(Last Update: January 5, 2008)
Participation is free: this is the message stressed at all times by the Shri Ram Chandra Mission. Indeed, to begin to meditate with Sahaj Marg requires no expenditure, no commitment. To continue "Freely" (without costs) on this path becomes much more difficult. First, it encourages you to buy the books of Master Chari, and particularly "My Master" to better understand his thinking. Then they encourage you to contribute to the association to become a member. Anyway, if you want to meet the teacher - which is highly recommended - you have to participate in international seminars of SRCM ®. To do this, you must have an identity card made by SRCM International, which implies that you are already a member in your country of residence, and that you are up to date on your contribution to your national association…
Without really noticing, you just took your very first step down the slippery slope of the vast machine of the financial SRCM ®! Do not worry, it will never let go you…
The official Resources of the Mission
(Last Update: January 5, 2008)
According to the Shri Ram Chandra Mission, the only resources of the Mission consists of contributions and donations from its members, as well as the sale of its publications. OK! Let us accept this and see!
1. Contributions and Donations
To participate fully in the life of the mission, it is essential to be a member. Ie pay one's annual dues to the local association of SRCM ®. In France, there are 5 types of memberships (member, participant, active partner or benefactor), from € 75 to € 1,200. To participate in international seminars, it is necessary to add an international identity card costing US $ 10 each.
Beyond these fees themselves, SRCM regularly solicits from its followers donations to expand the mission in the world, which is one of its key objectives. In addition, each new project is accompanied by financial demands. All disasters (earthquakes, floods, etc.) are also now the object of funds being collected.
The form of gift then inevitably includes a formula where Chari keeps to himself the right to divert the donation for the benefit of a very different purpose than initially presented.
In some countries, local associations SRCM ® are recognized as public utilities and receive a tax exemption on donations. This is not the case in France, where they are therefore strongly discouraged.
Overall, donations and contributions combined, represent between half and two thirds of the SRCM association's resources, according to the figures which are known to us. The amount ranges from 50 to around € 140 per contributing abhyasi depending on the country, outside India.
2. Publications for Collectors
Originally, the publications were created by the SRCM of Babuji's time, to distribute his writings. Soon, with Chari, their goal drifted. The "constant remembrance" has led to the posting of the picture of the Guru in each abhyasi's house, then in each room. SRCM editions have sold souvenir photos, scaled down or in actual size. Then came preceptor badges, T-shirts, and so on.
All speeches of Chari, even the smallest words are transcribed, reviewed and corrected (censored?), compiled and published. Each event is immortalized by a photographer duly accredited, that then leads to the subject of a photo album. From the book or album, they went to the DVD and CD… SRCM Printing has been transformed into a vast multimedia company, sending and marketing its products around the world.
To finance the investment necessary for this development, SRCM ® has procured cash by offering subscriptions for life, first for its various paper publications, then for its audio-visual publications, averaging € 1000.
Today, any new project is accompanied by its derivative products, responsible for funding all or part of the costs. Thus, the creation of the LMOIS school coincided with the release of the book "Whispers in the Brighter World" sold 250. Chari's 80th anniversary was accompanied by a DVD "chest" of "He, the Hooka, and I", at 1,000 €, etc. .
Associations & Foundations
(Last Update: January 5, 2008)
If local associations have long housed the entire finances of the mission, things have changed. Santosh Khanjee, yet again, has also reorganized the national accounts and financial flows, adding the Foundations.
1. Some Very Framed Local Accounting
Fees are collected at the centers. In France, € 60 is levied on each contribution to go up to the national level. So roughly € 15 per abhyasi remains at the center which must be capable of coping with all the local expenses. A rate of 25 abhyasis percentre, it is an average budget of € 375. But there are smaller centers and larger centers with rental property (room) or ashrams, each having to manage to secure its financing independently.
