Apr 15

QnA – 27

Q> I have heard so much about you and your clear thought process.

I am a staunch follower of Art of living and have done part 1, part 2 and Sahaj Samadhi courses. I thoroughly enjoyed them and love Guruji. But I always felt the courses are  expensive. I thought spiritual knowledge should be distributed at the minimal cost and it is upto the seeker to offer how much ever it pleases him/her for Guru Dakshina. There were a few other situations when I was a bit under financial pressure to donate atleast $300. This has bothered me quite a bit even though I am a philanthropist. If people are rich and can afford it, it is a different matter. Sorry for my ignorance. I am not really clear. But if you can please explain to me in detail, I would really appreciate it.

A> Spiritual Knowledge has never been at minimal cost .. earlier you would have had to go and do Seva in an Ashram for 10-15 years before you even got a whiff of learning about meditation… Then after all that, you would give a Guru Dakshina if at all 🙂

The Art of Living courses are typically 18-40 hours in length, assuming you are paying $300 for an approximately 25 hour course, you are paying $12 per hour which is utterly exploitative … Would you even be able to get your toilet fixed for $12 an hour? Are you not willing to spend more money on getting your mind fixed, than you would on your loo?! 🙂

You talk about yourself, but you do realize that there are so many teachers and an entire organisation to run which has expenses… No government, corporate, UN agency funds Art of Living. When teachers travel, they have to pay the bus/train/air fare. In our homes we have to pay telephone and electricity bills, and for the food we eat.

We have to pay for the hall rent, the rent for the audio system used on the course, etc … Many people work to make an Art of Living course happen, we have to pay them at least their expenses. There is a pretty big bill thats there at the end of the course.

$300 is peanuts to pay for a course that you know gives you so very much.

Another thing that we wanted was that we did not want people to be obligated and pay. We charge a certain fee for a service rendered. Its nice and clean.

Finally, if you want to buy yourself a car, a solid education, a home… at this point you dont say its too expensive do you? You take a loan and get it. An Art of Living course is on par with these big investments of life. If needed, take a loan… you know its worth it.

Finally, some of the money collected on courses is pumped back into society, it doesn’t line anyone’s pockets. It could be used to rehab prisoners, or in some disaster area, or in some war zone to help people. It could be used to help children, women, etc … It could also be used to take care of our full time teachers and their families whenever needed, It could also be used to build up our Ashram infrastructure so that when you come there, you can be taken better care of…

Our idea of doing Seva is not out of an empty bowl, so that we have to go to various people to get us money so that we can do Seva. Our teachers and volunteers work hard to make courses happen, a solid value is given to the participants in the course and then out of the profits that are made on the courses, our bowl are filled. Out of a full bowl which has been made so by dint of hard work, we do philanthropy. (Though of late, quite a few funding agencies have finally woken up to the fact that Art of Living is doing some great work and have expressed a desire to partner with us towards mutual goals… and thats a nice feeling too 🙂 )

I think thats quite noble, and you should feel privileged to give money to such an organization… even if it means a bit of a stretch for you.

Q> What is the meaning of total surrender?

A> Do you sleep? For sleep to happen, you have to let go of anything and everything about yourself and your life. You do it routinely every night. You have no idea at all that you will wake up in the morning. Yet you let go, and willy nilly goto bed. Nature more or less forces this upon you, so that your system can get rest and you are refreshed for the day ahead.

Doing this when you are wide awake is called surrender. You anyways do it for 6-8 hours every day. Doing it for the rest of the day is Surrender.

Q> Bau if we get sexual thoughts and all , we need to do creative stuff to overcome the same. Well this works wonderfully! Incidentally i hardly ever get such thoughts these days, and of course i can see myself being more creative. But my apprehension is that when and If I get married will i face problems? …hehe…lol…

A> Don’t worry … once you get married i am sure your wife will be able to creatively make you forget all those creative thoughts and start you off on getting creative with her 🙂
Q> I just wanted to ask that some people say “There was never a person like you born and there will never be one like you in future”  AND others say that “Till u achieve desirelessness there is just one lifetime after another till you clear all your impressions” … Seems contradictory and confusing, I really cant understand which one really exists… Can you please explain?

