I had some private correspondance with Glen Whittaker, organiser of Elan Vital in the UK, about Mahatma Jagdeo's paedophile activities, involving children who were in my care, as a schoolteacher, some years ago.
This correspondance came into the public arena with the first letter from Elan Vital, retyped below.
Elan Vital seem extremely paranoid about the attention being given to this matter on the forum. Jagdeo has been reported to the Police, and the British press have been interested in the story for some weeks, increasing their fears that this matter may somehow reflect on the cult and its master.
The two letters from Elan Vital, and my reply to the first letter, have already been published on the forum, but I thought I'd put all four up together, so they can be read in context.
Anth the Archivist
FIRST LETTER FROM ELAN VITAL
26 August 1999
I’ve noticed that you’ve made allegations about Mahatma Jagdeo, on the ex-premie.org website. These allegations are that he was involved in paedophilic activities.
You will recall that when you raised the matter with me privately in the early part of the year, my response was that I knew of no evidence to substantiate the claim or even to suspect that it was true. I am of course concerned that the allegations and your strength of belief being such that you have made this allegation publicly. As a result of this, I have conducted some enquiry but can find no evidence to substantiate the allegation, including any record of any contemporaneous or later complaint made by the alleged victim.
Allegations of this nature are of course extremely damaging. If untrue, they may destroy the life and reputation of an old man and of course may also cause damage to any victims of the alleged acts who might rather put the matter behind them or have it approached more discretely.
If however the allegations are true we would of course deplore any such activity and agree they should be exposed. If you have any further information which would assist an inquiry let me have that information as we would wish to pursue the matter with appropriate discretion as so as to cause least further distress to the alleged victim.
I should make it absolutely clear that Elan Vital was not aware of the allegations until you raised them recently, which raises the question of why you waited so may years before making them, and did not and would not approve of or condone such appalling behaviour.
Please take care that any publication on the internet or implication that Elan Vital or Maharaji knew of, approved of or condoned any such paedophile behaviour would be false and very damaging. We would have no option but to take legal advice.
In response to your letter of 26th August, 99, I did indeed make allegations on the ex-premie website, last year, on November 1st, in my Journey, based on communication with a parent and ex pupil of Unity School, earlier that year. I’m sure you remember when my story appeared on the Internet, as you wrote to me about it soon afterwards. (I’m not sure if by reminding you of this, you’ll have to take legal advice, but what the hell.)
In your letter you mentioned that you conducted some enquiry. I’d be interested to know what form this took. You knew that the alleged offence took place at Unity School 74/75, as this information was in what I’d published in November. Did you ask anyone who was at Unity School at that time about what happened? If so, who? Both Dot and I were there, why didn’t you ask either of us? It doesn’t sound like a very thorough enquiry to me Glen. Do you even know the names of his ‘alleged’ victims.(there is more than one).
You say that allegations of this nature are extremely damaging. They are only damaging if they are untrue. Sexual abuse of young children is extremely damaging, and allegations of such acts, if true, are the first step in healing the damage done.
You also say if the allegations are untrue, they may destroy the life and reputation of an old man and may cause damage to any victims who might rather put the matter behind them or have it approached more discreetly. Surely Glen, if the allegations are untrue, how can ‘not putting the matter behind them’ cause distress, if nothing actually happened.
I do have further information that will assist an enquiry Glen. There are reports on the Ex-premie website of offences commited by Jagdeo in the United States, in the Journey’s section, in the Journey by Gs mom. You should read it.
More detailed information about the crimes and the victims have been given to the Police, who’ve probably contacted you by now.
I’ve been in close communication with both victims, at every stage since this affair floated to the surface of the pool. I can assure you that they are both extremely glad that things have finally been taken seriously and been brought out into the open.
You say that Elan Vital wasn’t aware of these ‘alleged offences’ until recently, and then hint at legal action if I disagree. If you read G’s mom’s Journey, on Ex-Premie.org you’ll see she told two instructors, both close to Maharaji, who have both since been named on the Internet. The instructors were Randy Prowdy and Judy Osbourne, both of whom I know, respect and like. I’m quite sure they would have passed the information on.
You say you’d like to pursue the matter, you could start by asking Randy and Judy what happened, who they told and what the response was. You could also make an announcement through your organisation, worldwide, that any possible victims, or parents of children may have been sexually abused by Mahatma Jagdeo should contact you. You could then pass this information to the police.
