Tuesday, June 10, 2008

We Are About To Stink Up The Place

File under: Gurubusting, Satscams and The Siddhi of PR

This is a bit like America writing Osama Bin Laden a thank you note for 9/11, but here we go:
Some time back an Art of Living devotee came to me with his astounding healing experience, which I wish to share with you all.

Sri. P.Subramaniam aged 28 years, working in a small-scale engineering Unit. He earns a measly income just sufficient for him and his parents to make ends meet. The nature of the industry in which he is working is unpredictable and there are times when he has to strain himself for long hours to earn adequately to survive, thus resulting in the wear and tear of his health.

About a year and half ago he had persistent fever, body pain and had difficulty in eating and was diagnosed for Testicular Embryonal Carcinoma, a malignant germ cell tumor that occurs mostly in the testes. This type of tumor (cancerous) grows rapidly and spreads to the lungs and liver. He underwent Orchidectomy; an operation to remove the testicle and this was done to slow down the growth and spreading of prostate cancer. After the treatment, he somehow managed to carry on. After about a year, that is during April, 2004, he developed similar symptoms of fever, chest discomfort, multiple swelling in the neck and sleeplessness. He was admitted in a local hospital and on diagnosis it was found to be Testicular Tumor and Lymph Node Metastasis a type of cancer spreading through the blood. He was given chemotherapy first on 20.4.2004 and second on 7.5.2004 and third on 31.5.2004.

For the fourth chemotherapy he did not have sufficient money and therefore he approached Sri. M.Sendhilkumar, an Industrialist and a very devoted volunteer of AOL Coimbatore. Sri.Sendhilkumar not only helped him but also put him in the AOL Part I Course.

He joined the course on 14.6.2004 and on 17th after the first Sudarshan Kriya he experienced shocks and acute pain in the body and was disinclined to go to the course on the subsequent day, but with divine grace prevailing, he did the second Sudarshan Kriya which made him feel relaxed, energized and joyful. As he felt free from all the fears that were tormenting him, he wanted to shout and proclaim his happiness. It was a kind of rebirth for him and after so many months that night he slept very well. With Gurudev’s blessings he experienced deep rest.

Within a week after completion of the course, he took a haemogram test and the results were encouraging. The Doctor asked him to come back after a month and he had another haemogram test on 19.7.2004, which showed vast improvement, and he had become normal. This was further confirmed with another haemogram test on 21.09.2004 and finally he was back to his work with an added smile on his face.

Normally the side effects of chemotherapy are frightening as it leads to loss of hair in the scalp and in other parts of the body. It creates anemia and the patient gets tired easily, there could be difficulty in breathing and overall pain in the body. In the case of Sri.Subramaniam, he was indeed fortunate that his doing the sadhanas regularly two times a day eliminated the side effects. He does not feel tired at all and works with full enthusiasm and last but not the least the hair in his scalp is growing very fast and this is certainly a sign of his returning back to normalcy. He is confident that only because of the AOL Course he has been able to overcome the dreaded disease called cancer and is willing for any scientific study on his amazing healing experience.

While I was listening to the miracle I could feel tears rolling out of my eyes. Gurudev has saved the life of the sole breadwinner of a family. Along with Sri. Subramaniam and his family I am also grateful to my Divine Master for strengthening my confidence in Him.
We call that miracle-mongering, one of the high crimes of gurudom. Lance Armstrong survived metastasized testicular cancer and went on to win seven Tour de France bicycle races, but nobody is blaming a flimflamming guru for that.

And by the way, this was apparently published in an Art of Living newsletter, for those who seek to deny the truth that Sri Sri is playing the godman card every chance he thinks he can get away with.

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71 Comments:

At 6/10/2008 3:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please understand the difference between a devotee from India who is steeped in the Hindu tradition ascribing his healing to grace and guru from any claim from Sri Sri.
Just be aware that it is not possible to change the mentality of the country of a billion people and it is not a fair claim to accuse Sri Sri of miracle mongering just because the devout hindu person chooses to express his or her gratitude that way.

 
At 6/10/2008 3:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Art of Living runs in 140 countries, do you think Sri Sri has the time to go and get some miracle published in some flimsy newsletter? The whole of Art of Living is run by volunteers, sometimes people who have just taken the course become incharge of editing and fail to cut out the koo-koo stuff, but to me your objection to this person's right to free expression seems to go too far when you blame Sri Sri for it.

 
At 6/10/2008 3:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

For some, the very fact that a bunch of atoms and molecules hurled together can move around, breathe, feel, think and blog seems like a miracle. For some, even a heartfelt expression of gratitude over the healing of a disease seems like a cheap opportunity to make some blog mileage in mudslinging. Well-you can ridicule India and the devotion of the people all you want-but you cannot destroy our culture...no matter how hard you try...we have been around for thousands of year unlike your infantile american society and you will see- we got the values that will pull us through a long term. Good luck in your cheap attempts to critique my country and its people's innocent attitudes!

 
At 6/10/2008 3:23 PM, Blogger jody said...

you can ridicule India and the devotion of the people

That's quite clever, making this an attack on India when it's clearly not. Just because some in India are sadly deluded by superstition doesn't mean everyone in India is.

 
At 6/10/2008 3:25 PM, Blogger jody said...

sometimes people who have just taken the course become incharge of editing and fail to cut out the koo-koo stuff

Were Sri Sri truly interested in truth over promotion, he would make sure that tripe like this is never associated with himself. Fat chance that's going to happen. It's where all the money comes from.

 
At 6/10/2008 3:26 PM, Blogger jody said...

it is not a fair claim to accuse Sri Sri of miracle mongering just because the devout hindu person chooses to express his or her gratitude that way

It is fair when it gets into his org's promotional material.

 
At 6/10/2008 3:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dude it is not the orgs promotional material, it is an internal message board for people who have taken the artofliving class. In case you do not know-go ask your source and stop distorting facts and presenting your views as if they are the sole and ultimate truth.

 
At 6/10/2008 3:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

look, 1) there are more people in india 2) Hence there are more preople in india deluded by superstition assuming some constant fraction globally
3)Your attack is on the expression of someone sharing an intimate story about their "tears of gratitude" and you generalise it to whole of Art of Living population which is a significant chunk of indian population and hence represents india.
4) Just like a bunch of headlines with Sri Sri in it proves that he is a fame hungry nonsaint, similarly all of your misleading attempts to misrepresent people's devotional emotiional outbursts as Sri Sri's self promotion equate to an attack on India's devotional culture-specifically the hindu belief that ascribes healings to the grace of Guru and God.

 
At 6/10/2008 3:55 PM, Blogger jody said...

it is an internal message board for people who have taken the artofliving class

Oh, sorry. I should have said his org's online promotional materials.

 
At 6/10/2008 3:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dude
there you go again. taking some part and ignoring the valid criticism and ripping out what you can rip out-way to go man!

it is an email that gets sent out to people who have taken the class to keep connected.
Can you point me to the online link if you are so sure that it is an online "promotional material"

 
At 6/10/2008 3:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry for my misrepresentation, i did not mean message board but email
and sicne it does not go to new people it cannot be considered as promotional material

 
At 6/10/2008 4:04 PM, Blogger jody said...

sicne (sic) it does not go to new people it cannot be considered as promotional material

Wrong. Because AoL is constantly seeking money from their pool of attendees, anything that goes out to anyone is considered promotional material.

