Monday, June 18, 2007

Mamma Making Money

File under: Amma All-Over-The-Planet and The Siddhi of PR

This morning some readers dug a bit into the cost of attending an Ammachi retreat in the U.S.:
If you are are two adults staying in the same room, your fee EACH (including accommodations) is $310. So that's $610 that they get for two adults in one hotel room. Say you have two couples. That's $1220 that they get per room. Normal hotel room rates are $110 regardless of how many are staying in the hotel. This indicates they are making a profit of over $1000 per room. (Maybe more depending on what kind of deal they have with the hotel).

Now, here's where it gets interesting. The MA Center charges children different fees based on their AGES:

5 and under: $125
Ages 6-12: $195
Ages 13-17: $240

That said, if you are a single mother with a baby, a pre-teen and a teen and you would like to attend a retreat with "your guru", it's gonna cost you $800 for TWO nights and an extra $110 if you want to stay for the Devibhava night. Now, we are talking close to a grand for three nights.

If you are a single person, and you want to have the room to yourself (i.e. don't want to share it with a stranger) it's gonna cost you $415 for the two nights...

The net worth of the Ammachi corporation has got to be higher than that of Bill Gates and Donald Trump combined. Alllllll of that money goes back to India. In the late 1990's Amritapuri was the SECOND largest receiver of foreign funds in India. Do you think they are number one now?
Our thanks to the readers who performed this research. More and more it seems Amma is all about the cha-CHING!

When recently asked why she hugs, Amma replied, "That's like asking the river, why do you flow?" Now we know why the river flows. It all just about getting more dough.

Update: A reader reports that there has been a miscalculation:
You have got the math on the room rates all wrong.

The cost of the Boston retreat with accomodation is $310 and without accomodation is $200. The difference is $110 = the lowest hotel rate for the room. Up to two adults are charged the $310 rate and additional adults are charged only $200.

Accomodation is for two nights, so the hotel cost in the retreat fees is the exact amount that the hotel charges for the room.
That still doesn't explain the children's fees, but we appreciate this reader taking the time to offer this correction.

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12 Comments:

At 6/18/2007 10:42 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The way that they are pricing this out is really shady.

Why not just have a retreat fee and then a hotel room fee? Everyone knows hotel rooms are at a set rate regardless of how many people are in the room. Plus, you know that the Ammachi folks are getting huge discounts on room rates.

Why all of these mysterious lump sums? How does that figure out? Why are they charging a 13 year old $45 more than a 12 year old? Where is the logic in any of this?

 
At 6/18/2007 11:20 AM, Anonymous holycrap said...

Just mulling this over some more, because we can't believe it.

If there are four people in a room and they are paying $310 each, the total is $1240. This means that the hotel room is completely paid for by one persons "fee" and whoever else is in the room is all profit.

If you are a single person with a room to yourself, you are going to pay $415. You are going to pay $105 more than someone with a partner. Is this so Ma Center can still profit $300 off the room?

Very clever.

What exactly IS the retreat fee?

I have never seen something so strange. I am curious to hear others opinions on this.

 
At 6/18/2007 12:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Look, I am not a devotee or anything, but I am going to see her in NM. (for the first time)

First, I couldn't get into a hotel where she is staying, so I booked another. The cost, $65 per night. If you are worried about being fleeced try expedia. I did.

Second. Is it in fact Amma's responsibility to help with a strike on an american hotel? Should she put herself in the middle of the dispute by changing her plans? If she decided to move people would complain that she supports the union's stance against the owners. While she might support the cause of removing repression how can she take sides on a (local) american political situation? If the workers don't like it get a different job! You don't have to work for Hilton, go try Red Roof Inn and get off Amma's back.

Next thing you'll want her to do is get between Trump and Rosie. Get a grip. Namaste

 
At 6/18/2007 12:15 PM, Blogger jody said...

If she decided to move people would complain that she supports the union's stance against the owners.

Think about it: A guru who helps the poor. Do you think she should stand with the owners, as she's doing now, or with the working poor, who she's now standing against.

