Should Spiritual Services be Free

Survey: Should Spiritual Services be Free or is it ok to Charge Money?


Forgot my standard disclaimer when I write on this topic, so am adding it now .

This topic of making money always causes all sorts of knee-jerk reactions, so I have learned to put a disclaimer before I write such articles, and here it is.  I am very happy to offer my website in it’s free format, and this article is not a request for money, and I am not against those making money from their spiritual work either.  Now onto the survey…

Here is an interesting question which I am very curious to learn your thoughts on. Do you think spiritual services, such as yoga, meditation, reiki, ayurveda, etc, should be provided for free or do you think it is ok for practitioners and teachers to charge money for such services?  I will discuss my thoughts on this interesting, and sometimes controversial topic, after I collect your responses.

Should Spiritual Services be Free

You can find other interesting surveys we have run here on Mastery of Meditation and Yoga under the Survey Category.

Please do participate, all answers are anonymous. If you receive my posts via email, or read them via your RSS Feed Reader you may have to visit the website directly in order to submit your response.  The code that runs the surveys does not always behave well under those mediums.

1. Is it ok to charge money for spiritual services, or should they be given for free?


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19 replies
  1. make
    make says:

    I don?t even understand how I ended up here, however I assumed this submit used to be good. I don’t know who you are but definitely you’re going to a well-known blogger for those who are not already ;) Cheers!

  2. Trish
    Trish says:

    I believe those who are dedicated to what they are doing, and have lived life a little, it’s okay to charge. I believe if you are trying to follow Yoga it comes naturally over time to donate and that you are guided as to where. I believe that those who are not working, relying on social security, just contemplating and running courses charging large amounts of money it should be by donation only because I believe you need to be living in the world to be able to relate to others and that one should be responsible for earning an income, not relying on the tax payers. (I may be entirely wrong and need to not concern myself with such matters – worry abuot myself only eh!!!). Am enjoying one of your ebooks but cannot get passed ‘The Zen of Time Management’ as I need to do lots of things (declutter!) to rid the mind so as I can relish ‘timeless’ states!!
    thanks Amoil

  3. B
    B says:

    The art of meditation has been practiced for centuries by saints/Guru’s. This was created for the benefit of human mankind and has been shared by the saints/Gurus for centuries without any material benefit. The students under the guidance of their Guru would give dakshina. Guru’s would ask for dakshina, not for material benefit but to to make the student aware of not being too attached to material. If material attachment is there then the path of achieving spirituality is not visible. The dakshina collected by the Guru’s would not be used by the Guru but would be used for the benefit of human mankind (e.g. they would use the dakshina to cook food and feed the hungry, just as an example). So I would say if a student is in the correct path of spirituality he/she would spend money where needed without any interference (it just happens), this I would say would be repaying your Guru (dakshina).

  4. ra
    ra says:

    Dear Chris/ Martial Development:
    Also, i do think that if these practitioners accept money, then it’s fine to offer it, some don’t.

  5. ra
    ra says:

    Dear Chris/Martial Development:

    I belong to an ancient Tao School, spent many years in a Gnostic mystery school, belong to a Tendai Sangha, and in my youth belonged to three other teaching schools… charge! Some accepted donations for space rental, but that’s all….the instructors did and do support themselves.

  6. Chris | Martial Development
    Chris | Martial Development says:

    I am tempted to frame the question differently.

    Is it OK for YOU (the reader, personally) to receive spiritual services, and give nothing in return?

    Are spiritual services (from a competent practitioner) really the least valuable thing in the world??

    Worth less than a cheeseburger and fries (two dollars at McDonald’s)???

    The answer, I think, is obvious. William Bodri’s post on this topic is definitely worth reading.

  7. Purvi
    Purvi says:

    according to me, the person providing these services still needs to feed himself and his family and hence charging become inevitable. If you see the old varna system in India, the teachers did not have to worry about wealth accumulation – the other 3 varnas of the society worked together to provide what was required to the teachers so that teachers could concentrate on procuring and imparting knowledge!

    But in today’s time, I do think you have to charge money!

  8. Bryan
    Bryan says:

    Speaking in hyperbole is manipulative, Explore Meditation. I don’t even want to click your hyperlink. “if I don’t charge for it I don’t eat.” This is ridiculous. You have a lot of fallacious logic lodged in your ways, and you deserve the dirty money and all of its bad karma you demand. “Should Spiritual Services be free or is it ok to Charge Money?” is a loaded question that inclines respondents to sympathize with you without you having to disclose your financial situation. I would feel less concerned about donating if I had an idea of your personal life, ethics, after you having made a personal appeal that I could trust.You seem like an honest, trustworthy person, but if you shopped at Walmart or donated to the NRA in ignorance, I wouldn’t fault you, I would avoid putting my money there. You can ask for your users to pay a fee, but it would come off much more virtuously if you disclosed pertinent information honestly and humbly. Just keep in mind that receiving money for spiritual work is a possible thumbs-up to greed in the world. If I work for a company that destroys the environment, employs slave labor, or any other intrinsic aspect of capitalism we’ve come to know since the Industrial Revolution, and I make a salary, visit your website anonymously, and pay for your services anonymously, you wouldn’t need to consider where the money comes from which may work to your advantage if you want to avoid guilt. But the real-world guilt by association in participating with such a corrupt system and the satisfaction you would derive from knowing that your userbase is expanding based on the assumption that only learned masters dare to charge for their services would be an unfortunate sight for many of your supporters, such as me, who want to see a young person succeed in a field that puts such weight on the age of the teacher. You don’t need to follow the example of other internet business models, and we appreciate that you haven’t: free works for me! We understand server-costs grow as site visitors do, and we want to support your growth and spreading of the good word you have to offer. You will make the right choice for your self on this issue, and I am relieved to hear that your current financial situation doesn’t necessitate immediate action. With the world economy changing, who really knows what unexpected costs you and others may be confronted with? If you follow your heart, you will succeed, and we will all be inspired by your success. Thank you for every thing you have offered on your site thus far, and may the future bring success to your endeavors as well. Namaste.