 
At 6/10/2008 4:06 PM, Blogger jody said...

your misleading attempts to misrepresent people's devotional emotiional outbursts as Sri Sri's self promotion

Since this went out on an AoL email list, I consider it to be AoL promotion.

 
At 6/10/2008 4:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Okay how about addressing all the other points raised? You get stuck on a little thing that you can get rignht and forget how you got ripped up jody...funny how you do not even seem to acknowledge the arguments!
Either you are very dumb or you are very clever....albeit surely poisoned about lot of Vedantic and Hindu beliefs and Gurus

 
At 6/10/2008 4:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

AOL promotion is not equal to SriSri promotion, again for a millionth time-as other comments on this blog indicate Art of living is not 1 organisation but 140 autonomous ones!
And if it is indeed self promotion, it is a very inefficient one to earn you just one post in many years

 
At 6/10/2008 4:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is there really any of Sri Sris devotees that will claim, that SSRS does not do much larger claims than this?
It is really strange, what do you get out of hiding such clear and simple facts about Sri Sris message?

One wonders why and what you get out of this, why argue against the obvious truth....

 
At 6/10/2008 4:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

He does claim that nature co-operates with you when you aim is good and your heart is into what you are doing.
he does claim that we are all part of one divinity and that it is possible for ordinary people to do extraordinary things, because basically no-one is ordinary.
and i just came across this link
which shows he never claims he is God but that God is within you and for you to realise.
http://www.newindpress.com/sunday/colItems.asp?ID=SEE20061207083358

 
At 6/10/2008 5:00 PM, Blogger jody said...

which shows he never claims he is God but that God is within you

It doesn't show he never claims he's God, it only shows he's shrewd enough to make sure he pays lip-service to the truth of Vedanta. He's still banking on getting others to believe he is special and extraordinary because he is a guru.

 
At 6/10/2008 6:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

But yes, to be fair, I must admit that it doesnt show that he "never" claims he is God,and here is something more from another site that he says "See that God is all pervading consciousness that alone exists, that nothing else exists. You never question whether atoms exist or not; you know atoms exist. Let that which is the basis of an atom , that field, that space in which every thing exists, every thing blossoms, grows and perishes, that basic substratum of this creation – let that be your understanding of God. Then you won’t ever ask if God exists. God is not the creator. He is the creativity itself !"

I can go on and on to try and refute your point that he claims he is "God" any more than claiming that we all are made up of God. But no matter where I look I will never be able to prove never as you might come back and take any of the things he says out of context and distort it!

Why dont you give me a proof that Sri Sri claims your dog is less god than him as you seem to infer from opinions of opinions of other people's encounters with him..

 
At 6/10/2008 6:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

respected blogger,
if you are aware of vedanta you must be aware of vitanda and kutarka, even Adi Shankara himself was almost defeated by the clever logic of Bhaarati. Vitanda is called argument for argument's sake. Not acknowledging that which is good and true, never conceding one's weakness is called vitanda-a hypocritical act
of debate. The premise is fixed and the methodology of argument does not allow for a change of premise or even a temporary suspension of it. Hence one beats around the bush using the same one or two points without being able to really give concrete and scientific evidence of one's claims other than opinions
formed by various reasons.

I guess it is this dishonesty of your logic that tends to drive away your measly supporters like OTOH and does not gather too much support from people like zhoro either-if you really be honest to yourself in your logic and examine for yourself why you really believe one way or other with a temporary suspension of the prejudice and the premise, it would be an interesting process...try it..

 
At 6/10/2008 7:25 PM, Blogger jody said...

Not acknowledging that which is good and true

When it arrives, I will acknowledge it.

never conceding one's weakness

When it is shown to me, I will concede.

I guess it is this dishonesty of your logic that tends to drive away your measly supporters like OTOH and does not gather too much support from people like zhoro eithe

I can't blame them for trying to get as far away from AoL as possible.

if you really be honest to yourself in your logic

Believe it or not, despite your seeming inability to recognized it, I am.

 
At 6/10/2008 7:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Healing, miracles, prayers being answered, is part of spirituality. You will see it in every spiritual community. It is to be seen in that context.

Just because you have not had that experience, does not mean you should ridicule another person's voice and experience.

 
At 6/10/2008 8:03 PM, Blogger jody said...

Healing, miracles, prayers being answered, is part of spirituality.

That doesn't make it right, just common.

Just because you have not had that experience, does not mean you should ridicule another person's voice and experience.

Who's to say what experiences I've had. It's all a matter of the interpretation of causality. For instance, the writer of the letter wants to believe that AoL breathing exercises cured him of the effects of chemotherapy. There are plenty of other medical reasons why this may have happened. Even if we are to believe it had something to do with the breathing, it may just as easily been a function of his belief that the breathing was working. Had another guru given him another practice, that may have worked exactly the same. It's the devotee's belief that generates miracles, not any power in the guru. All the guru needs to do is stand there and look pretty, something Sri Sri seems to excel at.

 
At 6/10/2008 10:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Had another guru given him another practice, that may have worked exactly the same.

But that is not the point....point is that this guru, gave some practice and something happened. It is a validation (though not complete) that this guru and this path does work.


Even if we are to believe it had something to do with the breathing, it may just as easily been a function of his belief that the breathing was working

The breathing is independent of faith. Most people who do SK when they do the course for the first time, have get a glimpse of meditation, and in some cases have healing experiences as well. While the research on SK is not complete, published reserach in refreed journals does show improved brain function, lactate levels etc.

It's the devotee's belief that generates miracles, not any power in the guru. All the guru needs to do is stand there and look pretty, something Sri Sri seems to excel at.

While the devotees sadhna is extremely important, the guru does play the role of a catalyst. Devotees faith does not come in an instant. It does not come from blind "beliving". Faith or shraddha itself is a fruit of sadhna, and nurturing by the guru.

I agree some people are endowed with more shraddha than others, but spiritual path is about nurturing these qualities is'nt it. In guru's presance one gets a glimpse of the infinte, and in his presance divine aspects of our own self are nurtured. Gradually faith develops.

All the guru needs to do is stand there and look pretty, something Sri Sri seems to excel at.

Guru has to do so much more than be goody goody. He has to have heightened awareness and be in the self, while living in the world. If he does not have these qualities, he will not inspire people's faith. It is not easy at all. Guru's role is very subtle, but very important at the same time.

You think SSRS end is seeking publicity for himself...but it can also be the case that the publicity is a means to an end...which is to spread knowledge.

I understand that there is a need to be cautious, and there have been many scandals, so there needs to be a forum for dissent...which is what this website is for. At the same time, it will be a tragedy if you stop seekers from seeking.

Best Wishes!

 
At 6/10/2008 10:35 PM, Blogger Sedusa said...

>>For some, the very fact that a bunch of atoms and molecules hurled together can move around, breathe, feel, think and blog seems like a miracle.

and thank the universe for that miracle! but not SSRS, as it's certainly not his doing.

>>Well-you can ridicule India and the devotion of the people all you want-but you cannot destroy our culture...

the Indian subcontinent has brought some really great things to the world... SSRS is not one of them. how is it that critique of a self proclaimed spiritual leader is tantamount to an attack on an entire people, in your eyes? I don't see the logic in this line of thought at all. if anything, by linking the ENTIRE country of India to the deluded followers of this fellow, you yourself insult the intelligence of all Indians.

>>no matter how hard you try...we have been around for thousands of year unlike your infantile american society and you will see- we got the values that will pull us through a long term. Good luck in your cheap attempts to critique my country and its people's innocent attitudes!

¡Viva Bharata! down with spiritual power trips and those unfortunate enough to fall prey to them.

 
At 6/10/2008 10:42 PM, Blogger jody said...

It is a validation (though not complete) that this guru and this path does work.

Better than that, it is a validation that any guru – good or bad – and his practice will work, provided the one getting the practice is somewhat suggestible.

While the research on SK is not complete, published reserach in refreed journals does show improved brain function, lactate levels etc.

Tell that to the TM™ crowd. They've been generating faux science about their practice for decades.

the guru does play the role of a catalyst.

Only out of his station and how that is perceived by the devotee. It has nothing to do with any "powers" the guru is alleged to possess.

Faith or shraddha itself is a fruit of sadhna

Or the avarice of the guru.

and nurturing by the guru

Or the brainwashing.

In guru's presance one gets a glimpse of the infinte

Nope. In guru's presence, one makes a projection of the infinite.

in his presance divine aspects of our own self are nurtured.

More often, one's horrifically erroneous and occluding ideas about our own self are nurtured.

He has to have heightened awareness and be in the self, while living in the world.

A big-time guru just needs to put on a white robe, grow a beard, come up with vacuous sound bites and smile a lot.

it will be a tragedy if you stop seekers from seeking.

Actually, it's about the best thing I could ever do for them.

 
At 6/10/2008 11:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

the Indian subcontinent has brought Sedusa said:
" I don't see the logic in this line of thought at all. if anything, by linking the ENTIRE country of India to the deluded followers of this fellow, you yourself insult the intelligence of all Indians."

the logic is explained in the second anonymous post subsequent to the one from which you take the quote...

"look, 1) there are more people in india 2) Hence there are more preople in india deluded by superstition assuming some constant fraction globally
3)Your attack is on the expression of someone sharing an intimate story about their "tears of gratitude" and you generalise it to whole of Art of Living population which is a significant chunk of indian population and hence represents india.
4) Just like a bunch of headlines with Sri Sri in it proves that he is a fame hungry nonsaint, similarly all of your misleading attempts to misrepresent people's devotional emotiional outbursts as Sri Sri's self promotion equate to an attack on India's devotional culture-specifically the hindu belief that ascribes healings to the grace of Guru and God."

 
At 6/10/2008 11:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i feel this whole enterprise of bringing the wisdom of the east to west is a waste of time generating lot of half-ass misinterpretation
of things out of the cultural context. Perhaps you guys should stop looking at Indian masters and simply start enquiring yourself about the purpose of your life instead of trying to criticize a whole bunch of indian teachers on this blog...and sedusa, you will find why this blog is an insult to india in general when you look at the blogs which are hated and liked and the teachers which are hated and liked. majority of the liked are non-indians. Projecting itself to be a neutral pov, this blog is a heavily opinionated, hate-mongering and disrespectful of other people's religious beliefs and traditions!

 
At 6/10/2008 11:42 PM, Blogger jody said...

Projecting itself to be a neutral pov

That is a lie. I have never projected anything except my opinions, I've never claimed to be anything but just some jerk who thinks he knows, and anyone who doesn't like it can simply ignore me.

 
At 6/10/2008 11:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually, it's about the best thing I could ever do for them.

Hmm...so you don't just disbelieve a guru, you do not believe in a higher power, or a persons quest to embrace the divinity that surrounds them.

 
At 6/11/2008 12:03 AM, Blogger jody said...

you don't just disbelieve a guru

What are you talking about? I have a guru. In fact, I have a number of them, none of which are self-promoting fame hounds.

you do not believe in a higher power

Personally, I do. However, I would never expect anyone else to.

a persons quest to embrace the divinity that surrounds them.

A person's quest to embrace the divinity that they believe surrounds them is one thing, seeking to become what you already are right now is completely another. It's only when you stop seeking that find what has always been right under your nose.

 
At 6/11/2008 12:12 AM, Blogger Sedusa said...

your logic is still flawed. I do not think that a critique of say, christian televangelists is an attack on all americans just because a distressingly high number of them believe that they can be healed by touching their TV screens. america is full of gullible people just like everywhere else - if it were not so, SSRS wouldn't be getting anywhere in the US. it is sad that people fall for these fellows no matter what ethnicity they are. critiques of so-called "spiritual leaders" and their followers do not a cultural slur make.


>>i feel this whole enterprise of bringing the wisdom of the east to west is a waste of time generating lot of half-ass misinterpretation
of things out of the cultural context.

what the west doesn't need is the importation of money/power hungry "gurus" promoting their own hero worship. (I use quotes because I believe that these fame-chasers represent the antithesis of what a good Guru should be) it needs people who are deeply spiritual who spread their knowledge without turning into a cash machine or a circus.


>>Perhaps you guys should stop looking at Indian masters and simply start enquiring yourself about the purpose of your life instead of trying to criticize a whole bunch of indian teachers on this blog

Jody provides a much needed countermeasure to the spiritually rapacious and those who get sucked into their orbit. I'm personally doing fine with my self inquiry, but this does not mean I am blind to abuses of power and extravagant claims of divinity.

>>...and sedusa, you will find why this blog is an insult to india in general when you look at the blogs which are hated and liked and the teachers which are hated and liked.

I have read the vast majority of the existing entries, and I do not come to the same conclusion.

>>Projecting itself to be a neutral pov, this blog is a heavily opinionated, hate-mongering and disrespectful of other people's religious beliefs and traditions!

thank goodness there is some measure of free speech and the opportunity to critique so-called masters. if anything, these people who fly around the world collecting followers as so many sheep drag down the image of Sanatana Dharma in the eyes of thinking individuals WAY more than any critique of them can possibly ever accomplish.

 
At 6/11/2008 3:29 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

>>>At the same time, it will be a tragedy if you stop seekers from seeking.>>>

Quite on the contrary.. Jody does not stop people from seeking, but if he stops people from seeking in the wrong direction, then bravo!!

When diving into the realm of organisations, any organised truth-system becomes a sleeping pillow, and it corrupts the path of selfrealization. Because a guru, any guru, can only point, not walk your walk.. not be the FINAL TRAIN!! that takes you to heaven... He/she can only point.

My strong objection to AoL, is that some people, not all, stop seeking, out of misinterpretation; - out of surrendering to a person, thus making him more divine, more holy etc. And he allows it, he even benefits from it. People give away their autonomy, they become less innocent, and they start to limit their visions and acceptance. They even pay a lot for secondhand knowledge, not realizing the purpose should be firsthand wisdom.

