La SRCM et l'argent

jeudi 3 janvier 2008

Témoignage de Frank

(Dernière actualisation : 10 septembre 2008)

Frank Waaldijk est un ancien Zone-in-charge de la Shri Ram Chandra Mission au Pays-Bas (encadrement d'une cinquantaine d'abhyasis). Après avoir été membre de la Mission de 1993 à 2005, il a créé un blog dénommé "Pitfalls of Spirituality".

Voici d'abord ce qu'il écrit à propos du livre "Whispers", dans un commentaire adressé à 4d-Don, où il raconte qu'il s'est ému du prix de "Whispers". Il a proposé d'en vendre aux plus riches qui pourraient le redistribuer ensuite dans les centres. On lui a répondu qu'en raison de sa position (Zone-in-charge), il n'aurait jamais du dire une telle chose et de nombreux abhyasis ont cessé de lui adresser la parole. Il ajoute que ce livre était présenté comme quelque chose d'unique pour le progrès spirituel et que certains abhyasis étaient désespérés de ne pas pouvoir l'acheter. Mais en fait, "Whispers" ne contenait rien de nouveau, toujours la même publicité pour la méthode et pour Chari. C'était donc uniquement dans le but de collecter de l'argent. Mieux aurait valu nous dire : nous voulons faire cela, nous avons besoin de tant, pouvez vous nous aider…

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).

Toujours sur le blog de 4d-Don, Frank répond ensuite à un commentaire laissé par Madhav à propos des finances de la SRCM. Il revient une nouvelle fois sur l'imposture de "Whispers", mais aussi sur des ventes aux enchères de livres organisées par Chari en personne ou sur la Fondation SMSF qui aurait été créée dans le but de collecter les donations afin de permettre de faire vivre la SRCM grâce aux seuls intérêts du capital géré par la fondation.

Madhav said...
Yes the mission growing! It needs funds.This post is garbage and I feel it should be ignored totally!
One can see the falacy in the reporting here. None of the fund raising schemes are compulsory. It for those who can afford. People who cannot afford can listen to DVDs and CDs in monthly functions. Books from local chapter are available for reading free of cost. And most of all everyone who contributes is fully aware that he is not getting material return and that he is contributing to the overall functioning of the mission.

Frank Waaldijk answer...
i do not think this post is garbage.
perhaps the style is not the most effective. perhaps there is some overemphasizing.
but as an ex-abhyasi with 12yrs of sincere and dedicated participation in srcm, i can without any doubt in my mind state the following.
i have seen from up close the psychological manipulations around `whispers from the brighter world'. this book was presented beforehand as absolutely essential for one's spiritual progress, and it cost €250. make no mistake, such pressure is not defendable under any spiritual flag.
i have witnessed a constant remembrance of the need for funds. i have seen auctions by chari, where an abhyasi who had just started, could finally obtain a book signed by chari for €10,000.
you can say that people do the same silly things over john lennon's guitar...yes you're right but wasn't this supposed to be a spiritual movement instead of a money machine? what guru should allow such idolatry that people would be willing to pay such ridiculous amount for his signature? shouldn't he be concerned that this abhyasi might be under some temporary influence and cannot really miss that money? should he be not concerned that this abhyasi might later regret his impulse?
and these are but some examples.
the funds of the srcm are a complete mystery, there is no public accounting.
if one is honest, about goals and means, then one has nothing to hide. therefore, charities typically publish their year accounts in the public domain. that way, everyone can see that at least the financial side of things is above board.
the very fact that srcm has no public figures AT ALL, forces people like don to create posts like these.
if you disagree, then please rebut using simple accounting numbers.
some vague reply like: `oh you are just so negative, but all is done in good faith and there is no compulsion' just doesn't cut any ice.
the claim in the two comments above that don's information is false...i would be happy to see this claim substantiated, since then finally there would be some real insight into srcm's financial operating.
however, i also know this: smsf was set up along with the specific goal of creating a trust fund large enough that srcm could live off the interest money alone.
so that the srcm would never have any financial worry.
this to me is also a very unspiritual way of hoarding money, completely comparable to what the roman catholic church does. in a world where poor people need direct incentives to better their economic position, a spiritual movement cannot in good faith put the perpetual functioning of its organization above the direct help which is necessary to ameliorate the poor people's economic position.
and so, no this post is not garbage. it is a necessary first step in demanding accountability of an organization which claims to need funds, when in reality what it needs is probably a reality-check. (yes, that is a word pun, some humour might cheer us all up :-) )


Témoignage de Frank Waaldijk, ancien abhyasi du Sahaj Marg pendant 12 ans aux Pays-Bas (1993-2005), laissé en commentaire sur le blog de 4d-Don en août 2008. Il a créé un blog dénommé "Pitfalls of Spirituality".