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.
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 🙂