The Living Daylights was an Australian counter-culture/radical politics magazine published in the early 1970's.
DIVINE LIGHT MISSION: Guru Maharaj Ji (322 Brunswick street, Fitzroy etc) – THIS religion is the latest release in a series of Indian export productions which, taken cumulatively, have been a serious threat to the comparative prestige of Rome and Canterbury in world markets. While our own Western productions play to a slowly decreasing number of packed houses throughout the world, these shows from India are steadily gathering hard-core devotees, and Divine Light Mission, with its slick production and often intelligent script, may well turn out to be a real blockbuster at the box office. Even if the sight of a Krishna consciousness fan in his (or her) madcap uniform turns you blue with rage, DLM may well be what you've been waiting for. Full-bodied, robust, and possessing a good nose, this is certainly one of the better available religions and may well turn out to be one of the all-time greats if given a reasonable time to mature. It travels well and may even be able to compete successfully with the more established brands now that consumer loyalty is passé.
Stranger in the Light
What I found when I went in search of the Knowledge
by MICHAEL O'ROURKE
WHEN I first heard about the Divine Light Mission, I immediately conceived a strong dislike for the organisation and its Perfect Master, Guru Maharaj Ji. I was already fed up to the back teeth with Indian persons who claimed to be Lord of the Universe, and this one was only 15 years old. (At least he was at the time. Contrary to popular belief, he has been getting older ever since at the same rate as the rest of us.)
I strongly incline to distrust anyone under the age of 20, because such youths and maidens generally think either that they know something or that somewhere there is someone who does know something and that one day they will find out who it is and whatever it is that this person knows; whereas I find it impossible to believe that, apart from gross physical manifestations, anybody knows anything about anything. There is only one statement that might be universally true, and here it is: any process or event not only implies but exists only by virtue of its opposite or negation.
So the good news that at last we have an adolescent Perfect Master who knows at least a great deal about many important matters did not fall sweetly on my ears. I strenuously denied the mere possibility and told the boys to warm up the tar and get in a good supply of feathers. At last, I thought, a change from the same old round of beating up Krishna devotees and stealing their incense.
Before long I discovered that several people I numbered among my friends and acquaintances had fallen victim to this new and deadly strain of Eastern mysticism; my hostility perceptibly increased.
THE LIVING DAYLIGHTS, november 27-december 3,1973 – Page 9
Stranger in the light
What on earth was happening to them? They were cutting off their hair, wearing clean underwear and getting jobs. Had they lost their senses? Was everybody around me slowly going gaga? Would I be the last human being left on Earth?
Fear of being left all alone to be drearily and boringly human while everybody else was becoming angelic compelled me to hastily assemble a rational and easily explicable argument against these new doctrines. I was not in the least deterred by the fact that I had no idea of what the doctrines of the Divine Light Mission actually were. Ironically enough, I based my attacks on the teachings of the well known Zen school of buddhism, which alone of all religions is dear to my heart, mainly because when taken to its logical conclusion it refutes itself entirely, as follows:
Q: Why do you want to be enlightened?
A: So I'll feel better.
Q: Who is it that will feel better?
A: Why, nobody.
Q: Then what's the point of feeling good if there's nobody there to feel good?
A: It has long been my contention that the Krishna Consciousness movement has two useful social functions: first in that it lessens the strain on our meagre resources for taking care of the mentally ill, and secondly that it provides a viable and reversible alternative to suicide for those who would be inclined to kill themselves through sheer carelessness or desperation rather than in the fierce pride of their hot intellects. But in the course of adding this idea to my anti DLM armory, I chanced on the rather horrible idea of the Persuasive Revenant.
What if people who killed themselves could still manifest themselves in some way and went around trying to persuade others to take the same step? Really, you can't imagine how beautiful it is to be dead. I've never been so happy in all my life. Suddenly one seems to be in tune with the whole universe. Why dont you try it? (Not a bad parallel, actually, except for two important factors: any genuine way of liberation is suicide of the ego, not of the body, and suicide of the ego may in fact be a consummation devoutly to be wished.)
I was right in the middle of my battle with the forces of darkness when it was suggested to me that I should investigate the DLM and write an article on it, for which I would receive a certain amount of money. I agreed with feigned reluctance. At last, a platform from which to harangue, revile and vituperate. I could dare I say it? – save the world from creeping determinism! But my hopes were dashed when I found that I was discarding almost all of my useful and attractive prejudices. I was, despite my own earnest desires, becoming objective in the best traditions of journalism.
