Saturday, December 05, 2009

Another AoL Inner Circle Defection

File under: Gurubusting, Satscams and The Siddhi of PR

A few days back, we were notified about this fine work: Confessions of a Guraholic, the stories of an inner circle follower of Sri Sri Ravi Shankar who just got fed up being fed horse manure by Sri Sri, in what is apparently an ever-increasingly desperate effort to keep people from leaving him. We'll let these words speak for themselves:
Sri Sri taught one had to transcend the intellect in order to reach the Self. It is in all the Hindu scriptures. However, unlike the scriptures, the AoL regarded the intellect as the cookie monster. If one questioned or doubted anything regarding the movement or the Master, one was accused of being “too intellectual. Drop the intellect!,” or “too in the head.”

For example, if someone raises questions about something that makes no sense, that person is considered to be "too in the head, too intellectual!" The person would be told to drop the mind. "You think too much. You have such a big ego. You will never transcend the ego like that.”

In fact, Ravishankar accused me several times of many things I did not do, not even in my dreams! He even accused me of encouraging a “poor boy” leave the organization when in fact the boy was encouraging me to leave!

In one occasion, I confronted him about these false accusations, without any hold back. He got violently upset (he does not like to be confronted). It became “bloody”. Someone else who was in the room, later confessed he wanted to hide under the table. He could not understand how I could speak to him that way. I gave him a dirty look. He instead laughed and said, “Don’t you see? I know it is all lies! He knows they are lies! Don’t you see? He just wants you to agree with him!”

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27 Comments:

At 12/05/2009 7:23 PM, Anonymous hippie said...

All these Fraudulent Cult Masters are all so similar!

"Drop the Mind" is also a big thing with Paramahamsa Nithyananda Swami.

Inspiration may be beyond mind, but never contradict it. This saying was attributed to Swami Vivekananda.

 
At 12/06/2009 8:26 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The New Yorker author of the Siddha Yoga article was also told that she "Thinks too much".

 
At 12/06/2009 10:59 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/06/us/06charity.html?pagewanted=2&_r=1&sudsredirect=true

Time to turn these cults inot the FBI & IRS for defrauding the public.

 
At 12/06/2009 12:16 PM, Blogger Stuart said...

The kernel of truth in this "drop the intellect" teaching... is that we're faced with some fundamental issues in life that we don't understand. What am I? Why am I alive? How should I treat others? Intellectual efforts are futile with respect finding satisfying answers to some core questions.

Or maybe not futile. Maybe we have no choice but to keep trying to understand everything, till we're exhausted. And at the point of that exhaustion, some people are ready to trash the intellect as worthless. Anti-intellectual spiritual groups are filled with people at this stage.

It's a case of swinging from one extreme to another. Our intellect can't understand everything. But it's an over-reaction to claim that we can understand nothing.

Maybe we'll never gain an understand of our True Self... yet rationality is still vital in other situations (like when we're trying to sniff out lies). If we willfully ignore rationality, don't we also lose the ability to distinguish fact from fantasy?

Along with Vivekananda and hippie above... I'd take no interest in any meditation-, religous-, spiritual-group that contradicts rationality and scientific method etc.

It's true that with some questions, all I can do is admit that I don't know (see Socrates). That's a different matter from denying the usefulness of intellect in general.

Honestly admitting those things I don't know is one thing. It's another to believe that I should adopt stupidity as an overall life strategy.

Stuart Resnick

 
At 12/06/2009 2:31 PM, Anonymous ellen said...

'Honestly admitting those things I don't know is one thing. It's another to believe that I should adopt stupidity as an overall life strategy.'

Well said, Stuart.

 
At 12/06/2009 3:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Healthy people leave groups like AoL. They don't stick around to be abused. I have had some experience with that particular group, although not at the inner circle or even outer circle level, merely as a participant. Most of the people seemed very nice but somewhat cowed. Some of the American teachers seemed to have serious personality problems, ie could not form honest relationships, into their own egos, difficult to work with, some might even be classified as sociopaths. AoL seems to want people who are psychologically damaged, who will not question anything, who will jump through whatever hoop is held up for them. If you have to believe that some guy in a dress is god (or The Avatar--and not in a computer-generated way), run don't walk away. If you are asked to give a lot of money to a group, run don't walk away. The breathing and meditation was good, the ideas--a bunch of bull. Loved what the author said about his/her defection. From my short observation, it all rang true.

 
At 12/06/2009 3:33 PM, Blogger Chris said...

"The kernel of truth in this "drop the intellect" teaching... is that we're faced with some fundamental issues in life that we don't understand. What am I? Why am I alive? How should I treat others? Intellectual efforts are futile with respect finding satisfying answers to some core questions."

True! But you have to have it to drop it, just as with other schoolings where you have to be taught the information before you know where reality breaks from expectations.

