Why are you taking money for spiritual knowledge?

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2

Os, why are you taking money for teaching mudras.

Why are you using a Indian spiritual knowledge to earn money? 

If you are taking money for yourself then there is one dosha in you - lobh (greed)

 

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19

Jai Sri Hari Anand. Thank you for asking this question. I will try and answer that based on my experience as a devotee and someone associated with the community for a few years.

Om Swami was a millionaire before he renounced the material world, did Sadhana, took darshan of the divine, and finally started the ashram. The ashram started as a single cottage with no access to running water or electricity. The grace of Sri Hari and the tapas of our Swami ensured that a beautiful ashram stands today at the banks of Giri River. Swami does not take a single penny from the Ashram donations. He does not even have access to the accounts. He generates his own income by writing books and conducting a few courses and even from that money spends a lot on a charity for education girls. A single day stay in the ashram which includes a twin sharing room and 3 meals cost 1000 rupees as of today. The ashram is 1.5 hours away from the nearest major town in Himachal so imagine the costs of bringing in supplies and compare it to the cost of rooms.

The Sri Badrika Ashram recently contributed 65 Lakhs for 86 deserving students below the poverty line. The scheme was already the largest scholarship scheme in Himachal Pradesh, and 80% of the recipients were girls. We run a free chikitsalya and a selai kendra to empower local women.

Let's now talk about OS.me or Black Lotus our community and meditation websites. Swami has always believed in offering a high-quality experience to people and that costs money. How do you think our ancient Rishis or even Swami Vivekananda managed to get this message out to people?

Swami Vivekananda was sponsored by so many people to go abroad and spread the message of Vedanta.  Swami simply chose to make a digital model where people who can afford it pay for it and others can write articles and get paid for doing it. I currently have 11000 Rs sitting in my account because I write and comment on this forum. That money is coming from the income generated by the site and given back to devotees to encourage them to write more. We have so many people who cannot afford membership getting scholarships and subscriptions

Black Lotus is the worlds best meditation app designed by experts around the world. It costs money to design, code, and maintin applications. Its only 200 rupees a month to subscribe to the worlds best meditation application.

Personally, the greatest disservice we do to our culture is we think our knowledge and heritage should be given away for free. We spend crores in a wedding feeding people 50 different types of food but call the pujari greedy when he demands dakshina for reading mantras. The pujari spend 20 years learning the sadhanas so that we could carry our tradition forward. I have volunteered in temples and ashrams and they all need funds to run smoothly. To deny them that is to kill our own culture.

If money, was the only objective, Swami was a millionaire in his early twenties. We encourage you to read up about him by reading his autobiography or a few other books. All our videos on YouTube are freely available.

May Sri Hari bless you and your family.

 

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13

I desire to add one more thing to all of those beautiful answers given by everyone.

The Vedic scriptures state - If a person gains knowledge from someone and doesn't give something in return, the person will acquire bad Karma.

Initially, Swami started giving everything for free. The Ashram stay, food, his blog, and everything was free. A handful of his followers were giving back huge sums of money, which kept the Ashram afloat. The rest of his followers were not giving anything at all. 

To save those followers who were not giving back from bad Karma, Swami started charging money for everything. 

Swami once said, "If it was only for me, I would wear a Versace suit and go back into the corporate. If I do that, I won't be able to work for society."

The Vedic scriptures (Indian spiritual knowledge) say that debt to a Guru is something only the Guru can help us clear. He is not charging money. Swami is charging Guru Dakshina to prevent his followers from drowning in Samsara due to our debt to him.

In trying to help his followers, he takes all the blame and comments from society.

A million Pranaams to his compassionate self. 

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13

Hi Anand, Thanks for raising the question around money. There are two answers I can provide - Long one and a Short one. So here goes 🙂

Long Answer - In entire human history, knowledge has never been as abundant and freely available as in current times. A simple google search of "Khechari Mudra" for ex: shows 243K web pages on this one Mudra alone. All available for free. Now to a more important question on why charge money. I have a small example to share.

Let's say there are three heart specialists

  1. First specialist (called Google) has compiled all heart related articles over Internet. He provides the services for free but you need to search/find/evaluate and decide how to use the knowledge. 
  2. Second specialist has just completed his medical school after significant investment of his time and money  and charges Rs. 1000 / $100 per visit.
  3. Third is a seasoned heart specialist with decades of experience and 1000s of hours of surgical experience under his belt who charges Rs. 10,000 / $1000 per visit.

