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Bringer of light or Desperate for limelight ?

August 14, 2012

Cautionary Note :-
The subject in this post is how AOL used the “The India Against Corruption (IAC)” movement in 2011. At that time, 14 months back, it was highly visible and a charged event in India. Now it has gone very quiet. We use this IAC 2011 event as an example to develop a larger understanding behind the workings at AOL.

This post is NOT about the IAC itself but about what we can learn about AOL and the role it played there and other such interventions where it has been involved in before.

India against Corruption :-
SriSri is supposedly one of the founding stalwarts of this movement. This was his baby.

Where is this IAC movement today ? Do take a quick look at the link below.

Pl read this article

Note that the words that describe it now are words like “deathbed”. It’s original momentum is almost gone ! So, where is he when this movement is floundering and since things have not gone so well ??

Just about a year ago, he was attempting to showcase to the world how he was a driving force in behind the Anna Movement…..and now where is he ? If any of you is unfamiliar with the subject please simply google “SriSri and India against Corruption”. Also look at with regards the strong positioning that AOL created for itself through their devoted journalist Fancois Gautier.

Look at the tone in the entire article — It is suggested here that that Anna’s movement is becoming popular mainly (ONLY?) because of SriSri…and that on its own it would have not made it anywhere.

Disclaimer : The below are some of my conclusions on this whole thing and how its been playing out. My view is just 1 of the many millions possible views that one could have in this same subject ie..”AOL’s handling/contribution/exploitation to/of the IAC movement”.

1. It is yet another big flop

One more of AOL’s many massively failed projects. Just like the many many others before them….They start, run for a while, sputter, stall,…and just disappear. What happened to all the villages being adopted….India has more than a million villages ? and AOL stopped with a 30,000 Nos….No more ambitions ?.

What about the Tsunami rehabilitation in South India and Srilanka ?

What about the Vidharbha farmer situation alleviation ?

What about planting those 100 million trees with the mission green earth campaign ,

What about Haiti, Katrina, peace in Kashmir, IRAQ war victims rehab, Afghanisthan initiatives….look them all up on the AOL website)

The list goes on……

None of these projects will ever be completed to any reasonable extent with any notable results. Just tall claims to make media headlines.

2. Politician or Spiritual Leader ?

Specifically lets just take the mission green earth project that they announced in 2009

We will plant a 100 million trees he announced. Click the link, see the website, look at all the partners that went to press with them. That is made to be a very big deal.

In simplistic terms, lets take a look at what this would have entailed. Lets look at the costs to execute an idea like this. Over the entire lifetime of a tree (lets say its 10 years), lets say it would cost a planter a very very nominal US$ 1 (ONE) per tree per year or Rs 5 per month approx (that includes the initial seeds/saplings, water, irrigation setup, labour, fertilizer and nutrients, protection for the tree). That in itself is a WHOPPING 1 x 10 x 100,000,000 = One Billion US$. Its takes a tremendous amount of effort to raise this money, execute the project, report actual numbers to all the stakeholders , be regulated and FINALLY show results.

What happened to this initiative ?. Who talks about it now ?? This is such a big commitment and see how casually and without any seriousness it was made. What is the difference between a common politician’s behavior and this ?

3. Using the situation – Vying for the media attention.

When you know what the AOL PR mentality is, you can easily see that while the Ram Leela Maidan action was all happening last year, it was not SriSri making Anna popular but he was attempting to hog as much of the camera time as he could. After a while it must have become evident to team Anna as well.

4. Dashing hopes and self belief of his unthinking devotees

SriSri’s actions would have created much hope amongst his followers.Last year, same time, The All India AOL Devotees Inc would have imagined this….”Our Master is at the helm”…fighting corruption from the very front…(BANG in the Middle of all those cameras). I am proud to be an AOL-ite. You tell your potential new recruits. We are spearheading the anti-corruption drive now. We are an NGO. We care for the world. We care for you. Our master leads from the front.

Inference by Default : Since we are the ones fighting corruption we ARE clean. Can’t you see this ? You can trust us with your money dear prospective customer (future devotee he he !!)

It kept AIAD Inc glued to the idiot box, watching him in action. He likes that. Helps furthering the popular devotee belief system — “My living God’s” attention is on the corruption and soon everything will be solved. It has HIS attention.

Now, a short 12 months later, such an important issue has all but fizzled out. The devotee is now confused. But cannot talk about it. You kinda take it stoically. You are now seeing clearly, that there is NO sustained action nor is there any focus….and nor is it being talked about. From most talked about and mostly talked about to sheer nothingness. Further, now I am not sure whether I should even hope for it anymore or not.

