I've been away for some time, but I hear that things have
not been dull on F7. Things have not been dull for me
either, with the majority of my premie friends very hurt and
angry about my posts (which has made things rather sticky in
this tight-knit community), and a few, too, who are
intending to join me on the other side of the fence - which
is equally intense for other reasons. (You all remember what
that collapse of faith is like.)
I apologise for not being here lately. I've been away for
several days, drifting down the Tweed River on a houseboat,
celebrating my 50th birthday. On top of that my papers have
given me lots of work - which has really put the pressure
Quite a few premies - some of them distant, some of them
friends here in Byron Shire - have made contact since I came
out, and I'm now discussing their exiting processes with
them. That, too, takes a lot of time!
There's also the fact that, being a little obsessive, I try
not to get involved in the forum for too long at one time: I
find it can swallow up my life somewhat, and need to pace
For all the above reasons, I haven't logged on for well over
a week. I will tend to follow these patterns of popping up
briefly - then disappearing for quite long periods to get
other things done.
Post-K is the most pleasant, and interesting, phase of my
life so far. I want to try and draw a line between the
necessary de-culting process, and just getting on with
things and (dare I say it?) enjoying life.
A couple of people rang today and told me there has been
much support for me here of late - for which I am extremely
grateful. One of the great difficulties in leaving Knowledge
is that no premies wish to discuss it: one is thus deprived
of one's usual support base. I think I said last time that
the ex community is everything the premie community should
have been, but wasn't - including egalitarian and
supportive. I have made many new friends here in a very
As for my old friends: I'm naturally perfectly happy for the
non-exiters amongst them to remain within Maharaji's world:
I spent many happy times there myself, and the last year
does not somehow magically turn all that into 28 years of
hell. I'm also happy to concede that Maharaji has good
points: everyone does, and black and white thinking gets us
nowhere - other than into cults, perhaps.
But having now learned the nature of Maharaji's secret life,
and having gained a little insight into the overall
psychology of the master-devotee relationship, all that is
somewhat beside the point. For these are overweaning
realities, which tower over good memories and 'nice
I've now left the world of Knowledge, so am no longer bound
by its rules and loyalties - including the 'confidentiality'
which so dominated the scene in recent years. I assert the
right to develop my own opinions on it, and to make these
public if I wish - along with the information I have at my
disposal. I believe this information will help aspirants and
premies to make informed decisions on whether to remain with
Maharaji, and will help interested outsiders to make
decisions on whether to become involved.
This is especially important, in my view, in light of the
institutional secrecy which pervades Maharaji's activities,
senior staff and organisation.
As a person who joined DLM when I was young and admittedly
fairly stupid, and who was programmed with some pretty deep
stuff as to Maharaji being a kind of special being or cosmic
force, and who gave tens of thousands of dollars and many
years of life to further his work (and who watched him grow
obscenely wealthy in the process), I believe I have earned
the right to say about him whatever I please, so long as it
is based on supportable facts.
My take on things will not be the whole truth - but it is as
good, as fair and as accurate as I can make it.
Probably 90% of those who have received Knowledge in the
West have left Maharaji. This includes PAMs, senior
organisers and instructors - and the figure is growing
daily. Of all those who have been premies, only a skeleton
Thus the majority of us - most of those who established
Maharaji's work in the West - are now on the outside. If we
do not have a right to pass comment on him, who does?
This post is principally about Maharaji's trainings, which
have been the central ideological glue in EV in recent
years. However first I need to attend to housekeeping
matters, and respond to some miscellaneous points from the
posts I read before I went away a week or so ago:
* I was never a major PAM (in for example the Michael
Dettmers sense): I described myself as a long-term senior
organiser and 'an occasional PAM', which I think is
* I 'know' that M is behind CAC as a matter of logic only -
I don't have a smoking gun. That is: The only people who
could possibly be behind CAC are loyal premies. All loyal
premies do absolutely whatever M asks of them. Therefore, if
M put the word out that CAC should be taken down, it would
happen overnight. Given the damage ex-premie.org is doing to
his work, and given what a hands-on CEO he is, it's
reasonable to assume that Maharaji's involvement is even
more pro-active than that.
* I don't resile from my earlier statements about sexually
* The one thing I regret from the first 2 posts is
mentioning the names of individuals, in anything but the
most innocuous of ways. It could have been construed that I
disapproved of (now retrenched EV Australian National
Contact) Kaye McKinnon's salary - when in fact I didn't:
$A50,000 is not a lot of money. Similarly, I was neither for
or against the move to oust Kaye: two of the 'ousters' are
long-time friends, and I know Kaye pretty well too. I
mentioned these events to highlight the politicking which is
built into EV - and of which I partook myself at times. Mark
Winter is a friend, and to protect my identity I was unable
to mention that when he was constructing Enjoying Life, I
was enthusiastically helping him. And of course my remark
about Monica Lewis was not meant to reflect poorly on her
(she's always been perfectly nice to me): the joke was at my
expense. I'll avoid naming names from now on, unless it is
completely unavoidable, or I can do so entirely innocently.
