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The Lawsuit is Over … and We Won!

June 19, 2012
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by Skywalker

The Art of Living Foundation US and the Does of the lawsuit filed by the Art of Living have reached a settlement agreement. Although Klim and I believe we would have prevailed in this case, the settlement agreement is so overwhelmingly favorable to us that there was no purpose in continuing to litigate.

What did I agree to give Art of Living under this settlement agreement? Two things:

  1. I agreed to freeze this [Beyond Art of Living] blog, something that I have been wanting to do for a while anyway. That means that every single word will remain as it stands now, but it will be closed for new posts or comments. Nothing prevents me or any other person from starting up a new blog critical of AOL, as my old Master Obi-Wan has already done here. I may leave a comment or two on his new blog, but I choose not to be a part of it. I want to move on, but it makes me happy to see the important work started by Klim carried on there.
  2. I agreed to publish a “joint statement” on my blog that informs readers of the settlement agreement. (See below).

So what did I give them? Basically nothing. What did they give us?

Everything.

AOLFUS agrees to drop its lawsuit with prejudice. That means they can NEVER again prosecute me or any other person associated with either KLIM’s blog or this blog for anything that was published on those blogs. Nobody’s identity was disclosed as part of this litigation (or settlement), despite all of Art of Living’s efforts. AOLFUS also dismissed with prejudice a related case they recently filed against another ex-aol teacher.

They pay their own attorney’s fees. And they pay my attorney’s fees.

What has AOL gained?

Nothing.

No doubt they will try to spin this as a victory, in that I agreed to freeze this blog. It will be painfully obvious to anyone except the most die-hard devotees that they have in fact lost this litigation. There is nothing in the agreement that prevents me or any defendant from making any comments, or publishing anything we wish to publish, on other blogs, or to create new blogs. I am done blogging -of my own free will, mind you- but I promise to drop by Obi-Wan’s blog and comment once in a while. And should you wish to contact me for any reason, I will check my e-mail regularly.

Why did AOL decide to sue us? Was it because we published the Kriya Notes? I think that was just an excuse for them to go after us. I think their primary goal all along was to silence the criticism of Ravi and AOL. They sued us for defamation and for “trade libel,” i.e. disparaging AOL’s “product,” the teachings of Ravi Shankar. They not only sought damages, but they sought a court injunction that would shut down the blogs entirely. The Court threw out the defamation and trade libel claims early in the case, and quite clearly indicated that it would not be appropriate to issue an injunction shutting the blogs down entirely.

A self-proclaimed enlightened master claiming to be the embodiment of human perfection cannot tolerate anyone criticising him, and neither can his devotees. Now it seems they will have to anyway. What will he tell his teachers on the next Teacher’s refresher Meeting? I am sure we will know soon, from a comment on Obi-Wan’s blog. Someone always sees through the BS and lets us know.

Below are the most important documents of this litigation, documenting how seven of the original eight causes of action in the Complaint were ultimately dismissed by the court, until only the trade secret case against Skywalker remained. It also shows how the Court refused to allow AOL’s attempts to use subpoenas and legal discovery to learn our identities.

Having won the right to bring the trade secret case to trial, why has AOL decided to settle now? For one thing, the Court declined to allow the disclosure of my identity. Thus I would have gone to trial anonymously. This was an important precedent for the freedom to speak anonymously. It also made it very difficult for Art of Living to intimidate me into closing down the blog.

Second, maybe they finally realized that they would likely lose a jury trial on the alleged trade secrets. Should that happen, the Kriya Notes – a mix of cult mythology and self-explanatory banalities – will be released to the public domain. Then the whole world will see the Emperor with no clothes on.

AOL has made up a myth that these Kriya notes contain “sacred knowledge” and thus should be read only by the chosen few. That is just a way to lure people to Teacher’s Training, promising them secrets untold to the public, and afterwards a way of controlling them. Through this blog I believe I made my point that ‘the Emperor has no clothes’, and that I have been vindicated in that position by the outcome of this lawsuit.

By settling, the question remains open whether the Kriya Notes and other documents that were briefly published on this blog in the summer of 2010 are entitled to any legal protection as “trade secrets.”

Well, enough of that. Let it be known, that in the battle of Guru’s Grace versus Common Sense and Law, the latter wins.

To all of you who expected the Guru’s Magical Powers to overcome this Evil Attempt to Obfuscate the Light of Truth: He failed. His Powers are limited. Maybe even imaginary? Maybe he is just a dude, charismatic and with some wisdom -and with a huge need for power and adoration?

Read the case files, and judge for yourself. Having gone through those, and this blog… if you are still having faith in the Guru, I suggest you watch this movie and read this book.

One question still haunts me: how come it took me so long to see Art of Living for the cult it is, Ravi as cult leader? I take pride in my intellect. I should not have been so easily fooled. One answer to that question is obvious: blogs like this one didn’t exist back then. I actually remember googling ”Art of Living Sri Sri Ravi Shankar critique scam” back then. Nothing came up.

Today, people can make informed choices.

These are the highlights of the lawsuit:

It started with this notice from the Indian AOL.
Later, AOL in USA filed an official complaint, and subpoenaed Google and WordPress to reveal our identities, in order for them to prosecute us for defamation, copyright breaches, trade libel and for revealing ”trade secrets”.

Following are the highlights of the case:

Here is the Court’s decision (Doc. 83) in June 2011 in which the Court threw out the Defamation and Trade Libel claims, but kept the Trade Secret claims. As well there are the Motions to Dismiss and Strike and the Oppositions and Replies to each, that preceded that Court decision.
Doc 26 Renoticed MTD
Doc 27 Renoticed MTS
Doc 37 Opp to MTD
Doc 38 Opp to MTS
Doc 66 Reply MTD
Doc 67 Reply MTS
Doc 83 Order re MTD MTS

Here are the pleadings leading up to the Court’s November 2011 decision (Doc. 129) protecting Skywalker’s anonymity.
Doc 62 2d Renoticed MTQ
Doc 64 Opp to MTQ
Doc 73 Reply MTQ
Doc 90 Order Magistrate MTQ
Doc 92 Motion for Relief  NDPTO
Doc 96-1 Amici Brief
Doc 109 Opp MFR
Doc 119 Reply MFR
Doc 129 Order Granting MFR

Here are the Motion for Summary Judgment and 2nd Motion to Strike, culminating in the Court’s order of May 1 2012 (Doc. 162) knocking out the Copyright Claim and all claims against Klim. Note that doc 138 was actually filed much earlier, but because of issues about how to publicly file sealed documents it shows up later in the docket.
Doc 111 MSJ
Doc 116 Opp 2nd MTS
Doc 121 Opp to MSJ
Doc 125 Reply MSJ
Doc 138 redacted 2nd MTS
Doc 162 Order on MSJ and MTS

The latest efforts to learn my identity are in these ”letter brief” motions to compel, and our oppositions. These motions were denied by the Court in the “Minute Order” at the end (Doc 165).
Doc 148 MTC Rog RFP
Doc 150 P MTC SW ID
Doc 154-1 Exh A Redacted Letter Brief sw id
Doc 154-2 Exh B Redacted Letter Brief responses
Doc 165 Minute Order CMC Striking 4th ATSD

Comments on this post can be made here, below. My lawyer, Joshua Koltun, may also post further information concerning this litigation on his website at www.koltunattorney.com. Thank you Joshua, for your tireless efforts in this case. You are the true hero of this saga, together with Klim, the original Guruholic. Read his final post here.

And thank you Doc, Peaceful Warrior, Whistleblower, The Prosecutor and all other contributors to and readers of this blog. Thank you too to Beacon of Reason, Anne, Harshal, Doreen, Dr. Pete and all other pro-AOL commenters. Some, if not all, of your input has been intellectually stimulating, and has brought depth to the discussions on this blog. As well, you have had the courage to disobey your Guru and follow your heart, by reading the blog -Shankar actively discourages this. That speaks well for you.

I invite you all to continue your discussions at Obi-Wan’s new blog.

May the Force (of Reason) be with you!

