Johnny Young is a disk-jockey on a Perth, Australia radio station (2010) and he has had a successful and varied career in the Australian entertainment industry. He was a teen pop idol in Australian in the late 1960's but was most famous for hosting "Young Talent Time", a sentimental, mawkish children's variety show. In 1977 he came into contact with a group of premies in Melbourne who had begun a home birthing clinic and he and his wife and good friends Ronnie Burns (another former teen pop idol) and his wife became premies. With his fame, wealth and media profile Young was an enormous asset to Rawat (Maharaji) in Australia in the late 1970's and early 1980's, especially as he is universally considered to be a very nice guy. He was featured in a New Zealand television documentary in the early 1980's about Rawat and arranged kid glove treatment of Rawat on Australian televison and newspapers.
He arranged a series of media promotions for Rawat when he came to Australia in 1982 including "Guru Maharaj Ji Puts His Case" a very soft interview with Michael Gawenda, a well-respected journnalist for The Age one of Australia's premiere broadsheets and some TV appearances. Young Talent Time ran for 18 years but ended badly for Young when in its final years the show struggled for ratings and was abruptly cancelled in January, 1989. Young had invested a large amount of money in building a studio complex in the hope of producing the show himself and selling it back to the network. He was forced to sell his family home to settle debts, his stepfather and mother died soon after and Young and his wife Cathy divorced.
Young was also involved in the production of the first professional looking, more sophisticated introductory pamphlet People Pursue Happiness for Rawat in 1982. In this pamphlet most of the changes in Rawat's image and message are already foreshadowed before Rawat closed his ashrams, throwing the residents out onto the street and ordered his followers to stop the nightly 'satsang' meetings that had been the central function of the organisation since Divine Light Mission began in the West. In the pamphlet Young is the "interviewer" in a bogus interview where he asked such questions as "Maharaj Ji, is there really such a thing as true happiness or true peace?" and "Would a person have to give up belief in Judaism or Islam or Jesus Christ or whatever, or change his or her religious outlook in order to experience this?" Rawat then tells a story about Mohammed supposedly sleeping with his feet towards a mosque. This story is told about Guru Nanak and is a Sufi story about Mullah Nasruddin a sort of holy fool. It is not a story told of Mohammed but then Rawat got his education from American TV.
Young's travails and career have made him a regular, though minor, presence in the Australian media over the last 20 years and he is apparently happy to talk about his spiritual outlook. In the Sydney Morning Herald of February 15, 2014 he was quoted:
He embraced meditation during a trip to India in 1976 and has meditated for one hour each morning ever since. It seemed typical of the man that he texted from Perth a few days after we met: "Hey Digger. I didn't mention my meditation teacher's name - it was Prem Rawat also known as Maharaji. It felt wrong that something so profound should not be credited properly."
Young's meditation has helped him cope. "Have you read The Power of Now, by Eckhart Tolle?" he asks. "I don't live in the future. Life exists, one breath at a time. The past has gone and the future never comes until it becomes the present. So we are always living in the present and that has been my saving grace."
References: The information on this page was sourced from the following
- Wikipedia - Johnny Young downloaded on 10/10/09
- Wikipedia - Young Talent Time downloaded on 10/10/09
- Guru Maharaj Ji Puts his Case Michael Gawenda, The Age, March 24, 1982
- People Pursue Happiness © Élan Communications, 1982
- Fighting Spirit by Lauren Burns, Olympic Gold Medal winner, Sydney Olympics
- The Second Coming, a New Zealand Television documentary
- Current Affairs Program report Channel 9, 1982ish