The way I see it, this is not a war against people, it's a
war against an idea.
* Finally, in case some people think I'm ducking them: even
when I spend time on the forum, I don't read the premie
trolls. That way lies madness, IMO. Their role is to
distract from the real issues - and with our enthusiastic
co-operation they achieve this very successfully. Both of
the main trolls are friends, and I can get quite enough of
them at parties and in the main street of Mullumbimby,
without needing to engage them here. There's also the fact
that - as with all of us - their real selves are more
rounded and agreeable than the sub-personalities they send
out into the cyber realm.
I'd like to talk briefly about the things I've said about
Maharaji in recent times - for these have been the source of
considerable angst to my friends.
Firstly, I have little doubt as to my contribution to the
things that were bad about EV and M's work in general: I was
an organiser since early 1973, and was doing fairly major
service out at Amaroo till only a year ago (when I spent a
week onsite for the donors' conference). I brought two
people to Knowledge, one of whom is still there. As a
community co-ordinator I was occasionally rude and
disrespectful (a fact of which the victims have been
humorously reminding me for the ensuing quarter
I don't blame everything I did wrong on being in a cult:
many of these things were, purely and simply, personal
failures. I didn't leave earlier because of the loyalty I
felt toward Maharaji - or at least the image I had of him.
All the dysfunction in the world would not have been enough
for me to have turned my back on the living master: I had to
realise, with great pain, that he was not the living master
Secondly, as far as the accusations against Maharaji are
concerned, a premie friend believes I should concentrate
less on Maharaji's lifestyle, and more on the more serious
abuses. (She described sections of my last post as being
'like Jerry Springer'.)
She's right, up to a point: I don't really believe that M's
meat-eating, cigarette- and pot-smoking, beer-drinking and
polygamy are capital crimes - and have done my share of each
in younger days. In enumerating them in the last post, I was
trying to establish that I had done a certain amount of
service around M over the years - not to draw attention to
these behaviours, many of which I don't regard as
particularly shocking. All of them, incidentally, were
well-known for years before I posted.
Nevertheless, up until the ex-premie site made these things
public, there had been very conscious efforts to conceal
these behaviours - surely that is what the x-rating was all
about - which does tend to introduce an element of
Additionally, vegetarianism, non-smoking, non-drinking and
celibacy were rather hypocritically endorsed by Maharaji for
ashram premies. Even now M occasionally works to fracture
the relationships of PAMs.
But all of this pales in comparison with M's broader abuses,
such as covering up the rape of children, sexually using
female devotees, and accumulating at least $US50 million
from his flock - to say nothing of the mind control
techniques outlined below.
Thirdly, I'd like to re-iterate that, apart from the odd
mistake - inevitable in such a vast mass of highly emotive
material, and which I will correct and apologise for as they
are pointed out to me - what I have said to date is
actually, really, genuinely true. Is it being suggested that
I have no right to say things that are true?
Fourthly, I do believe I have a right to publicly criticise
Maharaji, as he has publicly criticised me. In my training
in September 1999, Maharaji had me videoed during one of the
exercises, during which I allegedly made a mistake. He then
played the video to 85 people, and explained in
considerable, pointed detail where I had screwed up. He may
well have been right: I have no argument with him correcting
me. My point is that - after 28 years of humble submission -
such privileges now run two ways.
The Jagdeo matter I wrote about in Pam 1 has taken some
strange, contradictory turns. As I said in Pam 2, I got the
date wrong: the meeting I referred to was in 1985, not 1980.
On the other hand one of the meeting's alleged participants
has contacted me saying the meeting did not happen - or at
least that s/he wasn't there if it did.
The original participant, however, is sticking to his/her
guns. So I figure the best I can do is to refer to this
story as an 'allegation'. And I apologise to the second
(alleged) participant for not checking the story out with
them in the first place.
According to the original participant, the meeting concerned
Jagdeo's sexual molestation of one, or possibly two, of the
complainant's children in India about 15 years earlier: that
is, in about 1970. 17 years have passed. Both my informants
are former x-rated PAMs, and I believe both are acting in
Finally, I've been told someone posted here discussing my
family. Given my present workload, I doubt I 'll have time
to read and respond. However this does neatly underline a
point I make below - which is that even normally ethical
people will abandon their ethics when the central icon is
under threat. I've little doubt those responsible will one
day look back on their action with dismay.
Anyway, now to the main topic of this post...
