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Articles on Maharaji (Prem Rawat)


Some ex-followers of Maharaji are fairly active online, posting on various forums (for a list of some see the ex-premie web site). I post on these forums from time to time, and these are some articles I have written based on my posts since January 2001.

Note that premie means a follower of Maharaji. The term ex-premie means someone who used to be a premie, but is no longer one, which describes me. There is no intrinsic sense of opposition, or negativity, in that description; so I do not use the term ex-premie to mean anti-premie, but simply someone who was a premie but is not any more.




Maharaji's Believable Message
A question is: Why did so many apparently intelligent and perceptive people fall for Maharaji and his message?

The Belief System that is not a Belief System
One of the paradoxes of following Maharaji, is that to do so you need a strongly conditioned belief system; and yet part of the premie belief system is that there is no belief system!!

Getting Prepared for Knowledge - the Connection to Maharaji
Before being initiated into the four techniques of meditation (the 'Knowledge'), a would-be follower (called an 'aspirant') must be 'prepared'.

The Knowledge Techniques, and Maharaji as a Meditation Teacher
Maharaji teaches 'his' meditation techniques, the Knowledge, but how good a teacher of the techniques, as techniques, is he?

The Ultimate Gamble
I was once asked: Our first impressions are rarely wrong...what was your first impression of Maharaji and what led you to suspend them?

"Realising" Knowledge
Knowledge was the meditation techniques given by Maharaji, which could only be realised by being the recipient of his grace. We used the phrase realising Knowledge as the equivalent to enlightenment.

Did I Waste 30 Years?
Someone asked me if I considered my 30 years following Maharaji wasted.

My Last Straw
I was asked what was my last straw concerning Maharaji. This was my answer, put as a logical argument.

Why Knowledge Does not Work
I was asked: If after 30 years of diligently practising Knowledge you realised it didn't work and now you have left all that behind, has there now been a type of awakening that couldn't have occured before?

Why Stay a Premie if it Does not Work?
An ex-premie posted that Knowledge must have worked to some extent for us to stay with Maharaj for so long. I based my response on my gambler analogy (my article above The Ultimate Gamble).

Inspiration and Grace
Maharaji and Premies no longer speak of 'Maharaji's Grace' (at least, not publicly); they now talk of his 'inspiration' and of Maharaji being an inspirational speaker. I think the same thing is still meant.

Beautiful Experiences with Maharaji
A common question among ex-premies is this: How could we have had such beautiful/cosmic/meaningful experiences with Maharaji (as most of us did from time to time) if he is not the Perfect Master/Lord?

Faith in Maharaji
Why do premies have faith in Maharaji when everything around him is so screwy? In particular, the organisation(s) supporting Maharaji seem crippled and dysfunctional, and unable to manage anything efficiently, so why does he allow them to be staffed by seeming incompetents? The answer, of course, is that he keeps interfering; but to a premie, Maharaji can do no wrong, so the chaos must be the fault of the people around him.

Stockholm Syndrome
On one of the ex-premie forums, one poster questioned whether those ex-premies who admitted to having had good times with Maharaji in the past could really be considered ex-premies, meaning that they must still be 'closet' premies, or still have good feelings for Maharaji and so cannot be said to have really left him. I dispute this attitude - I have definitely left Maharaji, but I did have good times with him, and in my response I thought of the Stockholm Syndrome.

Unenthusiastic Premies
A non-premie had a premie friend, who was less than enthusiastic. The non-premie asked some questions about the supposed threat or punishment his premie friend might expect as a result of his beginning to lapse.

Maharaji's Start in the West
From time to time people come out with their versions of how Maharaji began in the West. Some of the more recent versions make it appear like a 'grand design', a carefully considered strategy by Maharaji and his then family (his mother MataJi and eldest brother Bal Bhagwan Ji, now called SatPal). I don't remember it like that.

The Start of Maharaji's Organisation
Maharaji's organisations (Divine Light Mission, Elan Vital, the Prem Rawat Foundation) are often seen by premies as being elitist, and getting in between the individual premie and Maharaji. I was asked if I remembered a time before the organisations.

Maharaji's Inner Circle - A Byzantine Court
I was once asked the following: Do you think Maharaji cultivated the inner circle for some particular reason or was it just human nature to form one? Did he encourage some sort of sick 'court' dynamic do you think?

Categories of Premie and Ex-Premie
I think that how we behave and feel when we leave the cult depends to a large extent on what made us join in the first place.

Email to a Committed Premie
After I had left Maharaji, I received an email from a premie close to Maharaji personally, who I knew well, who was saying that I was wrong and Maharaji is still the one etc. Actually, it was said with a lot of passion, and compassion, and this is my email back to them.

Reactions To This Site
During the time that this Web Site was public for the first five weeks or so, I got many emails. Most were complimentary and supportive, some plain abusive, and some questioning; I entered into several email threads with this last group, and here is a summary of the points made and my responses (slightly edited). In the year Nov 7 2003 to Nov 7 2004 that this site has been public, it has had 721,521 successful page reads, which I find remarkable.

Elan 'Vital Hate' Group Allegations
Elan Vital is the generic name for national organisations that support Maharaji's teachings in a practical way. In June 2004, the United Kingdom Elan Vital put up on its web site a page titled Hate group harasses EV and Maharaji's students, which is substantially a copy of a similar page from the Elan Vital Australia site. Here is my personal response to some of their points.

Maharaji and the Denial of the Past
I have seen a new strategy emerging from Maharaji and his followers, whether deliberate or by accident, that is denying the 'devotional' aspect of Maharaji's work in the West.

Maharaji's Divinity Claims: Spurious Academic Denials and Wikipedia
There is an ongoing attempt by Maharaji's organizations and his current followers to deny the claim of Maharaji's divinity, which was widespread in the 1970's and 1980's.

I discuss this claim - what form of it is true, and what form of it is false. I also look at the kind of academic postmodernism which denies this claim, and how it is used by the followers of Maharaji. I also discuss how and why the editors of Wikipedia fall into the mode of preferring political correctness to objective fact.


The Impossible Triangle
This is an article written by Nigel, who used to post on one of the ex-premie forums - a predecessor to the present Prem Rawat Talk Forum.   It characterizes the impossibility of a premie being rational, honest and devoted all together at the same time - they can be any two, but cannot be the three. I think it is a neat way of capturing the essential premie disconnect. I have edited it slightly.

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