Michael Dettmers Interview
Posted by Mike Finch on Forum VII - Feb 12, 2002.
A friend of mine had this chat with Michael Dettmers 14 months ago, and transcribed it. Michael has recently re-read this, made some minor changes, and approved it - so here it is:
Questions to Michael Dettmers - 2 December 2000
Q: What is purposefully hidden from premies and why?
MD: Well, the stuff that I've talked about - his drinking and pot smoking, that was pretty prevalent in the 70's and 80's. I don't know if that's still the case. And his affairs with various women, and his long-standing affair with Monica Lewis.
Q: Why would he want to hide these things?
MD: Oh, well he would basically take the view that it's his private life, his private business but in fact it's because it's inconsistent with the stand he's taken in public vis-à-vis the premies, i.e. what it takes to lead a spiritual life or whatever, the ashrams for instance. He's concerned that people will recognize that he's acting in a very hypocritical manner.
Q: And what steps does he personally take to cover up information, or make sure that people don't find out about it, which is rather the implication of what you're saying?
MD: You create an inner circle. This is not unusual with many leaders, and you could certainly say that this applies to cults. You create an inner circle, and they somehow have to be sworn to secrecy about the inconsistencies, and that was what the whole "X-rating" scene was about. The belief system was that Maharaji can do anything because he's the "Perfect Master." He isn't subject to the influences of the world. They presumably don't have any effect on him as they do on everyone else. Hence, for supposedly our own benefit, he created the ashrams and all of those rules, but simultaneously he exempted himself because as the "Perfect Master" he's above and beyond it - that's what the Lotus is. So the rationale is, because most people wouldn't understand, it's best to keep it (his lifestyle) a secret, and that's what the X-rating ritual was designed to ensure.
Q: And that was something that Maharaji instituted personally was it?
Q: Can you just say again the extent to which you witnessed this drinking and how it would have affected him? Any comments about that?
MD: Yes, well I was X-rated by Maharaji's pilot when he was touring Canada with his mother in '74. At that time, I wasn't part of Maharaji's inner circle, but I was integral to organizing the tour and that included arrangements for Marolyn who was not known to be his girlfriend at that time. But they were at the beginning stages of a relationship. Maharaji was unhappy that the tour had been organized for him to stay at ashrams. So, one of the first things I was asked to do was to see if we could organize his arrangements in hotels rather than in the ashrams, which I did. This made it easier for Maharaji to have some time with Marolyn, but to do all this organizing and to get things in place, I was X-rated so I could be around Maharaji. That's when I first learned about Maharaji's drinking. So Maharaji's been drinking ever since '74 in my personal knowledge and, as I learned, even before then, and throughout the seventies and throughout the eighties and perhaps even today, I don't know.
Q: So there's nothing wrong with moderate drinking? I don't think that anybody could be accused of that. So what makes this immoderate in your opinion?
MD: Well, first of all there was something wrong with it because Maharaji made it very clear that drinking was not something that the ashram premies could do, so one could argue then, why would he perpetuate these rules if they weren't good for everyone? That's the hypocrisy issue - number one. Number two, my experience is that Maharaji didn't drink moderately. Now, I don't have experience of alcoholism either personally or in my family so I didn't have any reference point at the time to know if it was moderate or not, but it just seemed like he could polish off five or six cognacs in an evening and get a little bit inebriated, not dead-drunk. And sometimes he would get rip-roaring drunk. In any case, he drank every single day.
Q: Over a period of how many years?
MD: All the time I knew him, which was fifteen years.
Q: So apart from the obvious hypocrisy that you mentioned was there any other way that you perceived that to be corrupt or bizarre? Did it affect him negatively in other words?
MD: Well, it's corrupt, yes. When he gets drunk, he becomes very negative. He becomes abusive in the sense that he verbally trashes certain people, whoever happened to be on his negative list for that day or that period, or he could be very rude in public at restaurants, just the kind of behavior that you would perhaps see in a person who is drunk and not in control.
Q: Any particular examples of that sort of abusive behavior?