Over the last year or so, people have pulled back from
service, all over the West. There are many factors behind
this - including ex-premie.org, people getting older and
wiser, and continuing disillusionment with EV's apparently
permanent state of dysfunction. Poorly chosen and unpopular
leaders have played their role.
But interestingly, Maharaji's 'trainings' have also caused
many people to revise their commitment to M. Revise it
downward, that is.
'Trainees' haven't generally analysed why this is. They
express vague discomfort with the trainings, but are unable
to say what this stems from. This is hardly surprising. To
examine the trainings honestly, and come to one's own
conclusions about them, would lead one to the largest 'Do
Not Enter' sign in the premie catalogue: the one which
involves an objective ethical examination of Maharaji's
Thus the vague, unsettling feelings persist - but (with the
exception of the minority whom the trainings propelled out
of Knowledge) nothing goes further than that.
Yet the fact remains: now the trainings are finished, people
have withdrawn from service en masse. Why?
Firstly, just about all premies have a bad attitude to EV
thesedays. Given that EV is just a bunch of volunteers -
people like you and me - this is curious. It's not exactly a
monolith, and it has virtually no paid staff. Indeed the
latest reports suggest that it is fast sinking beneath the
I believe - and it's only a belief - that EV plays a role in
displacing premies' anger at Maharaji. EV is a 'safe' way of
resenting M. It is a safe place to direct blame for the
pain, stunting, inconvenience, cost, fear, guilt and anger
which often lie below the surface of the premie's
It's interesting to note that the instructors played a
similar role in the 1970s and early 1980s: in satsang after
satsang, Maharaji himself set them up as targets for anger
and abuse, which of course drew such emotions away from
But this time around, tho antipathy to EV is nearly
universal, it has been impossible to contain all the anger
in this single vessel. For the first time, considerable
anger is being directed at Maharaji himself. Some premies
have gone the whole hog and left K; others quietly mutter
but stay in the fold; and others do not divulge their
mutinous thoughts to other premies, but think them
nonetheless, divulging them only to outsiders.
IMO, more than any other factor, the trainings of the last
few years are responsible for this change. For large numbers
of premies, the trainings brought the EV cult
psycho-dynamics - basically the techniques of thought reform
which are the basis of Maharaji's influence - into the
daylight for the first time.
The trainings also revealed something like the real
Maharaji, to people who had never previously been exposed to
him - and those people have been troubled ever since.
Maharaji's trainings were EV's central institutional
methodology of the 1990s. They were to the 1990s what
ashrams and satsang were to the 1970s. Their importance in
deepening and entrenching the Maharaji psychological 'spell'
should not be underestimated. Their chief psychological
weapon was the mixed message (which I've discussed
Just as ashrams created a top layer of heavy-metal devotees
with a 'single idea' in the 1970s, so did the trainings
select and create the same cohort in the 1990s. In both
cases the aim was to bring about a 'core' of 'clear'
devotees - clear as to who was Boss, clear as to
organizational methods - around whom a global mission could
Among its other functions - many of which were highly
enjoyable - satsang in the 1970s was the vehicle wherein
these clear devotees could deliver the message (the 'truth')
to the rest of the community, and bring everyone into line
with the general philosophy. Teams - which mixed core
premies who tended to lead with community premies who tended
to follow, just as satsang did - were meant to become this
ideological delivery vehicle in the present era. And the
team thing was one of the main messages of the training.
So the trainings not only entrenched the message (Maharaji
is always right, et al), they also created the means for its
further dissemination (teams).
Why did the trainings arise? Let's look at the timing.
Significantly, the trainings arose after the Amaroo Mutiny -
the first blip on the radar which alerted M that there was
trouble brewing in Paradise: that people were challenging
the authority of his small group of appointees, and
therefore his authority. Amaroo was and is the jewel in M's
crown. A challenge to his authority there was probably very
difficult for him.
There have been several mutinies in Maharaji's world over
the last decade - some of them attracting emergency
interventions by M's envoys. There has been an Indian
mutiny, the PR Team mutiny, and various mutinies at local
level throughout the US and Australia. But perhaps the most
famous mutiny was the Amaroo Mutiny (as Maharaji himself
named it) of December 97-January 98.
The mutiny at Amaroo - Australia's cult-within-a-cult -
brought the place to a halt, saw its management team
implode, scrambled the international team to red alert - and
nearly saw Amaroo sold off by an infuriated Lord of the
Universe. ('This is a mutiny! How dare they!' he said when
told about it.)
Basically, the Amaroo Mutiny was an attempt to democratise
Amaroo - to spread and diffuse the power to make decisions.
