A free and moneyless society

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bansy
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A free and moneyless society

Post by bansy » 21 Jun 2008

There have been a few new folks of late (Mbbhat and chai Bhai) touching on some issues on other threads regarding Brain Bacon's costs of courses, and the costs production of TToTT, but they seem to be pointing at what is meant by "free" in BK context.

What does "free" mean ?

For me, it means the consumer/user/target does not pay a single penny regardless of production costs, marketing etc. In spirituality, each consumer/user is a child. Can you charge a child ? The issue isnot whether the child can afford it or not, it is the principle.

"Free" has to be an absolute. Otherwise it has no other meaning, and it then just a play on words.

Free is not from the viewpoint of the party giving the product or item or knowledge, free is from the viewpoint of the receiver.

Money is a Kaliyug invention.

So what does "free" mean ? For starters, I think it will be worth folks to google on "moneyless society". You'll find plenty of good thoughts.

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Re: A free and moneyless society

Post by chai bhai » 21 Jun 2008

Hello bansy, I agree with what you say. free is free.

Spiritual knowledge is free. But then (and I am not talking about the projects mentioned in the other threads) but how do you separate or extricate the knowledge from someone who has accepted it or who has inculcated it in their life and who then has to make a living? They will probably use that knowledge somehow in what they do, because it is part of them. So then is it free? Is the musician whose lyrics are based on Knowledge doing wrong because they are playing the guitar to make a living? Or is an artist who paints pictures of angels inspired by the knowledge, or a writer who writes books that are influenced by the knowledge? A dancer who through dance gives The Knowledge of the Cycle of Time. If they do that for a living and The Knowledge is embedded in them.

I mean it has become part of who they are, then what? I have no answer but what you said struck me. So I am thinking about it. How to separate spiritual knowledge from who you are, when it has become part of who you are. So how to ensure that spiritual knowledge remains 'free'. I agree with your analogy of all spiritual seekers are like children. Anyway, if each person is a child of god then it is their right to hear things freely and to receive knowledge freely without any conditions; free of cost and free of obligation. no-one should pay. So ... I have no answers but I am thinking about this.
Thanks bansy.
chai Bhai

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Re: A free and moneyless society

Post by fluffy bunny » 22 Jun 2008

Its easy. If you are doing something that includes or promotes The Knowledge, you don't involve money. That certainly is the Shrimat of the Murli. Why should "The Knowledge", "acceptable service", or "acceptable Brahma lifestyle products" have a buy in price excluding the poor or subverting the community's wealth in the BKWSU control or coffers?

First, there are two things here which we should be clear about; "The Knowledge" and "spiritual knowledge" ... specific and generally are not the same things. I guess Bansy is talking about "The Knowledge". "Spiritual Knowledge" is a sort of neologism, a term BKs use to non-BKs to describe "The Knowledge ®" in a sort of obscured fashion. True spirituality is free, anything with a price ticket is therefor not. All I can say is that in the early days, no one would have dreamt of doing what, say, Bliss or Brian Bacon have done.

I could not find a breakdown of DVD production but here is a breakdown of your average music CD for comparison. Naturally, in the case of Bliss, The Tao of the Traveller and other BKWSU related products, many of the costs have been removed. Especially now that the BKWSU have their own media production studios or co-opt others funded by other people's money.
CD_costs.gif
Costs to make a CD
CD_costs.gif (22.95 KiB) Viewed 2687 times
In the BKWSU's case, we can remove the following approximated costs;
  • no co-op advertising and discounts to others - 75c
    no signing fees - $1.08
    mostly no royalties to artists (except Bliss it seems) - $1.99
    low to no marketing and promotion, say - $1.00
    no profit to label - 59c
    low company overheads (volunteer workers, free property, management fees paid by charity to BK Information Services, ltd etc), lets say generously - $2.50
Total additional revenue versus a commercial product - approximately - $7.91

On a standard retail price of $16.98 that equates to a potential income to the BKIS of over $12.00 ... versus the $6.23 to the shop owners and the $1.99 income to the artists in an entirely commercial situation. Nice business if you can get it.

