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Prem Rawat aka Guru Maharaj Ji aka Maharaji If words are Birds
and thoughts are clouds
then an experience defineable is certainly confineable
So don't walk in the footsteps of a past master
Simply seek and see
what they were after.

(This question was asked at the recent fundraising conference): Guru Maharaj Ji, a lot of things seem to be changing in the Mission. Like we change the name from mahatma to initiator, things like that

Guru Maharaj Ji: Some of the approaches we were taking were definitely wrong. they, in fact, were not helping people but were confusing people. Say I am going out on the street and distributing leaflets. Somebody comes up to me and asks me what I am doing, and I give him satsang. He says, "Okay, where can I receive Knowledge?" and I tell him, "Well you go to a mahatma." He says, "What's a mahatma?" By the time you finish explaining everything to him, he doesn't know what he understood at first that made him even ask all the questions. I think that's just crazy. So initiator is a straight word and it tells you what the person does. He initiates.

You see, these changes will slowly, slowly start occurring. I don't know to what extent they are going to occur. I can't tell you. I can't predict that. But we are trying to get rid of the things that were sitting locked up in Divine Light Mission's closet just catching rust, doing nothing to nobody, and putting a heavy burden on us. We are just trying to get rid of all that stuff, so that we can really present ourselves properly.

As you know, people really don't have the right consciousness about Divine Light Mission. They think it's a cult or a religion. But what do we really teach you? Still, those things confuse people, because there are some similarities to be found. Anything that's becoming a burden in the path of Knowledge, I'm just going to eliminate that.

24 December 1975

To All "mahatmas,"

Since our meetings held in Orlando, Florida during the Hans Jayanti festival, I have spent a great deal of time reviewing the progress of our international program to spread Knowledge, while here in Denver. 1975 was a very successful year of growth for the Divine Light Mission and as the times have changed, we have been changing our methods of propagation in order to more properly relate to people. In the past many things which were done were not effective. Much of the way in which we presented Knowledge did not give people the proper association to recognize what the practice of Knowledge entails. We have seen that many of those people who received initiation often had misconceptions. They thought that Knowledge was a trippy thing or a mystical thing, but when it came right down to integrating Knowledge into their life in the daily practice of satsang, service and meditation, they didn't have the proper understanding.

I strongly feel that we should not be presenting Knowledge to people as a trippy thing and that we should not continue presenting Knowledge in a way that sincere people are excluded from being able to receive Knowledge because they can't relate to the manner in which we are propagating. It is for this reason that I have decided that it is best to immediately discontinue some of the practices which have fostered wrong ideas.

When you give satsang it is most appropriate to stand or sit in front of the microphone in the same manner as all other speakers. There is no necessity of covering chairs with cloth and placing flowers around them and sitting on the stage prior to and after you are giving satsang. I have also given permission to some of the mahatmas in the West wearing Indian-style saffron clothing to dress in Western clothes and to allow their hair to grow to a normal length. I am also changing the name "mahatma," which is impossible to translate into other languages accurately because the Hindi word literally means "great soul." When this has been translated it has confused many people and it also has caused devotees who performed this service to be described in a manner which promotes wrong ideas. I have decided to call all "mahatmas," initiators. This word more accurately describes the unique service which is performed by these devotees under my agya, and can be easily translated into all languages. It is my intention that this change of name go into effect immediately and from now on all of you will be known as "initiators." It will take some time to change all of the written material. As of the date of this letter this will go into planning and all materials referring to mahatmas will be substituted with new materials as soon as practical.

My blessings to you,

Prem Rawat aka Guru Maharaj Ji aka Maharaji