The Mutiny began when the management team imploded on
December 21, 1997; it was led by several former management
The Mutiny was put down when Valerio Pascotto was sent to
Amaroo (first by the three-man facilitators' team, then,
when M heard about the Mutiny, with M's blessing). From
memory, Valerio arrived in late January, 1998.
After his arrival, Valerio sat the perpetrators down and
instituted workshops which included self-criticism sessions
- written and oral. These lasted several days, and in time
broke down all resistance. On Day One, all participants were
sat in a large horseshoe - with Valerio and his note-taker
at one end - and one by one asked to confess what role s/he
had played in causing the trouble. (The question was handed
to participants the night before on paper, so they could
spend the night contemplating it.)
One attendee stated out loud that these sessions were
'medieval', and refused to take part. However everyone else
For me, the most surreal aspect was that maybe a dozen
people who'd had nothing to do with the mutiny - who hadn't
even heard of it in some cases - took the blame for enough
sins to fill a Catholic textbook. The word 'hysteria' barely
does the atmosphere of these sessions justice. Some people
were so distraught they could not speak, when their turn
came to confess. Others seemed utterly destroyed at the
thought that they had offended the Master.
Before the sessions even began, Valerio had made it
extremely clear that Maharaji was very angry at us.
The Angry Daddy gambit is one of Maharaji's crudest yet most
effective psychological techniques. The Rawat psychology
does not need to be subtle. Because of our sincerity, we
were extremely easy to manipulate: for Valerio it was like
taking candy from a baby. Some of the techniques may have
already been in place, from the 1996 international
organisers' conference, where these workshop-style settings
began - specifically:
Childhood parental models were invoked to terrify potential
dissenters; philosophical closed-loops were reinforced, in
which the master could never be wrong; the 'group dynamic'
was strengthened to dissolve individualism.
In the end, after some spirited resistance, we all
Valerio told me I should be feeling 'grief' at what I had
done to displease M - and by the end of these sessions I
believed he was right. I mention Valerio's name here because
it is simply unavoidable: he was central to the Mutiny, and
central to the trainings. Personally I always got on
extremely well with him, and we parted cordially. What I
write here should not be construed as an attack on him, but
on the crazy psychology which possessed us all. I don't use
the word 'possessed' lightly. Like myself, Valerio was in
the grip of a powerful daemon, and under its influence we
were as mad and inhuman as each other. I participated in the
sessions as fully as he did.
Anyway, Maharaji should perhaps be grateful to the Amaroo
mutineers: the Mutiny provided not only the impetus for a
global re-education program, but many of the techniques
employed in it.
In early 1999, the first prototype training was held at
Amaroo. The model's bugs were ironed out.
At this training M yelled at participants that they - the
Amaroo premies - were 'insane' and 'lunatics'. He used
frequent war analogies, swore violently, and was extremely
angry much of the time. This is what convinced many
attendees that the Mutiny was on his mind.
He was so angry on one occasion that his hands shook, and he
dropped his whiteboard marker. After he'd done one of his
'storming out of the room' routines (I think he trialled the
technique at this first training), a PAM came into the hall
in tears: 'Maharaji's going to leave Amaroo unless we get it
together,' he sobbed. 'Unless we do what he wants.'
Significantly, what he wanted was never made clear.
One brave participant told Maharaji he thought that
training's techniques were reminiscent of the Nazi Party. He
has not been singled out for promotion!
After this trial run in early 1999, the trainings began in
earnest in various major centres.
The trainings were for premiedom's top 'resources' - mostly
managers and those with money. A seldom-appreciated
refinement of this is that the trainings were directed at
'resources' who were, with advancing maturity, displaying
symptoms of independent thought.
So - throughout the trainings - once again childhood models
of authority and obedience were 're-booted' within the
greying skulls of Maharaji's flock. Wealthy businessmen were
reduced to obeisant, trembling children who sometimes went
dry-mouthed with fear; normally balanced, competent women
were driven, in several cases, to hysterical breakdowns.
(NB: I don't want to be sexist about it: there was ample
hysteria on the male side as well.)
My training cost each of the 80 participants $A1000 to
attend. (Tho I think some full-time staff probably got
Each training was different, and there were specialist
trainings for (for example) propagation and the
residence/personal area staff. But the overarching purpose
of the trainings was what the Chinese call 're-education' -
the Chinese approach and Maharaji's having considerable
common ground. These were the main elements, as I saw
- Insufficient loyalty to the master/government is
- Individuality is stomped on. The Chinese call it
'degenerate individualism', Maharaji the 'Lone Ranger
syndrome'. In both cases self-criticism plays a central role
in eliminating it.
- Mutual monitoring is stepped up and refined.
- Certain more trusted group members are secretly recruited
by the trainers to work against the interests of those who
are to be made an example of.
