Michael Dettmers, Former Personal Assistant to Prem Rawat Internet Revelations
Date: Tues, Oct 10, 2000 at 23:14:09 (GMT)
From: Michael Dettmers
Subject: My Response and Comments
I must admit that the Rev. John Hammond-Smyth's recent sermon was hilarious as well as inspiring. Hence, my motivation to come forward once again and respond to some of the questions, concerns and attacks that have been leveled at me. Mainly, however, I am going to speak about my own process since many of you have expressed on and off the forum that you might find it helpful. In doing so, I am not going to repeat what I have said in my earlier posts although I will try to clarify some misunderstandings. For the sake of brevity, I am going to assume that you know the views I have already expressed there.
In my post of April 5th I said that, beginning in 1975, as I spent more personal time with Maharaji, I became less in awe of him as a perfect master sitting on a stage, and got to know, respect and love him as a person. It appears that many forum readers have interpreted this statement to mean that in 1975 I no longer viewed Maharaji as lord and perfect master but simply as a human being. If that is what you think I meant, then your accusations that I was a hypocrite to give the 1977 satsangs that were posted on this forum during the past few months would be justified. However, that is not what I meant. During that time and into the early 80's, I continued to believe that Maharaji was a perfect master who had manifested in human form. I also got to see the more human side of him that was not possible for most premies who only saw him on a stage at programs. That was my only point.
From my current vantage point more than 20 years later, quite honestly I am not exactly sure how I understood Maharaji during the late 70's and early 80's. By that I mean, I don't recall being stuck in a belief that Maharaji was god. Rather, my spiritual orientation (even prior to meeting Maharaji and receiving knowledge) was that he was a very evolved being who was in constant touch with supreme consciousness and could put others, including me, in touch with it. And, yes, I believed that surrender to him personally through devotion was the path to realizing or experiencing knowledge. I also believed that he was committed to spreading the knowledge as a means of bringing peace to the world and I was very committed to helping him achieve this mission.
This view of Maharaji and his mission, and my exalted role in it was severely challenged in the early 80's when I fell in love with one of his instructors. At the time, I was also an instructor although my day-to-day duties and overall responsibilities had nothing to do with instructing people in the techniques. Nevertheless, I was bound by the same rules that all instructors were bound by including celibacy. Thus, I found myself in a very difficult situation and I told Maharaji about it. He was not happy and made it clear to me that a relationship was incompatible with my service. Frankly, I failed to see his point but, probably out of fear of losing my position, I suppressed my normal human feelings. It was during this time that I began to question what I was doing with my life and, perhaps for the first time, realized how out of touch I had been with real human emotions.
A breakthrough of sorts came in 1984 when Maharaji and Marolyn experienced some difficulties in their marriage (what married couple hasn't). During that time, Maharaji and I became very close. I can honestly say that I never saw him come closer to his own humanity than during that time. With me, al least, he felt comfortable to be vulnerable and open. It was this experience, more than anything else, that made me think it was possible for Maharaji to come down off the throne and connect with people at a human level.
However, once Maharaji and Marolyn resolved their difficulties, he reverted to his aloof and distant way of being (to be fair, I have justifiably been characterized in this manner as well). It was as if he regretted the openness and vulnerability he had shown to me and he became increasingly distant. It was during this time in 1985 that I got married to the person I just mentioned (I choose not to mention her name because she has not been the subject of conversation on this Forum and, since 1995 we are no longer married although we remain good friends). My marriage was the most wonderful aspect of my life at the time and I enjoyed the company of my new family, especially those family members who were about my age with families of their own and well established in their careers. This new world forced me to grapple with some serious issues for the first time in my life. It was becoming clear to me that Maharaji and his mission were going nowhere. And here I was, 40 years old, with the sinking feeling that I had just pissed away the most productive years of my life. I was suffering an identity crisis.
To deal with this crisis, I took two major steps. First, I teamed-up with my brother to form Dettmers Industries Inc. And no, for the last time, this company was not a pay-off nor built with the slave labor of premies. As I fully explained in my post of April 2nd, we started this company from scratch and made it a success through our own efforts and competence. Second, I embarked on a program of study and research in the fields of the ontology of language and the discipline of somatics that would continue for the next seven years. It would take too long to go into the details of this research (it is explained on my website), but it formed the basis for the design and development of Dettmers Industries Inc. into an award winning company, and is the grounding for my current consulting work in organizational transformation.
