Jay Shetty at C2 Montreal | The mirages of the multimillionaire “monk”

International star of well-being and personal development, the “spiritual influencer” Jay Shetty is coming to Quebec for the C2 Montreal conference, this Wednesday afternoon. The former “monk” converted into lucrative ” coach of life” arouses as much admiration as mistrust.

Posted yesterday at 5:00 a.m.

Charles-Eric Blais-Poulin

Charles-Eric Blais-Poulin
The Press

He is buddy-buddy with Oprah Winfrey and Ellen DeGeneres. Celebrated the wedding of Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck. Welcomed Alicia Keys, Kobe Bryant, Khloé Kardashian or even Kendall Jenner to her podcast show, On Purposethe most popular in the world in the field of “health”.

On social networks, the coach of life” Jay Shetty, 35, brings rain and shine to millions of millennials. His mantra: “make wisdom go viral”. His platforms around personal growth reach some 50 million subscribers, while his videos have racked up more than 8 billion views.

The key to success ? A perfect match between spirituality and marketing.

Jay Shetty repeats it: he was studying behavioral science at a business school in London when he met the monk Gauranga Das, who would become his mentor. A few years later, the student swapped his jacket for a dress on the threshold of adulthood: he prayed, traveled, studied and meditated for three years, in Europe and India.

After defrocking, the Briton was recruited by the Huffington Post news site in New York, where he produced viral video capsules based on his teachings. In 2017, the magazine Forbes ranks him among the 30 most influential people under 30 in Europe.

He has since launched his own online services and products – podcast, courses, conferences, production, application, school of coachingbooks, tea trade – constituting an empire of tens of millions of dollars.

The clothes do not make the man

“Today I still consider myself a monk, although I generally refer to myself as a former monk, since I am married and monks are not allowed to marry,” Jay Shetty writes in the essay. Think Like a Monkwhich in 2020 slips to the top of the list of best-selling books in the New York Times.

Jay Shetty’s credibility and marketing strategy rely heavily on his monastic past. The Press was able to confirm with the international Hare Krishna organization (ISKCON) that he had at least attended the Manor of Bhaktivedanta, in the suburbs of London.


Jay Shetty (left) when he was a monk

But the timeline of his spiritual journey is confusing, it has been found. Among other examples, Jay Shetty claims to have arrived in an Indian ashram at the beginning of September 2010. However, according to his LinkedIn profile, the recent graduate worked for Ernst & Young for four months, from June to September 2010. Difficult, in this schedule, to squeeze in his “a few months of training” at the Manor of Bhaktivedanta just before his departure for India, as he recounts in Think Like a Monk.

  • Some biographical details differ from one Jay Shetty platform to another.


    Some biographical details differ from one Jay Shetty platform to another.

  • Some information differs from one official biography to another.


    Some information differs from one official biography to another.


Even though Jay Shetty has been devout for three years, he cannot speak about monasticism with authority, points out Lara Braitstein, a professor at McGill University’s School of Religious Studies.

In the context of a religious or spiritual process, three years is a very short period. Within a monastic community, anyone will still be considered a beginner.

Lara Braitstein, professor in the School of Religious Studies at McGill University

Case of plagiarism

In the summer of 2019, many voices cast doubt on the authenticity of the thoughts that Jay Shetty was broadcasting as an author. The most credible allegations came from Canadian singer, comedian and influencer Nicole Arbour.

Many quotes shared by the “guru” on social media or YouTube were actually from historical thinkers or other content creators. The Press was able to validate several cases of plagiarism.

“A relationship without trust is like a car without gas. You can stay in it all you want, but it’s not going anywhere,” he wrote in a deleted 2019 Instagram post where he signed Jay Shetty. The quote, which has been circulating for several years, is often attributed to producer Michael J. Hebert.

Two days after the release of Mme Arbour, the influencer, deleted 113 Instagram posts, confirmed the general manager of Social Blade, an American social media analysis site.

“I am grateful for this lesson”, reacted Jay Shetty to the Dutch daily by Volkskrant in January 2021. “I like to share other people’s wisdom and give them proper credit, but I don’t post everything myself. So I looked at that critically with my team and learned from it. »

Since then, Mr. Shetty credits most of the thoughts he publishes; those he signs are clearly rare.

Last August, a British psychotherapist accused Jay Shetty of plagiarizing her advice for the popular meditation app Calm.


Steve Olsher, editor of Magazine Podcastmeanwhile explained that he refused to put Jay Shetty on the cover “due to plagiarism problems”.

That ideas are alike, that texts are alike, it is very possible, indicates psychologist and speaker Geneviève Beaulieu-Pelletier. “On the other hand, when we see that it is repeated, it is very questioning. Is the person able to generate their own ideas? »

In exchange for US$400, Jay Shetty offers online training on growing in social media. He promises a monthly salary of US$4,000 for five hours of work per week. Most important, according to the influencer? “Know that if your work is authentic and powerful, you will go viral. »

Permissive recruitment

“Am I ready to become a coach professional ? This is the starting question of a quiz highlighted on the platforms of Jay Shetty, which offers a certification program.

For the purposes of this report, we answered with the most bad faith possible to the 40 questions. “I have a good intuition? ” Nope. “Am I a responsible person? ” Nope. “I make decisions according to my values? ” Nope. “I learn from my mistakes? ” Nope. Etc.

A report received by email gave us a score of 41%. Despite certain unfavorable conclusions, the last paragraph allows the author of these lines to hope: “Your results show that you have a good chance of making an excellent candidate. »


Then it will be a matter of scheduling a call and paying US$6,480 to complete 120 hours of online training and receive Jay Shetty certification, claimed by some 2,000 coaches around the world.

Relative austerity

Leaving his studies in management for monasticism, Jay Shetty, explains his team, “now wanted a life of service, impact and passion rather than money, glory and power”.


Jay Shetty’s house in Los Angeles

Jay Shetty bought actor Balthazar Getty’s Hollywood Hills home for $8.4 million last year, real estate news site Dirt.com reported.

This Wednesday, Jay Shetty’s presence in Montreal will cost $100,000 to $200,000, depending on the rates posted by his agency, Chartwell Speakers.

C2 did not want to reveal the amount paid for his presence. “The fees given to the speakers are confidential in order to respect the contractual clauses”, explains Patricia Larivière, director of public relations at C2.

Not a recognized profession

Without wishing to discredit all coachesthe DD Beaulieu-Pelletier points out that the pandemic and the scarcity of psychological resources have provided lucrative bait for players in the personal growth industry.

” The coaching is not a recognized or controlled profession, recalls the psychologist. Anyone can appropriate this title. There is no guarantee or public protection. You have to rely on the background and training of the coach, not its popularity. »

Jay Shetty had not responded to our interview requests at the time of publishing.

“We received a ton of positive comments following the announcement of the presence of Jay Shetty as a speaker for this edition,” simply commented the C2 spokesperson by email. “The participants are enthusiastic to attend his performance. »

With Frederik-Xavier Duhamel, The Press

Learn more

  • US$13.2 billion
    Estimated value of the personal development industry in the United States in 2022

    Source: MarketResearch

Jay Shetty at C2 Montreal | The mirages of the multimillionaire “monk”