Sadhguru answers a question during a recent interview about why Isha programs are not offered free.
Interviewer: Why doesn’t God come for free?
Sadhguru: Who said there is a charge? There is no charge for the spiritual process.
Interviewer: What about spiritual courses?
Sadhguru: Why the program costs is because right now if you sit here, the lights are burning, the electricity is on. Everything costs to sit and stand here. Who has to pay it? So your idea is if somebody pays for it, you are spiritual. If you pay for it, it’s not spiritual. No, that’s not my idea. I think that’s a dastardly idea.
Seventy percent of our activity is in rural India and all this is 100% free. Spiritual programs are free, schools are free, hospitals are free, all social events that we conduct in rural areas are free. In the city, it costs. Even here if you don’t want to pay, if I do it in a slum, will you come and attend the program? No. You want it in a star hotel, but you want it free. If you want a certain level of comfort, if you want lunches and dinners and all these other services, you pay for it. The spiritual process is free because you are not paying me nor are you paying anybody who is teaching. All of them are 100% volunteers. You are only paying for the services.
At one time we did offer the programs free, but then people were walking in and out with total disregard for the whole thing. Most people unfortunately don’t value their word as much as they value their money. If they say, “I am coming,” it doesn’t mean anything. They have to make a down payment.
When we saw it didn’t work for free, we said you must pay 20% of your monthly income. Then we found people were coming to us the way they go to the income tax department – full of lies; we were starting the program with lies. Then we decided for different societies we would fix different kinds of prices. In the cities it costs something, in the smaller towns it costs less, in the remoter rural areas it’s free.
The higher programs are free of cost. When you come to Samyama, people who come there are absolutely committed, so there is no money involved there. 1000 people attending the Samyama for eight days costs phenomenally, but it’s free of cost. People just support the program whichever way they can. But when we open a program to the public, without money it will become ridiculous. If people don’t have that commitment, they walk in and walk out whenever they want. The only way to tie them down is money unfortunately.