Videos: A Review

Maharaji's propagation medium of choice these days is videotape. These videos are taped at his programs, translated into other languages, and then sold back to his followers at $16 (US) apiece. Videos provide him both with a source of income and with complete control over what information is, and isn't, freely available to both aspirants and followers. You can see for yourself how videos are graded by content by clicking here.

Many ex's still have some of the tapes that they purchased in the past. The video review on this page was posted in our Forum by one such ex-premie.

I re-watched a combination of two videos of Guru Maharaj Ji, or Maharaji, last night, and again, it was eerily familiar. I probably have watched and listened to thousands of hours of Maharaji's satsangs, or speeches, over the 10 years I was a premie.

The first segment started out with a sequence of a flower (undoubtedly a lotus) opening, first in black and white, and then in color, with new age music in the background. The rest of the video consisted of shots of clouds and a bird flying and with Maharaji walking, with the video ALWAYS in slow motion and always shot on his back.

Occasionally, his squeaky voice would interrupt the music to talk about "that place," "that love," and "that joy." I got the impression that showing him walk in real time would be less "spiritual," and it appeared that the back shots were a compromise: his big ass was considered less unflattering than his protruding gut, which did, nevertheless, warrant a side shot near the end.

Speaking-wise, he still talks very, very slowly, and still basically says the same things over and over. For example, he might say: "That love is within you" (long pause). Then he repeats: "Within you" (long pause). Then he turns it around: "It is YOU it is within" (long pause). Then he repeats with another emphasis: "It is WITHIN you" (long pause). Then he repeats again: "It is within you ALL the time" (long pause). Repeats: "ALL the time" (long pause). "It has never NOT been within you all the time" (long pause).

Well, anyway, you get the idea. This goes on for most of his speech and such sequences usually end with the words, rising even higher in pitch: "...and it's so beautiful". Accordingly, he says very, very, little, very, very, slowly with a lot of pauses, and no "ums" or "ahs," and so what he says sounds profound, or something that might come from "the Master." (In this video, he referred to himself as "The Master". He did not use the word "perfect" in connection with "the master," but, by using the word "the" - as opposed to "a" - he has much the same effect.) He said a total of about twenty or fewer statements throughout his speech, and for each one, he paused, repeated, paused, re-stated, paused, re-emphasized, paused, repeated.

That was basically it. That, and talking about the soap operas he used to watch "every day" until he got bored, and a television commerical he saw for popcorn that refelected, he thought, the false concepts people have about heaven which they get from religions, which he denigrated as the beliefs of dead perfect masters.

And that's also how I always remembered him speaking at programs. He apparently learned that speaking process as a young "perfect master," or as a "perfect-master-in-training," and he appears to have not wavered from it, as far as I can tell. As for the minuscule "content" in what he says, he still basically says that you experience a "beautiful place" when you meditate on your breath, and that you should do that as much as possible.

But there is apparently a big contradiction here. He says it is extremely easy to do this, and it is so pleasurable and beautiful, but we get easily distracted, even from something so plesurable and beautiful, and so it is very hard to do this. So, we have to turn to "The Master" to help us. So, therefore, we REALLY need HIM -- (to do WHAT is never really said).

He did not say, like he used to all the time, that we should PRAY to him for his "grace" to be able to do this, but since he didn't otherwise say how HE fit in, except as an object of devotion, I think the praying and grace parts are implied. In fact, he said that one should do this to the exclusion of other things.

He said: "why would people want to get involved with other things when there is something so beautiful inside?" Well, probably because there is other stuff to do. But also, in my experience, Maharaji is a poor example of following this guideline - getting "involved" in things as petty as soap operas, cars, planes, expensive clothes, flying kites and watching TV.

By my experience is also that many premies follow his example and do almost zero to help others or the world. They tend, as he suggests, to focus ONLY on themselves and THEIR experience, and, of course, on Maharaji, with justification from him as to why that is okay. It is also clear from the video that Maharaji and a lot of the premies are still VERY much into devotion to, and worship of, Maharaji.

Except I noticed that what Maharaji used to call "devotion," he now calls "gratitude." He used to say that when you receive knowledge from Maharaji, you don't get the COMPLETE and REAL experience until you DEVOTE (and SURRENDER) yourself 100% to him. Only then do you get the COMPLETE experience of the "so beautiful" knowledge. He even went through a period when he hardly talked about KNOWLEDGE, and only talked about the path of DEVOTION which required SURRENDER to him. Now he says that you receive knowledge from "The Master" and then you express "GRATITUDE" (to him) and that gives you a more complete experience of knowledge.

The equivalence of these two terms is emphasized by the songs sung to Maharaji by the premies during the program, all but one of which premies were singing to him 15 or 20 years ago during his blatant "devotion and surrender" period.

One such song is that One Fountation number that goes:

"please, please, please teach me devotion.
Oh Maharaji, please, please, please, I'm ready to start.
He is pure and his love is deeper than the ocean."

Another song is even older, but one word has been changed: the word "satguru" has been changed to "maharaji," apparently in line with the obliteration of the word "guru" everywhere, including in Mahraji's name. It goes, in part:

"He's our own Maharaji (satguru) and we love him.
He is brighter than a thousand seas shining in the sun.
He is pure and fresh as the early morning dew.
He is lila, lila, and his game has just begun.
We are streams flowing down to his ocean.
And all we feel for him is pure devotion."

So, get the idea? Maharaji doesn't use the word "devotion" as much anymore, but it's still the basic principle of his trip that you don't really get what he offers, unless you have devotion (aka gratitude) to him. Some things don't change, just the window-dressing does.

Kim did get to sing the lead on "When Will I Dance With You Again," that reggae song we also sang to him 20 years ago. She sang for awhile and the premies stood and waived their arms in the air and pleaded with Maharaji to dance, and he acted coy for awhile and then he stood up, threw his hands up in the air, and did a very awkward, 30-second, "dance." The premies in the half-empty hall went ape-shit just like they used to. Then he waddled off the stage.

A pan of the audience showed some people crying with their faces in their hands. My basic impression is that he is trying in some limited ways to be more relatable by not wearing crowns or krishna costumes, and he didn't sit on a throne like he used to (although he still sat in the middle of the stage on a dais, but the chair did not have a high back on it like a throne). He also did not call himself "perfect" or use words like "devotion," and he didn't say SURRENDER even once, which was a real mantra of his for years.

But the basic idea is still the same: "I am THE MASTER and you are not. You are the devotees and you are somewhat less stupid than most of the rest of the people in the world, who are even more stupid than you because they do not recognize me for what I am, which is THE (only) (PERFECT) MASTER, and you should recognize me, receive knowledge and have ETERNAL GRATITUDE (aka "devotion") to me, or you will not experience the true, complete, "so beautiful" love within, inside, you. And, of course, "gratitude/devotion" can be demonstrated by coming to programs, kissing my feet, buying videos, sending money, and responding to "fund-raisers" for various things that I want."

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