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Argentinians See Right Through RS and AoL’s BS

September 15, 2012

by Rita Lopez

Ravishankar and Group detained (Investigation on for tax evasion)

On September 12, 2012, Ravishankar was detained in Misiones (during his side trip to the falls in the north of the country) for suspicious handling of funds, money laundering, tax evasion. The news came out immediately in ALL local media sources.

Extremely Sloppy work and Cooked up information circulated by AOL PR channels

The next day after the “big event” held in Argentina, several newspapers worldwide reported 150,000 people attended a meditation with Ravi Shankar. They forgot to tell you it was all planned. They had originally announced an event for 100,000 people. In anticipation, they had already decided they’d announce 150,000 people attended. How do we know? Because one of the titles of one of the newspapers changed the number “100,000” to “150,000” even before people had started gathering! LOL. And the rest of the media disagreed. They also forgot to mention other activities were organized in the same area, same day, and that it was organized by the city government as part of a bigger feast, that included many other activities.

Same old story, except their media department has become more aggressive, but still extremely sloppy (you will see why later). What is the big news about a meditation held in Argentina by an unknown guy from India? He is big only in India and there are far more important things going in the world than this unimpressive event. Go figure.

Now, these are some of the events they chose not to share and that actually did happen.

The AoL media department circulated an email with all the articles published worldwide the next day, including a picture of some clippings published in Argentine newspapers. Except they forgot to check that the titles of the articles all had words such as, “investigation”, “fight”, etc. LOL.

Why was he detained ? What is the investigation all about ?

Readers: AoL is officially under the investigation of the local IRS (the “AFIP” in Argentina) for suspicious handling of funds, money laundering and tax evasion. In the year 2011 only, they declared a total income of 20 million pesos in the form of donation (take your calculator: the official dollar value is 4.57). We can guess the real number is most likely 3 to 5 times more! And we all know, most of the money collected in courses is never reported, and most of it flown out by teachers to India, Germany or the USA in cash, illegally.

Major media expose of AOL’s fraudulent activity in Argentina

During his stay, he was subject of debate in all media sources, ie. newspapers, magazines, radio, TV, in a negative way. Only one newspaper remained neutral because one of the teachers happens to be the son of an important director, and several of their journalists have taken the course. But, even they could not avoid reporting about the investigation, and for example, that today, he was detained. The rest of the media made fun of him/them and exposed his businesses, religiously, on a daily basis, ie. the several lavish ashrams, the holy water business, sms blessings, pharmacies, etc., and questioned his promise of fixing “absolutely everything”.

“Absolutely everything?”, they kept asking him. “Health? Depression? Everything?” …. “Absolutely everything!”

Argentinians (Including numerous ex followers) are extremely Skeptical

People did not buy it. In fact, those who had, are questioning. His name has become synonym of “cheat”, “charlatan”, “fraud”, and his organization, “cult” and “spiritual business”. He was attacked by journalists the minute he landed at the airport, with questions such as why he handles his NGO as a corporation, and his controversial statement about private vs. public schools. They caught him in all his inconsistencies, that were later showed in TV repeated times, just like his very highlighted statement: “Making money is not bad but keeping it all to yourself is.”

Of course, keeping it all to yourself and not giving it TO HIM is bad! But then, question: how come he keeps it ALL to himself and that is not bad?

Former members came out to share their negative experiences with the AoL. One of them, a former journalist who very professionally spilled it all out clearly and cool headedly (did you know that volunteers now actually WASH teacher’s clothes? Wow!). Also, a medical doctor who came out to confirm SK IS INDEED HYPERVENTILATION, and all the damages it does to people. Sadly, also other worse experiences.

More falsification of data

In another event held in another province, they claimed 12,000 people attended. Someone who worked there came out to say, “barely 800 people were there.” As you see, same old story. Question: does hyperventilation perhaps affect the capability to count and general perception of situations? Or does it encourage people to lie without any sense of shame?

