There is this regular question among seekers, especially to those who are new to ShivYog - "Which shivir should I attend? Is this shivir powerful or that? Should I attend the free shivir or the ones with donations?"
Since these are common questions, hoping to make a common answer.
There is nothing like more powerful and less powerful shivirs. There are multiple shivirs that Babaji and Ishanji has presented over the years and these are all designed for specific purposes. Like there are Shambhavi Sadhana healing shivirs, specifically meant for healing of the mind and body. There are PratiPrasav shivirs specifically meant for uprooting deep-rooted impressions seated in our psyche from various lifetimes. There are the Self-Realization shivirs, which are specific for realizing the actual self or true self or for actualizing the Self or the soul, for ways to regress back into the God state. Ascension shivirs specifically are towards raising one's consciousness higher towards that self-realized state. Self-realization is a state where you once get the taste of your Godliness and get it known in it's truest unexplainable form, it is difficult to want to hold back with more further births because by then nature presents a glimpse of one's true nature in the absence of maya or illusions. Further a step ahead is the Advait Shree Vidya sadhana, which progresses further into the dissolution of the soul completely into the infinite or God consciousness, the liberated and and dissolved state. The Shree Vidya also ensures clearance of obstacles towards fulfillment of a complete worldly life and equally a complete spiritual life. Shivirs like Science Beyond Science, are specifically for the supporters of human health - the doctors and medical faculties. This shivir enhances the healing abilities of the medical professionals and provides great support to the field of medicine and treatments as it enhances healing in various ways beyond the understanding and catch of modern medical science, which is why it is named as "Science Beyond Science" where the mystical science of Holy Siddhas is beyond the comprehension of modern science.
Then, there are shivirs like Durga Saptshati, Navratri Shakti Sadhana, ShivYog Healing Dhyan shivirs, which Babaji specifically introduced for the churning and cleansing of one's consciousness before they can be subject to further intensive shivirs. These shivirs can be considered as the basic ones (not meaning less powerful or whatever) that help clear the root basic negative aspects of the human nature like hatred, fear, jealousy, selfishness, ego, greed, etc. It is only when a large percentage of these negativities are transcended that higher shivirs can enhance in the further raising of consciousness. Higher sadhanas like Shree Vidya can be very intense on the tolerance level on the mind and body if the impurities persist on large levels. That is why it was suggested always that sadhnas like healing sadhnas or PratiPrasav sadhna or Durga Saptshati sadhana be practiced so that as much of release of unwanted karmic substance can take place before oneself subjecting to higher shivirs.
Thus, there are no more powerful or less powerful shivirs. It all depends on what is your need at the moment. It is important to note that one may want something and one may need something. So, rather than asking others on what would be better for them, spend a few moments with yourself, contemplate and check out the areas of your life and check the status of how you are handling life or how life is handling you :) Then, there will be no confusion of which shivir to attend, especially if you are looking forward to attend one shivir at a time when there are multiple choices of various sadhna shivirs. One shivir may be important to all but all shivirs may not be important to one. At the same time multiple shivirs may be a need one feels. Go with your inner feeling.
Then, there is nothing like a paid shivir is more powerful than a donation based shivir. It may certainly be an intensive or higher sadhana but not necessarily falling into the categories of the definitions of more and less. A very simple thing is that if one is not ready internally or not connected internally with surrender to the process then even the most powerful one may seem lesser powerful. At the same time, with a very basic shivir, if one's level of commitment, pure intention and surrender is high, it could be the most ever powerful shivir to him/her. Not all humans are alike. Everyone has distinct and unique karmic substance and thus different inclinations, challenges and needs. Many often get confused and have questions of what all should be done? If one has done all shivirs which sadhna should one practice? The sadhna that helps you the most. One may need to do multiple or one may just do one of it; it will automatically reveal itself to you as to which is the most beneficial for the unique you. Basically put as Ishan ji says, the latest one would be the most ideal one. What others do might not be relevant to you. All seekers are are different levels on their journey and no two humans are alike. Go with what you can relate to. That is why some find Shree Vidya sadhna more conducive and giving them excellent results than another sadhana. At the same time some feel Shambhavi sadhna is more powerful than the Shree Vidya sadhna.
