Joe Whalen responds to Mitch
Ditkoff's attempt to argue that Maharaji is not the leader
of a cult:-
Mitch Ditkoff is a Real Disappointment
In my earlier article about why Maharaji really is the
leader of a cult, I mentioned Mitch Ditkoff's nonsensical
article on his "Please Consider This" website (Is
Maharaji the Leader of a Cult?, dated August 15, 2001).
The article meanders all over the place, is amazingly
self-contradictory, and the only conclusion I can come to is
that Mitch thinks all those "innocent bystanders," whom he
says he is attempting to address, are idiots. God knows he
has no qualms about insulting their intelligence.
Mitch says that the "cult" issue is the "biggest complaint"
of that "small percentage" of Maharaji's former followers
who "dislike him intensely." Where Mitch gets those
characterizations and statistics, except perhaps from a
certain portion of his anatomy, he doesn't say.
First, Mitch gives us the "it's-all-relative" speech we have
heard so many times from Maharaji apologists. That's the
EST-like theory that you can't really judge what "cult"
means because it's all just opinion and perspective. (Mitch
revives this theory throughout his article.) Then, in
literally the next sentence, Mitch does a complete
about-face and compares his cult to an "objective
definition" which he claims to have discovered while
researching cult experts.
From Mitch's extensive "research" he quotes a definition of
"cult" by Dr. Michael Langone, currently Executive Director
of the American Family Foundation (AFF), and author of a
number of books on cults. It will be no surprise to you that
Mitch determines the Maharaji cult doesn't meet the
definition. What Mitch seems to have missed in his
"research" however, is that Dr. Langone's organization lists
Elan Vital/Maharaji as a group many claim to be a cult, and
Dr. Langone himself, in his book Recovery from
Cults, (W.W. Norton, 1995), clearly concludes that what
Maharaji is leading is most definitely a "cult" (page 41).
Funny how Mitch missed those things in his "research."
Note to all "innocent bystanders": Whose conclusion are you
likely to accept? The expert on cults who actually wrote the
definition Mitch is trying to twist to his own purposes, or
Mitch Ditkoff, an admitted member of the cult he is trying
desperately to prove isn't one for entirely propaganda and
damage control purposes? Since most people, bystanders or
not, were not born yesterday, the answer should be
Another follower of Maharaji writing on another cult website
joins Mitch's slide into this kind of disingenuous banter.
Josie Winter quoted Marc Galanter's definition on the "It
Ain't So" website, from Galanter's book, Cults: Faith
and Coercion. Although Ms. Winter, like Mitch, engages
in a lengthy argument about how the Maharaji cult doesn't
meet the definition, she apparently was too busy to notice
that Galanter, in that very book, also determined that the
Maharaji cult is, indeed, a cult.
From that rather inauspicious start, it's downhill from
there for Mitch, I am afraid. Next, he says that maybe
Maharaji used to be the leader of a cult, but not anymore.
Sure, in those bad old days it was weird due to the
followers' "spiritual immaturity," but that was the fault of
the followers not Maharaji (of course), and moreover, that
"quirky" behavior has "gone the way of bell bottoms."
Mitch really ought to get out more, because bell bottoms
(and hip-hugger jeans) are very much back in fashion these
days (why, I have no idea). He also appears to have missed
the last Amaroo event with Maharaji at which ARTI was sung
and Maharaji's followers lined up for the very un-cult-like
ritual of kissing Maharaji's feet. That was in April of this
year, so maybe Mitch is implying that Maharaji stopped being
the leader of a cult around Memorial Day, but I'm not
Regarding ARTI, just for the benefit of those "innocent
bystanders," here are just some of the words: