On his own admission, Neville Ackland was a wild and crazy guy and those who knew him testified to his boundless energy. His "career" in Divine Light Mission began as the Head of the World Peace Corps (yes, really) in Australia and ended with a flamboyant gesture of public protest against his former Perfect Master, Shri Balyogeshwar Param Sant Ji Maharaj (yes, really) the Lord of the Universe and sundry lesser titles.
Neville gave a "warts and all" and some extra pimples type spiritual autobiography mistitled "People Who Found Peace" in 1974 which was printed in the August 1974 edition of the Divine Light Mission official magazine, the Golden Age. Neville's life has certainly disproved the premise of that article.
David Lovejoy the dripping wet General Secretary/President of Divine Light Mission Australia and the United Kingdom complained of the general apathy amongst premies. This certainly didn't apply to Neville Ackland who bought the Divine Sales shop in 1976 when there was no longer enough voluntary labour from premies to keep it running as a fund raiser for DLM.
Ackland's disillusion with Rawat and his organisation began at Amaroo or Ivory's Rock Conference Centre where he was an enthusiastic volunteer worker. He considered the organisation and running of the centre to be poor and he was not afraid to voice his complaints. Valerio Pascotto, the brother-in-law of Rawat's number one administrator and fund-raiser for many years, Linda Pascotto, was sent to Amaroo to confront the general unhappiness of workers there. His ham-fisted attempts to put everyone in line with "trainings" was the final straw for Ackland and not being the shy retiring type Ackland took the opportunity of staging a public protest which even had him interviewed on Australian television and the centre of newspaper articles.
- Guru goes to ground after security scare Brisbane Courier-Mail Newspaper
- Guru Inspires Prayer and Protest Brisbane Courier-Mail Newspaper
- Guru's followers flock to hear him speak Australian Associated Press
- Millionaire cult leader Maharaj Ji is holding a secret session west of Brisbane this weekend. Brisbane Courier-Mail Newspaper
This made Prem Rawat, the Perfect Master and One And Only Person to Have Realised Knowledge unhappy and angry.
This protest was reported by John MacGregor and Ackland posted regular reports on the internet with his usual brio. Ackland posted a review of his adventures in Maharaji maya at Amaroo and then posted something of a manifesto.
With the loss of his faith and the relative failure of his protest and his financial position having been weakened by his committment to voluntary labour at Amaroo Neville turned to the business he knew from his youth. He began growing a marijuana crop. This was not the cleverest thing for a person to do who had infuriated his former peer group of devotees of Prem Rawat's. It's well known that most of the premies living in Northern NSW smoke dope but Ackland had to be punished for his temerity. Word got around and somehow that word came to the attention of the police.
"Police have seized Marijuana worth more than $2.5 million in one of Ipswich's biggest drug busts in years. Around the same time as police unloaded 857 plants and 52kg of dried marijuana from their vehicles yesterday.
Neville Ackland, 54, appeared in Ipswich Magistrates Court charged with drug offenses. Acting Inspector Brad Weller said the drug haul was one of Ipswich's biggest in years. "This will definitely put a hole in the Ipswich Marijuana trade for a while I think," he said.
Inspector Weller said police searched a Mt Greville property at Moogerah on Wednesday night after a tipoff and stumbled across hundreds of plants. He said the 52kg of dried material was found spread across a large number of rubbish bins. "We were out at the property for five hours this morning digging out the plants and transporting everything back to the station," he said yesterday.
"This afternoon we'll organise some samples to be taken and then the remainder will be destroyed." Police have alleged the marijuana belonged to Mr Ackland. He was charged with producing, possessing and supplying a dangerous drug as well as possessing drug related equipment. Ackland also faces charges of possessing unlicensed and unsecured firearms. He was given bail and the matter will be heard again in Brisbane Supreme Court at a later date." - by Ellen Quinn, Queensland Times