How Gurus Clock $$$ In India
File under: Gurus Clockin' Dollars and The Siddhi of PR
The excellent cultnews.net just aimed us at this piece about the business of godmen in India. We found this passage particularly interesting:
...delegates pay Rs 5,000 each to attend the annual AOL festivities. This year, nearly 5,50,000 attended [for a grand total of 66 million dollars]. “You have to run it like a corporation to make it financially viable,” Sri Sri Ravi Shankar told TEHELKA in an interview.Sri Sri is sync with the cha-CHING! But he's still an itty-bitty pipsqueak compared to Big Mamma:
“She is sitting pretty on an empire worth Rs 1,200 crore [294 million!] Amma runs high-power institutions through which big favours can be distributed to people who matter. The payment for a medical seat at her super-specialty hospital-cum-medical college is Rs 40 lakh [close to $100,000]. There would be concessions in the case of children of VIPs,” says U. Kalanathan, noted Malayali atheist. “Amma’s benefits are going to the devotees. So where is the question of this huge annual turnover?” argues Swami Dhyanamrita, a long-time Amma confidant.And that is the utter beauty and perfection of this scam. If anyone questions where the money goes, you can always say, "right back to the devotees," whether it be tsunami relief or a palatial HQ accessed by your own helicopter.