Interview with an Ex-Instructor

For those that don't know, or have been away from Maharaji and his organization for some years, instructors are Maharaji's highest ranking followers. Previously called mahatmas, and then called initiators, they were allowed to give Knowledge to aspirants - until Maharaji decided that should impart the four meditation techniques himself.

This ex-instructor contacted us in September 1997 offering to help by providing us with inside information. The interview was conducted by Jim Heller.

Jim: Why remain anonymous?

Ex: To tell you the truth, I don't know exactly why I want to keep anonymous for the moment. It's a mixed feeling. It's true that I still get something from whatever I have been feeling through K for 25 years. I imagine it will take time for me to find a new balance. I'm concerned about the kind of reaction that most of the people I know in that small world of K will have, and that might make me feel more lonely than I feel now. They will probably be afraid of talking to me.

Some of these people were friends of mine before I had K, some of them became friends after. They know more or less what my feeling is regarding all this, and we get to talk about it from time to time, which never happened before for any of them. I think it will have some results, even though it might take some time.

It took me more than a year between the moment I started to really question all this and the moment I started feeling what I feel. When you start thinking and talking about things you did not dare to bring to your consciousness before, because you felt you were crazy or the only one to think like that with whatever guilt feelings you had towards M, something starts to happen consciously.

There has already been one result: one of my friends to whom I gave a copy of Bob Mishler's interview plus some interesting pages that I found on your site, and some conversations with him, helped him to resign: he was a key member of EV. He does not question at all what he is feeling inside of him and keeps meditating, but he understood that he was involved in something that has nothing spiritual at all, that was harmful for him and his family, and that M and many people around him have a double language.

Jim: I don't have to tell you how invaluable your help is. I DO want to thank you, however, for writing with candor, style and "humor". Like they say, living well is the best revenge. A number of other former devotees who had high status in the organization have just turned their back on it all and "that's that." I've communicated with a couple who just don't want to be bothered. THEY'VE seen enough at close quarters to know how misguided our devotion was. THEY'RE clear on Maharaji's duplicity. What's it to them if others flounder in his ocean of misinformation? I think that kind of indifference is wrong and commend you again for taking the high road.

Ex: I think I can understand the people who don't want to talk about all this. As long as they won't realize that it feels better to talk about it than not doing it, they won't. They might never evolve from that point. What could maybe help them is that they can see somewhere that people like you and me express and dare to write and say openly what they also know and think. Getting in touch with people like them could also help. I think it will happen after some time.

Jim: So what all can be done? I wonder if you know other disillusioned initiators and if you'd consider encouraging their participation if you haven't already? Every voice seems to make a difference. In the meantime, I really enjoyed your latest about the early stages of entrapment.

Ex: It is very likely that some other ex-instructors have turned away. I know some who did a long time ago, they also had to go through a psychotherapy for some years. Maybe you could ask openly for cooperation of ex-instructors/initiators, saying that you already have some. We will make a club .... We could also get to elaborate something more detailed together: I'm not sure that I'm totally neutral and exhaustive in what I say. Working with other people who went through the same thing could probably be more efficient. Maybe you could make some kind of private conference on your web-site to openly discuss some topics. It would be up to you do decide who cooperates with whom .... maybe you have some ideas of your own. You could also ask for cooperation of ex-instructors, as some might visit your site.

Jim: When was the last time you had contact with Maharaji? Yesterday? Ten years ago? What was that like?

Ex: The last things I know for sure about M is now some months old: he had a private conference in Amaroo last winter with all the big shots of EV, and I heard that he was very upset with them, like he often is privately with organizers. I think he holds them responsible for his own personal and financial problems, and the for fact that K is not spread like he thinks it should be in his megalomaniac dreams. I have never attended a meeting or a conference with him where he shows he's happy, except when he has a dinner or a party immediately after a conference - he is then transformed by all the love that people express to him - and when he is drunk.

During that one week conference in Amaroo there were two professionals organizing some kind of a group dynamic work done. I've already been through that kind of group dynamic, maybe you have too. The final result was that he felt (and they probably also did) that all of them were more or less serious jerks, and that they should all receive psychotherapy! I am laughing when I think about it. They may well have decided to have psychotherapy. What will be the result? I don't know. Raja ji went (still going, I don't know) to a psychoanalyst for a while. He even had to go to a second one (at the same time) to speak about what he spoke with the first one. He's still M's ambassador. How sincere, I don't know.

Jim: Do you think he believes any of his own bullshit? Do you think you have any sort of solid read of his personality? Whatever, I'm all ears.

Ex: He does practice meditation. Maybe he didn't 20 years ago, and when he was a teenager. He is absolutely convinced of his godly/divine nature and powers. He certainly gave darshan (toe-kissing) to everybody in Amaroo, which showed that his Assistant was lying when she said in that Australian newspaper that the personality cult had ended. But he has a big problem, because he understands that as soon as people get close to him for a while, they see through all the bullshit.

His valet is homosexual (M sometimes made jokes about it), and I am convinced that's why he has been with him for so long: he is completely in love with him. Same thing with people close to him all the time. He probably has problems with normal/regular/standard married people. Most of the people around him, as far as I know, are quite strange, even though some of them have very good social positions and are very rich. His devotees have a crazy love for him as long as they are not too close.

He also has a problem, because there are some times where he has to be with people that have nothing to do with what he thinks he is: trainings for his flying license, meetings for parents at school, etc. a few things that he can't avoid. It is very difficult for him to behave normally, and he looks very shy in these occasions.