If Sri Sri would start to state: look for your self, realize for your self, discover the wealth you are sitting on, and leave me when ready.. then I would applaud.

This is what J. Krishnamurti realized and this is what made him abandon his organisation.

Keep on looking closely...

 
At 6/11/2008 5:29 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

" if anything, these people who fly around the world collecting followers as so many sheep drag down the image of Sanatana Dharma in the eyes of thinking individuals WAY more than any critique of them can possibly ever accomplish."

Implying that the so many people in whose eyes they have brought in any degree of understanding and respect for Sanatana dharma or simply anyone who respects them is an unthinking individual? What are you trying to say here - " you are a "thinking individual" if you agree
with me and my opinions and "unthinking individual otherwise?"

"america is full of gullible people just like everywhere else "
who rely on scant opinions of opinions of other people's (1 in a 10000 as per Jody) perceived and sometimes projected negative experience hence giving - in his own words " negative nellies " like Jody a readership? Doesnt make sense to me!


I believe that america is full of people who believe in an individual's right to free expression and which is why people like you can get off criticising, and misrepresenting a select group of people's sacred beliefs and trying to bring about more hatred and anger for people

again in words of jody some one who - "fails to make a statement when the pope dies" - yell at him due to lack of statement, "is not a saint because he makes statements" on bomb blasts urging the religious crowds to stay calm in an attempt to subdue the local violence as most hindus in india respect him and his word means something to them! but this is a chance for you guys to call him incessantly blowing his own horn. So when he was not giving statements he was critiqued, when he started participating more and gave statements-in INDIAN media regarding INDIAN issues AFTER becoming a household name in INDIA in an attempt to subdue local violence caused by fundamentalists, AFTER he is more than famous- then, he is called a fame lusting politician by you guys-it just seems like incessant whining and complaining without much point-if you want to criticize anything more concrete like about specific things he teaches that are wrong-be my guest, i would be more than willing to listen, but as it stands this whole critique i am sorry to say is very suspicious. Note that there are other critiques on the blog about
the "Love Guru" for example which again is about indian religious teachers on indian soils which number close to 8 million but used to discredit the notion of indian teachers in general, and raising doubt, and encouraging hatred while cleverly giving an appearance of neutrality. As if all the religious leaders in all other countries are made of pure gold!!!! NOTE THE TARGET AND THE BIAS AGAINST INDIAN
SPIRITUALISTS! I am not justifying what those criminal saints do, all i am saying is some fraction of religious leaders are farcical everywhere, and that there is
an attack here on indian leaders which is of an overwhelmingly large fraction, which stems from their so called "self aggrandisation" which has its roots in the actions of the followers which is owing to the culture and traditions of indians.

The specific indian cultural belief which is under attack here, wittingly or unwittingly is where any teacher is considered as a form of god, mother is considered first form of god, where even trucks and trees and houses and books and people are honored and worshipped on specific days of the year.
The cultural expression of indians making their teacher holy is something they have every right to do, and they have been doing for centuries for all sorts of saints and people some of whom were publicly condemned due to political reasons-mahatma gandhi was even shot owing to his policies on the partition! Does that make him any less holy? there are people who worship him as a form of god-they have every right to do so! I consider it irrational to whine about something people do out of their own devotion and cultural conditioning and to present it as someone's hunger for fame and power-plain old "Wrong"
and unsubstantiated. The so called "insiders" who get irritated by this are mostly non-indians unaware of the centuries old traditional devotional society or westernised indians who are even ashamed to call themselves hindu. Others simply ask questions,
take what is good and move on-coz that is how india is!

Even from this critique, the good thing is the intent behind it-the idea that one should not keep one's eyes shut or go to the gurus expecting to get enlightened or self realised blindly-the guru is there to share some of the skills
like how the math teacher teaches calculus-he is simply someone who encourages the student, tells them to keep moving and sits down and helps do that odd problem in integration which the seeker cannot solve-heck i even consider my math teacher who introduced me to modern physics ideas as GOD and love him to death! Same for my parents-i sincerely believe that my parents are a form of god, and are dearer to me than other forms of god like yourself!

Does that make me gullible? No, its just a cultural thing! Some people hate others and assume that unless proven otherwise people are devilish, some other people assume that even if appearing otherwise there is divine in every heart!Who is to decide which is the "right" belief? its a belief for god's sake and not a theorem! An axiom cannot be proven-it is a starting point-and all you are saying in multiple ways on this blog is trying to prove your "beliefs"
not rational theorems.

The pope is loved by thousands of christians and his message to go "conquer" asian and african continent by destroying their culture does not invite any criticism from people like you but some one who is desparately trying to establish a bridge between religions and inspire people to create harmony rather than conflict-his decision to not invie trouble by getting caught up in any position invites criticism-heck any action of anyone who has not even met him, has just heard his name
or taken his class and gets better and decides to express themselves
invites a long and misrepresented critique calling it miracle mongering by Sri Sri whereas the poor dude is in all likelihood not even aware of the existence of the devotee and never has claimed anything more than "Grace has healing power" and that " Grace flows in abundance-those who have shall be given more and those who have whatever they have shall be taken away" quoting jesus-he who has no fear in empoweriing perfect strangers to represent his cause, sometimes leading to dire consequences as one can gather from reading some of the comments on this blog-and this guy is called a control freak? is this how a control freak works? look at Steve jobs and apple or Bill gates and microsoft if you want to see how successful control freaks can be! Is Art of living-which as the joke goes around consists of as many organisations as the size of the team, a representation for a "controlled" organisation? go get your facts right!

You know what i could call power and fame hungry? A teacher like eckhart tolle whose book publishing company pays who knows how much to have him appear on oprah and publicise his book and market himself as "self-realised " and enlightened -but is there any critique about him here? No because he is not indian and his following is mostly western...does he not do self aggrandisation, yes. Does he come under fire from you guys? no
perhaps because he isnt that famous yet. maybe the day he becomes a household name-there you will get another opportunity to further your message of hatred and mistrust instead of honest and careful inquiry and self-confidence and independence-which is another more balanced way to put what you are trying to say perhaps

in the US from what i here even education is a business. A teacher is a deliver of a product and a student is a consumer and a teacher can easily get in a lot of trouble if a student goes and says anything about him to the dean, so university teachers regularly suck up to students and water down content so as to win better evaluations and avoid being fired.
Where does the power lie and who is fame hungry? One person starts a blog to criticise another one
whom millions already know, calling the latter as "fame hungry"
who gets famous? the relatively unknown jody radzik who is now read by the millions of people who have heard about sri sri, and who having not much time to analyse the opinions in much detail, can take some of the opinions stated so viciously and so confidently as if they were rational and well backed comments! Who gets famous? Who is hungry for the power? Sri Sri? he already has both...doesnt he?
does he stoop to criticising other people as a source of his fame and power? or sharing whatever little he knows about breathing with war torn veterans and prisoners and terrorists in the hope that they will become stress free and violence free however naive that belief may sound-all i care is IT WORKS!!!!! have you gone and taught whatever you know about meditation to prisons or been able to inspire anybody to do so and reach out to such a diverse community of people ? very very easy to make up some dogma and idea from bits and pieces read here and there, not so easy to make a positive dent in the lives of even ONE person. I understand that your aim may be good-to warn off people who have enough doubts
not to get their reason clouded, but does it warrant being so bitter
and misrepresenting and twisting facts and turning them to use your own personal, one-sided view point as if it were anything more than an opinion?