MD: Oh yes, I remember that during the San Ysidro conference when, at the end of one of the days, we went out to dinner with all the people that were participating as well as Will Schutz and his associate, I forget her name. Yea, we were having a general conversation and, I think I've pretty much reported how he found the whole thing very confronting. I remember at one point Will's associate made some comment, and he made some kind of drunken remark like, 'Listen sister - let me tell you something!' I can't remember exactly what he said but she got up from the table and said, 'And let me tell you something! Nobody talks to me like - listen sister!' She could recognize that it was very abusive the way he spoke to her, and he was clearly drunk. And that's a person who wasn't a premie.
Q: What do you think Maharaji's family make of it? Are they all just like premies?
MD: Maharaji's family has grown up considerably since I was involved. When I was involved the kids were very young, early teens, now they're adults in some cases. So with Marolyn, say…she went through a couple of phases. First there was the phase in which she was Durga Ji. So she worshipped Maharaji and people worshipped her because she was declared the "Durga," whatever the hell that means, right? And then that ended. I guess that ended around the end of the seventies or so.
My interpretation is that she started to get her life together. She went back to university to complete her degree at Pepperdine. I don't know what Maharaji thought about that. At different times I think he tolerated it, at other times I don't think he liked it. But that was a period during which she tried to develop her own life. But I didn't have a lot of contact with her. Sometimes when we were on tour, a little bit, but most of the time she wasn't on tour. The only thing I remember is that we used to get together, for an annual luncheon or something about a month before Maharaji's birthday. She wanted to organize some kind of gift and she engaged me in that, but I didn't have a whole lot of contact with her and very little with the kids. When Maharaji wasn't on tour, I would meet with him in his office at the residence when I was around, maybe every other day or so. And then I would leave. So I had very little real exposure to the children, and certainly no dialogue or anything with them. So it's not fair for me to say what they think or not.
Q: You said on the Forum 'I was a willing accomplice in a conspiracy of lies and hypocrisy for which I have no excuse'. What are the main lies and hypocrisies that you refer to and what, do you think, are the most serious of those in their consequences?
MD: Well, that was in response to Sir Dave's question. You see, when I started talking about the drinking and the smoking pot, Sir Dave asked a very reasonable question which was, "How was all this kept a secret?" That's when I talked about the "X-rating." His next question was, "How do you feel about yourself being a perpetuator of that?" and that was my response. When I look back and realize that was what was going on, that's all I can say that's honest about it. At the time, we were all serving Maharaji, and we had some kind of story about why it was OK for him to do whatever he wanted to do and not OK for us, and this was just a way of protecting his privacy. So that was the rationale then. When I look back at the whole thing with a great deal of disgust, I have to say, of course, I was foolish to have ever been a part of something like that.
Q: Can you tell me how you perceive fear to be a dynamic around Maharaji and if he is intimidating? A lot of people have said he's intimidating. How does fear play role around him and in his work, if this is the case?
MD: It's a game in which he holds all the power. Obviously you're only afraid if you feel you have something to lose and the people around Maharaji have many things to lose, given the world that they live in. One is their position. It's more a question of 'What happens to me if I'm not in this position?' A lot of these people are not thinking about a life without Maharaji, and can't envision one without Maharaji. So then, what happens to people that stay in the cult but who are no longer around the master? They always feel like they've blown it, like they've blown some opportunity. So there's the fear of blowing the opportunity, the fear of displeasing Maharaji, the fear of losing position, the fear of uncertainty ('what's going to happen to me? What am I going to become, what will people think?') The people around Maharaji are accorded a great deal of respect by premies who would like to be in that position, and think that these people around Maharaji have something to say, or some unique story - a darshan story or whatever. And, 'what happens if I'm no longer in that position?' They see what happens to other people who get - quote 'dismissed'. They're shunned. It's a cult kind of behavior. Nobody wants to be shunned, of being ostracized from the community because the vortex of the community is Maharaji. So if you get outside of that vortex it feels as if you're being shunned. That's another form of fear. Maharaji plays on that, he's aware of that. I think he likes to keep people in a state of uncertainty. It even rubs off on the kids.
I remember one of the people who did the laundry at the residence was shattered because one of Maharaji's kids said to her, 'You know, I could get you fired if I wanted to'. And the interesting thing is that the person who did the laundry actually knew that that was true. And so it's a kind of attitude that exists. I don't know if that answers the question?