It was not long before a plausible friend took me to a satsang. A satsang is more like a committee meeting than a religious service, and probably more like a pork chop than either. On the other hand it is not like eating chocolate. We took off our shoes (this made me nervous right from the start) and after a great deal of walking up stairs we entered a large room shaped like a fat U. Directly in front of the door was a dais on which were flowers, fruit, and a red velvet chair which held a color photograph of Guru Maharaj Ji sitting on a chair. My guide prostrated himself before this photograph, causing me a few more anxious moments. When he had finished we sat on the floor under a large wall-hanging or banner which bore a portrait of Guru Maharaj Ji and the legend LORD OF THE UNIVERSE.
The speakers, all premies, varied in quality from the reasonable to the ridiculous, from calm understatement to absurd hyperbole. Something for everyone. One remarkable thing about their oratory is that most of them have been greatly influenced by the persuasive speaking styles of the Indian persons they revere, the Guru, his family, and his mahatmas.
Thus many of the premies have a tendency to lapse into broken English when excited. They have in effect learned to speak English with a slight foreign intonation, which does wonders for the immediacy of their communication but can make comprehension difficult. (cf. the indiscriminate use of the word nice by the members of the Krishna cult, native speakers all, which is closely paralleled by its use on Greek and Italian hamburger shops: Sam's nice food, or Food nicely cooked.) And like all preachers, they like to use parables and extended metaphors when in pursuit of the unspeakable. Freely rendered, it goes something (but only something) like this:
"Guru Maharaj Ji has put us all on an express train and he is the conductor. But this is no ordinary express train, no indeed it is not." Knowing chuckles from other premies.
"This express train is not headed for an earthly destination, as if it were a train that goes from Melbourne to Sydney. No. This is a different kind of express train altogether. This express train has a heavenly destination. And Guru Maharaj Ji is the conductor. Get aboard, he is saying. And we are getting aboard. But the incredible thing is that we are already at the destination! And we are already at every station along the way!" A look of pain and bewilderment crosses the speaker's face as she senses the metaphor giving way beneath her, rather in the manner of the Forth bridge giving way beneath an express train with an earthly destination.
"So we are going at very great speed, by the grace of our Perfect Master, towards a destination which we have already reached while simultaneously stopping at every station along the way. Such joy, such bliss. Perhaps you cannot understand how this is possible, but I am telling you that Guru Maharaj Ji makes all things possible. I will now ask you to imagine that the whole world is asleep in this room. Most of the people are sound asleep, they are dead to the world. The premies are nearly awake, they are rolling over and grunting." Precisely, my dear girl.
"The mahatmas are sleepwalking. And in the middle of the room is Guru Maharaj Ji, who is clapping his hands and saying 'Come on, everybody, wake up! wake up!' Conspiratorial giggling.
"Really it is scarcely possible for you to understand the transcendental grace of the Guru Maharaj Ji which allows me to get up in front of you and talk intelligibly about this fantastically marvellous grace of Guru Maharaj Ji which is – ah – which – which is so very blissful. Ah. Thank you very much."
Thus: Taking Knowledge does not put anything in your head that was not there to start with. While those whose minds are confused may achieve clarity and directness of thought, those whose minds are of inferior quality will not receive appreciable intellectual benefits. Who indeed would expect otherwise? Premies do not appear to automatically acquire wisdom. In fact they probably do not acquire anything at all. As Gautama Buddha so succinctly put it: "I obtained not the least thing from unexcelled, complete awakening, and for that very reason is it called unexcelled, complete awakening."
The important thing that seems to happen to them is that they lose anxiety, which is a nice thing to happen to anybody. Anxiety is a sort of alarm system which we all have installed in the process of our socialisation. With most of us it has an unfortunate tendency to feed and thus paralyses the whole system. This is not a very good thing because one then becomes unable to deal with whatever is causing the anxiety. On the whole it appears to be bad installation that causes the feedback problem. Meanwhile, back at the Ashram …
By the end of my first satsang, my disquiet had already begun to congeal into opposition. This was natural, I sup- pose, since my assumption of objectivity, while honest enough in intent, was mere- ly a necessary part of my new role as observer and commentator. While much of what was said made sense, a greater proportion amounted to nothing more than a load of old codswallop, and the nonsense tended to discredit the sense my making it seem accidental. I was not repelled, as I had been by the Krishna cult, but I did feel that in all probability the premies did not know what they were doing, and in fact could not tell their own arses from large marshmallows.
