There were three overarching reasons why I left Rawat: I visited Amaroo for the first (and last) time in April, 2001. I was fantastically under whelmed by the site. I expected to see a highly developed, model community – a reflection of the higher consciousness of the Master and His followers. But after years of development and many millions of dollars of investment, it seemed little more than a makeshift, tent city. The facilities were about on par with an interstate highway rest facility. The amphitheater, of which so big a deal was made at programs, was uncomfortable and utterly unimpressive. I expected to be blown away by model design, architecture and workmanship – it wasn’t there to be seen. However, I did not have the opportunity to see the “residence” or the restaurant. No doubt they are of a higher caliber than the rest of the facility. I believe that Neville Ackland addressed the reasons for the sorry state of Amaroo development at length. He described that it was, in fact, the end product of years of waste and strife, burnout and many blown opportunities. It showed. IRCC communications posted on EPO detailed the infighting, insipid, childish behavior and politicking backed up his allegations. The feeling of mediocrity certainly outlasted the typical festival buzz and the enjoyment of meeting my old friends of decades past. So, maybe a trip around the world to see the manifestations of the Master are all a thinking premie needs to begin his or her exit.
The second event that turned me, in a more concrete way, was attending a small, local program. Rawat gave his followers the chance to express their “appreciation” – absolutely no questions were allowed. At that time (and still) I was greatly concerned with the relationship between spirituality, spiritual practice, consciousness and action in the deteriorating condition of the world. I think that at that time, the violent posturing of the Bush administration toward Iraq was beginning (in its recent incarnation). I felt that I had valid concerns that I wanted Prem to address. But it was totally beyond the pale of his discourse. And it seemed beyond the pale of his consciousness. The premies prattled on for a couple of hours. It was a disgusting display of group mentality and conformity, each person trying to outdo the last with their “sincerity” and “appreciation”. The entire program seemed so smug, insulated, self-referential and finally, totally insignificant. I walked out feeling sick and a little dazed by the hollowness of the event. So, once again, maybe a trip to the Master is what’s needed to trigger the repulsion.
Finally, the existential paradox and futility of attempting to find a “separate peace” had become overwhelming. The Rawatist philosophy of “enjoyment,” of finding oneself apart from the community and the world, had proven to be a failure. Nobody I knew (especially me) had been radically impacted by the aloof and distant Guru. At least not in the sense that we were searching for. The easy enlightenment and peace preached by Prem, without character and relationship is a travesty.
Of course, like every one else here, I ultimately was repulsed by the wretched excesses and crass materialism displayed by Prem. It boggles the imagination that after so many tens and hundreds of millions of dollars absorbed by him and his organization, that there is nothing to show for it, except for an underdeveloped campground in Australia. Never has someone taken so much and given back so little (kind of like being a U.S. taxpayer).