing here!

 
At 11/30/2006 9:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I sincerely hope and pray that one day you discover the Truth. May love, peace and happiness be yours to claim and share in this world.

 
At 11/30/2006 9:35 PM, Blogger jody said...

I sincerely hope and pray that one day you discover the Truth.

I sincerely hope that one day you'll be blessed to be capable of recognizing the Truth.

 
At 12/01/2006 2:43 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jody, you are very CLEVER, if you know what I mean. I am sure you are guided by your mission and karma. There are egomaniacs everywhere and the AoL can be no exception. Matter of fact it is amazing how it spawns so many of them. But, having worked 32 years in the corporate sector, I know that they are everywhere. Does one stop working because of that? Or do we stop dealing with the world because it has frauds and charlatans? The AoL course in India costs Rs 1000/- or approximately $ 23. Not a high price to pay for the benefits. If you do not like paying that much, stay away from it. Sri Sri has to run a number of programmes and all that costs dough. I have not heard of anyone giving up their life savings for AoL! That's the speciality of others. Pardon me but could you let me know what you meant by the Kool Aid which incidentally is unavailable in my part of the world.

 
At 12/01/2006 8:02 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

To the Anonymous Who Loves Sri Sri:

You said: "Looks like you are very idle with not much work and you started blaming somebody like Sri Sri who is lovongly called as Guruji by millions.

You are just so ignorant Jody so shut up !!!"

That is so typical of the followers in Art of Living. If anyone doesn't like their little master, they bring up numbers of millions who do love the guy, and then become off-balance with insults and orders (like "so shut up!!!") Clearly Sudharshana Kriya didn't help you to get rid of your stress since you are so upset by a few criticism of your guru.

Then, after telling Jody (and I'm sure anyone else who has critized SSRS) that he will not 'get anywhere' and he should 'start serving humanity', and calling him "ignorant" and to "shut up" you say things like "Lots of Love" and "God Bless You". Are you schizophrenic? Or maybe just brainwashed like all the others around SSRS. Or maybe the SK made you this way?

Obviously hearing any criticism about SSRS makes you very nervous. You should be -- he really is a hypocritical fraud, and you are being duped by him, as are the Millions of people who "lovingly call him Guruji". Trust me, they'd stop in a heartbeat if they knew the truth about him.

 
At 12/01/2006 8:46 AM, Blogger jody said...

Jody, you are very CLEVER, if you know what I mean.

When I hear that coming from a Kool-Aid drinker, it usually means: "you're clever enough to make it seem like you know what you're talking about, but really, you are terribly deluded about [insert name of guru being defended here].

Or do we stop dealing with the world because it has frauds and charlatans?

No, we simply stop dealing with the frauds and charlatans.

The AoL course in India costs Rs 1000/- or approximately $ 23. Not a high price to pay for the benefits.

It starts out cheap, but then the relentless upselling begins. Besides, why would you pay for seawater when standing on the ocean shore?

I have not heard of anyone giving up their life savings for AoL!

A number of the readers here have.

Pardon me but could you let me know what you meant by the Kool Aid which incidentally is unavailable in my part of the world.

It's a euphemism for being brainwashed. It refers to the Jonestown tragedy, when a deranged cult leader had his devotees drink cyanide-laced Kool-Aid, a sugary kids' drink mix, in a mass suicide.

The defining characteristic of a Kool-Aid drinker is that they don't even know that's what they are.

 
At 12/01/2006 12:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey jody thanks, I can clearly see now how this maharishi functions...
his devotees are the best example.
Thanks again, for your Service

 
At 12/01/2006 4:42 PM, Blogger Liberated Fred said...

You guys are so silly. Sri Sri is God. Pure and simple. I've known him for 15 years. He has personally healed me of severe ailments and is "my " infinite Self. And I actually know what I'm talking about. I drank so much koolaid that my throat turned blue! Now those of you who make false things up about him, shame on you! No soup for you!

 
At 12/01/2006 5:29 PM, Blogger jody said...

Sri Sri is God.

Heh. Brilliant satire, Fred.

 
At 12/01/2006 6:27 PM, Blogger Liberated Fred said...

Well, God does love fun, Jody, That's why He comes in your guise too. But seriously, do you respect anyone in the spiritual domain? You appear to take large poops on everyone.

 
At 12/01/2006 10:18 PM, Blogger jody said...

do you respect anyone in the spiritual domain?

Guru who don't pimp themselves out as God or let their devotees do it for them, gurus who aren't in it for the name, fame and financial gain, gurus who keep their hands where they belong, gurus who haven't concocted master-plans to save the world and gurus who don't fill heads with superstitious nonsense all get a pass from me. There's plenty of those out there, but very, very few of them are big-time.

 
At 12/02/2006 6:54 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jody, thanks for the Kool Aid lesson. Rest assured, I have not drunk Kool Aid and am a perfectly sane and rational person. Looks like you have a lot of suckers in the USA and it is not surprising that many of them get conned of their life savings. Only it is difficult for me to believe that AoL is one of the channels for this to happen.

My personal take on the AoL movement in India is little different. Here they all get more in use value than what they hand out in cash value. Anyone who comes to the Ashram is fed there gratis. Reason being that any movement in India that is spiritual or religious is expected to either charge less or give things free. Otherwise, no one will even patronise such a movement. Having been in the admin of AoL I know the struggle that teachers have in selling their courses even if it has value beyond the paltry entry fee.

Your blog relies on deriding Gurus and you can do that as much as you want. I read it for a laugh. Nonetheless, I shall draw my own conclusions and take the good in anything and eschew what is not good. Thanks for the lesson once again and all the best to you.

 
At 12/02/2006 12:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon from India said, "Looks like you have a lot of suckers in the USA and it is not surprising that many of them get conned of their life savings."

You are very correct in what you have said here. Americans tend to be open and sincere. But take a look at what has happened over the last 75 years. Spiritual nonsense that has been propagated for thousands of years by sociopathic leeches like Sri Sri, the Kalki Avatard and others is quickly coming to be clearly seen for the steaming heap of shit that it is. Lots of American and Indians are still very gullible, but we're catching on fast!
People like Jody are a great help in this effort. Thanks, Jody!

 
At 12/03/2006 8:08 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm guessing a few hundreds or thousands(including me) are already saved by Jody. Good job Jody. I have seen lot of emails from AOL members asking to unsubscribe them from the AOL yahoo groups. Now I know the reason :-)

 
At 12/03/2006 8:56 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

To the former (present?) AOL administrator:

Since you are so knowledeable about Ravi Shankar (Sri Sri is an honorary title, so I refuse to use it for him), and you are so close, in 'administration' and all, please go to him and ask him these questions:

1) Have you ever taken the life savings of an elderly Turkish woman who also bought you a car, and in return, given her a "kutir" which was worth approximately $500 at that time (if that -- figure given by an Indian Engineer on site). Did you then pronounce her "mentally ill" and have a "doctor" who was in research and is now one of your lead teachers, prescribe her large doses of mind-numbing drugs to keep her from bothering you? (Granted the life savings was only $60,000, but still....) Just ask.

