DICTIONARY OF CULTS, SECTS, RELIGION AND THE OCCULT
Rev. George Mather and Rev. Larry A. Nichols
THE DIVINE LIGHT MISSION (DLM); ELAN VITAL (EV); DLM/EV History.
The Divine Light Mission was founded in 1971 by GURU MAHARAj ji, born in 1957 in Hardwar, India, as Balyogeshwar Param Hans Satgurudev Shri Sant Ji Maharaj. Inheriting a substantial amount of wealth, Maharaj Ji was only thirteen years old when he received the REVELATION that he was to become the savior of humanity. Arriving in Los Angeles in 1971, he was greeted by only a few devoted followers. However, in 1972, a watershed in the career of this wonder child from India was reached when two thousand converts were gained in Montrose, Colorado. From there on, the growth of the movement was substantial. At the Houston Astrodome in the following year came the event called Millennium '73 attended by some twenty thousand devotees who worshiped (sic) Maharaj Ji as he sat on a throne suspended high above them.
The popularity was not to last, not even with the guru's mother, Mata Ji. Besides mounting debts and accusations of smuggling, Maharaj Ji married an airline stewardess in 1974, pronouncing her a goddess. When Mata Ji arrived in Malibu to see her son, she was not allowed to visit his estate, barred from entry by the new bride.
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Enraged, Mara Ji then publicly denounced her son as being a "drunken, carousing, meateater." She then appointed Maharaj Ji's older brother, Shri Satyapal as the new AVATAR of the movement, which she renamed the Spiritual Life Society.
Though his following continued for some months, gradually the numbers lessened due to the extravagant lifestyle that many observed the "incarnate" youthful god to be living in the United States. A passion for automobiles, real estate, and the best of foods convinced many that they had been duped. Followers in the United States dropped from an estimated fifty-two thousand to about seven thousand.
The mass following, which Maharaj Ji had spawned in the early 1970s, can perhaps be best explained sociologically. In Germany, following World War I, many youth were left fatherless as a result of the war, which claimed nearly two million lives. Adolf Hitler stepped in as a powerful leader and fatherly authority for Germany's disenfranchised. So too, in the 1960s and early 1970s, the great movement of rebellion against established authority had left masses of youth in need of an alternate disciplinary structure. For the lonely and alienated, Maharaj Ji stepped in to fulfill a role similar to that of Hitler's to Germany's youth.
Maharaj Ji chose his most faithful followers to be his personal MAHATMAS, later called INITIATORs. It was their assignment to recruit additional followers.
In 1979 the DLM moved its headquarters to Miami, but returned to Malibu in the early 1980s. Additionally, Maharaj (optional spelling) changed the name of the movement. They are now called Elan Vital. Like much of the westernizing and updating TM has undergone, Maharaj has also attempted to better adapt the DLM/EV to the ways of the West. He no longer wears traditional Indian clothing. In its place he wears Western-styled suits. Many of the cultural trappings have been eliminated to accommodate Western tastes.
Teachings. The theology of the Divine Light Mission/Elan Vital is derivative of HINDUISM, as was the case with many of the personality CULTS of the late 1960s and early 1970s. Devotees "receive knowledge" directly from Maharaj Ji, who instructs them to reach into themselves in order to discover the "divine self" that every human being possesses. A form of YOGA called SIDDHA is used. Devotees sometimes use a T-shaped baragon to aid in meditation.
Followers are also instructed to observe Maharaj Ji's five commandments: (1) Refrain from postponing till tomorrow what can be done today, (2) always meditate on the holy name, (3) never doubt, (4) never avoid attending SATSANG, (5) always have faith in God. The basic doctrines of DLM/EV are outlined as follows:
God - Their belief in God is PANTHEISTIC and Hindu in orientation. God is an all-pervasive divine energy. Maharaj Ji is the INCARNATION of the divine.
Holy Spirit - The Holy Spirit is knowledge that flows from Maharaj Ji.
