Bongo Biochemistry of Knowledge
In the early 1970's Divine Light Mission successful growth phase, premies still believed and claimed that meditating with the techniques of Guru Maharaj Ji's (Prem Rawat) Knowledge was both an experience of God and a one way ticket to perfect bliss. Before it became apparent that these claims were mainly hype and wild exaggeration many premies looked for some physiological explanation for the apparently astonishing effects this practice was going to have. The usual suspect was the pineal gland (a small peanut shaped organ in the midst of the brain).
With the benefit of hindsight we can see that not a single idea in these theories was correct. That hasn't affected Drs Horton or Hanzelik whose faith in Prem Rawat (Maharaji) is still solid as the Rock Of Ages though it might be part of the reason that Cameron, Davis & Hallowitz are singing different tunes.
Dr John Horton, Prem Rawat's (Maharaji) personal physician for decades, wrote a 2,250 word essay called A Doctor's View of knowledge which was published in the Millenium Issue of And It Is Divine which declared the pineal gland to be the "built-in receptor for this divine light of creation."
Dr Horton, Dr Edd Hanzelik (another of Rawat's long-term devotees and physicians) et al of the Shri Hans Medical Services wrote a paper in which they claimed: "Within the human body is a built-in receptor for this divine light of creation. It is the pineal gland, a small organ deep within the brain which resembles a tiny 'third eye'. Only recently did modern scientists dare to speculate upon the functions of this gland and now they say:"
- the stimulated pineal causes energy to flow through the entire body so that we can experience higher levels of consciousness,
- it causes a maturation of the central nervous system and conceptual processes, lending grace and precision to our movements and allowing us to think more clearly on an abstract level,
- it allows for the discharge of all drives, that is, it releases us from the domination of hunger, fear, thirst, lust, anger, and pride.
"More and more believing that a natural physical or biological change takes place while experiencing this pure energy inside ourself, that there's actually a gland on the top of the brain called the pineal gland and that this gland is a light receptor and when we turn to the energy inside ourself which is light it activates a gland that right now in the human body is not active and this gland in turn secretes chemicals that leads to a whole harmonisation of the physical body so that the gland that ordinarily secretes chemicals that lead to fear and outrage and anger are actually brought under control."
In Blissing Out in Houston published in New York Review of Books, December 13, 1973, Francine du Plessix Gray wrote:
November 8: After the satsang I have dinner with the Guru's personal physician, Dr. John Horton. The doctor has an extensive theory concerning the stimulating impact of Divine Light meditation upon the pineal gland, whose increased activity will eliminate all of humanity's aggressive drives. He also explains that the Perfect Master's duodenal ulcer must be understood on three different levels: 1) the habitual physical level - constant jet lag, changes of diet, fatigue, stress; 2) the spiritual level: it is a sign of his compassion for mankind, like the stigmata on Christ's feet; 3) the cosmic level, as a revelation of universal suffering.
The diagnostician of Perfect Master's cosmic ulcer disturbs me more than any other premie I meet because he is the brightest, the most dedicated, the nicest of the lot. He is thirty, and has had a few acid trips, which he describes. I can't understand how they can have screwed up a first-rate mind to that degree. Some pathology of affluence is at work, as it is in Galloway, Hollowitz, all the other intelligent adult premies I talk to. Horton was an all-county football star as a teenager, went to college at Dartmouth and Columbia, has his medical degree from Duke University Medical School, had two years of Freudian analysis as part of his psychiatric training, and always considered he had everything in life for happiness. But he wanted more … at one point in our conversation, he says, as Hollowitz did: 'I wanted continual ecstasy!'
Man's most basic drive, Horton says, is the transcendence of his ego; the sex drive is nothing more than one form of ego transcendence; and the transcendence offered him by the Master's twenty-four-hour meditation technique is infinitely more blissful than sex.
