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Maharaji's Believable Message

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

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At first sight, Maharaji's message seems very appealing: The essence of your own humanity lies within yourself (the 'heart'), but you are blocked from touching that by the everyday chatter and uncontrolled thoughts and feelings that swirl about inside you (the 'mind', or the 'doubtmaker'). So far so good. The next bit is also reasonable: To see through the 'mind' and find the 'heart' you need a meditation tailor-made for that job. This meditation involves following your breath in some way.

So far so good again. Following the breath is a venerable meditation activity that many traditions have.

The message as I understand it so far is what hooked me. But then comes the slide into Maharajism: Because of the 'mind' we cannot possibly get beyond it unaided. Even with the best of meditation techniques, the 'mind' is too strong for us.

This is sort of OK too - I can see what he means and I used to agree with it, although I don't now. But once I buy into this bit of the message, then I am set up for the next bit: If I cannot get beyond my 'mind' unaided, then the aid has to come from outside - and this can only be from the Master himself. The meditation is no longer just meditation, but 'Knowledge', defined as the 4 techniques plus the master's grace.

And after accepting this, you have the sting itself: It is the master's grace that takes you beyond your 'mind' to your 'heart' - therefore the master is the most important thing to you, you are totally dependent upon this grace which he has no obligation to provide, and which therefore you have to beg him to give you. You will do literally anything to obtain it.

And it is this which ultimately defines a 'premie'. It is similar to being addicted to a strong drug - while you have your fix, you are euphoric and everything makes sense; when you lose it, you will do anything to regain it, and be at the same time blaming yourself for having lost it. When you get it again, back to the euphoria. You have the Truth with a capital 'T', but you just slip away from time to time. To an objective outside observer, you are just horribly addicted.

Of course, most people who hear him for the first time see the subtle (and not so subtle) cues and responses of the audience, smell 'cult', and that is that.

But for a lot of people it sounds a wonderful message at first - no need to struggle or get stressed out anymore, just practice a simple set of techniques, and let Him (with an upper-case 'H') take the strain and we live a non-critical but happy life in a wonderful protected bubble.

That is the real tragedy of Maharajism - the believable promise and lure of finding your true nature, but in fact becoming addicted and a slave to Maharaji as an individual.

[Return to list of articles]    [next article] Last revised Oct 29 2003

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