Skywalker
reklawyksekul@gmail.com

Joint Statement of plaintiff Art of Living Foundation and defendants Doe/Skywalker and Doe Klim:

The parties have resolved the case of Art of Living Foundation v. Does 1-10, (N.D. Cal. 10-5022 LHK) by a settlement agreement. Pursuant to this settlement agreement, the blog entitled “Leaving the Art of Living,” located at <artoflivingfree.blogspot.com> and the blog entitled “Beyond the Art of Living” and located at <aolfree.wordpress.com> shall be frozen as of June 19, 2012. However, nothing in the settlement agreement restricts the rights of Defendants to create new blogs, or to comment on other blogs. Nobody’s identity has been or will be disclosed in this litigation, or pursuant to this settlement agreement.

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72 Comments
  1. June 19, 2012 4:02 pm

    @Skywalker,

    Let me be the first to congratulate you, Klim, and all the other Does on this monumental victory!!!

    In any battle between good and evil, right and wrong, light and dark, truth always prevails in the end. The Emperor himself (the one with no clothes on, whom you’ve mentioned above) already knew this and foresaw that you would defeat him in this manner a long time ago. After all, one his famous siddhis is the ability to see into the future! But still, he must have had a good reason to spend so much money collected in the name of charity on the astronomical court fees that this case must have cost. What that reason is, we’ll probably never know, and I’m sure no one in Art of Living will ever dare to question him about it.

    I wish you the very best of luck in the future, especially now that you are finally Beyond the Art of Living. And please, feel free to drop by at any time in the future, we will always welcome your company here.

    Your old friend,

    Obi-Wan

    • VSS permalink
      June 20, 2012 3:32 am

      @ Obi-Wan

      I wish you the very best for this blog. I have no doubt in my mind that this blog will do extremely well and provide many with a space for healing.

  2. Anonymous permalink
    June 19, 2012 4:59 pm

    Wow! Congratulations Skywalker and Does 10 and Klim.

    Now, will the same procedure be put into place against this blog and Obi-wan by Art of Living and Ravi Shankar? Will they try to sue this new blogmaster and find out his/her identity? Or did they agree in court that they had to respect free speech even if critical against them?

  3. VSS permalink
    June 19, 2012 5:07 pm

    @ Skywalker,

    This is fantastic! Wow! What a colossal victory! How utterly stupendous and spectacular! Congratulations! All of you deserve all the credit in the world for not giving up anything. And, did you say AoL is also going to pay your attorney’s fees too? Oh, that’s the sweetest justice. Unbelievable!

    All the best. Hope all of you enjoy your freedom to the hilt. That it’s freedom from litigation forever is absolutely amazing. I’m so glad that AoL will never be able to drag you all to court again. It’s also fabulous that AoL doesn’t know who you all are and can never harass you.

    This is a momentous moment … it’s precious and it’s unforgettable …

  4. Dayalu permalink
    June 19, 2012 5:22 pm

    Congratulations Skywalker and KLIM!! A well deserved victory indeed. You guys have helped liberate many from the crutches of Art of Living and helped many more in realizing that the emperor indeed had no clothes on.

    Kudos to Obi Wan for starting this new blog. The master will take it on from the student. The force is with freedom, justice and truth!!

  5. Anoop permalink
    June 19, 2012 5:29 pm

    Congrats!

  6. Jr. permalink
    June 19, 2012 7:02 pm

    Good for you Skywalker and KLIM. If it wasn’t for the two of you starting these blogs, I could very likely still be stuck in the confusing cycle of AOL. I still to this day, cannot thank you all enough, and all the contributors that confirmed by doubts and got rid of my inner duality.

    I’ve said before that AOL’s attempt at shutting down the old blog is pointless anyway, as there could just be new ones. But your wanting to move on from what you started is easy to understand. I am also getting close to the end of my time posting too, but I will still continue to read this blogs. Will this new blog by Obi-Wan still have the same rules as the previous one?

    • June 20, 2012 4:35 pm

      Good question. I’ll put a post up at some stage which should hopefully answer this.

  7. The Doctor permalink
    June 19, 2012 7:13 pm

    Woo hoo! Fantastic news guys! I’m really pleased for all of you!

    And an especially big thanks to your attorney Joshua Koltun for having the will and determination to see this through to the end. What an absolute star!

    @Skywalker – it’s been a real pleasure looking after the blog throughout this time, but in all honesty I’m actually really glad it’s now frozen, it makes perfect sense from so many perspectives. More than anything it’s just reassuring to know that it’s safe out there in cyberspace and that Art of Living will never try to close it down ever again. I really don’t think you could have hoped for more!

    Thanks to you and Klim for having the guts to start your respective blogs, you’ve both helped so many people to break free from Art of Living and all the work which you and so many others have put in can now continue into the foreseeable future. Good luck to both of you for the future, and I hope you can now make a clean break from Art of Living and enjoy life to the fullest.

    And I’d also like to add a big thanks to everyone who supported the blog during this time, all the many contributors both who supported us and even those who opposed us. In fact, this latter group really added a lot of momentum to what we were doing, although I don’t think that was really their intention!

    And Obi-Wan, kudos to you for taking the mantle on and carrying the work started by Klim and Skywalker. Good luck to you too for the future of this blog.

    • VSS permalink
      June 20, 2012 3:25 am

      Thank you, dear Doc, for the phenomenal amount of work you put into the blog and for taking care of it. I hope you’ll be checking your email as I’ll be emailing you in a day or two.

  8. June 19, 2012 7:39 pm

    Congrats to all of you ! What a victory !

    As you probably know, we are AoL’s neighbors, here, in Saint-Mathieu-du-Parc, Quebec, Canada, and we just tasted to their special medicine by having one of our members ” acquired ” by them and gone to do his ” seva ” for the guru, which we consider a real lack of ethics from their part.

    It is and it will be a pleasure for me to translate all I can for the information and protection of the public.

    Before finding your former blogs and recent events, we were inviting a lot of our guests to go with us to their place.

    After the recent events, we’ll no more invite anybody to go there.

    =====================================================

    Félicitations à vous tous ! Quelle victoire !

    Comme vous le savez probablement déjà, nous sommes les voisins de de la Fondation Art de Vivre, ici, à Saint-Mathieu-du-Parc, Québec, Canada, et nous avons goûté, récemment, à leur médecine, alors qu’ils nous ont ” emprunté ” l’un de nos membres parti faire son ” seva ” pour le gourou, ce que nous considérons un manque d’éthique flagrant, de leur part.

    C’est et ce sera un plaisir pour moi de traduire tout ce que je peux pour informer et protéger le public.

    Avant de trouver vos anciens blogues et les récents événements, nous invitions plusieurs de nos invités à aller faire un tour chez la Fondation Art de Vivre.

    Suite aux récents événements, nous n’inviterons plus personne.

  9. zhoro permalink
    June 19, 2012 8:24 pm

    Congratulations Skywalker and KLIM! I would also like to pay tribute to Jody of Guruphiliac, who, in a sense, started it all.

  10. The Revolver permalink
    June 19, 2012 9:34 pm

    Congratulations KLIM and SkyWalker. Have a good celebration!!!

  11. jody permalink
    June 20, 2012 2:16 am

    Kudos and a tip of the turban to true fighters for the truth and their right to share it!

  12. stupidseeker permalink
    June 20, 2012 6:34 am

    Another shot in the arm for the forces of reason and freedom and another blow to the enlightened master and his whimsical personal experience.
    Congratulations to KLIM & Skywalker. Kudos to The Doctor and all those who chose this forum to bring useful perspectives about AOL to light.May this blog continue to be a place of learning for seekers of the truth.

  13. Meditator permalink
    June 20, 2012 6:46 am

    Heartiest congratulations to all of you. I now have a new bookmark 🙂

  14. Strong Volunteer permalink
    June 20, 2012 9:19 am

    Congrates to all of you who posted the truth about AOL here and helped no. of Devotees to come out from that painful world.

    I am thankful to Harshie, Peter and few other who are still helping us to keep this blog alive by debating here and putting their view. Thanks a lot Harshie too.

