|Date: May 7, 1998|
Meditations on the Lam
Who can forget that wonderful scene in the "Wizard of Oz" when Dorothy and her gang finally get to meet the "Great Oz ", and find out he's just a glorified snake-oil salesman (with quite an amazing marketing apparatus!). And yet Dorothy, with her true desire to get home, clicks her heels three times, and wakes up from her dream.
When you peek behind that curtain, and see that the great Oz or the great Guru isn't who you had hoped for or believed, and that the mythology as presented is not real, and is for the maintenance of the supposed "guru's" wealth power and control of your life - and not your soul's salvation - and that on some very fundamental level you've had your head up your ass for 20 or 25 years - it's a terrible moment indeed!
The air gets sucked out of your lungs. The "Guru's Boat" turns into the Titanic. The rarely disclosed, but closely held smugness of having "the real deal" in the spiritual world, now becomes a suffocating 10,000 lb. anvil - and you're sinking fast. Shame. Sadness. Disorientation. Neurological Short-Circuits. Confusion. The Whole Deal.
But eventually, you tear up your losing tickets at the God Realization Kentucky Derby, and move on. You were backing the wrong horse! It turns out the horse you should have been backing is Yourself ! I would certainly classify myself a "true believer" type. I was there for the "not a leaf moves without his knowing" period, where the three lesser Rawat brothers were Bhrama, Vishnu, and Shiva, and he was the all- 64 power Bhraman/Avatar. The "I've come this time with full power/I will establish world peace" period. I did service at Shri Hans Humanitarian Services ( Divine Light Mission's medical arm) in the early "70's, was at the Ashram/City of Love & Light in the late '70's, & Malibu & Miami in the 80's and 90's.
When Maharaji said that "Guru Maharaji creates God. Then God gives us form.Then I take a form myself to be with you" (Philadelphia, 1974), I was delighted and ecstatic. Here HE was- on our Earth- not mincing words! Here to save us all! And the thing was- it all seemed so real! The meditation techniques clearly altered consciousness (when I meditated Maharaji and other saints would often show up in visions) There were all these "high Beings" (Mahatma's) from India. The sense of common intention & noble purpose, to bring in the new order, was a heady brew (intention moves electrons, I would learn later) precipitating all sorts of synchronicity, magic, and mini-miracles.
It was a wonderful time full of Love and Light. At this stage 27 years later, the 1st (& 2nd & 3rd) blush has faded and I've seen and heard enough to keep Kenneth Starr hard at work for another 10 years; but I think it is wiser to say that after 20 years, I finally got my Master's degree. Learned and felt as much as I could in that institutional setting, and some years ago moved on.
Which is not to say that I don't see Mr. Rawat, at this juncture at least, as someone who could "come clean" on his past, present,and future. But I don't think that will be the case. Mr. Rawat seems to share a few of Bill Clinton's attributes; besides a well-documented eye for the ladies, a Clintonian penchant for political survival, and presenting himself however best suits his current audience & agenda.
I'm not trying to be his apologist- but from his point of view, would you? There you are, with one of the top 100 homes in the world, one of the top 50 personal aircraft in the world, vacation homes on 4 other continents, a wife & 1,000's of women who dream of being your Gopi lover, a great set-up for your kids, people all around the world who will line up to kiss your feet and fill your wallet on invitation- and when you get on stage in front of everybody, this power just comes into you, and you can play the Big Cheese. You mean you expect him to give that up, and just walk away! For what? Truth, honesty, and the love of God? Genuine concern for his followers? Forget it!
In a perfect world perhaps, Mr. Rawat would do a Barbara Walter (or Mike Wallace) interview, release his students, apologize for his 62,000 repetitions equal a truth-"Brave New World" marketing techniques on people all these years. And premie/student/aspirants could emerge from their 1-30 year cryogenic stay on the"holodeck" of Guru Maharaji's Enterprise, and resume their own personal journey into the heart of love. Or any journey they'd like. With their own power.
But if the past tells the future, it looks like we'll have to do it ourselves. So will the last devotee out of the building, please turn off the lights?