  9. Explore Meditation
    Explore Meditation says:

    The nature of interaction is exchange. If something is given for free the subconscious holds it with lessor value to that which is an investment. Throughout history, those with a ‘spiritual’ service to offer have charged for it. I love to massage – but if I don’t charge for it I don’t eat. With massage comes Reiki… And comes words from the divine. If you want spiritual practitioners to be professional – shouldn’t they act accordingly?

  10. hey
    hey says:

    it depends, there is a guru that says he got the power to manifest thoughts but he charges for making an acount on his site. why would anybody who can manifest thoughts needs money? can’t he manifest money?

  11. Find yourself with a smile...
    Find yourself with a smile... says:

    I agree, Anmol… this one always raises hackles…

    I feel it is a teacher’s responsibility to charge students. Charges don’t have to be dollars and cents. It could be as simple as sweeping the floor or doing some yard work. Or teaching classes in your teacher’s absence…

    A student must devote him or herself to training… if there is no clear way that you are giving back for your training, then it is all too easy to not appreciate your training. Unappreciated training leads to unenthusiastic students, and mediocre results.

    I learned this attitude with martial arts (I’ve seen it too many times)… and it transferred rather naturally when I started to study meditation, yoga, energy work, mind training, etc.

    And one of the things I deeply respect about you Anmol… is there are no claims of enlightenment anywhere on this blog (at least not that I have seen).

    You’ll find none on my blog either :-)

    Just a humble student seeking individual and group growth through the service of teaching…

    Keep smiling,


  12. Anmol Mehta
    Anmol Mehta says:

    Hi Bryan,

    Thanks for your thoughts and feedback. Not sure how you interpreted this survey to mean I am going to charge? I have run many surveys before and this is just another survey which I felt was an interesting question and topic.

    In any case, I have added my disclaimer to the top of the post now, which I normally do when I write on this topic. Have to remember to do that next time when I write on this always controversial topic of money and spirituality :-).

    With regard to books, here is an interesting article I have written on that topic…

    Library of God

    All Good Wishes,

  13. Bryan
    Bryan says:

    If you want to charge, you’ll charge, it doesn’t matter what any one says, and you know that. The only books we need based on spirituality are already written. You’re just another parrot in a long line of parrots. You just translate his word, and if people need translation because they don’t trust themselves, they’ll pay for it. But if you charge, alongside the fee you post, you ought to promote the books and Masters you have learned from so people who don’t want to pay your fees can go to the library or borrow from a friend the books that helped you get to where you are today. Just know that I and many others will take you beginning to charge as a sign that you are unenlightened and deserve to be passed over. While your services thus far have proven useful, straying from the path by charging money will cue us all to ignore your words thenceforth.

  14. ShadowExplorer
    ShadowExplorer says:

    Sadly, you have to charge. Otherwise you can’t devote yourself fully to providing them, because you have to get another job and without full devotion you won’t be as good at teaching or healing or whatever your service is.

  15. Debra
    Debra says:

    The question is more complex than can be easily answered by a “yes” or “no”. I voted “yes” but I wish to elaborate a bit.

    I think that a skill that someone teaches or wisdom someone possesses, has value and that it is permissible to “charge” for sharing of those skills or knowledge. However, I have researched many sites for a variety of kinds of information. I often come across those who are eager to entice others to purchase their services. There seems to be very little “free” information and given that the topics that I research are of a spiritual nature, I am wary of the materialistic heavy-handedness that comes across to me in such situations.

    Whether intentionally or not Anmol, your site impressed me immediately by the volume of articles and videos that are offered absolutely free of charge! To me the focus is on service to others who are looking for paths to enlightenment. You are generous with your skills and wisdom and that comes through.

    Having said that, it is certainly not a “bad” thing to offer some services that are individualized for a fee. It reflects the time and efforts that are being used for a very specific purpose. It allows you to generate income that provides a means to continue doing what you do.

    Living as we do here on the physical plane, you (and all of us) must find a means of obtaining shelter, food, etc. Some people have great faith in the Universe providing their every need. I admire these people and I try not to be overly concerned about material things, living a simple life so that my material needs are relatively modest. In that way, I need not feel a strong pressure to search for means of income. I find that for me, resources come when I am doing what I am meant to do. (I guess that’s how I interpret the idea of the Universe providing for my every need… that needed resources will flow when I am in harmony with divine will.)

    In summary, a person who is out to make a buck as the _first_ impression I get of him/her, leaves me untrusting of them because I feel that someone with advanced spiritual understandings will be more concerned with being of service than how much money he/she can generate.

    I’m anxious to read your thoughts on this Anmol.

    Best, Debra


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