Journeys: Jennifer

Date: July 10, 2000

In 1972, I was nine years old. I believe this was around the time my motherís younger sister Susie and her husband Peter became premies. I donít know exactly when or how they heard about Maharaji. After my aunt became a premie, Maharaji was part of who she was. She was an extremely devoted and sincere premie. All she wanted was to be with Maharaji, to see and listen to him, etc. Peter eventually left her.

My aunt Susie was one of my favorite people. She was very creative, an artist, writer and musician (she played the harp). She used to write and illustrate incredible little books for her son Aeron and my sisters and I. She even made a childrenís board game for us once. She was a sweet, kind and gentle person to us and most of all, she was a lot of fun to be with. Every time we visited or spoke for the years after she became a premie, Maharaji became a focus of our interactions.

Because she was so much fun, our family wanted to do things with her, to visit her or have her visit us. She used to say, "You can make all the plans in the world, but they wonít always work out." She didnít have a lot of money to travel to see us either. But, when Maharaji had a festival, she went to see him. It was quite obvious that he was the most important thing in her life.

My Aunt used to live on Cape Cod. Every summer we used to visit my grandmother there and that is when we would see Susie, too. Susie lived in a tiny house set back in the pines near the beach in Dennisport, close to my grandmotherís house. Her home was full of photos of Guru Maharaji. I remember one dried flower wreath with Maharajiís photo set inside and also a wedding photo of Marolyn and Maharaji. Susie used to point to Marolyn and say, "Isnít she beautiful?" In fact, with Susie, everything having to do with Maharaji was "beautiful."

There were baragons lying around in the bedrooms, lots of nice premies coming in and out of the house, and all kinds of music for the guru played as well as Crosby Stills Nash and Young, Cat Stevens, etc. We went to the beach with premies, ate with them, hung out with them and sometimes spent the night with my Aunt. Premies were so nice, so gentle and peaceful. I loved being around them, listening to their ideas about life and God. There was one premie in particular I really liked named Kenny.

Susie told me not to go into the bedrooms of her house when a premie was in there with the door shut. I didnít know what they were doing in there, but knew it was secret. Later, I learned that they were meditating, and I was told that I could not watch because the meditation techniques were secret, whatever that meant.

My Aunt told me that this Knowledge that the guru had shown to her was the same knowledge that Jesus had come to teach. She said that when you meditated, you saw the "light" that Jesus talked about in the Bible. She said to me, "You will try drugs and alcohol to get high, but you can never get as high as you can with this knowledge that Maharaji can give you." I was young and she was an older authority figure and family member whom I loved and respected.

My parents hadnít told me very much about their own personal beliefs, but we had been to church off and on. I had also been to bible school in our neighborhood where I heard that Jesus was supposed to be our savior. I thought it was weird to worship a dead person from thousands of years ago. The eastern ideas of the premie "religion" with a live master seemed to make more sense to me.

When my Aunt and Uncle split up, Susie started to live with another premie, the one I liked named Kenny. They later had a baby that Susie named Heather. Maharaji re-named her Gita. Susie said she was honored that Maharaji had re-named her baby.

One summer Susie and Ken took me to hear satsang in Hyannis, another town on the Cape. I remember sitting on the floor in a large room. I listened as people told how wonderful their experience with knowledge was. They all kept saying they couldnít describe it, but that it was the greatest thing ever. It sounded really cool. Other times with Susie, we watched movies of the Guru speaking, the guru giving Holi , etc.

Eventually, I got to the point where I wanted to know what knowledge was very badly. I even wrote letters to Maharaji asking for knowledge. I loved premies and wanted to be one, too. Susie let me listen to tapes of festivals where Maharaji was speaking. I also got to read some copies of "And it is Divine" and I read the book "Who is Guru Maharaji" (still have it). She took me to the houses of her premie friends, where I learned about the three principles of following Maharaji: service, satsang and meditation. My aunt told me about ashrams where people went to go live and follow
Maharaji by giving up their wordly possessions and just experiencing these three priciples daily. I understood that my Aunt wanted to go into an ashram, but couldnít because she had a family.