The people of Uruguay reproached their Mayor

In Uruguay, people reproached the mayor for having awarded him the “Honorable Citizen” award.

Caught publicly in a shameful act (Is this a teacher of meditation, really ?)

Journalists criticized RS for taking cell phone calls during a guided meditation. Apparently when the translator tried to remove the phone when it rang a second time, Ravi snapped it out of his hand and kept playing with it, and it rang more times. People joked about the episode in Argentina and his comparison of people to cel phones became the joke of the day (“just like a cel phone needs to charge its battery, so do people”). The most right-on comment made in TV was, “he probably wants people to change their SIM cards.”

Being an AOL role Model – Handling the Hot seat and Making Counter Threats

At the sight of the endless criticisms, one of their teachers, Beatriz, went to a TV program to defend themselves. She actually ended up saying, in public TV, they were going to sue the journalists. One of the hosts, a lawyer, suggested it was not a good idea. To which she got mad and emphasized with a nasty tone they had “800 lawyers ready to do whatever”. She was ripped apart. That kind of talk and thinking is not acceptable in “the world”.

Question: is that the response they will have for everything? Do they have such little tolerance to criticism? What happened to their hot chair and Ravi’s teaching about criticizing and receiving criticism?

Is AOL’s and RS’s narcissism so high that common sense and self-respect have disappeared ?

The thought is entertaining. As time goes by, more and more people will come out of the closet and speak up. At some point, there will be too many people to sue! Can they take losing more cases and paying more lawyer’s fees? But hey! If one developing country is cashing USD 5 million (approx., declared) just in courses, imagine how much money he is making at the end of the day from 130 countries! Plus, the water business, the sms, the software, the consulting, the construction, the real estate, the matrimony, the head hunting, the export import, the pharmacies, the beauty products, the incense, the books and tapes, …… I am gasping here! Too many to list and I probably left some out! Wow!

A Charlatan’s outdated statements

He has been saying for years to Argentines, “hurry! hurry! bring more people to the course before it becomes Colombia! Then it will be too late!” As usual, he puts together the little he knows and makes a scandal out with ignorance. He does not know Colombia has come out of the drug crisis of the 90s, extensively reduced the level of violence, has become a model to fight violence, and their economy has slowly picked up (with very little to no AoL activity!). Argentina, instead, since they got more people to do the course, has been hit by more violence, poverty, social and political unrest, even fear to lose its democracy. What happened? Are 20 million pesos per year not enough to fulfill the promise?

The Argentinian media have given him many funny knick-names

He has been christened with several nicknames.The three most popular

1)  “Ladri Shankar “Ladri”, to rhyme with “Ravi”, shortened from the word, “ladrón” = thief, thus “Ladri Shankar”.

2)   Ravi Chanta “Chanta”, a slang for “thug, charlatan, fraud, cheater”, thus “Ravi Chanta”.

3)   Sri Sri Shampan “Shampan” for “Champagne, thus “Sri Sri Shampan”.

RS – An Epitome of love, peace, compassion and non-violence
On the last day of his stay in the city, a TV character who dressed up like him the whole week, imitating and ridiculing him (he happens to be a little person) went to his hotel with an empty bottle, and told him he wanted to discuss business with him to sell air in a bottle, that they could become rich! The scene ended with Ravi pushing him away not nicely, and the TV showed this in slow motion over and over. Busted! Spirituality at its fullest!

How will RS escape all this ?

He will probably blame someone for the investigation. He will need to be careful because whoever he puts his finger on, will be the wrong political party. Either side, he will be playing with fire. The ones most affected will be the members of the current board, and maybe even teachers who are not legally hired by the organization and who also do not pay taxes. Sri Sri knows where not to put his name! And he always has someone else to do his dirty job.

How the AOL PR machinery twists all this

They claimed worldwide it was “a successful tour”. Aha …. for who? They might have forgotten to tell the truth.


