Journeys: John Cavad

Date: December 23, 1997

It was June 1983, at Fordahm University in the Bronx, New York. It was also the last time I would attend a program or festival of this kind. I was 10 minutes late for an overcrowded event So I, among many others, was told there was no more room in the auditorium and could not enter the program at any time. I wasn't even allowed to go through Darshan, to at least given a few minutes to walk in and out of the building. Never before had I been turned away from my guru (M). Who ever imagined M turning anyone away, especially a devout premie like myself?

Regardless, by this time of my life, I was pretty much at the end of my rope when it came to my devotion to this man and his order. I was drained from behaving like a social outcast, a weirdo, a helpless worshipper of a cult god. It was my time to grow up and move on. I had more than my share wild fun and gratuitous sacrifice to a self- indulgent cause. I realized I had to quit taking this drug once and for all.

Cold turkey? No. Prior to this day, it took about three years to ease my way out. After all, I was addicted to Darshan like a heroin addict to junk. I would pay any price for a moments peak at the master. And, for many years I certainly had done just that. I once paid a hoodlum 50 bucks to steal my one and only perfectly-running car so that I could collect enough money from the insurance company to pay my way to Rome, Italy in 1977. That's how addicted I was to my master.

Later that Summer of 1983, I relocated to California, returned to college to complete my education, remarried a healthy minded woman, and forever lost contact with M and the entire organisation. Until these web pages magically appeared after years of searching the internet, I wondered for over 14 years what ever happened to the all-powerful guru, the majestic mission, the flighty premies.

One evening, eight years before the Bronx, my best friends sister, Sara, gave me my first hit of Satsang while I was complaining to a group of friends about Transcendental Meditation (TM). I practised TM for about two years before I completely got frustrated with the lack of depth, meaning, and self- realization. With such compassion, Sara, expressed how deeply she understood my frustration, and she proceeded to tell me about M. The dosage was overwhelming, nearly lethal. I was instantaneously hooked to this new drug.

A few months later, September 1975, I attended my first formal Satsang in Denver, Colorado. I soon returned to my home in New York and started attending an aspirant program during the period when M decided to tone down his image. A god-like figure? He was never portrayed as lord of the universe to me by anyone. I was given a very different picture. M was no more that a well respected teacher of Meditation. So during the first few months of that aspirant program, I had no idea what was to come of my devotion. Hence, we have the true definition of a cult: lured in with a pretty picture of how great your life can be if you join the happy group. Once you sign your name on the dotted line, beware - the ugly truth reveals itself in all its glory.

In July 1976, I attended a one day program in Providence, Rhode Island. I enjoyed my first Darshan so much as an aspirant (it was permitted back then) that I went through the line twice (a big no-no for premies). M was suspended on a stage so high up that no one had physical access to his feet. I guess that was part of his new image. The next month I was sure to receive knowledge since I was a good and obedient aspirant for so long. Eventually, I was invited by an initiator to attend a special weekend program, after an endless evening of intense group and individual screening (at the Elmhurst, NY premie house).

The screening process was filled with such unnecessary intimidation towards the aspirants. There was no love in that room, not that night. So terrified at the harsh treatment, many aspirants were left in tears. Regardless, I passed the initial stage of the aspirant test. Who knows what the secrete criteria was that night? At the conclusion of that weekend program (at the Brooklyn, NY ashram), I was told I wasn't quite ready for Knowledge. I wasn't devoted enough to M.

Wow, was I pissed! Not devoted enough? I went to Satsang nearly every night, flew around the country to see and hear the master, performed Service every weekend, regardless of how dumb or humiliating a Service. Dropping out of college was a part of my strategy to devoting more time to all this. Nevertheless, I was most willing to go one and do more to earn the privilege of receiving Knowledge. By the way, the initiators name was Ira Woods. Some of you may remember him? He was an absolute rude, pompous ass back then, though I admit, he lightened up in the years that followed.

It wasn't until December 1976, that I would see M again. This time in Atlantic City, New Jersey for his birthday party. That's when M was back...back to his god-like self. From that time on, I would run off to
festivals about once every two to three months. Money was no obstacle. I would beg, borrow and steal for it. Time off from work? Well, I compromised my job, my career and my worldly goals quite a bit like most premies. Yes, I was truly addicted to all this insanity and I loved it. There was more excitement in my life than ever before: hundreds of new friends, trips around the world, getting high off of Darshan, and even getting high from Meditation when it worked once a month or so. Who could resist?