Interviewer: So what makes you the Perfect Master?
1973- This voice came to me 3 times and said you are HE. So I accepted.
1983- My father left instructions to do this. He chose me.
1995- I'm a master because I care. It's not like somebody taps you on the shoulder and says, "you're a master".
One of my favorite Maharaji stories of the 80's was the one about the bird and the golden birdcage. Basically, people were like "birds" in a cage where the door out of the cage was always open, and they had an inbuilt nature to exit the cage. But the cage (the WORLD as he was wont to call it) would expand and glorify itself to the point that the bird would come to LOVE THE FEELINGS AND REWARDS associated with life in the cage, to the point that the bird forgot its prime intention to escape. And even if they remembered, they LOST THE WILL TO BE FREE. That's when the Master/Savior/ "Big Bird?" would show up- and save the little birds. It was a great story! I loved it, and repeated it for years. Later I saw other levels to the tale, that basically the little birds were only taken to a bigger cage.
With the promise of personal freedom and God-realization, Mr. Rawat has led aspirants into a full-blown multi-media devotional circus, a golden spiritual cage so entrancing that "lovers of God" get conned into a complex Hindu-style of concepts (so ridiculous when you're free of them) and experiences that endlessly "loop", while they become powerless to exit the CAGE and take flight into their true sovereignty.
Public Domain Meditation Techniques (in my opinion extremely valid- that pull the curtain on 3D, everyday life - exposing ONE aspect of our ongoing relationship with higher/greater consciousness) and Satsang (truth spoken from the Eternal Perspective we all have access to) are PRIVATE LABELLED as a divinely ordained part of RAWAT, INC, and used as cattleprods to enforce a "Yes Master" mentality, which once rooted, takes an enormous effort to shake.
So Big Bird and his little birds keep to the cage. Everytime someone feels the natural (might I say "divinely inspired"?) urge to take flight through the open door, one of the inherent "kill switches" in the master/devotee concept system takes over. A Neptunian devotional pellet is released, and the Premie returns to the happy little bird, devotional/multimedia, production line.
As one who has spent 20 years in the cage, and the last few out, I assure you, the difference is truly night and day. To take your power back, and engage your real self - well, as Robert Frost said, makes "all the difference" .
Q: What makes a Perfect Master?
A: Followers who think he is one.
Bhakti Yoga is a long-recognized Hindu approach, and is certainly mirrored in many Christian paths. Even the psychiatric community acknowledges transference as a naturally occurring phenomenon in the therapeutic process. Therefore, a feeling of gratitude for a priest, person who gives you a lift or tickets to the World Series, a guru, counselor, guy who passes you a joint, whatever, is natural. (In fact, an argument can be made for money being a tangible form of gratitude or thanks.) But what about the person who relieves you of your virginity and then says, "that's it-you're mine. Only sex with me." Or a dealer who introduces you to drugs and then addicts you to him or her by associating/ identifying himself or herself as inseparable from the drug. Or a person, who promises you safe passage, takes your money, but never gets you the boat. I'd call that a grievous misuse of power.
It is well-documented that people in any devotional relationship, be it sex/drugs/rock'n'roll/Jesus/god/messiah/or master, can both get off on it and have the time of their lives. History shows us this can happen, that people can regularly go "out of body" with Hitler/Jimmy Swaggert /Ike Turner / Manson (Marilyn or Charley)/ OJ/ Klu Klux Klan: even if the court of public opinion considers the participants a bunch of lying thieving scumbags. And a very legitimate way of thinking says Guru Maharaji's exist and will continue to exist because people consciously (or subconsciously) don't want to be responsible for their lives.
Call it the "Big Bird" complex if you like. Astrology calls it the Age of Pisces. Anyway, everybody's over 21 and they can do whatever they like. If it's a new religion/cult and doesn't put poison gas pellets on subways, why not just accept it. Earth is a Free Choice zone.
