The Price of “The Knowledge”?
by Jai Ram
I recently got this email from AOL:
SAVE THE DATES
Upanishads with Guruji is tentatively set from April 13-16, 2012
We invite you to reserve these days for UPANISHADS 2012, a precious time of incomparable knowledge and commentary on the Upanishads by Guruji at the Los Angeles Center.
For those of us who attended last year’s Katho Upanishad discourse with Guruji, it was an unforgettable experience. Guruji expounding on the secrets of death, just as Lord Yama did to Nachiketa ages ago, was definitely an experience to behold!
Stay tuned for the registration announcement with the confirmed dates and session times. Watch our website, http://www.artoflivingla.org , for up to date information, as it unfolds.
Art of Living Center, Los Angeles
I remember the first time this was announced in 2010, when I still was active with AOL. It was hailed as the highest knowledge to be given by Guruji. It was the most expensive 3 day course ever ($1500 a pop) and it was sold as ‘THE KNOWLEDGE’. During the conference call with Rajshree Patel when I raised the issue of excessive course fees, she got angry and just flipped with the usual excuses, “do you know how much it costs to run an ashram?”, “do you even know how valuable is this knowledge?”, “It’s a blessing to have a Live Satguru impart this knowledge”, “only a few will be selected by Guruji to be in here” and all the crap. Now it is 2 years now and I am wondering, if this is really “THE KNOWLEDGE”, how come the DVD’s are not out there or even better why is the video not on Youtube.
I know better now, and I think this is how this will play out
- Milk this as much as possible, lure teachers/volunteers/devotees with all these special knowledge and charge 1500$ per course. Reduce the course fees for future courses to lure more people (this will again be advertised as special gift from Guruji to share this knowledge with as many people as possible).
- Once the # of suckers (volunteers/AOL devotees) dwindles for the courses, then release the DVD’s of course at exorbitant prices (200$ at least)
- Once that DVD market also dwindles, then release snippets of it on Youtube to advertise other AOL products and how much AOL is doing to bring ‘THE KNOWLEDGE” to the general people.
Also to top it all off, they were offering TAX savings (out of the $1500 or so, $900 will be treated as a donation) and the rest as course fees. They also figured out a way to milk the United States Internal Revenue Service (IRS). So in effect the people of the United States of America are footing the bill for ‘THE KNOWLEDGE”.
They were also spreading all these stories of volunteers working long hours in gas stations to make it to LA for this “THE KNOWLEDGE”. What an outrageous way to cheat these sincere volunteers of their hard earned money.
Any volunteers/teachers who plan on attending this session, ask these questions to AOL directors/Rajshree Patel or Guruji and see they have to say?
- You claim this knowledge to be very precious, why don’t you share this with the rest of the world, what happended to Upanishads – 1 and Upanishads – 2?
- Now since almost $2million has been raised in Upanishads – 1 and Upanishads – 2, why do you still charge these outrageous prices? (No one knows for sure, how much was spent for the LA ashram. In Upanishads – 1, there were 1008 people registered and including some freebees, I estimate an average revenue of $1000 a pop, which makes it a min of $1million, estimating the same for Upanishads-2)
For those of you who are not aware, Upanishads 3 day course was first started in US in 2010 in Apr and again in Apr 2011. The prices for these course were set to $1100-1200 for early bird and $1500 for regular (I might be off by a few dollars).
I have also started wondering, why is Guru Poornima always in the US? How come the devotees in other countries are not given the priviledge to host this great event? The real answer is “It’s all about the moola, stupid!”. July/Aug is when Guru Poornima falls, and it is summer time in the US, when devotees can travel with their family and when the most money can be made. The cost for an advance course is atleast $700 and all the other courses also suddenly become expensive.
So in short, I think it is all about the money. How sad and disappointing. I am finally awake from the clutches of AOL and able to see the truth. Wanted to share this with all of you so that the AOL devotees can also ask these questions and figure out the truth.
Spread the Truth