ADDENDUM

Following with proof and the final verdict:

This is just one of the articles that came out yesterday announcing his detention. The news came out immediately everywhere, as he is officially under investigation.

http://www.infonews.com/2012/09/12/sociedad-38285-ravi-shankar-fue-demorado-por-la-afip-en-el-aeropuerto-de-misiones.php

However, he was released to continue with the rest of his trip (one can find many ways out with $20 million pesos, around $4 o $5 million US dollars), and articles such as this one were published, explaining that, about 1200 people “donated” $100 for not even 40 minutes of Ravishankar in the north of Argentina. He stayed at the Sheraton Hotel (also in Buenos Aires city, where people questioned the list of room orders made), the best of Water Falls area, in the only room that has direct view to the falls.

He recommended everyone to buy the “drops that heal cancer”, “Shakti”, for US$50.

http://www.lanacion.com.ar/1507816-ravi-shankar-se-fue-de-misiones-con-20-millones-en-donaciones

They may have gotten big in the country but people got their eyes wide open now. There will always be clients for these fools, but it’s good people also are aware they could be one. Why take away money from a country hit by poverty? Why not invest all of it instead of just the minimum to get snap shots and marketing? With 20 milion a year, why not legally hire people with real competitive salaries and benefits? There is nothing wrong with getting money from these courses. As he said, “making money is not bad.” What is bad is lying and fooling people. Call it a business, don’t be an NGO, pay taxes, don’t take advantage of people’s good nature. I am sure then, no one will be questioning him.

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12 Comments
  1. Mangal permalink
    September 15, 2012 7:10 pm

    “And journalists criticized him for taking cel phone calls during a guided meditation. Apparently when the translator tried to remove the phone when it rang a second time, Ravi snapped it out of his hand and kept playing with it, and it rang more times. ”

    we live in an age of naked transparency!
    someone uploaded a video of the incident. enjoy

  2. Anonymous permalink
    September 16, 2012 11:21 am

    Check out this link
    http://www.artoflivingsecrets.com/2012/09/the-truth-about-sri-sri.html

    Face saving post by another SSRS teacher Nakul

    These guys do not want to see……. or will not see….. the truth even if it slaps them on the face

    Sad these guys will not even get to see one $$ or one peso of what SSRS has stashed away?????

    • bloggisatwa permalink
      September 16, 2012 2:38 pm

      My comment on this willful blindness is very beautifully explained by Margaret Heffernan.

      http://www.mheffernan.com/book-wb-reviews.shtml

      What is willful blindness ?

      Margaret Heffernan argues that such failures are part of a “human phenomenon to which we all succumb in matters little and large.” Ms. Heffernan, a former radio and television producer and a former C.E.O. of several multimedia companies, explores many ways why people can persist in failing to see problems.

      If folks are not allowed to ignore the obvious, maybe they just would not be able cope. Applied to a huge section of the human existence, ignorance is assuredly bliss. Ignorance about my own ignorance is a mental escape hatch.

      The alternative would be overwhelming despair about everything from debt, to cancer, to failed relationships, to corruption, to pollution, to pain to bad health, lack of memory and intellect…..

      At a time when humankind are supposedly better in­formed than ever before, we are guilty of frequent and self-destructive acts of willful blindness. Strangely, the freest societies in the world are full of blinkered individuals, awed by authority and lacking the guts to laugh at all the naked emperors wandering the streets. History is full of such examples, whether its Albert Speer, the architect whose devotion to Hitler led him to ignore the Final Solution OR to senior executives at Enron who deliberately ignored the fraud cooked up to conceal its true financial position.

      Typically as whistleblowers (bloggers !!!) we were once conformists and loyalists who slowly become deeply skeptical of authority. As we perceive the truth and act on it, there is an initial feeling of isolation. If lucky, that is usually replaced by discovery of a like-minded group of allies.

