Vital tries to play down the Jagdeo affair,
I had some private correspondance with Glen Whittaker, organiser of Elan Vital in the UK, about Mahatma Jagdeo's paedophile activities, involving children who were in my care, as a schoolteacher, some years ago.
This correspondance came into the public arena with the first letter from Elan Vital, retyped below.
Elan Vital seem extremely paranoid about the attention being given to this matter on the forum. Jagdeo has been reported to the Police, and the British press have been interested in the story for some weeks, increasing their fears that this matter may somehow reflect on the cult and its master.
The two letters from Elan Vital, and my reply to the first letter, have already been published on the forum, but I thought I'd put all four up together, so they can be read in context.
Anth the Archivist
FIRST LETTER FROM ELAN VITAL
26 August 1999
Ive noticed that youve made allegations about Mahatma Jagdeo, on the ex-premie.org website. These allegations are that he was involved in paedophilic activities.
You will recall that when you raised the matter with me privately in the early part of the year, my response was that I knew of no evidence to substantiate the claim or even to suspect that it was true. I am of course concerned that the allegations and your strength of belief being such that you have made this allegation publicly. As a result of this, I have conducted some enquiry but can find no evidence to substantiate the allegation, including any record of any contemporaneous or later complaint made by the alleged victim.
Allegations of this nature are of course extremely damaging. If untrue, they may destroy the life and reputation of an old man and of course may also cause damage to any victims of the alleged acts who might rather put the matter behind them or have it approached more discretely.
If however the allegations are true we would of course deplore any such activity and agree they should be exposed. If you have any further information which would assist an inquiry let me have that information as we would wish to pursue the matter with appropriate discretion as so as to cause least further distress to the alleged victim.
I should make it absolutely clear that Elan Vital was not aware of the allegations until you raised them recently, which raises the question of why you waited so may years before making them, and did not and would not approve of or condone such appalling behaviour.
Please take care that any publication on the internet or implication that Elan Vital or Maharaji knew of, approved of or condoned any such paedophile behaviour would be false and very damaging. We would have no option but to take legal advice.
In response to your letter of 26th August, 99, I did indeed make allegations on the ex-premie website, last year, on November 1st, in my Journey, based on communication with a parent and ex pupil of Unity School, earlier that year. Im sure you remember when my story appeared on the Internet, as you wrote to me about it soon afterwards. (Im not sure if by reminding you of this, youll have to take legal advice, but what the hell.)
In your letter you mentioned that you conducted some enquiry. Id be interested to know what form this took. You knew that the alleged offence took place at Unity School 74/75, as this information was in what Id published in November. Did you ask anyone who was at Unity School at that time about what happened? If so, who? Both Dot and I were there, why didnt you ask either of us? It doesnt sound like a very thorough enquiry to me Glen. Do you even know the names of his alleged victims.(there is more than one).
You say that allegations of this nature are extremely damaging. They are only damaging if they are untrue. Sexual abuse of young children is extremely damaging, and allegations of such acts, if true, are the first step in healing the damage done.
You also say if the allegations are untrue, they may destroy the life and reputation of an old man and may cause damage to any victims who might rather put the matter behind them or have it approached more discreetly. Surely Glen, if the allegations are untrue, how can not putting the matter behind them cause distress, if nothing actually happened.
I do have further information that will assist an enquiry Glen. There are reports on the Ex-premie website of offences commited by Jagdeo in the United States, in the Journeys section, in the Journey by Gs mom. You should read it.
More detailed information about the crimes and the victims have been given to the Police, whove probably contacted you by now.
Ive been in close communication with both victims, at every stage since this affair floated to the surface of the pool. I can assure you that they are both extremely glad that things have finally been taken seriously and been brought out into the open.
You say that Elan Vital wasnt aware of these alleged offences until recently, and then hint at legal action if I disagree. If you read Gs moms Journey, on Ex-Premie.org youll see she told two instructors, both close to Maharaji, who have both since been named on the Internet. The instructors were Randy Prouty and Judy Osborne, both of whom I know, respect and like. Im quite sure they would have passed the information on.
You say youd like to pursue the matter, you could start by asking Randy and Judy what happened, who they told and what the response was. You could also make an announcement through your organisation, worldwide, that any possible victims, or parents of children may have been sexually abused by Mahatma Jagdeo should contact you. You could then pass this information to the police.
The reason I did nothing for 25 years Glen, was because I didnt know about it until last year. As youve noticed, Ive now done something.
So, I guess youd better go and get some legal advice.
Anth the Whistle Blower
5th September 1999
Thank you for your response. Although you did not, as I requested, provide information on the name(s) of the alleged victims, or any details of the alleged offences, your news that any information is now in the hands of the police is very welcome. If we can assist them in any way we shall be happy to do so, and it would help to know details of whom the allegation has been reported to. On our part, we are also seeking advice from the relevant authorities in the field to ensure appropriate actions are taken.