 
At 6/11/2008 7:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A couple went to a guru and said "Guruji, we want a male child" and the Guru said "done!" They left. The next couple went to him and said "Guruji, we want a male child" and the Guru said "done!" and so on and so forth, adding to thousands who all wanted male issue.

After some time, 50% of those who asked did, indeed have a male child, and 50% (or thereabouts) did not.

Those couples who did cried and exclaimed their story to the world "My Guruji gave us a male child just as we asked! He is so Great! He is God!!!"

And those couples who had female children, left the Guruji, saying "he didn't do as we asked. he's not such a great Guru, let's go elsewhere."

This left the Guru with a very convenient group around him -- people who got what they wanted, by coincidence, or whatever, and who were terribly pleased with their Guru and willing to do whatever he said on any count, due to his "Greatness".

This story should be a lesson to all the dull witted people following Sri Sri Ravi Shankar around. Even with a PhD, one can be dull witted, btw.

The man in the e-mail was cured of a cancer which is cureable. There are many such stories in the medical journals of men getting cured of the same cancer. It is not incureable, but, rather, difficult. It is not a "miracle", but rather the "miracle" of modern science and the will power of that individual, and his general prior good health, which allowed him to withstand the harsh treatments used for cancer of that type.

Taking advantage of the innocent minds of good people to spread science as "miracles" of a guru is, indeed, criminal, imo.

If anyone here thinks that all Indians run around after fools like Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and the like, and that people like this man Jody are the only ones criticizing such charlatans, then that person should look into the numerous Indian blogs on-line, filled with intelligent, educated Indians who do not tolerate this nonsense. Those of us who understand the phenomenon of "God-men" know that those opportunistic men are using the large numbers of people in India, many of whom are uneducated, or, even when educated, clinging on to superstitions their mothers and fathers held fast in their hearts. These so-called "God men" (and women) will do and say and allow anything in furtherance of their causes to gain financially, and to elevate their families in society.

If anyone here who supports Sri Sri Ravi Shankar can show me one example of a rich Indian, with a good education, who has become such a "leader" like SSRS, then I will rethink what I have said. But I have not heard of one. People with money and education never need to go around fooling the poorer classes with falsehoods and claims of divinity. I don't think you will find anyone who is doing the "ashram business" in India, born into a truly cultured, monied, or educated class of people. They are all poor, superstitious, and have become clever enough to pull themselves out of their poverty. They are simply good businessmen. That's it. Well "good" may be kind. "Efficient" may be the correct word.

 
At 6/11/2008 8:54 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's only when you stop seeking that find what has always been right under your nose.

Indeed at a certain stage of spiritual evolution one finds that, and begins living in love and gratitude. When that realization has happened one does not "need" to stay with the guru, but people choose to do so because of love for the guru, and commitment to his goal of spreading knowledge, not because he is forcing one to.


Yes divinity already there around us, but my personal experience has been that it takes some sadhana to wake up to it. It is the final step in the spiritual path, not the first step. For people who are beginning guidance is required from one who has understood the truth himself. Otherwise there is a high probability of misunderstanding.

And personally I feel a healthy dose of spirituality is something essential in our times. Our education system does not provide us with this knowledge. Sri Sri is doing a great job by spreading knowledge and filling this void.

I understand the debate is not that. The debate is between what is known as "saguna upasana" and nirguna upasana. Conflict between worship of the form and formless. This is an very old debate. Generally when one starts out in the path, one sees divinity around the guru, but later one sees that divinity everywhere. The guru in name and form is the doorway....journey is from the form to the formless.

Yes there are people who get stuck in name and form of the guru. People are stuck at various points in the spiritual path.

All the advanced knowledge that he discusses - be it bhakti sutras or ashtavakra, is for going from the form to the formless. All that the connection with guru ensures the person is on the spiritual path.

There is a potential for exploitation in the relationship and there have been cases..so I agree a person starting out should tread carefully. But only in a few rare cases realization comes without being on the spiritual path for some time.

 
At 6/11/2008 9:04 AM, Blogger Bhaskar said...

If anyone here who supports Sri Sri Ravi Shankar can show me one example of a rich Indian, with a good education, who has become such a "leader" like SSRS, then I will rethink what I have said.

The "educated" class in India has been corrupted. The british education system wiped out study of our traditions from our curriculum, so spiritual teachers from middle class are rare.

You will find lot of teachers in AOL come from well educated middle class backgrounds. Sri Sri himself is from a middle class family.

True spiritual leaders are rare, so one really has few examples...but from history...Swami Sivanand (Divine Life society), was a doctor before he started teaching. Swami Prabhupad (Hare Krishna) was from an upper middle class background as well, He even had a business of his own.

 
At 6/11/2008 9:50 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jii huh!... to anon with mail starting with "if", ending with "opinion"... zz zzz zzz

That was a looooong one about what exactly? you lost me in the second paragraph!

Something about Eckhart Tolle not being famous enough?? I bought his book "The Power of Now", it cost me $14.. You know what!! it did more for my awakening than any AOL knowledge will ever do..

But everyone prefers his own cup of tea!! I prefer Twinings to PG-tips..

- InsideOut

 
At 6/11/2008 11:19 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jody, great work! As an AoL teacher, I was told how SK can cure cancer. So, one time a participant with cancer came to take my course. I contacted the ashram and was given many instructions. That this participant should do SK seperately, not with the rest of the class. That fresh flowers and a bowl of water and SRISRI's picture(all this would absorb the cancer vibrations) should be placed near him while he's doing SK and the teacher(me) should not remain in the room after the SK cassette has been switched on(because the teacher could get the cancer}. The ashram also told me that many patients had been cured of cancer. But my student died. When I questioned the ashram, they did not have a logical reply,saying it was the destiny of that man.
Jody, I love your work, and particularly this post.The comments by some of the bloggers are rational,sensible and logical. I can gather that a lot of AoL followers also read your blog. Hopefully,these posts will introduce them to some sense.

 
At 6/11/2008 11:23 AM, Blogger jody said...

The debate is between what is known as "saguna upasana" and nirguna upasana

Not around here. Personally, I am a bhakta first, a jnani second. These approaches are entirely compatible, as expounded by Shankara, and much later, by Ramakrishna.

Here the debate is about self-realization and what that entails for an individual. As outlined by the Upanishads, we are all the Atman, at all times, regardless of the state of our spiritual understanding. It follows that coming into self-realization, with its attendant spiritual understanding, doesn't add anything in the way of divinity, despite the overwhelming Hindu belief to the contrary. Big-time gurus like Sri Sri and Amma depend on these superstitions for their livelihood, either unaware or not caring of the fact that associating self-realization with these ideas of magical powers do more to prevent realization than all the drugs and hookers the world has to offer.