A> The DNA patterns that you have will never ever be replicated … of course, there is a very very slim chance that it could, but its highly improbable … the same probability that if a monkey sat at a typewriter and hit keys at random the result would be Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet 🙂

The second is true as well … but you become a different type of person every time you are here (take a body) … very much like an actor takes on different roles in different movies … so they are the same person, but they are not 🙂

Jai Gurudeva!



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71 Responses to “QnA – 27”

  1. Gaurav says:

    hmm…had similar doubts…thnx for posting these..:)

  2. deepak says:


    Amazing to start the day. First question answers my worry to answer few of my friends I am asking to do the course though they are willing (?) they are not doing it because of fees. I have answer now 🙂

  3. Gaurav says:

    So where does responsibility come in total surrender?????

  4. Anupam says:

    Wow Bau!!!!

    this was amazing….especially the CREATIVE answer…very naughty Bau…i like that..


  5. Swati says:

    Wow Bhau, first question’s answer gives me more confidence to answer my few colleagues who are having the doubts about course fees.And yes your really naughty 🙂 in answering creatively 🙂

    Jai Gurudev!!!
    Love You, Dinesh and Bawa Bhaiya

  6. Vineesh says:

    “Finally, some of the money collected on courses is pumped back into society, it doesn’t line anyone’s pockets. It could be used to rehab prisoners, or in some disaster area, or in some war zone to help people. It could be used to help children, women, etc”

    Nice Joke. Laughing my ass off.

  7. B Kaur says:

    LOL HAHAHAHAHA…. Oh My GOD!! The headache cartoon is hillarious. I couldn’t stop laughing. Still laughing… hahaha

  8. anon says:

    B(h)au find comfort in humor 🙂

  9. sharika says:

    tat was a pretty creative answer :D..love u bau.. made my day.. and happy vishu 🙂

  10. Jayant Nasa says:

    amazing answers…. especially the 1st and 3rd one… jgd. love, bau!

  11. Rajeev says:

    Good answers!!

  12. Shilpa says:


    When do you plan to visit Bombay nxt Khurshedji?


  13. B Prasanna says:

    “the same probability that if a monkey sat at a typewriter and hit keys at random the result would be Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet”

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!! Hilarious!

    Jai Gurudeva!

  14. Harshawardhan Dabir says:

    Wow bau!! toooooo good post!
    I am happy coz its friday today 😉 … and you made me happier !!
    Jai Gurudeva!

  15. Parveen Kumar says:

    Wow Bau!!
    What a creative and witty awsome answers!!!
    Love you Bau n Dinesh


  16. sunil kanwarjani says:

    Just cool, all the answer are out of the box.Loving it.
    Joy Gurudev !

  17. Rahul JOshi says:

    Amazing bau… I have forwarded the answer of 1st question to my friends who are always against why we take fee…

    Thanks a lot Bau

  18. Oma Ram says:

    Jgd. Everything awesome!!! Cartoons so creative. Om

  19. Shikhar Mehta says:


  20. Sravya ..? says:

    thaanx bawa …the first question has been bothering me since quite a while..and now i got an answer for that….i can even answer my friends who have the same Question running in their mind whenever i ask them to do any course.. .
    Jai Gurudeva 🙂 …

  21. sonali says:

    bau the creative ans was really creative…….hahahaha

    absolutely jhakaasss

  22. AJ says:

    With reference to the first question, a public audit of funds received and utilized shouldn’t harm, should it?

    If the argument is that no one else does it why should we, then should you wait for a precedent to do something which is good and encourages transparency? :). It will remove mind blocks from people who are suspicious that misuse is happening. Hard numbers are always way more convincing than verbose claims.

  23. Arpita says:

    Awesome …answer to first que……………u r the best [:)] [:P] [;)]

  24. hari says:

    some of he things that bother me are:
    1. Luxury travel and living style of Guruji and his nephew. not sure of other members of his family. first class, luxury cars etc. pl don’t give excuses like its been donated by devotees; because of their extensive and frequent travelling they need luxury vehicles and luxurious rooms/houses

    2. There is no harm in having a luxury lifestyle. If you are preaching about simplistic living and high thinking where focus is on inner development, why do you even go for such luxury lifestyle. Bawa don’t fallback upon your time-tested yet un-successful statements like “We never… Go ahead and …”. I will tell you why they are un-successful, because you think you have given a smart retort and the crowd is with you. I am in the crowd and I know how many are saying “what bs”.

