Survives Beating by Guru's Devotees
5th Estate Reporter in Good Shape
Pat Halley, the Fifth Estate reporter who was savagely beaten and almost killed by two devotees of the 15-year old Guru Maharaj Ji, was released from Detroit General Hospital Aug. 21 in good condition after undergoing surgery to repair a caved-in portion of his skull.
The two assailants, 25 year old Richard Fletcher, from the United States, and 55 year old Juteswar Misra, from India, have reportedly confessed to the attack and warrants have been issued by the Detroit police. However, the two are not in police custody, even though the Divine Light Mission (the Guru's organization) issued a release to the press indicating that the two would surrender to authorities.
Halley had his head split open by the two assailants only a week after he tossed a pie in the face of the teenage "Lord of the Universe" at an August 7 formal session of Common Council in protest of the Guru's claim of divinity. Halley later claimed that he "always wanted to hit God in the face with a pie." After the pie-tossing, the Guru claimed that he did not want Halley "arrested or hurt."
The two assailants, who are high-ranking devotees of the Guru, gained access to Halley's apartment after claiming to him that they were former members of the Divine Light Mission, and that they wanted to show Halley the secret "Divine Knowledge" which is the key to the Guru's religious teachings (see accompanying article). They also said that they had information which would expose corruption within the Divine Light Enterprises, the Guru's massive financial arm.
The two assailants explained to Halley that, because of the "sensitive" nature of their information, they would only be able to relate it to him in complete privacy. Once they were alone with Halley in his apartment, Fletcher and Misra delivered four or more solid blows with a blunt instrument to Halley's head.
"They would have killed me," explained Halley from his hospital bed, "if I hadn't resisted and hadn't screamed as loud as I could. They were like gangsters."
Fifth Estate staff members and friends, who were suspicious of Fletcher's and Misra's need for complete privacy with Halley, managed to copy the license plate number of the assailants' car. After the attack, the license was traced to the Divine Light Mission, located at 1950 Boston Blvd. and 149 Taylor in Detroit.
After being confronted with this information by Fifth Estate staffers and concerned members of the straight press, the Divine Light Mission released the following statement to the press:
Last night Pat Halley, the notorious pie thrower, was brutally attacked by two assailants who then fled the scene. The local members of the Divine Light Mission heard of this incident and became aware that the Divine Light Mission personnel or devotees of the Guru Maharaj Ji might be involved. They notified the young Guru at his residence in L.A. The Guru Maharaj Ji immediately requested that the Divine Light Mission conduct a full investigation to see if any information concerning the parties responsible could be brought to light.
As a result of this investigation, the assailants were located. They confessed their part in the incident and offered to turn themselves in. The local authorities were immediately notified and the suspected assailants are now being held in protective custody. Local and national officials of the Divine Light Mission are extremely shocked and appalled by the occurrence of this event, for the brutal action taken is in direct opposition to all that the Mission stands for and to the express wishes of the Guru Maharaj Ji. The young Guru, Himself, was amazed when the news was relayed to Him. He expressed his deepest regret of the incident and his concern for the welfare of Mr. Halley. He further extends his regards to Pat Halley's family and friends with the assurance that the Divine Light Mission wishes to help in whatever way possible to see that the persons responsible are brought to justice. "
In spite of the Guru's regrets and assurances, the Divine Light Mission was highly uncooperative in assisting the Fifth Estate in learning the whereabouts and identity of the two assailant. Not only did they refuse to provide the Fifth Estate with this information, but the Mission released the two from their custody in Chicago on August 17, supposedly after a visit from the Guru. Even though the Divine Light Mission refused to reveal the whereabouts of the freed assailants, it was learned that the two fled either to Chicago or to Denver, the location of the Divine Light Mission's national headquarters.