  15. The Revolver permalink
    June 20, 2012 9:59 am

    I would like to share this link on Social N/W sites (it is a major milestone on providing neutral information on AOL). Is it legal to do so?

    • June 20, 2012 4:38 pm

      Absolutely! Why wouldn’t it be?

      Please share as much as you are able to do so, and that goes for any of you. Though some people are understandably reluctant to reveal their identities.

  16. Anonymous permalink
    June 20, 2012 10:06 am

    Well said, stupidseeker…!!! Now we should learn on how to push Google to have a better online translator so that the rest of the world can have access to these blogs to honnor the truth, LOL… WHAT A GOOD DAY TO CELEBRATE !!! The divine “powers” of RRSS didn´t work… hoping he and his distorted organization get to taste more of the human justice very soon!

  17. Anonymous permalink
    June 20, 2012 10:49 am

    In visiting the other blog, seeing comments closed, one has to really read to find “here”. Yet there are already over 700 hits in one day on this blog. Interesting. People are reading this, even if they are not commenting so much yet.

    What a great victory for Skywalker and Klim!

    Jai Guru Dev (the True Guru, no fakes, please)

  18. Anonymous permalink
    June 20, 2012 11:49 am

    Man came here just to read what Harshal had to say, hope he will be around soon. Kudos to you all, a beautiful win. Let them know that fanatism can not silence the right to independent thinking and debate. And thanks also to the US courts that protected these amazng values. Lets hope its a sign off a better and more enlightened (in the philosophical tradition that is) future.

  19. prairie princess permalink
    June 20, 2012 1:20 pm

    Congratulations KLIM and Skywalker. The forces of light won again. May your victory encourage more people in their recovery from cults.

  20. June 20, 2012 1:54 pm

    Dear Devotees.

    Truth prevails. Compassion prevails. Love prevails. The wisdom of SriSri prevails.

    Art of Living has won the case against the anti-AOL bloggers. As per the most recent court ruling, the bloggers will all now have to stop posting on THAT blog all together. We could have pursued further, but then we decided….why bother with that which is the past. We don’t even want to know who they are. They have learnt their lesson. They have seen that we will not hesitate to GO ALL THE WAY and give our 100% (wow !!! what knowledge we have that shapes our lives !!!!, if our Guru had not given us the key “Give your 100%” this win would have never happened.

    We not only gave our 100%, we even out of compassion have a 100% if their lawyer’s fees. This is how we are made. Giving is a sign of abundance. And as always, from behind the scenes, its the grace that works. How lucky are we to have him watch over us all the time. Remember this dear devotees, it is only when you display your strength will the enemy respect you. Standup tall if people talk negatively about us. It only happens because they are envious and even jealous of

    a. All the seva that we do and the recognition we are getting the world over. (BTW the next years NPP chance for us and Guruji looks very promising, especially after the amazing Udaan project in Delhi).

    b. The fact that we have a enlightened master talking care of us.You all know what a comfort it is to be protected by the blanket of the Master’s grace all the time.

    Sad Note : How unfortunate are those who do not experienced HIM like we have….and so, how sad is it that they just cannot relate to this truth. Hence, we can only feel compassion for these lost souls. And look at the irony, and the infinite wisdom of the Master. This time he used the legal system to make some stubborn and dishonest people aware of the KNOWLEDGE. What else could we have done. ???

    From now on if you have fellow volunteers or devotees or potential participants make references to the blog….Please tell them THAT we sued them and won, and that they cannot post there anymore and that it is now ILLEGAL to do so.

    AND also tell them, the only way to know the truth is to experience it. Don’t waste your time reading blogs…..just come to the YES+ course and experience the Sudarshan Kriya.

    B & D
    (Beaten and Down ?)

    • VSS permalink
      June 20, 2012 4:53 pm

      @ IO,

      Is this an actual communication? Or, is this what you think will probably be the content of the actual communication? I’m amazed by the content of this communication. I’m also amazed by the tone and tenor of this communication. How can they twist facts thus? Won’t people check on the blog and read the last post on it? Do they think that if people are told not to read the blog they won’t read the blog? Won’t people wonder why nothing was deleted? Won’t people wonder why a new blog is already in place? Won’t people notice that — effectively — nothing has changed?

      Both blogs remain. A new blog has been started. AoL has to pay Skywalker’s attorney, in addition to paying their own attorney. So, all in all, they spent lots and lots of money for nothing. Starting a new blog is one of the easiest things in the world these days. It takes about five minutes. Maybe less. So, other than causing the minor inconvenience of an additional URL for readers, what exactly did AoL gain? Nothing. Won’t people see that clearly? Won’t people see that because AoL was almost sure of losing in court — they decided to settle out of court for nothing except a minor inconvenience — something that’s resolved with one mouse-click in a fraction of a second?

      If you were in AoL right now, and this was the phase during which your attachment to AoL was at its peak, wouldn’t you notice these obvious facts?

      I ask because I am seriously wondering about how AoL members are taking this development — I am wondering if they are processing the contents of the agreement between Skywalker and AoL accurately or not. I am wondering if AoL is telling them a story and they’re blindly believing it — or — they’re thinking independently and reviewing facts and probably in shock — trying desperately to accept the truth and literally within a few days of accepting it. (This is my guess about what might be happening in the mind of a currently devoted devotee.) I’d appreciate it very much if you could shed some light on this.

      • Anonymous permalink
        June 20, 2012 11:57 pm

        @ vss from IO

        I wrote this. It’s not from any AOL comm. My intent to post it was in humor… Just to entertain (ex-aolers wd get it instantly).

        In the past I was one of their self appointed evangelists. I have immersed myself well in the twisted thinking.

        Your reaction to it shows me how a normal person should react and further more establishes the power of AOL’s brainwashing methods.

      • VSS permalink
        June 21, 2012 6:33 pm

        @ IO

        You know, if there is one person who I think can get to the core of this psychological manipulation and expose it in a way that reverses the brainwashing, I think it is you. You can read the controlling minds in AoL very well. You’ve done so time and again.

        Plus, with the passage of time, more and more people will google to read about AoL. Every time they read something by you, at least some amount of rational thinking will get triggered. Just now, I noticed that people are continuing to read Skywalker’s blog and are beginning to read this one. I had great faith in reverse psychology but it has gotten validated even more. The more people are told by AoL to not read this blog, the more they will read it.

        I once read about a research conducted by scholars on hypnosis. About a hundred people in a US university were hypnotized and then handed their original academic certificates. Then they were instructed to tear those certificates. More than 95% refused to follow the instruction. They actually woke up. I think the “AoL Trance” is a bit like that. The key to waking people up is possibly an instruction from AoL that is so destructive and damaging — in a universal sense — that people wake up en masse. I think we’re very close to provoking AoL into giving people such an instruction.

        Each day, we take a step closer to waking up everyone who is in AoL. Our momentum is great — thanks to all those who have worked relentlessly to help people. It’ll be greater with the passage of time — just as you explained brilliantly in the examples in your “numbers” post.

        I also noticed one other thing — AoL intentionally went to court in the US. If they did so in India, they’d have been exposed by the Indian Media in no time. I am wondering if you think it might be a good idea for Skywalker’s attorney to draft a very precise press release about the court case and send it out to Outlook, India Today, Indian Express, Tehelka, CNN IBN, Hindustan Times, The Hindu etc. etc. along with all the legal documents. Surely, there must be some honest journalist out there who would be willing to cover this story. After all, journalists love to cover inspirational stories relating to the freedom of expression.

        Do let me know what you think of this idea, whenever possible. If you think it’s worth a shot, maybe we could request Skywalker to contact his attorney and initiate this. I think it might be worth it for the attorney to actually make a few calls to India and speak to someone in The Hindu, Outlook and Tehelka.

        Waiting to hear from you on this …

        @ anyone who is reading

        Please share your thoughts about this press release idea, if possible.