      Part of the reason is that the brain’s cognitive limits don’t let us absorb everything we encounter, she writes, so we must filter what we take in. Some of this willful blindness and filtering is beneficial. It “oils the wheels of social intercourse when we don’t see the spot on the silk tie, the girlfriend’s acne, or a neighbor’s squalor,” she writes. At a basic level, selective vision also helps us remain engaged and optimistic day to day.

      Karen has observed that a remarkable num­ber of whistleblowers are women, including Sherron Watkins at Enron, Coleen Rowley, who exposed the FBI’s failures to act on warnings before the 9/11 terror attacks, and Cynthia Cooper at WorldCom. Watkins notes that all three were first-born, ‘women of faith’ and ‘breadwinners for our families’. It seems, so was KLIM, who started blogging it ALL about AOL.

      But, the blindness has dangerous effects for eg a spouse who ignored evidence of a partner’s adultery, home buyers who took on excessive mortgage debt, and companies whose compliant employees assumed “levels of risk beyond their ability to recover.”

      What limits our vision ? — individually and collectively — and thus jeopardize our safety, economic well-being, moral grounding and emotional wholeness. Love, ideology, fear and the impulse to obey and conform all play important roles in rendering us blind to the makings of personal tragedies and corporate collapses. Information overload is a big factor, especially in our technologically sophisticated age. Multitasking and excessive stimulation, combined with exhaustion, restrict what we see and do. We all know that it is harder to concentrate when we are tired. That’s because the brain is working so hard to stay alert that higher-order brain activity must be conserved and thus restricted. This leaves me with an Oxymoron. AOL devotees need to meditate even more ?

      Some clear directions emerge from her work….

      1. Obsession is directly proportional to willful blindness.

      2. When we become extremely busy chasing something the less likely we are “to see clearly and work thoughtfully” and to consistently consider the interests of others. It keeps us silent, too lest debate or criticism jeopardize our identity / position.

      3. What stops us from living as truthfully as we can. This is something that only we can answer to ourselves.

      • bloggisatwa permalink
        September 17, 2012 1:30 am

        Why do AOL teachers and devotees STILL continue to do what they do …even after they visit this blog. ?

        The below is a major major and Stunning CLUE

        A psychological experiment done in Yale called the Milgram experiment by Prof Milgram in 1961 which yielded amazing results. It made volunteer participants teachers and gave them a certain set of roles including inflicting punishment if the student answered wrong. It wanted to see how much the teacher volunteers would abuse authority (their own) ….and in turn succumb to authority (Prof Milgram and co) ….AGAINST their own inner voices and moral standards. The results SHOCKED the world. Many variations of this followed with similar results. Do read more form the below link.

        Check out http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milgram_experiment

        The Milgram experiment concluded as follows…it had 2 explanations for the human behavior that resulted in such extremeties

        The first is the theory of conformism, based on Solomon Asch conformity experiments (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asch_conformity_experiments), describing the fundamental relationship between the group of reference and the individual person. A subject who has neither ability nor expertise to make decisions, especially in a crisis, will leave decision making to the group and its hierarchy. The group is the person’s behavioral model.

        The second is the agentic state theory, wherein, per Milgram, “the essence of obedience consists in the fact that a person comes to view themselves as the instrument for carrying out another person’s wishes, and they therefore no longer see themselves as responsible for their actions. Once this critical shift of viewpoint has occurred in the person, all of the essential features of obedience follow”.

  3. Rita Lopez permalink
    September 16, 2012 1:26 pm

    He left and in Argentina people and the media keep denouncing and making fun of him. In the news, the keep producing articles such as these, not letting him run away with the idea he was a success in the country (by the way, is it my opinion or his devotees seem crazier in the pictures?):

    http://www.perfil.com/contenidos/2012/09/12/noticia_0034.html

    Some have called him, “Lo que Ravi se llevó”, playing with the title of the movie, “Gone with the Wind”, which in Spanish is “lo que el viento se llevó” … in other words, “Gone with Ravi”.

