the true cost SEEMS to be pretty heavily weighed up with benefit - which makes my anlaysis of the whole situation not so symplistic as Black and white - I don't want to deny ANY good stuff.
No, you obviously want to know the truth. Don't we all? This site may seem to be very Black sometimes but believe me... beneath the tough exteriors there are many sensitive souls here, trying to discern truth even if it means being outspoken, and appearing negative. We are just frustrated toeing the line.
Somebody I met yesterday said that he thought premies were much more 'secretive' in their activities recently, and he cited, as an example, that he had asked a lady premie friend how she had got on at some event or other, and she had basically implied that she had been urged to be secretive about attending and was therefore reticent to speak about it. To my surprise, my buddy suggested that the 'general secretive trend amongst premies' that he perceived, was a direct effect of the influence of this website. He was quite sure of this.
He then went on to give a few examples of a couple of people he knew, who had been aspirants or 'new premies', who had basically become disillusioned (they had apparently tired of giving Maharaji and their premie peers the benefit of the doubt) and who wanted some clarity. Getting no sympathy from either of the former, they were naturally delighted to find that the sort of things that bothered them were openly expressed and discussed on a daily basis at this website. Since their involvement with Maharaji was relatively recent, it would seem that they were all the more easily able to put Maharaji and premies behind them.
I basically have been undergoing the same process, only with the factor of having spent a great deal longer suppressing my doubts and investing my trust in him. To extricate oneself from a long period of denial is obviously going to take more time. I can understand why after 20 years you feel only 'on the edge of clarity'.
You seem to be facing the same dilemma as most of us, in that you rightly want to address the stuff that rubs you up the wrong way- without 'denying the good stuff' as you put it. Unfortunately I found that within the realm of Maharaji and premies their really is no room for any intelligent or complete discussion about the sort of doubts that inevitably creep in. Or if there ever is, then satisfactory answers have notbeen yet forthcoming. Worse, there is clearly a feeling that any reservations, complaints or doubts that people have, are deemed merely the result of the sufferer not having an 'overwheming' enough experience of Knowledge. The inevitable impression is that one should toe the line until these doubts go away. Well, they didn't for me.
It's a one way show really. Maharaji speaks... you listen. You speak... no one listens!
There is no room for open discussion.
Nobody really cares what you think.
Everybody is busy trying to please M.
Being a premie is obviously a delicate enough state that it is rather threatened by discussion.
People's respect and love for Maharaji is often tinged with fear.
Premies are often 'jumpy' or 'insensitive'- especially at events or around Maharaji. This has to be interpreted as a bad effect-what causes it?
If you look at the thing from a sociological point of view (by checking out the Indian Roots etc) one can see how the 'phenomena' of Maharaji and Knowledge works, and this in turn helps to de-mystifiy the whole thing. There are 'down to earth' explanations for almost everything.
Secrecy, specialness/uniqueness, investing trust, vows, the belief in a mystical embodiment of the divine in a Master etc. are all things that are key to M and Knowledge working. As are emotion, devotion, dependency, suppression of doubt, being in a new society of supportive believers, the devotion of time/attendance at events and of course the practice of the techniques.
Anyway, you seem concerned with weighing up the benefits against the pitfalls.
I have suffered that same process and I think it is not so good to weigh things up when confused. In the end I have had to address my own immediate and pressing need for clarity. For me that has involved quite a lot of writing here since a few years ago; discussing stuff, a bit of ranting and of course the great theraputic 'Journey' writing experience. I actually wrote 2 'journeys'-one remains here and the other was on some former site-filed under 'Expressions' or suchlike-I can't remember exactly what. Anyway, it was a very cathartic experience putting pen to paper. Also a sort of a challenge to Maharaji to answer some questions I suppose. (No response yet from that direction though!)
Talking here can be like challenging God to actually prove himself too. At first, I had definate feelings of being a naughty child- since to write here was such a totally taboo thing to do for a premie, impressed with Maharaji for so long as Mother and Father, Brother and Friend. There's the confronting of the fear that you might be damned forever like Judas. etc. A real sense of betraying your creator and all the attendant fears - only not really where it counts actually. It's been a relief to acknowledge my conscience - my humanity. The high moral ground (which has been discussed here) is surely the domain of those who are motivated by their consciences and their honesty.
My attempt to gain clarity involved reading a lot of the historical background to Maharaji. There are some very good books around which explain the origin of a lot of the things we were doing as premies.
Since then, JM's website has addressed a lot of that side of things and is no doubt a valuable resource for people who wish to understand the present the better by gaining an understanding of the past. Others will find it a load of boring Indian twaddle. (which of course it largely is!) New premies seem to be pretty unaware of the way `Maharaji presented himself in the past and current premies seem immoderately keen to draw attention away from the past and onto Maharaji's very simplified current, less provocative profile.
This website is inevitably provocative to premies since it polarises, so symmetrically, the premie world where Maharaji is sacrosanct and beyond question. But it should not be so. When I first wrote here I was hopeful that Maharaji might even welcome some such honest expression. Clearly he had expressed the desire to move on -to grow etc. It was my hope that he might have some sympathy for the terrible crisis of conscience which I was undergoing in the pursuit of truth- which has ironically led to my open questioning of his ways.
I confess that I am sad that premies tend to see former devotees who are suffering sincere misgivings- as the new enemy. At least we can be bothered to criticise Maharaji! As a matter of fact Maharaji could be grateful that some former premies dare speak out. It cannot be healthy, (even for God) to be surrounded by sycophantic people who agree with everything you do or say. Scared people. Let's face it- Maharaji is absolutely surrounded by 'yes' men. Does he benefit always from this?
I wish you luck in your pursuit for clarity.