If a center wants to open a bank account, it must seek permission directly from Chari who will have a permanent and individual signature on the account. Every quarter, a financial report must be sent to President Chari and his secretariat (VIL). Every year, a budget must be submitted for approval. If an expenditure exceeds US $ 1000, the prior agreement of the VIL is essential. The same goes for any new investment…
The national association therefore gets the lion's share of the contributions and is subject to the same rules as the centers. In France, it is almost € 7,000 which must be used to ensure the functioning of the association. They cover the administrative supplies and secretarial costs, but also legal advice or part of the costs of President Chari.
The functioning of the association is just one of the three activities of the analytical accounts of the association, along with the sale of publications and seminars. Each of these activities must balance its own revenues and expenditures.
The total of official resources of the local associations of SRCM ® represent between 77 to € 229 per abhyasi, depending on the country outside India. If one is based on an average turnover of € 150 per abhyasi, and € 30 in India where costs seem divided by five, one could extrapolate a total annual turnover of between 5 and 17 million Euros for the "SRCM Group", according to one's accounting of between 100 to 300,000 followers.
Their (SRCM) assessment varies even more steeply, from 167 to 2,092 per € abhyasi. According to the same kind of extrapolation, with an average of € 750 per abhyasi one could assess the assets of the Mission at between 25 and 95 million euros.
2. Opaque Foundations to Manage the Assets
Umesh Chandra Saxena, meanwhile, believed that the assets in 1997 at some 200 million euros, while the Mission abhyasis announced only 55000, or € 3636 per abhyiasi! If the assets had followed the same path as the number of followers, it would today reach somewhere between 363 million and one billion euros… This means that more than 90% of assets would be camouflaged.
Today, most of the donations, whether in cash or in kind (land, infrastructure), must pass through the foundations of SRCM. The first of these the Sahaj Marg Spirituality Foundations was created in Texas by Santosh Khanjee, but they are now also found in India, Switzerland and Dubai…
And if the relevant accounts of local associations are presented annually to the general membership, this is not the same for these sinister foundations. On the occasion of the establishment of the LMOIS school, Chari said, "(…) there is no black money transaction-no trustees following the money. I'm here to see to that."
In the USA, foundations enjoy tax exemption provided that at least 5% of donations are given to to charity. The Texan SMSF has regularly paid the money to the Red Cross (September 11, Katrina, etc.). Dubai is home to the first economic free zone in the Middle East, more than 6,000 foreign companies are permitted to operate in the "offshore" category, without obligation to link to local partners, with no restrictions on work permits, without exchange controls with the and ability to repatriate 100% of the capital as profits, without any imposition on the companies as with individuals, or taxes on import or export.
The "real estate" assets of the Shri Ram Chandra Mission was accumulated gradually, first in the West with the purchase of Augerans in 1988, the inauguration of the ashrams of Vrads (Denmark) and Molena (Georgia, USA) in 1992, then the babuji Memorial Ashram near Madras in India in 1999, after vigorously sought donations.
There is now total confusion between the sale of publications and donations since the purchase of publications is considered donation to the projects of Sahaj Marg. One example is the sale of "Whispers" for the creation of the LMOIS school in 2005, "Hookah" (book) in 2007 for the 80th anniversary of Chari, and so on. And the lavish spending grows, as a showcase of an attractive Sahaj Marg: Satkhol Ashram in the Himalayas, the LMOIS school, CREST retreat centers in Bangalore, and SPURS in Austin, Texas.
The Taste of Money
(Last Update: January 5, 2008)
Let's ignore all these analyses, and let Master talk Chari (Speech at Tiruppur November 18, 2007):
Master led the satsangh until 9:50 in the morning (from 9 am to 9:50). After the satsangh, the head of Tiruppur center said that Master was stopped by very young children as he was heading to the meditation hall. They handed a small pot (plastic) filled with coins and they said to Master: "Use the money for the development of your ashram." So Master said, "Our children know exactly where their duty lies. Here also, we need to contribute to the development. "
Immediately Master took the microphone and said:" I am pleased with what's happening here and I am happy to be here. In many missions, it is customary to give a weight equal to that of the guru in gold, and even sometimes in diamonds. The guru can weigh 150 kg. The sum may unfortunately be spent freely, in the company of the film artists he enjoys. But here I hope you can all give like this (he shows the pot, which should weigh 5 kg). So, do not weigh me, please give the equivalent of these 5 kg - but only on condition that there are only 1000 rupee bills. I want the surface of this park at Tiruppur DJ to become like a paradise so that whoever flies over (Air) this site should be able to see this paradise from above.
