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AOL and IAHV. What is the use of having 2 companies ?

August 17, 2012

Hi Obi & All,

Submitted on 2012/08/16 at 7:34 pm | In reply to Prairie Princess.

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?

You raised a very interesting question. Why 2 companies ?. I see some uses. I share them as I see it today.

What is in a name ?…Literally EVERYTHING !!!!

IAHV USA is NOT = IAHV Geneva is NOT = IAHV India…..all of them are separate legal entities. They just have a common name. By loosely using the names it gives you the feeling that IAHV is one cohesive legal entity.

Likewise with AOL. AOL foundation usually refers to AOL USA. But why bother with the detail ?

Not all IAHV entities and AOL entities worldwide have clear binding legal relationships with IAHV Geneva / VVMVP India.

It’s important to remember how it works….its volunteer driven, AOL from Bangalore will not cut a cheque or send any money for anything. The volunteer does everything from their side in individual regions (especially outside India). ie Legal registration, Money management, regulatory reporting, and so on. You will not even find a single piece of paper though that is a written agreement between AOL Bangalore (VVMVP) and the home country AOL organization which sometimes may not even have the AOL name, since the region may have their own local language requirements.

For some reason, maybe the AOL name was not available in India for formal registration in the 1980s/1990s. But in other countries it may still be. As new entities mushroom some may still get the AOL name in their regions. This is good as it only creates more confusion. The more the mess the better.

In the beginning, AOL was probably just a tagline for the course. Once the course became popular….the organisation also started to take on the same name. Many people still ask for a XEROX copy, when in actuality what they want is a photocopy. They equate a brand “XEROX” to a generic product or service. AOL is similar I feel.

Regarding IAHV and AOL, do check this link

The key bits are as below..

Its all about how to route the money home

Contributions made in the USA are fully tax-deductible under 501©(3) nonprofit status 100% of the donations will be sent to the earthquake affected areas through IAHV’s sister NGOs in India

1) IAHV USA potentially has the legal status to remit US$ donations into India. When was IAHV USA setup and what is its relationship to IAHV Geneva or to IAHV India. This needs some scrutiny. And also what is the relationship between IAHV Geneva and IAHV India ?

2) Here they even openly proclaim that IAHV money will be donated to SISTER NGO’s. The due diligence and regulatory documentation in such cases have to be very well done. You cannot just transfer to a CLAIMED sister organization just like that in a country such as India where foreign currency was once regulated very strongly.

It has to governed by transparent contracts, spending, service level agreements, accounts, measured and audited strictly by 3rd parties. It beats me that the system has not woken up tho these facts.

How can one even prove that it is even a sister NGO ?

1. Does VVMVP have a Share holding in IAHV ?
2. Does IAHV have a share holding in VVMVP ?
3. Do they have a common holding company ?
4. Even if they have the same trustees ..so what ?
5. Are they governed by the same constitution…ie identical businesses but for their individual legal status ?
6. Are their accounting books being consolidated to reflect a SINGLE holding company…is that why they are sister companies ? ?
7. What really qualifies any company to be an AOL sister company ? These are important to ask.

Especially, since the AOL foundation itself does not exist in India…..where its just VVMVP!!!

More Observations and pointers


http://www.thefamouspeople.com/profiles/sri-sri-ravi-shankar-74.php

He started teaching in 1982 in India.

In the USA the AOL foundation was formed in 1989. AOL courses were taught in the USA much before that…since 1986. By whom ? VVMVP USA ?

It looks to me, that In the USA, they clearly needed to make their business activity legal. Also, it looked to be good market for raking in the wealth. There was also access to many of the ex TM-ers…such as MF and others. Hence they would have created the AOLF USA after about 3 years of potentially illegal commercial teaching (cash based) in the country.

Name throwing

IAHV’s founding members include world renowned humanitarian His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and His Holiness Dalai Lama.

This in my belief is an outright fabrication. He himself, told me to stop talking about this. Its sensitive he whispered to me. As always, they wanted to RIDE on somebody else’s brand and make money. This is one more such example. I feel all that would have happened is some of the so called co-founders may have written to SriSri offering him support or may have been physically present at the time of the inaugural and they just put their names there as Co-founders. After all, they all probably found out about it at the about same time. That is why they are co-founders !!!!