Who would you visit for a serious heart issue vs if you have a simple heart burn? Keep in mind that all three have the knowledge but there would be a difference in their advice & solutions. Quiet reasonably they charge different fee but the fee is not for the knowledge since it is freely available, the fee is for the value they add due to their own unique learning. So for a heart burn, you may go to First Specialist but for a serious heart issue, it would probably be the Third Specialist.

So you do have all knowledge (including Indian Spiritual Knowledge) available for free, please leverage it if you just want to know about Mudras. But if you are looking for a seasoned heart specialist, you would have to spend money. This is not a Dosha as you call it else not a single professional in the world would be able to charge any fee and any incentive for excelling in a field would die - it is scary to even imagine a world like that. There is a level of excellence in os.me Courses provided by Swami Ji and the associated fee reflects the same.

Short Answer - There are two ways you can get access to any course or membership at os.me. One is a simple purchase or you can earn your access through The os.me Karma Program. You would be glad to know that, os.me would pay you 🙂 provided you can add some value to this wonderful community of spiritual seekers and practitioners, that's what Karma Program is all about. You can earn and then use those earnings to purchase the course.

Wishing you all the very best in your journey to whatever you are seeking!

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7

May I add to Akshay's meaningful answer that you are not the first one to ask this question. Swamiji has spoken about it several times and has also written a post. You might want to read the Three Kinds of People.

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7

Hello Anand! Thank you for asking your question here and it isn't uncommon as Medha said.

Firstly please know that there are more than 450 YouTube Videos of Om Swami available for everyone to watch completely free. 

And as Akshay also said beautifully, Swami was a millionaire and has all the knowledge till date if He wanted to get back in business and make money again.

Secondly I am not sure if you are referring to the virtual courses or to the membership. But either ways, I am not sure about your town, but where I live I have to pay for everything, including water (which is free from the rain it seems). So it is probably to be our conditioning when we believe that spiritual knowledge must be free.

 

All that being said though, please know that at os.me, you are entirely encouraged to discover your own truth and gain your spiritual knowledge from inside:) Other than that I think Akshay said the rest.

 

I really wish you all the very best in your search💫🌼 

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6

As a society, do we exempt Yogis from electricity bills and internet bills? Being yogi, can they travel for free? Do they get free food? No. They have to spend like us, so they have to earn like us too. 

Mathematics teacher has not invented mathematics. But he can earn by teaching it simply because he is investing his time in teaching. Simple!

 

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5

Anand ji

Apart from the background provided by Akshay ji,

a) Where did you see Om Swami ask for money for teaching mudras? I don't remember seeing any such offering to date.

b) When OS.me started subscription fees, Swami ji shared his views in this article - Hungry Baba and the New Normal.  This will give you more details.

c) Do you know a majority of the income from OS.me is given back to the writers on the platform. Not only writing an article, but interacting through comments also earns karma points and that earns money.  

 

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5

I think the question shouldn't be why OS.ME or Swamiji is charging money for the platform/courses; it should be whether or not there's a value you see in what they are offering. If you don't see a value, why even waste your time in thinking about the price; if it's valuable, again why waste your time in thinking about the price :).

 

If you see Swamiji as realized being, then why question his motive behind charging money for the ultimate knowledge you're getting directly from the one who has gone beyond; if you don't see him as a realized being, then why even bother to seek his knowledge?

 

If we can't let go the attachment to money, then where's the hope to let go the attachment to ego which is even more deeper and stronger.

 

In this current age of kaliyug,nature rules do not allow one to travel by flying manually or via chariots that run on mantras; there's no more Kamadhenu that Rishi Vashishtha possessed which would produce food by mere wish; there's no Deva Vishvakarma (the divine architect) who could build a city by mere thought.

 

 

 

Your travel, food, lodging, medicine, clothes – everything cost money, and that's the dharma of the current age to pay for these things.

 

What's more amazing about our current age is, that Sadhus asking for alms are considered either Burdon or beggars disguised as Sadhus, and unlike during the age of Lord Buddha, it is not even possible to survive on alms if you're a true Sadhu. But if you can give false assurances, promises or produce things out of thin air, get some actors to lie about your magical supernatural powers, you'll get several people lining up with a fortune as offering to get to meet you.

 

Now ask yourself, what type of Sadhu you want to seek knowledge from? One who charges only minimal amount for the priceless wisdom he's imparting to run the operations and pay the bills, but otherwise takes no donation nor have any special "VIP" access.

Or, you'd prefer the spiritual businessman, disguised as Sadhu, who is accessible to a person in proportion to the amount of donation he or she can shell out.

