The Knowledge Session
The Indian Background Index

Mahatma Guru Charananand

Knowledge Sessions

in the70's & early 80's


Gyan Yoganand

Some 'Great Souls' of the 70s.

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When Maharaji began promoting his "Knowledge" (meditation techniques) in the West, he was helped by dozens of East Indian mahatmas. These mahatmas were Indian ashram premies to whom Maharaji had given the "agya" (order) to :

- speak at public programs (read some mahatmas' satsang),
- administer the
Western ashrams,
- and to teach the Knowledge techniques to the people who were ready to receive them.

The mahatmas also decided who was ready to receive Knowledge and who was not. The following is an attempt to give a general feeling of what happened during these Knowledge sessions during the 70's and 80's.

The mahatmas had specific instructions on how to present the Knowledge to Westerners. They were told to present the meditation techniques in such a way that Western people could link them to Judeo-Christian religious beliefs. The satsangs at that time would often refer to the Bible, and refer to the belief that Jesus had taught the Knowledge techniques to his disciples.
Bal Bhagwan Ji's satsangs of that time explains Knowledge in relationship to his understanding of the Bible, and introduced the idea that receiving Knowledge would reveal the hidden sense of the Judeo-Christian scriptures to people.

The mahatmas would also often quote the Bhagavad Gita, one of the most revered Indian holy scriptures, which made people believe that Maharaji's Knowledge was based on Hindu tradition as well, and that receiving Knowledge would also reveal the secret meaning of Hindu scriptures. Since many Westerners were then interested in Eastern religious traditions, this was an added attraction.

The "Knowledge session", or initiation into the meditation techniques, was usually held in an ashram, and would begin by a
satsang from the mahatma. Then he or she would read quotes from the Bible and the Bhagavad Gita. Then the people who were going to receive Knowledge would have to take vows to Guru Maharaj Ji:

- Not to reveal the meditation techniques (when they are well-known in the yogic literature)
- To follow Maharaji's five commandments
- To practice satsang, service, and meditation

saying the following wows:

'Oh my Guru Maharaji, I dedicate myself to your lotus feet. I am weak and ignorant and am filled with the impurities of this world.
Oh Guru Maharaji, please take my mind and purge me of the impurities I possess. Reveal to me the knowledge of all knowledge.
Strengthen me, uplift me and reveal the kingdom of heaven within inside of me.
Bring me from hate to love, from darkness to light, death to immortality.
I will OBEY you implicitly and will never reveal this knowledge to anyone for any reason.
I will keep in contact with you through my DEVOTIONAL LOVE, satsang,meditation and service.
Thank you my LORD for everything.'

Then the four techniques were demonstrated, and practiced, one after the other. Before demonstrating each technique, the mahatma would give an explanation of the technique, and illustrate it with quotes from the Bible and the Bhaghavad Gita.
The four Knowledge meditation techniques as they were taught in the 70's and 80's are illustrated below, along with the most commonly used quotes from the Bible and the Gita (read the
comments on those quotes).

The old DLM's Knowledge Session

"Know ye not that ye are the temple of God,
and that the spirit of God dwelleth in you?"

(Corinthians 3:16.)

"This Knowledge is a sovereign science, a sovereign secret, supremely holy, most excellent, directly enjoyable, attended with virtue, very easy to practise and imperishable".
(Bhagwad Gita Chapter 9, slokas 1-2)

The 'Divine Light'
The Inner Music
The Word
The Nectar

Note: The way the techniques are shown today, differs slightly from the description on this page.
Click here to access the website and read the description of the techniques as they're shown today.

The 'Divine Light'

"'.... And there shall be no light there, and they need no candle there, neither light of the sun, for the Lord God giveth them light.' (Revelations 22:5.) The Divine Light (which Jesus spoke of in the New Testament) cannot be visualised with our outer, gross eyes. It may only be seen with the third eye, the divine eye, which is opened by the grace of the Perfect Master. In the Gita (Chapter 11, sloka 8) Lord Krishna says: 'You cannot see Me with these gross eyes. I therefore bestow upon you the divine eyes.' The realised souls, when approached, open the divine eye through which the real form of God can be visualised." - From the Mahatma's handbook.

Gently press on your eyeballs and try to relax. After some time, you should begin to see what Maharaji says is the 'Divine Light' of God. Relax and go with what you feel.

The 'classic' position for this meditation technique is to place the forefinger in the centre of the forehead (on the 'third eye'), and gently press on each eyeball (one with the thumb, the other with the middle finger) so that your looking towards the centre of the forehead.