Which gets me back to the old DLM standard about the Alligators, the Blind people and the Sighted. I feel at this stage it is my service to speak my piece, stand up, and be counted. If you can't grant yourself the same power and respect you once or currently give Mr. Rawat, you are sabotaging your own grand and glorious nature! You've been tricked! Out of Yourself! As Johnny Cochran might say, "if you can see it , then you be it!" Or better yet "if part of you feels it's a bunch of shit, just walk away & quit!" In the last 50 years or so, lots of stuff that people put up with( or limited themselves by) is becoming extinct. Things are clearly accelerating, and certainly belief systems (BS's, I call them) especially ones that disempower participants, are becoming blatantly see-through. Information (TV, Internet, and attendant media) is moving too quick to control. Racism, sexism and a host of other isms are clearly endangered. And this includes Gurus/Messiahs, and people like Mr. M. Our entire human species is waking up. Call it the Age of Aquarius.
Young Maharaji was certainly in the right place at the right time. He was bringing a knowledge that was "so perfect that whatever it touched it made perfect." At first he said "You are not receiving me. If you are receiving me, you could have duality in your heart". He was bringing the promise of World Peace, a new chapter in civilization's history. The anti-war crowd and the LSD cowboys rode in. The "seekers" too. He was young, cute, innocent, radiant and clever. Surrounded by older family members and a squadron of saffron-suited holy men, to me it almost seemed like an interplanetary landing party. The real drug-free Haight Ashbury.
This was the LORD- saying he was greater than God, and bringing a knowledge that made you "higher than LSD". It certainly made allegiance and support a small price to pay. And when he promised "eternal life" and to "carry you across the 3 worlds" it seemed too good a deal to pass up- all he wanted was for me to surrender the reins of my life to him. By that point, it made perfect sense. In for a penny, in for a pound. "Wanna get to heaven. Guru Maharaji takes you there. All my sins are taken away." - that's how the song went in those days (& still does, if you read between the lines).
And I was a happy camper. Happy to assist at mankind's Millenium. Happy to get a small role for God's coming out party. As a post-premie ( I like that better than "ex"- its more reflective of myself and the 90% of initiates that no longer are dues paying members of the God Incarnate Society ) who was involved in the system as an ashram member, DUO Director, Premie business employee, DLM Counselor, Residence service person, and householder ( I have a 20 year marriage and college-age children) and was proactive and supportive of this movement for 20 years, internally and externally - I assure you I had everything invested in Maharaji and DLM/Elan Vital being what I hoped they were. So even as Maharaji and his mission to 'save the planet' went into its current 20 year decline ( it now curiously parallels OJ's "ceaseless" search for Nicole's true killer), I looked for the bright bits, rationalized like crazy, meditated constantly, praised the Lord, and passed the ammunition.
As many people who lived at the various 'Divine Residences' (and women M 'hit on') fled in horror, disillusion! ment and disgust, I congratulated myself on my sophisticated understanding of the "Lila's" of the living Lord. As the cooperation and camaraderie of brothers and sisters saving the the planet turned into impersonal "ChurchSpeak" and Darshan and festival seat acquisition strategies , I chuckled and developed my own.
The massive attrition rates and palpable lack of spontaneity in most who remained , I passed off as the natural Darwinism of the "true" spiritual path. It only redoubled my efforts to be a true heart,a true devotee. I can't tell you exactly when I sensed some fundamental ' disturbance in the force' in all this - but I'll guess sometime in the mid to late 80's. It had all clearly become a personality cult. Maharaji, while still hitting on all cylinders at public appearances, seemed to be losing amperage.
Most people sort of made peace with the changes - and a movement became a religion. Some developed hierarchical positions within the Rawat organization. Others became 'festival premies', using the Grateful Dead-style carnival atmosphere to say hello to old friends, sing the old standards, cruise for new relationship partners, and recapture the group magic. It's embarrassing to relate in retrospect, but I embarked on a personal attempt to invigorate and revitalize what was fast becoming another religious "brick in the wall".
