The axiom that esoteric teachings be shared freely
It is an important axiom that esoteric teachings be shared freely. Therefore all of the classes, courses, and activities in the gnostic schools of Samael Aun Weor are offered by donation, or for a modest fee, and no one is turned away for lack of funds.
Dedicated seekers of truth and light will always gather in groups to support one another on the path of liberation, regardless of funds or lack thereof. However, the costs in relation to esoteric activities are sometimes misunderstood and this article intends to clarify this topic.
Master Samael Aun Weor
All gnostic instructors are inspired by Master Samael Aun Weor and his life of sacrifice to spread the teachings. Samael travelled with his family from their home of Columbia to Mexico City, at times living in complete poverty. He dedicated his life to the gnostic work and shared this through teaching, writing books, correspondence, and meeting with students and seekers.
The copyright in his books originally stated, “My dear friends, now and forever, I renounce, have renounced and will go on renouncing copyrights. My only wish is that these books be sold at a low price, affordable to the poor, to all the children of God. I wish that even the poorest, most destitute citizen be able to obtain these books with the few pennies he carries in his pocket. In fact, I do not have any income; I do not demand anything in exchange for my works. Whosoever wants to publish them, let him publish for the benefit of diseased mankind.”
The Gnostic Society Samael Aun Weor is a world-wide organization of schools and centers dedicated to spreading the gnostic teachings, and each is run and funded independently.
In the United States and Australia most gnostic instructors have another job besides teaching gnosis in order to live, and the aim is to have donations simply cover the cost of running the school.
In Europe and South and Central America many gnostic schools generate enough donations that the costs of the school are covered as well as allowing the instructors to dedicate themselves full-time to running the school and teaching. There are usually classes and activities nearly every day, and the instructors live simply and allow the esoteric work and teaching duties to be their full-time job.
The balance of costs
Money is a representation of our time and energy, and as seekers of esoteric knowledge it is useful to have some guidelines regarding money and a spiritual path. There is a danger in the extremes, such as the obvious corruption of exorbitant prices for teachings that limits access to otherwise universal knowledge.
Then there is the reality of the costs for the meeting space, utilities, tea, candles and flowers for the altar, and advertising. Having the basic overhead covered allows the instructor to focus on the groups without the distraction of having to work more to manage the extra costs.
Just as in any other vocation a gnostic instructor or missionary spends years studying, practicing, and submitting to tests and trainings to prepare for the role. And there are countless hours in continued study, preparing classes, organizing events, and of course meditation and spiritual practice.
It may be useful to reflect on our own attitudes around money. In a world that is filled with endless clever ways of extracting money from us with false promises of pleasure and fulfillment, why do we hesitate to help support a school dedicated solely to the resolution of human suffering?
“It is an axiom of occult science that no price may be charged for any form of occult work. It may generally be presumed that the teacher who has his price and sticks to it is exceedingly unlikely to be an initiator of the Right-hand Path. On the other hand, we must remember that a teacher or society is certainly entitled to make a sufficient charge to cover the expenses in which it may be involved. Printers will not work for nothing, and lecture rooms have to be heated. cleaned, and owned by someone. It is certainly reasonable to make a charge for value given on the physical plane because somebody is out of-pocket in respect of it. Pretty moderate charges, however, will usually cover the actual running expenses of any movement.
There ought to be no fee in connection with occult work which it is more convenient to pay by cheque than by coin of the realm. Another problem, however, comes up in this respect. The occult teacher has to live, and if he has no private means, must either follow some remunerative pursuit, or live by his occult work. If that work is sufficiently extensive to make considerable demands on his time, he must either curtail his work or give up his profession.
Under such circumstances, is the occultist justified in allowing his esoteric work to support him? Yes, if it is done in the right way. If he clearly and obviously never permits his remuneration to become a money-making affair, but simply a means of support in order that he may pursue his work, and a very modest means of support at that.”
– Dion Fortune, Sane Occultism
Missionaries, Donations, and Schools
“There will be places where the affiliates will only be able to provide humble donations; there will be other places where they will be able to donate more. For example, in Monterrey, the affiliates can donate 100 pesos monthly, yet in the Federal District things have been more difficult economically. Therefore, the missionaries must handle their economical scales with equilibrium. Obviously, the missionaries need to eat, to dress, to live, and this is why donations are necessary. Yet it is necessary to avoid any abuse.”
– Samael Aun Weor, Missionaries, Donations, and Schools