The T-shaped arm support (known as a 'baragon') is typically made out of a few pieces of wood and a single coffee-table leg! As well as supporting the arms, it helps keep a straight back. It used to be an essential part of every premie's's kit-bag.

"The light of the body is the eye; therefore if thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light." (Matthew 6:22.)

"And I heard a voice from Heaven, as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder; and I heard the voice of harpers harping with their harps." (Revelation 14:2.)

The 'Inner Music'

"God plays music inside of us. It is said in the New Testament 'Blessed are your eyes, for they can see; blessed are your ears, for they can hear.' (Matthew 13:16.) Blessed are those who find the True Master, and abide with him, for through His Grace only are they able to see and to hear God. By bathing in it's perfect harmonies, the static of our restless mind is cleansed away."'Blessed is the people that know the joyful sound: they shall walk in the light of thy countenance. In my name shall they rejoice all the day.' (Psalms)" - From the Mahatma's handbook.

Keep your eyes closed. Rest your arms on a baragon (or relax against a wall and use your knees if you're feeling lazy), put a thumb in each ear and let your other fingers rest on your forhead. Try and concentrate on the sound you hear. Relax and go with what you feel.

 'The Word'

"'In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was God.' So begins the first chapter of the Gospel according to John. It is only a burning lamp that can kindle other lamps. The Word can only be known at the Feet of a living Spiritual Master, or Satguru." - From the Mahatma's handbook.

Sit in a comfortable position (a couple of cushions will help keep the back straight), keep your eyes closed, and concentrate on the breath as it comes in and goes out you. Focus on the "So-Ham" sound produced by your breath. Relax and go with what you feel.

The Nectar

Push the tongue back past the tonsils and lett it slide up into the nasal passage. You might not be able to push it that far, just push it as far as you can against your palate, and let it then rest.

Relax and go with what you feel.

"Whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never be thirsty; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him as a well of water springing up into everlasting life." (John 4:10-4:14.)


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Some comments on the quotes used by Maharaji to validate his 'Knowledge'

The following comments are from Michael Dresbach, who is an Episcopal priest as well as being an ex-premie.

I have been bothered by the use of scripture by people to defend terrible positions and have never liked the use of scripture by Divine Light Mission in the Knowledge session. The following is my passage by passage refutation of the scriptures used by the Mahatamas. Some passages are my own translation from the Greek, and others are from New Revised Standard Version. The passages used by the Mahatamas are from the King James Version, which is not the translation to use if one is trying to get a clear understanding of the text, since Elizabethean English is pretty much the province of scholars, actors, and folks at the Renaissance Fair.

Passage 1:
“Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, that the spirit of God dwelleth in you?” This comes from I Corinthians 3:16 (not Corinthians as credited). What the heck does this have to do with anything? Paul is dealing with disputes among the Christians in Corinth, disputes which are threatening the unity of the community. He applies the metaphor of the temple to the community to show their unity. To destroy the unity of the community with dissension and conflict will destroy the temple of God. Others use this passage as proof that we have God within us; I think that this idea was a given for anyone sitting through a Knowledge session. This passage is used by many groups for many different reasons.

Passage 2:
“...and there shall be no light there, and they need no candle there, neither the light of the sun, for the Lord God giveth them light. (Rev. 22:5).” I would translate the entire verse as: “and there will be no more night, and they won’t need the light from a lamp or the sun because God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever.” This passage is from the Apocalypse of St. John or the Revelation of St. John, a book which is supposed to be prophecy. The Context: the author was presenting a vision of the New Jerusalem and the new world that would come about with the eschaton. This had nothing to do with ‘inner light’ and everything to do with the presence of God. In chapter 21, verse 23 it states “and the city did not need the sun or the moon for light, since it was lit by the radiant glory of God, and the Lamb was a lighted torch for it.” I think that one must stretch a bit for this to have anything to do with inner light.

Passage 3:
“The light of the body is the eye, therefore if thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light” (Matt. 6:22) I know that the premies always quoted this verse, and I can see why: it is an obscure reference at best, and doesn’t make any sense. It is an example of mis-translation by the translators of James the I. The ‘aplous’ [in the original Greek] can be translated as “single,” but also as “simple.” It can also be translated as “clear, sound, or healthy” which actually makes more sense than “single.” I translate this passage as “the eye is the body’s lamp. Therefore, if your eye is healthy (or clear) your whole body will be filled with light.” Now, to be fair, one must go on to the next verse, which says : “but if your eye is diseased (or your eyes are bad), your whole body will be in darkness. If the light is darkness, how great is that darkness.” When I read this in context with the other passages before and after it, it seems to me that Jesus is talking about focus, and being focused upon serving God and not material possessions. But of course, I AM in my mind!