Any normal person would feel, maan the high that I sensed last year is all but gone. You now feel resigned to a lesser fate and start to clearly see that the IAC is failing (has failed ?). Your hopes are dashed. A small niggling question remains though though…did we drop the ball here…did HE drop the ball ? Did we all give it our 100% ? ? If HE himself decided to give it up, that means the situation should have been really hopeless …..so I will never be able to do anything about this either. This results in a sense and feeling of despondency and resignation….and this can be a KILLER. A sombre mood sets in.

But do more advanced courses he says !!!. The world out there is very problematic. You need to do at least 2 advance courses a year. And BTW don’t travel during the summer holidays…its risky. Stay indoors. Save up the money for the 2 advance courses you need to do every year.

Little by little Such of his actions destroy even the smallest of residual inspiration that is still left in the devotee. I starts to create a sense of hopelessness, BUT this is never discussed openly in the AOL circles. It’s all Guru Leela.

As a supposed Satguru, is this really in accordance with anything…even his own teachings ?? “You are responsible for everything you do and every thing you don’t do”; “Do not pour cold water on another person’s enthusiasm”

5. Such Wastage and arrogant claims

Look at the level of deception and the ensuing colossal wastage. Especially volunteer energy and the culling of their hopes. You announce all these grandiose projects which you really have no intention of fulfilling or seeing through (not even to the 5% stage) and you make all your followers dance and sing around the theme. And then it dies….with no one the wiser as to WHY ? This is the standard theme in many an AOL initiative.

6. Being parasitic.

I see opportunism. I see how the external events and happenings simply captivate the PR-consciousness at AOL and how they feed off such events and essentially other people’s misfortunes.

The cameras are in Assam now. Where the camera goes the AOL chimera follows. Well, its good for business, all this free publicity…that is what helps you sell your stuff.

7. Keep the coffers ringing..everything else can wait

All these years, the only thing that I see where consistent attention is being devoted to by the AOL top brass are in the areas of AOL course monies, donation monies (new products, new courses), the goods sold (books/tapes/cds/ayurveda/handicraft/real estate/travel). Any other potential growth factor has otherwise been sidelined or simply does not exist. For eg, I really cannot see the regular devotee growing . As of today, the bulk of them are stuck, trapped and exploited. A classic case of ignorance is bliss.

Those trapped in the system actually believe that he is talking them to salvation. He is the bringer of light, a giver of knowledge, he is the ALL knowing. Isn’t that the implicit and explicit understanding behind every die-hard AOL devotee. ??

8. Walking the talk is something AOL does not care for.

The easy part is to announce and launch anything and talk big. So, you go on stage in front of all those cameras along with many other illustrious and well-known partners. At that most opportune time…you pitch in with the jargon the and talk nice words …”anti-corruption, politicians are also people…they should become spiritual….ya da ya da di da”.

Then a little later you attempt to hijack the project and bring into the front line your own favourite political party. Would a Satguru do this ? Soon, the situations become sticky as the manipulations are now starting to become very visible. Meanwhile, you position some of his astute and well tutored teachers to hang around with Anna in jail giving AOL a whole new Gandhian like branding. Now, that all of this is done, if you truly wanted to sustain this, it was another 10-20 years of work at the very least. This meant that you needed to invest time, money, people, resources….(You will have to postpone the buying of all your new ashrams). You will have to say no to all those special appearances you make in the Part III courses. You will have to be able to place yourself first under strict scrutiny of the public.

http://aolfree.wordpress.com/2011/08/29/sri-sri-ravi-shankars-betrayal-of-anna-hazare-and-india/

Naah, can’t do that too risky. We have to keep shifting, so nobody can ever get at what we are really doing. Smokes and mirrors is something we do very well. Lets just do what we do with all our other ventures. Lets keep rotating the volunteers…no one volunteer will stay in one function for too long, especially if it related to accounts and finance. We don’t want them to know too much. Paid employees are different….them we can control better….after we pay them. They have to stay loyal. The nice thing is because all of them BELIEVE they are working for an NGO and for a good cause we can pay them well below market rates. For now, we have usurped all the advertising (read FREE PR) as we could have possibly got. It’s now time to move on. The faster I move, the less is evident about my real intent. All I have to do is get a convincing story ready that my own devotees can buy. That is easy, they never question what I say. For they know, I am the ONE. I have to make sure someone throws up this specific question in the next satsang. And if this is not talked about…..I can always ask Fracois Gautier to write a nice emotional piece that appeals to our devotees.

