Journeys: Jim Heller

Date: March 13, 1997

Heller, Jim. Former Canadian ashram premie. Currently practicing law in Victoria, B.C., Canada (also involved in the formulation of this web page set.)

If you've been looking up Maharaji (once Maharaj Ji) on the net, you're probably already way familiar with me. I started posting questions and comments about Maharaji on about 9 months ago and have gotten completey preoccupied with this shit. I warn you! It's like the O.J. criminal trial, but with no resolution. Or maybe it's like a siege. How long can someone spend outside the castle walls waiting for the drawbridge to open? That's a good question and one I'm asking myself a lot lately.

You see, I followed Maharaji from April 1974 until sometime in 1981. Most of that time I lived in various Canadian ashrams. I finally moved out and down to the states in 1981 and started weaning myself off Maharaji around then. Now I'm a criminal lawyer in Victoria, B.C. (Canada) and play guitar in a band called Gravel.

Here's how I look at it. Maharaji's followers will try to obscure the historical record but in fact it's pretty clear. Maharaji came to the west as a young kid guru claiming he was God and promising to save the planet. Anyone who says otherwise is either fooling themselves or you. All you have to do is check out Maharaji's little 'red book' from that era - his 'authentic authorized' story, Who is Guru Maharaj Ji?. Look at the cover which shouts out Maharaji's promise to bring peace to the world and brags about how more than six million of his followers claim that he's the greatest incarnation of God to ever trod the planet. So what am I so worked up over? As far as I'm concerned, those are pretty big words. I mean this is laughable, right? How much bigger can a guy talk? Greatest incarnation of God ? Promise to bring peace to the world? Give me a break.

Anyways, and this is what pisses me off, Maharaji won't deal with all that earlier stuff. I knew people that literally killed themselves because of him. Yet he lacks the common human decency to own up to anything. Worse, his followers all cover for him as if there's nothing to account for. Who would have ever imagined this? That some kid would claim to be god and get a whole lot of people to completely follow him, lock, stock and barrel, and that years later he blithely pretends he never did that. It's such a cliche but here, here at last, you have to admit is something MUCH stranger than fiction.

I'm hoping that Maharaji's new followers will find this kind of commentary and force Maharaji to explain, if he can, what his past was all about. The entire transcript of Bob Mishler's 1979 Denver radio interview is here in this web page set for the pickings, thanks to David Stirling, over on the newsgroup. You can read it by clicking here.

Despite how much credence one thinks Mishler deserved, I believe that this transcript makes a provocative addition to this web page set. Oh, sorry, if you didn't know, Mishler was the president of Maharaji's first organization, Divine Light Mission, for its first five years. He gave what I think is a very thoughtful and apparently honest radio interview just after leaving Maharaji in 1977. In it, he explains, among other things, how Maharaji 'stole' the crown from his brother (who later sued him for it back), how Maharaji consciously chose to perpetuate the God thing because he was afraid of losing his donation-based income and how he was an alcoholic as a teenage Lord of the Universe.

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