It is now four years since I began to extricate myself from Maharaji's influence.
It has been an interesting and involved process, with a wide range of emotions: anger and grief at losing 30 years of my life; self-doubt and bewilderment at allowing myself to be duped for so long; anxiety and fear about what I would do next, how to start making my own decisions again when I had allowed myself to be spoon-fed for years; relief as previous cast-iron certainties were seen as flimsy nothings, holding me captive only by my own acquiescence; and an exhilarating sense of freedom and joy at seeing my life and this universe once more without the distorted filter of my faith and belief in Maharaji and his message.
So all in all, I think I have made a good and clean escape; I won't forget, but then neither am I obsessed with Maharaji any more, and he is now an insignificant blip on the horizon behind me.
But there is one thing that still bugs me, and that is the current revisionism: the denial by Maharaji and the remaining premies of how things were in the past.
I have less problem with Maharaji wanting to reinvent himself for the 2000s - an inspirational speaker, with a simple message of peace and hope. I even have less problem with the hypocrisy of current premies, who present this public side of Maharaji to the outer world, but among themselves and in their heart holding him still to be the Lord, a truly enlightened being by whose grace the sincere devotee will win through (and they do - I am in enough contact still with current premies who absolutely think like this).
I even have less of a problem with Maharaji and premies trying to forget and gloss over all those programs where he was in Krishna costume and was worshipped as the one and only true guru who was 'greater than God' (because he could show you God, whereas God himself could not). I can appreciate that these episodes are embarrassing to a newly invented inspirational speaker, who does not want to start a religion. And so I can see why they might not be mentioned, and if they are, why they would be explained away by blaming the Indian mahatmas of the 1970's, or some other convenient scapegoat, in time-honored politician style.
But that is not quite what I see happening: it is being denied that these things even happened! And not just that, but as a strategy, it shows some signs of working. It might appear to be outrageous that events and belief-systems which many thousands of people witnessed and lived through are being denied, but historically it is a common strategy - the bigger the lie the more people will believe it as Hitler wrote in Mein Kampf.
The Gallery does a good job of gathering together what documented evidence there is of how things were in the past. I have heard that evidence explained away as a magazine editor's over zealousness, although the tapes and recordings of Maharaji's actual words are harder to explain away.
But I am less interested in trying to pin down hard evidence of Maharaji saying this or that. I am much more interested in the fact that whatever was publicly stated, for many years (approximately 1970 to the late-80s) there was a pervasive and universal belief-system in place that Maharaji was very special, was divine, was 'Lord of the Universe', was a great spiritual incarnation, was the keeper of the grace that allowed his devotees to realise the Knowledge.
This is harder to support to a cynical, supposedly neutral and objective, person, who is interested in documented evidence. That is why the apparent strategy by Maharaji and his organisations to outright deny any of this ever happened is quite clever. Why, of course Maharaji is, and has always been, a humanitarian inspirational speaker and nothing else - any stories you hear of him being God-like are just due to the misguided enthusiasm of those early people who tried to import the Indian way....
So for the record, let me say this, absolutely and unequivocally from my own witnessing: Whatever Maharaji is recorded as saying or not saying, his whole mission and work in the West from the beginning (1971) was based on the fact that he was, if not God, then God-like, was Lord of the Universe, was the one and only unique and special being by whose grace, and only by whose grace, could anyone be saved from their own mind and realise what had to be realised. It was completely as a result of this attitude, that he himself propagated (as well as all of us his followers), that premies surrendered, or tried to, everything to him - their energy, money, time, hopes, love, dreams, everything - whether they were in the ashram (itself evidence of this attitude) or not.
To deny that this ever happened, or that he was trapped into condoning it, is an affront and an insult to all those sincere and courageous premies who gave up so much because we believed in the promise made to us. It did happen, folks, and the really sad thing is that it is still happening in private.