The "FAQs" on the EV Austalia website are laughable, and should be laughed at, except they make unsubstantiated allegations of criminal activity against ex-premies. Accordingly, it's important to respond. Here are EV's statements about how ex-premies have supposedly persecuted innocent and loving premies and EV, interspersed with responses:
Maharaji's students have been the victims of persecution by this small hate group. Using the anonymity of the Internet, they have discussed various plans and threats, including but not limited to:
- Inciting people via the Internet to drug and kidnap members of Maharaji's family.
What the hell is this about? Has anybody ever heard of such nonsense? If this actually happened, why hasn't either Maharaji or Elan Vital taken any legal action against whoever did this? Has this been reported to the police? By the way, as Elan Vital should be well aware, anyone, absolutely anyone, can post something on an open message board. If someone made an anonymous post suggesting something so bizarre, it is just as logical to assume it was put up by a student of Rawat to try to make ex-premies look bad, that it is to assume it was done by one of his former follwers. Moreover, Elan Vital fails to mention that the ex-premie forums have a policy of deleting any post that threatens violence or illegal activity against anyone and steps are taken to ban anyone who makes such a post.
- Conducting physical assaults. In June 2003, as Maharaji was leaving the hall in Bristol, UK, one such person assaulted security staff to rush at Maharaji, screaming, "If you don't stop, I'm going to kill you and your family."
If this actually happened, how does Elan Vital know this was done by a former follower, and not a current follower or just some nut on the street? Various people have "rushed at" Maharaji over the years, and from what I have seen they have tended to be his own students ,many of whom had severe emotional and mental problems. I personally am aware of Maharaji programs at which a student tore all her clothes off and stormed the stage; I recall one student who threatened Maharaji's life via mail (I was personally involved in an Elan Vital security detail to follow this person at an Elan Vital program.) I recall quite a number of mentally derranged students of Maharaji who tried to camp out in his yard, scale his residence fence, etc. I doubt Elan Vital describes these unbalanced "students" as a "hate group." Maharaji always had more to fear from his own followers than from anyone else, hence, Maharaji has high levels of security, even at events at which only his "students" are allowed to attend.
- Inciting people to poison water at the IRCC Conference Centre near Brisbane during a convention.
Again, what the hell is this about? Never heard of such nonsense. How does one "incite" people to poison water? Can you believe this drivel? Has Elan Vital called the police? Why not? Again, on an open message board anyone can post anything. However, as noted bove, the administrators of the ex-premie forums delete posts that threaten violence against anyone, and steps are taken to ban from the forum anyone who makes such statements.
- Mounting campaigns of telephone calls and letter writing to the employers of Maharaji's students "warning" them that they employ "a member of a dangerous cult." This caused several of Maharaji's students to lose their jobs or have to close their business.
I have never seen any evidence that any ex -premie has ever contacted the employer of a premie to say he or she was a cult. On the other hand, I have seen a number of cases in which premies have contacted employers of ex-premies to accuse them of being "cyberstalkers," and also students of Maharaji have put up websites, putting up the names of employers of ex-premies and asking that they be contacted and told that the ex-premie was a "cyberstalker." Of course, these were always done anonymously by Maharaji's students. The hypocrisy of Elan Vital in this regard is truly astounding, given that Elan Vital makes unsubstantiated claims about ex-premies, but has never gotten around to condemn the criminal behavior of Maharaji's students.
- Filing formal complaints to professional regulatory bodies to have the law and psychology licences of Maharaji's students revoked. Fortunately, no regulatory body found any allegations worthy of formal investigation.
Again, I am aware that students of Maharaji have both done such complaints (anonymously) against ex-premies, or have "incited" others to do so via websites premies have set up, but I am not aware of any ex-premie having done so, except in response to a complaint made against them by a premie and the premie accidently revealing his or her identity.
- Calling the editors of newspapers publishing fair articles about Maharaji (at times up to 40 calls a day), intimidating them into recanting their articles.
I don't know about how many calls, but it is strange that Elan Vital calls "criminal" what is basically freedom of speech and the press. Elan Vital is free to respond to any comments any ex-premie makes to the press and vice versa. The outrage Elan Vital expresses over open communication is only evidence that Elan Vital and Maharaji have a lot to hide when it comes to public disclosure. People who have nothing to hide do not attack the press as being manipulated. They simply get their side of the story out to the press. Maharaji has not done that. He has instead placed canned interviews in publications that do not allow for critical comment and has otherwise avoided the press like the plague.
- Harassing by telephone and Internet the author of academic articles about Maharaji, emailing his supervisor to have him rescind a fair article about Maharaji.