Nevertheless I went out to Tullamarine the next day to catch a quick glimpse of Mahatma Ji as he passed through Melbourne on his way to Auckland or some such barbaric place. Mahatma Ji is the mahatma into whose care Guru Maharaj Ji has entrusted Australia and New Zealand. He seemed like a nice fellow, though he appeared to me to be sunk in a debased state of gravity and self-esteem. But perhaps he was only tired after the trip. Each passenger on the crowded flight had to pass out between two rows of premies who were grinning and singing a little song about Guru Maharaj Ji. The tune used was Hey ho, nobody home, a circumstance which could easily be interpreted in an unkind light. The other passengers behaved very well under fire and did not make loud remarks or rain blows on the heads of the premies.
When everybody was settled in an NVIP lounge at the airport, the effete Mahatma Ji cast his discerning eye over many public relations matters, publicity being his foremost concern. Then he proceeded to give the premies a pep talk, a condensed and heightened version of which I give below. "Look at you, ah? I wake you up, I go away, you go back to sleep again. What a lot of dull clods you are, eh?" Premies nod and smile tremulously. "How many of you have been writing letters as I told you?" One or two hands raised. "Ha! I tell you to write letters and you do not write letters. Now listen, scum. I tell you to write letters, you damn well better write letters, okay?" Their eyeballs are wet and glistening, can they take much more of this? "Ah, how easy it is to go to sleep again, how easy." He claps his hands and laughs delightedly. The premies join in without much conviction. "Ah, my friends, my dear, dear friends. I am your slave. I live only for you. But you do not understand enough. You are still half asleep. You must write letters. Write, write, write. You just cry. Cry, cry, cry. You must cry from the heart, and he will come. If you do not cry, then how will he come? Many other places cry, cry, cry to see the lotus feet. They will only come if you cry. Remember, seeing Him is not like eating chocolate. How many times must I tell you."
The chastened premies cast deprecating glances at their own very inferior lotus feet. "Now I must go away again, after being here for so short a time. I will fly. Fly, fly, fly. I fly everywhere. And why? Because I am your slave. And you are taking good care of me, such good care of this little child who cannot even take care of himself." At this point I was overcome by boredom and left the room. I will not try to hide from your puissant understanding the fact that I was not favorably impressed. The above discourse may well appear to you, as it did to me, to not possess quite the clarity and depth of a mountain lake fed by crystal streams. Perhaps it will not be so opaque to your comprehension if I point out that much of it had to do with the much advertised Second Com- ing, a show supposedly starring Guru Maharaj Ji himself. As everybody knows by now, he did not actually turn up for this, no doubt because he did not receive sufficient fan mail. This divine sort of activity, fucking around with other peo- ple and generally confusing them in an ill mannered way, is dignified by the name of lila, or the game playing of God, in which he (or It) deliberately forgets that he is One and pretends to be Many in order to play silly games with himself.
"Looks like he might not come," said my amiable guide later. "You might not have a story after all."
"I have already got a story," I replied obliquely, averting my face. As it turned out, I was wrong. And so was he.
The next satsang I attended was graced by the presence of the revered Mahatma Ji. Heroically I went along even though two W. C. Fields movies were playing in opposition. Can you picture my chagrin? I hardly think so. My face was set against the Divine Light Mission and I did not intend to honor the institution with the benevolence of my smile. This time I sat in one of the chairs provided for the aged, the infirm, and the incredulous. Sitting on the floor causes the lower part of my body to pass into a state of numbness.
The first few speakers were premies, including one middle aged man who looked more or less like a garden gnome. He held up a gold ring. "If I take away the gold", he said mischievously, "is there any ring left?"
Maybe, I thought cautiously.
"No," he answered. "And if I take away the ring, is there any gold left?"
Yes, probably, I thought.
"No again," he said triumphantly.
Curses, foiled, cursed Oil-Can Harry O'Rourke, foiled.
"There you have it," he continued. "Do you understand now?"