In the Winter of 1977, I finally received Knowledge. What changed in my life experience from aspirant to premie? Not much, except for the emergence of guilt feelings since I could never seem to meditate for the required two full hours per day. At a festival during his Satsang, , M once asked, What's the story with this new alarm clock premies are buying? After one full hour, the alarm goes off to let you know you completed your one hour of meditation. Why stop at only one hour? The result?: more guilt!

For a couple of years during the late 70s, I had a distinguished Service, envied by many a premie. Because I was among the few premies that owned a luxury car, I was chosen to be a personal chauffeur for all the initiators that visited New York City. So what was the BFD about that?

Well, for those of you that weren't around then, I'll explain: Initiators were highly revered by premies since they were considered to be the closest human beings to M. It was a requirement for each initiator to spend considerable time with M, at his residence, some on the road. A few of the older initiators I chauffeured had known M's father back in India during the 50s & 60s. They were more than willing to impart their incredible anecdotes while wed sit for hours in city traffic.

Many of the countless stories I heard were totally outrageous not to mention hypnotic even for an ex-premie. Were they talking about a world renowned teacher of Meditation or David Copperfield? Talk about spreading the myth of the Perfect Master! Initiators, old and new, were right at the top creating a living legend in the Western world.

One time I was bestowed the honour of doing Service at the Miami residence on Palm Island in 1979. All the girls got to enter the divine house to perform simple housework. I, being a male, was told to stay outside with the rest of the men to cut heavy bamboo trees along the back yard fence with a dull hand- saw. At 97 degrees and humidity to match, I felt like a damn slave. I suppose it was to be a humbling experience for me? Or perhaps I was just in my mind as my body was collapsing with fatigue? I don't think so.

Nevertheless, I got lots of mileage out of my Service. When I would casually mention that I was at the residence, men would supplicate to me; girls would sigh and moan with envy. Meanwhile the only thought in the back of my mind was, These people have no idea how much that day sucked.

Somehow in Kansas City, 1980, I managed to manipulate my way into the most coveted Service at a festival: Darshan patrol. For several hours, I got to help nudge premies along the Darshan line inside the tunnel, in close proximity and view of M himself. Initiator, Dr. John, had advised us (prior to our Darshan Service) that many of the devotees who faint in Darshan will be full of shit but those who are sincere should be carried over to the recovery room so he and his fellow medical staff could revive them. See? Even a great devotee like Dr. John, could see through those flighty premies.

All those years, I never considered myself like one of them even though I, too, once fainted at his feet. Okay, enough entertainment for all you ex-premies. As for those current aspirants and premies reading this, let me say this: I won't offer any opinions or conclusions about M. You have your own and certainly don't need mine or anyone ease's, I'm sure. I remember, inviting dozens of Bible fanatics (aka Christian Fundamentalist) for an evening to my home in Florida, after a festival. What a futile cause for all of us. Me trying to get them to bow down to my guru, and them trying to get me to embrace the Holy Bible.

Forget about it! You do what you have to do. No one should ever tell you how to live your life, especially when it comes down to your beliefs or faith. If I can make one recommendation, it is to read as many of these web pages as you can. Most of them are very good, many are insightful. Don't immediately judge or reject what you read...sleep on the material. Study it if you must. If you're ambitious, read some of the many recommended books on cults. Most of all, think about what you're doing now.

Keep in mind there are lots of educated, mature and profoundly experienced people like me out there. Many of us former premies have been captivated with this unnatural lifestyle from head to toe, yet found a way to return to a better life. Yes, a better life - better than Ms false promises, indeed. We're openly sharing our thoughts, feelings and experiences concerning one the most intense periods of our lives: our time as a premie.

We gave our entire lives to this man and his mission. When and for how long? In the 70s, 80s, 90s for one, two, five or twenty years? It doesn't matter. Truth is the same today as it was yesterday as it will be in the future. No one wants to hear, Oh it is was the 70s; It was the old Divine Light Mission; It was those damn Indian Mahatmas! There are absolutely no excuses or compromises in the name of Truth.

In short, we're all pilgrims of life just like you. We all seek Truth everyday. Try to respect that fact rather than hastily fire back at us like we're part of some kind of holy war in the name of God. We're not. Many former premies on these web pages are here to help, if you desire. The choice is always yours.

Best wishes and happiness to all, John

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