    3. Does AOL have to go back to its roots??? Kind of re-think? Does it need to focus on lesser numbers and more quality. I am of the opinion that Guruji’s, for lack of a better term, ‘extra-sensory-perception’ and intelligence should be aware of this, but not sure why it still happens.

    4. What I would like to see is this. if AOL is self sufficient financially, Guruji should stop jetsetting with the rich and powerful. Perception, Perception. Perception. It matters. Should be in Bglr ashram with the masses always and let his disciples do the work. Jetsetting and media is for the nautanks.

    Oh well, what do I know. Maybe I am the mis-fit. Maybe I should wake up and smell the coffee 🙂

    As always, curious, questioning, but ever-in-faith.

    • nishant says:

      Ridiculous answers about ‘why charge money?’. Answer hari’s questions.

      • Bawa says:

        i have answered all those questions time and again… if you do not wish to accept the answers that i give, i have no more to say
        Jai Gurudeva!

        • nishant says:

          ok fine. I have one more question. I have heard (from a trusted friend) that sri sri gurudev can cure some disease remotely through nadikriya or something like that. I will believe in what you say. But just tell me, is this true?

          • Bawa says:

            There have been many miracles associated with Guruji … When you experience one for yourself… again and again, then the doubts go … i have seen Guruji “cure” stuff and other times i have seen Him not. i have never questioned Him about why He cured someone and He didn’t cure someone else… you can come to ashram and ask Him about it on some satsang 🙂
            i have a feeling it’s to do with the sincerity with which people ask Him for help… i could be totally wrong 🙂
            Jai Gurudeva!

    • Az says:

      “I think thats quite noble, and you should feel privileged to give money to such an organization… even if it means a bit of a stretch for you”
      Since when did it become a privilege to give money away to an organization when you need it more? Thats just being real presumptuous. Its making statements like these that will invite more frown than good

  25. Sunita says:

    earlier you would have had to go and do Seva in an Ashram for 10-15 years before you even got a whiff of learning about meditation…

    This is beautiful! Whatever apprehensions (very little) I had about the course money is now totally cleared. We all are sooo lucky. Thx Bau.

  26. Sunita says:

    and the cartoon on “creativity” had me in splits this morning. :-))

  27. Vini says:

    Like it :)….The pics are so appropriate Bau… n the first answer was so cool 🙂

    Jai Guru Dev Bau

  28. puneet says:

    baauu..i have lot of confusions regarding masturbation..
    is it correct to masturbate??if yes how many times is not harmful???please tell…i am having these confusions from long time….

  29. ojashree says:

    hahaha bau!!..d creative 1…
    nicely put!!!!!!

  30. Prashant says:

    the pics are damn funny!

  31. hema says:

    Jai gurudev i just watched Dineshji s video it is so beautiful but unfortunately i cannot watch each video so my humble request is can you perhaps write this knowledge with your profound explanations
    thanks Bawa N Dinesh you guys are fantastic

  32. DJ says:

    Wow, you really come off sounding like a pompous ass – shamelessly telling people that its a privilege to give money to such an organization, even if it means coming at the cost of caring for yourself/feeding your family? You know why the art of living is getting such a bad rap off late? Its down to people like yourself who have lost touch with reality – where’s the spirituality in your arrogance?

    • Bawa says:

      re read please at no point have i said you pay if you cant feed your family or care for yourself … infact i dont even know why i am bothering to reply to you … yes now i am being a bit arrogant 🙂

    • srini says:

      dude DJ I guess your statement is more arrogant and accusatory than most posts/responses I have seen. there is no reason to loose civility and go down so low and call people names.