      • jagdish permalink
        January 18, 2013 8:26 am

        I am just amused how one can apply Golden principals of life for any of his action or inaction. Giving 100 percent one of the sutras of the Basic course of art of living application in this case is just ridiculous.
        Freedom of expression also needs responsibility however bringing a law suit to set an example is difficult to understand. I may not be that enlightened to comment on that but i have intuition that the purpose was to stop use of trade tricks of the art of living. It is well known all the courses are commercially marketted and are big money spinners. Perhaps law suit was to ensure that trade secrets are not proliferated. Everyone has the right to do so. Thus we have to make a fine distinction between expression of thoughts and damage to the monetay aspect of the organisation. This case highlights this very accurately and both sides can claim a victory.
        If someone is benefited and is satisfied by being assoicated with art of living activities no one shoud have problem. However the stura of opposite values are complimentary is also there. Until opposite views experiences are there it will be lifeless experience. Yes i practaised the Sudershan Kirya and it has brought manifold health benefits. AT the same time i keep my options open of being associated with other projects/ventures/programmes of the assoication.

    • Dayalu permalink
      June 20, 2012 6:44 pm

      Good one, IO!

    • Komal permalink
      June 21, 2012 11:52 am

      :)) IO, your satire is too close to reality! Good one…

    • Mangal permalink
      July 6, 2012 8:00 pm

      @IO

      your comment was amazingly prescient — AOL’s Kashikar has twisted the truth just as you predicted

      http://www.kashikar.org/2012/07/negative-blogging-extortionists-dream.html

      BLOGGER’S SO CALLED VICTORY – A FALLACY
      The Bloggers’ claims that they have “won” is as false and baseless as the filth spewed on their Blog.
      The Bloggers are very well aware that in the event Sri Sri Ravi Shankar had sued them for defamation, they would have been in serious trouble. Their identities would have been revealed and they would have faced a substantial liability in terms of a decree for damages.
      The Bloggers have taken advantage of Sri Sri’s goodness and compassion. They have since inception proceeded on the basis that Sri Sri will never do anything even unintentionally, which can cause them any harm, leave alone a court proceeding against his disciples.
      AOLF and various other AOL organizations worldwide have received a plethora of complaints from volunteers who have been genuinely hurt by the Bloggers’ abusive, irrational and fallacious claims. In the circumstances, after exercising utmost restraint and patience, AOLF initiated the legal proceedings in the United States.
      The Bloggers are nothing but extortionists. In the settlement nothing has been paid to the Bloggers. The Bloggers have in fact agreed the freeze the Blogs.
      If the Bloggers are as righteous as they make themselves out to be, why did they publish intellectual property that did not belong to them??? Why did they not contest VVKI’s DMCA notices even after the infringing content was pulled down by WordPress ????
      These are misguided individuals who have no integrity whatsoever. The content on their Blogs is nothing but a reflection on their character. Sri Sri is a saint. He is untouched by the filth that is spewed by these Bloggers. For the Bloggers sake we pray that better sense will prevail and that they will find a more healthy way to vent their frustrations.
      I am also a lawyer and an art of living teacher.

      • VSS permalink
        July 7, 2012 2:08 pm

        @ Mangal [July 6, 2012 8:00 pm]

        You’re so right about IO’s prediction. And, thank you for posting this extract. I think these words are a prime example of mutilating the truth beyond recognition with the intention of psychological manipulation. The person who has written them is obviously intending harm. This is probably criminal misdemeanor — as in — a case of fraud.

  21. FACTS permalink
    June 20, 2012 2:35 pm

    BRAVO!!!

  22. June 20, 2012 5:38 pm

    They are so devious they may have wanted something like this. Anything can be twisted. They are consummate twisters of truth.

    Lets say there are 100 devotees.

    80 will believe such a communication as above.

    The other 20 will have a mildly uneasy feeling

    2 of this 20 will investigate and question further….will eventually leave.

    • VSS permalink
      June 21, 2012 3:41 am

      @ IO,

      Thanks for the insight. It’s really sad that they have such a solid grip on the minds of devotees. These numbers reveal a startling reality — one that is disturbing and baffling for me. I thought that this out-of-court settlement between Skywalker and AoL would reveal the true colours of AoL to more than 50% people. That it is likely to make only 2% people investigate and eventually leave is very disheartening. But then, that’s why this blog is needed. That’s why any blog is needed. I hope that you’ll be contributing actively to this blog as well. Your insights are extremely empowering.

      • June 21, 2012 1:30 pm

        VSS – Another way of looking at it.

        Do the numbers….if 2 is for 100 then how much is for 10,000,000 (As claimed by AOL) ….or even 1,000,000 ?

        Whats the avg spend into AOL by an average devotee. Whats the loss in revenues ?

        Do the numbers VSS, do the numbers.

        2% are the ones that leave from the existing AOL CROP.

        Amongst the potential new Crop…..if anyone comes to this blog, they would very unlikely not join AOL…..

        Do lets assume 80 / 100 will not join.

        Lets do some conservative numbers. AOL will claim to have some 15,000 active teachers WW. Lets say each teacher teaches only 1 course a year for about 20 people. Thats 300,000 new members. Lets say that 10% of these people use Google to research AOL. Thats 30,000 people. 80% will not join. Thats 24,000 people.

        Lets say 10% of them use google and do research.

        Thats 10,000 less members every year…..if its a linear equation…..will be more if the 10% growth is compounded.

        Do the numbers VSS, do the numbers. Check the loss VSS.

        Have you heard of critical mass ? We need to reach the critical mass. Here what will happen is that the 2 people who leave will talk to another 2 people who will talk to another 2 people and so on. Its exponential expansion.

        Think of this…..Lets say a bucket is being filled with water. This is a big bucket, it can hold 1,000,000,000,000,000,000 litres of water. You start with 1 litre of water in the 1st minute and the water in the bucket doubles every minute. if you see this carefully……in the very last minute the bucket fills up by an amazing 500,000,000,000,000 litres. The bucket will actually fill up in about 61 minutes. It would have been HALF EMPTY in the 60th minute, ie While it would have taken 60 minutes become just half full in the very next minute it will overflow.

        Do the numbers VSS…do the numbers.

        What this blog does is not small……its a pretty good service to other fellows on this planet.

      • VSS permalink
        June 21, 2012 4:42 pm

        Oh!!! I hear you, IO. This is astonishing! Wow! I had completely underestimated the impact of these blogs. Thanks a million for taking the time and explaining the numbers to me so brilliantly. I cannot begin to tell you how grateful I am to you for this insight. I just didn’t do the numbers and saw a very bleak picture. Now I know that the picture is very encouraging. Thanks again, IO. Thanks so much!!!

  23. D-Seeker permalink
    June 20, 2012 6:42 pm

    We have won the battle and we will win the war. Swami Vivekananda has said that any one who calls himself a yogi is a false yogi if he says that the truths that he has learned or the things that he can see or do are only possible for him/her and are not verifiable by the other normal people. Know such a person to be a crook.

  24. Anonymous permalink
    June 20, 2012 10:14 pm

    Hilarious! Everyone take a look to this short stand up comedian talking about the cult known as Landmark, pretty much the ones that invented the “Hot Seat” sessions… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gg8DmXWz0q4&feature=related

  25. Anonymous permalink
    June 21, 2012 5:53 am

    Well done, Skywalker and KLIM !!!!

    Without your blogs I would have been still stuck with AOL. If only these blogs were available I would not have wasted several years of my time and money. Years ago, I too kept googling for AOL scams and nothing came up.

    Though Jody of Guruphiliac was the first person to successfully expose this conman, your blogs carried more conviction since both of you were in the inner circles of the cult and experienced it first hand.

    I am sure there are thousands, like me, who are grateful to you for making them see the truth. I also felt sorry for the plight both of you had to undergo for nearly 2 years. Now, I am happy that you are free and don’t have to look back at AOL. I also don’t expect you to continue to be active, as you have done more than enough to wake people up from AOL slumber. Your rest is a very well earned with the blessings of thousands who have seen the light. You may not have done any ‘seva’ while in AOL, but you have done a monumental seva for the community.

    Skywalker, your blog took off beautifully from where KLIM’s left and was roaring in the hands of Doctor. Such was the roar that RS had no other option than to compromise. So confident and so fair were you that you even allowed any one and every one from AOL to comment freely without moderation.