While Halley was undergoing surgery, The Fifth Estate staff said to the press that we would advise Halley not to prosecute the two assailants, but that the final decision was up to Halley. The reason the staff was against prosecution was that we hold the entire Divine Light Mission responsible for this cowardly attack. The Guru and some of his followers were arrested last November in India, trying to smuggle in jewels and money they had hustled from naive followers in the United States. To avoid prosecution, the Guru had one of his followers take the rap (see graphic). The Fifth Estate did not want to see the responsibility for what had happened to be scapegoated on the two assailants.
When Pat Halley regained consciousness after the surgery, he told us that he would prosecute Fletcher and Misra because he felt that they had tried to kill him, and if they were left free, they would attempt further physical attacks against him or his family. The Fifth Estate fully backs Halley's decision in the light of this information.
The following is a portion of a press release the staff of the Fifth Estate composed after the attack on Halley. It expresses our feelings on the incident:
In eight years of existence, the Fifth Estate's staff members have been threatened by a succession of police, prosecutors, members of Congress, Parents, high school principals and right-wing organizations. However, it took a religious fanatic to sustain the first serious wound against a staff member.
The Divine Light Mission has denied responsibility, for this attack, but we don't buy it. The Divine Light Mission portrays itself as a peaceful devotional organization set up to establish perfect harmony on earth.
But by their attack they show themselves to be a hate organization composed of individuals who need an authoritarian, hierarchical structure to tell them how to think. They are a collection of frauds, fanatics and potential fascists.
Exotic Religious Techniques Exposed
Being God is more than just a gig. In the last issue of the Fifth Estate, an article entitled "Divine Knowledge: Big Profit," detailed the enormous financial structure of the newest of religious movements to hit the American scene: The Divine Light Mission, spearheaded by the 15 year-old Guru Maharaj Ji and his elite, upper-class family from India.
The Divine Organization owns an airline, operates a school, backs a dance ensemble and a few bands, owns and operates Divine Sales, a chain of retail stores, operates a chain of food stores, backs a theatre organization, owns a wholesale electronics firm, owns an office supply company, produces musical instruments, owns and operates a scab remodeling company, owns and operates a landscaping company and owns an engineering firm.
Unlike most religions, the Divine Light Mission offers a quick, short-cut procedure for copping the grace of God. With this religion, you need not memorize any holy scripture, there are no "confessions," baptisms, bar-mitzvahs or bowing to the East. To become a child of God/Guru, all that's required is to spend some six hours receiving what is called "Divine Knowledge" from a mahatma, the Guru's elite disciple. The "Knowledge" consists simply of four techniques or exercises and a propensity on the part of the "receiver" to believe that these techniques will put him in direct touch with God.
The Divine Light Mission claims a following of 5 to 6 million worshippers around the world. Although the figure is probably 10% of that amount, even that large a following is impressive when considering that the organizing effort is a scant two years old.
The success of the DLM can be traced to the Divine Knowledge speed course in getting religion. Today's pace of society makes it infeasible to expect masses of people to spend their lives chanting mantras, doing yoga exercises, memorizing the books of the Bible. The techniques for "receiving Divine knowledge" and keeping it are simple to learn and can be practiced without interfering with the survival chores of the day.
The four techniques are labeled as "Divine Light," the "Divine Word," the "Divine Music," and the "Divine Nectar." Experiencing these four sensations are the key to realizing the "God" within yourself, as explained by the Divine Light Missionaries.
Although thousands of words have been written about the Guru Maharaj Ji and his Divine Light Mission, nowhere has there appeared a description of this "Divine Knowledge" and the "White Light" which is pandered by the organization. Although there are hundreds of thousands of Guru followers, the Knowledge techniques are a well-kept secret. You are told before and after you receive this knowledge, that you will be reincarnated as an ant or a unicellular organism if you reveal to any heathen the secrets of the Knowledge.
Shortly after the news of our reporter, Pat Halley, getting his skull split open by Guru devotees, the Fifth Estate received a call from an old friend who had explained that she had received the Knowledge from the organization almost two years ago during the group's early efforts in Denver, Colorado.