 
At 12/06/2009 11:52 PM, Anonymous Anita said...

yeah i know that the inner circle in aol is full of the nuttiest people around.. but their courses are good at the individual level to keep calm and all and its a good support system anywhere in the world the rest is a bunch of crap.. some ppl are genuniely nice and making a difference in the world thru the aol projects....and also in the outer circles and all ppl are generallyof good values and honest its only in the inner circles and full time teachers that are cowed.. its essentail to be balanced while doing these things.. even in aol i do attend the followup sessions once in a while whenever i feel like i need to do the long kriya and it has always helped me stay focus(the meditation and all.. )and politics and bullshit around the founder is there in every organisation....only that the meditation is good anf yoga is good i might do the adv course only for the meditation and yoga again and again..

 
At 12/06/2009 11:52 PM, Anonymous Anita said...

oh yeah its all about the intellect.....an dthe mind the part 2 is to 2 go beyond the petty nature of the mind...

 
At 12/07/2009 1:29 AM, Anonymous hippie said...

These exploitative cult gurus don't just say "drop the mind" with big life questions that the mind may not have the answers.

Nithy, the self-procliamed Paramahamsa Nithyananda Swami Osho copycat. also base his business model on AoL. wanted his followers to drop the mind about when and ask on questions about his cut-throat business. An example of this was charging $1000 USA for his so called Mission Training in September 2007. Those not allowed into the main program were denied refunds, they were told to do seva selling books and handing out fliers to show their "true devotion". Who gets into the main program who would be sent out to seva was rather arbitrary!

There was no formal test to decide who would be allowed into the program with Nithy in the main hall. Some ashramite say that Nithy had made his decision by reading our energies. What kind of bullcrap was that!

When pointed that this was unfair, we were told to "drop our minds", we were lectured trying to "do business with the master".

Drop your mind, work day and night as devoted a slave to the cult master. Made huge $$$$$$$$$ for his business empire. Ask no questions, drop your mind.....you may be rewarded with "Enlightenment"!

Never again would I volunteer for any organization that charge big money for its programs, even if it classifies itself as non-profit.

 
At 12/07/2009 8:47 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

AOL is a clone of the TM org, where She She learned what little he knows, which is how to delude people and get their energy and money. Maharishi was a master at that. People in the TMO say very much what Anita says. If you just practice the techniques, you will be OK. If you go deeper into the organization, there is a chance of being damaged. Why take the risk. Everything he teaches can be foundd free of charge.

 
At 12/07/2009 9:29 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

>>"Honestly admitting those things I don't know is one thing. It's another to believe that I should adopt stupidity as an overall life strategy."<<<


a great t-shirt slogan, wall poster or bumper sticker...condense it a little, Stuart...too funny! and thanks. it's one of the best things you've ever come up with!

older/ wiser

 
At 12/07/2009 9:55 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jody
This is a major scandal going in India right now. Asaram Bapu a famous godman has been accused of murder:

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/Asaram-Bapu-accused-of-attempt-to-murder/550799

This is the ashram's defence:
http://www.ashram.org/ashram/Press/tabid/364/Default.aspx

More and more skeltons are coming out of the closet.

 
At 12/08/2009 9:41 AM, Anonymous Nitya Bose said...

This is a major scandal going in India right now. Asaram Bapu a famous godman has been accused of murder:

---->>>>

Thats just political farce. Asaram is a proclaimed BJP man and is in gujarat so these combinations work against him. Not that he is a great guru, but certainly not the kind congress wants to make out of him.

 
At 12/08/2009 2:00 PM, Anonymous hippie said...

TM is nothing more than silent mantra japa. TM added superstitious marketing secrecy selling the techique for thousands.

The basic TM cost $400 at the time I learned it about 1984. After I took it, I realized it is nothing more than the mantra meditation one could learn for free or for a small donation.

Now the TM intro technique is over $2000 last I check.

There is no need to waste your money on a cult. Find a good yoga center near you if u want to learn pranayam. If want it free, try Youtube.

 
At 12/12/2009 9:50 PM, Blogger Darin said...

Who knows why people follow these cults. They could be filling a void in ones life. Or the leaders could be appealing to them and they believe if they follow the leaders they will gain super natural powers. One thing is for sure telling someone to drop the mind is classic cult indoctrination. It leaves open a door if an follower were to question something they will be told to drop the mind.

 
At 12/14/2009 1:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Asaram Bapu is an ordinary spiritual teacher just that he is very successful and has been around for a long time. He knows politics quite well but made an erroneous judgement this time and bet his all on the BJP. Now the Congress along with the Indian Evangelical Crusade(they are running a 30 billion dollar campaign to convert India to the path of Jesus and destroying Hindu culture by projecting bad apples like Asaram as what Yoga and Hinduism is all about is a part of their daily activity) and the Muslim clerics(after all they are on a Jihad to convert India into a Caliphate) are after him. The charges against him are typical political charges, designed to hurt his credibility and reduce his following, but hard to prove in court. There is no escape from Gurus in Indian politics. Every Indian politician on the ground knows their power to influence elections. Also, culturally and historically, very few kings in India ever survived without the blessing of a Guru. Especially in the Western region of India, where Asaram Bapu has maximum followers, it was spiritual Gurus who made ordinary poor young boys like Shivaji and many others including the various Rajput rulers in Rajasthan into powerful rulers and empire makers, so the legend of the king-maker Guru has endured and is likely to remain for times to come.