 
At 6/11/2008 1:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It follows that coming into self-realization, with its attendant spiritual understanding, doesn't add anything in the way of divinity, despite the overwhelming Hindu belief to the contrary.

On the contrary something wonderful happens when a devotee blossoms and comes to full self realization. The environment around him becomes purified and spiritual. It is not because of doership but it happens.

True, spiritual path is not about miracles or siddhis, and these are obstacles for the sadhak. At the same time it is true that around a realized individual healings happen which cannot be boiled down to placebo effect.

When somebody says SK cures cancer it is not said with by a scientific person. All that means is that "there have been cases where people have been cured of cancer by doing SK". Ramana Maharishi underwent an operation for cancer, even though people around him had been healed. Does not mean that the healing around him is not real.

Big-time gurus like Sri Sri and Amma depend on these superstitions for their livelihood

They are here for other people and to spread knowledge. Yes they do get "mewa" from seva, but their main aim is seva.

 
At 6/11/2008 2:22 PM, Blogger jody said...

The environment around him becomes purified and spiritual. It is not because of doership but it happens.

I'm sorry sir, but I'm quite convinced that is a myth. I base my opinion of the recollections of those I've come to know who live in self-realization. They have impressed upon me the fact that it doesn't make you, or anything around you, different than you and it already are. There are surely benefits to self-realization, but making a room somehow more peaceful is all in the mind of those who believe it.

At the same time it is true that around a realized individual healings happen which cannot be boiled down to placebo effect.

Your lack of faith in the placebo effect, the force that drives all the world's spirituality, is noted.

All that means is that "there have been cases where people have been cured of cancer by doing SK".

No it doesn't. It means there have been cases where folks have responded well to their medical therapy while they practiced SK. There are others who have died of cancer while doing SK. If you credit SK with the cures, you also have to implicate it in the deaths.

Ramana Maharishi underwent an operation for cancer, even though people around him had been healed.

There is nothing to say the healing is the result of anything but simple suggestion and the placebo effect.

Does not mean that the healing around him is not real.

The healing is real, it's where the healing comes from that folks are confused about.

their main aim is seva.

A Pollyannaish notion in my book. Not that they didn't start that way, just that it evolves into a business that must be supported by marketing to produce the funds necessary to run the business, making the aim all about keeping that business running.

 
At 6/11/2008 2:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

These approaches are entirely compatible, as expounded by Shankara, and much later, by Ramakrishna.

So you agree that upasana of the guru is a perfectly valid form of sadhana and leads to the same goal.
He has said many times, whoever you pray the prayers always go to the same source. I (and neither shankara nor ramakrishna) find anything wrong with praying to the guru. That is why the spiritual tradition in India is the way it is.

Yes the side effect of that is that people give money to guru out of gratitude. But IMO that is much better than giving money to tirupathi or any of these fabulously rich temples. It gets used in spreading knowledge and educating children.

Also, In the path of Bhakti, "miracles" happen, and at the same time many times "miracles" don't happen also. One has to accept both, but one always lives with the possibility that anything is possible with one's faith and grace of the master.

 
At 6/11/2008 2:52 PM, Blogger jody said...

So you agree that upasana of the guru is a perfectly valid form of sadhana and leads to the same goal.

Yes. Self-aggrandizing fame-hound gurus can be perfectly adequate as one's Ishta Devata.

I [don't] find anything wrong with praying to the guru.

As long as you are using their image as a place-holder for God. When you start believing they have God-like powers, you've just crossed over into fairy tale land.

In the path of Bhakti, "miracles" happen

I call that "weird shit." It happens to all of us, and I'm convinced it happens because of us. It's not the guru, it's the faith of the devotee. This is an extremely important distinction, because a belief in the power of the guru, while extremely effective as a foundational suggestion, is responsible for many of the superstitious myths which pollute Vedic culture.

one always lives with the possibility that anything is possible with one's faith and grace of the master.

I have never relied on my gurus for anything but a mantra and some good conversation. Then again, I didn't pick remote galaxies of self-generated glory to follow around like a teenaged-fan at the rock concert.

 
At 6/11/2008 3:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your lack of faith in the placebo effect, the force that drives all the world's spirituality, is noted.

What you conveniently label placebo effect is for us devotees a higher power at work, which we cannot comprehend. Just by labelling it as placebo you think you understand it...but it is a convenient label.

And to call yourself a bhakta, while having so little faith in the divine.

I am not being logical here....all i am doing is articulating where a bhakta comes from. Faith is an important element of spirituality and it can get crazy, especially when people get carried away by listening to others experiences and making up their own stories.

But airy-fair people not withstanding big and small "miracles" do happen to people on the spiritual path....this one or any one.

 
At 6/11/2008 4:15 PM, Blogger jody said...

What you conveniently label placebo effect is for us devotees a higher power at work, which we cannot comprehend.

We cannot comprehend Brahman as He exists as us. We can comprehend psychological processes which manifest as a result of spiritual belief.

And to call yourself a bhakta, while having so little faith in the divine.

I do have faith in the divine, I just believe She works in us by way of the placebo effect.

people get carried away by listening to others experiences and making up their own stories.

Another tremendous occlusion in spiritual culture, the equating of peak experiences with a state of spiritual realization. Experiences are nothing more than the litter along the spiritual path.

But gurus like Sri Sri use the idea of providing experience to sell themselves, essentially making much of their spiritual teaching little more than trash.

 
At 6/11/2008 8:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

But gurus like Sri Sri use the idea of providing experience to sell themselves, essentially making much of their spiritual teaching little more than trash.

Yes and sri sri has said that in many many talks...not to get stuck in some experiences you've had.

However the fact is many people have had authentic spiritual experiences and transformations. And while one must not hold on to one's experience good or bad, it is okay to talk about one's positive experiences to inspire people to come on to the spiritual path, so they can taste the reality that lies beyond experiences.

In any field, be it spirituality or economics, novices are not revealed the most complicated abstract truth...rather simple things they can digest. The more complicated and abstract knowledge is for later. You cannot fault the guru for giving a simple but approximate truth to novices.

 
At 6/11/2008 11:02 PM, Anonymous taodancing said...

If you want to do seva, go help those truly need your service: e.g. meals on wheels for the sick and disabled, shelters for the homeless, etc.

Seva for a big business (like Art of Living) making big money defrauding the public makes no sense to me.

 
At 6/12/2008 1:05 AM, Blogger jody said...

sri sri has said that in many many talks...not to get stuck in some experiences you've had.

And yet...

it is okay to talk about one's positive experiences to inspire people to come on to the spiritual path

You mean, get folks to share their experiences in the presence of the group so that a), they can believe they are making progress, b), they can get the positive mirroring they crave, the reason they've adopted Sri Sri as their space-daddy in the first place, and c), so Sri Sri can reinforce the idea that he and/or his techniques are responsible, as well as to sell folks on the idea that they will advance quickly through the advanced courses, after their bank accounts get tapped for the advance deposit.

so they can taste the reality that lies beyond experiences.