- Blatant untruths are stated and restated, and eventually
accepted, despite evidence which contradicts them staring
participants in the face. (E.g. M's stating how hard he
works to 'keep my body fit so I can carry out
- Disabling of logic, and destruction of will and volition,
by organized 'mindfuck' games which nobody can win. (In some
trainings, not a single exercise was completed successfully,
and not a single game was won. I guess
the subliminal message was: 'You cannot win.')
- Creation of confusion and thus compliance, by recurring
mixed messages. For example: M makes mistakes/M can't be
challenged; claim your territory/obey the master; if the
food is no good, don't hesitate to tell the kitchen/don't
criticise others, or be 'political'.
- The inhibition of independent action by the ratcheting up
of fear and of paranoia. (Every participant could become the
object of severe criticism, could be expelled from the
group, or could even be responsible for the cancellation of
the entire training, at any time.)
- Revival of the old 1970s fears in 1990s form: exclusion
from the perfect world of Knowledge, from the group's
approval, and from the Master's blessing. ('Cult members are
systematically programmed with phobias so they
will be in terrible fear of leaving the cult. They are
enslaved by this mind control technique in thinking that
there is no other way for them to grow.' Ilona Cuddy, mental
health degree masters project.)
- Recurrent use of what cult psychologists call 'the cult of
confession' to undermine the credibility of individuals
acting outside of the master's command. (The trainings began
with a round of confessions, accompanied by hysterical
crying, a dramatic collapse or two, and claims of absolute,
total unworthiness. Interestingly, confession had not been
called for by M at this stage: premies had merely been asked
to say what they expected and hoped to learn from the
training, and what they thought would be the most difficult
aspect of it. Yet out came the confessions of unworthiness
and shame. This undoubtedly says something about the
psychological climate within the wonderful world of
Knowledge! In another session, participants had to confess
what their 'buckets' contained. People interpreted this to
mean, 'What are my faults?' The hyper-critical
self-descriptions came tumbling out: anger, fear, haste,
hate, judgement, envy - and so on. More tears, more
- Closed circuits of logic were dusted off and re-presented
for the group's approval. (To put it at its crudest: 'We
know Maharaji/the Communist Party is the unchallengeable
source of truth, because they most purely represents that
truth. We know they most purely represent that truth because
they have often told us this. We know that they are speaking
the truth on this matter because they are the
unchallengeable source of truth.')
- Premies' sense of powerlessness and dependence was
entrenched, partly - and bewilderingly - via a set of
complex and demanding training rules which participants were
led to believe that they created, but which were actually
insinuated into the process by the trainers.
- Fear and praise were alternated to implement the above and
other dynamics. (E.g. two trainers would play good cop/bad
- People's time was 100% occupied with pointless tasks -
long, circular meetings; unwinnable games - to obviate
thinking and analysis, especially about the high levels of
mind control in evidence.
- In some trainings, long hours were employed to break down
resistance to thought reform. In others, participants were
blindfolded for long periods, to sow confusion and emphasise
- Acceptance of the amorality and immorality of M's world
were further entrenched. E.g. in one training, M said: 'If
the team decides it's dark outside, and you look out and see
that it's light, IT IS DARK OUTSIDE!'
- Diminishing of individual discernment - and of
individuality - by giving exaggerated value to the 'team'.
One whole exercise was directed to getting individuals to
'merge with the team'. If that was the individual's goal,
what was the team's? It was, of course, to realise
Maharaji's desires. Thus the team dynamic was a kind of
front for implanting Maharaji's control.
- Entrenching of top-down hierarchical structure, and
unquestioning obedience. E.g. M said, 'If a manager tells
you to dig a hole immediately above a buried electrical
cable, the only thing you are to say is, 'How deep?!'
- Demands for devotion were escalated. (E.g. one premie was
quizzed on why he spent his days in his high-profile job and
ONLY his evenings, when he was tired, doing service for
- A system of rewards and punishments was instituted in ways
that undermined trust among members, but increased emotional
dependence on Maharaji. And in which no-one ever wins.
(There is a broader, analogous pattern of competition
between PAMs for M's approval - a pattern M has profitably
maintained for 30 years - in which no-one ever 'wins'.
No-one ever gets to be Arjuna - he makes sure of it. The
trainings utilize the same 'rewards and punishments' model -
though it's an intensified version of it. In essence, the
trainings aimed to take cult psychological manipulation to
the highest level that people will tolerate, and not begin
to smell rats.)
The trainings more than fulfilled cult author Steve Hassan's
'four criteria for cult mind control':
(1) They had strict rules of behaviour. (Indeed one whole
session was on 'What are you going to do to follow the
rules?' M stated 'the whole purpose of the training is to
follow the rules'.)