Lets say I am wrong. Lets say that the Dalai Lama is truly among the original founders of IAHV in Switzerland in 1997. Then I have the following questions

a. Does the Dalai Lama have a stake in the IAHV sister companies as well ?

b. Does the Dalai Lama attend IAHV board meetings ?. Are these minuted ? Can we see them ?

c. Do you think that the Dalai Lama will actually lend his name to a so called charitable company whose books are not transparent ?

d. The other option is that in the beginning he did not know. He believed in IAHV and SriSri. Later when he did know about its workings, that is when he wanted to got out of IAHV. IF this happened , then shich year was this ? Why does IAHV or SriSri not talk abut this split ?

e. What have been the Dalai lama’s contributions to IAHV in the last 10 years ?

f. Usually the local IAHV entity in each region /country/state is not a wholly owned subsidiary of IAHV Geneva. They may have the same name, but may not have a legal relationship. The local IAHV unit then is using the Dalai Lama’s name fraudulently if they market IAHV as being co-founded by the Dalai Lama.

g. SriSri would never have the local IAHV chapter as a wholly owned subsidiary as then he would become financially and legally liable for the branch performance and to the local authorities.

Other interesting uses behind having 2 front companies

IAHV and AOL become very useful to him and he uses them to diffuse/heighten local AOL world politics. He will split the territory between when warring AOL teachers and APEX members in any one chapter using these two entities.

This is his way of creating domains and kingdoms which people falsely start believing they own. It also helps create internal competition between IAHV and AOL. He will then have IAHV become responsible for running sponsored courses such as the APEX courses. In any case, the distinctions are so grey….all the local members will also use it for their convenience.

Free Branding

IAHV has this Geneva tag !!! Folks tend to associate Geneva with the Geneva convention, human rights and so on….its good for fund raising.

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19 Comments
  1. WAY permalink
    August 17, 2012 8:08 pm

    @ Bloggisatwa,

    Thank you for this excellent post. The recent posts help us understand the facts and figures as it appears on the AOL websites. People may choose to ignore others experiences but they sure cant be in denial of a con job that is so Blatantly obvious.

    “Name throwing
    IAHV’s founding members include world renowned humanitarian His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and His Holiness Dalai Lama.
    As always, they wanted to RIDE on somebody else’s brand and make money.”

    RS, has had his growth plan formulated, structured and executed very well. He entered into the market using a famous musician’s name and a technique with an even more Intriguing name “Sudarshan Kriya”.
    To tap the local market (people who took a dim-view to self proclaimed satgurus), he assosiated with The Dalai Lama.
    Around 2000-01, there was a Mega satsang organised in Bangalore in the presence of Dalai Lama. Elaborate preparations were made, for which I did a lot of leg work 😦 RS was nitpicking every poster / pamphlet presented to him for approval. He got so hysterical once, that he fung the poster and said ” I am not interested in money” . Do lot of Seva. Information on the satsang has to reach all the people! The college grounds should be filled with people, was the instruction passed on.

    Obviously, What he was interested in, was Publicity!

    The local People came to see Dalai Lama who unfortunately din’t know the difference between Karnataka and Kerala.He greeted the people in Malayalam!
    RS gave Dalai Lama a cold shoulder and the people thought that it was because he did not respect the local language. HE thus hogged the lime light as he spoke the local language and took complete control over the satsang, meditation and the rehearsed Q&A sessions. Dalai Lama (apparently displeased), left within a short while after the satsang began. After this event, Dalai Lama became a Dalai Lama who? in the Aol circles.
    Buddhists dont laugh, sing and dance like AOLites, correct?
    It took me years to latch on to RS’ ploy.

    With all the aquired publicity, AOl courses increased a great deal in the surrounding areas. At around the same time consession part-1 courses were held all over the city (RS 200/- only as against rs1000/-). That’s how RS got a foothold in the local market.

    • Anonymous permalink
      August 18, 2012 9:37 am

      I remember few years ago, just before RS visit to China, there were urgent instructions to remove any Dalai Lama’s photo/reference from all the websites and public materials.

      And now they use his name again to promote global meditation in june 2012.

    • WAY permalink
      August 18, 2012 12:21 pm

      He got so hysterical once, that he fung the poster and said ” I am not interested in money”

      He did that because he felt the posters looked commercial.

  2. August 18, 2012 12:44 pm

    A very revealing post indeed Bloggi. The one thing I find most interesting of all is the channeling of money between all these legally separate entities, specifically, the channelling of money from any given IAHV entity to VVMVP.

    Let’s look the following scenario. Whenever any natural disaster occurs which AoL can tap into, what they tend to do is ask devotees to raise money specifically for that cause. The strangest thing of all is that although it is AoL volunteers who do the fundraising, it is actually done as an IAHV initiative. In other words, all the money raised goes to IAHV and not to AoL. This is very peculiar indeed.