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Re: A free and moneyless society

Post by bkti-pit » 22 Jun 2008

ex-l wrote:All I can say is that in the early days, no one would have dreamt of doing what, say, Bliss or Brian Bacon have done.
This is true and it was according to Shrimat.

Really, the only cost of producing a CD for BKs is the 75 cents for pressing the CD and printing the booklet. You can add the fee of the recording studio but this is a one time investment and if you spread that on thousands of CDs sold it doesn't amount to much.

I know non-English speaking BKs who produce meditation commentaries CDs in small numbers and their cost, including the recording studio fee is less than $1.

Shipping cost? Give me the right to make copies and the only shipping cost I'll have to pay is for one master copy.

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Re: A free and moneyless society

Post by chai bhai » 22 Jun 2008

I am hoping and waiting for a response from bansy to my post above. I am curious what everyone else things too. How do you separate the knowledge from the person who treasures it, the words from the writer, the art from the artist ... could you read above? I would like all of your thoughts about it. It is an interesting dilemma. Also, I liked john morgan's post in the Tao of the Traveller postings - he kind of made a good point! Thank you,

Your Bhai, chai

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Re: A free and moneyless society

Post by bansy » 22 Jun 2008

chai Bhai wrote:a response from bansy to my post above. I am curious what everyone else things too. How do you separate The Knowledge from the person who treasures it, the words from the writer, the art from the artist.
Sometimes this forum goes like quickfire when the members are online, at other times you might get a no reply for what seems ages. Because it is a forum crossing time zones and languages. My apologies if you have been waiting.

Regarding your query, yes it is a dilemma but nothing a diety cannot solve I hope. It's why souls-cum-angels-cum-dieities are in the making. Or shall we leave it to good old drama ? I do not know what free means fully now, nor specific to seperate from the words of a writer, the art from an artist, etc, so hope raising this thread will get some ideas, if no definite answer is gotten.

The way I see it, where I am, I grow vegetables and there are a number of people here also doing the same. Usually we all grow different varieties individually each year as it makes the gardening more interesting. What tends to happen, for example, is that this year my potatoes do well but not so my cabbages, and for another person their patch is tomatoes and corn. We often find ourselves giving away food to each other and also to other people because it will go to waste. There is cost and time borne by each family, but we never decide on such matters. We never put ourselves in a position where we can take anything away from others. There are some families that really really give. Sometimes when the harvest is good, we are able to give more. Here time, cost, food is free.

And hence sharing love and friendship is really free. There is no need to try to educate when the knowledge is applied practically. I have found the above sharing of things expands further away from just gardening aspects, as people volunteer to do all other sorts of activities. Simply because it costs nothing and secondly giving for nothing is so easy to do. The "money" word is almost like taboo. A lady I do not know gave her friend to give to my mother-in-law to give to my daughter, some socks. I just need to thank my mother-in-law because all the rest had already been done. Methinks one of my cucumbers found their way to the lady.

I feel there is much talk about the vices of lust and attachment and ego, but greed is often not touched upon ... as money is the (physical) source of all greed, its almost accepted as implicit.

So what I am suggesting is that the end product has no factor relating to a financial amount at all, no buying or paying or anything to do with anyone having to dig into their pockets even if it is $2 or $20. Because someone somewhere will not be able to afford it.

The "moneyless society" is an ideal and so does that makes it a Golden Age ideal too ? After all, everyone has diamonds in the Golden Age, but they are worthless then. If we all think about how people used to/can live without money, then we will develop a world society where everyone will be living on less than 1c a day.