 
At 6/18/2007 4:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe the ex-siddha yogis who fill Amma's organization now have finally begun to work their "dakshina magic" on amma.org. They are pros...gurumayi has a nice fat golden parachute sitting in a Swiss bank. Maybe we can coin a new term for financial advisors to "god".
varahi D.

 
At 6/18/2007 7:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You have got the math on the room rates all wrong.

The cost of the Boston retreat with accomodation is $310 and without accomodation is $200.
The difference is $110 = the lowest hotel rate for the room. Upto two adults are charged the $310 rate and additional adults are charged only $200.

Accomodation is for two nights, so the hotel cost in the retreat fees is the exact amount that the hotel charges for the room.

 
At 6/18/2007 7:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

For holycrap:

A single person pays $415 for TWO nights. The lowest hotel rate for a night is $110. So the single person pays $220 for the hotel room and $195 for the retreat. That is the same rate that he would have paid had he reserved the room directly at the hotel.
(The cost with accomodation is $310 and without accomodation is $200)

The retreat fee ($200) is required to cover the cost of the expenses of free meals for two days, classes, special programs, administrative costs etc. Hence also the different rates for different age group.

 
At 6/18/2007 8:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ok first of all:

The retreat fee ($200) is required to cover the cost of the expenses of free meals for two days, classes, special programs, administrative costs etc. Hence also the different rates for different age group.

How does COST cover anything FREE???

 
At 6/18/2007 10:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who did this "research" for you?

I attended the retreat in San Ramon last year with my three children. The luxurious hotel room was 80 per night for the four of us. (Far less than the usual rate for the Marriott.) And there were cheaper hotels available if we had wanted one. A list was provided.

I was startled by how low the retreat fees were. The three day retreat was $35 for my youngest child, and $70 each for my older two children. That included three outstandingly good meals a day, childcare if the children had wanted it (they preferred to be with Amma), classes in meditation, chanting lessons, etc. For me I think it was $180. So the total for the 4 of us was $515 -- for all the retreat activities, accomodation, and meals. No doubt this sounds extravagant by Indian standards, but we were in the Bay Area not in India, and for the Bay Area, it was a stunningly great deal. It was also extremely well-organized, and the kids loved it and still talk about what a wonderful time they had.

 
At 6/19/2007 5:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't understand why my friend with a newborn infant has to pay such a sum to register her child. I mean, what resources is a breast-fed baby using?

 
At 6/19/2007 9:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Also, if you want Amma to do a "first-feeding" of your baby, you have to purchase supplies as well. Years back, you could buy a video of Amma doing the first feeding on your baby.

If you want Amma to "marry" you, items must be purchased also. It is also suggested that females buy a new sari. (they often end up buying one of Amma's DB saris which run into thousands of dollars).

Please correct me if I am wrong on the above.

What I would like to know is why a guru would not perform these acts for free. I would also like to know why devotees do not find this cheapening to the supposed "guru-disciple" relationship.

Also, does it strike anyone strange that they would have to purchase photos of their own "Mother"?

Either she is everyone's mother, or she is a cash cow. Which one is it?????

 
At 6/21/2007 3:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What I would like to know is why a guru would not perform these acts for free. I would also like to know why devotees do not find this cheapening to the supposed "guru-disciple" relationship.

Also, does it strike anyone strange that they would have to purchase photos of their own "Mother"?

Either she is everyone's mother, or she is a cash cow. Which one is it?????

Dear Anon,
this is an interesting point. If she were a Hindu priest, it would be done in exactly this way....things purchased and brought to "first feeding" puja, particular items for a marriage, including a standardized "fee" , etc. But she is NOT a priest (that I know of). Gurus I have met from South India have NOT charged for pujas or photographs and, in fact, if money is offered, it is offered to the priest who might be assisting in ceremonies. The guru is "insulted" if you try to give money to him/her...ESPECIALLY for his/her photograph. Maybe it's a whole new kind of "Hindu tradition"..lol! Since we're stupid "ferengis", we won't know the difference.
Varahi D.

 

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