|Journeys: Daniel T.|
|Date: April 21, 2003|
|After somewhat accidentally bumping into the EPO website last night, I found myself unable to break away and spent many hours sifting through the mountains of fascinating information here. However this is
not the first time I paid a visit. I took a look here several years ago. At the time I found the tone of the editorial writings to be annoyingly vitriolic and really unproductively primitive (fatboy jokes etc.). As a
result, I couldn’t take the website very seriously and thought that the people making it needed to get a life (after Maharaji).
As a result, I was really flabbergasted to see how the site has evolved over the years. The silly invectives have mostly been replaced with an unbelievable collection of cult documentation and insider revelations. I must then sincerely offer my compliments and thanks for the obvious amount of effort and good work that have gone into it. I also must admit that I was perhaps too quick to judge the merits and motivations of your online pursuits. Although I myself wasted enough precious years involved in this brain-sucking void of carpetbaggery, I have not experienced the kind of suffering that many of you obviously endured. I see too that I didn’t recognize the extent of my own damage, as the course of reading through the material here has stirred a process in me again as well. I can now certainly see that simple “name calling” can also have its cathartic benefits, though I still think the aims of the website are best served when the contributors stick to the facts.
Once again, I think this website is performing a great service to anybody who has been, is or might consider becoming involved in the “M” thing. Indeed from a purely anthropological perspective, it is apparently the only accurate documentation of a complex and anomalous phenomenon which affected the lives of countless people. One might compare it to the Salem witch trials for example.
Having said that, I sit hear now both awestruck and sick in the stomach as to what I have just read – especially from Michaels Dettmers and Donner. Although many of these things I had heard about as unsubstantiated rumors, to now read first person accounts of the extremes of excesses of M and some of his partners in crime is overwhelming. It has also caused me to rediscover a pool of thoughts and memories that I thought were long gone. Even the story of Jagdeo jostled a few long encrusted cortical synapses to reanimation. This weird business about “childrens’ satsang” and his “special affinity” for children definitely rings a bell somewhere in me. Unfortunately I can’t remember whether I heard that from him directly or from someone else. I also remember hearing some unwholesome inuendos at the time about him - I think concerning ashram “sisters”. Mostly I just remember him being a pain in the ass though.
The story about Anne Johnston also touched me deeply. Although she was not particularly liked by many premies, I really liked her, I suppose precisely because she was so intense. At least she wasn’t so milquetoast boring like so many others. Actually she was rather an individualist in her own way and definitely had personality. That M would just abandon her like that breaks my heart! It is unfathomable. This whole thing makes me realize that I actually never really liked M so much, I think I more liked the idea of M and K. That whole open shirted “Miami Vice” look of his in the late 70s always turned me off. I had a hard time relating to the continuous accolades as to how sexy and beautiful he was. He looked more like a sleazy gangster to me. I guess at the time I believed that I needed to open up to this avatar reality and “let go” of my assumptions and external judgements. In fact, the first time I spoke with an “initiator” to receive knowledge, I honestly told her I was alienated and somewhat frightened the one time I had seen M at a festival. This obviously naive and at the time strategically unsound answer (naturally I was asked to wait) I now understand as an astute intuition.
I was one of the apparently few people to get K around 78. I was 18 at the time and had been going to meetings on and off for a few years (since I was 15). I had just missed the boat of getting K really easily. At that time, to get K you had to already be completely devoted to M. For about a year I had been going to the ashram and doing “service” there, going to “aspirant meetings” and going to festivals. After the big day came, I tried in my young innocent exuberance to be completely true to M and my promise to give my everything. I took it very seriously. I meditated usually 4 hours a day and spent most days at the ashram doing service. This went on for a year, when I was allowed to move into the ashram myself. This was also when my spiritual life more or less ended. Shortly thereafter, someone in the ashram noticed that I was intelligent and I got put to work organizing that weird premie business of importing Mexican kitsch and selling it on the streets. So basically what I thought would be my entrance into a spiritual shelter became my introduction into the world of capitalist enterprise. Unlike all the ashram premies around me (and many who were not in the ashram) I always seemed to have a load of cash in my pocket. I spent almost every day counting money and thinking about strategies to increase our sales. I also found my celibate and virgin self selling our wares in topless (and mostly topped) bars where my underage would have prevented me from even patronizing. I remember that during that whole first plane fiasco, there was this incredible fundraising drive going on. I managed with the help of some other people to set a whole whirlwind selling mania into motion and literally dropped about $20,000 on the community coordinator who was sitting on the floor. (I remember being suspicious as to whether the money would actually get to M. At this point I would have been relieved had the CC taken the money and flown to Mexico.)
I guess up until this point, the whole issue of M’s lifestyle and money never really bothered me. It seemed irrelevant. As long as people were giving out of a genuine sense of love then who cares how many cars M buys. What did bother me was when there would be these hysterical fundraising drives. Then giving out of love became giving out of coersion and guilt. These firebrand speakers would get sent around the country to berate people into coughing up. This also happened at some of the festivals notably from Joe Anctil and I think also Dennis M. Although I found this annoying, I guess I still didn’t make the association directly with M. I thought that this was just some weird people around M. (Don’t they realize this isn’t what M is about?) It also seemed that sometimes these fundraising speeches would all too often preempt the satsang that was supposed to be going on.