    Luckily, the news of Argentina helped set the rest that happened in the rest of his tour in South America. Domino effect in action. Just an example, a criticism of Paraguay to the award giving to him by the Senate. “They should investigate more before rewarding people.”

    http://www.abc.com.py/nacionales/guru-premiado-cuenta-con-dudosos-antecedentes-450809.html

    What’s his obsession with awards? Is it trying to compensate for his lack of real school degree?????

    Can someone send all these news to their AoL people and the press that helped them publish about their “successful meditation in Argentina”? They seemed to have left out a big important part of the information!!!!!

  4. annonymous permalink
    September 16, 2012 3:08 pm

    A doctor and psicologist whom did the Part I course and a “Pre-TTC” course was interviewed in TV. His testimony is overwelming for being both a personal testimony and it adds the professional, cientific opinion. I hereby attach the interview (about 15minutes total) in 3 links. By the way, the list of links -of both written articles and tv shows -questioning AOL and it´s guru during his visit to Argentina takes about 30 pages (just the links)!

  5. September 16, 2012 3:49 pm

    Can anyone translate this and add subtitles, it is mocking RS’s visit to South America: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w19xboT2g0s

  6. Guru-Ouch permalink
    September 17, 2012 8:32 am

    http://www.21.edu.ar/microsites/ravi_shankar/

    This site is supposedly from the University that gave the “honorary Doctorate” to Sri Sri. As I was trying to translate the content on this page from Spanish to English, this is how it read

    “Sri Sri Ravi Shankar first arrived to Cordoba. From India, the founder of the international organization “Art of Living” is recognized worldwide for its great social and spread the art of meditation through breathing. . It was named by UNESCO as one of the century’s greatest orators, philosopher in 2011 and nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize……….. During the last three decades has been devoted to promoting human values​​, conflict resolution and harmony in diversity.”

    Was Sri Sri REALLY nominated for Nobel Peace Prize anytime in history? And yeah conflict resolution, name one conflict that he successfully resolved

  7. Guru-Ouch permalink
    September 17, 2012 8:39 am

    http://www.21.edu.ar/identidad21/ms-de-15000-personas-inscriptas-para-meditar-junto-a-sri-sri-ravi-shankar-_i1235.html

    The content on this page that of the Siglo 21 University roughly translates to – “Shankar was named by UNESCO as one of the most prominent speakers, has been recognized as a philosopher in 2011 and nominated several times for the Nobel Prize for Peace.”

    “SEVERAL TIMES FOR THE NOBEL PRIZE FOR PEACE”… now we know why he got the Honorary Doctorate at this University, coz., last time I checked, this university does not even have a wiki-page

    • bloggisatwa permalink
      September 17, 2012 1:02 pm

      Well, at least this piece of paper is genuine. There are witnesses to the same and its being reported on by multiple resources. The poor university was attempting to do some branding or marketing. In all likelihood some Dean / Prof / HOD must have hyperventilated recently and must be wallowing in the GG.

  8. anonymous permalink
    September 21, 2012 3:49 pm

    UNDENIABLE PROOF THAT ARGENTINIAN´S PERCEPTION ON AOL IS CHANGING: Hi everyone…

    Here´s a countrywide advertisement campaign on the streets these days for “Tulipan”, the most popular condom´s brandname. The slogan they´re using could be translated as “The Art of Screwing” (“curtir” is a term that represent a mixture of making out and having sex). The design of the posters are indeniably mocking RS and AOL´s common place phrases such as “Remove and let go everything, you may leave your socks on”, or “Walk towards the light… and turn if off”.

    In previous years Young & Rubicam (the country known publicity agency) would have never created such a campaign mocking the “sacred” AOL institution FOR A CONDOM HAHAHAH … The fact that they´re humoring the whole thing is a prove that AOL´s image is being reinterpreted by Argentineans. Happy Sprintime!

    http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10151968187971953.419690.208244011952&type=1

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