    From what we’ve seen historically, it appears as if at least a proportion of this money collected by IAHV is then passed on to AoL in return for training of teachers who, once qualified, will proceed to teach Art of Living courses to those afflicted by the disaster in question.

    What really bothers me is this. If AoL really was a charity in the first place – as they claim they are – then surely they themselves could stump up all the money which IAHV claims it needs to reach whatever arbitrary target it has set? After all they must have collected millions if not tens of millions of dollars in course fees over the years – if not more. And surely AoL could provide all the training to teachers for free instead of charging IAHV for it? This whole thing seems very fishy to me, especially the need to have the two companies in the first place, both doing nearly identical work.

    Am I missing something here or is IAHV just another underhanded revenue stream for AoL/VVMVP which, just like AoL, is cunningly disguised as a charity but which actually does only a token amount of charity work? If I’m wrong about this, please do correct me.

  3. left a reply permalink
    August 18, 2012 3:43 pm

    When I asked the same question a few years back they informed me that they had to found iahv because AoL was not liminted to charity as they also sell cds, books and dvds to make profit. So they needed another legal entitiy.

  4. August 20, 2012 7:14 pm

    Interestingly, Ravi is almost invisible (well, relatively at least) on the official IAHV homepage, http://www.iahv.org. No big pictures. No biography. No testimonials. It is as if they have deliberately left him out. Why, when everywhere else they rely heavily on his person to push AOL? And when we know that IAHV=AOL=Ravi?

    By the way, great blog you have here.

    • bloggisatwa permalink
      August 21, 2012 1:28 am

      Aha….He who was banished. He who was supposed to have been given a lesson in truth and dharma through the legal system in the USA. He that was stopped by the truth of a countless swamis’s and their money power. He who was jealous of the fame of the lord. He in whose life the grace was deemed to have stopped. According to some, he that we should all beware carries bad karma wherever he goes. He who only was supposed to have “sat with the guru” actually challenged the sat-guru. He who got mixed up between blasphemy and balls-phemy. He who thought to dare is better than to stay dead. He who thought thinking is as important as thanking.

      Hello Skywalker welcome. We hope you have been well. Nice to see you here and thank you.

    • bloggisatwa permalink
      August 21, 2012 3:18 am

      An interesting observation….SriSri is being down played.

      Yet, if you take a look at all the registered IAHV Organisations….

      they are all run by AOL teachers.

      What are the implications ?..Lets look at this a little deeper….

      a. Does AOL has a controlling stake in IAHV ?

      When you start a company you need money. Registration with the government, lawyers fees, all other admin issues and so on. Now where does this money come from ? VVMP Bangalore, IAHV Geneva ?, OR does it come from the pockets of existing generous AOL volunteers and teachers (part-time).

      Note : Full time teachers either do not have the money or would have learnt well from the master. ie “Never do charity with your own money”. Do it with other people’s money and energy. You just take the credit. Inside the organisation you say “I did it” and to the media you say “We did it”….with all the credit automatically going to the founder.

      b. You need to belong to a certain system before you can be inducted ?

      How many dedicated committed non-AOL-indoctrinated IAHV volunteers are there in the entire world ?

      For most of them committed to volunteering for IAHV (I would hazard a estimate of 95% Plus hit rate on this) …. their minds and hearts are sold on only one thing..the Guru. They cannot clearly demarcate between functions and organisational values (ie AOL Vs IAHV…its all the same)…its all one nebulous grey thing for you…..then you will not question it if monies move illegally from the left pocket to the right pocket. You have a moral justification. Its for a good cause after all.

      d. Fundamental alignment issues :-

      Other non-AOL indoctrinated members may come in..but they just SIMPLY don’t get it and do not last in this stuffy cult-ish environment. They find it extremely hard to start an internal fund raising meeting saying “jaigurudev”. Seeing the other members and volunteers greet each other with the Jgd…seems funny….even alien-istic. These members also have emails that read xyzJGD@gmail.com, devotee1008@yahoo.com. Plain crazy.

      To them SriSri is just the fellow who started off IAHV. They don’t have this subservient master-devotee (slave) attitude. They are just here for a humanitarian cause.

      e. All paths lead to Sudarshan Kriya.

      Every intervention (Haiti / Tsunami / Belize…..Prison Smart)…..it all has to do with “Do the AOL course”…Do SKY and it solves all problems.