The premies did, anyway. They laughed appreciatively, even though they had not been able to answer his difficult questions any better than I. I'm gonna get youse guys, I thought, baring my teeth. The gnome now proceeded to introduce Mahatma Ji, which had been his purpose from the start; but he had been unable to resist giving a short sermon himself before relinquishing the floor.
Many of the premies have this fault, that while freely confessing in their more lucid moments that they can tell you nothing of importance about the experience of Taking Knowledge, yet do they talk at great length about it. A seemly reticence is more attractive to me.
Having gloried in (or been the victim of) the most intemperate praise I have ever heard lavished on any visiting overseas performer, Mahatma Ji began to speak in a fairly aimless way. It was
Nigel had Taken Knowledge two weeks ago and it had turned his mind into a finely-honed razor which he was using to dismember me. My fears were being realised. He was as sunk in the iniquity of pride in his enlightenment as was I in the delusion of pride in my ego,
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characteristic of all the speaking that I heard at satsangs that it was addressed to those present who were uncertain or uninformed rather than to the premies. With only half an ear open to the mahatma, I entered the overgrown paths of a subtropical reverie, being determined to work out to my own satisfaction what was afoot. There was plainly something fishy about this business.
Firstly, there was some kind of con going on. Lord of the Universe, eh? A deranged appellation. I spit on it. No enlightened person would so exalt himself above others as this Guru has been exalted. I gazed at the photograph of this bloated spiritual plutocrat and writhed. And what about this business of the Holy Family? Is not an abundance of reverence closely akin to slavery?
The premies have surely given themselves into bondage. Listen to your man up there. Open your hearts, empty your hearts and let Guru Maharaj Ji fill them, he says. Okay, WHAT WITH? Fill them with himself? Polymorphous perversity if ever I saw it.
But hold on a minute there, said a still small voice which I recognised as that of my effete and execrable conscience. Fair go, it said. Just consider for a moment the consequences if everything you have so far concluded is true, and if it is also true that Guru Maharaj Ji is truly an enlightened person who meets every requirement of your high standards for enlightened persons? What then? GO AWAY, I muttered, breaking out in a heavy dew scented with honey and roses. CONSIDER, it rejoined remorselessly. I considered.
If Guru Maharaj Ji, I reasoned slowly and reluctantly, enjoins his followers to empty their hearts in order to find the way, then, he being (as agreed upon as an over-the-table concession) a truly enlightened person, his own heart must be empty. How then can he fill their hearts with anything?
It has often occurred to me that experience is like standing under a pelting shower. (Adjust temperature as you prefer.) We are not content to let the water flow past; we cup our hands to hold as much of it as possible. Thus we have a store of past experiences to contemplate which comes to seem precious, irreplaceable, unique. This corresponds with the ego. To put the metaphor right out on a limb, we can see our reflection in the water we hold in our cupped hands and think that what we hold is a picture of our Self. To persist in this deluded activity results in painful cramps in our hands, which is the image of anxiety. (Had enough? In extenuation of my further use of this metaphor, I would like to plead extreme provocation.) The enlightened person is he who can open his hands and let the water escape. With water streaming down over our heads, over our bodies, why bother?
Thus when the premies open their hearts and let the Guru fill them, they are being filled up with what must really be Void. (Perhaps I should point out that I use the word Void because no other word seems to suit as well. It does not mean nothingness or emptiness, but on the other hand it does not mean any kind of somethingness either.) I think it was at this point that a sort of explosion went off in my head and my body suddenly filled with rushing gases. I was staring at a photograph of Guru Maharaj Ji, but he no longer appeared strange and loathsome to me. The Mona Lisa smile he wore, that had once seemed hypocritical and smug, now held a welcome. You crafty little bugger, I thought, grinning all over my face. Where previously there had sat merely a fat Indian youth, I now saw an incarnation of the Void. I had been right. There WAS a con going on. Internally rocking backwards and forwards, I closed my eyes, and was treated to several tenuous visions.
When 300,000 years had passed, Mahatma Ji concluded his melodious discourse, and another of the premies got up to speak. I was immediately stricken with a feeling of claustrophobia. The essence of the trick after all is that one must never let on that it is a trick, and I knew that this low grade devoted premie would probably succeed in talking me out of my high by filling my head with a plethora of nonsense. I fled downstairs, and started to walk out into the street barefoot. Returning, I stood amid the massed ranks of shoes, having not only forgotten where my sandals were, but being also uncertain of where I was and what I was doing there. I had not been prepared for this. Leaning my forehead against the wall, I became inert.
