Journey from Holy men to Charitable Businessmen – 3 Mar 11


Last year I was talking with one of our organizers just generally about some programs and after some minutes of talk he said ‘Swami Ji, I see a businessman in you.’ and he laughed. I felt good about this. I can imagine that some of you frown now and wonder how this can make me happy. Some may even think this statement should have insulted me. Yesterday I already started explaining to you why it did not.

What is business? For me the definition is something like this: First you make an investment. You then put effort and work in it and in the end you harvest the fruits. In this way you earn back what you invested and hopefully some more.

Before my time in the cave I was used to live as a guru. I was celebrated as a holy man, worshipped by others. In that time I was not really doing any business. I see it like that because I did not do any investment, I only got the fruit. In business you earn should earn your investment and some more so that your money or bank account numbers increase. A spiritual person who claims detachment from material is actually not supposed to do business and if you say this to some of the biggest gurus of this time, they would probably feel insulted and get angry. I might have felt this way, too, if you had called me a business man 15 or 20 years ago.

Now however I don’t. In 1997 I went into the cave and my whole life changed in the years afterwards. I made a journey from being called holy man to being called businessman. I like to learn and do business and my mind and path is developing in the right way with all the activities that we offer and our charity projects which seem to be growing and making progress every day.

Now there is just one small difference to the regular businessman: I do not want to put my profit into my bank account! I want to do charity with it. We work very hard and give our best in whatever we do. Sometimes people who see our website wonder and one person said to me ‘I never saw a charity website that has a shop! You offer so many things to your visitor!’ And I told him yes, this is what I want to do. I want to offer retreats, activities and even items in our shop.

There have been many experiences with running the Ashram and offering all these activities, a mix of sweet and sour. Through all this my idea about being a businessman has become very clear. And my reward is not the money. My reward is these children's smile!

6 Replies to “Journey from Holy men to Charitable Businessmen – 3 Mar 11”

  1. Swami Ji, that is very nice and I admire your generosity to give whatever you earn to others. I however cannot do much more than giving a donation from time to time. I work hard, too, but I have a family to take care of, a wife and two children, and together we use a lot of the money that I earn. After a month there is always only a little bit more left on the account than was before the month and I like to keep this little bit aside and save it for the future. Yes, I put it on another bank account where its only purpose is to accumulate more money.I see myself pulled in two directions simultaneously. On one hand I want to give it all to charity but on the other hand i have a responsibility for those whom I love. What do you think?

  2. Dear Stephan,Thank you for your thoughts on this topic. Of course you have a responsibility for your family and children and you have to first look that they are well and provided for. This, too, is taking care of children and doing something good, increasing love with your money.
    I don’t say everybody should give everything he has to charity, no matter if he and his family have something to eat. No, I just believe that nobody needs millions for their daily life and they should not store this much money simply for their own benefit while others are hungry.
    And I know you are donating even additionally to taking care of your family. I know your heart is filled with love for children, both yours and ours 🙂
    Much love!

  3. I can imagine that many gurus and preachers would deny being businessmen and doing business. They would protest that they never even keep anything in their pockets. Nobody who has a little bit of experience in India knows however that they earn so much money from tourists and pilgrims that they are probably richer than those who come to them…

  4. I had a lot of experiences with so many Gurus of India and I find them very good & successful salesmen. Normally a salesman goes from door to door to sell a product from morning to evening and then he gets some business. But Gurus in India are just sitting on their thrones and selling enlightenment, blessings, holy water, holy food, holy clothes, anything on the name of religion, religion itself. One crazy, old Guru from your town (Vrindavan) is even selling his shoes, his spit and more such stuff… Anyway, he is just disgusting man, don’t know who buys the things he is selling.
    There is also one woman from South India, a very big celebrity in the Guru and spiritual field. She is selling everything what she uses and after her use, that gets very expensive.
    I think all the business companies should learn salesmanship from these Gurus and how to sell their products or I would even suggest that they can hire a Guru to sell their products on the name of holiness and religion.

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