Journeys: Hannah

Date: January 18, 2006
Email: hannahdaviesdee{at}

I am not an ex-premie. But the daughter of an ex-premie.

One of my earliest memories is lying in my parents bed staring up at a framed picture of Guru Maharaji. He was sitting on a podium with flowers around his neck. He has been a looming presence throughout my entire childhood and I am now in the process of realising that this has got to have had some effect on me. I am a cult kid. Of course like any member of a cult I didnt realise this until I was old enough to be away from it. I look back at my formative years and well as being amused by all the self righteous adults that surrounded and moulded me I also feel very angry. I think premies can be very manipulative and dangerous people. They all secretly want to be a Guru too.

I was always expected to receive knowledge and even attended many aspirant meetings and international events. Funny how they always seemed to be co-ordinated with family holidays. Like we had this silent family member who didn't even know our names. My mother used to tell me stories of the Guru like fairy tales and I was definitely lulled to sleep to the songs of praise that no one seems to remember these days. 'You are my Mother, you are my Father, Oh Guru Maharaji you are everything.' Something along those lines. I remember feeling very small and a bit disposable when I heard those words. Replacable.

My Dad used to jaunt off to see his 'Teacher' and get incredibly excited but wouldn't elaborate on what he actually taught him. Sometimes he would take me to see a video and I would feel really special to stay out late with Dad, and all the premies there would smile at me and treat me like I was special. I bet that's what Maharaji felt like when he was a little boy, I thought. But then I'd sit there and and feel terribly guilty because I had doubt. I remember one teaching about a little bird who wanted to be free but he was caged. Eventually he got let out but he was still so preoccupied with the concept of being free that he couldn't actually enjoy the feeling of being free. Maharaji said that bird wasn't really free. He condemned that bird, but I quite liked him. No wonder, I thought, being in a cage all that time must be horrid. It will just take some getting used to being free thatís all. By then I'd drifted and missed the moral and felt bad. The drift was- conceptual thought is bad and feeling is good. As a result throughout my adolescence I learned to fear my own common sense and developing critical voice and then feel inferior because I hadn't experienced bliss and blame myself. I would inwardly question the Master and outwardly defend him so as not to be found out when non Divine Light people criticised. Sometimes I would pretend he didnt exist at all so that I could be a normal kid. 'Oh yeah, my Dads having a nap so we have to be quiet' to 'straight' friends that came round. I could hardly tell them he had a blanket over his head to increase his divine light experience.

My friend at school was from a family of buddhists and I just couldn't see why our God was more superior to hers. If anything I found hers more convincing because you couldn't actually see him. He didn't sit on a stage or star in his own videos or fly aeroplanes. Even at the tender age of 8 I could see that a man who was trying to save the human race and deliver peace to the world through self sacrifice, celibacy and other nonsensical ashram antics shouldnít be flying planes on his day off. He sounded more like Rupert the bear to me. I asked Mum once, 'If he gives out his knowledge for free, then how has he got a plane?' She mumbled something about donations and then said that she thought Maharaji could do whatever he liked. I wasn't so sure but listened anyway as she told me about the time she covered his car in daisies with a proud innane grin on her face. I didnít bother to ask why.

Friends my own age have received knowledge and joined the club and sometimes I bump into them and other old family friends that talk to me knowingly as if I'm one of them and I want to laugh. 'Can you not see? You're being had! He's playing on your insecurities and none of you are being honest about how you feel.

I have no problem with people wanting to get in touch with their inner joy, I think that meditation is a valid and useful practice, but I think the whole premie thing unnerves me.

If that which we seek is truly within ourselves then why do we have to spend our life savings on travelling thousands of miles every year to see someone who doesnít even know we exist? If Knowledge truly is a gift then why do we have to give something in return? Surely its better to take all that love and dedication and turn it in on ourselves? That is true devotion.

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