The only person I am aware of who has even written an "academic article" about Maharaji is Ron Geaves in the UK. One can find on EPO an open dialogue that ex-premies attempted to have with Mr. Geaves after he appeared in an Elan Vital video called "Passages" which contained false and misleading information about Prem Rawat's history and described falsely the motivations for people who had left Maharaji. Ex-premies first tried to get Dr. Geaves to dialogue in private about his participation in that video, but he refused to do so. After all attempts to discuss this with him failed, an "open letter" to Dr. Geaves was finally put on the EPO website at www.ex-premie.org. Dr. Geaves has never responded to what can only be described as legitimate questions and comments about his participation in the "Passages" video.
- Stalking the venues where Elan Vital holds public meetings, contacting the proprietors and flooding them with threats that there may be a demonstration. Then sending defamatory statements about Elan Vital to the proprietors.
Some ex-premies may have contacted venues which were holding Elan Vital events and informed them of who actually Prem Rawat was. Some venues did then refuse to host the Elan Vital event. Elan Vital had every opportunity to make its case to the venue, but, again, freedom of speech and information and those who participate in it are not committing "criminal" acts, nor does this constitute "hate group" activity.
Trying to learn what entities Elan Vital does business with, and then flooding those entities with "friendly warnings" about who Elan Vital "really" is. The hate group's goal is to get contracted business cancelled. One hate group member, a Vancouver-based criminal lawyer specialising in defending drug dealers and rapists, has repeatedly boasted of conducting similar harassment.
Ditto on this issue. The attack on Jim Heller is pure libel. Jim Heller is a criminal defense lawyer and in Canada as well as Australia, the system depends on lawyers willing to defend people accused of a crime. Elan Vital seems to have forgotten that people are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. It is a noble profession to do criminal defense, and unlike the kind of work Mr. Scattinni does for Elan Vital, I'm sure Mr. Heller has not become rich doing it. For Elan Vital to imply that what Mr. Heller does is anything less than admirable is pure sophistry.
- Publishing on the Internet the floor plans of Maharaji's house (where his wife and children reside), publishing his personal telephone number and encouraging people to call him.
One wonders how any of this is criminal behavior. As point of fact, one of the students of Maharaji who helped design Maharaji's lavish Malibu "house" provided the floor plans to just part of the house to EPO because he was so angry at the terrible way he was treated by Mr. Rawat when he was "serving" him in doing that work. Elan Vital is not concerned that those floor plans result in some kind of danger to Maharaji's family. They are upset because the floor plans reveal the obscene luxury in which Mr. Rawat lives, all the while his students are continually hit up for money for Maharaji's "mission" that he supposedly cares so much about and sacrifices so much to pursue.
- Systematically calling the venues where Maharaji holds events, feeding them slanderous information and trying to cause them to cancel the event.
See above. Note that in the USA, "truth" is by definition not slanderous.
- Trying to break into the internal email system of Elan Vital.
I have no idea what this is about, and of course EV makes this accusation with no proof whatsoever.
- Using stolen, misappropriated access codes to enter into Elan Vital internal telephone conferences.
"Misappropirated access codes?" What the hell is this about, and what is it that Elan Vital has to hide in these telephone conferences? What, is Maharaji revealing the meditation techniques via conference call? What a joke.
- Publishing on the Internet details about the private lives and sexual preferences of students of Maharaji and registering these documents with Internet search engines so that people searching these people's names would immediately read this private information.
I have never once heard of this happening, but, again, students of Maharaji have done this to ex-premies for years via various anonymous websites, like the current "one-reality" website that still exists. Students have published not only personal information, but pictures of ex-premies. Also, speaking of sexual preferences, a couple of these hate websites set up by Maharaji's followers have been blatantly homophobic, specifically attacking ex-premies who are gay and lesbian, ridiculing their orientation. This is not surprising, given that Prem Rawat himself has been known to engage in homophobic "humor" many times and had ridiculed gay and lesbian members of his staff.
- Systematically posting copyrighted documents on their website, in violation of applicable copyright laws.
This is, of course, a joke. Elan Vital has attempted to make this claim, but EPO responded to EV's demands, informing them that not only did EV NOT have valid copyrights to much of the material, but that all of the use of that material fell within the "fair use" legal doctrines. When EPO responded, EV decided to drop its claim of copyright violations, despite having hired high-priced lawyers to pursue the claim. If EV really has a claim that ex-premies have violated copyright laws by publishing pictures of Maharaji dancing half naked on stages wearing crowns, and having his feet kissed, then why didn't it pursue the legal claim?