He also has to face the fact that even premies don't behave the way he would like them to behave. If they behave as if he's God, lots of crazy things happen And if they behave like knowledge was some kind of philosophy, then that devotion he expects tends to disappear, and he doesn't feel the expression of love he expects.

He gets his instructors to talk to premies and explain how to behave the way he expects them to behave: to have devotion, but keep it in their heart. To behave as if it was a philosophy. Then he gives them some rare occasions for darshan, like recently, so that premies feel that the door is not closed: he calls this 'longing'. Or he let them know that if they want to express their devotion, they can write him and/or send him a gift (preferably a check).

All these consequences are very frustrating for him. I imagine he uses meditation to go beyond that frustration: after all this is what meditation can be used for - escaping your problems. He also feels a lot of frustration because he can't achieve his megalomaniac dreams (lack of money, and help, because sane premies able to work with him are not that common - if they exist at all!).

The cost of operating his Gulf Stream 4 is enormous. He didn't pay in cash. He paid part of it with whatever he got from the selling of the previous jet (Challenger), and he has loans for whatever is left. As he doesn't get monthly enough money from Elan Vital Foundation, they have to borrow even more money, and it's an endless gap. It might very turn to a disaster, because the guys in charge of finance are not realistic at all and don't dare to say that something is impossible. He didn't tour during the first months of 97 because of lack of money.

He also has other very costly projects that he might start, or already started; land in US and in Europe, sending his videos via satellite to local EVs, Knowledge Centers in many countries. I imagine that the difficulties involved in implementing his dreams create even more frustration for him. As he keeps saying and giving details about what his dream are, organizers around him try to involve groups of premies in these crazy projects, which of course lead to lots of problems.

I don't think he could lead groups of premies to suicide like what happened with some fanatic groups. I would rather think that he would retire or appear less and less if he has to face too much difficulties. He could very well stay in his residence in Delhi or in Amaroo, which he does from time to time, for a longer periods, waiting for money or problems to be solved by some devoted persons.

When there was a money shortage in the beginning of 97, he retired for about a month to Amaroo: some lucky people got to see him there, but that was all he did. Last year he did the same in Delhi. Sometimes he doesn't move from Malibu. Premies call this a 'Lila'. He preserves his image this way, and when things go better, he shows up as if nothing had happened.

My feeling is that he could be a potential suicide risk himself. This is probably why he eats and drinks so much. Reaction to stress can be of two kinds: creative activities directed towards life but also destructive activities turned to death. If things go really bad for him, I think he would probably increase this negative trend. It's difficult to predict.

Jim: I'd love to hear all and everything you've got to tell. Big stuff, little stuff. What was it like thinking you were a finger on the hand of God? Do you still believe in God at all?

Ex: This is a big issue, and everybody seem to fall in that trap, Big M being the first one! As an instructor, initiator, whatever, I have been confronted with those feelings right from the beginning. At first, during the instructor's trainings you feel very grateful for all this special care from M, and all the good and blissful feelings you can feel ('experience') in his presence during the one week 'training', and during conferences, etc.

You don't question that feeling too much at that time. M also says plenty of things about it. If you listen to what he says, you can really be persuaded that something like 'grace' really exists. This is not true. These feelings have nothing to do with him, nor with God or any divine grace.

When you go back to your community after your training, and you become one of M's instructors, premies start to change their attitude towards you. Many of them start having a respect and a reverence they did not have before and that they don't have in their normal relationships. And you automatically respond to that game. In India people bow down in front of you, and they may even kiss your feet. That happened to me quite a few time.

These kind of exchanges makes you feel very good, of course. This is a normal reaction for any animal, and a human being is a very sophisticated one! If you pet your dog, your cat or your cow, they will have a special attitude towards you because they 'feel' something for you. The more you take care of them, the more they usually respond to it. Many times the pets get completly enslaved in that relationship. Maybe that's why so many people have pets. It's a wonderful feeling, this beautiful 'exchange'. And you and your pet may be trapped in that relationship. The more you'll pet your cat, the more he will be loving towards you, and that can be an endless game. It is the same way with human beings, except that it is much more sophisticated.

But M's teaching tells you that the affection and the respect that people show you is grace, that it belongs to him, and that you have to turn it back to him. So you don't play with what does not belong to you. You are in a place where you can be a medium for that exchange, and you're not supposed to think more about it. You don't question it. Because it feels good to be loved, to be respected, to be taken care of, and to enjoy all the advantages of the position that you have.

All human beings get to experience feelings of sympathy, appreciation, gratefulness, and so forth; often for the people taking care of then as children, or for people around them as they grow older. You will sometimes have deeper emotions, such as when you fall in love, or when something very important happens for you, etc. This is very simple and basic psychology, everybody usually has enough common sense to understand these feelings.

But there are some situations where you might lose your common sense. I guess this has happened to everyone: you fall in love, and you love that person so much that everything about them is wonderful. This is exactly what M is expecting from you and it is what people will feel when they are with you.

This feeling is what some premies will try to find and to protect with a position in Maharaji's organization. I was lucky enough not to be trapped too much in this, because I already had a high position in society, and I knew what it was like to be respected. It always made me laugh somehow and I never took it too seriously. My parents were also in high social positions, and I know the whole story about it, all the games, I please you and you please me, etc. I've never liked these games too much. It keeps you away from the simple human relationships I appreciate the most. I had the chance to understand that when I was young.

I understand people playing these games very well. M is one of them, for obvious reasons. Everybody would like to be worshipped! He found a good job, he applies a well known old Indian recipe. According to Scott, there are about 30 gurus playing that particular game these days and they makes a good living. And as an instructor or a premie in a 'high' position in Maharaji's organization, you can become part of that game.

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