|Date: January 8, 1999|
I was a teenager during the 60s, during the whole psychedelic, hippie, flower-power, make-love-not-war period. As so many others, I tuned in, turned on, and dropped out - did psychedelics, and lived in hippie communities. I demonstrated against the Establishment and the Vietnam War, and I took part in the student revolution scene. I threw stones at the police and I occupied university buildings. It was great fun. I was both idealistic and naive. We really thought we could change the world.
That period had to come to an end, of course, and to a tragic end for several of my close friends, who did not stick to flower-power, but got into heavy drugs. Some died. Others got into revolutionary/terrorist leftism. As many other disillusioned hippies, I went to India in order to find a guru, and, surprise, surprise, I found one. It was not M as yet, but a certain Swami xyz from Rishikesh, in Northern India. When I talked to him, it knocked me off my feet. I saw nothing but light everywhere, literally. Was it all anticipation and hype? Was he really something? Or did he perhaps put nitrous oxide into the interview room? (Like many gurus have done. Rajneesh for instance was hooked on nitrous oxide.) Now, almost thirty years later, I have at last received clear evidence that, while claiming to be celibate, swami xyz had in fact a mistress... And that he faked miracles. After that, I studied with another yoga-teacher (who claimed to have powers - siddhis - but not to be a perfect, self-realized master). Then, I returned to the West, told my hippie friends to stop taking drugs, there were better, natural ways of getting high! I had changed.
In September 1972, back in the West, I bumped into some premies with shiny, blissed-out eyes, who satsanged me with stories about the boy satguru who had come to change the whole world, Balyogeshwar Shri Sant Ji Maharaj, and his Divine Light Mission. He was the Messiah, Kalki, the one who all religions had prophesized should come and bring in the new age, Satyuga... He was none less than God himself, and his brother Bal Bhagwan Ji was the incarnation of Jesus! He revealed the secret of secrets, the Knowledge: "I Can Show You God Face to Face", he said, and "I Declare I Will Establish Peace on Earth During My Lifetime". This sounded absolutely outrageous, of course, but... I decided to give it a try, why not? Can't hurt to try. If it is true, you shouldn't miss it, and if it isn't true, you can always get out. Deep in my heart, I wanted to be in on something big, dedicate my life to something that would make a real difference in this world. At least I wanted the Knowledge. That was the bait. Satsang was the hook. I was the fish. I received K and was caught, totally unsuspecting of the fact I had joined a cult which would cost me 10 years of my life and many, many sorrows. And scars, still almost 30 years later.
ON THE HOOK
I was on one of those famous chartered jumbo jets full of Western disciples that flew to India in November 1972, to the Hans Jayanti in New Delhi. Then, we spent a month at the Prem Nagar Ashram in Hardwar. We slept packed like sardines in big tents, ate lousy food, it was cold at night, hot in the daytime. Many Westerners got sick. Still, it was an experience which I enjoyed.
Back in the West again in 1973, I helped establishing ashrams in several nations, and I became a dedicated ashram premie and ashram supervisor. I did the "right things", sang arti, did satsang, service, and meditation. Doubts were nagging, however, but I was skillful at silencing them. For instance, I was never able to believe M's promise that he would give K to the whole world during his lifetime. That was clearly impossible, and the first "drip". With two persons getting born in the world every second - he would have to spread K even faster speed than that! It was totally impossible.
I started to feel increasingly uncomfortable with the person cult, the toe-kissing, the atmosphere at the programs - it felt like nothing but mass hysteria. It did not fit in with my concept of spirituality at all. M's playboy lifestyle with incredibly expensive "Divine Residences" in all parts of the world, his fancy for fast cars and big airplanes, etcetera - these aspects were not known when we received K, but it started to dawn on us, and it was disturbing news. I don't think anybody really liked it and accepted it no questions asked.
When the Millenium program was held in the Houston Astrodome in 1973, there were the most unrealistic expectations. Some premies seriously thought aliens in UFO's would arrive at the Astrodome to see the Lord of the Universe in this incarnation! The hysteria turned me off and became for me a turning point, the second "drip", and I decided to leave the ashram. I started a relationship with a female premie, and we moved together out of the ashram and formed a family. We continued practising, going to satsangs and programs.
I think even the most devoted followers of M would admit that the Millenium program was a total flop. After that, DLM stopped growing. It had reached its maximum size, in terms of people in Western cities gullible enough to jump on the bandwagon. M also started to receive worse and worse press. When M at age 17 married Marolyn, it shook the whole Mission to its roots. And, there was the famous pie-incident... With Mr. Bang-Bang Silver Hammer Fakiranand.
