|Date: September 16, 1997|
My name is Bob.... and I'm an ex-premie. It took me about three years to get in and finally out of the corrupt and spiritually bankrupt organization called Divine Light Mission. I don't know if it's changed...but the person who heads it, Guru Maharaj Ji is still playing people for the suckers that they are.
I was a premie from April 12, 1972, when I received "knowledge" in Hartford, Connecticut, until I left the Divine Light Mission (DLM) and Guru Maharaj Ji (GM) following the break-up of his family in 1974-75.
I grew up a devote Baptist going to church every Sunday...singing in the choir. My grandfather and uncle had been lay preachers, and my brother became a minister. Yet I decided that Christianity and other trappings of Judeo-Christian religion were not for me after reading Aristotle and other philosophers in junior high. While I attended church with the folks, more and more I yearned for a deeper spiritual understanding of the universe, myself and my place in it. I could not fully accept everything by faith alone and needed a more fundamental understanding of things.
I came to hear about GM through a close friend of mine from college. Ray and I had done a lot of spiritual and personal experimenting: we had plied our brains and systems with LSD scores of times and had visited Meher Baba's retreat in Myrtle Beach, SC. I practiced Transcendental Meditation and was into reading about Zen, Buddhism and other things spiritual.
Ray came down from Hartford to tell me that he had found the answer to a lot of our inner questions. He had found the answer to what we called "IT." So, I went to satsang with him, and something (at the time) did seem to ring true. Whether this was wish fulfillment or whatever, I can't tell you. I went with Ray and his girlfriend and future wife to hear Mata Ji in Hartford. It was an incredible event...one that filled me with peace and joy and most definitely love. This was something I thought was REAL. I went the next day to take knowledge. I was turned down. I went again and Mahatma Rajeshwaranand accepted me and then taught me and the few others in the room the meditation techniques and the Truth (with a capital T) that was GM. Little did I know then what a lot of BS the organization that surrounded the meditation really was....
Following receiving the knowledge, I moved in with three other premies in a small house outside Bridgeport, Connecticut. The four of us turned our living room and home into a devotional center. We had all been former Dead head and our hair was cut short and we wore ties. We put on programs at the University of Bridgeport and at Yale University where people would give satsang, trying to convince others that the "...'Lord of the Universe' has come to us today...."
I had, by this time, dropped out of college, and eventually contacted DLM in Denver, responding to an ad they had for people who had worked in radio, film and audio. I had done radio work in college and had volunteered to join Shri Hans Productions in Los Angeles. Denver gave me its blessings, I packed a duffle bag and a small satchel...and with $50, a one-way bus ticket to L.A. via Denver, and all my earthly possessions went to Los Angeles.
When I got there, no one knew I was coming. Apparently, things had gotten screwed up between Denver and L.A. I remember the person who headed the DLM in Los Angeles, a short, dark-haired guy by the name of David who asked me accusingly who I was. I never felt so out of place and unwelcome in my life.
Luckily, however, I was placed with a premie house...as I could only stay in the ashram a day or two. People in that house and I became close, close friends...whom I have unfortunately lost touch with over the last 10 or 15 years. But in that house we became very close to [?]
Our house was very involved in the Los Angeles DLM. We did flowers arrangements for the ashrams and for the major event when GM and the rest of his family were in town and for lesser events.
DLM's Shri Hans Productions could not use me. Their needs were much more specific for handling film sound synchronization. So, I had to find a job. Because of my background in radio and music, I eventually took a job with a sheet music company in L.A. But that was short-lived because I quit to fly to London in 1973 for Guru Puja. I drove cross-country with two others in a two-door Ford Pinto to get to New York City and the charter Icelandic Airlines 707s that carried us to London.
Coming back from London, I found another job, and our house continued to become more and more involved with GM and DLM. I did grounds keeping and some electrical work at GM's house on Sunset Blvd. We helped renovate a new ashram that DLM bought in mid-town L.A. (seems like it was on Wilshire Blvd. or just off it).
I remember working at the Sunset Blvd. house one day when GM drove in with a bright red Austin Mini Cooper S...a neat little sports car. GM was riding behind the car along Sunset Blvd. in his Rolls Royce, pulled the guy over and offered him cash for the car. The guy sold him the car on the spot.
We all had various jobs we did at GM's house on Sunset. One of the people in our house became involved with Raja Ji's security force, helping to guard GM and the family when they were in town. I did my turn of duty there, standing alert at the end of the drive way...which had a wrought iron fence installed for security reasons.
One of my house mates, Leslie, worked for a business in Santa Monica. She introduced the owner of the company to DLM, and the owner eventually took knowledge. John was much older than any of us baby boomers. Being a successful businessman, John was courted by DLM and introduced to GM. He eventually became very close to GM and the rest of the family.
John is very psychic. He had had dreams just prior to the event at the Houston Astro Dome that a man would try to assassinate GM and the rest of the family. Houston was in the middle of the Bible belt, and we knew that there would be demonstrations by Christians against GM...calling him the anti-Christ and the like.
John could see the man very clearly in his visions. One day he and one of the people from our house went to the Astro Dome. Lonnie could not get through the security, but John simply walked by security like they could not see him...leaving Lonnie outside. John went to an section of seats in the auditorium behind the stage area, the seats that he saw in his dream that the man would shoot a gun from.
John told us all later that a man that fit the description of the person in his dreams appeared. He took one look at John, John looked at him and the man fled with John in pursuit. John cornered the man in a nearby bathroom where they struggled. John was knocked to the floor but not before he had knocked a gun the would-be assassin had out of the man's hands.