Q: Yes, and also how would that fear come across say, in the context of Knowledge and the Master - in the philosophy rather than so much around the house or whatever?
MD: Maharaji used to talk all the time about how people were terrified of Shri Maharaji - that he was such an imposing figure. And I think even Maharaji used to fancy himself as being far more compassionate compared to the image he had of his own father who, I think, in stature was bigger than him, and who was very demanding. So sometimes I think Maharaji saw him as a kind of role model, as something that is needed in a leader, that you really have to be on top of people in a sense. And somehow, he felt that he wasn't like that - he felt he was more compassionate - and any time something happened to him that he didn't like, then he would feel like he should have been more like Shri Maharaji. I don't know if it's the culture of all gurus, it could very well be, but it was certainly part of his own upbringing. Shri Maharaji was a very intimidating character.
Q: What are his good points and how do they balance with his faults? Because one would expect such a Master to be exemplary in kindness and consideration.
MD: The thing is that he was often very kind to me. He accorded me, in general, a great deal of respect and a great deal of autonomy. He certainly gave me gifts and he engaged with me in a more personal way than with a lot of people. I went out to dinner with him lots of times, we would sit together, share a meal, drink some wine. So I didn't personally find him intimidating but I'm talking about a lot of people around the residence. I was part of the inner circle, but I also had my own autonomous realm. I wasn't part of the residence situation. That's where I saw a great deal of demeaning and intimidating behavior.
Q: How was Maharaji when he was stoned? Was he a different person?
MD: No, just like everyone else, laughing at jokes. Sometimes he'd put on - when we'd get stoned - not only "Frampton Comes Alive" but sometimes he'd put on some comics, and everybody would be howling with laughter. It was very funny. I mean, let's face it, when you get stoned, things do look funny, and he would fully enjoy that.
Q: Apparently Shri Hans was a great smoker, a "Ganja" smoker. Charananad or somebody said that, I believe.
MD: I would certainly think so. Whenever I went to India, especially around Holi, we would all drink "Bhang" which is a kind of "Lassi" drink laced with a lot of hashish, or have these er…I forget what they're called, but they were like - little cookies or something filled with hashish and, you'd get completely ripped.
Q: How do you think Maharaji could tell us in the ashram to live so austerely? What was his purpose? And did he care for us? Did he know about us? Did he know what was going on? We were told to give up everything.
MD: People liked to believe that Maharaji is all-knowing and that he knows what each person is thinking and feeling, and I think that's just a pure projection. He hasn't got a clue and doesn't care - doesn't really care that much about people, in my view, in general. But the ashrams were basically an extension of how things were done in India, and the general premise is that it's a hierarchy. So, some people say that I lived very well. But, I was dealing with financial and legal affairs, and meeting with lots of lawyers and accountants and people who were not premies. Sure, I didn't do that out of an ashram. How could I do that kind of work out of an ashram? I had an office and a house in Miami, but I didn't set the standard.
If you go to the ashram in India, you'll see that, when Sampuranand was the National Organizer, he had his own house with his own cook and houseboy and whatnot. So he was accorded certain privileges, whether it's drinking or smoking. In fact, he did smoke a lot and that's why he had a couple of heart attacks and had to quit. In any case, he was in a position of responsibility and that's the kind of privilege that came with it. So that same kind of status was accorded me in the West. So what I'm saying is that I didn't set any standard here, this was how things were done.
Q: What I'm really driving at is, what was Maharaji's attitude towards us? What did he really mean for us when he made such elaborate arrangements for us to be in ashrams? He said that if you were really truly dedicated you had to live in the ashram. What was that all about? Was it a mistake? Some people say that he said it was a mistake to do that.
MD: Well, I certainly think it was a mistake.
Q: What did he think?
MD: I don't think he thought it was a mistake because he brought them back with a vengeance in 1976.
Q: But he's done away with them now though.
MD: Yes, at first he thought it was a mistake to do away with them but then finally they went away because they simply couldn't be sustained financially and all the responsibility that was implied. I've already talked about that.