Passage 4:
“Blessed are your eyes, for they can see; blessed are your ears, for they can hear.” (Matt. 13:16) Accurate translation, but totally out of context. Jesus has just told the parable of the sower, which talks about seed falling on fallow ground, bad ground, and good fertile ground. It is a metaphor regarding people’s oneness to the message of the Reign of God ( a theological concept which deals with a world in which God’s will is done, a world in which there is justice and peace, no poverty or pain or weeping or illness. It has nothing to do with ‘going inside.’). Just before this quote, Jesus quotes the prophet Isaiah “You will indeed listen, but never understand, and you will indeed look, but never perceive. For this people’s heart has grown dull, and their ears are hard of hearing, and they have shut their eyes; so that they might not look with their eyes, and listen with their ears, and understand with their hearts and turn-- and I would heal them.” THEN Jesus says: “But blessed are YOUR eyes, for they see, and blessed are YOUR ears, for they hear.” Those who are listening and understand the message are then blessed; it has nothing to do with seeing light and hearing inner music.

Passage 5:
“Blessed is the people that know the joyful sound: they shall walk in the light of thy countenance. In my name shall they rejoice all the day.” This was hard to find as they didn’t reference any better than ‘Psalms’ (there are 150 Psalms!). Using an analytical concordance, I found it in Psalm 89: 16, 17. The Blessed Mahatma ignored the final part of the verse: and in thy righteousness shall they be exalted.” There is also a misquote: it is ‘thy’ name, not ‘my’ name. A modern and more accurate translation of these verses is “Happy are the people who know the FESTAL SHOUT (my emphasis)! they walk, O Lord, in the light of your presence. They rejoice daily in your Name; they are jubilant in your righteousness.” (NRSV) The Festal Shout is a the phrase used in most modern translations as opposed to "joyful sound." I find it difficult to connect this to the ‘inner music’ when one translates correctly. This section of the psalm (it has three sections, actually) has to do with praise to the God of Israel and His (In this context YHWH is a he, no getting around it!) superiority over all the gods; I don’t think it has anything to do with tinnitus!

Passage 6:
“And I heard a voice from heaven, as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder. And I heard the voice of harpers harping without their harps” (Rev. 14:2). Another passage from the Revelation, and another one full of strange imagery. If one reads the rest of the passage, one finds out that this sound is coming from 144,000 men who are singing before the throne of the Lamb. These men have “kept themselves chaste and have not defiled themselves with women; these follow the Lamb wherever he goes. They have been ransomed as the first fruits of humanity for God and the Lamb. No lie was found on their lips; they are without fault” (I guess that eliminates them from the upper ranks of DLM!). I have trouble seeing how this passage has anything to do with the ‘inner music’ without a great stretch or without taking it totally out of context.

Passage 7:
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (John 1:1) The Word is “logos” in Greek and there are 2.75 pages of definition for this word in Bauer’s Greek-English Lexicon. The concept of the preexistent logos in Christian theology and Christology is a complicated subject, but it is not sitting in the lotus position breathing ‘so-hun!’

AND FINALLY Passage 8:
“Whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never be thirsty, but the water that I shall give him shall be in him as a well of water springing up into everlasting life.” This is a paraphrase of four verses, and of course it has to do with drinking post nasal drip! The phrase ‘living water’ has a double meaning in Greek which can’t really be explained in English. It means ‘running water’ and in this context, a spiritual water which quenches a spiritual thirst. John’s gospel is full of similar metaphors and even more having to do with the “Bread of Life”, and this story only appears in his gospel. Yeah, it’s all about drinking snot.

I have said before, and I’ll say again, the reason they quoted from the Hebrew and Christian scriptures was to give Knowledge spiritual credibility in the West. Even though most of us receiving Knowledge in those days had left Judaism or Christianity, we still wanted to hear that it was in the Bible. Just as Yogananda and Ramakrishna and so many other Hindu groups added Jesus to their pantheon of saints to add credibility to their groups, Maharaji and his dad and the Mahatmas did this to give them a spiritual legitimacy that they would not have in the West without it.

In the spirit of taking passages out of context, I will quote the Apostle Paul’s first letter to the Christians in Corinth:
“Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up.” (I Cor. 8:1b).

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