There is no such thing as a "taste" of the Atman. It's always here, always on. It cannot be perceived, it can only perceive itself. When that happens, the ahamkara is broken, and it's on. Your "tastes" are nothing more than self-generated fantasy fulfillment based on suggestions supplied by Sri Sri, again as a marketing ploy rather than a genuine attempt to help.

novices are not revealed the most complicated abstract truth...rather simple things they can digest.

Keep 'em stupid so they keep coming back to Sri Sri.

You cannot fault the guru for giving a simple but approximate truth to novices.

I can fault him for pouring gallons of nondual truth-occluding Kool-Aid down the throats of these "novices" in his attempts to build an empire.

 
At 6/12/2008 2:51 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi there, this upasana! - have no clue what that is.. could you explain it pls.

So if sri sri says that who ever you pray to, it kind of doesn't matter!!! In that case, a devil-worshipper will aslo reach that same source.. done with devotion it will even create "healings"!!

It does matter who & what you worship.. it has to do with the intrinsic level of purity in that which you worship. Sri sri might have been pure, but he seem to be clouding his past is some mysterious fog,- and I wonder why?

I can just as easily fall in awe with a pebble, a mountain, a stream or a singer etc. It is through that wonder and innocence something gets created. And this is what I believe happens around an enlightened master. He/she does transmit a certain purity of the essense that we all are parts - and that is why people fall in love with a guru.

So the question will be, - how pure is Ravi?

 
At 6/12/2008 3:27 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"novices are not revealed the most complicated abstract truth...rather simple things they can digest."

HOLY COW-DUNG! THIS is PROFANE.. some of us have been spiritual since early childhood, and I will tell you that I find AoL kicking and screamin' in the kindergarden of spirituality, compared to other teachings. THIS is keeping it INFANTILE. THIS is looking DOWN from ABOVE... this is what I find SICKENING with the AoL. Run away as fast as you can - this kind of thinking does not come from an enlightened source - glad my doubt got cleared completely.

Some sensitive people see everyone as enlightened (children and adults alike), some people sense the wind and the trees as manifestations of the divinity surrounding every atom of exsistence. As you align with the source of being, that is 'enlightened being', then your whole world gets enlightened and you have NO NEED WHAT SO EVER FOR THE STUPID DE-GRADED KNOWLEDGE that is simply 'stolen' from ancient scriptures that gets poisoned by people who can think this way..

 
At 6/12/2008 6:05 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

they can get the positive mirroring they crave

Well experience sharing inspires novices only. People who are firmly set on the path are beyond experiences.

There is no such thing as a "taste" of the Atman.

For sure, and one can get even more technical till one comes to realize words are inadequate....some (buddhists) may even argue that atman does not exist. This conversation is not about that. By taste I mean "anubhuti" and insight which comes when past samskraras are cleared by sadhna.

I can fault him for pouring gallons of nondual truth-occluding Kool-Aid down the throats of these "novices" in his attempts to build an empire.

That is your (twisted) interpretation. Free speech being what it is...you have every right!

 
At 6/12/2008 6:41 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

To Bhaskar,

you said "You will find lot of teachers in AOL come from well educated middle class backgrounds. Sri Sri himself is from a middle class family."

Not true -- he is from a destitute family who fled Tamil Nadu to find work in Bangalore. His father dabbled in this and that, broke some laws, made some money doing so, offended a lot of people, and then got government land (purportedly for a school) and put his son in the Ashram Business. You know only the rest -- they became middle class, and are now rich as a result of his "Business". You obviously don't know the family very well, or anyone who really knew them "when".

As for those who are educated and with SSRS, many are having terrible family problems as a result of their association with this man (I know some of them). The association itself has caused mental imbalances and in some cases nearly caused divorce. Many were already having marriage or kid problems, and so ran away to SSRS for "help". He got their money. You won't find any happy, well-settled, prosperous people really close to him, or if you do, you will find it short lived. They see the folly in it fairly quickly.

You will find young men around him who left their homes, broke their families' hearts, and refused to marry as a result of SSRS's company. Some of them were, indeed, from very good homes/families, but, again, they were mentally imbalanced, and so left, ran away from their responsibilities. SSRS encouraged them to do so. You can accept this or not. But it is the truth. I know of several cases, and the families as well.

you also said:

"from history...Swami Sivanand (Divine Life society), was a doctor before he started teaching. Swami Prabhupad (Hare Krishna) was from an upper middle class background as well, He even had a business of his own."

Both are dead. Please tell me of one such example today. Also, Swami Prabhupad's endeavor was just that -- a business. It still is, as anyone who travels in international airports will tell you -- those people never leave you alone until you buy their books.

 
At 6/12/2008 10:09 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Some of them were, indeed, from very good homes/families, but, again, they were mentally imbalanced, and so left, ran away from their responsibilities. SSRS encouraged them to do so. You can accept this or not. But it is the truth."

End of critical thought for you-you already seemed to be closed to examination. Whether you dogmatise Sri Sri or you dogmatise your own belief rendering it unquestionable-both are in the same boat. To the degree that enquiry is allowed and transparency is encouraged, there is a dialog, a possiblity to investigate the truth of the matter. The moment you start imposing your personal belief touting it as "truth" you stand the risk of what happens to lot of these people who get damaged by their own dogmatisation.

I think Jody would agree that as long as there is enquiry and trnsparency there is some hope for the authenticity of the master...
dont you think jody? what , as per you are the ideal tenets of a guru - cozs it looks like if you were around in adi shankara's time you would have criticised him as well for miracle mongering...

 
At 6/12/2008 10:17 AM, Anonymous taodancing said...

What better way for conmen to make a fortune than the ashram guru business. They can teach some mantra japa (like TM) or some modified kriya pranayam (like AoL) for a short while, then get free slave sevaks and volunteer teachers to do all the work and handing over the big fees collected to the godman gurus. The followers were fooled into believing they are earning merit or grace of their godman guru by their devoted slavery. What other business you get unpaid slaves doing whatever they are told day and night, never question anything!

 
At 6/12/2008 2:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

" In that case, a devil-worshipper will aslo reach that same source.. done with devotion it will even create "healings"

Way to go using twisted logic. The statement was about saguna and nirguna upasana. Whichever form is worshipped with devotion bears fruits.

Please understand that this discussion in the context of hindu spiritual traditions. guru is the ishta in many traditions (including shankara), while some traditions worship is of a diety.

 
At 6/12/2008 2:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

THIS is looking DOWN from ABOVE...

Not it is not...this is being a good teacher and introducing concepts slowly and gradually, and making sure they get it.

While in one's mind there is no duality, the world outside is full of dualities..teacher student, parent child. One should have the bhaav that we are all the same, but at the same time, one has to navigate the world of duality as well.

ANd i'm sure you are the only person in the world who has been brought up with a spiritual upbringing. Only you can interpret the upanishads and your interpretation is the only correct interpretation. FYI, SSRS is well regarded amongst his peers as possessing a firm grasp of vedanta. But maybe you should go and teach him, and others coz you obviously are the only one who has studied scriptures from childhood and know better.