(2) They employed thought control. (Thoughts expressing
individuality or challenging M were violently criticised;
others such as 'Are we being manipulated?' or 'Is M wrong?'
were off the agenda altogether.)
(3) They employed emotional control. (Provoking M's anger -
which happened almost daily - threw participants back into
childhood emotional states; guilt and shame were employed
repeatedly; and the group was frequently divided against
individuals or sub-groups.)
(4) Finally, the trainings restricted the flow of
information to members. (E.g. participants were led to
believe that they themselves invented the training rules,
whereas in fact they were predetermined by M, and insinuated
into proceedings via an apparently 'democratic' process.
Also many of the group votes, and some of M's temper
outbursts, were pre-scripted. Those secretly approached to
catalyse events such as the expulsion of the scapegoat were
told not to tell others about this.)
The trainings were run by psychologists, and other
The 'team' dynamic which dominated the trainings was not
about democracy, as the word 'team' might suggest, but was
actually a mechanism for reinforcing Maharaji's authority. I
would not characterize this as another deception, though,
because it was made pretty clear from the beginning that M
alone stood outside the team - not only its membership but
its ethics - and the take-home, whole-of-life, bottom-line
message that was driven home on the last day - the rule of
all rules - was simply 'Maharaji'.
It was a powerful bit of final programming that left no-one
in any doubt as to the focus of the training, and the
expected future orientation of its participants.
As I said above, the chief psychological weapon of the
trainings was the mixed message - of which Maharaji is a
If you don't like Knowledge, walk!
If you stop practising this Knowledge, you 'll go rotten
I make mistakes.
How dare you criticise me!
Claim your territory.
Follow the master.
Trust the master.
Speak your mind when you see problems.
Don't criticise, and don't be political.
Are the tapes running? I am not God!
I have come to the world with full powers.
Everything is within you.
Everything is within Guru Maharaji.
The mixed message is (IMO) a double-barrelled shotgun which
has blown away even some of the cleverest of minds, because
it is installed at a level where intellect does not operate.
Whether this is at the level of the God archetype, the
sub-conscious, or whatever, depends on your psychological
The mixed message is a powerful thing. Typically, one half
of it empowers and expands, the other half intimidates and
reduces; one half provokes love, the other half fear; one
half liberates, the other half enslaves.
People are powerfully hooked by both elements of the mixed
message: everyone wants to feel free, but we also want to
obey a legitimate authority. (Especially if we believe that
authority to be God, or God's representative.)
Above all, the mixed message strategically confuses.
We are 'freed' by Knowledge, but we find ourselves
subjugated to the person who gives us Knowledge.
At the surface level, a very reasonable explanation is put
forward: that person to whom you are now subjugated is the
ocean of compassion, and is thus the one person you can
trust in this life. Unlike other people - employers,
friends, family: all of whom let us down eventually - he has
our best interests at heart, and will never let us down.
It would be pathological to be subjugated to any other
person. But to be subjugated to this person is acceptable,
because he is the one person who will not abuse this
Trusting souls that we are, most of us took many years to
dig below this logic. Because it brought us great comfort,
we bought the surface explanation. This allowed the
freedom/slavery contradiction to disappear below
consciousness, where it long troubled us in strange and
unpredictable ways. Some of these 'ways' include the sapping
of will or ambition, an inability to promote or even explain
Maharaji to outsiders, ethical lapses we would not normally
be prey to, clinging to 'safe' channels of thought, and an
almost wilful failure to follow 'risky' trains of thought
through to their logical conclusions.
The standard premie defence against criticism - I've heard
it a lot lately - is 'I'm just having a nice experience
inside - what's cultish about that? That's what this whole
thing's all about.'
I usually point out that this whole thing is only partly
about that: the second half is about embracing Maharaji as
your master. It's about following his guidelines, obeying
him implicitly, and it's about never criticising him. That
is, it's about putting him above the requirements we apply
to all other human beings.
Thus the first half of the M/K equation is about feeling
good, freedom, personal liberation, and so on. The second
half, however, is about obedience, never criticising, and
following somebody else's agenda. The entire
Maharaji/Knowledge paradigm is founded on a mixed
Thus the premie's world is founded upon a dichotomy - a
dichotomy which usefully enough) helps to disable both
thought and volition.
Has Maharaji worked all this out? I doubt it. Masters like
him - and there are many - intuitively know how to place
their cards: when to raise the eyebrow, or voice, or
standards, or stakes, to make people do their bidding, or
part with funds. When things don't work, he simply adjusts
to something that does. I doubt if he's thought through the
mechanics of it any more than I had till recently.