    Thanks also to Doc for tireless efforts and brilliance in editing the blog.

  26. Anonymous permalink
    June 21, 2012 12:03 pm

    I hope that IO’s post above by “B&D” was a jest! The only ‘win’ Art of Living got out of this was that people can’t comment on the old blog anymore, and that may confuse a few people who can’t read because they are too brain damaged by SK and Ravi Shankar’s association to find their way here. But that appears not to be the case, since there are over 1500 hits on this new blog in just a couple days since it’s inception.

    @VSS — if IO’s post were true, and I had been a busy AOL teacher, running around trying to get him more followers, and I heard about this “win” I would have believed it and maybe thought “I guess my doubts were unfounded….Guruji really can overcome anything. I guess all those people on that blog were lying….” Even though I had lots of doubts, I remember having them overshadowed many times by spin or outright lies. Until there was just no denying the corruption and sickness any longer. People will leave when they see clearly. But it’s difficult if you are teaching and don’t want to believe that your doubts are real, and that you are following a fake Guru. Who wants to admit such a mistake to themselves, their families, their friends, all of whom they’ve been raving to about how wonderful Art of Living is, how they MUST join? It’s like admitting “I was temporarily insane when I joined Art of Living and followed Ravi Shankar, I apologize to all those I hurt with my bizarre, zombie-like behavior.” I had to do that — apologize. To lots of people. And they accepted my apologies, but did ask “what were you thinking?” It’s not easy to leave if you are involved.

    • VSS permalink
      June 21, 2012 7:27 pm

      @ Anonymous [June 21, 2012 12:03 pm]

      Thank you for this insightful post. I understand. It must be really tough to leave AoL and apologize and face questions. I cannot begin to imagine how it must have been for you. When I informed my family that I would not be relocating to the Bangalore Ashram, especially after I convinced them over several weeks that it was the best thing for me to do, they were quite baffled. I had to apologize too and then I had to explain too. But, it would have been way tougher if I had actually relocated to the Bangalore Ashram, worked for some years, recruited people, gone on and on about how wonderful AoL is, and then discovered what’s actually going on in AoL, and then informed them that I’d made a terrible error of judgment.

      You know, what is really excruciating in all of this is that AoL alters the way in which people perceive the truth. The violent reactions on most posts in Skywalker’s blog are evidence of the resistance to the truth. Somehow, AoL seems to convince people that the truth is a lie. This, for me, is a very serious matter. It’s not about just lying or deception. It’s about killing the ability of a human being to get empowered by the truth — which is what is at the heart of people not being able to leave easily and then suffering when they have to face questions like “what were you thinking?” AoL just butchers an individual’s ability to think independently, arrive at the truth, and be empowered by it. Hence people naturally experience a lot of pain when they have to take ownership for what AoL did and face the music at home.

      Anything that happens in society that prevents people from being empowered by the truth — is effectively — in my eyes at least — a cult or acting like a cult. For instance, in the case of this agreement between Skywalker and AoL, if someone is indulging in explicit psychological manipulation to prevent people from seeing the truth, then it should actually be a criminal offence with should be punishable. It should have a non-bailable warrant and the treatment of the matter should be the same as the treatment of any matter involving cheating / fraud. This agreement is clear and straightforward. If even this is twisted to mean something else, then that’s unpardonable.

  27. Kitapati permalink
    June 21, 2012 12:04 pm

    Congragulations to the blog owners on winning the case. There are several land grabbing case against art of living in the karnataka courts. Hope justice will pervail in these cases against the AOL scamsters.

  28. Anonymous permalink
    June 21, 2012 6:15 pm

    @kitapati thank you for your comments, please keep the blog updated as much as you can on this subject!

  29. June 22, 2012 3:41 am

    @ VSS in response to the below

    “I also noticed one other thing — AoL intentionally went to court in the US. If they did so in India, they’d have been exposed by the Indian Media in no time. I am wondering if you think it might be a good idea for Skywalker’s attorney to draft a very precise press release about the court case and send it out to Outlook, India Today, Indian Express, Tehelka, CNN IBN, Hindustan Times, The Hindu etc. etc. along with all the legal documents. Surely, there must be some honest journalist out there who would be willing to cover this story. After all, journalists love to cover inspirational stories relating to the freedom of expression.

    Do let me know what you think of this idea, whenever possible. If you think it’s worth a shot, maybe we could request Skywalker to contact his attorney and initiate this. I think it might be worth it for the attorney to actually make a few calls to India and speak to someone in The Hindu, Outlook and Tehelka.”

    AOL is not = SriSri. There are millions of good people out there. Unsuspecting, devoted and great hearted. These many many good hearted serving devotees that will need time to absorb, assimilate and get out. They need to cover their exposure and personal interests. What about them ? Who will care for them ? It is not HIM…trust me. I ask myself…. Do I want to be responsible for something like that ? Well, If there is really no other way…..then, I can make that call. But as of now….I do not feel compelled…NOT yet. Let it happen in its own pace.

    This BLOG is the immune system (Not antidote) waking up to a parasite that invaded and took over your original being. Its needs time and needs to go through its natural cycle.

    To me this blog not ANTI-AOL, this blog is PRO-TRUTH. There is a BIG BIG difference when you understand this.

    Our words and actions are governed by what we stand for. I am not in the business of wanting anything of AOL, including its shutdown. I am in the business of educating people fully about AOL. It is better that we contribute to the betterment of the average person, make them more alert and strong. For many this means going through AOL experience. Like it happened for me. I came out stronger and better. So, why should I not want others to have the same thing ? After all I am currently not delivering to them an alternative. Having said this….I am also aware that there are many causalities whose stories are unheard and to whom care and love has been denied. Them we need to help. However, there is really no victim. We lend ourselves to any experience in life. Its free choice. Yes, it would be nice to be educated about all potential consequences (so we can make an informed choice). But then who does it VSS….who gives you the whole truth all the time…..NO ONE. ANd humans are mostly lazy, they want spoon feeding. All this hulla bull about informed choice is always a retrospective view and stand. For most part, we are impulsive and are creatures of habit. We do not deliberate and neither do we live deliberately.

    So, given this, whether anyone takes the message from this blog home or not is their individual freedom and choice. Each and every individual on this blog needs to understand and internalise what we say here. And then they have to follow their mind ad heart…do what they have to do. This way you would have empowered them. Lets say a negative, unsavory article was published in these so called mass media. Many of the existing followers/devotees will be totally un-prepared for the backlash. The article will generate, fear, spite and to many a loss of much hope.

    It is a tough call, I don’t have the answer to this thing. When would it be a right time ?. Do we just tell ourselves this is how it happens….part and parcel of playing the game…war game ? “collateral damage” (potentially fool ourselves by repeating this often…like AOL does with all their twisted knowledge). I don’t know…I truly don’t. Its time/context sensitive. My feelings and answers may change depending on the situation.

    So, what is it RIGHT NOW ?

    Well, I care about all those people caught in the web of deceit like I was.
    No one came to help me the way I am attempting to do on this blog.
    Would I have listed if somebody did…..(perhaps…….)…but that somebody would have to be very credible. Someone within AOL, who I respected more then others.

    Hmmmmm….The teachers. The key to the AOL masses are the genuine and caring teachers. I am sure some still exist. It is these teachers that propogate and retain the people. They are the ones that have to wake up. Its they who are being exposed to the public AND are giving up their lives and freedom to a devious and manipulative leader. I feel, that this should become an open topic in every Kriya meeting and Satang. This if we can suggest/engineer…that would be good.

    By way of the media, I feel, any publicity (even largely negative) is sometimes free advertising. By going to the media we would give AOL more visibility. Also, we cannot go the mainstream media without some of us being exposed. Hence it will be the exposed person (unknown) Vs SSRS (rich..ie deep coffers, branded, connection with the underworld, great branding, the public and followers are desperate to believe him). It can easily be twisted to look like Mr os Ms X is jealous of SriSri’s fame and name and thats why they are doing this. Then the centre of this media circus would be Mr X…and they would be totally exposed and made vulnerable.