  33. Mridu says:

    Jai Gurudev!
    I wonder why people are ready to pay so much for each visit to a psychiatrist for rest of their lives without getting their problems solved while paying USD 300 for just 1 AOL course solves most of the issues one faces in life and saves the cost of going to a psychiatrist. May be people are concerned that psychiatrists might run out of job 🙂

  34. Janardhan says:

    Good answers. Not sure what a few people are fretting and fuming about!

  35. Rohan says:

    I too, like others, have doubted whether it is necessary for Guruji to fly first-class, or stay in expensive hotels. My personal observation is as follows – I have observed Guruji’s room in the Montreal and German ashrams and I have been astounded by how simple the settings are. There was no sign of wealth. If he stays in a hotel, I believe it is because there is always a throng of devotees waiting to talk to him, and only if he stays in a suite, is it possible to accomodate those devotees. It is not because he loves large rooms or expensive hotels. Regarding first class, I personally feel our Guru needs a little rest – he is traveling all them. Can you imagine the ruckus that would be caused by devotees trying to say hello to him if he traveled economy.

    At the recent event in LA, I witnessed Guruji staying up for over 15 hours just so that he could share knowledge with his devotees, give them darshan and be there for them.

    Yes, I too have doubts from time to time -especially given recent Guru scandals. I can only say from my heart that I think out Guru is genuine and he has no interest in hotels, flights, cars or any such thing, other than helping people.

    PS: I do think Bawa can tone down his answers so as to not hurt the sentiments of the less informed. It comes across as super arrogant.

    • Bawa says:

      if i toned down my answers will all of you still love me? 🙂

      • Suparna says:

        yes, we would. ‘Cos you’re not Simon Cowell 🙂 🙂

      • rahul says:

        JGD Bawa ,

        In my opinion , these people who always find the need to criticize , I consider them as pseudo intellectuals who think that everything must have a rational explanation or basis and they dig a deeper well for themselves by thinking that they are very intelligent by doing so.
        The ways of an enlightened Master cannot be questioned because they surpass our ”rational and intellectual” concepts of what is considered the norm in society today. Gurudev has come to this world for a short time and he will leave once his Mission is done, our criticisms or perceptions about the Art of Living or Guruji cannot do a thing to affect his Sankalpa and it will manifest no matter what we say or do..If you do not agree with what some one in the organization is doing or If you feel that it is gravely wrong and goes against your sentiments, then it is your right to challenge it , but please take it up with them and not blame the Whole organization for it.
        Guruji has a very hectic schedule and he travels First class only if it is a long flight and if he has to give a talk or meet people after he lands. He travels business class otherwise. Another reason being that he is always thronged by people who never leave his side . About the expensive hotels, Guruji is often invited by the people who own a hotel and is often given complementary stays. He does not care where he sleeps, but others around him do :), hence he has to conform. He himself prefers to sleep on the floor and eat simple food.
        I am not saying that any form of criticism is unwelcome , they are fully understandable doubts that arise in many minds. This forum is only a nicer and discrete way to vent out frustrations.
        Every organization has problems and many of those problems arise due to misunderstandings and miscommunication between the people that make it up. No organization is perfect.
        I feel that people who criticise need to take a look into the Depth of the Knowledge that has been given to us in this very life time and think again.. Please don’t ”tip toe on the shore and have notions of what the ocean is like even before jumping into it”, as Guruji says. This path of knowledge only Gives BACK the amount of sincerity a person gives to it.The Guru has brought us to the Water , now we have to drink ..that is his only mission and Bawa only shares this vision ( if I may speak on his behalf )
        There is a Sanskrit saying ; ”Yatha Drushti Tatha Srushti” , ”as Is your vision of the world , So is your creation or circumstances that befall you”..
        You have a choice to revel in your thoughts or be devout in your Sadhana , Seva and Satsang and then see how our perceptions and feelings change.
        I do not intend to dish out gyan and seem High and mighty , but please see the intention behind what I am saying..

        Jai gurudev.

      • prasanna says:

        bao bao bao

        we want more we want more we want more.

