|Journeys: Christopher Quartus Giles|
|Date: September 21, 1999|
|It's over twenty-three years since I drifted away from DLM. I guess I was fortunate - the leaving wasn't too difficult.
It was a relief to go, - I had grown tired of the same old satsang spiels, which mainly consisted of well-meaning
but self-deluding premies desperately trying to convince themselves that they were doing the right thing - trying
to confirm that they were justified in holding on to their wishful thinking that their guru was "Lord of the
Universe", was the "One" that had sent Christ to this earth etc. etc.
But after the tackiness of the Houston celebrations in 1973, with M up there on his golden throne, leering away like a smug cheshire cat, golden Krishna crown on his head, the word "GOD" writ large in the display lights of the scoreboards on either side of his teardrop throne - it was just too cheap, too self-adulating, too repulsive, (although I couldn't imagine putting it in quite those words, at the time). I knew I couldn't really stick with this kind of trip any longer. The dream had turned sour.
But old habits are hard to break. The 'programming' of the cult's beliefs and the 'security' of ashram life, together with a deep-seated need to want to believe that I had taken the right path when I originally "took Knowledge", resulted in what was almost an inability, certainly a refusal to consider my own doubts. So I stuck with the cult. To admit I had been wrong in my assessment of who the Guru really was would have been too much of an admission of defeat. It was simply pride that held me to the old ways.
The "Printing ashram" (Hansa Graphic, in Hackney, East London) where I had been working had suddenly been ordered to close down. Consequently all of the premies from that ashram were dispatched to various locations. I was sent to Edinburgh to take up the post of ashram treasurer.
The post was secondary to the main motive for my being there - like all premies, our main function was to bring in cash for the Mission. Most of us had day-time jobs, except the ashram secretary, George Blodwell, who, when I arrived, was busy organising the move from Forrest Road to Pilrig Street with the assistance of Chris Lord, one of the nicest guys I had ever met There were quite a few other 'devotees' (as we were called) that I remember with affection ... but it's hard to remember their names.
One of the most frequent functions we performed as premies was that of 'jumble-collecting'. A dozen or so initiates and volunteers would pile into a van of six of an evening, to be deposited on the streets of Auld Reekie with the main motive of 'spreading the word' (and also of relieving the general public of their cash). You had copies of the 'Divine Times' spilling out of your arms, a badge on your lapel, and a wishful hope in your heart that the World would soon recognise the one you thought was the true Messiah, whose message you were about to deliver to those lucky enough to merit you (divine messenger that you wanted to be) and your prescience, on their doorstep.
And the great British public (of the 70's): so wary of unsolicited doorstep salesmen, yet somehow so overcome by your doe-eyed devotion, and perhaps a little afraid to say no to the often quite 'pushy' (oppressive even) sales-pitch that went with the attempt to relieve them of their cash. In response to the request for donations, how they emptied their attics and their pockets when you gave unto them your cute little smile, and with your heart in your mouth (and your conscience in your back pocket) uttered the four magic words: "It's for World Peace".
Or course, the apologia given at the time was: "if they're Christians, they won't mind their money being given to the "Lord" (i.e. Prem Pal Singh Sant Ji Maharaj a.k.a. Balyogeshwar a.k.a. Rawat a.k.a. ...) even if they don't yet recognise him as the global Messiah he claims to be. And if they're not Christians, well, it'll be good karma for them".
These were the kind of excuses we accepted, condoned and even propagated to explain our lavish adulation of our very own "messiah", who, many of us liked to think, had chosen us to be at his "lotus feet". And wasn't there just the teeniest bit of self-aggrandisement in thinking ourselves so special as to be one of "His" disciples? It felt a bit like finding our way into a real-life drama that had the POTENTIAL to change the world forever. Was it going to turn out to be true? Was this my reservation for a ticket to heaven?
Such was the idealism that abounded at that time that any doubts about the validity of the guru's claims were simply ignored. As for the income the organisation was generating, well, it came from three main sources: the wages of the ashram premies, the donations generated at public meetings held at, among other places, the "Palace of Peace" in East Dulwich, and of course the general public.
And the general public were, without a doubt, being deceived. And we premies had allowed ourselves to become accomplices to larceny. Larceny on a scale that we could never have dreamed. We had 'done our part' only by deluding ourselves into the NEED to believe that M was the only one who could ever hope to bring about 'World Peace'. Such was the 'programming' within the cult. I prefer to call it 'conditioning', but it amounted to much the same thing for us Pavlovian premies. And where had this conditioning come from? Simply from the claims of an Indian kid who's father wanted him to be the biggest guru in the land?
Most ex-premies are all too familiar with the early history of DLM, the official version, that is. And this ex-premie.org site is pretty fair with its portrayal of the family of Prem Pal Singh Rawat. But it is difficult to be unbiased about Rawat himself. The con is just too blatant.
But I don't claim to be unbiased in this attempt at unravelling the past, and I'll willingly admit that when anger, hurt, exasperation or just plain fury surfaces on remembering some of the more sordid details, I wish I didn't feel the need to repress those feelings. I'd prefer to give free rein to what comes naturally. But ...
But, at the end of the day, what I'd really like to see come out of this offering is - purely for myself - a more reasoned, level-headed, and less biased personal opinion of someone I once believed in, yet who failed miserably to deliver on what I believed him to be.