I assure you Anth, we have researched extensively by asking people in this organisation and in the American Elan Vital about these allegations, but so far no-one, including people you mention, has any recollection of them. This is not to suggest that the alleged incidents did not take place.
Despite what you may believe, the sole aim of Elan Vital is to promote an inner experience of peace and an enrichment of the experience of what it means to be alive.
I would like to re-iterate that your allegations are as upsetting to us as they are to you and should the alleged victim in the case you speak of come forward we will offer her all the help we can in co-operation with the relevant authorities.
Looks like youve been to see your lawyers. You requested the names of Jagdeos victims. I didnt give them to you and I have no intention of giving them to you. Ill try to explain why.
Imagine, as an 8 or 9 year old child, you are taken to live in a place run by a religious cult. Or maybe youre a 14-year-old teenager whos become interested in meditation or something, and you start going along to cult meetings. Whatever, you end up being sexually abused by a full time representative of that cult.
Imagine, in the case of g-mom, after youve been abused, you report it to another full time cult official (mahatma or instructor or initiator, whatever the current jargon was) in the case of g-mom, this person was from her home town and knew her personally. You ask him to tell your master. You meet him later and he tells you the master was informed. The instructor who assaulted you is still at large, so you tell another instructor. She gets back to you a week later, and tells you, Yes, the master knew already and was glad that this was not a new episode. Or maybe in the case of the 9 year old, her parent tells yet another mahatma, and aquaintance of the master, and nothing ever gets back to them either.
The years roll by. November 98, I publish allegations about Jagdeo on the Internet. (I wasnt the first.) August 99, Jagdeo is reported to the police, the press get interested. , Lo and behold, the two instructors cant remember anything that they were told, cant remember telling Maharaji, and cant remember telling the victim what theyd done. Not only that, the cult are suddenly concerned and want the victims names.
(And didnt you or Heather tell the Express that Elan Vital was nothing to do with Divine Light Mission?)
Forget it Glen. Theyve lost faith in you. Your main aim seems to be keeping your master out of this. Their experience tells them the cult cares little for the victims of child abuse.
If youre really concerned about sorting this mess out, and, as you say, assisting the Police, you could start by telling them where Jagdeo is living. Is he still in the ashram in India? Is he still a Mahatma? Is he still a premie. Does he still do special childrens knowledge sessions ? Does he still have access to children.? Do the Police in India know about his pedophiliac activities?
Your third paragraph is interesting Glen. You say, The sole aim of Elan Vital is to promote an inner experience of peace and an enrichment of the experience of what it means to be alive. Hmmmmn, havent you missed a bit out there, about the teachings of Maharaji or something, that justifies the personality cult that surrounds him? Hes the one who gives you this experience of what it means to be alive, and inner peace, through his teachings, right?
You say in your last paragraph, how disturbing the allegations are, and if the alleged victim comes forward (there are serious allegations of offences against at least three young girls), you will offer her all the help you can, with the co-operation with the authorities. Ive already explained why they dont want to talk to you, but are happy to talk to the Police.
Whether Maharaji knew about Jagdeos pedophilic activities or not was never an issue with me. Youre the one who brought that up.
Im not Anti Maharaji. Now I no longer worship him, as a fellow human being I have sympathy for his plight and I hope he sorts himself out one day. Hes a cult victim too, and I hold no personal animosity towards him whatsoever.
I received the following e-mail from Terry Yingling, a member of the Elan Vital PR Team in response to my "I've been warned" posting on the Ex-premie Forum on October 15, 2000. My response follows.
It has come to Elan Vital's attention from your recent posting that you have been the object of a threat. From what you appear to be saying, you are assuming the threat came from someone representing Elan Vital or Maharaji in some way. Though I feel saddened that it has come to a point where you could think this, I would like to assure you that the message that you received does not come from Elan Vital or Maharaji nor would it comply with any policies of either of them.
For some years now, Elan Vital, Maharaji, his family and the many people who choose to listen to Maharaji's teaching have been attacked by various web sites but have not, do not and will not engage in like behavior.
Everyone has the right to his or her own opinion, and if you wish to post on this forum, that is your choice and prerogative. Neither Maharaji nor Elan Vital would ever endorse harassments or threats of any kind. Maharaji has repeatedly expressed his wish for all people to grow in their lives, either with or without knowledge.
We would like to take the opportunity to clarify some of your statements regarding the Jagdeo situation.