Q: Did he really believe in the philosophy that he was prescribing? Was his heart in it or was it just a sort of 'Oh Well this is what happened in India and we'll just do it' type decision? Did he care?
MD: Oh no, no. I relate more to his meetings with instructors - which is ultimately what the ashrams became. They became, not so much a place, but standards applied to people who were instructors, and even as late as '85 he was still very strict about being vegetarian and abstaining from sex. He was very strict about that and absolutely believed in it.
Q: But didn't follow any of that himself?
MD: Oh no, of course not.
Q: Of course not?
MD: No, I'm saying "of course not" because that's what I've been trying to make clear. As the Perfect Master, as Sat guru, he considered himself to be above and beyond all of that.
Q: You don't think that he would have had any remorse for putting people through so much?
MD: None. I don't believe that Maharaji has any remorse about anything. I think he feels like everything he's doing, he's doing out of … See, to get into the mindset of Maharaji, in my opinion, he truly believes that he is whatever he means by Perfect Master, the Satguru, the one who is bringing enlightenment or whatever he thinks that Knowledge is. I think he believes that. I don't think he's playing a game. And he's adopted a certain leadership style that allows him to think that whatever he's doing, it's for people's benefit. Now, I don't know if that's what he thinks today, but certainly when I was around that's what he believed. The point I'm getting at is that he doesn't have any remorse that I've ever seen. He always feels like people just don't understand and are ungrateful.
Q: Premies would say that his gift of Knowledge is a wonderful thing and that justifies the way things are now i.e. him carrying on propagating Knowledge. Do you think that is valid? Do you think that the fact that he gives people Knowledge justifies his behavior or his role, or is necessary?
MD: It depends on what you think Knowledge is. To me the only thing Maharaji is offering anybody - I don't care what you call it - is devotion. And I don't even want to use that in a reverential sense. It's people worshipping him, that's what he wants. That's what he truly believes is the only way to experience whatever the hell he's calling "Knowledge." And he's in a bit of a dilemma in some respects you see, because if he was really interested in offering people freedom or allowing them to experience a better quality of life, he would create an environment in which people were totally free - he would find a way for them to actually learn to live more consciously - in fulfillment. But he's not doing that. That to me would be one way to interpret what Knowledge is, but what he is perpetuating is dependence. What he is perpetuating ultimately is that, the way you experience Knowledge is through devotion, through loving him, through surrender of some kind. Now, it's kind of hard to sell that today so he may have to whitewash it, but if he whitewashes it, it dooms him to irrelevance. He's kind of doomed either way because I don't believe the world is interested in gurus, and worship and surrender to another human being, especially to a human being who is so flawed as he is. And that's why all these stories of the hypocrisy and the lies and the deceit are so devastating. And that's why it is necessary that he be exposed in this way because he's not worthy of surrender.
Q: You're talking about trust here?
MD: Yes, trust as well. I mean you can trust another human being without having to surrender to them. But that's really what he is offering and if you listen to what he has to say - and I haven't followed him at all in the last ten or twelve years or whatever - but I do read the Forum and people post excerpts and you can see this recurring theme. It's the same stuff and I don't care what words you use. it's about surrender to the Master. So basically that's to me what he calls Knowledge.
Q: Do you think that he needs his boats, planes and wealth to spread Knowledge or is there some other reason why he has those things?
MD: There used to be an argument that a plane would be a useful tool for his travels, and I believed that at the time, and that's why I put a lot of effort into securing a Lear 55. For the work that he's doing - if you want to even call it that -anything beyond that makes no sense on any level, other than gratifying his own insatiable desire. So I think it's a terrible misuse of resources. If this guy says he's here on a specific mission and certain resources are available to him, the way that he uses those resources for his own personal pleasure and aggrandizement is disgusting, and has nothing whatsoever to do with Knowledge. It has everything to do with him having an image of himself as worthy of these things. But I don't believe for a second that they have anything to do with Knowledge or his so-called mission. It's a sham.
Q: Premies have often said in the past, when he's been criticized for his affluence and luxurious lifestyle, that he puts up with a lot of inconvenience and hardship to spread Knowledge and that a little luxury is nothing. What would you say to that?