        Bao such arrogant questions, you are becoming old and answering too sweetly..

        the nuts who are posting are asking u so rudely and then expect you to answer meekly….

        bao one fiery fuunnyy reply bao,…

    • prasanna says:

      dear rohan,

      A question is asked when u have a doubt. But the manner in which it is asked also matters. The guys who are asking are ordering for answers. To such people my personal choice would be ” care a damn ”

      ” How dare he ask a director of an organization in 50 + countries, questions with this attitude [comments section]”
      ” What has he/she done to even deserve the answer ”
      ” This is a private NGO, if he/she wants to genuinely find out i guarantee that the way the question asked would be so diff”
      The person who has typed this question has asked it with earnestness and wants to know the answer. So bao has given him a nice detailed reply..

      But if you check there are earlier posts/questions where the question has been asked by “i know it all kind of attitude” and for such questions absolutely arrogant fiery and funny replies would have been posted.
      bao am i right here…..

  36. Manish Nasa says:

    Long awaited…. 🙂
    yet another ROCKING QnA!!

    Jai Gurudeva!!

  37. shilpa says:

    Wow Bau, just wow, all the question answers, but the cartoon is really cute 🙂

  38. Riley Mcaboy says:

    Thanks because of this precious article. As a practicing buddhist, recreation specialist as well as Yoga lover, I actually adore the quantity of power you’ve set into this post. Found it throughout Bing hence I actually expect, other people will find it as helpful as I do.

  39. rv says:

    answer of 1st question has quite aggressively language..
    I hope this you don’t teach in AOL…
    you might not post my reply.
    its true we can not fix our toilet in 12$ per hour but i don’t think toilet fixing take 40 hrs to get fix..every time i hear the same answer from AOL guys..

    • Bawa says:

      when you ask how much is 2+2 … most people will again and again say 4 … so amazingly you will hear the same answer from everyone, whether you like the answer or not … and most people’s minds are considerably more complicated than toilets, though both minds and toilets work on pretty much the same principle – If you dont flush (or dont know how to flush) then both stink and become unusable.

      • Sravya says:

        wowow bau …so wonderfully said….especially the 2+2 thing 😀 …waiting for more and more answers from you .. .
        Jai gurudeva 🙂 🙂

  40. AN says:

    You think you are loved because you act arrogant..wake up and smell the coffee (or whatever is satvic enough for you :P)

    • Bawa says:

      no sense of humour at all
      and no guts either to comment using real name
      so easy to hide behind the anon and say nasty things no?

  41. AN says:

    The observation above has nothing to do with my guts and agreed I am no stand up comedian.You seem to be the person with talents for that. And dude, believe it or not, my name is Anon.

    • Bawa says:

      and your surname is ymous? 🙂

      • Varun says:

        Woooaaaa.. A wack on Anon’s butt!

      • sunita says:

        Jaigurudev Bawa,

        🙂 … I am really taken back by reading the way these guys write and ask questions or comment … now I am realizing how ignorance can make the mind dance in all unwanted directions … unless one realizes themselves what Guruji and ofcourse you are, I think its hardly any use answering such people … but its really great to see your patience in responsding for such comments … which doesnt deserve it …. atleast these guys should know before asking or commenting to look into themselves and their attitude they put into their comments and ofcourse expect same ….

  42. Aman says:

    Well Bawa you say spirituality has never been cheap, earlier one had to show lot of commitment and interest before being taught meditation or whatever. True. But here in AOL its only money! Thats the issue. If you find somebody spiritually inclined, or very deserving of spiritual knowledge, committed, but no money to offer…will you/AOL teach him meditation/kriya for free or low fees.

    Another scenario, if somebody selflessly & committedly does seva for years, will the courses be offered to such a person of merit for free or low fees…without asking for donations.

    My observation says “no”. Not to expect from AOL. Unlike what you say, everything in AOL is driven by money. There is no other option at all. Thats an issue! When money is THE only factor to measure ones interest, then you are filtering a specific group of the society…because in terms of economics the value of money is different for different individuals. Rs. 5000 is valued differently by the Ambani’s and a software engineer and a primary school teacher. Similarly value of time: 1 hour of seva for Ambani is too expensive where as for a teacher its more affordable than Rs. 5000. So if money is all you use to measure a devotees interest and inclination for spirituality…which means you are only attracting Ambani’s and the software engineers. By design, if not outwardly your discouraging the low income people (who have no option of serving their time instead of money). If you stand out for a while and see in a clear mind, you’ll see what I’m telling. Inherent design issue in specifying only monetary payment to impart spiritual knowledge, and not the actual value of money/time….there is a hidden bias, inequality 🙂

    Traditionally thats not how gurukuls worked…there were different ways to show ones interest to a guru…either by monetary donation (i.e. symbollically showing knowledge to be obtained from the guru is more important than keeping ones money) or by doing seva or by doing nothing (when the guru realizes you are ripe for the knowledge he would immediately accept you).