      Can you imagine how strange this will sound to the outsider who wandered into IAHV…which projects itself as a forward thinking organisation. Lets say that this outsider even lasts a few years…the one thing he / she will clearly start to notice that beyond the course selling nothing happens. There are no other initiatives that will be sustained. Just sell the course idea (paid or sponsored)….sell the Guru hood……and then lose interest….as in all of the projects they announce.

      Soon, it becomes very clear, that the only reason for all these units to exist is to sell the AOL course and behind it come’s the other stories of Krishna / Jesus and Buddha.

      In Summary —

      Is it possible to have IAHV trustees that have nothing to do with AOL ?
      Can you have someone in there who has not done the AOL course ?
      Would someone that does not believe in the SSRS Grace factor even last a few months in IAHV ?

      Very very unlikely…..for they are not brainwashed. Even if they enter, they will never last.

      This brings us back to the starting point….”Why have 2 companies ?” ….?

      Here is my take. The whole story of Grace and Krishna/Jesus re-incarnate is humbug. We know that ourselves by now. Even if we cannot see that it is humbug, we know that the majority of the planet do not have faith in such ideas. But what do we do ? We need all this money to bring peace on earth. We cannot keep going back to our own volunteer base to ask them to fund us again and again. That would be too blatant and obvious. We need to tap into the non-AOL majority…its their money that we want. Hence, we need an identity where we totally downplay all the Guru oriented stuff and stories. Enter IAHV. This is indeed a better way to brand ourselves….when it comes to raising more money. For raising devotion and devotees we have AOL. Its the same people, same agenda, same modus operandi….same wine…different bottle that is all.

  5. rayofhope permalink
    August 21, 2012 1:06 pm

    @ rayofhope

    Please share with everyone what you see in these reports. As otherwise this is just another link to an AOL/IAHV site. What you see and infer from the link is important. Further, these are sub-links in already discussed and referred to sites. So, do detail the points / inferences / questions you have.

    Bloggisatwa

    Few links

    IAHV UK

    Report 2011 – http://www.iahv.org.uk/attachments/article/103/Accounts%2010%2011.pdf

    Report 2010 – http://www.iahv.org.uk/attachments/article/103/IAHV%20Members'%20Accounts%202010.pdf

    IAHV US

    http://www.iahv.org/wp-content/themes/IAHV/PDF/iahv_usa_AR_2010.pdf

  6. Anonymous permalink
    August 21, 2012 3:06 pm

    Some thoughts on Bloggisatwa’s point b. in the comment above “You need to belong to a certain system before you can be inducted ?”

    To answer this I was looking at the Volunteer Engagement Application form on the IAHV website…..
    http://www.iahv.org/volunteer/

    Just for a minute try and fill this out as a complete stranger or outsider to AOL…. how would you fill this mandatory field?

    Please select all that are applicable to you:

    1. Have you completed the Art of Living course?

    2.Have you completed DSN course?

    3.Have you completed the Pre-TTC course?

    4.Do you have prior experience as an Art of Living or IAHV volunteer

    5.Are you a teacher of any Art of Living course?

    6.Do you feel inspired and committed to the Art of Living vision?

    ???? how on earth can an outsider select any one of these?
    If I am an outsider #1-5 is a definite NO; #6 is the only one that I can possibly select but what is Art of Living any ways for an outsider?…..

    Finally there might be a clause that you have to take the AOL course to become a volunteer for IAHV…any idea?

    • bloggisatwa permalink
      August 22, 2012 2:17 am

      WOW Anonymous !!!, I had not looked at this form before.

      Hmmmmm Clearly only the indoctrinated few will get through.

      1. I guess to be volunteer with IAHV you need to be a qualified human.,..after all it is the International Association for Human Values.

      2. Based on the form, it feels as if a qualified human is someone that has

      a. Completed the Art of Living course,DSN, Pre-TTC. (This is where we would have checked out your compatibility to the system.)

      b. Has Prior experience as an AOL-IAHV volunteer. (We do not want Oxfam or Red Cross infiltrators to learn how we run projects with < 5% overheads. When we rarely use our heads…how then can we have any overheads?? He He)

      c. Bonus : Is an AOL Teacher.

      ie…has temporarily surrendered their thinking ability for a license to teach.

      Has a larger version of life….ie..”Grace is everything….and I am a nothing”….

      He does it all….Including talk through me when I teach….I really have nothing to contribute..
      I have to just be with the flow ie.. HIM I blindly follow.

      My self esteem comes out of being associated with the Super esteemed (Ravi and Banu)….I cannot even imagine my life without them.

      I am indebted to them for saving me from the illusion/maya and taking me towards true enlightenment….forever and forever..and forever…

      I am the lucky one…..FOR I am chosen by HIM.

      d. Is committed to the Art of Living vision of making family Ravi super rich and powerful. !!!