MD: That is complete bullshit - complete bullshit. He puts up with no hardship whatever. I mean - by what standard? I remember when we didn't have any aircraft back in '77 and he traveled with his family to a big program in Rome in First Class on SAS, Scandinavian airlines. He practically had the whole First Class section of this 747 and I remember he came back to my seat and said, 'This is the worst experience I have ever had in my life'. The point being that this was justification for securing a private jet because he was putting up with the indignity of having to use a public washroom.
Maharaji claims that he's here for humanity but he has this almost antiseptic phobia about even coming in contact with other human beings. It's strange. Everything has to be prepared especially for him. So by what standard? Maharaji travels in the highest standard that anyone can travel. I understand that he's purchased a G5. I know the corporate aviation business and that is the best corporate jet there is in the world. That's what he travels in - and his corporate jets are outfitted better than any other corporate jets and, because he flies them, they also have the latest avionics. So Maharaji has the best of everything that the world has to offer, and he continues to aspire to the best of everything. So what hardships are we talking about? This guy, as far as I'm concerned, does shit when it comes to really rolling up your sleeves to do the work. But it's not about the work - it's just about him.
Q: I know many premies who seem to love and respect Maharaji and accept all his behaviors no matter really what he does - however so-called "immoral" or inappropriate. Do you think these people have any responsibility to question this?
MD: Let's be clear about this question of morality. I don't personally have a problem with anyone who drinks or gets stoned or smokes. His behavior is hypocritical because it contradicted what he preached for so long. That's where it becomes an ethical dilemma. The second thing is when a person drinks to excess and, as a consequence, doesn't exercise good judgment.
Q: What responsibility do premies have to analyze Maharaji's behavior and come clean on it? Do you think people should come forward? Do you think people are not acting integrally?
MD: I think that if there are people who were around Maharaji and can substantiate, in their own words, the kind of behavior that I've reported, that would be useful. If they felt comfortable to do so, and I realize that that may take a little bit of doing, I would encouragement them to do so. Does that get the core of your question?
Q: Well, I suppose that what I'm driving at is that premies obviously believe that Maharaji is a good force in the world, and they support him because of their experience of Knowledge, which let's face it now doesn't involve so many unreasonable demands. They don't come into contact with the hypocrisy, because Maharaji doesn't ask them to give anything up. He just tells them to practice. There is some encouragement to give money - but that's about it. Do think that Knowledge is good? Do you think that it might be taught by somebody else? Perhaps that is the valuable part of the package and Knowledge could be taught without him? Without the devotion in other words.
MD: In my opinion the answer is yes. But then Maharaji wouldn't call that Knowledge. That's why he's made it very clear that it's his Knowledge and this is the method by which you experience it. My opinion is that you don't experience growth in consciousness by surrendering to someone else. It's a skill - you learn to live life consciously. So it's not a question of just giving people some techniques. I don't think anybody can personally benefit just by having some techniques. My own experience of learning, in general, is that it takes time and practice, that there are some elements that are needed to learn. This is just my opinion. You need a certain structure, you need certain practices, you need certain tools, and you need certain coaching. So I'll give you a mundane example. I wanted to attain better health and, for me, that meant to exercise. I'm the kind of person, and not everyone is like this, but I can't exercise on my own. I may have the best intention to exercise, and I may get up in the morning fully intending to exercise, but I'll go down to my office and I'll start working on the computer and, before I know it, I'll get so absorbed that the time I have allocated for exercise has come and gone. So that doesn't work for me. I need a structure - so what structure? I join a gym. And the gym has certain tools, certain equipment and the coach has certain practices (exercises) that I engage with in a certain routine and in the process of doing this recurrently over time, I develop a degree of confidence and experience. That's just a metaphor, an analogy for what I'm talking about.
So, let's say the purpose of Knowledge is to grow in consciousness, to grow in truly expanding your potential. I mean people use different words for what it means to increase your capacity to experience love. Then I would say that, in as much as that is not the norm in society then there's something to be learned. So there may be a role for some teachers in that process, and there may be a role for some structure. There may be ways to connect an inner experience with the pragmatics of living. And so, you may invent, not just practices for meditation, if that's one of the practices, but you may also want to take a look at how a person is living their life, and what are the kind of issues that they confront that they claim are preventing them from experiencing love or beauty consistently. Maybe it has to do with certain ways they're living. So there's ways to discover what's incoherent between this beautiful experience and how you live, and if you learn to deal with some of those issues, you may develop some consistency. But the purpose of learning is always to free the person to expand their potential.
