Dwai, after I read few posts from your personal practice forum, all I can say is "wow". I have to admit I don't understand much. The vocabulary and the terms used are entirely new to me. I got a glimpse or very basic idea as to what it is. I am familiar with the Tai Chi, even tried to practice some basic level before. I remember reading about the difference between Chi and Qi, that I confuse with. Personally, I don't feel a lot of affinity for this at this moment, but who knows? There may be a reason to everything that happens; nothing wrong in knowing things and expanding awareness.
Coming off of that topic and to my practices, I feel a pull more towards the kriya yoga practices. This pull was there for several months before I came to TDB. May be there was some reason to my initial attraction to the kriya yoga. I was not chasing or even looking for it, it came to me. This tradition where I was initiated does not even do lot of PR, or sell like Pilgrim pointed out. After Pilgrim narrated the experiences and explained the difficulties in organizing a weekend event, the only thing I could compare it was arranging kids birthday parties or small family events. Organizing a simple kids party for few hours, with a handful of kids, involves lot of planning, work, time & money. Can't compare this nearly to an entire weekend event with adults.
When I look back, I wonder if the sum total of what the entire (small) batch donated/paid would have covered even a fraction of the cost of that event. Each person was individually initiated into the kriya yoga by the teacher, followed by 2 full days of teaching, Q&A sessions and one or two freshly cooked meal(s) a day. The teacher and may be some others traveled from out of state,they had to stay some where. When I travel for my work, I expect to stay in a decent place, my transportation expenses reimbursed. I have to conclude that it is from the generous giving of others, in terms of money, time and hard work, that event was facilitated.
I never believed that spirituality or yoga or even religion for that matter should be free. There is this attitude that I have seen particularly in people from India. I don't want anyone to take this the wrong way. I am was also born and brought up in India and have immense respect and immeasurable gratitude to the culture, traditions and to the environment in which I was brought up.
But, this feeling of entitlement, that yoga, spirituality and religion should be entirely free is completely wrong. I have some good friends, very nice people. Many of them feel that they can donate money, but a set amount should not be asked for any yoga lessons or religious services. An acharya or guru should not ask any money (fixed fee for services especially) and take only what was offered after the learning or their services. They fail to see that they themselves expect so much from the world, to be compensated for their work. Demand a salary and befits for the job. The priests or the yoga teachers also incur expenses, many of them have family, kids to take care, their kids also go to school, they also have medical costs just like any one else. Many live modestly. It is clearly wrong to say, these people cannot ask a set amount of money for their services. I can only hope this mindset changes. I could get labeled that I became a westerner. Well, I am partly Westerner and don't feel anything wrong with that (even proud of it).
There seems to be 2 extremes. On the one side, we talked about gurus, motivated entirely by money or power, doing mass initiations and have powerful organizations. It looks sometimes that there is nothing different between them or CEO or top executives of an organization. Well, let them run their organizations like any other business would, as long as they spare the moral lessons, and the altruistic act. It is a shame that many such spiritual organizations that make tons of money claim they are purely charities, get tax breaks, hardly pay anything to the teachers and workers at the grassroots at lower levels. It's all service for our own good. May be. But there is also plain exploitation.
On the other end of the spectrum, at the grassroots levels, we see many people contributing generously, working hard -- whether it be yoga, or any religious denomination. Many barely surviving for their essential needs, while some take a lot and exploit in this category also. It is because of those that exploit, that the people that are sincere and in need suffer. In India many temple priests don't have a set salary. They are ridiculed, looked down upon, if they openly express happiness about the dakshina they get for their hard work or services. There are no kings to support them as it used to be and a democratic government can't compensate for spiritual or religious services. How can these people make a living? If some of these priests or teachers set a fixed amount of fee for their services, we hear the cries, how can they do this? In tradition, the guru or acharya is not supposed to ask for any money. After the entire teaching is over, the student gives whatever guru dakshina he/she feels to give, (in some instances the guru asks at the end of years of teaching). If only people had some conscience and paid a proper guru dakshina, these teachers wouldn't have ended up in the state to ask for a fixed amount of money for honest services they provide. The balance between these two extremes seems to be critical at this junture; unless the entire thing shatters and becomes one big ridicule. May be this happened already.
Look at the AYP fiasco. The altruistic, "advanced yoga should be open source available to one and all free" ( I never subscribed to this view, this was what they projected themselves as). There were moral lessons. Later from "open source, readily available to one and as their right", it seems to have changed. New teachings are available to "only those who can pay a monthly subscription with auto-pay". I point out again and again, I do NOT see anything wrong with this. They are asking for a very reasonable and moderate amount in exchange for enormous amount of work that has gone in. It's just the fallacy, they had to come to see that their own stated fundamental beliefs or foundation has to be shattered. They had to run the organization in the same exact way that they pointed the finger, criticized and laughed others at.
Edited by Cauvery, 13 January 2017 - 01:43 PM.
Mano budhyahankara chithaa ninaham, Na cha srothra jihwe na cha graana nethrer, Na cha vyoma bhoomir na thejo na vayu, Chidananada Roopa Shivoham, Shivoham.
(From Nirvana shatakam by Adi Shankara - translation by Swami Vivekananda)
I am neither the mind, nor the intellect, nor the ego, nor the mind-stuff; I am neither the body, nor the changes of the body; I am neither the senses of hearing, taste, smell, or sight, Nor am I the ether, the earth, the fire, the air; I am Existence Absolute, Knowledge Absolute, Bliss Absolute - I am He, I am He. (Shivoham, Shivoham).