MAHARAJI CULT MAKES CRIMINAL ATTACKS ON EX-PREMIES
STATEMENT BY VICTIMS ATTACKED BY THE MAHARAJI CULT
August 30, 2001
The undersigned were recently attacked by unnamed premies (devotees of Maharaji), by means of an Internet website called "Citizens Against Cyberstalking" (www.stopcyberstalkers.org) which, at first glance, appeared to be a public service to the victims of harassment. These premies targeted the twelve of us, who are all former followers of Maharaji ("ex-premies"), by labeling us criminal "cyberstalkers," and by listing our names with eight other alleged "cyberstalkers" who included child molesters and kidnappers.
The website was an incitement to anyone viewing the site to contact our employers, families, professional associations, licensing bureaus, and other entities to inform them that we had engaged in criminal activity. The website provided corresponding addresses, telephone numbers and email links for them to easily do so. The website also included our pictures, disclosed addresses of our homes and businesses, telephone numbers and email addresses. In one extreme attempt at intimidation, the authors of the website even went so far as to provide the picture of the young child of one of the ex-premies, and listed the address of where the child lived. It also included false, out-of-context, and misleading information about all of us, including twisted and fabricated quotes these premies used as "proof" of their allegations of our mental illness or criminal activity.
The obvious goal of these premies was to blackmail and intimidate us so that we would refrain from posting about Maharaji and his cult on the Internet. The perpetrators specifically offered to refrain from further blackmail if the victim did so. Sadly, one of our numbers, so frightened about the safety of his daughter whose picture and address were displayed, capitulated publicly to the blackmail and his name was then removed from the "cyberstalker" list.
We believe we were singled out for attack from among the hundreds of ex-premies who have posted on the Internet because we are perceived to have been effective in helping premies who no longer want to be a part of the Maharaji cult, who were staying out of fear or other reasons, to leave the cult by supplying information that has been kept secret by the cult for many years, and by generally offering them support. Some of us were targeted because of what would appear to be our particular vulnerability to blackmail. Three out of the twelve appear to have been chosen because they are gay, one appears to have been chosen because his child was vulnerable to attack, and most of us were chosen partly because we have posted under our own names on the Internet, and hence were easily identifiable.
The website authors claimed that as premies they, themselves, have been the victims of defamation, harassment and other illegal activities at the hands of ex-premies, but no proof whatsoever was provided. Much less, no proof was provided that any of us, the actual victims of the website, had engaged in any such activities, and we categorically deny that we have done so.
Although the perpetrators claim to consist of four individuals, we have reason to believe that Elan Vital, the front organization for Maharaji, and Maharaji himself, may have instigated, contributed to, or condoned this attack. We have been informed by reliable sources that Elan Vital has been "monitoring," collecting data on, and even doing external investigations of, ex-premies who have posted on the Internet about Maharaji. We have also been informed that Elan Vital has assigned monitors to review our postings to compile extensive files on all of us, and we feel there is good reason to believe, based on the nature of the attack and who was chosen for the attack, that that information compiled by Elan Vital was used to prepare the website, and to defame and attempt to intimidate us. Whether the Elan Vital hierarchy officially condoned the use of this information is difficult to know.
Under the circumstances, we find Elan Vitalís press release of August 23, 2001, both utterly inadequate and insulting, because it does not specifically condemn this attack, and it blames the victims for causing it. We are concerned because the press release is yet another "dig" at ex-premies, and might encourage the more fanatical of Elan Vitalís members to do something similar. We also suspect that Prem Pal Singh Rawat (aka Maharaji) may have been personally involved, at least to the extent of tacit approval, since to date we are aware of no public statement by him disavowing the website and its perpetrators.
After threats of legal action were made publicly by several of us, the website was modified on August 23, 2001 and replaced with a statement that the premies behind the site would be contributing their "database of resources" to two unnamed organizations. This statement, which implies further dissemination of the defamatory material, as well as the possibility that it or a similar website could appear at any time, makes it even more alarming that we have yet to see any statement whatsoever from Mr. Rawat about this, nor have we seen any evidence of attempts by him to attempt to stop his more fanatic devotees from doing anything similar in the future. Since the perpetrators claim personal allegiance to Mr. Rawat and his teachings, we feel Mr. Rawat has a moral and ethical obligation to make such a public statement.
This event is an ominous sign. Until recently, most of us believed that the more fanatical elements had died out years ago after the Mahatma Fakiranand incident in the 1970s. But these events, as well as earlier attempts by Mr. Rawatís lawyers to shut down the websites through which ex-premies share information, lead us to believe that the Maharaji cult may be headed in the same direction as other destructive cults, such as Scientology, which attack former members who disclose critical information and opinions. Since we the undersigned stand behind our statements and opinions, and do so by not being anonymous, and because we intend to continue speaking about the subjects of Mr. Rawat and our former cult, we are understandably concerned about our safety.
We can understand why the cult is concerned about us, to the extent of wanting us to be intimidated off the Internet. In addition to providing a support for premies leaving the cult, ex-premies have been extremely effective in publicizing the fact that Maharaji is not at all the person he has tried to project, and in fact he has serious personal flaws that he has attempted over the years, with great effort, to keep secret.
We have also pointed out that Maharaji's priorities do not appear to be what he professes. During the same time he has amassed immense wealth for himself personally, he has failed utterly in "spreading knowledge" and has thousands fewer followers today in the West than he had 20 years ago. He rarely does "introductory programs," rarely advertises his existence or that of "knowledge," and has shown little interest in doing anything other than retaining his core audience, his dwindling group of devotees from the 70s, and engaging in technological gimmicks, pretending that these are finally going to spread the word, after 30 years of failed attempts.
If anyone needs any proof of the fact that Maharaji has reverted to his "Lord of the Universe" roots to retain these devotees, they need only note that as recently as a few months ago, in a high-security enclave in Australia, Maharaji had these devotees sing ARTI to him, a lengthy Hindu song premies sang to him in the 70s, which clearly describes Maharaji as a deity, and more extreme yet, Maharaji had those same devotees line up by the hundreds to kiss his feet. Neither Maharaji, nor Elan Vital, are about to tell any potential aspirant that such events occur in the year 2001, as Elan Vital deceptively presents Maharaji to the unsuspecting world as northing more than a entirely secular, modern, meditation master. But if these people happen to turn to the Internet, they just might learn the whole truth, and armed with more complete information, make up their own minds about who Maharaji is and what he offers. For these reasons, we will not be intimidated from providing a public service by speaking out freely about Maharaji.
[One name removed on request - Sept 12, 2005]