Q: Yes, you see the thing is that I know what premies are now saying - which is that they see Maharaji as just being somebody who just goes around giving Knowledge to people and giving them meditation techniques. Basically he has become a meditation teacher to the general public that come now. And so they say 'Well, what's wrong with that? What is wrong with that? He's not making people live in ashrams, he's not telling them to do this, that and the other. He's just showing people how to meditate. Nobody else is doing it. What's wrong with that?'
MD: What do you mean nobody else is doing it?
Q: Well that's what they say. That's the question. What's wrong with that?
MD: One could maybe argue that there's nothing wrong with that except that there are a lot of people who feel that they've been deceived by him, and therefore he isn't trustworthy. People may think that he's doing it for their benefit, but at the end of the day, people will recognize that it's all for his benefit. People are saying, 'you can believe what you want to believe and we'll just tell you what our experience is.' And at the end of the day, I don't think that you can do more than that. Point people to an alternative and say, "this is a trip that produces dependence." No matter how this thing is cloaked, it's a cult. It has a certain belief system. In Maharaji's world, Knowledge is about gratitude to the master, which is just a different word for devotion. That's what it's all about.
Maharaji used to say 'Go and search the whole world, and if you find this Knowledge fine, and if you don't, come back to me, I'll be here.' That was kind of a standard line, I don't know if it's still used or not. But the premise is that there's this thing called "Truth," and somebody has exclusivity over it. If you subscribe to the belief that there is such a thing as Truth with a capital "T" and if you think you've found it, the only way you can know if you've found it, in a way, is to give yourself completely to it. And in the Maharaji game, when you give yourself completely to it, you're stuck because you get caught up in the cult. You get caught up in the belief, you get caught up in the self-reinforcing game, and then it looks like there's no other alternative. But how could you possibly know? Because you've cut yourself off from the process of exploring - of being open.
So I think the issue comes down to a belief system that is endemic to our culture. You can trace it to the Greeks and their premise that there's an inner self and that inner self can get to know the Truth and that's the highest goal to which one can aspire. That's deeply ingrained in our culture. I don't think Maharaji understands these things but he's capitalizing on that fundamental, nonetheless. I think that what we have to do is get away from the idea that there is a so-called "Truth" and, instead, realize that life is an unfolding wonder and that it's a process of discovery. When you get yourself caught up in a belief system, in a cult of this kind that is so self-referencing, you lose all perspective of that. So the very thing that brought people to seek some kind of understanding, gets destroyed. And then you get into this thing of "there's no alternative to Maharaji." I mean there's a whole goddamn world out there! There's amazing opportunity and wonder and whatnot.
Q: Jagdeo - is he a pedophile?
MD: As far as I'm concerned he is. I've had many conversations with Susan; her story is well documented. I absolutely believe everything she said and that is clearly the behavior of a pedophile.
Q: What should have happened in your opinion?
MD: I've already made that very clear. He should have been interviewed personally by Maharaji. I think it's an absolute sham for Élan Vital to suggest that the appropriate person to interview Jagdeo was the National Organizer of India, a guy named Deepak. He should have been interviewed by Maharaji. These instructors have a lot more fear of Maharaji than they do of any organizer. They definitely were made instructors by Maharaji, and not made instructors by him. I believe that if Maharaji had taken this seriously, had sat Jagdeo down and gotten the facts, he could have acted. What should he have done? He should have publicly defrocked him. He should have turned him over to suffer the legal consequences. He should have made a public apology to everyone that had anything to do with him, making it clear that he is embarrassed and ashamed that such behavior could have happened by one of his mahatmas. He should have sought out the victims, personally apologized to them, and offered some form of restitution.
Q: So what does this tell us about Maharaji?