"I don't want to be identified," stressed our friendly informant, "I don't want my head crushed in by Guru-noids."
After our assurances of confidentiality, the informant went on to describe the incredible and sometimes repugnant techniques for receiving the secret Divine Light Knowledge. These methods are most difficult to describe because they are so simple, if not stupid, that it might appear as if I were making them up. How, I asked the informant after learning of the techniques, could anyone accept this ruse for approaching "God", to the point of giving up their labors, "soul," and sex life to the Guru Maharaj Ji? ,
"They brainwash you," revealed our 24-year-old informant whom we'll refer to as Amy, "then they elaborately lay these techniques on your head-they mind-fuck you."
In an interview with the Fifth Estate, Amy laid out the details of the four techniques:
Divine Light: "It involves pressing on your eyes. The retinas in your eyes are sensitive to light and they're also sensitive to pressure. And when you apply pressure to the outer areas of your eyes, it causes the nerve cells in your eyes to fire and stimulate your occipital cortex (visual area of the brain.) You get the sensation that your head is flooded with light."
Divine Music: "The mahatma directs you to sit with your thumbs in your ears and your elbows propped up on a wooden board called a braggan. They tell you to concentrate on one of your ears. You begin to hear sounds. Your body makes subtle little noises, your heart and your blood swishing around-it makes noise and that's what you hear. You have to do it in a really quiet room. Your powers of concentration increase with practice of the techniques. It's really a trip; your body's out-of-sight, it makes all these far-out noises and you can really get into it. They tell you it's Holy Noise, but it's just your body."
Divine Word: "That's the best one of all. It's basically a Zen Buddhist technique where you concentrate on your breathing-you just follow it in and out. Normally, your mind just wanders about and thinks about a lot of stuff-sometimes you can't relax if you're worrying. If you can discipline your mind into an hypnotic-like routine like expansions and contractions of your lungs it can allow you to relax. So the Divine Word is the sound your breath makes. They say that what you hear is the Word of God within you.. They have this interpretation from the Bible which says in Genesis that "In the beginning was the word. And the word was 'God.' The exercise can mellow you out."
Divine Nectar: "It's really gross. In the back of your mouth there's a little piece of tissue that hangs down from the roof-it's called the uvula. When your nasal passages drain, mucus drips down from
the back of your nose and sometimes it collects on that. The technique is to curl back your tongue against the roof of your mouth and get the tip to touch the uvula. They tell you that what you taste is Divine Nectar."
Fifth Estate: "In other words, Divine Nectar is nothing more than post-nasal drip."
Amy: "Right. But to do it effectively you have to stretch the tendon that connects the tongue to the bottom mouth. It takes about a year of practice to really get it."
FE: "It seems dangerous. You could swallow your tongue."
Amy: "True. Also, most doctors would tell you chat pressing on your eyes to get this artificial Divine Light could sever your retina."
FE: "And that's all of it?"
Amy: "It's really a mind-fuck thing. Before you get the Knowledge they talk to you for hours a to try to set up a mysterious mystical atmosphere and make you receptive. It's brainwashing and hypnotism; but the subjects have to be somewhat suggestible and disposed towards things like religion and superstitions."
FE: "After you received this Knowledge, were you blissed-out - in a heavenly state of mind?"
Amy: "No, I guess it's because I know a little more physiology and psychology than most people. [Amy attends medical school.] Besides, as soon as I went out on the streets, all the things that were wrong with the world still existed. Everything was the same.
by Len Schafer.
As a reader of the Fifth Estate, I've been happy with your progress over the years to become one of the best news features and news analysis publications in the nation. I especially enjoyed the "Signals" article in the August 4-17 edition in which your paper berated WABX's disc jockeys Mark Parenteau and Dan Carlyle for their puerile behavior toward that young girl during the Frut fifties concert.
However, during Wednesday, August 8, a few days after that edition was released, Pat Halley of your staff slaps a cream pie at Guru Maharaj Ji during a public press conference. I too believe that this guru is a fake, but that violent action will grossly hurt your case against this Child God's eminence.