It must be known that with the blessings of Babaji, many rare-practiced sadhnas are now out for the common man, which were usually condoned practices specifically reserved for certain sects only. All those barriers have been broken today, which boasted of certain sacred practices available to only certain creed of people in society. That is the fortune due to which even people from different religions (myself included) can practice these unbiased presents of God, all due to the mercy and compassion of the Gurumandala and our Gurudev. So, all these practices have various purposes that were presented by the Divine itself for the human race, but which had unfortunately got limited or wiped out due to ignorance.
Next common question is about free and paid shivirs. This is something which i wanted to write almost a year back but could not due to time constraints. Free shivir does not mean less valuable. It is a common human tendency to assume deep in the head or heart that anything mentioned as FREE means less valuable. In reality Babaji teaches that nothing come for free. There is a price to be paid for everything, every little thing. If you need a child there is a price to pay to make preparations for the child on earth. If you need a companion there is a price to be paid with so many factors like security, home, and other prices to be paid to working on one's own self one areas like understanding, trust, patience, etc, otherwise one still pays a price :) Normally, it is misunderstood that many things in life or nature are free. If you even inhale oxygen from the plants and trees there is a price to be paid by giving them back carbon dioxide. Even if something is considered free and taken there still has to be a price paid for it, sooner or later. This is the underlying reason Babaji says not to accept gifts :) There is always a give and take in everything, in the cause and effect principle of Karma. This mutual exchange always takes place whether we know it or not. That is how the term dakshina came into place, where one symbolically offers something to the Guru. However, here we are not mentioning money as dakshina or the price paid for receiving something from the Guru.
The grace of Gurus and blessings of their presence in one's life and the guidance they nurture through various ways for human upliftment is uncomparable. They are constantly striving to bring the lost souls (every unawakened life on earth) back on path and lead them to light. Such tasks can never ever be repaid with money. Money cannot justify even a percentage of what is given by a Guru. This is a very casual thing always gone unnoticed because it is in total unawareness that one does not notice how a Guru enters the looping orbit of a soul, going round and round infinitely for thousands and millions of lifetimes, completely unaware of it's existence and purposes. This Guru sneaks into this loop of this unconscious orbit and with the light of wisdom and with healing grace makes a slight change of direction in the loop and one slowly moves out of this loop of unconscious living. Igniting the purpose of human life and showing it the way towards light, back home, is a task no other soul or entity would undertake other than a Guru. This is further enhanced and speedened by the process called Shaktipath, which is the fastest means of liberating from karma because it is only then that the slumbering powers lying coiled at the base of the spine begins to rise and destroy karma. On the spiritual path, Shaktipath is the fastest means of dissipating karma, thus allowing a human the opportunities to reduce further births and even the greatest opportunity of making this the last one. If casually seen, one would not even know what a grand process is taking place that is to liberate one from the bondage of suffering again and again forever. This "divine favor" cannot be replaced by money or any kind.
The money aspect comes because we live in the Kaliyuga, the times when there no longer are sermons beneath the open sky under the shade of trees where today neither can one tolerate the heat, cold, thirst, hunger nor can one's base tolerate the mud, stones, or dampness of the uneven grounds. Thus, huge venues are needed to provide shelter, proper flooring or chairs need to be put for sitting comfort, prasad (food) needs to be arranged, fans and A/Cs needing to simmer down one's inner and outer temperatures, good sound systems in place to provide ambiance of audibility to the last person in the venue, visuals for wider reach, not to mention the promotional stuff needed to reach as many people as possible. Apart from this, the Foundation takes care of a larger family of staff members who work relentlessly to bring all these aspects of Divinity to people through various mediums including the television. The TV slots have beautiful exuberant prices.
Apart from this, if one has a hobby, any hobby - like gym, music, travel, reading one still pays a price for it to. There are expenses to pay the gym, buy music, pay for travel or buy books. I have seen Babaji having larger hobbies, which He even calls as "expensive hobbies" like running a large goshala and it's maintenance and other funding or supplies to orphanages, old age homes and to various other social charities that the world even does not know about, such projects not just in India but in various other countries too. All of it comes at a price, especially where the foundation does not seek contributions in any other way other than from a certain percentage of shivirs.
Hence, one can easily choose or rather "know" which one to attend. If one has the time and sources to be around in multiple shivirs just for that one reason of being in the physical presence of their Guru, so be it. It is a choice which one makes and it again depends from people to people. Whatever the choices, the results are seen by the attendees themselves.
Please note that these are my personal observations and the sharing is again a personal choice to do so, only hoping if it can be of any help to anyone. Namah shivay.
Divine Love and Light..