Then the plane thing happened. I guess that was exciting at the time. After that alot of weird things happened concerning the ashram and of course the outrageous selling of the plane. Eventually I found myself on the street like everyone else. I imagine I was pissed off, but I’m not sure at who really. I guess I was still venting my frustration toward the “confused” people around M. At this point I didn’t exactly leave, I just gradually stopped participating, although I guess I meditated still for some years. I really wanted to distance myself from the whole weird premie world and start enjoying life again – with all its exciting ups and downs.
I know that one incident happened that more or less did me in. This was I suppose during the start of the revisionist policies (although certainly some of that had already taken place in the 70s). Some fundraising troops were being sent out around the time the ashrams were closing with what was supposed to be a “very important” message from M or something along those lines. All of a sudden these people were walking around with charts and graphs to “prove” that M really didn’t have any money and that he desperately needed funds to continue his important work. I mean you don’t have to be a genuis to figure out that if he was broke, then there must have been a pretty large black hole somewhere in the stream of finance. I couldn’t believe that intelligent people were buying (and also trying to sell me) this bald-faced lie. This was a strange new change in tactic and an insult to my intelligence and I thought I’m not giving a dime anymore. I think it was also around this time that all of the old videos were being collected and sent back. Now we know why! Of course it was obvious what was going down. I actually wanted to steal of couple of the videos or make copies - not because I needed to see them for the 300th time - but because I suspected that a day would come when their existence or at least their access would be denied.
The process of savagely reading through all the material on this website has caused my brain to go into overdrive. The rather enormous premie universe, which had become somewhat of a half-forgotten dream, has vividly returned to my consciousness to commingle with all this new information. My thoughts have been running wild as my brain restructures and corrects this awoken universe to encompass all this new information. I had never really gone so far with my feelings as to accept what a bastard M is/was. To be fair I was also lacking the cold facts.
I also realize that I have repressed alot of my feelings about the situation. A few years after I stopped participating I got involved in a very unhealthy gay relationship that lasted about 7 years. It is one of those things that people like to label “co-dependent”. My partner was often quite pyschologically and verbally abusive to me. I in turn directed all of the lost devotion I once had for M toward my new lover. (At least he was a lot more exciting and sexy!). Indeed my lover had many similar qualities to M (though NOT physically). He was very bossy, demanding, insecure, irrational and liked to blame others (me) for things. By the time I got out of this relationship I had lost all of my self-esteem. It took several years to get it back and I still have some scar tissue. Tthat was ten years ago.)
I realize now that this whole “journey” started way before M. I have a very problematic relationship with my father. As I became a teenager, I was desperately seeking a father figure or role model to fill the void. I looked for this in several men including M. All were insecure self-centered bastards who pretended to be self-assured. They were all my heroes, although I only got sexually involved with one. That I still needed to go through this after M shows that I was far from over it.
An amazing thing has changed in me after sifting through this website. I realize how extraordinary many ex-premies were and are. At the time I had alot of animosity toward premies and I realize now that this animosity was completely misdirected. Indeed what made the whole circus so rewarding at the time was the incredible sincerity, optimism, desire for purpose in life and deep-seated intelligence in so many of you - despite the negative energy coming from M. This is a genuine revelation for me which I only have all of you who have contributed to this website to thank. Of course this is exactly what we were taught not to think at the time. Everything that was positive in our lives came from M and the rest of us were garbage. Oh my god is this sick!
This is not to forget of course that there were alot of opportunists among us - many of whom I lived with and had to pay the rent for. But such is life!
There is one more thing I would like to say. One of the things that originally turned me off from this website is that some people seemed to want to blame M for everything that happened to them. Although one can certainly not be indifferent to the tremendous amount of manipulation that was forced upon our impressionable minds, I am completely convinced that a crucial step to regaining one’s life – indeed to becoming a whole and mature person – is to take responsibility for your life. This means the good things as well as the bad. This applies to everyone, not just ex-premies. My aging father has still not learned this, and obviously neither has M. So many people I meet are bitter. Blaming other people for what happens to you and feeling sorry for yourself is a sign of immaturity and a dead end. One of the aspects of being a “devotee” is giving the responsibility of your life to someone else. Please don’t become a “devotee” of hate! I accept my mistake in doing the M thing. I also accept the credit for putting my life back together and having a beautiful time of it today. M is certainly not a happy camper and someday he will choke on all his expensive toys. If half of what has been said on this website is true, I am quite sure that I am enjoying my life way more than he is.
Needless to say I would still like to see an end to his shenanigans. It is terrible to see how predatory people like him continuously take advantage and squeeze the sincerity and vitality out of young (and a few not so young) hearts.
Thanks for reading this and I hope some of you find it helpful. I would be happy to correspond or speak with anyone who would like some support.
By the way, just for closure, the relationship which I described ended in 1993. Since then I am living in Berlin, Germany, am very happily married (with a woman oddly enough) and own a successful and fun design business.