In Oz in the Astrodome New York Times, December 9, 1973, Ted Morgen wrote:
Dr. Robert Hallowitz is a 29-year-old neurophysiologist and a research associate at the Laboratory of Brain Evolution Behavior at the National Institute of Mental Health in Washington. A short, intense, bright-eyed man, he talks as if he were delivering a lecture. … "Since then, I've had experiences so intense as to be beyond my capacity to imagine, and if that's suggestion, it's very strong. I've come to the point where I know there is a Supreme Being and He is one with that 15-year-old boy."
Hallowitz is convinced that the guru's teaching is consistent with recent brain research, and that meditation techniques provide a way for man to control an imperfectly designed brain away from fear and stress and toward pure thought and inner peace.
Because of his evolutionary inheritance, Hallowitz says, man is burdened with a primitive orientation towards fear and survival, which sets the tone of individual and institutional behavior, starts wars, and destroys civilizations. Scientists are already studying the physiological effects of meditation as a way out of this bind. They have found decreased heart rates and oxygen consumption, increased galvanic skin response and low-frequency alpha activity that may be correlated with states of subjective relaxation.
Hallowitz believes that receiving knowledge from the guru "involves a lowering of response to stressful situations, a heightening of capacity for pure thought, a scaling down of body processes, libido, appetites and sleep requirements - it changes the organism's perspective of the environment; we no longer view the environment as stressful, we are no longer draining our vitality. What I'm saying is that meditation brings about physiological transformations that have tremendous implications for our physical and emotional we11-being."
To skeptics, this attempt to connect meditation with advanced brain research is but one more example of the guru's flimflam. One of the most vocal skeptics is Paul Krassner, editor of The Realist and in Houston to represent the scornful old guard of the protest movement.
In Who Is Guru Maharaj Ji Ji? Charles Cameron wrote about changes occurring in premies through the effect of the meditation on the pineal gland:
You Have Three Eyes Recent experiments are forcing scientists to wonder why they were so quick to dismiss the pineal gland - the gland stimulated by meditation on divine light. … Those scientists, however, who have received the Knowledge of Guru Maharaj Ji recognize that meditation upon the inner, self-effulgent light has a direct effect upon the pineal gland. They say, in fact, that it is the physical receptor within man for the divine light of ultimate reality. It is technically impossible at this time to measure the amount of pineal hormone in the body. … However, we can compare the observed behavior among disciples of Guru Maharaj Ji to the results scientists expect when a person's pineal gland is stimulated. Since the pineal gland secretes directly into the brain fluid, any chemical change would immediately be noticed as a shift in consciousness. Indeed, many people who have just received Knowledge speak of a rebirth; they recognize something which is so joyful and fulfilling that they can immediately quit such habits as smoking, drinking, drug taking, and compulsive sex.
And while he had no medical knowledge, Rennie Davis was always anxious to jump right in and repeat any gibberish that sounded good coming from his lips and doesn't everything? Rennie talking about the biological bases of Maharaji's techniques of Knowledge:
Davis described the "very intense, very brilliant, very clear, white light" the devotees see inside their heads and discussed the scientific theory that the pineal gland is behind this vision, that the body of a meditating devotee actually undergoes a psychological change where the glands that secrete in situations of fear and anger are affected. The Ubyssey, October 18, 1973
As though he himself has foresworn thinking, he does offer the rest of us a scientific explanation for all this Bliss and Knowledge. "Scientists are just discovering that the Pineal Gland is light-receptive, and that the Pineal Gland is sort of the thing that directs the flow of the brain. Guru Maharaj Ji shows us how to discover this gland, and how to use this light so that we can become a part of Him. And this light shows us the Word, and if we can experience the Word, we'll be saved, no matter what else happens to us." As it turns out, the Word has arrived not a moment too soon, for the Guru Maharaj Ji also predicts, in Rennie's words, "a great wash will sweep the planet. Those who have the Word will be saved, and those who don't will not pass through this time. "That's why He's come at this point in history. He will provide the opportunity to make His Knowledge available to every human being on the planet. If people will just listen to what He is saying, and come to Him with an open mind, He will give them the divine Truth which will not only transform this planet to heaven on earth, but will bring eternal happiness and bliss to everyone on it. And I mean Bliss with a capital 'B.' " Ramparts magazine
