"Mahatma" is a term that has been heard and used by all of us since probably the first day we considered asking for Knowledge. The term "'mahatma'" refers to the service of being a channel through which Guru Maharaj Ji reveals the experience of Knowledge. It also refers to the particular premies that Maharaj Ji has assigned to perform this service.
Maharaj Ji has described the service of mahatma by saying "a mahatma is like a microphone." Not the originator of a message, but able to carry that message to listening ears. Without the originator of the message, without the connection with that source, a microphone is useless.
To do the service of mahatma, as with any other service to Guru Maharaj Ji, it is necessary to maintain a strong internal connection with Maharaj Ji, to be open to Maharaj Ji's grace. A premie - whether serving as a janitor, a secretary, a director of Divine Light Mission, or a mahatma - is constantly faced with a decision: to be in that place of meditation and connection with Guru Maharaj Ji or to be in the illusion of the mind. If we choose to be with Maharaj Ji, then his grace will always guide us safely through whatever trials we face in our lives. If we have difficulty maintaining that connection in one service, often Guru Maharaj Ji will offer us another service, another opportunity to realize something in this Knowledge.
In July, the former Mahatmas Parlokanand, Adharanand and Gitanand met in a private conference with Guru Maharaj Ji. In that meeting, Maharaj Ji removed them from the service of mahatma. Because of the nature of their visas, each of them has since had to return to India.
Last month, another set of circumstances led to the removal of Vijay Kumar Sumar (formerly Mahatma Vijayanand) from the service of mahatma.
Vijay was actually removed from his service by Guru Maharaj Ji some time ago, because he had expressed that he was not experiencing Knowledge. Guru Maharaj Ji assigned him a service at the Rainbow Grocery in Denver in order to give him an opportunity to overcome the obvious difficulty he was having with mahatmaship. Guru Maharaj Ji put him in an environment that could help him concentrate and discipline himself, in a simple responsibility that would allow him to humbly serve and begin to have a real experience with Knowledge again. Vijay, however, did not see this as an opportunity but rather a humiliation.
Last month, Vijay abruptly came to the microphone at a Denver community meeting and announced that he was leaving Divine Light Mission. He said that he had been struggling with his confusion for several months: that he could see the Knowledge as a glorious thing, but he did not understand who Guru Maharaj Ji is or what part Maharaj Ji played in his life. He said that he had come to America to be a "holy man … to be a mahatma, not to work in a grocery." And then he walked out of the meeting. The next day, Vijay slanderously denounced his relationship to Guru Maharaj Ji and the Mission in newspapers and on television. It was subsequently discovered that he had married an American a few weeks before, and he is now attempting to become his own, self-styled guru.
While serving under the agya of Guru Maharaj Ji, Vijay became a popular figure in many communities and may continue to contact premies, hoping to attract them to his new lifestyle.
Our path is long, straight and narrow ahead of us, and, as we have seen so obviously over the last year, anyone can fall from this path. It is only the sincerity and effort of each of us that can insure that we remain steadfast in Knowledge and in faith in Guru Maharaj Ji Without this sincerity, we can easily fall prey to the confusion of the mind that Guru Maharaj Ji has warned us about so many times. Our faith, our dedication, the Knowledge and Guru Maharaj Ji. These are the only weapons we have along this path - no matter who we are or what service we perform.