    • Bawa says:

      yes … its already benig done
      and yes for sure … come to ashram and see …
      we have scholarships that we offer … in fact the recent Mumbai courses, many students who couldn’t afford were given big discounts (v few were given free) … http://yesplusevents.org/scholarships/ is a place where you can still apply for scholarships for certain courses happening as of now in Mumbai.
      another thing, i wrote an email to you personally but your email id somehow didnt work … please fix it and i will resend it to answer your other comment
      Jai Gurudeva!

    • Suparna says:

      “True. But here in AOL its only money! Thats the issue.”

      Sorry, Aman…but i have to disagree. I can speak from personal experience (we were a family of three, surviving on a student schol.) that discounts were readily offered to me during courses. Even for the advanced course in Guruji’s presence. I did show my commitment to the cause though with hard seva. I did not do the seva to get discounts, obviously…but what I’m trying to say is that, if you are sincere and can show commitment, then very unlikely that you’ll not be allowed to participate because of monetary issues.

  43. gagan says:

    Bawa bhaiya,
    A few volunteers organise courses in our area and people participating for first time in any course have great experience , but they feel themselve unable to follow the principals and practice sewa sadhna and satsang.
    about 400 people in our city have done course. We organise weekly followups and satsang. Send message to each participant and call atleast 100 of them ,make team leaders and give seva of calling 10 to 20 people to each but hardly 10 to 12 people come.
    How can we make our team stronger and help people follow what they learn ? Please help.
    Jai gurudev!

  44. gagan says:

    thanx bhaiya

  45. vivek says:

    I feel myself very lucky to stay in gurgaon….as we get a chance to meet Guruji almost every month due to his frequent visits in delhi. Just want to share with u all …thr is a guy named Karan Dogra who asked guruiji few months back ….why you sit in luxury cars? ….and requested Guruji to sit in his car . Guruji said yes i will sit in your car, let the time come.

    on 5 Feb 2011, Guruji visited AIMS Delhi for a talk …..and later in the night he met all the devotees waiting at one of the devotees house to have a glimpse of him …the same guy Karan when got the chance to speak to guruji ….asked him again to drop him at airport next day morning….

    Guruji said YES ..this time I will go with you ..n u willl drop me to the airport….

    He came out of the house jumping with joy ..telling everybody that he s gonna drop guruji to airport…. I aked him where is your car….and when I saw the car it was like …how can guruji say yes to him….any intelligent person would rather prefer to go for some prepaid taxi or metro but not that maruti 800 ..10 years old model.. .even Jagdish Khattar would refuse to call it his company’s product….:-)
    Guruji travelled by that car the next morning to the airport…and later I saw karan filled with gratitude and I am sure his faith in guru has increased manifolds….
    This is answer to all the people who think Sri Sri likes to travel in luxury cars and stays in luxury hotels…
    Jai Guru Deva !!

  46. Namita says:

    WOW !! This is amazing grace and Guru’s unbiased Blessings !!

  47. rahul says:

    thanks for

  48. I am an Aol teacher …Many times i have given scholarships to people who can’t afford the full fees but most of the cases found they lack sincerity in them but then also i have not stopped giving it. I also take free courses of AOL called navchetana and Rural basic course in which fee is just Rs 100.
    And about the car thing …when i was just a volunteer Guruji had come to Jodhpur and he sat in my old Santro.This time when he was again he even sat in Nano & Alto . One Should come to village like chipa-barod in rajasthan where children of banjara community who were deprived of education are now have a School built by AOL and this project is carried forward by Dhara Singh who was in prison and now rehabilitated by AOL .

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