 
At 6/12/2008 2:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It still is, as anyone who travels in international airports will tell you -- those people never leave you alone until you buy their books.

So if they give you one for free like the gideons people it becomes a spiritual endeavor. Books cost money, they are trying to spread knowledge...their methods are a bit unpalatable to many, but I don't doubt their intent.

 
At 6/12/2008 3:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Not it is not...this is being a good teacher and introducing concepts slowly and gradually, and making sure they get it"

Making sure he gets you sucked in, with a long straw down your wallet.
Good for you.. if it makes you happy. Don't you ever feel a little rebel inside of you. It is quite natural to rebel against authority, be it parents, school, teachers etc.

"While in one's mind there is no duality,... " - you've got it wrong. Have you heard about no-mind? The purpose of meditation is to bring mind to a standstill, bringing the incessant duality to one-pointednes.

Do you know that by meditating you can find that treasure of gold you have been sitting on all the time you were in Aol. That joy and that bliss that comes with this realization is unmistakable. It is all yours, right now. Not after so many courses, so much knowledge, so much being in the presence of the guru. Try it..

I have simply realized (still am), by questioning, by popping so many illusions (AoL being one of them) -and the more illusion-popping and pain, the more stillness, joy and peace.

You know who is my greatest teacher? - only one - LIFE with its winds of change.

 
At 6/13/2008 12:26 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is my experience with Sri Sri. I hadnt known anything remotely about spirituality or anything. I was a happy person, doing well for myself. I did the art of living course, And i ended up listening to SriSri's talks on ashtavakra gita. It raised me to such a level of bliss, and an unshakable strength in daily life. So much of peace within...anyone who has taken some sadhana on the path can realize that. For me it was sri sri who made me see this unity. That is the true miracle. You might be seeing other aspects of promotion. But if He is promoting this knowledge and brings this experience of the infinite within people , why not this ?

 
At 6/13/2008 11:15 AM, Blogger yomamma said...

" In that case, a devil-worshipper will aslo reach that same source.. done with devotion it will even create "healings"

Way to go using twisted logic. The statement was about saguna and nirguna upasana. Whichever form is worshipped with devotion bears fruits.

Actually Hindu lore is full of stories of Demons and thieves who attained God. And they weren't trying to achieve God.there's an important truth there i think.

 
At 6/14/2008 5:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Don't you ever feel a little rebel inside of you. It is quite natural to rebel against authority, be it parents, school, teachers etc. "

What makes you think seekers don't question. It is just your arrogance that you think you are superior to others. Somehow just because you have doubts that others don't have you are intelligent and they are stupid.

There are more questions than you can even imagine. But after a certain point only the important questions remain...and (maybe) later even they fall off and change into wonder

 
At 6/14/2008 5:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Making sure he gets you sucked in, with a long straw down your wallet.

Here is another perspective. How much are you willing to pay to learn say economics 101. If its a reasonably good school, for undergraduate you pay about $2000 per course.

Don't you think spiritual knowledge is valuable ? If you value it, is there any problem in paying money to learn it from a good school, and giving it time and commitment.

For people who don't value it, it might seem like a waste of money. For people who value it, money spent on education is money well spent.

 
At 6/16/2008 9:25 AM, Anonymous Betty said...

The only real "education" you are going to get by giving money to AOL or the TM organization or any other big time spiritual scam is that "spiritual knowledge" cannot be bought at any price. The real education they offer is that your innocence and sincerity are seen as signs of weakness and that you are ripe for a fleecing. Believe in your self. Sri Sri is the scum on your own pond of pure existence.

 
At 6/17/2008 12:09 AM, Anonymous S. said...

"The real education they offer is that your innocence and sincerity are seen as signs of weakness and that you are ripe for a fleecing."

I hope I never become cynical like you. Any seeker, who has been on the spiritual path has enough will power to make money whenever he desires. Making money is not a big deal. Living in devotion and celebration is.

 
At 6/17/2008 9:48 AM, Anonymous betty said...

anon said...
I hope I never become cynical like you.

I am not cynical. I am simply know first hand about these kinds of groups. Whatever is true you will give to yourself. Also, if it is so easy for "seekers who have been on the spiritual path" to make money, why is the town of Fairfield, Iowa which is the TM stronghold in the US and where I saw your precious Sri Sri for the first time strutting like a little peacock, so full of impoverished meditators? Why do these kind of gurus always resort to slimy methods of getting large sums of money? Why are so many of their close supporters on the cutting edge of money making schemes that often result in large losses for those at the bottom of the pyrimid while those at the top get rich?

Instead of baby talk, why not find out what you're talking about, child.

 
At 6/17/2008 8:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"why is the town of Fairfield, Iowa which is the TM stronghold in the US and so full of impoverished meditators? "

I have no idea why that is...I have not met these people. I can only speak from my experience. Spirituality is not against capitalism. On the contrary one needs faith to do anything, and spiritual practices builds that faith. To say it has helped me a lot is an understatement. Maybe it is because of growing up in India, I have learned to integrate spiritual and worldly life.

I don't know. What I do know is that spiritual knowledge is valuable, both in spiritual and worldly pursuits.

As far as me being a child goes...it could also be that, you have become too rigid in your ideas and opinions. I have seen enough of the world, and spiritual organizations, to be aware of their pitfalls, I am not saying obstacles and traps are absent in the spiritual path. At the same time I not coming from a position of naievity, but genuine faith.

 
At 6/18/2008 11:54 AM, Anonymous betty said...

anon said... I not coming from a position of naievity, but genuine faith.

..........

Your faith sems shallow when you speak in platitudes and declare that someone who stands up and points out the pitfalls in so called spiritual organizations like Ravi Shankar's is cynical. You said, "I hope I never become cynical like you." You don't know me. This kind of faith is very close to self righteousness.

 
At 6/18/2008 3:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

to betty:

lets not complain about self-righteousness...this (and most blogs) are highly opinionated, where opinion is regarded as truth.

I called you a cynic because you seem to think that all spiritual organizations (except the one you belong to) are scams. There are those that are scams, and those that are genuine. I'm not saying that all spiritual are bad, or all are good. organizations

And who is to be the arbiter of what is genuine and what is not. In most fields one's peers and the media hold one accountable...not opinionated bloggers like you and jody who are heavily biased against people who are doing good work in spreading knowledge in an increasingly materialistic and hedonistic world.

 
At 6/20/2008 6:48 AM, Anonymous betty said...

Bite me.

 
At 6/21/2008 12:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If any Westerner voices scepticism about " merchants of Nirvana " of today's world ,they are branded as Christian missionaries out to malign hinduism.I am getting tired of this crying wolf tactics.

Someone like Jody is worthy of more admiration as is endowed with unconditioned thinking sans herd mentality.

Ashtavakra Samhita and Yoga Vaasishtam did not spring forth from ravishankars.

A Thinnanaar was endearingly called " Kannappa" and passionately embraced by Lord Ssiva not because of any Pranayama kriyas or charities & donations and peace peddling industries or missions.

 

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