John later showed us the revolver. A strange, old revolver that had only five shots and not the normal six.
Following this incident, John later became more and more involved with GM and the rest of the family. The man was never caught, and word of the assassination attempt was kept away from any other premies knowing about it.
Houston's A Bust....It was Downhill After That
Houston was a bust...but we continued to serve. We peddled copies of the DLM magazine And It Is Divine door-to-door in West Los Angeles.
Marolyn Johnson -- some know her as Durga Ji -- lived in our premie house for a while when she was a stewardess (that's what they called them then) with Pacific Southwest Airlines (PSA). She owned a VW minibus that she parked in the driveway and slept in. She would come in and eat with us and used the bathroom. Though she lived out of her VW. She really was very much a sexy, earth mother. She wore very long flowing dresses....picture her twirling at a Greatful Dead show and you get the picture.
We called Marolyn "Mini Corn" because of a nick name given to her by her niece. We believed she seduced the GM and then black mailed him into marrying him. Another reason for him marrying her was so that he could become a U.S. citizen and be declared legally beyond the influences of his mother.
This was in-keeping with other DLM-arranged marriages. A number of Americans, both men and women, married foreign-born premies so that the foreign premies could become legal U.S. citizens. Some of these marriages were in name only, the husband and wife never having consummated their marriage.
When GM and Marolyn married, all hell broke loose.
During this time, I had moved into my own apartment in Venice and became friends with members of Blue Aquarius....Bhole Ji's jazz big band. Some of the members were living in apartments in Venice, but Bhole Ji and other band members were renting a recording studio in Malibu called Shangri La. The place had separate motel-like cabins, but there were not enough to house all the band members.
When the split occurred, Bhole Ji and Bal Bhagwan Ji sided with Mata Ji against GM and Raja Ji. Mata Ji declared that GM had been seduced by maya and had lost his divine spark.
So crazy was it that Raja Ji's security team swooped down on Bhole Ji and the band in Malibu with guns and tire irons. Luckily no one, to my recollection, was hurt. But the band members split very quickly....this was during the time that the Paul McCartney album and song "Band on the Run" was popular...it was number one on the charts in May 1974...so it was totally appropriate. The band left in a couple of cars and vans and split for Oregon and the Crater Lake area.
Just prior to the split, people who I had lived with in the premie house and I had become aware of a lot of goings on behind the scenes that were not appropriate. It was common knowledge, for example, that GM's first U.S. visit was financed by a hashish deal that premies had made. Reportedly, an entire table of carved hashish -- that was shellacked to look like wood -- was smuggled in, then broken apart and sold to finance the place trip for GM and some of his Mahatmas. Most of us being ex-hippies shrugged our shoulders as the idea of good smoke financing GM's visit.
But there were other things that were even more disturbing that eventually caused us to leave the DLM.
John had secretly taped recorded some conversations that he heard over the phone at GM's Sunset Blvd. house. There was a five-button phone...and when GM went into another room to take calls, John secretly tape recorded some of GM's private conversations from the front sitting room.
One of these calls included GM talking about a mahatma that had raped a woman at an ashram in the East Coast of the U.S. Another call was GM talking about smuggling money in a suitcase into the U.S. over the Canadian border to support his now growing extravagant lifestyle. Him saying that he needed the money....
John brought those tapes back to us and played them for us, and we just flipped out. We could not believe the extent of the corruption that had infiltrated the Divine Light Mission. The marriage to Marolyn Johnson was the straw the broke the camel's back.
We wrote a letter from us concerned premies and mailed to ashrams world wide, basically outlining the facts that things were not as they appeared. This was not "lila" as some would called it, but it was downright criminal activity that was occurring. We now know that this letter never made it to the premies in the ashrams.
We were literally excommunicated, but we had all decided to leave DLM, to support Mata Ji, Bal Bhagwan Ji and Bhole Ji . . . but most definitely to leave DLM.
John continued to work with Mata Ji and the rest of the family....helping to get them safely out of the country. We met with Bal Bhagwan Ji and Bhole Ji a couple of times...wtih members of the band.
But my friends and I eventually parted DLM and even the rest of the hold family. We lived with each other on and off in shared homes and apartments for many years....but we eventually all have gone our separate ways.
I became totally disillusioned in organized religion that I've become probably more an atheist or at least an agnostic. I guess my spiritual beliefs system is closest now to the later Joseph Campbell...and am "Following My (OWN) Bliss."
t wasn't until I was doing some Web surfing and put a search of Guru Maharaj Ji into an Internet search engine that I came across the ex-premie.org Web site. I hope that my story, especially the things in the last few months during the break up and split, will be enlightening to current premies and ex-premies alike.
I think GM believed himself to be Lord of the Universe. We premies fed that diillusioned belief. This is a man (only a man) with a huge ego that needed stroking. Who had a lust for fast cars and many things of THIS world. This was the basis by which we gave up literally everything to follow him. It was illusion....we saw only one side. What most premies didn't see was the lying, the subtrifuge, the criminal on-goings behind the scenes. This was worse than the unravelling of Jim and Tammy Fay Baker to me. At least Baker was only a preacher. GM thought himself the Sat Guru, an incarnation of Krishna, the Perfect Master. But in the end, he was just like any one of us....and certainly he is no God, big "G" or little 'g."
This has all been interesting, remembering. Cathartic is the word for it. It has been a "long strange trip" for me. But I've moved on.....