Hi Marianne, and all,
I agree with JW, I could vomit. I decided to respond to all of the items 'special friend' has said:
1. M has never earned a dollar in his life. Everything he has was given to him by his followers. That includes: cash pledged each month to EV (m really), working for little or no wages at companies created to make $$ for m, urgent requests for donations when he wants to buy something expensive on a whim, say a vintage car, and various other methods of obtaining money to satisfy his greed. When he came to the US I don't think he had too much money. Now he and his family live in several opulent 'residences' around the world, one in particular is in Malibu on a bluff overlooking the Pacific. Over the past few years he had the old 'residence' torn down and built a huge palacial replacement. I think I mentioned before that his music room is as big as the original residence, but it is his office that is as large as his original home, which was lavish to begin with (sorry for previous misinfo). All that maharaji has is because of what followers give to him. Having a patent on something does not mean
someone has made money off of it. That is a ruse, because, as I said, he never earned a dollar in his life.
2. Maharaji always says that knowledge is for free. The only truth to that is once an aspirant is 'picked' to receive knowledge, there is no admission at the door to the 'knowledge revelation room.' Otherwise, it is very expensive to follow him. I received knowledge in 1976 and all of my extra time was spent doing 'service' (labor for free), and paying out money both to DLM/EV and to the local community. That continues today. It is required, as a premie, to pay an entrance fee at live programs. There is a lot of expense involved in going to a live event, too. Because all local events are videos events, local people with knowledge foot the bill for a hall or hotel conference room, $275 per month for a subscription to receive a few videos to show each week, and encouragement to purchase from the Visions catalog which offers videos, tapes, and other trinkets for sale.
When I was under the brainwashing of m, I felt love for him. During those times I felt gratitude, but when I boil it down, it really was guilt. Looking back, the emphasis was always on money, money, money. Even if no one knew how much money I was placing in my envelope before I walked into a (darshan) line to kiss his feet, I was brainwashed into thinking that he would know. A lot of very subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) shame was placed upon thousands of premies if they did not give enough money. Today, it's a bit slicker. A rich follower of m will tour around to various cities and show 'special' videos of maharaji and talk about the need for a new jet or something. Try to rev people up to give money because m wants something new.
3. If someone speaks to someone about maharaji and their experience of knowledge, then it automatically follows that you are being introduced to an organization formerly known as Divine Light Mission. The name was changed to Elan Vital, but they are one and the same. Tthe same figurehead, perfect master, lord of the universe, master, teacher, (pick a title, he's had many) has controlled both DLM and EV to this day.
4. Maharaji has always had control of the cult. When he first arrived here he was Lord of the Universe, God Incarnate, Greater than God, the Perfect Master (likened to Jesus and other famous masters). This special friend person is lying about this. M has said from the beginning that he is the ONE. But if he happened to questioned by media he always would say, 'that's what my followers say.' As a cult member I would take that remark to be humble, however, now that I am out of the cult I see that he has fluctuated many times over the years on who he actually thinks he is, and who he wants others to think he is. Then he tries to portray that image. As far as m being interested in making this a better world, well, I think he's mostly interested in feeding his own greed.
I have only been out of the cult for a couple of months. In 1978 I joined an ashram where I gave my life to m and lived a monastic life (poverty, chastity, obedience). I was then 24--I gave all my posessions to m, by living in the ashram. I lost all contact with my friends and family because that was required. I lost the opportunity to build a career. When m had a huge project to reconfigure an airplane, he called upon ashram premies and also family people to go down to Miami to work for free, which we did. Single people not in the ashram lived in poverty because they received no pay. We worked 24 to 72 hours straight some times. Many people were exposed to very dangerous chemicals. My job was in the office, but I also was required to work long hours on little sleep. Eventually I collapsed in physical and mental exhaustion.
What did they do with me? They shipped me off to an ashram in Gainesville FL. No thank you, Cynthia. No how are you doing. Just: you're going to Gainesville, to rest and then to get a job.
I could go on, but I just felt compelled to respond to the items which Marianne has posted. People have committed suicide as a result of abuse within the cult. It may look benign when looking in at a glance, but once a person is pulled into that 'world of knowledge' or 'maharaji's world' look out, because it's a cult.
I hope this helps,