 

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5

Oh wait, isn't He the giver though? And so, makes His right to take it back when He wants? 😀

Anand Ji, it's nothing but an enabler for Him to make this world a better place for us. Once you fall in love with Him, I'm sure you'll readily give all of yours, and so much so, that you'd still crave/beg to give more and such is His love. 🙃❤️  

Btw, if you're struggling to pay or even want these for free - if I may, and if that's okay with you - I'd love to buy these for you.

Would love to hear from you on my email at aom@outlook.co.nz. 🙂

Jai Shri Hari 😀 

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4

Many times we divide something as good and something as bad.. many times we greed for money but again it becomes taboo..

 

But finally without money it's difficult to run anything in this world.. and our intention is more important.. 

 

 

 

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4

Ananad Swamiji says agar Guru maana to prashn kaisa? Aur agar nahi mana to prashn kaisa? No one asks us to subscribe to os.me, black lotus or the sadhana courses or visit the ashram too.Swamiji's youtube videos are available for free as well. Some immoral people have made, shared and read pdfs of his precious books. He never asks us to come to ashram or donate him something. It's our choice and we may exercise it according to our wisdom dear Anand.

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Anandji, this would be the initial reaction of most of us to the concept of paying back. Atleast it would be the case with a person like me. Give is the expression of Love. It's not instictual or natural for us to give freely outside attachment circle or without compulsion.

If each one of us would honestly look within we would see only a few people we can give without any resistance. If a person becomes unconditional in his/her give, that person is unbound & his/her ego has merged into the universal consciousness.

Now, Is it the fault of Swamiji to charge for the spiritual wealth that is imparted through him..? I don't think so. It's rather a conscious step of a teacher to push his desciples towards intentionality & consciousness. When one accesses the wisdom imparted here, it is an instict or an intention from the person to evolve. If it is an instict, at this point he is pushed to think & act. If it is an intention, strength of the intention is tested. In either cases it becomes a conscious decision to pay attention & engage if a person pays a price for what he receives.

Most of us cannot value anything that doesn't come with a price tag. In the bigger picture there is nothing that doesn't come with a price tag though it need not be immediately visible to us. For instance this life that has come to us with a body, senses, mind & 99% of the essentials like oxygen to breathe, water to drink & basic food for body & mind. What could be the price for this if it was really priced..? The situation in which we are born, within & outside, is that an accident or have we already paid a price for it..? Isn't it required for us to balance the give & take which is to give as freely as we receive to be unbound..? Is it wrong if a guru helps us expand self towards this balance..?

To look at it practically anyone who is seriously invested in exploring thuth would value it enough to save Rs.10 to access it in couple of months, even if he is depending on daily wages. Couple of months he would spend longing to access it would exponentially expand his motivation to apply the teachings once he has earnt it. Ultimately isn't spiritual empowerment supposed to be holistic rather than what's visible outwardly..? I think swamiji is helping us take one more step ahead towards holistic empowerment by making us strive, think & act rather than blindly consume.

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1

My personal experience is that free (money wise) knowledge doesn't work as effectively as paid one. Moreover nothing comes free. Its mere conditioning of mind.  If not money, you pay in other forms like a sense of devoutness just one example. That's a much bigger price. Monetary aspect is so shallow a thinking when it comes to spirituality.  In fact, if we pay a few rupees then its in our own favour. How, you may ask? 

 

Like you dear Anand ji, such thoughts cross many a minds. Even I had a thinking pattern similar to yours, sometime back. My mind was conditioned that way. All through my 50 years of life I saw free (or a very economically priced )distribution of spiritual books etc.  Then I found that those FREEbies in fact cost more.  As also they play with our emotions and shatter our genuine faith, in long run. Sometimes we end up even paying much more than mere a few rupees initially.  " FREE "   puts us under great mental and emotion pressure/binding. It also enslave us.  Contemplate over this and find your own answers. Only those answers would give you complete satisfaction.

 

Blessings 🌹🌹🌹😊😊😊😊

 

Jai Shri Hari🙏🙏🙏

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1

So much has been said in answering this question that I could not even read all the answers before adding my two cents(pun intended)[Boy, why do I have to joke after every two sentences! Oh, right I am a disciple of Swamiji]. Given the nature of the conversation, I cannot delve exactly what is the Guru dakshina attached with our lineage but I can surely tell you that it is nothing monetary and nothing for Swamiji's personal need. Also, Swamiji says "If you really love me, never defend me in public. If my fire is real, sooner or later they'll see the truth." So why don't you try to meet or see Him and decide for yourself. After all maybe we all are wrong and just getting sentimental about someone we love. Find your own truth. Cheers:)

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