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Re: A free and moneyless society

Post by chai bhai » 22 Jun 2008

Dear bansy,

thank you. And, no, I was not waiting but i was a little impatient because I am interested in the topic. You have given me important things to think about. You are right. We do not think about greed so much. It gets left out and, of course, it is as important as the other four. When does eating turn to greed? It is not visible. One has to be very honest with oneself to pick up on the greed for the extra ice-cream or - indeed - monetary matters that are a matter of day to day life in the world. We must think more deeply about these things - me first in this department.

Thanks a lot, chai

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Re: A free and moneyless society

Post by tom » 22 Jun 2008

chai Bhai wrote:I am hoping and waiting for a response from bansy to my post above. I am curious what everyone else things too. How do you separate The Knowledge from the person who treasures it, the words from the writer, the art from the artist ... could you read above? I would like all of your thoughts about it. It is an interesting dilemma.
Yes, Chai Bhai this is the most important question now. As I came to Gyan I saw my surrendered BK teachers being invited to give some meditation classes or self progress talks at some lokik occasion or to organizations. And coming back to the center I saw them putting the honorarium they were given into Baba's box. They lived from their simple lokik jobs. This was engraved in me.

Later on, as I was invited to give some spiritual talks or meditation classes, of course based on soft Gyan, I underlined it was for free but if the organization which made the invitation handed me some honorarium, it was directly for Baba's box. I lived my simple life from my simple lokik job. But now I am amazed seeing and hearing all over the world BK teachers giving talks, with the acceptance of the BK leadership talks (of course mixed with knowledge), at lokik organizations and considering the honorarium as their lokik job's income.

Chai Bhai, I got the book "Traveller" in Madhuban for free and appreciated it. I thought that Ramsay Family, having so many talents, capabilities and so many possibilities to make a living from their skills, would make also the film The Tao of the Traveller for the fun of it, just like free. Which means the DVDs for cost price, which is considered to be free. But now here we are, who will solve this dilemma? There are committed Senior brothers, whom we all know, authors with many books who donated the copyright of all their books, DVDs to Yagya. And these copyrighted material are sold in Madhuban at reasonable prices so that some BKs can consume them.
also, I liked john morgan's post in the Tao of the traveller postings - he kind of made a good point!
What a surprise!
john morgan wrote:The people who shout loudest do not believe in God, or at least God through the BK organisation. So this is a situation where those who do not believe are telling those that do believe how to believe. Unbelievable!
You are surprizing me Chai Bhai, I am considering you as a Gyani soul with wisdom. This quote above is not a point. It is an insult which one should never make to anybody.

I read Bansy's beautiful post after i finished writing my post. My respect. Thank you Bansy.
bansy wrote:I feel there is much talk about the vices of lust and attachment and ego, but greed is often not touched upon ... as money is the (physical) source of all greed, its almost accepted as implicit.

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Re: A free and moneyless society

Post by chai bhai » 22 Jun 2008

John wrote:The people who shout loudest do not believe in God, or at least God through the BK organisation. So this is a situation where those who do not believe are telling those that do believe how to believe. Unbelievable!
Tom wrote:You are surprizing me Chai Bhai, i am considering you as a Gyani soul with wisdom. This quote above is not a point. It is an insult which one should never make to anybody.
I should have been more clear maybe. I thought john's point was good because sometimes sharing opinions and opening each other minds to see things in new and different ways can slipperily (is that a word?) turn into people telling each other what they should be doing or thinking and how they should be doing and thinking it. It was more a cautionary thing than a point. But i did look at some of ex-l's posts and I thought they were a bit like that (although you have my respect ex-l for talking about things that maybe are uncomfortable. If something is uncomfortable it means we have to look there).

Thanks for your pm tom. Taken to heart.

chai

ps I guess you have noticed that I have the computer still.