The guru has a few premie doctors on call. Dr Hallowitz is no longer available as he decided to become a divine guru in his own right and like Maharaji used his status to have sex with his followers. This is illegal for a doctor to do with his patients and so he was disgraced, lost his medical licence and went to jail. Drs Horton and Hanzelik are still cringing at the Lotus Feet of their living Lord whenever possible. Nothing much has changed for Hanzelik, he and Horton have had to deal with the emotional problems of Rawat's followers for over 40 years as according to Horton, Knowledge was attracting the untogether, freaky, sick and psychologically disturbed rather than the beautiful, spiritually evolved. Hanzelik admitted to the United Press International journalist back in 1972 that many premies had emotional problems and suffered from depression. With this premie clientele they have lots of experience with disturbed patients and believe they have become experts on stress and with W. Timothy Gallwey have written "The Inner Game of Stress: Outsmart Life's Challenges and Fulfill Your Potential" by W. Timothy Gallwey, John Horton, Edd Hanzelik. The claim that stress attacks every aspect of our well-being and explain how negative self-talk undermines us, making us believe that pressure is inevitable and that other people’s expectations are paramount which leaves us feeling helpless and unhappy. The say we have the means to build a shield against stress with our abilities to take childlike pleasure in learning new skills, to properly and healthily rest and relax, and to trust in our own good judgment. Nothing about meditation on the four techniques of Knowledge, the divine light, heavenly music, holy name and magic nectar. You might have thought that practising Prem Rawat's Knowledge and being revealed God and having infinite bliss on tap by adjusting your pineal gland would fulfill anyone's potential but maybe things didn't work out as they so confidently claimed they would 40 years ago. Of course they're still making confident claims today. According to Rawat, just one spark of this Knowledge and everything becomes absolutely perfect. Doesn't absolute perfection remove stress and fill all potentials to overflowing?
Rennie talks about the true test of the guru:
"The thing is, there are many gurus in the world but it's not what you believe or whether you have any faith or whether you get high by his, by his words but whether or not he can actually show you that light inside of yourself that is keeping you alive. To me that's really the test of the guru."
"I suppose really the lives of a whole generation have just been a series of incredible surprises and certainly when I was in Chicago with Judge Hoffman in the trial of the Chicago Seven, you know, I just had just had no idea that you know that just a few years later I would be involved you know in a very deep meditation and really believing that a breakthrough in human consciousness was going to be the solution to the problems of the world."
"Thousands of people are convinced from actual experiences that they have found in themselves, that they have experienced a breakthrough in consciousness that is perhaps one of the most dramatic and exciting changes in the history of civilisation."
References: The information on this page was sourced from the following
- Blissing Out in Houston New York Review of Books, December 13, 1973
- The Way Out
- Who Is Guru Maharaj Ji?
- The Guru Game: Peace which passeth all understanding. Ramparts magazine, July 1973, page 26-35, 47-57.
- The Little Guru Without A Prayer Rolling Stone magazine, Issue N°156 - March 14, 1974 (Page 36-50)
- Goom Rodgie's Razzle-Dazzle Soul Rush Saturday Review/World - 9th February, 1974
- Rennie Davis and the Guru: Old Radicals Never Die--They Just Get Religion The Harvard Crimson, 6/4/1973
- Oz in the Astrodome New York Times, December 9, 1973
- Rennie at the feet of Maharaj Ji The Ubyssey, October 18, 1973
- Mysterious Miracles, Aliens from Spaceship Earth, A Spiritual Odyssey video
- The Inner Game of Stress: Outsmart Life's Challenges and Fulfill Your Potential" by W. Timothy Gallwey, John Horton, Edd Hanzelik.