The reason I did nothing for 25 years Glen, was because I didn’t know about it until last year. As you’ve noticed, I’ve now done something.
So, I guess you’d better go and get some legal advice.
Anth the Whistle Blower
SECOND LETTER FROM ELAN VITAL
5th September 1999
Thank you for your response. Although you did not, as I requested, provide information on the name(s) of the alleged victims, or any details of the alleged offences, your news that any information is now in the hands of the police is very welcome. If we can ssist them in any way we shall be happy to do so, ans it would help to know details of whom the allegation has been reported to. On our part, we are also seeking advice from the relevant authorities in the field to ensure appropriate actions are taken.
I assure you Anth, we have researched extensively by asking people in this organisation and in the American Elan Vital about these allegations, but so far no-one, including people you mention, has any recollection of them. This is not to suggest that the alleged incidents did not take place.
Despite what you may bekieve, the sole aim of Elan Vital is to promote an inner experience of peace and an enrichment of the experience of what it means to be alive.
I would like to re-iterate that your allegations are as upsetting to us as they are to you and should the alleged victim in the case you speak of come forward we will offer her all the help we can in co-operation with the relevant authorities.
AND MY REPLY, SENT LAST WEEK.
Looks like you’ve been to see your lawyers. You requested the names of Jagdeo’s victims. I didn’t give them to you and I have no intention of giving them to you. I’ll try to explain why.
Imagine, as an 8 or 9 year old child, you are taken to live in a place run by a religious cult. Or maybe you’re a 14-year-old teenager who’s become interested in meditation or something, and you start going along to cult meetings. Whatever, you end up being sexually abused by a full time representative of that cult.
Imagine, in the case of ‘g-mom’, after you’ve been abused, you report it to another full time cult official (‘mahatma’ or ‘instructor’ or ‘initiator’, whatever the current jargon was) in the case of ‘g-mom’, this person was from her home town and knew her personally. You ask him to tell your master. You meet him later and he tells you the master was informed. The instructor who assaulted you is still at large, so you tell another instructor. She gets back to you a week later, and tells you, ‘Yes, the master knew already and was glad that this was not a new episode’. Or maybe in the case of the 9 year old, her parent tells yet another ‘mahatma’, and aquaintance of the master, and nothing ever gets back to them either.
The years roll by. November 98, I publish allegations about Jagdeo on the Internet. (I wasn’t the first.) August 99, Jagdeo is reported to the police, the press get interested. , Lo and behold, the two ‘instructors’ ‘can’t remember’ anything that they were told, can’t remember telling Maharaji, and can’t remember telling the victim what they’d done. Not only that, the cult are suddenly concerned and want the victim’s names.
(And didn’t you or Heather tell the ‘Express’ that Elan Vital was nothing to do with Divine Light Mission?)
Forget it Glen. They’ve lost faith in you. Your main aim seems to be keeping your master out of this. Their experience tells them the cult cares little for the victims of child abuse.
If you’re really concerned about sorting this mess out, and, as you say, assisting the Police, you could start by telling them where Jagdeo is living. Is he still in the ashram in India? Is he still a Mahatma? Is he still a ‘premie’. Does he still do special ‘children’s knowledge sessions’ ? Does he still have access to children.? Do the Police in India know about his pedophiliac activities?
Your third paragraph is interesting Glen. You say, ‘The sole aim of Elan Vital is to promote an inner experience of peace and an enrichment of the experience of what it means to be alive.’ Hmmmmn, haven’t you missed a bit out there, about the teachings of Maharaji or something, that justifies the personality cult that surrounds him? He’s the one who gives you this ‘experience of what it means to be alive’, and ‘inner peace’, through his teachings, right?
You say in your last paragraph, how disturbing the allegations are, and if the ‘alleged victim’ comes forward (there are serious allegations of offences against at least three young girls), you will offer her all the help you can, with the co-operation with the authorities. I’ve already explained why they don’t want to talk to you, but are happy to talk to the Police.
Whether Maharaji knew about Jagdeo’s pedophilic activities or not was never an issue with me. You’re the one who brought that up.
I’m not ‘Anti Maharaji’. Now I no longer worship him, as a fellow human being I have sympathy for his plight and I hope he sorts himself out one day. He’s a cult victim too, and I hold no personal animosity towards him whatsoever.
Anth the Unruly