"Are you all right?" inquired the young lady who stood at the foot of the stairs.
"I am very confused and disoriented," was my reply.
"Oh yes", she said with an understanding smile, "I understand."
"I have just had A Certain Experience Of A Kind," were the words that I then uttered.
"What was it like?" she wanted to know.
"It's all a trick," was the first explanation to spring to mind. She was horrified at the mere suggestion. I explained my chain of thought, and we reached some kind of agreement. Neither did she approve of my suggestion that Guru Maharaj Ji was an empty vessel, but it turned
out to be a matter of definition. (See Void, above.) Perhaps she was just humoring me, though it did not seem so at the time. They must get all kinds of crazies and desperates at that place. She told me that Mahatma Ji would be available the next morning at the DLM's Cardigan street building, and I readily consented to go. I was hooked. There's nothing like a needle in the brain.
CAUTIONARY TALES, CHAPTER TWO: FURTHER EXPERIENCE OF A CRAZED LIBERATION ADDICT.
Giggling, laughing and nudging each other, my deranged friend and I trucked on down to the Union Hotel, an obscure watering-place in Amess street, North Carlton whose major attractions are a beautiful landlady and a late licence on fridays. We could not control our sphincter muscles and could fall down 32 flights of stairs and feel no pain. We had permanent huge erections, could leap tall buildings at a single bound, and found our perceptions of time and space strangely distorted.
It is my painful duty to record that I started preaching almost at once. Fortunately I retained enough sense to confine my remarks to such as: "He certainly seems to have something there," or "It's not what you think it is," both of which statements I am still willing to stand by without embarrassment. Strange to relate, I found that alcohol, friend of mine and constant companion, actually brought me down that night.
I arose at the unwonted hour of seven o'clock the next morning, and headed for
Cardigan street. The euphoria of the night before had worn off, and I was afraid. What if the experience I had been through had nothing to do with the reality of the illumination the Guru offered? I had seen the whole structure of the mission as an elaborate play or game, designed to mould itself to your secretest heart's desire and entice you to the treasures within. What if the premies saw it as being the outward visible form of the true reality? Was it to them Mother Church? And for that matter, what if the mask was intended to be penetrated? That would mean that I would have to go through with it and eventually Take Knowledge. Of this in particular I was scared shitless.
It took me about five minutes to work up enough courage to knock on the door. Finally it was opened by a young man. I took a deep breath and said nothing. I could not think of anything to say except maybe "Help".
"Yes?" he said. There was a long pause. I must have looked strange. I suspect that my eyes were staring and my jaw may have been slack.
"I want to see Mahatma Ji," I said softly but unmelodiously.
There seemed to be a certain amount of consternation caused by my arrival. What will we do with him, we can't put him in the best parlor his boots are dirty, should we send him around to the tradesman's entrance, who is he anyway, etc etc; none of this spoken of course but I was feeling particularly sensitive. Eventually I was shown into a kind of lounge-room or office, where I was left to cool my heels. Mahatma Ji will see you in a while, they told me.
For perhaps 10 minutes I sat in a sweat of terror. What was I doing here? The enemy had me where they wanted me! Then Nigel the premie came in, sat down and engaged me in kindly conversation. Nigel is not his real name, but should he read this and recognise himself, I want him to understand that I bear no malice and appreciate his friendly overtures, though as will transpire I did not at the time.
He asked me a few things about myself, unwittingly giving me the paronoiac suspicion that he had been sent in to check me out. In response to his questions, I told him of my experience of the night before.
"Good heavens," he said. "It's nothing like that at all." My heart sank. I ventured my idea that the Guru was an empty vessel.
"Ah," said Nigel, "you only think that because you have reached the place where your inner self should be and you have found it empty. This body is only a vehicle for your true inner self, that guides your body around the way you drive a car. .You must realise that you have this beautiful place inside yourself and that Guru Maharaj Ji can take you there."
I stared aghast. What was this transcendental idiocy?
"No," I said. "You are what you do. Movement is truth and the little man inside you is illusion."
"No no," he replied. "You havent understood."
