Knowledge is Free

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Recently, Ramakant Maharaj spoke on the controversial issue of “paying for Knowledge”: "In our lineage, Bhausaheb Maharaj strictly instructed all disciples not to expect/demand money from any devotee. Knowledge is free. There should be no marketing, no commercialization of knowledge". That is the way it should be. He also said that these days, ironically, if you want to give something for nothing, people become suspicious. They don’t want it because they think it has no value. If it is free, then it must not be any good at all!

We live in an age where Western self-styled gurus are ten a penny, popping up all over the world. One "epiphany" seems to be the only qualification needed to launch a career as a teacher, giving satsangs. “Epiphany” is now a very overused term, and is considered to be an experience of sudden and striking realization. Well, OK, but… Is this enough to set oneself up as a guru? “Satsang” means a gathering together for the truth, or the company of the highest truth. These teachers don’t seem to be driven to share true knowledge, but rather, to share the partial knowledge gained from their so-called “epiphany”. They are often motivated by the desire for power or wealth or sex, or all three. This as we all know, is the triad of temptations which has caused the downfall of many gurus.

In the “spiritual market-place” this will be a trend that continues. Even though the gurus’ teachings are often false or half-baked, they still attract followers. And because there are so many gurus to choose from, with their pseudo-truths, then seekers regularly swap from one to another - tasting an endless assortment of sweets. Maharaj calls this guru-hopping mere “spiritual entertainment” or “casual spirituality”, which is simply a hobby and a waste of time - part-time spirituality! “Time is very precious”, he stresses, “for, this moment will never be repeated”.

Ramakant Maharaj often quotes from his Master, Nisargadatta Maharaj who used to say “I am not making disciples of you, I am making you Masters”. He, like other authentic gurus actually helps aspirants on the road to self-realization. He can do this, because there is crystal clear truth at the core of the teachings, with a more than solid lineage behind him, containing the highest teachings. In contrast, contemporary, self-made gurus have limited knowledge, and as a result , are unable to instruct seekers in a way that is fully embedded in truth.

“Knowledge has to be usable in a real sense, not just mental concepts, which come and go.” Maharaj : “Will this false knowledge or book knowledge help you on your death bed? Or will you still remain full of fear?” However, in spite of this, the self-styled gurus still continue to attract followers who are drawn to the cult of personality, rather than the teachings.

Discrimination and discernment are essentials when choosing a guru. Common sense is a must, for without this, poor judgement can cause psychological damage and spiritual darkness, and waste a precious lifetime.

The trend of paying for knowledge has become commonplace and keeps followers in an ever-expanding loop that invariably involves spending more and more money and wasting precious time and energy.

Did Sri Ramana Maharshi ask for money? No! Did Nisargadatta Maharaj? No! Or Siddharameshwar Maharaj? Knowledge is free, it is universal. Truth is free.

“It is my duty to share knowledge.” Ramakant Maharaj has no hidden agenda.