 
At 12/14/2009 10:54 PM, Anonymous Naveen said...

"so the legend of the king-maker Guru has endured and is likely to remain for times to come."

Yes thats the unfortunate part. We have had rasputins like Dhirendra Brahmachari (who was Indira Gandhi's Yoga teacher) and Chandraswami (who consulted many Indian prime ministers and also doubled up as an arms dealer and pimp).

 
At 12/14/2009 11:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

'People' want to believe - they can't help it. The 'person' is a belief and it needs support from other beliefs. Sri Sri is obviously caught up in some 'Jesus complex' and many find that appealing. 'People' want to be saved and they love to have an Idol. The masses love all that superstar crap.
When it comes to a direct message about your own true nature - it is direct and potently revealing.
These characters like Sri Sri and Adya love to control the seekers and they keep their flocks intact by offering methods and practices and they pretend to HAVE something that the seeker wants. It is the easiest thing to fool most seekers with crappy concepts. They want to BELONG to something. The naked truth of WHAT they truly are is far to confronting to the believed in 'entity' that they THINK that they are. Sri Srii has his place and it could not be any other way. It is the taste for what is true in the seeker that leads them to freedom. It is not some guru.
-Gilbert - of the Urban Guru Cafe Podcast.

 
At 12/15/2009 12:37 PM, Anonymous Ally said...

Sadhguru of isha also insists we must drop the mind and intellect.

Assuming our attempts to understand the nature of reality using the mind haven't been successful (that we know of)...

Does this automatically mean using non-mind will be any more successful? Why is it an 'either/or'?

If we don't understand our own mind, how can we put so much faith (or belief) in the non-mind?

 
At 12/25/2009 10:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Long time no see.

Merry Christmas and a Very Happy New Year to Jody , Chuck , Stuart , Betty , OTOH and whole of America particularly WHITE man & woman for uncompromisingly, fearlessly, paving the way for Critical , commonsensical Thinking !!!

Thus liberating me. GOD BLESS AMERICA !

 
At 12/27/2009 1:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Since ancient times the pursuit of "enlightenment" in India has always meant a fairly austere regimen (ascetic mode life, lots of yoga practice, lots of meditation)

It's only now that it has come to mean running after a "godman" ( membership in a cult, nonsensical aggrandizement of a person, expensive trinkets and junkets, and all kinds of "feel-good" psychobabble)

These guys ( collectively called "weird-a-nanda") are only catering to a market that demands spiritual pursuit on the quick and easy ( though not cheap !)

 
At 12/28/2009 12:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

anon @1:42 PM

Jody deserves CONSIDERABLE credit for doing this gurubusting in Wodehouse+StephenLeacock style.

In the late seventies an American was shown a heavily praised hindi movie of a 'renowned' director with a lot of hoohaa preamble. I still cannot help laughing at the simple question he asked after enduring it ( with its mandatory song , dance routines ):

" She being a cancer patient has to be taken to a competent doctor for treatment. Which happens in the last scene. And you sing dance wail romance dream for more than 2 hrs to take this decision. Is this a blockbuster. Idiotic."

For making this remark he was called " racist , insensitive to indian culture blahblah".

Time at times does seem to stand still.

Why is it we think in needlessly convoluted ways. I laugh at myself because after waxing & waning with different diets at last an American gave a SIMPLE advice that I had lost for aeons:

" Eat what you want".

 
At 12/29/2009 11:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"...and whole of America particularly WHITE man & woman for uncompromisingly, fearlessly, paving the way for Critical , commonsensical Thinking !!!

Thus liberating me. GOD BLESS AMERICA !"

No doubt with thinking like that America DOES needs God's blessings. And if this is 'liberation', don't you think un-liberation was better?

- Freefall

 
At 12/30/2009 12:49 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks to Jody & America , now my idiocy has been replaced by a burnished intellect. Hence freefall , your insipid verbal pyrotechnics I spurn with contempt !

You are free to fall.

 
At 1/03/2010 5:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Honestly admitting those things I don't know is one thing. It's another to believe that I should adopt stupidity as an overall life strategy."


a great t-shirt slogan, wall poster or bumper sticker...condense it a little, Stuart...too funny! and thanks. it's one of the best things you've ever come up with!

Yeah, kind of like following two teachers who rape their students.

Well said:

"Honestly admitting those things I don't know is one thing. It's another to believe that I should adopt stupidity as an overall life strategy."

 
At 3/25/2010 5:56 AM, Blogger sunthosh said...

Without knowing what is mind, how anyone can drop it. Mind is not a thing which can be dropped. Man and the world's existence is dependent on the mind. If mind is there then only man and world is present. Absent of mind absent of man and the world.

Man and his experience of the world ceases to exist without the mind.Therefore, there is a need to analyze the mind, before telling others to drop it.

 

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