2) Did you ever lie, through dress or words, about being a brahmachari?

3) Did you ever defame anyone sensible enough to leave you because you were terrified they would talk and tell the truth about you? (They never did)

4) Did you ever say to anyone saying they would leave "I will destroy you if you leave the ashram without my permission".

5) Did you ever collect money from Americans in a project called "Dollar a Day" program and then not give that money to the children that the people had "adopted" using the excuse "these people will just drink the money away and waste it" and instead, use the money to build the beginnings of your now flourishing ashram? Did you have American disciples take photos of these children, assisted by your sister, and when they asked the child's name, did your sister tell them "any Indian name will do -- it doesn't matter". (These people actually believed they were adopting a child!!!)

6) Did you ever take money given for SK and other donations and put it in a personal account? If not, why did your own mother brag to a devotee that "my son is very rich -- he has over $1 million dollars now in a personal bank account" (sorry to mention the dead here)

7) Did you ever lie about being Maharishi Mahesh Yogi's real successor?

8) Did you ever cover up the severe beating of a woman on your ashram by a man on your ashram, refusing, even at the insistence of concerned disciples who saw her black and blue and swollen and lying in a heap, to call the police or a hospital or doctor? Did you then go and tell those concerned people that "she had bad karma", and proceed to "punish" the offender by putting his shoes outside in the rain during satsang? (He would have gone to jail in the USA) Are those two Americans still two of your very top, stellar teachers, teaching advanced programs?

I could go on, my friend, but this is quite enough.

Take the questions to your boss and watch his face carefully. I'll take bets that he'll say that the person writing this is "mentally unstable" (his excuse for anyone who dares to question him, or who knows what he has done in fact behind closed doors and even in public over the years), or "stole money from the ashram", or whatever sick excuse for his many shortcomings he would like to give at this moment.

The man is bogus. He owes many many people personal apologizes which he will never give because his ego prevents it.

When he gives them, in person, perhaps he might get forgiven.

Until then, he deserves much more grief than this blog is giving him, and much less defense from his followers like you. Because some of us are afraid of him and his henchmen (literally afraid), because of verbal threats made in person and on the phone, this blog and other places like it are the only places to warn people like you.

Don't go there. You are participating in an immoral, obscene enterprise, for all it's beautiful trappings. If you know it and are hiding it, shame on you! if you don't know it, take the questions to SSRS. Pray that he doesn't decide you are his potential enemy, though, because he might just defame your entire family in your community. He can even use the police these days, since they are now in his pocket.

Shame on Ravi Shankar. Shame on "Art of Living" and all those who know these things are true (and many other nasty dirty little secrets). Shame on him that he uses the photo of the Great Brahmananda Saraswati of Jyotir Math when teaching puja to his teachers. Guru Dev would be ashamed of Ravi Shankar as am I and hundreds of others who know him well.

 
At 12/04/2006 2:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Preach it, On The Other Hand!

 
At 12/05/2006 5:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

>1) Have you ever taken the life >savings of an elderly Turkish woman

this list of comments does not seem to have any objective evidence. I am not saying that you are wrong, what you are talking has very serious implications because you are talking about a man who is supposedly followed by a lot of people all around the globe. It is important that you substantiate this with enough evidence rather than throwing of titbits of incidents here and there.

As such ,at least in india, there is a lot of good work that is happening. If you go the villages of india, where art of living had gone some work , people are happy about it . And you could take a trip to the villages and ask people. And it is not like other organisations , but work is sustainable development. People are taught to take responsiblity for themselves , that is the striking difference. I dont belong to any organisation and i dont know so much about AOL, but i had to visit these places as i used to work for another NGO. I can ask the art of living volunteers to show you to get some video recordings or something.

Could someone list the names of people who had to give up a name of life savings for AOL ? We need real hard evidence here. ( again i am not saying you are wrong, this blog is not enough to come to any conclusion )


As for SK, sk is like any other kriya technique but still different. The reason that is stated by AOL for patenting that is that noone else teaches the same thing. In US, these things are important if you need to charge money for the course. This is a minor issue. The point is where is the money going ? As of now AOL has records to show to the world where every penny is being spent.

The fact that Sri sri , like lots of spiritual masters ,( there are fakes, but there are the good ones too) is trying to do some good work . He may not be perfect, but he is trying to get some things done. I dont know much details, but walking through the villages of india and looking a the smile of a lot of poor people , it does feel that this mans life is one worth living.

IMO, Lets try to be happy and loving rather than be so cynically harsh and cool..My 0.02$ that is .

 
At 12/05/2006 6:12 PM, Blogger jody said...

The fact [is] that Sri Sri... is trying to do some good work.

I would have to agree. However, his "good work" is also clearly motivated by a lust for name and fame. That doesn't negate the good that gets worked, but the work doesn't forgive him of the sin of self-aggrandizement.

He's nowhere near the space-daddy people make him out to be. He's a TM™ reject trying to impress/out-do the Maharishi. His success is based on his appearance, his acting and the fact he cribbed a bit of meditation practice and called it original. Even if it was original, it's just one of the thousands upon thousands that are equally efficacious. All he has to do is look holy and sprout obvious platitudes, and folks will continue to lap it up.

If Sri Sri *truly* wanted to do good works without favor or reward, he'd immediately stop charging to teach SK. I'll get on his side when that happens.

 
At 12/05/2006 9:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A thorough objective non-prejudiced research is a good idea before you speak of something, innit?
It's a free world,you are free to stick to your 'belief'. The 'faith' of those who are followers of Shri Shri will be least affected by your rant.

As far as an 'obscure' pranayam technique is concerned, well,you may be smart enough to think you can see through him, but surely the 30 million people worldwide who love Shri Shri are no fools either. If somethign so 'obscure' has enriched the lives of millions, I say more peopel should come up with such tenchniques.
The point is not even whether SK is His creation or not. The point is that He is the only one who has brought something so valuable into the lives of the privileged and the underprivileged. And why not? Why keep something so precious locked away? The more such knowledge is shared, the better.
If you call it a business, well, wats wrong with that. economics is a very important part of life. And the funds generated from the courses are used for charitable purposes. There are many who have neither the time nor the inclination to be involved in any such work. The least one can do is not undermine the abilities or the interest of those who are genuinely involved in social work/causes.

 
At 12/06/2006 7:42 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As stated in an earlier posting -- nobody who really knows Ravi Shankar well would dare to give the "proof" you request. If he is not dangerous, he at least threatens to be, and has devotees who will do anything for him. My posting is the hard evidence. That's all you've got. Go to him personally and see what he says. I could be any number of people, so that keeps me safe from his followers (many of whom are quite crazy and threaten people who tell the truth about him.

Those good people carrying out work in the villages now are probably totally unaware of how this whole organization got started, on what wounds it rests. Yes, poor people are probably getting help. That's good. At least his life is not an entire waste. But it's the volunteers who are doing the work, not him. Those volunteers, who don't know Ravi Shankar's nature and previous actions, are blameless.