      I wrote the point C above in jest…..but it is the reality of those within. Bloody scary if you are able to step back and take a look at what you have really committed yourself to.

      And to think this is what I was at one time. Seriously….what a phenomenal brain trap. And, I managed to get out…pretty unscathed. Phew !!! What a relief..even now…after so many years. I feel so lucky. Feels like a truly great escape. Just happy to be free and alive…again.

  7. Guru-ouch permalink
    August 22, 2012 8:47 am

    http://www.artofliving.org/in-en/assam-crisis-love-in-the-time-of-insurrection
    That is quite a flowerly story there. As I was reading through, one sentences read “Hundreds of militants have been rehabilitated, and are now supporting their families and working in their communities.” and upon going to the hyperlinked page here – http://www.artofliving.org/128-manipuri-militants-reintegrated-mainstream-india , it reads 128 manipuri militants rehabilitated, blah blah… if it was only 128, why should it read “hundreds” in the mother-page? It would have been fair to write about a “100 people rehabilitated”, in the place of “hundreds of”. Finally, claiming “rehabilitation” for a mere 100+ people will not solve the gynormous problems facing N.E. India. It may be good only for AOL’s fund-raising activities. Most of the people donating to AOL’s cause do not have the time or energy to decipher these business tactics. What a clever model!

    • Anonymous permalink
      August 30, 2012 3:20 am

      why has there not been activity here lately? i fear if AOL has something to do with blocking activity here.

      • bloggisatwa permalink
        September 4, 2012 2:52 am

        This blog is just a platform. Its not a magazine or a business that needs to grow. We have no milestone pressures. Much has already been said. This is not an anti-AOL blog as much as its a ” more complete view of AOL” blog.

        So, if the visitors have not been active…so be it. We are under no pressure to deliver new material or keep anti-AOL sentiments going.

        For those of you that have a newer perspective on AOL or any of its newer activities, please email your observations to Obi or to me. That is all there is to it.

        If for any reason being on the blog helps you re-enforce certain aspects of of your journey….nothing wrong with that. However, there is much to do in this lifetime beyond just criticizing AOL. We have already invested much energy in that activity. There is so much to read and learn from the 2 other blogs that already exist. Klim and Skywalkers.

        Even today, I still find many of the posts there extremely insightful and revealing. It may be a good idea to comb the archives.

  8. Anoop permalink
    August 26, 2012 5:14 pm

    Nothing related to this post…….

    Its disturbing to see how dinesh is using his facebook updates for preaching muslim bias/hatred… http://www.facebook.com/dineshghodke

    eaxmples..

    “Tipu Sultan would hang Hindu Priests upside down on top of his entrance gates as a warning4Hindu Kafirs2convert. Kerala can tell more…”

    “Hitler killed 6million Jews. TipuSultan almost matched the same with Hindus. Yet he is glorified by History textbooks& Muslim filmmakers. ?!”

    “‎4those wanting more on Hindu Genocide by Mughals, read chapter5 of this amazing book by Francois… http://t.co/e1haYbs9

    Rewriting Indian History Farncois Gautier”

    He is responding to Vijay Mallya buying Tipu Sultan sword..

    Majority of Indians despite their political/religious views will not try to post things that can cause hatred towards any particular community . But here the the best of AOL teachers preach hatred……. ( in indirect way)

    AOL is joining sangh parivar or has already joined ?

  9. Subramaniam Iyer permalink
    September 3, 2012 3:54 am

    What has happened to the blog? No activity in the last three and half weeks, speculation in my country is that maybe AOL managed to buy over blogmaster 🙂 Please keep this blog alive as it is a place where ex aolers and soon to be ex aolers can share and exchange opinions and news.

  10. rajee permalink
    September 3, 2012 4:47 pm

    great exposure

  11. Dayalu permalink
    September 7, 2012 6:40 pm

    http://secure.artofliving.org/event_details.aspx?event_id=103727

    I was amused to read this:

    “While attendance is free of charge, those who wish to contribute additionally to the homa may offer a sankalpa.

    Sankalpa Ticket amounts are as follows:
    $5001 – reserved stage seating; personal sankalpa; silver coin; prasad
    $2501 – reserved seating near stage; personal sankalpa; prasad
    $1008 – reserved seating in the front of the hall; group sankalpa with the pundit; prasad
    $108 – designated seating; you can offer your intention during the homa; prasad”

    Sankalpa for sale, noble intentions indeed.

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