9. Why shoot oneself ?
Coming to think about it., SriSri would have never wanted the India Against Corruption movement to work or to succeed.

Imagine him having to stand trial in a Lokpal which he himself would have helped to create, to answer the public for all the misdoings of his own organization. Explaining Inwinex Pharma, all of the usurped lands, unpaid taxes, and so on. A very clever and sharp man, he truly went within and killed it…smothered it quietly before it even raised its head…by simply messing it up with all his weird and least understood parlaying in the middle of it all. Just confuse the issue so that nobody gets anything from it. Point it in every direction possible except the original.

And millions of devotees still believe that he is going to deliver them salvation and is working towards the most elusive world peace……the messiah that is ushering in the golden era (right after the NPP).

He must be happy and smiling now. A job well done.

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13 Comments
  1. Saadhak permalink
    August 14, 2012 3:57 pm

    This is one of the best post I have read in this blog. It just goes to show how certain things work in AOL.

  2. Nithin permalink
    August 15, 2012 8:54 am

    Last year when Anna kicked Ravisshankar Venkataraman off the stage, he himself called NDTV to and gave 30 minutes of speech about IAC, in which he was highlighting his business. I am Glad that Anna and team kicked this stupid out of the team.
    Also TN Sheshan another intelligent ex election commissioner gave a proposal to Ravi (SSRS) and asked him to check and discuss with him, this stupid Ravi is anyway a cult Business man he was so crocked and he secretly communicated this to Rahul Gandhi and asked him to agree on this neutral policy to suspend the issue for a while.
    Main reason AOL cannot join IAC is because AOL itself is corrupted to the core, and if Ravi goes with IAC he will be kicked by Congress with all those cases and he will be trapped, so this stupid Ravi acted like a middle man to get the support of both unfortunately he lost his position and also world came to know that he cannot keep his back straight in front of IAC. The best solution to continue aol business is to be neural with Congress and BJP and loot public and insult Hindu tradition in the name of human values and Brahmin caste foolishness.

    • Guru-Ouch permalink
      August 16, 2012 4:09 am

      Easily, this is one of the best and most clinical analysis of this NGO scam called the AOL. Great post Bloggisatwa.

  3. Anonymous permalink
    August 16, 2012 5:56 am

    In keeping with the above post by bloggisatwa … just to show the AOL scam continues

    This a mail I received recently from the AOL circles….

    Dear ones,

    The recent spate of large-scale riots in Assam, according to conservative estimates, has claimed 60 lives and over 3.5 lakh victims have been displaced. Men, women and children have been killed, schools and houses are burnt. Kokrajhar, Chirang and Dhubri districts of northeast are the worst hit among five affected districts, the two others being Bongaigaon and Baksa.

    Gurudev is in Assam now, to personally oversee relief works & interact with common people who are affected by this riots.

    IAHV India (International Association for Human Values, http://www.iahv.org) is coordination all the relief works under the guidance of Gurudev.

    IAHV’s Intervention
    IAHV volunteers are currently working towards restoring lives of the victims in the affected areas. Our response involves providing immediate material aid at our relief camps, releasing trauma through relief workshops and restoring hope. As a short term rehabilitation plan, we aim at fostering personal responsibility of individuals through service and mentorship programs conducted by community volunteers that empower self-reliance.
    Contribute Now
    IAHV urges people to help the victims in whatever way possible. The victims are critically in need of food, clean water, shelter, medical facility, trauma relief & many basic necessities. All contributions will be directed to the provision of any immediate material aid, food, water trauma & medical relief. In addition short term rehabilitation projects will be initiated to restore the lives of the displaced victims by overcoming the trauma.
    Come make a difference
    For national and international contributions to ‘IAHV Disaster Relief Fund’.
    International Association for Human Values
    IAHV India was registered in the year 2000 under the Societies Registration Act. It is a humanitarian, non-profit, non-governmental organization dedicated to the development and promotion of human values throughout the world. To pursue its mission IAHV implements grassroots sustainable programs for socioeconomic development of rural and impoverished areas. For the past decade, our projects have helped revitalize and transform distressed communities and individuals around the globe. The organization also works in special consultative status with the Economic, Social and Cultural Council (ECOSOC) of the United Nations, with a presence in more than 150 countries. The organization enjoys tax exemptions under 80G of IT Act and FCRA clearance for foreign donations. All donations are tax deductible.
    We believe that by empowering the individual, we can build a more peaceful and harmonious community. Hence our focus on capacity development of the individual has led to both an extensive volunteer base in local regions as well as fosters of community approach to all programs and endeavors.