Stab me, I thought helplessly. The conflict of two religions after all. This witless youth was being unkind enough to play the game of I-am-more-enlightenedthan-you with me, and I was not sufficiently enlightened or at ease to refuse to play. So I explained to him my inferior and unfortunate delusion that the DLM was itself a game or play. I was desperate to find common ground with him, to agree with him about something.
"Good heavens no." With words to this effect did Nigel greet my suggestion. "You musnt think that."
THE LIVING DAYLIGHTS, november 27-december 3,1973 – Page 11
Nigel had Taken Knowledge two weeks ago and it had turned his mind into a finely-honed razor which he was using to dismember me. My fears were being realised. He was as sunk in the iniquity of pride in his enlightenment as was I in the delusion of pride in my ego. I put it to him that I had once before had a similar experience, and I knew that it was a genuine experience of liberation; indeed how could it be otherwise, for could he in reason claim that there was such a thing as a false experience of liberation, this surely being in itself a laughable contradiction? Yes he could.
"This experience of yours," he said. "What was it like?"
"I am unable to say."
"Did you see a brilliant white light in your head, did the whole universe seem to be filled with light?"
(Some time ago I had spoken of my previous Experience Of A Certain Kind to a friend who was heavily into acid. It was like being totally new, I said, as if I was the first member of the human race and contained all human potential. Nah, he said with contempt. It isnt like that at all. The true transcendental experience is like being a leaf on a tree.)
"I had no actual visual sensation of a blinding white light."
"Ah," said Nigel, leaning back in his armchair and smiling. "The brilliant white light is only the beginning. You havent even reached the beginning yet."
Did I, dear reader, spring from my chair and with a hoarse scream of rage punch Nigel right in the face? Did I tear his skin off in ragged strips? Did I lean forward and with low intensity utter the following malediction, Fuck, suck, tongue in cunt? Did I violently tear off his nether garments and thrust a photograph of Guru Maharaj Ji up his arse? (I see that your understanding partakes of many of the qualities of a brilliant white light.) No, I did none of these things.
"You do not appear to have interpreted my remarks correctly," I said with a great weariness stealing over me. I could read his mind. Poor fellow, he was thinking, he doesnt understand me, for how could I possibly fail to understand him?
"Then try to tell me," he urged.
"No," I said. "I must decline your kind invitation. You are intent on talking me out of having had any experience at all, no matter how lowly and of poor quality. I will not say any more to you and I suspect that had I asked the venerable I Ching for its opinion on my visit here, it would have said: It is a waste of time to talk, because what is spoken will not be heeded."
Nigel soon left, but his parting words were strangely moving.
"I am just beginning to understand who you are," he said. "You are a human being and it is a wonderful thing to meet a person and reach out your hand to him. I want to know that you have made me feel very uplifted."
Certainly, Nigel. You put yourself up by putting me down. But naturally it is not that simple. Who was Nigel? Was he an agent of a Greater Power? Perhaps he was just what he claimed to be, a human being. No wait a minute, he said that I was a human being. Then what was Nigel?
Within a few minutes I was politely ushered upstairs to the room where Mahatma Ji would be holding his questionand-answer session. I had wanted to see him alone for a short while, so that I could be reasonably certain that his responses would not be theatre designed for someone else. But after all, who was I, and how did I rate? Frankly, pretty low. It should be obvious by now to the least skilled intellect that there was something wrong with my attitude.
A lone premie sat in the room, absorbed in wistful meditation. I settled myself on the floor and tried to control the growth of the icicle in my brain. It is difficult for me to convey the extent of my confusion. I had tried a frontal assault when I should have realised that skilful and subtle means would have had more chance of success. A few more people entered, among them a mint-fresh premie who commenced immediately to talk about Taking Knowledge with all the loathsome cheer and familiarity displayed by ladies who sit in doctors waiting-rooms and talk about their operations. On and on he prattled, while my head slowly turned into a block of ice. Finally, with deep regret and poignant relief, I got to my feet and stumbled out on to the street, not forgetting my shoes on the way out.
I dont know where I would be now had I stayed. Sometimes I wish I had, but mostly I was glad I didnt. Now I suppose that you will be wanting some answers, so I will interview myself and see if I can get them.