The trainings being an intensified form of the M/K paradigm,
the mixed message was naturally intensified within them. One
need look no further than some of the training rules - 10
seconds, conscious, respect, confidentiality, honesty,
unanimous - to see this:
* No-one was allowed to talk for more than 10 seconds
without permission - though this didn't apply to
* Participants had to be 'conscious'. Yet all participants
remained profoundly unconscious of the manipulation to which
they were being subjected - and even of how the training was
* Participants had to be extremely respectful of each other.
Yet this rule did not apply to Maharaji, who frequently
unleashed obscenities at those who angered him, or at the
* Confidentiality was emphasised over and over, as a way of
creating a 'safe' environment for participants. Yet the
trainings were emotionally unsafe in the extreme - as
evidenced by the fear and hysteria frequently expressed. The
likely real role of instilling confidentiality - to keep
information about M from outsiders - was never divulged. (I
guess it was confidential.)
* Honesty was urged on participants. Yet neither M nor the
trainers were honest with participants as to the real
purpose and modus operandi of the trainings.
* Decisions had to be unanimous. Unless Maharaji disagreed
The ostensible purpose of the trainings was to instil
teamwork - to convert EV from a hierarchical model to a team
model. And there seemed to be a genuine attempt to do this
at times. Yet the take-home message was extremely
hierarchical: Maharaji is the Boss. Anyone who showed signs
of disagreement with that was publicly shredded.
There were sincere if muddled attempts to practise the
teamwork model in the year after the trainings. However the
wheels duly fell off: no-one could ever quite make it work.
This was for the same reason that the wheels have fallen off
every premie enterprise - including the original one, of
lasting happiness: mixed messages don't take root.
It's within me, but I kiss Maharaji's feet. I'm free, but
I'm a servant. I contain the source of all wisdom - yet he
is the real source of all wisdom. On the conscious level, we
were pretty good at rationalising such contradictions. But
on the levels which are important, where people secretly and
quietly grow, the psyche can't make any sense of such
messages. Plants won't mature if you pour on nitrogen and
herbicide at the same time.
My notes from the training make scary reading, now that (two
years later) I've deconstructed the experience. I noted down
various people's statements, motions and amendments
throughout the week - for example:
* I propose that we all apologise to Maharaji. (This was a
popular one, given that the thing was set up so no-one could
do a thing right.)
* I take personal responsibility for failing the rules and
the team. I wish to re-commit to the rules and the team.
* I accept responsibility for the team's failure. I
apologise. I will follow the rules.
* I propose we renew our commitment to the team and the
You get the picture.
Some premie readers will find the comparison with
Chinese-style 're-education' offensive. However I suspect
that those who actually attended trainings will be slower to
take offence. I don't know one of these people who doesn't
have lingering doubts.
To really identify these doubts - to drag them out into the
daylight - would necessitate entering the mental no-go area
wherein Maharaji's behaviour is evaluated like anybody
else's. It's a place to which many are not yet prepared to
Who knows? This may have been one purpose of another of the
training's rules: no dark thoughts.
Maybe a description of the darker side of the trainings will
bring some better definition to this process. (You thought
you'd already read the dark stuff, right?)
The ritual humiliation, victimisation and frequently the
expulsion of the designated 'black sheep' in some (but not
all) trainings has left even some of the staunchest premies
with dark thoughts.
This scapegoat would be picked on the basis a minuscule
personal sin, which was then magnified out of proportion by
M. S/he would be verbally humiliated by Maharaji at some
Most premies are basically nice people. Thus the group -
often around 80 people - would not want to hurt the
scapegoat by supporting M's abuse, but would not want to
offend M either. So everyone would listen to the voluble
obscenities in silence - many weeping.
Everybody realized that there but for a throw of the dice
were they: the scapegoat was picked because s/he was a
personality who would absorb humiliation, not because of
anything s/he had done wrong.
Eventually Maharaji's anger at the scapegoat would prevail
in the room. After much equivocation and many attempts at
compromise, finally someone would stand up and move the
motion that everybody had been dreading: the motion to expel
the scapegoat from the training, and cast him or her into
the outer darkness, where there is wailing and gnashing of
The motion would be duly carried by a shamefaced but
intimidated group. The scapegoat would be sent out of the
room permanently - everybody avoiding his gaze as he
After the expulsion from Paradise, the scapegoat was to be
seen sitting alone and unloved around the campfires, silent
and morose, like a recently disembodied spirit unsure of
whether he was alive or dead. I tried to talk to the
scapegoat from my group one night: he was unable to
To make it worse, this 'spontaneous' collective scenario was
Typically around Day 3, a suitable candidate would be taken
aside during at dinner, and told that something 'really
serious' was going to happen next day - that someone was
going to 'take a fall' in order 'to bring the loyalty issue
to a head'. And that s/he would be a suitable person to get
up at that juncture and organise an apology to Maharaji, and
move the scapegoat's expulsion. (Naturally the word
'scapegoat' wasn't used.)