Then I happened to see one of M's famous golden toilets in one his "Divine Residences". That was the third "drip" in my premie career. I understood that something was seriously wrong with his values. When one child starves to death every fourth second in the world, and many of them in his own home country - how can he be pissing in golden toilets?
Furthermore, I found it embarrassing that such a large percentage of people receiving K obviously had mental problems. I also found it embarrassing that DLM/EV did not differ at all from other cults - at least I could not tell the difference. There were more and more facts that I could not close my eyes to. One ashram premie in my home town hanged himself
Also, during this period, I was able to see and experience more of M than before. I was able to see him interact with people, and it became clear to me that he was far from perfect. He was a poor listener who often misunderstood what people told him, and he had a bad temper. His intelligence appeared pretty mediocre. And there were more and more disturbing reports of him drinking, smoking, and having mistresses.
GETTING OFF THE HOOK
I decided that I wanted to get myself an education, and live a normal life. I did not want to sacrifice more years on being first a hippie, then a premie. However, my wife was more dedicated to M than I was, and this circumstance created serious disturbances in our family. She wanted to go to all festivals/programs/events, which was impossible of course, and which ruined our economy. We also had children. She was upset with me because I wanted to get an education, she felt I should work only, so I could earn money for us (her) to go to festivals, and the rest should be donated to M. She told our children that she loved M more than she loved them... It was quite disturbing for them, I can assure you! However, I got myself an education, against her will, wrote a Ph.D., and got myself a career and a nice job.
I went to a K review with M in 1982, but I did not like what I saw. That was the last time I saw him. The magic was definitely over. Around that time, the early 80s, came the "Book-Burning Phase". M wanted the premies to get rid of all old pictures and "And It Is Divine" magazines - they included too many embarrassing satsangs by other members of the Holy Family, the very embarassing Peace Bomb satsang, which he definitely did not want new premies to hear about, and also pictures of himself dancing in Krishna-costume. So, the ashram premies, and others, too, destroyed their magazines and other evidence of the LOTU- period. M clearly tried to whitewash and rewrite history, pretending that he never suggested he was the Lord who had come to save the world. He did not want people to know the truth about himself and the history of DLM. This "Book Burning" was for me the fourth "drip" and the final straw. It was an obvious proof dishonesty from his part. I cut all contacts with premies and EV, and never went to any meeting or event again.
However, leaving M probably cost me my family: my wife and I divorced. Well, what was there to do.
A NEW LIFE
It is now more than 15 years since I had anything to do with M and his premies, and I thought I had recovered from it completely. I did not even think of myself as an "ex-premie", just as any human being. I am happily remarried, and I enjoy my job. However, when I found this website in November 1998, I noticed that I was absolutely fascinated by what I read. Obviously, there were still some wounds within me that were not fully healed. I guess one problem was that when I "defected" and came to my senses, I had no-one to talk to. There were no ex-premies around to talk with, who had shared the same experiences and gone through similar stages in the process of exing. There was no ex-premie.org, no web-deprogramming.
I realized I still felt angry about the lost years, the emotional pain, and all destroyed relationships with family and friends. I am still, to this day, angry and upset when I think about the disastrous effect M had on my family. My children saw the negative effect of cult life on my ex-wife, and neither of them has wanted anything to do with M. However, one has joined another cult, probably due to faulty upbringing, and I don't even know where she is right now.
I have become absolutely allergic against all cults and religious movements and think of myself today as a sceptic and an agnostic. When I see shiny-eyed people approaching me in the street with leaflets or whatever in their hands, I almost get aggressive. I feel like screaming at them, get out of it, you fools! Don't ruin your lives. Too many did. Listen to those who went before you. Cult life is a well-trodden path, tried by many, it doesn't work, and it is in fact very dangerous.
After some three months of reading ex-premie.org and the related sites, and participating in forum discussions every now and then, I had the following dream (February 1999):
I dreamt that I was up in a high tower with M, and we got into a fist fight. I won, and I pushed him out of the tower. He fell down towards the ground. During the fall, his shape changed into that of a plate. It reached the ground, and broke into pieces. I climbed down the stairs from the tower. I took one small piece of the broken plate, put it into my pocket, but left the rest lying there on the ground. And I continued my journey.