He did once state that he wanted to be "bigger than Ammachi" (meaning Amritanandamayi Devi). He is working hard towards that goal. He definitely has an agenda. He also stated that he had to "get" the Indian population, which Maharishi was unsuccessful in doing to any significant degree. Again, he has been successful.

But as a person? He is a liar, a cheat, paranoid, vicious and cold. If you don't know him, then don't talk as if you do. This is not a nice guy.

And again, if the Indian populace as a whole found out how he really is, they might dump him instantly. They probably suspect, but again, people like you want "hard evidence". Sai Baba hasn't been given his notice in spite of plenty of evidence. Blind followers of people like this are not interested in hearing the truth about their "masters". They are interested in feeling a bit good in some satsang or another, and congratulating themselves on their hard work for a good cause, perhaps.

Sounds like you have, indeed, had a big swig of the Kool Aid Jody refers to. You are dead to the truth, and don't want to know.

Why do you suppose that someone would sit and write all sorts of nasty things about a "great man"? I'm not a guru. I'm not his "competition". I and many others know him too well, and hence are disgusted with all this lofty talk about his being such a Godlike whatever.

Where there's smoke there's fire, generally. Open your eyes. It is very irritating to see someone not great at all lifted to the height of a pedestal by those who don't know him or his habits.

 
At 12/06/2006 8:15 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maharishi used to say that it didn't matter where or how you got money, ethically or not, it could be purified by giving 25% to him. The Kennedy's were an example given. The curse could be removed from th family, if 25% of what they had was given to him. I knew of one fellow back in the early 1970's who "earned" enough money to go to teacher training by robbing a liquor store. When he told Maharishi how he got it, Maharishi said, "How better to spend the money?"

Lots of TM big timers must have believed this. They have made millions in their personal lives by scamming the foolish, whether in phony real estate gimmicks or whatever. In turn, they have also been scammed by the TM movement.

This is where Sri Sri learned his art of living. Guess he thinks that if he gives 1% of all he takes in back to the poor, how better to spend the money!

 
At 12/06/2006 10:04 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"And the funds generated from the courses are used for charitable purposes."

This is the same kind of reply I got from followers of Sly Baba, when asked about his pedhophile antics.

Religious believers are a beautiful bunch!

 
At 12/06/2006 11:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Whether SK as original creation or not, course fees charged or not, funds used for social causes or not, past allegations true or not, what really matters is that 'Millions' of individuals all over the globe are experiencing the true meaning of 'life', 'love' and 'peace'. Such a unique mass phenomenon cannot be dismissed by our insignificant banter. Art of Living is indeed going to be a way of life....

 
At 12/06/2006 5:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If his volunteers are doing good work and making a difference to the world what is wrong with Sri Sri ? Why exactly do you keep on telling he is bogus with some random facts which noone is aware of ? When and where ..which gathering/meeting ( to whom) did He ever state that He wants to be bigger than Ammachi? ) ( on the other hand, Even if He does want to be, does that make Him a liar? ? ) . I dont see anything wrong in getting some media attention so that he can make a postive happy society. He is practical and knows how to get work done in this world.

I understand that you are saying this with no reason. There is no smoke without fire. But if you are wrong , it is not right on your part to hurt the faith of his followers.

I have been on my spiritual path for a while. I have my guru Ramana Maharshi ( this forum thankfully seems to have not attacked him yet ) . I have experienced enough beauty of sprirituality to know which Guru is fake or which ome is not . .( not that i am going to say that in a forum ) .I have read and seen a lot of Gurus of today as well. As from SriSris work that is getting done in the world, and the love and peace you see in His dynamic volunteers ( and lot of reasons which you wouldnt understand because i am prejudiced to state that you have not experienced a peace of mind from a mediatative state of mind ) i can very clearly state that this man is a satguru. I had seen some of his volunteers, for example a musician like Vikram hazra. All his volunteers are so happy and dynamic in their work. It is a lifetime commitment of action for them and not just feeling good in one of those satsangs. Lot of people take spirituality as a feel good thing, but it is much much more than that and you need so much of courage to walk the path of truth. It is a genuine search for knowing the truth and you are never assured of feeling good ( the red pill/blue pill question ). Read some Ramana maharshi books and think for yourself.

I am open to your ideas though. If you can very clearly write up a document which states some date and time and people around , and write more objectively ( than just keep on stating that this man is a liar ) , i can get that published in big papers in india. ( trust me ) ( you can be anonymous, the facts have to much be more well objective ..some reference of space/time) . You can make a difference to the world. Or you are talking all this from a cynical mind just trying to feel good , you are hurting the faith of a million followers out there by stating that in a public forum.

all the peace to you.

 
At 12/07/2006 1:00 AM, Anonymous Rudra said...

"Where there's smoke there's fire, generally. Open your eyes."

I'm awake! But I can't see the smoke...
I've been in the AOL organisation for many years. In different levels of the organisation. And I've been to AOL happenings in many countries.

Now, why haven't I seen/heard/noticed ANY of the bad things you guys are refering to?

And you guys will argue(again) that we are crazy religious belivers or something. And we may just be that. :-)
But we are not blind.

I may ask you to bring forth some SUBSTANCIAL evidence, but you won't
Because you don't have any! :-)
Just empty accusations.

So... good luck and have a nice day.

 
At 12/07/2006 5:46 PM, Blogger CHUCK said...

"So... good luck and have a nice day."

"all the peace to you."

Yea we sure believe you mean those words, partner! I'm all choked up with your desire for my happiness and peace!

 
At 12/08/2006 6:07 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

And you guys will argue(again) that we are crazy religious belivers or something. And we may just be that. :-)
But we are not blind.


maybe you are DUMB then. you got to be someone. come on. :-)

 
At 12/08/2006 6:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

He is practical and knows how to get work done in this world.

he sure is..otherwise how can he suck intelligent people like you into his ArtOfLying org.

 
At 12/08/2006 6:39 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

To the Kool Aid drinkers who want "proof":

To put names and times of the incidents described earlier will isolate down to about a possible 10 people in the world, who is posting. I am unwilling to do this. Also, I am unwilling to defame the teachers who were part of this by naming them because I view them as victims, and hope that one day they are able to exit the organization (I doubt it, but one can hope). Those people, very close to SSRS for a very long time, are leading a kind of double life, keeping secret all these sad and disgusting things that happened to them, and smiling at the public, continuing to teach his courses.

If you think that ends justify the means, then fine. That would make everything he is doing now just great. But I disagree.

If peoples' blind faith has been destroyed, then perhaps that's good. They should move on to something better for them

You would not get far printing anything in the Indian papers (trust me). The initial reports of the 25 year Silver Jubilee in the on-line version of Deccan Herald gave estimates of attendance that were very much lower than what was printed later -- replaced the article (and remains in print on-line as far as I know). Clearly, he has control of people there as well. I wrote Deccan Herald letters to complain. No use.

SSRS is huge. I'm sure many poor people feel faith and hope because of him. That does not mean he is not duplicitous. The fact that you have not heard of anything unpleasant (or worse) about him means only that you don't know him as well as I have. You have never been that close. Sitting in his kutir, at a little meeting where he has called you is a far cry from living around him constantly for months at a time in small groups observing his behavior, and questioning it.