    I sense, AOL is imploding. Lies, lack of ethics, manipulation, control tactics, brain washing and so on …..to me that’s got “Self destruct” written all over it. The AOL system is disintegrating in its own way. The question is should we lend further our energy to it and turn it away from its own natural self destructive path ? Is it really necessary ? Do we understand all the implications ? Would innocent bystanders be hurt (a poor wife of a disgruntled AOL teacher husband …..?…do you get my point ?)

    The fact is, I am here just to share what I know …just show everybody the full view of AOL. What happens to AOL after that, will be decided by the infinite love and justice of existence (God). I for one do not feel the necessity of a specific outcome. Let it just happen.

    My take at this point in time……allow them to self destruct. I think we are already past the critical mass. See the indicators ….just follow the money…the coffers are getting depleted. They are downsizing all over. Many of their ventures are closing. Even some of their colleges (There are no students in some of them). Many Many teachers are on this blog. Once you read and be exposed to what is here….active evangelism cannot happen. Your energy and enthusiasm will die down. Folks will not do anything. And the big juggernaut that was rolling so fast will start to slow down and stop. Unfortunately, its like a train, the train has to keep moving, needs to drop off people so new people can embark (thats when you will sell more tickets make money, fuel the train and keep it running)…otherwise, a non-moving and stationary train can be very expensive to maintain (the passengers in the train will need food, entertainment, water, bathroom facilities, security, air conditioning…..and they are not going to pay for all of this as this is due to the train stopping…its was not their fault….they will get restless…..the same thing that once gave them freedom and movement and a joy ride from one state to another….is now a trap…a prison).

    He started it. He will trigger its end. He had his own agenda and he continuously developed on his own agenda over time. His immediate biological family milked and exploited all this over the last 30 years. They have deceived millions of unsuspecting people. They have used like tissue paper, 10000s of devotees to serve this very private agenda they have. And the people lent themselves to his agenda. They suspended their own faculties voluntarily. There is a price to pay for that too. We all have to go through that learning. What is built non non-truth, exploitation and flimsy foundations and twisted knowledge is just not sustainable.

    I am not fully clear here VSS….but interestingly I am not confused either …neither to I have mixed feelings about this…………My answer to “Do we really need to do anything more ?”….is actually more questions of my own …to understand the original question better.

    What about the existing devotees ?
    Are we not responsible for their well being and safe exit…..provided they wish to…..?

    I am aware that there are many whose life in/with AOL is much better than their very miserable broken homes…..what about them ? The AOL crowd gives them temporary solace. Remember that they hang out with agenda-less, good hearted volunteers who
    think they are doing good.

    What is this AOL ?…..Who is AOL ?……Why does it need to be stopped ?……And specifically what is it that needs to be stopped ?

    I have one great trust and a feeling of knowing about this….when its the right moment/time to take do something more……..”LIFE WILL SHOW ME CLEARLY”……there will be not debate within me…there will be action (JUST action).

    • VSS permalink
      June 22, 2012 11:23 am

      @ IO

      Thank you for this insightful response. I appreciate it immensely. It does give me a lot of food for thought.

      As I mentioned in the following comment:

      https://beyondaolfree.wordpress.com/2012/06/15/the-lawsuit-is-over-and-we-won/#comment-46

      I do comprehend that this blog is pro-truth and not anti-AoL. If you take a look at the second paragraph, you’ll know my perspective.

      My perspective is that of someone whose home was attacked by AoL. I was not strong enough to withstand the attack at the time and I wouldn’t wish such an attack upon my worst enemy. I’m not so sure, as of now, if I am simply collateral damage and so are those who are like me. I have read many posts about how people have lost their children to the “AoL Trance”. I’m also not sure if more people need to suffer in AoL for the sake of those who are not suffering in AoL.

      I do agree that we learn the most from painful experiences and experiential learning happens when we have a particularly nasty experience but I aspire for a better society as of now. It is difficult for me to think that it’s okay for a few homes to be attacked because some people have broken homes. This is almost like saying that it’s okay for child abuse to take place in orphanages because there are children in orphanages who are not abused too — or — would be abused wherever they go — whether it is to another orphanage or to the world outside. I have often said that I wish that there are reforms in AoL, but not one person from AoL has come forward to discuss reforms.

      I believe in striving for excellence. Without striving for excellence, we cannot even begin to achieve excellence. However, I’ll carefully reflect about all that you’ve said and try my best to think of myself and my home as collateral damage. It’s tough to but I’ll try. I’ll see where my thoughts take me. Thanks again. I appreciate your perceptive insights immensely.

      • Anonymous permalink
        June 22, 2012 11:53 am

        @IO and VSS, I believe substituting Art of Living for good living, when someone has come from a broken home, is not the answer. They got as big as they got because people believed SSRS was giving people something better than what they had (as in “I’m going to educate these poor villagers” — and actually very little of what he has done relates to the education of those local, very poor, sometimes miserable people). Once someone leaves AOL and SSRS, they can find a way. AOL is not that large an employer. There are other jobs for people. And certainly there is more happiness to be had elsewhere for those who did come from broken homes of some kind. Slavery to a fake guru is not the answer. Art of Living bills as a substitute for regular life. A fairy tale told to people, but when they arrive there, they quickly find out that the dream is actually a nightmare. If any press person would pick up this story and run with it, I believe most educated people would leave SSRS. And who, after all, does he want? The educated, wealthy and if possible, the famous. He couldn’t care less about the poor. He is a selfish man. The few hundreds working for him there at the ashram could find other work and would have a better life than they have now. The government could take back the land the ashram sits on, acquired by lying (it was supposed to be a school for villagers, and so was donated, decades back to SSRS’s father for that purpose), and use that land to give free education. The buildings exist. They should be taken over for good use that way. An orphanage could be put in part of it, and run by the people who might otherwise be unemployed. Those working in the various posts at the ashram could help to make the new facility work. There is no reason, except for terrible corruption, that the government has not investigated him and his organization and family and gotten the taxes due.

      • VSS permalink
        June 23, 2012 4:46 pm

        @ Anonymous [June 22, 2012 11:53 am]

        Even I used to think that “slavery to a fake guru is not the answer”. But after reading IO’s post, I don’t know any more. Maybe the people stranded in AoL are dependent on AoL and the advantages of that dependence outweigh the advantages of independence. Personally, I still value my independence. And, all that I have read also validates my perception. But, maybe there are people who prefer dependence because of some reason — maybe it’s monetary constraints and they are overwhelming. Maybe if they can transcend them, they would actually find true enlightenment but they don’t think so because the thought of being impoverished till they find alternative employment is frightening. Or, they feel seeking help from family and / or friends is a frightening prospect. Maybe it is the lack of a support system in society at large that created the need for a cult in the first place. Maybe the devotion to Mr. Ravi Shankar is about freedom from penury in return for slavery. Who knows. People rarely express themselves.

      • iamthattoo permalink
        June 25, 2012 3:34 pm

        First, I would like to say that I’ve been reading the series of blogs over the last few years which helped me transition from my decade-long association with AOL. I consider all the diverse voices that have participated in the discussions over the years to be integral to a broadening awareness of not just AOL but how we can cultivate the potential of human beings to organize social structures to better ourselves and the universe.

        Turning to the discussion on the table, the feeling of belongingness seems to be an integral need for human beings. We participate in cultural systems with others in order to satisfy this need for belonging. For many, AOL isn’t just a relationship with the guru but identifying with something bigger than an individual self (this feeling is what I came to realize is “the grace” but I’m still processing this point).