Humanity - Humanity is inherently divine. The key is to be given the proper knowledge to discover the "goodness within." One must relinquish one's rational capacities to allow the Guru to provide knowledge that leads to ENLIGHTENMENT.
Salvation - Salvation is knowledge/enlightenment. Knowledge comes through the FOURFOLD PATH: (1) THIRD EYE, (2) THIRD EAR, (3) DIVINE NECTAR, (4) PRIMORDIAL VIBRATION. When these four states have been achieved, the premie is ready to feel a sense of oneness and unity with the Deity.
Text and Authority - The Hindu scriptures serve as the basis for the DLM/EV's teaching canons. The main source of authority for the movement is, however, the teachings and revelations of Guru Maharaj Ji.
Christianity and Hinduism are two religions that have little in common with each other. It cannot be expected, therefore, for a movement such as the Divine Light Mission, which derives its theology from the Hindu canons, to have close parallels to Christianity noteworthy of any comparison.
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In 1973, the Divine Light Mission held "Millennium '73" in the Astrodome, where Maharaj Ji announced that he was Savior of the world. He is seated on his throne. Courtesy Spiritual Counterfeit Project
For Christianity, the fount of all wisdom and knowledge is Jesus Christ (Col. 2:3). For the DLM/EV, Maharaj Ji is the key personality.
According to the BIBLE and the ancient creeds, the heart and soul of Christianity is in the concept of the incarnate, LOGOS, or "Word of God," crucified and raised up on the third day in vicarious atonement for the sins of the world. The DLM/EV speaks of the incarnation of the Guru Maharaj Ji, who is himself the savior of the world. There is no concept of God as being Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; that is, three persons in one God and one God in three persons. The Holy Spirit resides within the person of the AVATAR - Maharaj Ji.
Another difference between Christianity and the DLM/EV is readily apparent in their respective doctrines of humankind. Christianity teaches that humanity is conceived and born in sin and is, therefore, in a state of active rebellion against God. God, in mercy, love, and grace, extended an offer of forgiveness to the world by sending his Son into the world to die for sin. The second article of the Apostles' Creed (Appendix 1) describes the Christian view of the person and work of Jesus Christ. DLM/EV, however, has no concept of sin or active rebellion against God, and therefore, no concept of a separation between God and humankind. Salvation is not a matter of repentance from sin and faith in Jesus Christ. Rather, it becomes a matter of personal enlightenment. One's salvation takes place when the divinity within is discovered. The Guru serves to initiate this process and enable the premie to put aside that which impedes progress the most, that is, the mind. Total surrender of the mind to the Guru results in an inner dynamic referred to by followers as being "blissed-out." This occurs during meditation and concentration on the Fourfold Path.
Finally, the five commandments of the Maharaj Ji are in reality a series of moralistic precepts. The Ten Commandments of JUDAISM and Christianity were summarized by Jesus Christ when he reduced the essence of the law to love, that is, love of God and love of neighbor (Matt. 22:36-40). Jesus demonstrated this kind of love toward God and humankind by dying on the cross in order to bring forgiveness to the human race.
Conclusion. Maharaj Ji speaks at over one hundred locations worldwide. He currently has only several hundred followers and approximately four thousand periodical supporters. The title of the DLM/EV's periodical is Divine Times. There are, additionally, numerous pamphlets and books available.
DIVINE NECTAR (Divine Light Mission). Method through which the divine knowledge of GURU MAHARAJ JI is imparted. The divine nectar is believed by members to be a heavenly elixir extracted from the brain. The INITIATOR pushes the tongue back into the throat of a premie until it is touching the uvula. The result is a mucous
that is considered to be "sweet" to the taste. The premie is expected to receive divine knowledge through partaking of the divine nectar. See also THIRD EYE, THIRD EAR, PRIMORDIAL VIBRATION, and FOURFOLD PATH.
MAHARAJ JI, GURU (1957-), spiritual leader and founder of DIVINE LIGHT MISSION (now, known as Elan Vital).