“Why does Art of Living charge money for courses?” “If Baba Ramdev can teach it for free, why can’t Art of Living?” …and other such expressions need to be given a very satisfying answer.

For one, I am very grateful to my Guru, H.H. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar ji, for teaching us to respect and revere all Gurus…in fact everybody- whether Guru or not. So, there’s no one-up-manship involved in desperate insecurity to prove whose Guru is the better one! It’s so ridiculous. In fact Guruji himself cites ample examples of Lord Buddha and Jesus Christ in most of his talks!

What Baba Ramdev does is absolutely brilliant too. But there CAN be two ways of approaching the same summit. When Nature herself is full of variety why shouldn’t Gurus be two or more of a kind? There’s place for everyone and everything. And I personally have always thought that to prove the greatness of one’s self, one doesn’t need to demonize the other. Art of Living is largely misunderstood and there’s nothing that can be done about it- unless of course the prejudices are set aside.

I think it’s an amazing thing that Art of Living charges a donation because that enables it to provide courses(and much more-it’s not “mere breathing”) for FREE where it’s really needed; prisons are one such example. But as one would know, volunteers go there and teach and they need to have some kind of money in hand to do some really basic stuff. To organize medical camps, for example or to build temporary shelters in some affected areas or to travel in remote areas to teach pranayama- everything needs money. And if people like you and I can spend it as Dakshina, why not? By us paying the donation someone completely unrelated in perhaps some tiny village in Tamilnadu might get to go to school! One such example, right under our nose is the Dharavi School. Please check out the outstanding work that happens there: http://www.dharavischool.org/ Many students over there are the first ones to ever go to school! And NOTHING is charged for their education, mid-day meals, uniforms, books, stationery etc.

In fact, I think it’s superb that not only is Art of Living a spiritual organization but it is also mighty efficient 🙂 I am a proud and grateful Art of Living Volunteer…what about YOU?