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Shivabalayogi DehradunThe Business of Spirituality:  Meditation Retreats

“There is another big story.  Big story.  Last time when Swamiji went to Seattle, from Seattle when he went to Raleigh, there through a letter he discovered that the tickets were sold to the public there for [a retreat].  Sixty-five dollars for a ticket.  They had a program for three days and for each day around a thousand tickets were sold, each costing sixty-five dollars.”

Did Swamiji make them give it back?

“Swamiji got a letter.  Somebody who had bought a ticket sent a letter to that address.  That letter came to Swamiji also.  He made Mr. [Shiladitya] Singh read that letter.  They had opened an account in a bank in the name of the Shivabalayogi Maharaj Trust.  They used to operate from it without Swamiji’s knowledge.  Swamiji did not know about it at all.  After he came to know about it, Swamiji immediately called the bank and asked them to freeze the account.  Then he made the bank give out all the money to these people.  He canceled the program himself.  He didn’t go to the location where the program was.”

“Then Mr. KP told Swamiji that you cannot cancel the program now because we would have to pay compensation to these people.  Swamiji told him, ‘Well, I’ve got plenty of devotees here.  You can bear those expenses. I am not going to go to the program and I am not going to sell this way.’ ”

“Swamiji had to send around fifty cars to bring those people from that location where the program had been arranged to the residence where Swamiji was staying.  He called them there and he actually scolded them.  ‘Why did you give money?’  Swamiji went to the TV and he also went to the newspapers that he teaches the meditation without cost.  ‘You knew that so why did you pay money here?’  They paid the taxi fare and they were very happy that Swamiji called them to the residence.”

“From that time on, he says, he has driven that group out.  You know S.?  That lady was also involved in that.  She has been asked to go away from Swamiji and she’s not supposed to see Swamiji.”

“Story.  Big story.”

“At Santa Barbara he’d given a statement saying that he doesn’t charge anybody for meditation.  At Raleigh he said he is not going to charge anybody for meditation.  He says all this.  Then he goes from Seattle to Raleigh and he finds this.  It shocked him.”

Conversation recorded in Portland, Oregon, May 18, 1990.  The charges for the retreat were intended to cover the costs of holding it.

Swamiji was extremely angry when he learnt about the trustees or organizers for his programs at Raleigh North Carolina charging fees in 1989.  He made sure that the money was returned to the participants.

Shiladitya Singh was with Swamiji on that trip.  He said that about a thousand people had gathered.  Swamiji addressed them saying, “Did Jesus charge money for doing God’s work?”  They all shouted, “No”.  Swamiji said, “Jesus was a Yogi.  Swamiji is also a Yogi.  How did you think that Swamiji will charge money for teaching you meditation?”

Shivabalayogi continued pointing to the trustees, “These people misled you and while trying to keep Swamiji in the dark.  They collected money from you.  Tell me, should I let them continue being in the post of trustees or should I dismiss them?”

 

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BOOKS

Divine Play:   Shivabalayogi’s life and blessings, 290 pages and over a hundred photos.  Generally available in bookstores and online.

Swamiji’s Treasure:  The most comprehensive collection of biography, experiences, conversations & photographs of Shivabalayogi.

Tapas Shakti:  Published at Swamiji’s request in India, January of 1992.  Contains his biography, conversations & experiences.