He does not like to be questioned (trust me). He will tolerate only so much of it before he becomes very angry, and very abusive (trust me). This is the truth. There is no way to prove it to you.

He has destroyed many lives. People who had dedicated their lives to him and worked full time for him were cast aside like so much garbage for questioning his behavior and confronting him. (Trust me).

The fact that people are benefitting now from his social programs is good. Maybe he can get rid of all the (immense) bad karma he has from trashing others' lives on his "way up" to where he is now. (Trust me) the numbers he walked on to get where he is are substantial. His ego is too large to ever apologize to a single one of them. In fact, he demanded apologies of anyone who dared to ask him "why are you doing this weird thing?" or "why are you lying to all these people about this program?" etc. and so forth.

Sorry I am not willing to put myself on the line more just so you can report my name to the nasty little man.

 
At 12/08/2006 7:03 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for your concern about my spiritual evolution. I am always looking for Truth. You seem to feel that you have found the ultimate Truth, or are close to it (evidently because of Ravi Shankar?) Anything is possible I suppose. But here is my opinion on that subject:

I have read Ramana Maharishi, and many others. Please read Ramana's "Be As You Are" Chapter 3, page 97 "He who instrucs an ardent seeker to do this or that is not a true master. The seeker is already afflicted by his activities and wants peace and rest. In other words he wants cessation of his activities. If a teacher tells him to do something in addition to, or in place of his other activities, can that be a help to the seeker? Activity is creation. Activitity is the destruction of on's inherent happiness. If activity is advocated the adviser is not a master but a killer. In such circumstances either the creater (Brahma) or death (Yama) may be said to have come in the guise of a master. Such a person cannot liberate the aspirant, he can only strengthen his fetters."

I confronted SSRS with this passage. His answer was not to read any more such things, and just to do whatever he said. He became very irritated when I pressed the matter. Since my interest was knowledge, not public service or making him rich or being his puppet, I left after some time.

SSRS once bragged that "I control over 200 people in the world right now. They have less than 15%(+/-) of their own thinking left. They are just doing what I want now without knowing...." This is paraphrased. But he said it to me. I was horrified. From that day I vowed to gain more control of my own mind, read more Ramana Maharisi and others, and break away from SSRS. At that time, the group was small and he was interested in acquiring a larger following and becoming famous. The stories you haven't heard are, unfortunately, true. And many of those involved are still very close to him.

Do whatever your conscience dictates. Keep your eyes open. Please take what has been posted here into consideration and investigate carefully. Doubt is healthy. Find out for yourself. Don't go blindly into his abyss of worker bees and lose your chance at finding your true Self. His ashram and his teaching are all illusions. I view them as something like a side-track or time-pass.

Life is short. We have only so much time to find the Truth on this earth. I know that SSRS cannot help one to find the Truth. None of his disciples who are close are more than puppets. I even question whether he is enlightened, actually.

Once, he said (to me) "The Brahman is easy to glimpse, but difficult to hold onto. For that (holding onto) we take Veda." At that point, he played a Rig Veda tape. He recognized by some means that I was having an experience of emptiness and Peace and that I didn't care at all if I saw him or anyone else. The fact that he saw this as something to be "held" and that he needed Rig Veda to "hold" "it" meant to me that he was shaky, let's say.

Youdecide for yourself. I hope I saved even one person from the misery of wasting their lives running around for a cult leader like Ravi Shankar.

Nobody can give you proof of anything. You have to find your own proof. Be vigilant and you will see what a silly dance the whole Art Of Living thing is. One can be a good social worker and do good to the poor without following a man who thinks he is Krishna or Siva. Following a charismatic cult leader like Ravi Shankar is not a prerequisite to doing good work. The good work that comes from the hands of his followers is not his work. It's theirs. If they need to believe in him to do this work, that's their problem. One need only to believe in Truth and God to help others, not belong to an ashram. In his case, the road to his present famous position is littered with things unacceptable to me. I would be unwilling to work with him, knowing what I know. He and many of his close associates are not truthful. Theirs is a crooked path. If you can live with that, that's your choice. Everyone has their own moral standards because of their conditioning and DNA. Mine preclude me from being associated with such a man or organization. That's just me.

Many people still do work for Sai Baba, even knowing what they know about him. That's their conditioning. They don't think he's so bad. They write off all that he's done to hurt people to his "removing their karma". I think that is laughable and a shame.

Some people might say that NGOs and Government agencies of all types often have people at their top who have done things incorrectly, are immoral, have eaten the money, etc. But in those cases, the head of the organization can be removed and replaced with someone better. There is no such option in Ravi Shankar's case. Art of Living won't replace him because of his wrong doings. That makes it a cult rather than a true NGO. He is a king there.

People who follow Ravi Shankar may well not be interested in his deeds, past, present or future. They like the "family" feeling of the ashram, and feeling important that they helped someone somewhere.

I am grateful that Jody's site exists for the purpose of debunking the mystery shrouding these figures.

 
At 12/08/2006 12:42 PM, Blogger CHUCK said...

On The Other Hand burns with a pure flame. His sincerity and honesty are obvious to anyone wanting to know the truth about Sri Sri. If you are involved with AOL because you like the pranyama, the community, or the good works, at least don't worship this piss ant. You can have one without the other. Otherwise, lean on your own spine and walk away like a man!

 
At 12/09/2006 6:44 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous said:

Without actually having taken the course making such obscure comments shows your lack of maturity.

By now I am tired of reading this or a similar charge coming from a Sri Sri acolyte.

What makes you think that you are the only person who has tasted AOL's "bliss"? Most of us who are exposing Sri Sri's fraud have done the kriya and been the member of AOL -- most likely longer than you.

 
At 12/09/2006 7:01 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

On 12/1/06 Anonymous said:

The AoL course in India costs Rs 1000/- or approximately $ 23. Not a high price to pay for the benefits.

Not high?

With a per capita income of around $20 per month and 600 million people earning leass than $5 a month, $23 does not look high?

It makes me wonder if you have ever lived in India. I mean the real one -- not the sanitized version of India, which is accessible only to rippers such as corrupt politicians and Sri Sri.

 
At 12/09/2006 10:10 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

When i was a member of AOL, i used to get emails from teachers that donate one month of your salary!!! they also used to tell how one couple donated a paycheck and they got promotion in the job within a month!!! my one month paycheck is $6000. do i look like an ass to them? i already wasted 300 bucks for learning how to eat a grape(like the last grape of your life) and acting like a monkey in front of others..AOL is a big bullshit...satsangs are big time scams to collect money.

I'm very thankful to Jody and OTOH for helping me come out of it.

 
At 12/11/2006 3:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My AOL teacher once told me about a poor boy in Pune who desparately wanted to do the course. He did not have any money and saved for the course by walking 10 miles everyday to his school instead of taking a bus. The anecdote was meant to motivate us who were well-to-do by comparison but were cribbing about Rs.1500/- course fee.