        More to the point, its not that an organization can be dissolved or a leader removed and all of the sudden everyone is liberated. Some will gravitate to other forms of bondage. Bondage is sometimes safe and comforting. The true persuit of freedom is a scary journey toward the unknown. I recall the end of a Communication Course in a hotel conference room near the Los Angeles airport. The teachers were Uri and Rajtree. One of the course participants asked Uri in a full-group question-and-answer session how teaching his course to AOL is different from teaching it to others. He made a point that has always stuck with me but I acknowledge that I am sharing my personal meaning with you now. He said something like AOL people are much more enthusiastic about pushing themselves. Its as if the general population would push themselves to 50% but AOL groups push themselves to 90%. But they still don’t push themselve to 100% (course point, eh?). What do we make of this 10%? Is it the bondage to the guru? to AOL? Or perhaps that’s too simple. Its also the structure in which to grow. The soil that supports the roots. When the soil is not supporting the potential of the plant do we kill everything?

        I like the idea that the discussions on these blogs serve as an immune system. So let’s keep the duscussions going and visible to all who seek knowledge.

      • VSS permalink
        June 26, 2012 7:05 pm

        @ iamthattoo [June 25, 2012 3:34 pm]

        — When the soil is not supporting the potential of the plant do we kill everything? —

        I’m not sure what the soil, the potential, and the plant connote in this example. I’m also not sure what you mean by “everything” in “kill everything”. And, I’m not sure if “kill” is an accurate or appropriate word. I’d appreciate it if you could clarify the aforementioned in simple words.

        Thank you.

    • Komal permalink
      June 22, 2012 11:53 am

      @IO. I applaud your commentary, IO. Brava/o! It is normally quite easy to go down the emotional path without realization of collateral damage. Your concern for the good souls within that org who are being manipulated by the segment at the top is valid and timely. Thank you for taking the time to draft this comment.

      Best,
      Komal.

      • Anonymous permalink
        June 22, 2012 12:02 pm

        But Komal, SSRS and Art of Living care nothing about the poor! They don’t care at all about ‘collateral damage’. They care about numbers and money. One person at the top and her associates were overheard calling foreigners who had come to the ashram to give their all, to clean toilets, to do seva, to pay large sums of money to become teachers, “foreign beggars” and laughing at them! What kind of saintly or even decent behavior is this? It’s hard not to be disgusted hearing things like this. Why should she and her attendants/friends, make fun of people who came from so far to serve sincerely? Why didn’t others hearing this comment run away? Most just laughed along with her. SSRS, his family, and closest followers, don’t care about anyone but themselves. They look down on the poor they are supposed to be serving, and take advantage of guests from other countries, who gave the first money which started that terrible ashram, and then look down on them for becoming poor, having given up their lives! Anyone at the ashram would be better off nearly anywhere else. If you or someone you know is working for SSRS or Art of Living, know that they are slaves, looked upon as fools by those in charge. They are nothing to them. That’s how those people think and talk.

      • VSS permalink
        June 24, 2012 9:42 am

        @ Anonymous [June 22, 2012 12:02 pm]

        The contempt you speak of is something I have noticed in several videos. Obviously things like “foreign beggars” are said behind closed doors, but it doesn’t surprise me at all that this is the case. It’s just so sad. Contempt is really nothing but a manifestation of conceit. At the heart of it all is arrogance and disrespect for all human beings. That’s why my home wasn’t spared either.

  30. Anonymous permalink
    June 22, 2012 11:24 am

    Why Art of Living is hurting by preventing people from seeking proper help. I truly believe that it is criminal to play with the lives of people in distress the way aol does while making lots of money on them.
    http://robdelaney.tumblr.com/post/414007899/on-depression-getting-help

  31. June 22, 2012 3:22 pm

    Anonymous, VSS

    I see your views. Hmmmm…i even connect with them. They feel right too. Perhaps all our views are valid depending on where we all are at this point. Its not like any of our views excludes the other way of looking at things,….they are not mutually exclusive….but perhaps can be inclusive.

    • VSS permalink
      June 23, 2012 4:49 pm

      @ IO [June 22, 2012 3:22 pm]

      Sure thing, IO. Maybe we can all see the complete picture one day.

  32. Anonymous Again permalink
    June 22, 2012 7:24 pm

    @ IO

    Brilliantly said!

  33. Anonymous permalink
    June 24, 2012 8:08 pm

    Why is the joint statement published only on KLIM’s and Skywalker’s blogs.

    Since it is a ‘joint statement’, should it not be published on AOL website too.

    • VSS permalink
      June 25, 2012 12:03 pm

      @ Anonymous [June 24, 2012 8:08 pm]

      That’s a very good question. Obviously, AoL doesn’t want anyone to know about these blogs. A friend of mine mentioned these blogs to an AoL member she knows and that person said “I’m not going to read any such blog.” It’s a very telling reaction. AoL is assuming that the internet won’t be in every home and everyone won’t deploy Google to find out more about AoL. I read in one of the comments on the other blog that Mr. Ravi Shankar said once that by the time he is 80 years old, every home in the world will have his picture for the purpose of worshiping. Well — guess what — AoL is definitely not growing as fast as the internet is. And, those who “avoid” these blogs, will soon find themselves in a minority. It’s just a matter of time. Maybe it’s not happening as soon as all of us wish — but look at the signs of decay — they’re all there. Why else would AoL not publish the joint declaration on their web site? Why else would they pay the attorney of Skywalker and KLIM? Why would they even attempt to settle the matter out of court? I don’t see any other reason except wanting to conceal the truth for as long as is possible.

  34. Anonymous permalink
    June 26, 2012 3:53 pm

    @VSS re: people who need to be dependent: Yes, VSS, you are right. People need something to belong to, and if the family is dysfunctional, they run away from that. I guess what I’m saying is that running from one dysfunction to a worse (imho) dysfunction like AOL is not at all desireable. The implication here is that those in involved with AOL are unable to make good decisions for themselves, which then puts them in the category of ‘handicapped’ in some way, or dependent, as in children. For that, there are child social services organizations in the government to remove the child from the dysfunctional family and put them into a more stable environment to grow. For handicapped individuals who might be mistreated in a communal setting, there would be agencies to protect them also, to dismiss those abusing them, using them or hurting them. But there is absolutely no oversight, no help for those poor people stuck in AOL. To not dissolve it is to perpetuate the harm being done to those people. There is no societal agency to step up and help them. There are safeguards for other helpless people. But not for the lonely, displaced, sad people who join Art of Living. That seems unfair to me. If they can’t dissolve it because too many people ‘need’ it because they have nowhere to go, then they should at least have government oversight. Investigations should be done into the workings at the ashram. It should be known that people have been made, basically, into slaves, because they were lost in society. My suggestion is the same: Force Ravi Shankar to gift this land back to the government, along with all the university buildings and workings, the school, etc., and continue them as government run institutions. Force him and his family to give back all the money, and allow those who wish to stay on at their jobs to be paid some proper wage for what they are doing (it’s not seva when it makes someone else rich). Turn the ashram back into what it was intended for by the land gift: a school for poor, village children. For those senior teachers who wish to teach meditation and breathing, they would have to find real employment someplace. It’s a pity, as they have been mistreated too, but they also continue to mistreat others, knowing fully well, in many of their cases, exactly what they are doing — lying about the benefits of a practice they stopped doing themselves years ago because of health problems, and lying about their being happy in AOL and with Ravi Shankar. They go on lying this way because they need to continue to survive in the world, have their nice homes and clothing and travel around in many cases. So many of the senior teachers, although pitiable, would have to make their own way in the world. Anyway, one of the most known and prominent teachers once told me privately that she would not always be with Ravi Shankar, that shortly she would be a guru in her own right, and would be teaching people in her own movement (I’m not joking, and I can’t print the name here because I’m afraid of legal action from the person.) So some of them, at least, have plans. They know they can’t stay there forever, and have grandiose ideas of being gurus themselves! Don’t feel too sorry for them.

    • VSS permalink
      June 28, 2012 9:30 am

      @ Anonymous [June 26, 2012 3:53 pm]

      I hear you and I hear you loud and clear. In fact, I completely agree with your perspective. What is clear to me now is the fact that people don’t value their freedom so much that they would be willing to look for non-dangerous-cult employment. I think that this perception is born in another perception — and that is — that any employment is better than even a brief phase of unemployment — during which — one may need to depend on friends and/or family members. People feel more “comfortable” about depending on AoL permanently rather than on friends and/or family members temporarily — because friends and/or family may or may not comprehend that AoL is a dangerous cult — and that freedom from any form of cult abuse is better than some form of ongoing cult abuse. Ultimately, it’s about whether or not a human being thinks that cult abuse is okay for a sum of money because it takes care of the person’s financial independence.