Will you help me develop it? "
All abhyasis said, "Yes, Master"
Master: "OK, now on to the donation itself. "All abhyasis rushed to Master with 1000 rupee bills. Brothers and sisters at the same time formed a long queue, completely filling the hall and made a personal donation to Master. Master took the money from each of them, saying "Thank you. "
All abhyasis had a great opportunity to meet Master himself while giving some money. Several couples met Master so that he bless their wedding day, or name their child, etc. Which also happened in the line-up. Master joked with the children and gave chocolate to each of them and said: "It's very expensive chocolate now because it costs 1000 rupees here," and he was joking with all while collecting the money.
Master remained seated for more than two hours. Once all abhyasis had given, Master said, "When I made the Sarovar (water castle) here at this site, many asked me why it was so named. It is a KRIPA SAROVAR because today I took out hundreds of fish. I am extremely happy to welcome you all and to meet you. I can not say thank you, but I bless you all. "
It was a moment of great joy and Master left us after that. All abhyasis were filled with joy and they had the great opportunity to talk to him face to face, and Master took the trouble to sit more than two hours to make our happiness.
More In Depth
Collusion with business?
(Last Update: January 5, 2008)
An example: Pratibha Syntex Ltd of SK Chaudhary regular makes payment of funds to the SMSF Chennai. It also participates in the management of Balla Ram Hanuman Das Charitable Trust (Trust BRHD) founded in 1977 by Seth Ballaram Chaudhary, Patriarch of the illustrious Chaudhary Bahal family, and founder of the Vikram India Ltd group. The BRHD Trust funded the BRCM Public School and the BRCM College of Engineering and Technology as well as the meditation hall of SRCM at Bahal. Most positions of the BRHD Trust are held by employees of Pratibha Syntex Ltd and its BRCM school promotes the SRCM on their website.
What to say about HTC Global Services Inc, also called Hi Tech Consultants? The CEO of the start-up company founded in 1990 that employs more than 2,500 people is the preceptor Sahaj Marg and auditor of the SRCM USA. One of its directors in the USA is the regional administrator of SRCM in North America, and its director in Australia is one of the main members of the SMRTI after being vice president of the SRCM for Oceania. HTC is present in the USA, India, Australia, Singapore and the United Arab Emirates. Its manufacturing facility is located in Chennai, where it employs many abhyasis…
"Whispers From the Brighter World" (book)
The Guru is formidable at marketing
(Last Update: January 5, 2008)
On 30 March 2005, Chari announced the upcoming release of a book about which nobody knows anything. It is not yet printed. Its title, its authors and its contents are unknown! But to obtain this book, it is necessary to make a donation of € 250 to the SMSF ®, "based on trust" with respect to Chari. Because until April 15, it will be too late "even if you come with a lakh rupees."
Large commercial operation defended by Chari: "For once in your life, you have a 'book future'. And your future is linked to this book. I will not mention this again because I have not come here to ask for Money. " (Emphasis by the SRCM).
On 1 May, in his speech to the American abhyasis at Tiruppur, Chari is back on the topic. Before his speech in March, he had only 800 to 1,000 orders, but on April 15 figures stood at 5,200 copies. "Knowledge is unnecessary, so long as you have faith. Because if you did not have trust in me, you would not buy that book." Indeed, we must have faith to buy a book for over 1,600 FF when we know nothing of its contents ...
In the meantime, this small operation will reportedly bring in a mere (bagatelle) of at least 1.3 million.
And it's not over. Chari prohibits the French translation of the book, including even that of some passages, as a French version was announced in September 2005 for publication in January 2007 at a cost of € 300 copy. "Given the amount, payment by installment is possible, however, the total is to be paid by 31 December 05 (…) to note that each copy of this book is personal." Clearly, no collective (group) purchase is authorized by Chari.