Obviously, the problem was at the top. Maharaji just had to take off his Clark Kent costume and be the LORD again. We had all heard about Rama acting all laid back for 14 years, and then activating and kicking Ravanna's butt. All it would take were a few awake and loyal devotees to wake him up. Then everything would be all right. Polyanna City. So I spent the next 6-8 years ( at times along with a few like-minded premies) playing agent provocateur, attempting to hold the mirror up to Maharaji in a series of personal and group initiatives. Activate as the World Savior! Rama, please awake!
Finally some years back, I stopped looking at this all through rose-coloured glasses, saw things as they were, not what I hoped, realized what was was not what I needed, and moved on. (Not that it hasn't become a viable Bhakti cult.) When I did I went through a total emotional /mental death and resurrection. I had to root canal my CORE BELIEF that Maharaji was my conduit to the Absolute. And while on one level it all happened in an instant, on another level it was like Captain Pickard disengaging himself from the Borg. Millions of big and little beliefs and pockets of fear had to be faced. I had to learn to learn again, and discriminate and be open. And not lose the forest of God, for the antics of a little Napoleon tree.
And most importantly, I had to meet myself without an interpreter. And regain belief in that conversation with God.
POSTSCRIPT-1: I had the privilege last year of being initiated in Kriya Yoga from Shibendu Lahiri. He is the great grandson of Lahiri Mahasay, who received these ancient and timeless techniques (supposedly) from Babaji. I recount this, as as some of Shibendu's insights will be revealing to the reader. Kriya Yoga is a complete system of Self Realization techniques.
The 4 knowledge techniques most readers received are included in Kriya. Some of the variations in the Light and Word techniques in the 70's and 80's are due to the fact that there are multiple Word Music and Nectar techniques in the Kriya system. Many premies don't have a strong experience of meditation. This may be because we received a lightweight, fast-food version of Kriya. Secondly, with Kriya there was no aspirant/surrender/brainwashing trip.
Shibendu humbly explained that Kriya was a SELF Realization process. He was a catalyst but not a part of the final equation. HE EXPRESSLY WARNED THAT ANY MEDITATION TEACHER ELEVATING THEIR IMPORTANCE ABOVE THE PROCESS WAS PROBABLY A PHONY. Also, he indicated that in the process of "going inside", it was common to have visions of Jesus, Krishna, deities or even him. He indicated that this was sort of a "detox" of consciousness and also an attempt of the personality to maintain itself in the spiritual practice. Not that it was necessarily bad. Just part of the awakening process. "Sort of like watching a movie," he said, "let it go."
As my early visions of Maharaji were "an article of faith" for me, and kept me around him for probably an extra 15 years, it was remarkable to hear this discussed so matter of factly. (The Neural Surfer webside also has some amazing articles on this as well.) Finally, he was really a teacher! There was explanation, understanding, and a context for each of the techniques.
For example, there are two Nectar techniques. The one Maharaji teaches is the second in the Kriya system. The first is sort of like a Hatha Yoga for the tongue, improving its flexibility. Its purpose is to stimulate the pineal and pituitary gland centers, activate the internal consciousness and generate a sense of well being, etc., etc. There was an intelligence in the presentation. It was straight forward. This is your body. It is your connection to super-consciousness. It can be activated in this and that way. Proceed at your own speed. With love and reverence for your own true self. Avoid any and all substitutes.
POSTSCRIPT-2: These ancient techniques given to Lahiri have evolved into a wide range of teachings over the generations. One mutant strain of this was the 'Satguru' Phenomenon. Many of the Sikh, Eckankar, Rhadosomai, and other kindred teachers use this BELIEF SYSTEM ,as well as Mr. Rawat and his brother. It's mind boggling to see how uniform the 'BS's' are. Devotees excitedly line up to get the 'Darshan gaze' of the supreme Eck at yearly Anaheim convention center programs. Ecks meditate on light and music, while Eck musicians play devotional songs to Harold Klemp, Supreme Eck. He proudly discusses his spiritual lineage and how he is bringing his truth to the West for the first time and how as Mahanta he is closer to God that anyone. Any of this sound familiar? That is just one.