MD: It tells what I said - that he's a coward, that he isn't a leader whatsoever, that he is not interested in doing the right thing, and that he is only interested in covering his ass. It tells us that he lives in fear, that he isn't a person worthy of respect, never mind love and devotion.
Q: Why are these things not a "Lila?" (Indian term meaning "Divine play')
MD: Well, what is "Lila?" Lila is just a particular interpretation about a certain reality. So you have to look at the whole package - there is a Perfect Master who manifests in human form but who is above and beyond the frailties of humanity and, therefore, all of this life is just an illusion that's his to play with. So, if you believe that, then I guess it is a Lila. The question is, why would any sane person believe that?
Q: What are Maharaji's weaknesses then - that contradict the notion of him being a Perfect Master?
MD: Well, he's a coward - just look at the Jagdeo situation. Another weakness - how about alcohol? The guy's an alcoholic and that severely limits his ability to exercise good judgment. He can't possibly be trusted.
Q: How can he be a pilot and be an alcoholic? Aren't there very rigid rules?
MD: Because, as people have pointed out who understand this, he plays the game.
Q: i.e. he doesn't drink when he flies?
MD: Well no he doesn't just not drink when he flies. I think there's a particular hour by which time a person who's going to be flying the next day has to stop drinking. So he plays the game. And, as several people have pointed out who have experience with alcoholism, it's quite normal for people to limit their drinking to specific times. But I've also pointed out that he didn't apply that same rigor to driving. He has driven several times that I know of when he was drunk. Purely amazing that he didn't have an accident or… you know the story that I posted on the Forum, right?
This was sometime in the mid 80's. Maharaji and his family were staying in a hotel in Palm Beach. That evening everyone went out to dinner. By everyone I mean Maharaji, Marolyn, the kids, I was there, one of the drivers, and security person. We were having dinner at a very posh restaurant and a group of 3 or 4 men came in and sat at a table next to us. Actually, it was behind me so I didn't actually see them, but Maharaji got very upset because he thought Marolyn was flirting with one of the guys, or one of the guys was ogling her. Anyway, something was going on and Maharaji got really pissed. We hadn't finished the meal yet, but he had had several drinks and he was pretty drunk and he just got really upset and he immediately demanded that we leave the restaurant. Everyone got up and left and he brushed aside his driver and took the wheel with his wife and kids in the car. I got in the car behind and watched as Maharaji's car swerved from side to side on the road and almost crashed into another car. It didn't happen fortunately for him. Perhaps, unfortunately for all of us, he wasn't arrested. That would have been a useful lesson.
Q: Was he ever drunk giving satsang?
MD: No, not that I'm aware of. In fact, I'm sure he wasn't.
Q: So he did make the distinction between speaking from a sober place and being drunk as a pastime.
Q: Does Maharaji ever blame others for mistakes that are clearly his?
MD: All the time. He does not take responsibility for any of his decisions. He always looks for someone to blame if things don't go the way that he would like them to go. And from what I've learned, that is typical alcoholic behavior.
Q: Any other weaknesses?
MD: Apparently for blondes! I don't know if that's a weakness that's unique to Maharaji!
Q: Is this rumor about his mistress Monica true?
MD: The thing is, I left before that thing really blossomed. However, I know that it's true.
MD: Well, how does one know? I wasn't in the bedroom with them! But I know that there were other women before Monica so let's put it this way, what I do know is that Maharaji has definitely had affairs. It appears that the one with Monica is more than an affair, it's been a long-term relationship because, from what I gather, it still exists. But what I'm saying is that I don't know much about Monica because when this thing began, I was leaving.
Q: Do you think that Maharaji has any self-doubt?
MD: Well, I would suspect strongly that alcoholic behavior is a form of self-doubt.
Q: You said that Maharaji will never budge from his belief that he is the Perfect Master and the Living Lord, etc. You said that there is a chink in his armor and that is, that his fear and arrogance have warped his character. Can you explain what you mean by that?
MD: When someone believes that they own or give Truth, that kind of absolutism creates arrogance and blindness to the need for life-long learning. A person who is not arrogant will admit his mistakes and will engage in open dialogue with people. Maharaji will not engage in open dialogue because for him there is nothing to discuss. He has the truth and either you accept it or you don't. End of story.