    Another chance for AOL to make money and another bid by SSRS at being the humanitarian and playing GOD .They will stoop to any level.

    But in reality its $$$$ all the way….

    And name and fame which SSRS craves………

  4. Prairie Princess permalink
    August 16, 2012 11:41 am

    If people in AOL want to really donate to a charity, they should find another NGO not affiliated with AOL that is doing work in the area of concern and donate to them. Have you noticed that there are many redundancies between AOL and other NGOs that are older, more established, and actually use the money to help others?

    • Meditator permalink
      August 16, 2012 6:52 pm

      Prairie Princess – These AOL zombies do not even need to find another NGO. All they need to do is adopt a child or sponsor the education of one underprivileged child. That will be a bigger SEVA than chanting Jai Gurudev and giving money to crooks.

      Unfortunately what these conditioned Zombies believe is – if you give an amount ‘x’ you will get back 10x by Guru grace. They are all doing it for money. Like Guru, like disciples.

      May God bless His Highness.

    • August 16, 2012 7:34 pm

      Along similar lines, has anyone ever noticed the glaring redundancies between AoL and IAHV? Doesn’t it make you wonder why there are even two organizations at all?

  5. WAY permalink
    August 18, 2012 12:08 pm

    “Politician or Spiritual Leader ?”

    How about an Actor who thinks like a Politician and acts like a Spiritual leader?

    Below is The link to the 2012 Guru purnima celebrations.

    Watch RS @ 05:54.
    In the live telecast, the crying and mopping went on for a while.

    Now, what was the need to turn on the water works? I have never seen him do that in sooo many years.

    Was it because he was Full of love and gratitude for his guru MMY who, I think is missing from the picture in front of him. Or
    Was it because of his Love for Money, Fame and Vanity, all of which were deflated as a result of these blogs? Or
    Was it the pressure to perform when he had just lost a lawsuit?

    An unsuspecting devotee would think of RS as an embodiment of pure love. Btw, I could hear His devotees crying in the background.

    An important point to note is that RS keeps intermingling the terms “The Guru Tatva” and “The Guru”.

    Even if it meant the same, I don’t think RS = Guru = Guru Tatva. Here’s why :

    RS says :

    “Guru’s body is made of love and faith”

    Why then dint he feel this love for Klim, Skywalker and the bloggers, now or before, while they were still in aol?
    What was the need for a lawsuit if he had faith in himself and his teachings?

    “The Guru is …….. Intelligent yet innocent, Royal yet humble ”

    Is Gurudev Intelligent ? Yes, he is.
    Is HE innocent ? No, He is not.
    Is HE Royal? Considering his life style – first class air travel, stay in 5 star hotels, His new Kuteer worth crores in the bangalore ashram and his Page 3 devotees, the convoy that follows him….Yes, he is.
    Is he Humble? Judging merely by the number of HIS pictures displayed in the ashram, I think HE is big-headed, not big mided.

    “honouring the principle is honouring the self”

    Agreed, provided you limit it to the principle. Please dont mistake it with honouring the Guru (RS) by placing him on the shoulders/head/pedestal and blindly following his techniques/knowledge. It only leads to the loss of one’s self esteem.

    “By thought, word or deed I have done no harm to others” –
    Hmm… RS must ask the neighbouring villagers and his ex- teachers for their opinion. And what about the damages done by his technique (SK) and the people who broke ties with their families to be with him and serve HIM? I thought he followed the blogs!

    “I cant take credit for it because I am like that”
    That, is being Humble 🙂 Ha Ha Ha

    ” Guru’s Body Is Made Of Love And Faith And Love and Faith Should Be Handled With Care”

    Is that a Veiled threat, that he has been giving for more than a decade now…. that he would leave us and go away.. So people work with renewed vigour to achieve the unreal targets??!!

    Anyways, HE sure has a lot of skill.

  6. WAY permalink
    August 18, 2012 7:57 pm

    “India has more than a million villages ? and AOL stopped with a 30,000 Nos….No more ambitions ?.”

    Below is the link to – Assam Violence – Sri Sri Ravi Shankar visits Assam. I would name it “A cool Guru in dark glasses.”


    @1:46

    “Giving them hope, he shared with them, the story of the three villages adopted by the organisation which became islands of peace and kept violence at bay amidst the mounting violence”

    Can anyone from AOL who is following this blog, share the complete details / evidence of the work done, and the names of “those three villages” with us? That would atleast make it 3 out of 30,000.

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  1. Summary of Criticisms Against Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and Art of Living | Further Beyond the Art of Living
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