|Dear JB and William -|
JB wrote, regarding this site:
There is no real information here. It is basically a wasteland of disinformation and frustration and really only useful, as stated above, if you fancy watching a trainwreck or getting in one yourself.
JB, I STRONGLY disagree with the above statement, especially as it concerns the ex-premie site itself. (The forum is a collection of people's personal statements and opinions, and you can regard it as you see fit. However, there are many really honest and revealing posts on this forum, despite the anger, insults, and frustration). The ex-premie site itself is an attempt to collect honest information from various sources regarding Maharaji - NOT rumors or unverified information. Plus the site includes the 'Journeys' entries, which are people's personal stories of their experiences with Maharaji and Knowledge, and, as so, are not edited. Several people, including myself, have put a lot of effort into making
the site into something that we feel gives much needed information about the 'other side' of being involved with Maharaji.
When I found this site back in 1997, I believed that Maharaji was basically benign but just 'not for me'. I also believed the common conception, which I now believe is a MIS-conception, that any problems in Maharaji's organization were caused by the premies. However, within a week of finding this site, and the former premie site (premie.org in its previous incarnation), I found out a few things that really bothered me. First, I found out that a close premie friend who I had lost contact with has committed suicide (I don't want to argue about possible causes for this, as I simply do not know. It was very upsetting to me.)
Then I found out, by reading the Forum I archives, that Maharaji had closed the ashrams. This also upset me, since I had a number of friends who were ashram premies and who were VERY devoted, and I felt that it must have been devastating to them. I also read some
'behind the scenes reports' from premies who had been close to Maharaji or the inner working of his organization, which led me to believe that Maharaji was, in fact, responsible for a lot of the actions of premies in positions of power.
JB - you wrote:
many of us who were in the ashram were just coasting along and
not necessarily taking advantage of the 'concentrated environment' which was degenerating into all sorts of trips. Not that long after, he disbanded the ashrams as they clearly were no longer serving any real purpose.
The part about 'just coasting' may be true for some - I never lived in the ashram so I cannot comment. However, I do know that there was HEAVY pressure from Maharaji circa 1977 for single premies (and even married premies without children) to move into the ashram so they could 'dedicate' their lives to Maharaji.
I was involved in two separate relationships with men who were in constant conflict about whether they should remain in the relationship or move into the
ashram. Both of them finally did move into the ashram, and I know that they were NOT just taking advantage of a free ride - it was an agonizing decision for them which involved giving up a lot of other things they wanted in life. And I think both of these men expected to remain in the ashram for life - just as if they had moved into a monastery.
I also had some friends who had small children and thus could NOT move into the ashram. These people felt terrible about the fact that they were not doing enough direct service to Maharaji because of their family responsibilities. I know that my friends felt extremely guilty about not being able to 'give' themselves completely to Maharaji, with consequent negative effects on their marriages and families.
I don't know why Maharaji closed the ashrams, although it's been suggested by several people who were in a position to know at the time that he did so because the ashram premies were getting older and might eventually become a financial liability. It's been prettyclear however, from the personal testimony of people here, that it was not handled well, and that no support in re-entering the 'world' was given to people who had lived in the ashrams their whole adult lives.