During the entire course I could think of only two things: passion and commitment of the boy to do the course and meanness of AOL teacher who had the heart to extract money from such a boy.

 
At 12/27/2006 7:26 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The AoL course in India costs Rs 1000/- or approximately $ 23. Not a high price to pay for the benefits.

Not high?

With a per capita income of around $20 per month and 600 million people earning leass than $5 a month, $23 does not look high?

It makes me wonder if you have ever lived in India. I mean the real one -- not the sanitized version of India, which is accessible only to rippers such as corrupt politicians and Sri Sri."

Hey Buddy, you bet your guru hating posterior I have! Incidentally, this charge of $23 is for the cities. It is far less in smaller towns. S**t man! Can you guys cool off a bit. Are you suggesting that we are bloody corrupt or venal? We certainly are not and I assure you that incomes have gone up considerably in India and that the AOL course is not unaffordable. By the way, AOL does have free courses for the poorer sections of society.

All may not be well but you have to see and recognise some good. Looks like you guys are focusing only on the 'hidden' stuff, of which most of the well meaning people who come to AOL are never even aware. If the Guru is a fraud or cheat or whatever, it is his Karma and he has to face it. This is not to acknowledge that what you are saying is true but that is the bottomline. Whatever miracles do happen is because of the simple faith that people have in Sri Sri. Go ahead and make fun of AOL but please do not try to hurt the faith of the devotees, suckers though they may appear to be to your minds.

 
At 1/02/2007 11:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

hmmm... From this post, i can see that this person "jody" has got an obsession with kool aid for some reason and with doing some good ssrs bashing. :)
well that's your problem.

I attended the course last year, and to be honest, the whole "bulldozing" of the people there was not something i appreciated. the first day, i had to hold a complete stranger's hand and tell him " I belong to you".. it was unarguably the most gayest moment i ever went through..

That fact aside, the next day and after we through the SK. it was a bit uncomfortable, but it was a bit relaxing.

Now comes the brilliance behind this operation, on the fourth day and fifth day.
There was this HUGE display of the guru-ji's books and cassettes and CDs etc.

Some of it will be like. Guru-ji has said five words! lets make a CD out of it! Immediately the horde of people who had been "saved" by the SK technique, bought books, CDs etc etc.. and then they bought on some "herbal and ayurvedic" products display, which cost another pile, and again people went crazy purchasing it.

If you do choose to take this course and practice it. Then just do that and discount all the other spirituality/ satsang/ etc etc, mindless promotions/ bringing in new people for the course. Its as bad as AMWAY! :)

The whole thing has been marketed very well as a good commercial enterprise.

My recommendation to anyone who wishes to try it out is that you take this course as an introduction to get into this exercise. But don't get absorbed completely. and once you start doing the kriya, just start looking at other credible places where you can learn better yoga and the instructors are lesser pains in the ass and not as pompous.

I have discovered a place, which is free! , where you they teach you good vedic yoga and meditation. you are not forced into a system of commericals, and the best part is NO PREACHING !!! they just teach you the exercise and stay away... i mean you could do the exercise in this and be a serial killer after you finish it. don't matter.

Unlike the AOL bit, they are less pretentious and are not overbearing or condescending in anyway..

 
At 1/14/2007 1:43 PM, Anonymous Ram said...

I have to agree with Jody and other critics on a lot of things that has been said here. I did the AOL course last year. I went to the follow-up sessions regularly for some six months and then stopped. The reason that I stopped going is because of the relentless effort that the teachers and volunteers of AOL put in to promote their teacher and to brainwash you. One of the teachers was almost pushing everyone to go to Bangalore India from Dallas Texas USA to attend the AOL Silver jubilee function!!!!. They claimed that we all will benefit if we go there and the whole humanity will benefit! Many people that I knew spent $6000 to go attend a 3 day ostentatious function which was celebrated to promote "Sri Sri". Also the teachers try to make you "one of them" (AOL cult followers) by pushing the people who come to the follow-up sessions to promote their cause and to bring in more people to learn their course. My question to you is, if you are doing this as a business and charge $375 from people, why can't you use proper marketing methods to promote your product instead of attempting dubious methods? The reason may be because, if proper method of advertising was done with the claims that the AOL teachers make about the Sudarshan Kriya, it will bring more visibility and there will be more critics. Ofcourse they won't claim that the AOL teachers have healing powers to cure all diseases in a TV advertisement. But if you move around the AOL teachers, they will tell you that Sri Sri gave healing power to some of the teachers and you can see these teachers placing their hands on the students heads and claiming that their diseases will be cured. It is repulsive to watch such episodes. These are the things that drove me away from AOL. And they also make claims on their classes that Sri Sri has super natural powers and he healed blind, deaf, dumb etc and the teachers witnessed those healing. Shame on AOL for doing such underhanded things to bring in blind people. Now, what is the difference between this person (Sri Sri) and SAI BABA? Nothing. Be sure to read the section "Criticisms" under "Art of Living" in Wikipedia. Its stated in Wikipedia that, "AOLF had total revenues of $3.2 M (in 2004)(mainly from course fees and public support) and expenditure of $1.9M (mainly in salaries, occupancy expenses and travel) in 2004; however none of the money went towards international developmental or humanitarian programs, disaster relief, scientific/medical research or charitable activity. According to the document, the organizations sole accomplishment for the year was to "teach art of living courses"." If this is not true then why is AOL not contesting the information in Wikipedia? They won't, because its true.

Being said all that, I have to agree that I still practice the
Pranayama and Sudarshan kriya at home every day. And they are indeed helpul. These practices taught to me by AOL have helped me in many ways. Also some other meditation techniques that I learned outside AOL also helped me a lot. I feel that Sudarshan Kriya and the associated Pranayama brought forth some unique experiences to me. For these facts I am grateful to AOL for teaching me this technique, which no one else taught me before. So, if you want to learn Sudarshan Kriya you can do it. I am not contesting the fact that Sudarshan Kriya or Pranayama is helpful. It is only sad that the people who teach this technique resort to underhanded ways to promote their organization and their leader. I do not agree with Jody on the statement that the course should be offered free, but I do think that it should be offered at a much more reasonable cost than $375 on USA. And I do feel that the 1000 Rs. in India is also expensive outside the cities. And they should stop making claims that Sri Sri possesses super natural powers and trying to promote him on every follow-up meeting.

The books written by Sri Sri are mediocre in my opinion. There are lot of other books written by great authors if you want to study philosophy/religion/culture etc. Some one here quoted Ramana Maharishi earlier. Ramana Maharishi's books are one example. Ramana maharishi never claimed that he had super natural powers, never tried to promote anything including his own teaching, never asked anyone to chant "Jai Gurudev" to him. He was so humble and kind. He was an example to his followers unlike other gurus. His teaching is respected and revered by many great people all around the world.

But we have to take Ramana Maharishi's teaching also in perspective. Another user quoted from Ramana Maharashi's text that no guru should teach any activity. I do not agree with this completely. We have to take teachings in the context in which they are taught. Even the Vedas, which are the basic shastras of the hindu tradition do advocate karma or activity in several parts.