Then there is the Vietnamese woman, who gives the techniques and dances in front of her disciples after her discourses. They glorify her as the Perfect One, the incarnation to end suffering. Money comes from a 63-unit restaurant chain. And don't forget Kirpal Singh and his MLS (Multi-Level Spiritual) downline of nephews, sons, and followers. All playing Perfect Master, and spreading the techniques.
And finally, Bal Bagwanji (Sat Pal), Maharaji's brother who is alive and kicking as the 'true successor' to Shri Maharaji (successor to Saraupanand, who in MLS, was 4 levels down from Lahiri Mahashay.) Read his home page. It is the same mythology we were fed by Maharaji, except in Sat Pal's mythology, he, as eldest son, was asked to carry on. How's that for historical revisionism? Or wishful thinking ? Who's telling the truth? Who's the real deal? Or is it just two sons fighting for their share of the lucrative family business. Call it spiritual McDonaldism or Spiritual multi-level, but these techniques have become a way to make a living and play King of the Hill.
Question: What makes a Perfect Master?
A final note: The LA Times on a recent Sunday did an article on Deepak Chopra called Nirvana, Inc. He's India's 90's 'happening' import, like Rawat was the 70's. Chopra makes a ton of money, disseminates a lot of the traditional Eastern information on meditation, conscious living, and health. He and his wife often go to meditate together for weekends at one of the centers he operates. He sees that he'll do his thing for 5 more years, and then retire. He acknowledges that there's a lot of attention on him right now, but figures it'll pass when he's out of the limelight for a few years. Sounds like somebody got it right. Spread the message. Empower, not overpower people. Look to disappear, not remain as an attention-addicted 800-lb. Gorilla blocking people's path. Practice what you preach! Know anybody that could learn from that guy?
As I have emerged from my cocoon the last few years, a few books have served to awaken, inspire or enliven me. I recommend them (for different reasons).
POSTSCRIPT-3: I wanted to add an individual understanding I've come to, which has been helpful for me as I have left the "pond" of Guru Maharaji's World, and returned back to an awakening to greater awareness that remains my core desire. Merging, swimming, becoming the "ocean".
There is in each of us a Higher Self (or Soul or inner Being). It is the part of us that we"thirst" for. The time period that we are participating in, is one where individuals will demand and obtain personal awakening to their own Self or higher Self. This was actually what we are designed to have.Standard Operating Level of consciousness. Religions and Gurus are waiting rooms (though I agree they CAN be enjoyable and entertaining, they are the MENU, not the MEAL). They are actually one of the Plagues of the Kali Yuga!
In order to grow/integrate this aspect of oneself, two things are necessary. One - the genuine Desire or intention for it to happen, & Two - Personal Soverignty. As it is US individually who experience our SELF directly at this greater and more inclusive level, there cannot be an EMOTIONAL BODY commitment to an external MASTER.
Its true-to get the next level you "cannot serve two masters". This is why Bhakti Cults are considered "consciousness 101". They definitely give you an introductory taste/experience of superconsciousness, but YOU REMAIN INCOMPLETE, dependant. I assure you that when you experience your Higher Self, you will see that in truth there can no longer be "Saviors" of the type portrayed by Master Rawat or Others. And the genuine level of experience and joy, (without the dog collar of devotion), is what you came here for. To love your Self and experience the divinity you have ascribed to Maharaji, (reclaiming your soul), is the step through fear towards the TRUE LIFE that you came here for.
Information and awareness on the HIGHER SELF is available in media, and leaking into disciplines like Medicine,Science and Psychology, as well as through the media (Oprah) and the old New Age bookstore.
This Higher (Christ) Self awareness, along with increased awareness of how our intention & thought affect matter (and therefore that WE truly are responsible for our own lives) will be the "religion" of the coming time - the church of the Sovereign Individual.
While Maharaji and the techniques are not IT, YOU certainly are. I urge YOU to continue on and demand from the universe whatever it was that you were looking to experience before knowledge and this belief system took hold of you. And finally, have hope.
This will all be in the rear view mirror before you know it.