Q. What is the Divine Light Mission?
A. Whatever you want it to be. Nothing about it is simple and explicit except the mere fact of its existence and the Knowledge it offers. It exists as a service organisation to supply Knowledge, and is beautifully designed for the purpose, in that its philosophies and doctrines are so unformed and contradictory that they admit not only all interpretations, but all interpretations at once. It would be foolish to expect order and logic, because philosophies and doctrines are of course true only by virtue of the fact that they are false. Universal truth is self-negating because there is nothing to oppose it. The Knowledge is not so much truth as technique.
Q. What does the Knowledge, to your limited and defeated understanding, seem to be?
A. The Real Thing. It is not like eating chocolate.
Q. Who is Guru Maharaj Ji?
A. A reincarnation of James Dean, Buddy Holly and Marilyn Monroe.
Q. Are you sure he isnt the Antichrist? A. No.
Q. Where did you go wrong?
A. Pride and fear. Let only one person stand forth and say that he (or she) has never been proud or fearful, and then I will consent to be ashamed. This competition is not open to Guru Maharaj Ji or his relatives.
Q. Do you confess to being dreary and boring?
A. I freely confess to that and also to innumerable other crimes too awful to mention.
Q. Why do the premies change so much?
A. It seems that they become "liberated", "illuminated", or "awakened", whichever suits your taste. This process can be rationalised in many ways, but perhaps the most fruitful explanation is that the ego is dissolved, broken up or at least radically altered to eliminate the feedback problem caused by an acute sense of self-consciousness, as when an amplifier tries to amplify itself.
The ego is a social implant. We are taught from early childhood to internalise the expectations of others, and then to build our own expectations on this construct, which then starts performing operations on itself, and, most curious of all, investing itself in objects and ideas. It is intended to be a stabilising system, but like all such systems it becomes more unstable as its control becomes broader and strongei. Our egos are as much a failed social experiment as our police forces, and are very nearly as difficult to get rid of.
If you move a piece off the board in chess it has nowhere to go. It is "liberated" but has become useless. It can only go back on to the board again because it moves only by virtue of the rules under which it is moved. Without the rules, without the game of chess, it ceases to be a "chess piece" and can only be something else if you establish a new set of rules for it.
Thus the illuminated man can do nothing but go back into the game, unless of course he wants to play fulltime the game of being an illuminated man. Roles do not impede socialisation any more than the restrictions on the movement of the various chess pieces impede the game of chess. Socialisation is not possible without roles. The game of living must be played wholeheartedly, or else it is not worth playing, just as an actor cannot be effective as long as he is detached from the part he is playing. The premies seem to lose anxiety about which role they play, as well as the real killer, anxiety about whether one is playing one's role properly.
Q. Is it, in your humble opinion, a Good Thing?
A. Who knows? Wait around and see. Who can tell what it will become in the long run? The premies have not yet had time to really settle down with the Knowledge. There are many possibilities; some of them are frightening, others heartening. Perhaps this is going to be the next great step forward in social evolution. Dont underestimate the DLM; it is not impossible that it could become the world's major religion, though it is not really a religion at all in the usual sense. "All opposition", said Mahatma Ji, "turns into propagation." Alvin Toffler, in his book Future shock, talks about a "superindustrial revolution" that has already begun. It seems significant that the impacted ego seems to be the major agent of future shock.
And that is not the only thing that seems significant, buddy. There is more to the DLM than meets the eye, though it is not necessarily what anyone says it is. And remember that, barring accidents like crucifixion, or gross physical manifestations like aeroplane crashes, the Guru Maharaj Ji is going to be around for maybe another 80 years, that is unless he turns out to be immortal. Time enough.
Q. Are you going back?
A. I dont know. I doubt that I will for a very long time. I hope that it has not been hidden to the reader's perception that this pilgrim's progress was not intended to be the last word on the DLM,
or indeed on anything. Got that, scum? I was trying to give an honest account of
the various stages of an encounter or search as they happened in my head. I mast not have made much sense out of it all, but then, never mind. Nobody's perfect.
Q. Why do you want to be enlightened?
A. To feel better.
Q. Who is it that wants to feel better, rat?
A. Nobody. Ho hum.
Q. Then why do you want to feel better if there's nobody really there to feel it?
A. Why not?
Stranger in the light
Page 12– THE LIVING DAYLIGHTS, november 27-december 3, 1973