In the meantime, I continued to work for Maharaji under contract. I had been at the heart of his financial, legal, and aviation operations for more than a decade and he wanted me to continue overseeing them. I began to distance myself even further, however, as Dettmers Industries grew, and as I became increasingly disillusioned with Maharaji's profligate lifestyle. Putting aside the Boeing 707 in the early 80's, I thought we had finally come to a reasonable solution to Maharaji's aviation requirements when, in 1986, we purchased a Lear 55. Shortly thereafter, however, he decided the Lear 55 wasn't suitable and wanted a Canadair Challenger instead. We managed to secure a used Challenger but within a short time he wanted to upgrade to a brand new Challenger. By now I had had enough, and I'm sure Maharaji had had enough of me. When we agreed to part company, the terms of our contractual Agreement were triggered including its non-disclosure clause. Since leaving, I have heard about the mansion in Malibu, the yacht and the new Gulfstream IV aircraft. It appears that nothing has changed except that the toys keep getting more expensive even though, in my opinion, they have nothing whatsoever to do with his original mission. Or maybe I just never really understood what it meant to bring peace to the world.
Many of you have chosen to characterize my Agreement as "hush money" and, quite frankly, I can understand your concern. However, I have two reasons why I have no intention of violating its terms. First, in my current consulting work, similar clauses are included in the contracts I sign with companies regarding the transformational work I do with their executive teams. For my work to succeed, executives must be assured that what takes place in our meetings is held in strictest confidence. Hence, should it become known that I selectively decided to break one of my non-disclosure Agreements for an "exceptional" circumstance, my professional credibility would be severely damaged. I emphasize this point because, as I sit here writing, I do so with the awareness that someday this post may be accessible to the world at large via the internet. I am not just saying that this post is accessible to anyone who happens to come across this website. At present, very negative and, in some instances, slanderous information about me and my past involvement with Maharaji can be accessed simply by putting my, or my company's name in any of the major internet search engines.
My second reason is this, and I know some of you are not going to believe me on the grounds that whatever I say is self-serving. I personally oversaw the handling of Maharaji's legal and financial affairs with the help of some very reputable and expert professional advisors. As a devoted servant at the time, my team and I would not dream of engaging in any illegal activity nor do anything that might have the slightest chance of landing Maharaji in trouble. Surely, that must be obvious. Yet, to cite just one example, some people continue to make the ludicrous claim that I helped Maharaji secret away millions of dollars in Swiss bank accounts. How they can continue to perpetuate this and other lies despite my detailed explanation about the purpose and function of the Élan Vital Foundation in Switzerland in my post of April 2nd is beyond me. In any case, there would be no advantage to anyone who is interested in using such information, if I were to disclose it, to "bring Maharaji down" since your efforts would be for naught. And, since it appears from other posts on this forum that key members of Maharaji's legal team are still in place, I have every reason to believe that the same standards still apply. Thus, I have much to lose if I were to violate my Agreement, and whatever I disclosed would have absolutely no negative legal impact on Maharaji.
I realize that, even if you accept my claim that Maharaji has done nothing illegal, some question the ethics surrounding his accumulation of wealth. All I can say is that when I accepted him as perfect master worthy of love and devotion, I willingly and gladly dedicated my life in his service. I believed that nothing was too good for the perfect master and I acted on that belief. Many, many others did the same. Now, as the Élan Vital FAQ's suggest, he no longer presents himself as perfect master. Moreover, Élan Vital suggests that he never did. This is utter hogwash to the thousands of us who were around at the time. I don't care that he no longer presents himself as perfect master. I tried to bring about that change in the mid-80's when I began to realize that I wasn't helping him bring peace to the world but simply helping him perpetuate a cult, notwithstanding Élan Vital's claims to the contrary.
To my knowledge, Maharaj Ji never used the word 'god' to describe himself, but it is dishonest for Élan Vital to suggest that he never presented himself as a perfect master, worthy of a devotee's complete love and devotion, and created ashrams so that people who had received knowledge and wished to do so, could surrender their lives and all of their worldly possessions to him. When that changed, in my opinion, he should have openly discussed the reasons for the change, explained the truth about his own process of self-discovery, and reconciled the past with the future direction he has chosen in a way that truly honors and respects the love and devotion that he engendered. As it now stands, Élan Vital's FAQ's, and Maharaji's implicit endorsement of them, are utterly shameful in that they denigrate the love and devotion that many people expressed with their hearts and their lives and their pocketbooks for years. That is the essence of the MRC letter and why I contributed to it.
Even though some of you have been very critical of me, and I can understand some of your reasons for being so, I harbor no ill will towards anyone, even the person who posted my exposé on the Internet, although I am not happy about it. As I said in a previous post, I made certain choices in my life and I recognize and accept that all of our choices have consequences. I, and no one else, am responsible for the choices I make and the consequences that ensue.