Put it another way: if those Pulitzer Prize reporters from the Washington Post would have slapped Nixon with a pie, public outcry would be against the press and Watergate would have remained "covered up."
Don't lower FE to the level of a comic book. If you are opposed to boorish acts, like that of the two disc jockeys, practice what you preach. Or else, paraphrasing from the same "Signals" article-"(you) should apologize or get out of Detroit."
Bummed Me Out
I was on my way to work a little while ago, and on WCAR news I heard that Guru Maharaj Ji got a pie in the face. At that time, to the best of my recollection, I said to myself, "That motherfucker Lobsinger did it."
When I heard it was my favorite writer for The Fifth Estate, it bummed me out really bad.
I think he's an asshole too. But why didn't you just prove it in your paper, like you've exposed so many other motherfuckers?
I didn't dig the way you handled it at all, but I do dig your paper.
Dear Pat Halley,
Our warmest congratulations on your exemplary action! To see in the papers the cream-splattered visage of the 15-year-old Perfect Toad was a moment of profound beauty for all of us-one of the most lyrical bits of blasphemy we have ever heard of. We hope you are recovering rapidly from the injuries inflicted by the mystical-fascist goons who attacked you.
To explain ourselves-we are an organization of revolutionaries based in the San Francisco Bay Area, but with comrades in several other parts of the country & the world. The enclosed posters and other texts will make our position clearer to you. j In particular, we draw your attention to the "Mayday to Prayday" leaflet, a near replica of one of the Toad's publications which we distributed on the occasion of Rennie Davis' return to Berkeley as a convert to the Perfect Millionaire. We succeeded, by means of the leaflet & by heckling & tossing tomatoes and other projectiles at Preacher Davis & his greasy entourage, in reducing the sermon to a complete shambles, of which you may have read something. But your solitary, simple gesture tops anything we did for style and effect.
It seems to us profoundly significant that you should have done what you did within a week of the occupation of the Jefferson Avenue Chrysler plant, another action in which we see ourselves, & in which we hope is the seed of a new wave of proletarian rebellion in the United States, one which doesn't stop until we've rid ourselves of all bosses, including union bureaucrats & "revolutionary" parties until, in fact, we achieve complete workers' management, generalized self-management. Then we can begin to create a life for ourselves which is worthy of our imagination and creativity.
Some of us will be in Detroit in October, & we would love to meet with you if you're at all interested. Incidentally, should you ever want to revenge yourself on the creeps who worked you over, we would be more than happy to assist you. As for the Globular Guru's pious "forgiveness" of your act, let me quote Rene Crevel, an early surrealist: "The forgiveness of God-a pretty turn of phrase to disturb us. But what can this hypocrisy do against free insolence fully developed?"
TO ALL MASTERS!
Dear Fifth Estate,
On a recent newscast, I saw the 15-year-old Guru Maharaj Ji get hit in the face with a pie while receiving some sort of award in Michigan. The "assailant" was identified as a FE reporter (I can't recall his name ) who said he did it because the Guru was a fraud. I have been reading the FE far a long time and I am surprised that you would try such a stupid-ass stunt.
You, of all people, who are constantly pushing for people's rights and freedoms to do what they wish. I have learned from your paper to be open to people's ideas and demands, and then, because you can't accept this religion, you denounce it as phony. I do not follow this religion, but I respect their particular right to believe in what they think is right, and I admire their loyalty to it.' Just because I don't happen to believe in it, I don't consider it wrong. I do believe, however, that ANYTHING that in some way is giving someone the fulfillment that they need in life, is worth having around; and that is what the Guru is doing. . . so whether it is right or wrong, as long as it is spreading some happiness-isn't that all that really matters? What gives YOU the right to tell people what is wrong (especially when over 5 million people happen to be following the Guru?) C'mon, FE, wise up; and start practicing what you preach.
A Disillusioned Reader