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Re: A free and moneyless society

Post by fluffy bunny » 23 Jun 2008

chai Bhai wrote:How do you separate The Knowledge from the person who treasures it, the words from the writer, the art from the artist ...
It would depends on whether the artist has sold out and become, or be used, as part of a marketing machine. How deep into the commercial world they are. There are some fantastically gifted and creative art trained individuals working for the advertising world. Their art is worth less than nothing. It is not even considered art. One would have to ask what the purpose of art is and further differentiate it from "high art". Additionally, one would have to question the intent of the individual.

The real problem is this context is the BKWSU. On one hand it is supposed to be defined by distinct Shrimat and Marayadas. On the other hand, it acts entirely contrary to them and appears to others as a conscienceless, millionaire, money racking machine that will dowries off young girls, inheritances out of families and exploit the Hindu superstitious with its offers of "diamonds tomorrow for dollars today".

If the artist is serving that ... they are screwed. They are just commercial artists, advertising agents acting for a commission, increasing, without conscience to the end result. We, both sides of the debate, have often spoken here about how denigrated artists and the arts are within the Brahma Kumaris movement, how many broken souls there have been BECAUSE of the unresolved tangle the Beakies have themselves in over the arts. One of the big problems is the censorship and a lack of free speech which cripple the artist who by definition should be free to serve that which is greater than them.

True artistry DOES exist within the BKWSU and it always free ... it is seen in the odd rare parody or satire that gets acted out on stages for BKs only and amateur song etc. That is about it ... and within literature, brahmakumaris.info exists as the sole 'free press' within the movement. The rest has been sucked into becoming a useful and formal tool for contrived advertising events or outright commerce.

One punt for a worthy cause in the right direction of a "free and moneyless society" ... if folks are not aware of it ... check out Freecycle.org for a local group in their area. If there is not one, then start one.

Freecycle is an unpaid network of 100,000s of people giving stuff away for free that otherwise would be sold, or just be dumped and volunteers holding it all together. Its a wonderful application of a freely available internet solution (email groups) resolving personal and environmental problems.

Of course if, as per the BKWSU, the End of the World is coming (again), then perhaps environmentalism is a waste of time but at least the social value of the 'haves' giving to 'havenots' or 'havelesses' for nothing is worth while.
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Re: A free and moneyless society

Post by chai bhai » 23 Jun 2008

Well, thank you for the freecycle link. I have joined up myself in my local group and have sent it on to many other BKs who I know will be interested. I like the principle of it very much, and also the reality! I wonder though if it can happen in any way other than through grassroots local communities. Unfortunately money is the international speech of the world. Everyone understands it and everyone understands more or less the value of it. It is a global commodity. People feel secure in their understanding of it. Also, if you start trading things internationally like you would need to do for an international organisation then there are shipping costs, freight costs etc.

I think no matter what system is used in this old world, it is flawed. The struggle is when we have ideals and the impurity embedded in the world will not allow them to happen. For me - I have to be patient, work on my Yoga because I do believe in the power of good thinking. That is also an action, a practical karma, pure and benevolent thoughts work. There are some good studies that have been done, and books written for the more scientifically minded ones of you who read this forum. And that is the only way to go for me. Back to my spiritual roots. Om Shanti
chai

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Re: A free and moneyless society

Post by arjun » 23 Jun 2008

chai Bhai wrote:Anyway, if each person is a child of god then it is their right to hear things freely and to receive knowledge freely without any conditions; free of cost and free of obligation. no-one should pay. So ... I have no answers but I am thinking about this.
I, your Father, also teach you. Well, will a Father collect fee from the children to teach them? How can he collect fee from the children? I do not charge even a Pie. I come to teach you from Paramdham, situated at such a long distance. I come to perform this job daily ... You have remembered me for half a Kalpa; that is why I have had to come here in this alien country. Everyone is sinful and sorrowful. They are orphans. There is no one to look after them. Even the Government does not charge any fee to teach the orphans. This is a very big spiritual Government ... I do not collect any fee from you for this study. You would say that we give this handful of rice. You have been giving this handful of rice in the path of worship, for which you get the returns in the next birth. Now you know that the Father is sitting face to face; He teaches free of cost because He knows that they do not possess anything. So will the Father charge anything from you? One has to spend so much on that (worldly) study. One has to pass so many exams. I teach the same knowledge (to everyone). Those who keep coming to (this) school, I keep adding them. Yes, those who come late have to make more efforts. In return, the ones who come late get nice points. Those who study very fast do not incur any loss. When they get newer points, they gallop faster than the old ones. The Father says – so many of those who came in the beginning ran away. It is good that you came late. So you get deepest points.” (Revised Sakar Murli dated 17.10.06, pg.1&2 published by BKs)