One year for my birthday, my Aunt sent me a long white dress she had worn when she "went to see" Maharaji. She told me Maharaj had looked at her with love in his eyes when she wore that dress. I think now that this was something she wore while giving darshan.

My Aunt, Ken and Aeron (Susieís son) were always going to programs to see Maharaji. They had little to no money, but Susie always had faith that the guru would some how manage to get them there, by his grace. She told me that Maharaji liked to play "little tricks" on them to get their head straight about what was important. He would test her to see if they could overcome the odds and get to see him. These tests were called his "lila". Somehow, they managed to get to a lot of festivals, even if they didnít have any money. My aunt used to ask us to go to festivals with her, but my parents always said, "No."

My mother realized that I had accepted the premie belief system and she was worried. She stopped allowing me to see my Aunt or to go to her house. I remember being very angry with my mother and my grandmother for not allowing me to be with my Aunt. There was a big family discussion. Gradually, every thing blew over and, in time I was allowed to see my Aunt again. After that, I was confused about the whole Maharaji experience. On one hand, I thought it was cool, because someone I loved was into it. On the other hand, my parents, whom I also loved and respected, were telling me it was not a good thing.

Eventually, I saw things for myself that led me to believe my parents were correct about Divine Light Mission. One example of this was when Maharaji closed the ashrams and became a bit less public. My Aunt told me Maharajiís explanation for this and it didnít make any sense to me. I loved Susie and respected her right to have her own beliefs. After a while, I remember feeling uncomfortable when she would discuss Maharaji with me. By this time, I was a teenager, and more interested in boys than Maharaji anyway.

My Aunt killed herself in October of 1983. She had been ill for quite some time, but I do not know the details of her physical symptoms. My grandmother told me that she called premies near Maharaji to try to speak to him while she was ill, but that he never returned her calls. Finally she was so ill, that she was admitted to a hospital for depression and was supposed to be under suicide watch. She managed to get out of the hospital and commit suicide. My grandmother sued the hospital and won a very small settlement for Susieís children. The price tag put on my Auntís life at the trial was an extremely low figure.

I was in college when I got the call from my mother that my aunt was dead. I was very sad. She had left these long suicide letters asking family members to please promise to see Maharaji one time because he was so incredible. It was very confusing to me because if this Maharaji had truly made her happy, why did she commit suicide? Why didnít she want to live if she had the knowledge that satisfied all longing, as she had once told me? I didnít even have that, yet I WAS happy. She left a 15 year old son and a three year old daughter. How could she leave them? There will never be any
answers for any of it.

Later, after I got married, I wanted to find out about knowledge again. I had spiritual issues that were still unresolved. Itís kind of embarrassing now to realize that I still wanted to know about knowledge despite my Auntís death. Even though I was interested, I was pretty confused about Maharaji himself. I wanted him to have something real, even though, to my rational mind, everything about him seemed wrong. He seemed to me the total opposite of someone who was spiritually realized.

I told Ken that I was interested in knowledge. He gave me some names to call and was very nice to me about the whole thing. To make a long story, short, I came across some fishy things and dead ends and that was enough for me. This makes me believe that more than wanting knowledge, what I really wanted was to resolve my feelings about my whole experience with Divine Light Mission. When I found and read about the journeys of the people here, things became a lot clearer to me.

I still love Ken a lot. If premies are happy, thatís fine with me. I do find fault with Maharaji for making false statements about being divine that have led to disillusionment for so many people. I feel that I could include my Aunt as one of the disillusioned. I do not believe that Maharaji is responsible for her death, but his trip promised to fulfill her longings, and it certainly didnít.

One reason I am writing this journey is to see if anyone, premie or ex-premie from Cape Cod, Massachusetts or Boulder, Colorado has any fond memories about my Aunt Susie that they might like to share. I would also like to touch base with any premies or ex-premies from that area who knew her. Susie had one friend named Margaret that she was close to and another friend named Rebecca. I would love to hear from either of these girls. Also, there were two young premies, a brother and sister, who lived across the street from Susie named Jack and Julie H. and Iíd like to know where they are now.

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