      I went through the excruciating pain of looking for employment once I changed my mind about relocating to the Bangalore Ashram and working full time for the Divya Karnataka Project. It took me several months to find work. Though it’s good work, it doesn’t pay very well because I am working for a start up company. It’s also very stressful because it is work for a start up company and I have to make a conscious effort to keep my stress at bay. My life is very different from the life of someone who is apparently “chilling” in the ashram of a cult, doing “work” which involves only “cult promotion” to effect a higher “conversion” rate, “hanging out” with “cult friends” — in exchange for a sum of money and complete submission to a cult leader.

      I work almost 12 hours a day — seven days a week — most weeks. If I fall ill, I work from home — as much as I can. In addition to the work I do, I also have other interests which I spend time on. Plus, I read this blog and post comments too. So, my day is packed. But, I am a free bird. I don’t get subjected to cult abuse nor do I have to compel myself to ignore someone else who is being subjected to cult abuse. I am empowered enough to do justice to my own conscience and sleep peacefully at night.

      To all those who are in AoL currently, I’d like to say this — read these blogs. Assume for a moment, for the sake of argument, that no form of abuse is taking place right now. Are you actually comfortable with your association with an organization that has already subjected to several people to cult abuse in over 30 years? Really? What does that say about you? Does that say you have a conscience or does that say you don’t have a conscience? Ask yourself — is there anything spiritual about not having a conscience? Can not having a conscience in any way lead to “enlightenment” as well as a “higher consciousness” of ethics and morality? How, in your opinion, is AoL any better than the current Congress government? I think it’s worse — because it’s more corrupt. AoL’s corrupt practices and anti-people decisions and policies are never covered by the Indian media. It does murky things behind closed doors and never gets caught. At least corrupt Congress leaders get arrested. What about AoL? Has any corrupt person in AoL ever been arrested? At least the Congress was voted to power and will be voted out of power in 2014. Do any elections ever happen in AoL? Where there is no democracy, there is fascism. Are you comfortable with validating fascism? Really?

  35. Anonymous permalink
    June 28, 2012 1:43 am

    Psyquiatric disturbances associated with “Hot Seat” sessions -known as Erhard Seminars Training- http://www.rickross.com/reference/est/est14.pdf I`m sure the ones that went either through TTC / DSN courses will see themselves in this article!!!

  36. Anonymous permalink
    June 28, 2012 5:39 pm

    HI THERE FRIENDS!!! I WAS VISITING THE AOLFREE BLOG AND CLICKED ON THE LINK THAT SHOULD DERIVATE YOU THIS BLOG… AND IT SHOWS THAT THE ADDRESS DO NOT EXIST… JUST WANTED TO LET YOU KNOW, CAN SOMEBODY MAKE SURE OF FIXING IT? BLESSINGS!

  37. VSS permalink
    July 1, 2012 7:54 am

    @ Anonymous & IO

    I had a very empowering conversation with a very wise person yesterday about all things AoL. (He is a mere mortal but he has seen life.) And, he said that Mr. Ravi Shankar and AoL remind him of “The Pied Piper of Hamlyn”. As you might be aware, the Pied Piper played a beautiful tune on his flute that was consuming, captivating, enthralling and hypnotic — the wise person I was talking to said that the tune that AoL and Mr. Ravi Shankar play is like that — it works like a spell. But, it leads to destruction, just as it did in the case of all the children of Hamlyn who listened to the Pied Piper’s tune, followed him into a cave, and vanished forever. This analogy also helps in understanding the concept and process of “brainwashing”.

    The wise person also said — and I had mentioned Uttam’s comments to him — that people genuinely need and want an alternative. What Mr. Ravi Shankar and AoL do is take people away from true learning and education and knowledge by instilling blind faith and indoctrinating ideas — that most people (not all) only parrot but don’t really think about or comprehend. So, to reverse the process, people need to be reconnected with education and critical thinking and not regard “criticism” as being something that is “negative”. He also said that without “criticism” the human race would not progress. Hence, what AoL and Mr. Ravi Shankar are doing is inducing regression.

    He said that somehow people have stopped associating critical thinking and education with growth and have forgotten that growth is a difficult and somewhat painful process. Transcending pain that results from “worldly” circumstances is not about faking a smile but actually choosing to be someone who consciously decides to transcend pain and the effect it may have. The return to child-like innocence and lack of cynicism in one’s approach to life is a painful process — not an easy one and cannot be the function of a breathing exercise or general meditation. It has to be an excruciating process of introspection and reflection that precedes any realistic “enlightenment”.

    He also said that “the aversion to pain” that Mr. Ravi Shankar and AoL instill and inject into the mind — instantly takes people to the world of delusions — on the face of it — while causing (internal) repression. If you read B&D’s post about Mr. Ravi Shankar, you’ll find how anti-expression they are. They are lashing out in rage at those who are expressive. Taking Skywalker and Klim to court was an expression of that very rage.

    These blogs are a space for healing because they allow expression. Those who sound “enlightened” in an easily identifiable and verifiable way — and I mean those behind these blogs who are facilitating expression — are pro critical thinking. But reaching this place involved a painful journey — the first part of which was getting conned by the Pied Piper and the second part of which was waking up to the realization that the Pied Piper was conning. The growth that Skywalker and Klim experienced — was accompanied by the pain of discovering that they had been conned. It’s a humbling experience. One may think before being subjected to psychological manipulation that one is too smart for it, but after one has been psychologically manipulated, one realizes that all human beings are equal — that intelligence, education, and knowledge do not guarantee protection from psychological manipulation.

    This is because our education system — at least in the 150 countries — where AoL operates — does not empower us with the ability to identify an individual or institution that indulges in severe psychological manipulation. So, while such individuals and institutions are trying their best to make society regress, blogs like these are resisting that regression.

    This tug of war between regression and progression is painful to witness and even to participate in — because — as you well know — in any tug of war — each participant invests all their energy. However, as is the case in a tug of war, to invest oneself completely and test one’s convictions leads to growth. Whether one wins or loses, one learns.

    What do you think ?

    I’m keen to know your thoughts on all of this.

  38. rajshree permalink
    September 30, 2012 2:51 pm

    Yesterday I joined Advance course ..i didn’t like and decided to quit.I secretly told one of the local teachers that i would quit since this is not my cup of tea and i don’t relate to the processes.I was to quit very quietly but the teacher dragged me to the Swami who was conducting the course and informed him my decision.His response was.:Are u stupid”(TWICE)” Five minutes back he was teaching on arrogance and ego..I believe whatever he said was perception of his thought process. I QUIT.

  39. WAB permalink
    January 21, 2014 11:31 am

    Zielig voor deze mensen die zulke zielige opmerkingen maken. jullie hebben allemaal een kleine mind. sommigen van jullie zijn zomaar teacher geweest. jullie hebben niets gesnapt.
    ik heb medelijden met jullie….
    HAHAHAHAH…

  40. bloggisatwa permalink
    September 11, 2012 1:28 am

    You post your success stories on your website as a reference. Nobody in their right mind publishes their losses and failures as references. Joshua Koltun the bloggers Attorney posts the AOL Vs Bloggers case on his website.

    This case is being used as a reference by him.

    Also, if AOL won and they tout it as a great win….why is it not on their website ???? Time for AOL followers to wake up to the truth. Its Time for AOL followers to question blind statements made by their teachers who propagate that AOL won the case against the bloggers.

Trackbacks

  1. Senior Art of Living Teachers React to these Blogs « Further Beyond the Art of Living
  2. The Lawsuit is Over… and We Won! « Joshua Koltun Attorney
  3. Summary of Criticisms Against Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and Art of Living | Further Beyond the Art of Living
  4. Lawsuit Cost Art of Living at least $250,000 | Further Beyond the Art of Living
  5. A New Hope | Further Beyond the Art of Living

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