So, research everything with an open mind. Learning these techniques is not bad (even though they are expensive! we do spend a lot on other things). But we don't have to subscribe to all the beliefs of the organizations that teach these things. We certainly don't have to chant "Jai Gurudev!" repeatedly to get the benefits from these practices.

 
At 3/10/2007 12:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think this place too is not free from ego-asses who don't like contrary views.My two earlier blogs on this forum have not been published yet though I posted them months ago.

 
At 3/10/2007 12:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Jody?Do you or your friends who criticize almost every popular contemporary Spiritual Teacher on the planet today & tend to praise or aggrandize those of yore have been with them?How on earth should I believe Jesus or Mohammad were not self-aggrandizing dogs?How do I believe Ramana Maharishi was a Guru who did not profess to have special powers when scores of people write about his "miracles" every day?
How do I believe the Pope is a celibate?How do I believe that the Bible isn't a plagiarised version of some ancient treatise with a lot of cock & bull stories?
How do I believe the Budhdha was a great man & he genuinely left his home & all & that his followers did not create a myth out of nothing?
How do I believe your integrity & truthfullness when every comment to be displayed has to be first approved by you?
If you are so inclined to help expose those Spiritual Gurus whom you think are Charlatans then why don't you open your blog to all kinds of comments?

 
At 3/10/2007 12:50 PM, Blogger jody said...

My two earlier blogs on this forum have not been published

That's because I limit the proselytizing here. If you drank too much Kool-Aid, you are probably going to get shut down. This is not an open forum, it's my opinions graced by those I choose to include.

 
At 3/10/2007 12:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's because I limit the proselytizing here....

Dear Jody,I sense a Proselityzer in you.Your language is similar to that used by Christian Proselityzers in India.

 
At 3/10/2007 1:04 PM, Blogger jody said...

Hey Jody? Do you or your friends who criticize almost every popular contemporary Spiritual Teacher on the planet today & tend to praise or aggrandize those of yore have been with them?

Almost every teacher? Not quite.

As to the question of being "with them;" it's not necessary when you have the crap they say on the internet.

How on earth should I believe Jesus or Mohammad were not self-aggrandizing dogs?

Don't ask me.

How do I believe Ramana Maharishi was a Guru who did not profess to have special powers when scores of people write about his "miracles" every day?

Because you insist on believing in nonsense?

How do I believe the Pope is a celibate?

Why would you care?

How do I believe that the Bible isn't a plagiarised version of some ancient treatise with a lot of cock & bull stories?

It probably is.

How do I believe the Budhdha was a great man & he genuinely left his home & all & that his followers did not create a myth out of nothing?

Because that's what you want to believe?

How do I believe your integrity & truthfullness when every comment to be displayed has to be first approved by you?

Here you would be making a big mistake. This isn't about my integrity, of which I have very little. It's about my opinion, and it's my blog, so sod off if you don't like the policies.

If you are so inclined to help expose those Spiritual Gurus whom you think are Charlatans then why don't you open your blog to all kinds of comments?

Because I don't have to. This isn't a public forum, it's one person's personal opinions. I don't cotton to Kool-Aid drinkers of any persuasion, so if you come off sounding like one, you won't see your comment published.

 
At 3/10/2007 1:08 PM, Blogger jody said...

I sense a Proselityzer in you.

You are so right!

Here's my message:

Nobody is more divine than you are right now.

Gurus don't have magic powers, but your own faith is magic.

Enlightenment is not a thought, feeling or sensation. In other words, if you have any kind of spiritual experience, it does not constitute self-realization.

 
At 3/10/2007 1:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's my message:

Nobody is more divine than you are right now.

Gurus don't have magic powers, but your own faith is magic.....

Hi
That is what I have grown up hearing,coming from a very traditional Hindu family.Despite this we are told to revere the Gurus & the saints.My kulguru is the Late Sri Sri Brahmananda Saraswati.I think it is a paradox which is difficult to understand for someone who is too rational.But we Indians have been living this paradox for generations & are quite comfortable with it.
I remember a story in a Purana about a boy who had a charlatan as a Guru but who became enlightened simply because of his faith.His Guru remained ignorant because of his ego.
Maybe you write your blogs as you do as you have not had exposure to that environment.
Here in the part of India we live in we always hail all the saints after every Puja,or Yagya.
I think that when you write you forget that for some people in some parts of the world,revering saints of all paths without mental gymnastics like an investigation into their genuineness is an acceptable pat of life.We do not elevate our saints out of fear,but out of love.Thought I should share it with you educated people.
People like me are very happy as they are.And yes,we are not exploited.We just walk away from the people who are not genuine.

 
At 3/10/2007 1:40 PM, Blogger jody said...

we are told to revere the Gurus & the saints.

When it becomes mythologically-laden hagiography, it's not helping anyone to see their own inner truth.

I remember a story in a Purana about a boy who had a charlatan as a Guru but who became enlightened simply because of his faith.

Right. Bad gurus can be good for the right devotee.

Maybe you write your blogs as you do as you have not had exposure to that environment.

I write this blog because so many gurus, in India and the West, are taking advantage of the fact that people want to believe they are God, like Sri Sri for instance.

We just walk away from the people who are not genuine.

Then why do Sri Sri, Kalki and Sai Baba have millions of sheep? I think the problem is as bad in India as it is in the States, only you've been saddled with it (and have allowed it to continue) for that much longer.

 
At 3/10/2007 2:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Then why do Sri Sri, Kalki and Sai Baba have millions of sheep? I think the problem is as bad in India as it is in the States, only you've been saddled with it (and have allowed it to continue) for that much longer.
Hi
It's me again.I recently heard some of Sri Sri's talks in Google videos & I did not feel that he was putting himself on a high pedestal or something.Infact one of his talks titled "You are the Goal" I found really deep.His most recent attempt of reconciling caste differences are very-very welcome.What he is talking about is taboo to speak about in Modern India.I live through caste politics everyday & I know the risk Sri Sri is taking to upset the gravy train of so many corrupt,violent regional politicians for whom the word mafiosi is more appropriate.They are still much-much powerful than Sri Sri in India & they do not forgive people who upset their apple-cart.
They have armies of goons ready to rape your Mother,Wife,Sister & kill your entire family in front of your eyes should you dare confront them even if you live in big cities like Delhi or Mumbai.Better still,they call the District Police Chief,that guy has you & your kin killed in cold blood & Prime Time TV News Flash says "Terrorists killed in encounter by the Police-members of the team to be rewarded".
Ditto with Sathya Sai Baba.I was watching a news telecast of his Engineering Institute's convocation & I must say that not only their infrastructure is very good but also their faculty & students also seemed very learned & qualified.The current President of the Republic of India Dr APJ Abdul Kalam-a Muslim Rocket Scientist who plays the Veena & is one of the architects of India's Space Programme is always seen in every Sathya Sai Baba event since the time he was a young scientist.In fact I he goes to every function of Sathya Sai Baba in Puttaparthi.One of my friends preparing for MCA (Master in Computer Applications) entrance exams says that Sathya Sai Instt of Higher Learning is one of the best places in India to do MCA.They have one of the best faculty & infrastructure & they don't discriminate if you are a follower or not.
I feel it is more of a problem with individuals that they hero worship.Like people worship Movie Stars or Rock Stars so they also worship Gurus.
Their actions do not make a Guru different from others.Although those who do not connect with that Guru might feel nauseated.