Testimonial from ex-Zonal-in-Charge of the Netherlands
Frank Waaldijk is a former Zonal-in-Charge of the Shri Ram Chandra Mission for the Netherlands (supervision of 50 (fifty abhyasis). After being a member of the Mission from 1993 to 2005, he recently (2008) created a blog called "Pitfalls of Spirituality" you can find at this address:
about the book `whispers from the brighter world' to which you refer (the spiritistic medium messages):
as you will recall it was released on chari's birthday, but only for limited pre-inscribers. in the year beforehand one could pre-inscribe at the cost of €250,- per book.
the book was described as containing unique & essential insights for spiritual progress. also, it would never be available again afterwards, it would not be reprinted.
a classic combination of fear & temptation.
but some abhyasis whom i knew were truly cut up about it, because they really could not afford such a book. and they felt, well you can imagine.
so i gave a talk (on babuji's birthday) in denmark, relating personal experience with a third-world surgeon who gave out his books for free, because he wanted his knowledge to be used by doctors all over, without financial barriers.
but, is said, i understand the wish to finance certain activities. and i so suggested that instead of selling the €250 books piecemeal, it would be better to sell them 10 or 50 at a time to well-off people, who could then give away a remainder to centers all over, so that everyone would have easy access to this valuable spiritual material.
you will not believe how i was reprimanded for this talk. someone was sent over to tell me that as a zonal-in-charge (which i was at the time, but only of the netherlands, so about 50 people...) it was entirely inappropriate for me to say things like that.
other abhyasis, some of them whom i had been friendly with for years, really avoided me and cut off their contact with me.
well, i won't go into all the details, the illustration is clear. but in retrospect, when the book finally came out, i was even more flabbergasted to see that it contained such spiritistic medium garbage.
i have looked at a few of the messages. they do not contain any new insight. they are just advertisements for the method, and especially for chari.
so in essence it was a money scheme. the reason why i mind is that it was not put simply as an open request: we would like to do this and this, for this we need such and such amount, if you feel like helping us, please donate.
it was intricately tied to spiritual progress and morality (we should help master and give money), and people really felt bad about not buying the book.
i will address these issues certainly in posts to come (afterlife, group morality & moral pressure, fear & temptation, money, power).
The Example of 2005
(Last Update: January 5, 2008)
Donations are widely underestimated because of transfers out of the national circuits. And in 2005, unlike in the past, shows a dangerous development of calls for donations:
* January, the year began with the tsunami. In Germany and Austria, € 8,400 is collected per abhyasis thanks 750 followers accounted by the mission, or more than € 10 per abhyasis.
* February, Chari inaugurates its first-ever school, Lalaji Omega Memorial School. In his speech on 25/02/05, it's about money and confidence, and he called… for donations: "It is not part of the mission, but the mission is very much part of it. The school will be run by the Baal Vatika Educational Society. The funding will be done by the Baal Vatika Educational Trust. The major source of financing, even for the Trust, will be the Sahaj Marg Spirituality Foundation (…) Of course we need money to realise all these things . We are already indebted to the Allahabad Bank. Fifty lakhs we have already taken (…) So, we need generosity of our people. Parents of children should not only give fees, they should also consent to giving a donation. Receipts will be issued ; there is no black money transaction-no trustees following the money. I am here to see to that. [chuckles] So you see, to provide adequate resources, I propose to start a scheme of donations, say, a minimum of three lakhs which will go to a corpus fund called the Scholarship Fund (…) Those who are willing to give their cheques may bring-three lakhs, which will be gratefully received. The cheques must be in the name of Baal Vatika Educational Trust. Remember, the Trust receives the money, the Society spends the money. [chuckles] "
* March to May, the release of the book "Whispers form the Brighter World" will bring about 1.3 million.
* August, Chari goes in search of funds. To do this, the SRCM creates an Audio / Video Corpus (AVC) with the possibility of a lifetime subscription for publishing audio and video of SRCM from January 2006, with 1,000 euros or dollars, but with a restriction announced for the first 2000 registrants. Chari therefore seeks some 2 million…
* September, Katrina hits the southern United States. The SRCM which made an initial donation of US $ 10,000 to the Red Cross, calls the troops to provide funds and, for once, agrees to pay the entire collected donations to the Red Cross . In the end, the transaction would have allowed the collection of 50000 USD.