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Re: A free and moneyless society

Post by bkti-pit » 24 Jun 2008

chai Bhai wrote:Spiritual knowledge is free. But then how do you separate or extricate The Knowledge from someone who has accepted it or who has inculcated it in their life and who then has to make a living? They will probably use that knowledge somehow in what they do, because it is part of them. So then is it free?
Hi chai Bhai!

I really like Bansy's post and ex-l's posts as well. Some people seem to have the talent to communicate my thoughts, feelings and experience better than I do.

I have dreamed of a money-less world and I have lived well with very little of it, and some bartering. I began to use more money when I joined the BKWSU and left aside some of my ideals. This is soon going to change as I am planning a major shift in my Brahmin life ...

Anyways, I think it is not so much money in itself that I have a problem with but greed and inequity.

As far as mixing Gyan and business, I think it is up to each one's conscience and I understand that each one's professional situation is different. I do not have a problem with mixing Gyan in one's business, if it can bring benefit to others, but I have a problem with turning Gyan into a business.

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Re: A free and moneyless society

Post by fluffy bunny » 25 Jun 2008

bkti-pit wrote:I have dreamed of a money-less world and I have lived well with very little of it, and some bartering. I began to use more money when I joined the BKWSU and left aside some of my ideals. This is soon going to change as I am planning a major shift in my Brahmin life ...
Many have ... we were fools not to recognise the "Mercantile Refugee" Sindhis for what they traditionally always were. Profit people ... and now the business is their god. Sorry, that should read, "the business if their God" and not "business is their god".

Many make have made attempts at starting free and moneyless societies, Time Dollars is one, Local Exchange Trading Systems (LETs) are another, small cooperative banks and ethical investors such as the Grameen Bank and Triodos Bank are another positive ethical examples. None are perfect but all are leading the way to positive practical change.

I wonder why the Brahma Kumaris ... with all their millions and withheld investment providing profits for them taken mainly from the poor (so they advertise) ... are not leading the world in financial ethics? Why is it always the "impure Kali Yuga Shudras" that inevitably lead the way only for the Brahma Kumari leadership to clamber onto the bandwagon late either shamed into or because some individual BKs have bucked the system and gone off and done their own thing.

Let's face, the BKWSY stink financially and has breached its own principles decades ago. Cue some pithy PR news release about how ... the BKWSU is always evolving to meet the needs of its followers etc etc etc ... " or is "... not about fixing this world but envisioning a perfect new one where everyone lives in palaces, diamonds and gold will litter the streets and no one goes hungry or without needs ...". Excuse me while I puke but "its their karma". Now, don't let me burden your intellects with such mundane matters ... but;
  • Does anyone know how and where the BKWSU makes its investments?
    Has anyone ever seen or been offered a financial statement by the BKWSU?

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Re: A free and moneyless society

Post by mbbhat » 25 Jun 2008

Dear Souls,

What I mean by free does not mean not to charge anything. I just meant one (any BK) should not desire to get more than the expense. It is fine if everything is give free of cost. But sometimes, it may be misinterpreted or even misused. Since BK is a non-profit organization and does not accept donations from outside (few mistakes would had happened by some BKs), there is no need to spend entire money from self.

It is not at all wrong to charge for literature. But charging fee for the course more than course material and transport does not look good.

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