But we all strive for the freedom to choose our own path. If he wants to be despicable in the eyes of the majority, that's his trip. My own preference would be to treat him more as a human being, (however fallible), but the more he behaves as an ogre, the less that is going to possible. I guess that ogres are the ones who get away with it. For him to become human in my view, he's going to have to accept more responsibility for the abuse of that power he wields with his current propaganda campaign.
But, given his unwillingness to answer for his action, I'm going to have to try and walk more than just a metre or two in his moccasins.
So, where did the 'programming' come from? It all began with an inheritance that was passed on to a young child who found himself to be the successor to a role which had a most ancient pedigree. A pedigree of traditional thought, behaviour and belief that was gradually to force him to manufacture a self-image that he hoped could meet the expectations of the thousands of followers that had previously worshipped his own father, Shri Hans Ji Maharaj. Those followers had been led to believe that this was, indeed, a very special child.
It must have been a bit like being born into a circus family, with his 'Ringmaster' destiny chalked out without any choice on his part. Apart from the choice of whether to accept it or not.
But, at six years of age, your father's dying words still ringing in your ears, and his image still dancing before your eyes ...
Six is a terribly young age to face that kind of pressure/manipulation/ abuse even. And imaging having to face it in front of such a large, eager, demanding audience. But, if there was resentment at taking on such a challenge in that child's heart, it remained well hidden.
The boy's performance as Child Satguru/Ringmaster was certainly impressive. You only have to hear him at that age to be - in fairness - taken aback by such powers of oration in one so young.
He's always had the gift of the gab, there's no doubting that. And the combination of that gift with a persuasive script meant that his impact grew and grew. Young Balyogeshwar (one of his earlier titles) must have been the pride and joy of his followers, his mahatmas, his family.
The years passed. He began to take more control. And then he did something that has been a stumbling-block for many Eastern gurus, from Ramakrishna to Rajneesh. He brought his message to the West.
The youth culture of the 70's was an extremely fertile ground to propagate the seeds of the message of the little "boy god" as the media dubbed him. It was quite the fashion in those days to claim an affiliation with anything remotely mystical or meditational. And just as the hippies had taken to wearing the clothes - the beads, the bells, the saris, the sandals - so we aspirants took to wearing the mantle of the devotee - not as a dress code, but as a mind-set which coloured all our thoughts, all our hopes, and most of our desires. The mystery of the techniques of 'the Knowledge' couldn't have been more tantalising. We didn't know what this 'Knowledge' was, but we knew we wanted it. Tempting? That would be putting it mildly.
(I don't claim to speak for everyone who went through this process, - and if I'm wildly out of line with the experiences of other premies/ex-premies, I hope, - I'm sure - you'll let the Forum know - either on Forum IV or on the 'Anything Goes" site. And while your searching, don't forget the archives on 'Roger's House of Drek' page.)
Anyway, we 'took the Knowledge' just as a fish takes the bait. But suddenly there was this bloody great hook to deal with as well.
From the Knowledge session:
"You have given your life to Maharaj Ji" (I have?)
"He is now responsible for everything that happens to you" (Blimey)
"You must always follow him" (Always? Like, not just in this life?)
"He is your Satguru. Your Saviour" (Well, if you say so ...)
Meditate? Oh yeah, right, meditate ... wow ... that's right, I've been revealed the secrets ..
It was all a bit too much to take in. How could I do anything other than just sit there, blown of mind, too dumbstruck to think of anything, least of all what these new commitments I had supposedly taken on were designed to lead to. But there would be plenty of time for that part of the message to be instilled into my naive little mind later on.
"I give this Knowledge freely," M had said.
Well, no money had exchanged hands, but - and this took me quite a long time to realise - what he said could very often turn out to mean quite its opposite.
There was not a shred of real freedom within the cult. "Divine" Light Mission's (now Elan Vital's) whole trip was, is, designed to take away the individual free will of its adherents, and replace that with a code of dependence. My own journey away from the cult led, strangely enough, straight into the tentacles of another one: that of Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, where I found a whole new ball game. But more of that later. Suffice it to say that I was given a new name, (a very good way to break with the past) which meant, I was told, "Love, a quiver in the heart" (Though on later perusal of a Sanskrit dictionary whilst in Ladakh, there was some doubt in my mind over that.)
Today ... well, up here in Durham, the scenery is remarkably beautiful, quite unlike the impression that many southerners have of the North-East. And I guess every extra day after "blowing the whistle" on that con (and I'm not the only one to have done so), is a bonus.
I'll leave you with the jist of one of the first postings I made on Forum IV, called "THE STEPPING STONES OF LOGIC".
In the not too distant past, M claimed to be the most powerful incarnation of God this world has ever known.
Now, think this through, everyone who has the courage to. Logic needs to be applied. Carefully.
Apparently he no longer claims to be the most powerful incarnation of God.
The point, which logic FORCES us to face is this: There are only two choices: either he is lying now, or he was lying then.
Does - or does this not - make him the biggest liar this world has ever known?
To claim to be a saviour of such magnitude it not to be taken lightly.
As he is not the Saviour, he can only be the AntiChrist.
And, with the true Christ not expected for another Millennium (according to the Bible), who is going to recognise that it's about time he was booted out? And who should be the ones to do something about it?
Christopher Quartus Giles, of the Aegidians (naturally), tenuous family links with the Norman Argenteins, family motto "Perficiam", meaning "I shall accomplish" with chalice crest, & formerly known as Swami Prem Tusheer meaning (I was told) "Love, a quiver in the heart". See you someday, I hope ...