 
At 3/10/2007 2:32 PM, Blogger jody said...

I feel it is more of a problem with individuals that they hero worship.

Yes, especially given the fact that these big-time gurus have big time PR departments to tell us how humble, giving and what heroes they are. It's by Sri Sri's sheer amount of press that I know he's vain and avaricious and loves all the attention. And despite the infrastructure (and power base) that's he's built, Sai Baba is a sexual abuser of children who gets away with it because of that infrastructure.

So, regardless of their good works, these two fall well short of what I believe a real guru is. They are showmen, not spiritual leaders, despite the fact they have literally millions of people (such as yourself) fooled otherwise.

 
At 3/16/2007 1:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Everybody's definition of a spiritual Guru is different.In India a Spiritual master is often for the whole family-India being a very family oriented country,the crowd around a guru is that much more.Moreover Gurus in India like Swami Brahmananda Saraswati,Swami Vivekananda etc also faced criticisms when they were alive to have a separate wing to deal with the press in terms of press releases & notifications of their lecture events.
Gurus like the Sai Baba of Shirdi had their biographies written.In fact Shirdi Sai Baba has left 11 assurances that may baffle the rational mind including one which says "Whoever comes to me with complete surrender shall have all his sorrows cleansed".Not millions but hundreds of millions in India believe that (He is the most popular Guru-his photos are everywhere-even in Art of Living Ashram in Bangalore).
But their work & name has continued to inspire millions to live a life of purity,& appreciating diversity.
I'd say it is because of these mass based saints-you can call them showmen,that India is the most religiously harmonious & least prejudiced places on earth,where every spiritual philosophy has found an ear & a warm welcome.
Sathya Sai is on TV everyday at 9:00 pm prime time on an Indian Channel Sanskar TV.I am no devotee but what he talks about always are the Rishis & Yogis of yore & present & the Vedic Knowledge & how all Gurus always preach Love & Harmony & to revere Saints from all tradition & to see the One in everyone.
I guess that is enough for public consumption.You cannot discuss finer nuances of spirituality in front of a packed "Family Audience" with varied reasons for being there.
I you have read the Gita you will remember that essentially four kinds of people take recourse to Spirituality-"Aarta (Complainants/Petitioners),Artharthi(Those seeking material benefit,Jigyasu(The curious),& the Gyani (the Wise).
The Gayatri Pariwar-a very respected socio-spiritual movement in North India recently invited Sri Sri Ravi Shankar along with Swami Dayananda Saraswati of Arya Gurukulam to address the students of their University in Haridwar.They have posted that video on google videos also though Sri Sri spoke in Hindi & also using some Persian words so you may not understand it.It is http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=7413263035106065208.
One can see Sri Sri sitting there as an Acharya & Guru to a bunch of Vedanti boys & girls sans any pretensions.Gayatri Parivar is so uncontroversial that it is hardly ever in News but everybody knows about it in the Hindi speaking states.It preaches a very family oriented approach to spirituality & puts a premium on Indian family values like living in joint family,doing Yagya & Sadhana together etc.
I think that it is the saints who have lived in the society that have maintained the Spiritual essence of India & Sri Sri & Sathya Sai seem no different.

 
At 5/22/2007 12:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I totally agree with the thread poster. AOL sucks big time. I had joined it for a day. my friend who is active in it, forced me like hell and made me join it.

Paid Rs. 1000 for the single day and I must say, it sucked big time. They make you run around the room, say good things about people you meet in the room. Sing song, play some game.

And yea, if there is someone's birthday, you sing song for that person.

So happy right? my foot, I would simply call it piece of shit.

One of my friends is very active in AOL and believe me they literly force you to join AOL. They will rip you apart, buy intro passes for yes+ coursr, buy pass for our satsang (or some program), they will force you to join some basic course.

What I have noticed it, for local promotions and activities, AOL does not give money but local activities / followers pay up money from their pocket. (This is what my friend does)

I asked them following questions but till now I have not received any anwers:

1. What do yo do with so much money apart from opening AOL branches and schools everywhere?

2. Did you ever try to resettle the people living in slums? I know you teach AOL stuff to people living in slums but they still live there, did you try to improve their standard of living? or did you provide anyone employment oppertunities?

3. Where does the money go? How does it function? Any statement of accounts which are open to public?

Can Some AOL agent from here reply to these questions?

 
At 5/22/2007 6:16 PM, Blogger jody said...

Can Some AOL agent from here reply to these questions?

Sure they can, if you are willing to allow a mountain's worth of cow crap to be poured into your ears.

 
At 5/23/2007 12:05 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sure they can, if you are willing to allow a mountain's worth of cow crap to be poured into your ears.

haha but I am sure that they won't have the answers lol

 
At 6/19/2007 2:27 AM, Anonymous Ram said...

Art of Living's recruitment to their courses in USA has it a new low. They are just using every means to milk the money out of the people who had done some courses with them earlier. Apparently Sri Sri is coming to USA to conduct two part II courses in PA and in CA. They want to milk the maximum amount of money from everyone. The course costs about $600 odd dollars plus accommodation. The same course (part ii) cost around $300 last year. So within a year the price tag has doubled for this course. I get unsolicited marketing calls from AOL by stupid people making crazy claims. I had a little bit of good opinion about AOL before this incident. Now, I am convinced that this is just another crazy cult with the goal of boosting some ones ego and to grow rapidly. The guy who called me asked me to enroll in this part ii course. I told him that I have some difficulties now and also have some family commitments and can not do the course now. And he starts making crazy claims that Sri Sri can do miracles and I will get promoted in job and my salary will increase upto 50% if I do this coruse and it happened to him once and blah blah blah. He was without a job and he got several job offers after doing the course and his salary doubled etc etc. How stupid can these people be. I am wondering now as to why I listened to this guy patiently during that call. I just wanted to be polite. But I should remember not to put up with this kind of crap in the futuer. Apparently the "do not call" registry and other things does not apply to this people. They just use the telephone number that you give when you register for their course and start calling you all time of the day (I got a marketing call from AOLat 9:30 pm couple of months ago).

So this cult's goal now seems to grow rapidly. We should give some credit to this organization. Where as Maharishi Mahesh yogi collected $2500 one time for his meditation deal (a lot of people don't do that since the fee is so high), these people (AOL) slowly milk few hundred dollars at a time and when you finally add up the numbers it is really huge.

Now they have ayurveda cooking class for $250 (some 8 hour course). What kind of ripoff? And everyday these people are coming up with new new courses. They have a course for 3 years old which cost close to $200. Can you believe this?

