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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.

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I got Knowledge on June 1 1970. The main difference that I remember is that there was no 'inner circle' then. By 'inner circle' I mean that group of premies who either have access to Maharaji personally or who are honchos (organisers, important people) in the organisation (or both), and thus feel and act vastly superior to the rank and file.

This is a sore point with me; I have been both in the inner circle, and in the outer darkness, and I found that whole dynamic very painful. The despair of being cast into outer darkness (ie losing your honcho job or Maharaji withdrawing access to him personally), and the desperate attempt to climb back up the ladder into the inner circle, for which you will do anything, is humiliating, obscene, de-humanising, and plain manipulative. Of course, we did not have to buy into it, but that goes for all our involvement.

So my memories of 1970, and when Maharaji was first in England in June/July 71, were that everything was very open. Anyone could gain access to Maharaji as long as they just came to the house he was living in. There was no organisation, and so no honchos.

Whatever organisation there was - to pay bills or arrange Maharaji's events - was done by people who did not feel superior. There was no inner circle. As far as I remember, everyone was pleasant, respectful and supportive to each other. Of course, this may just be my nostalgia!

I think it changed gradually. When Maharaji returned to England in October 71, there was more of an organisation - more people being more together about organisational things, and arranging the first jumbo to India made people realise that if you were organising things Maharaji wanted done, you got more attention - but again, no 'inner circle' mentality that I remember.

I think it really changed in 72. I would put Guru Puja in Montrose, Colorado (July 72) as the turning point. Bob Mishler, as the US honcho, up to then was friendly and accessible. He told me at the festival that Maharaji had talked to him about ramping things up and getting together a real organisation. Very quickly after that, honchos became honchos, and starting wearing suits and thinking they were privileged.

I remember the first time I encountered the inner circle phenomenon, I felt quite sick. Actually it was meeting Bob again, who recognised me but ignored me - he was in his suit and I was sweeping some floor I think - but I instantly saw what the whole inner circle thing was about. Really, I should have left then - the impulse to do so was greater then that it would be for a long time to come - but of course I didn't.

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