* October, Chari "has established a President's Relief Fund in response to the recent natural calamities around the world. The fund is being established to offer financial support and assistance to stricken families. The fund may also be used to fund other projects, at his discretion "(Sahaj Sandesh No. 49 - 20/10/2005)
In total, international donations that have fuelled the SRCM in 2005 without going through the national accounts would amount, according to those we know, to more than 4 million, to add to the 5 million of the various agglomerates of national budgets. It almost doubles the total. Obviously ignored are all other national or regional demands (auctions at Lignano, Italy, Vrads craft market, buying an ashram in London, and so on).
The LMOIS School
(Updated: Jan, 2008
For the Shri Ram Chandra Mission TM, this school was born of a conjuction of three events: Chariji now seeks by all means to multiply the forms of Sahaj Marg, TM presence on the ground; the past few years SMRTI has been trying to disseminate The Sahaj Marg TM to the children, and finally since a longer time, Jacqueline Seiller wanted to combine her experiences as a teacher with Sahaj Marg TM.
The SMRTI, a research and education institute is today depending on the Sahaj Marg Spirituality Foundation TM, first developed educational tools for abhyasis and preceptors. Soon it was also interested in the youth audience, and has developed fables and nursery rhymes to develop the "Sahaj Marg Culture" in the children. All of this has led to the creation of the "Value Based Spiritual Education" (VBSE), which, under a very humanistic exterior, is in reality a vehicle for the often less brilliant thinking of Chariji. (see analysis 4d-Don).
Like many other abhyasi teachers, Jacqueline Seiller, director of a Montessori school in Chennai, refused to admit that the "values" of SRCM TM remain at the door of school. It had to cross the barrier. Therefore, it was done from the start by the SMSF TM and Chariji with the construction of the LMOS, a new Indian showcase for Sahaj Marg TM and the international tour undertaken by its ambassador Seiller to sell the project to abhyasis worldwide and thus raise the necessary funds.
The school is now headed by the Baal Vatika Educational Society and funded by the Baal Vatika Educational Trust, (recently changed to "Lalaji Educational Memorial Society) but their administrators are SRCM TM and TM SMSF. Launched thanks to a loan of one million dollars, it was inaugurated in June 2005 by Chariji and has hosted more than 150 children in the first year. The goal of the 2nd year was to accommodate 800 students, resulting in an additional requirement of three million.
In his speech on 25/02/05, Chari spoke of money and confidence, and he called… donations: "It is not part of the mission, but the mission is very much part of it. The school will be run Baal Vatika by the Educational Society. The funding will be done by the Baal Vatika Educational Trust. The major source of finance, even for the Trust, will be the Sahaj Marg Spirituality Foundation (…) Of course we need money to realise all these things . We are already indebted to the Allahabad Bank. Fifty lakhs we have already taken (…) So, we need generosity of our people. Parents of children should not only give fees, they should also consent to giving a donation. Receipts will be issued ; there is no black money transaction-no trustees following the money. I am here to see to that. [chuckles] So you see, to provide adequate resources, I propose to start a scheme of donations, say, a minimum of three lakhs which will go to a corpus fund called the Scholarship Fund (…) Those who are willing to give their cheques may bring-three lakhs, which will be gratefully received. The cheques must be in the name of Baal Vatika Educational Trust. Remember, the Trust receives the money, the Society spends the money. [chuckles] "
This explains at least in part the incredible fee increases at seminars, perpetual calls for donations and especially the sale of the book, "Whispers from the Brighter World" of the past year. The SMSF TM thus managed to collect nearly 2 million at the end of 2005, mostly in the United States and in the community of Indian origin. Chariji then explained that there was no worry to be had because he was the guarantor of the financial transparency of the operations…
The Omega Lalaji Memorial School added an "I" for "international" on December 27, 2006. It has acquired the status of an international center recognised by the University of Cambridge for the 2007 school year for students in classes VI to IX, or until the age of 18 (Cambridge IGCSE, International General Certificate of Secondary Education Cambridge). We hope that this will delight both affluent abhyasis, Indian or not, who place their children there…
Failing to teach meditation to the children and adolescents, that Babuji banned before the age of 18 years, the organization has managed to divert partly by instilling its culture and values through VBSE and its first-ever school . They also hope that it will be emulated elsewhere in Switzerland and, in the form of a drop-in day care, counselling, and so on.