Jody-> I really appreciate you running this blog. The awareness of the victims need to increase. And we need a thousand more blogs like this to create such awareness among people not to get sucked up into these stupid things. I do not dispute the fact that sudarshan kriya taught by AOL helped me. But maintaining any future contact with this organization is impossible. These people even get into emotional blackmails, taking advantage of other peoples fears and making crazy claims that money will start pouring to you if you did their courses or give money as a donation to AOL. I hope that the people in America wake up and see this organization for what it really is. They have a single minded goal to grow their organization rapidly and boost Sri Sri's image. It is just similar to any other ruthless business venture that is out there for profit and will do anything to get those profits. The only difference is that the business venture will state openly that is for profit. But the AOL claims that it is out there to do service to people. People who watch this organization closely can understand that it is not there to do any kind of service. And these people will stoop to anything to achieve this profit. The teachers in AOL are either deluded (mind you! several of these people are good natured. But they are just dumb and get carried away. Some are greedy and belive in miracles and to make easy money. They belive the claims made by AOL that if you do their course or donate money then money will start coming to you miraculously. Someo other teachers who are not completely deluded are still with AOL because of the fear based values. Some are otherwise not capable of any meaningful social life and come to AOL gatherings where they are fed a whole load of crap. So sad to see people who outwardly seem intelligent and yet are really dumb and get carried away with the mythical stuff, fear based values and crazy promises.

 
At 6/25/2007 12:20 AM, Blogger Ravi said...

Jody,

What a great blog you have! Congratulations!


I read through the comments and one thing that struck me was how most (not all) of the comments supporting SSRS were by "anonymous" . How very convenient!

If you must disagree with Jody, do so but do so rationally, not by invoking mumbojumbo and vague nostrums about "Indian Spirituality".

As an Indian, I am sick of this "Indians are more spiritual in some mysterious fashion" meme.

"My kulguru is the Late Sri Sri Brahmananda Saraswati.I think it is a paradox which is difficult to understand for someone who is too rational.But we Indians have been living this paradox for generations & are quite comfortable with it."

Who is "we Indians" ? I am Indian too and i am NOT comfortable with these maudlin ideas of "living with paradox". If you choose to treat X or Y as your "kulguru", that is your choice ina free country that allows freedom of thought and expression. That doesn't give your beliefs any special truth or validity.



Logical and rational people have always existed in India and even within the dominant religion (Hinduim) there has always been a stream of thought on finding your own path.

"I remember a story in a Purana about a boy who had a charlatan as a Guru but who became enlightened simply because of his faith.His Guru remained ignorant because of his ego."

The point is , it is *story* , created by someone for some purpose (maybe jsut entertainment, maybe pushing ana genda).

The point is a *story* is *not* fact. You can't use a story as an argument.

Moreover the same story can be interpreted differently for e.g
The lesson to be drawn here is that the boy could have skipped the "faith in his guru part" and got "enlightened" by his intrinsic worth and effort.


The idea that an idiot deserves worship as a guru because your "faith will enlighten you" is totally ridiculous, whether embodied in a story or not. I am sure that gurus who are unsure of their intellectual rigor and want to discourage investigation, will encorage a "blind faith" interpretation. that does not make it true.

"Maybe you write your blogs as you do as you have not had exposure to that environment."

what crap! You don't have to have "exposure to an environment"(ignoring the fact that your "environment" is just one of the millions of different worldviews held by people in India) to write about it.

You can't go back in time and be "exposed" to the Napoleaonic wars but people do write about them, based on facts and logic that are available. You can't be "exposed" to the emptiness of outer space but people can and do write about space.

Jody has EVERY right to criticize what he sees as superstition. If you have a *rational* answer , let's hear it (and step out from that anonymity and stand behind your opinions like a man) and we'll all be richer for it.

Don'texpect teh rest of th wrld to take your asertions of faith as true.


Anyway I have a question for the SSRS supporters here. Does SSRS *have* an advanced degree in Physics as his site claims? If so why not provide the degree certificate (with the name of the University and year of graduation) as proof to those who ask for it (e.g the editors at wikipedia)?

In short, Great work Jody. keep ripping those deceptive facades to shreds

 
At 10/20/2008 3:56 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i did the art of living course and became a big fan of it. started getting other ppl involved in it and helping them organise courses. i gave up a plum job for it.

later i fouund out that the organisation is against muslims n christians. it backs BJP politically which is a muslim fascist political party in india.

they r free to have their opinions but why do they call themselves secular and a spiritual rather than a religious organisation.

i pulled myself away from it. f crse, my life came down crashing heavily.

they said that i will lose all my good karma if i got away from it.

wot they teach in courses is amazing and beautiful but there is so much more that we all need to know.

n for those who think it is magical a link:
http://home.nyc.rr.com/drakula/Stories%20of%20Blissful%20Chaos/Good_Day.html

this write has been done by a frustrated art f living teacher...

no 1 will have a proof in the world for what happened to me but it is true...

lately they r aiming at youngsters who study in col and univ to become teachers...they r so vulnerable..

even if u think everythings gr8 n srisri is the guru u were luking for, plz dont just give up everything in life for him. take your time and ask questions and learn everythin abt the org b4 cumin to a conclusion. its yur right to ask questions.
the writer has asked u to ask those ques to srisri..ask them ..if they r untrue u will have a right to come bk n comment saying i asked n these guys denied it...
ask also abt hindu religion and how they hate muslims and christians. f crse u diont blve me..so go ask them abt it..

 
At 8/25/2009 2:30 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Art of living is going to be a FORTUNE 500 company in the coming decades. Its driven by a very smart Ravi shankar and powered by brilliant IIT graduates.

If you think its a non-profit social service organization you are grossly mistaken. Their revenue in india itself is in excess of 200 million USD as per estimates and their social charity expenditure does not exceed 2-3 million USD per year, so where is the remaining 197 million going?

Bottom line goto their course just enjoy the sudarhan kriya technique but don't believe the teacher's preaching at the end of program. Their strategy is simple, teach a good yoga-pranayam for 3 days, when u feel that its good, the teacher starts to preach how he/she came to ashram fell to the power of guruji and became full time volunteer.....and makes you take a pledge that you will get atleast 5 other people to this program !!!!

pls attend the satsang by the guruji, he will give such funny answers it will be more hilarious than the answers given by Joey in FRIENDS

 
At 3/05/2010 1:16 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

AOL Sucks, new way of partying , and celebrating platform for worst lazy bitches, especially TVM . AOL concept is ok, but the organizers are stupids, they are creating new worst message to young generation to earn more money and create all kind of bad relation between peoples who joined in AOL. Beware new generation it will destroy your life.

 
At 9/25/2010 1:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The worst thing about Art of Living in Mumbai is it is no longer about living. It is all about dating. Here people come at the satsangs wearing cool clothes and gossip about everything than meditation or peace. The topics are sex, booze and don't know what shit. The basic rule is simple, AOL rocks because "You come single and go with a hot CHICK"
Believe me AOL is full of hot chicks, here in Mumbai, but since I don't play guitar, don't have a car, don't have volunteer friends or don't live in a plush area, I am still single.

P.S : Everything said above is a personal experience, you can never prove it wrong, because I have lived it.

 

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