Sure enough, at one stage during the next day's session, a
member of the group would make the mistake M had been
waiting for - and all hell would break loose.
After a protracted period in which the group failed to expel
the member - which they were clearly required to do - the
pre-chosen person would stand up and say: 'I move that
________ be expelled from the training.'
And so he was.
(Incidentally, the person so expelled in my training was
subsequently flown to the Delhi training free of charge, on
Maharaji's instructions: M is a tyrant/M is
I suspect that pre-chosen people were also employed for
other crucial tasks, such as the Ritual Humiliation of the
Dissenter, and the Begging for Forgiveness Ritual.
During one training, an attendee begged to differ with M on
a particular point. Maharaji screamed that it didn't 'matter
so much as a fart what you think!' After some more
generalised screaming, he stormed out of the room.
When the wailing and gnashing of teeth stopped (that's not
poetic licence this time), a (pre-selected?) person would
step forward, and propose that a group apology be devised.
There would then be endless argument and discussion and
voting re the wording: this could literally go on for two
hours because of the requirement for unanimity on every
word. Finally a card would be drawn up, and signed by
The card would bear such wording as 'We are truly, deeply
sorry', 'We apologise from the bottom of our hearts' and 'We
wholeheartedly beg your forgiveness'. (The word 'pathetic'
barely begins to describe these rituals.)
The card would then be sent to Maharaji, who would - after
an appropriately suspenseful interim - reappear at the
training, and gravely compliment the group on 'finally
Anyway, what was the upshot of all this nonsense?
1. As a result of the trainings, there was a rush of
'trainees' to the doorsteps of physical and even
psychological therapists. Several attendees quit Knowledge
2. Since the trainings tuned everyone up for 'greater and
more focused participation', nearly the entire global
community has 'stepped back' from doing service.
3. Back at Amaroo, because of the trainings' overwhelming
emphasis on 'confidentiality', team meetings became covert
4. Other than for the all-pervasive secrecy, and whilst
teams do exist, the actual teamwork mechanisms instilled by
the trainings are now widely viewed as unworkable.
Ultimately, the trainings were not at all about learning
things like 'respect' and 'consciousness', as the training
rules suggested. If they were, Maharaji himself would have
been frogmarched out the door in the first hour. Nor were
they about learning the techniques and approaches inherent
in the exercises: most of these are now passe in the
corporate world from which they derive.
The trainings were about re-learning and reinforcing deep
psychological attitudes of gratitude and subservience to an
omnipotent father figure, whom many of us encountered in our
impressionable teens or early twenties. Basically, they were
a mid-life re-boot.
For the founders of ex-premie.org (who deserve all the
praise that comes their way) here is what a long-term
insider, and a participant of two trainings, says:
'I have no doubt that the fanatical insistence on
confidentiality which the trainings instilled - absolutely
everything thereafter was 'on a need-to-know basis' - was to
stem the flow of information to ex-premie.org. So all of
that mindfuck was about Maharaji getting scared of the
information being gained by the ex-premie website.'
So, that's all on the trainings.
Whilst I'm fairly confident that everything of a factual
nature in these posts can be supported, I doubt there is any
final 'truth' in the psychological realm. I put all that out
there for what it's worth. For me, the real 'truth' lies in
just being able to think it and say it.
Posts like this one are often initially seen by premies as
'the product of a bitter, twisted mind', a 'wild distortion
of Maharaji's work', 'vengeful, malicious fiction', etc,
etc. Hate, rage and personal attacks (shooting the
messenger) are very much to be expected. (I gather we've
seen some of it here lately.)
In my experience, all this generally continues until one has
had the chance to sit down and discuss the subject
one-to-one. On these occasions - when real communication can
happen - the hostility gradually melts away, concessions are
made, and in some cases the exiting process begins.
So I only regard this stuff as 'information' - useful to
back up statements, and so on - but somewhat less useful
than personal contact when it comes to changing premies'
ideas, which are deeper-entrenched than any of us could have
The post I'd really like to write - if I knew how - is what
caused us to have the experiences we had? I had some
extraordinary experiences in meditation - which I'm fairly
satisfied can be attributed to some rather complex brain
But I also had some extraordinary experiences around
Maharaji - and equally extraordinary ones around Bal Bhagwan
Ji. Others have entered sublime states of consciousness
around Mata Ji, Rasputin and Adolf Hitler. What causes this
I've got a few superficial answers - e.g. projection - but
they don't really satisfy me. Maharaji's cognac intake is
all very interesting, but to me this is the real nub of the
matter. After three decades - all thoughts are welcome.
Best wishes to all,
PS: These posts seem to be circulating through the premie
community somewhat. Those premies who wish to discover more
about their master and his activities might have a look at