Chari has received 150 children from the LMOIS school to the Babuji Memorial Ashram. The SMSF had already organized a contest for children on the theme "What is a guru?". It is a long way from the Sahaj Marg of Babuji and leaving children alone (no meditation before age 18).
The children now suffer indoctrination from an early age. It instills in our children the values of SRCMtm under the cover of VBSE. There are more than 100 schools in India, and attempts at location elsewhere.
If abhyasis possessed genuine human values and concepts of real education, there would be a point of honour to seperate the LMOIS school and the teachings of the Sahaj Marg of Chari, although VBSE draws inspiration from them.
Quite the opposite is actually happening. Instead of teaching spiritual values to children, they are taught the fundamentals of the personality cult of Chari.
Can you imagine what it will be later? Dictatorial regimes have not done better. They manufactured child soldiers.
The financing of Tiruppur
(Last Update: January 5, 2008)
Let it be remembered that the organization of 80 years of Chariji began in total confusion. In late 2006, the Shri Ram Chandra Mission announced that donors of $ 1,200 would be the first beneficiaries of a gift by Master. A blunder of communication, a miserable fiasco.
After the insistence of Chariji to sell us "Whispers from the Brighter World", the excesses of Vrads Sande in Denmark and Italy in Lignano (auction during satsang for example), this was the straw that breaks the camel's back . Everyone is told the amount of the donation as well as to make use of the words "primary beneficiaries". A wave of unprecedented protests takes over the abhyasis. They are finally aware that the mission operates at two speeds: that of the rich and that of the others.
After some hesitation, Chariji reversed course. Participation in the festivities is free. The donations are intended for regional foundations of the SMSF to develop the Mission and its activities. The first donors will be the first recipients of the latest book of Master, "He, the Hookah and I".
It was only during the celebrations that we discover that this "gift" is actually a set of 18 DVDs or 20 hours of Chari's speech, captioned in 7 languages and accompanied by a booklet of transcription to English.
Back to square one: One must still finance Tiruppur. After the spiritual marketing of Chariji for "Whispers", they start surfing the wave of "collectors", and its derivatives. So during the festivities, you can buy an exclusive T-shirt or a special unpublished anniversary photo. "Timeline - Years of Love and Guidance" costs less than $ 30 and contains 300 pages of photographs taken between 1983 and 2007. Evidence that the Shri Ram Chandra Mission knows how to produce publications cheap when it so wishes.
The operation must still be in deficit since new subscription drives are everywhere started for "Whispers" and "Hookah" from the moment of return from Tiruppur. Their deadline is largely outdated and once again there should be no exceptions. They sell the publications - $ 1000 "Hookah" instead of the previous 1,200 - and it comes with its wooden case, only exclusivity to the first recipients. When the culture of derivatives products replaces spirituality, a parallel market to the cash register soon gets put in place.
This is still not enough, therefore, the Shri Ram Chandra Mission cancels the exclusive book of the celebration and announces the release of "And He walks on," a special edition to commemorate his 80th anniversary, a collection of photographs and texts by Chariji between 1983 and 2007 for about fifty dollars.
The Publication Department of the Shri Ram Chandra Mission, which was originally intended to disseminate the speeches of Chariji, has evolved significantly. The donations were too few so we made gifts to donors to help them to give. The commercialism has gradually eroded the publications department, but it has really become professionalized since 2005. The mechanisms are invariants: offer a gift to donors before a date fixed in advance and then postpone the date despite allegations to the contrary from the beginning. What will change, however, is the increase in derivative products, and dizzying price inflation: photos, souvenir albums, badges, T-shirt, and so on.
What will 2008 Lucknow?