Will Siddha Yoga start charging for free programs?

The following is from a person who was contacted by a devotee after a program on 3 Aug 1997:

This is what I was told.  IT IS NOT CONFIRMED (by multiple sources).  What is shown below represents the fullest report I can give from what I heard. Further, I may have misunderstood some of what I heard.  In any case, you all should read this if you have even the slightest interest in SYDA. 

  1. The public will not be allowed to attend ashram free programs.  I don't think this applies to visitors, who are "ashramites" for the duration of their stay.
  2. This was announced at a program today in South Fallsburg.
  3. Much time was spent giving reasons why this had to be.  Incredibly, they say they were short on money.
  4. They said there were not enough drivers for the shuttles.
  5. They said there were not enough sevites.
  6. Casual day-trippers may not be allowed in  programs, unless they (the Ashram) decide to charge a fee.  Chidvilasananda has been talking about a fee for the free programs and expressing irritation that neighborhood people did not give back enough for the "free" programs they were getting, for at least ten years.
  7. The announcement was not about "now" but was about what was going to happen.
  8. No music was played  at the end of the program, as is per what is usually done.
  9. Everyone appeared listless; no smiles after the program. The crowd was quite affected.

I called the Information Desk at South Fallsburg and was told this:

  1. A member of the board of directors had come to Chidvilasananda with the idea of charging for the morning programs but Chidvilasananda said no to this
  2. Chidvilasananda wants to lower the costs of the programs
  3. It's up to us (the devotes) to make this happen by giving more dakshina and doing more seva

So, it seems Chidvilasananda used the position of the board to be the bearer of bad news and she was, in all her magnificence, was the savior of the free program. THEN she goes for the money and seva by hooking people with the desire of lowering the costs of the programs!


1 Sep 97