Again, from my friend David:
In North America alone, Eckhart Tolle has sold three and five million copies, respectively, of The Power of Now and A New Earth. The books have been translated into 33 languages, so international sales figures are surely in the tens of millions. One of his Internet broadcasts with Oprah attracted over 11 million viewers. He is a very wealthy man, but still charges $99.95 for six months access to his Internet broadcasts.
There is nothing wrong with mass market spirituality. I am sure it makes some people feel a little better for while. It's just important not to confuse the relationship between a for-profit spiritual teacher and a his or her audience with the relationship between the satguru and his devotee. They are completely different.
When a teacher charges people for satsang, he turns a sacred union into a commercial enterprise and makes it impossible for the bond of trust and surrender that is necessary for the guru-disciple relationship to form.
When someone gives money in exchange for access to something, he expects tangible benefits. If he gets them, he says (or thinks), "I got my money's worth." If he doesn't, he says, "This was a waste of my money." It is impossible to surrender to the guru when you are evaluating the financial merits of his teachings instead of opening your heart to him. It's like trying to form a loving relationship with someone you are paying for sex. It just can't work. Any truly enlightened teacher would be aware of this and would never, never, never charge devotees money to be with him.
It is the emanation of grace from the guru that sets people free, not the words he speaks. If someone else speaks the same words, they will not have the same effect. Unrealized teachers with a profit motive who repackage and re-disseminate teachings of jnanis do not have the power to set people free. The current of grace grace that flows through the jnani does not flow through them, and even if it did, by charging money for satsang, they are making it impossible for students to open themselves to receiving that grace.