Elan Vital did take Susan Haupt's assertions very seriously and did take action. It was largely through your efforts that Ms. Haupt brought her complaint directly to us. We offered to meet with her in an effort to help her and we asked what else she wanted Elan Vital to do regarding the Jagdeo matter. As her representative you informed us that she only wanted to be heard and did not wish to take the matter further.
When the Mahatmas in India were released, each of them was asked if he or she had done anything wrong that they needed to account for. Jagdeo's response was negative (which may or may not be true). The person who interviewed Jagdeo, following the allegations made on the Internet, was the person who is responsible for the organization in India and the appropriate person to do so. This is different from when you were involved. Jagdeo was informed that if there were any truth to the allegations against him, he would face the legal consequences of his actions.
We believe it is important for us to bring the above directly to your attention.
Thank you for your e-mail response to my "I've been warned" posting on the Ex-premie Forum on October 15, 2000.
In your response, you interpret my assertion that, "I have received my first warning, no make that "threat", from the pro-Maharaji camp" to mean that I am equating the "pro-Maharaji camp" with Élan Vital and/or Maharaji. While I can understand that you and others may have come to such a conclusion, I did not. In fact, I would have been very surprised if it came from Élan Vital and/or Maharaji if for no other reason than some of the specific threats that were made would be at odds with the terms of my contractual agreement.
By "pro-Maharaji camp" I was simply referring to those cult members who still feel that it is their responsibility to defend their Lord from attack at all costs - Fakiranand style. Of course, such a warning would never have come from Élan Vital because, as you point out in you FAQ's, Maharaji isn't running a cult, nor is he anyone's Lord, at least not any more. Obviously, Bill M has not yet come to grips with Maharaji's re-interpretation of the past.
Terry, I do not question your sincerity. However, I do believe you are being duped and used in much the same way Bill Clinton deceived those who were around him into believing that he was telling the truth when he denied having sexual relations with Monica Lewinski. Based on his denial, Clinton's supporters, press secretary, and PR people strongly defended the President when he was under attack on this issue. When he finally confessed to the truth, they were justifiably angry and disgusted at being deceived and used to perpetuate his lies. I believe your situation is similar to their's. Let me give you but one example of what I am talking about.
In your FAQ "What were some of the changes made by Élan Vital?" you state that Maharaji "was recognized by several US cities for the significant effect his teaching was having in leading people away from the 'drug culture '. As such, ashrams worked for a while precisely because of what was going on socially in the era in which they came about." I think it is reasonable to interpret this statement to mean that the ashrams worked in the 70's because they were sheltering its residents (including me) from the dangers of the drug culture. If that is so, it is completely at odds with what was going on during that same period, night after night, in Maharaji's residence in Malibu. After Maharaji had dinner, he, and most of the residence staff, would gather in his living room to listen to music on his incredible sound system. As good and expensive as the sound system was, however, its effect was greatly enhanced by the joints that were freely passed around. Don't get me wrong, I liked getting stoned and there is nothing quite like being passed a joint that had just been toked on by the Lord. When everyone was ripped, Maharaji loved to play "Frampton Comes Alive" at full volume. To me those were great times, but please spare me the bullshit about protecting us from the drug culture. The awards Maharaji received in this regard were a joke. They were as ridiculous as Elvis Presley receiving an honorary FBI badge from Nixon.
Now, let's talk about something far more serious - the Jagdeo situation. In my opinion, you completely miss the point when you continue to put the onus on Susan to do more than what she has already done. You already had enough evidence to properly address this matter. But you did not handle it properly, and here is my reason for saying so. Without any need for your patronizing tone, I am aware that things have changed since I left. But I do not believe that Maharaji has delegated the responsibility of making instructors to anyone other than himself. Of course, the instructors may be employees of, or independently contracted, by Élan Vital, but they always have been and still are "Maharaji's" instructors. Just ask them whom they think they really work for.
You state that the person who interviewed Jagdeo was the appropriate person to do so. I strongly disagree that the person responsible for the organization in India was the appropriate person to interview Jagdeo - unless, of course, the intention was to distance Maharaji as much as possible from what was becoming a potentially dangerous situation. In my opinion, Maharaji should have put any such considerations aside. When in India, he should have confronted Jagdeo personally. And, because I have no doubt that Jagdeo is guilty of the allegations as Maharaji would surely have discovered, Maharaji should have publicly disgraced him and allowed him to face the legal consequences. Maharaji should then have made a concerted effort to track down Jagdeo's victims, personally apologized for the inexcusable actions of one of "his" mahatmas, and offered some restitution.
That's what a real leader would have done. But, of course, I forgot, Maharaji is not a leader according to your FAQ's. Well you are absolutely right on that count, but not for the reasons you cite. Maharaji is not a leader because he is a coward and a hypocrite who is totally lacking in integrity.