Michael Dettmers, Former Personal Assistant to Prem Rawat Internet Revelations
Date: Wed, Oct 11, 2000 at 20:55:26 (GMT)
From: Michael Dettmers
Subject: Oh, sorry. Excuse me for asking …..
I know your are not stupid. And yes, I do hold him responsible for the 'shameless lies'. I thought I was clear on this point. I simply presumed that Maharaji didn't write the FAQ's himself but was absolutely certain they wouldn't have been published without his approval.
Date: Thurs, Oct 12, 2000 at 06:07:00 (GMT)
From: Michael Dettmers
Subject: Half of my previous response did not post
I never realized how much time it takes to actually read all these posts, let alone try to respond to them. Anyway, let me take a stab at answering your questions. I may ramble a bit to cover some similar questions raised in other posts.
First of all, when I became the President of Dettmers Industries, Inc. I no longer considered myself "in the service" of Maharaji as I had been previously for all of those years. I was under contract to oversee certain legal, financial and aviation related activities on behalf of Maharaji. I was also a director on the boards of several premie owned and operated companies in which Maharaji had a financial interest. The fact is that many premies who owned businesses wanted to express their gratitude to Maharaji by gifting him an interest, or granting him options in their businesses (for the record, Maharaji always paid whatever taxes were required). Thus, my contract, including its non-disclosure clause, was a standard business agreement entered into by many individuals who find themselves acting in a fiduciary capacity. Actually, Maharaji had nothing to do with my Agreement. It was his lawyer who insisted on it and it made perfect sense to me. When Maharaji and I mutually agreed to terminate my contract, the severance provision that was already part of the contract was triggered.
Some have asked whether I ever considered not taking the money. The answer is "no." By that time, my feelings of devotion for Maharaji had died and I'm sure I was angry at having wasted all of those years (the ability to take responsibility for the choices I make and accept the consequences was not a reality for me at that time). I was too focused on re-building my life and, as far as I was concerned, we were simply consummating a business transaction. Sometime later, after I had re-directed my life, I thought of giving back the money but the idea of giving money to Maharaji seemed preposterous so I found more worthy causes to support.
You ask what are acceptable terms of discussion that don't violate my non-disclosure clause. First, you are correct in your assumption that I cannot disclose any corporate, financial or legal information. As for the rest, I think it is a matter of prudence and common sense. Obviously, I am free to share my personal opinions on any number of matters and I have been doing so.
Maharaji wanted the Boeing 707 so that he could tour with his young but growing family. To do so, he needed a plane that could accommodate him, his family and the support staff that took care of them. He did not want to be away from his family especially the children for extended periods of time while he was touring. At first, this worked because most of his travels in the early 80's were to major festivals around the world. However, by 1984 I and others strongly argued that it was time to start doing public programs and he agreed. Very rigorous tour schedules were arranged in the USA and Canada, Europe, and South America. By rigorous, I mean that he would do one program per day in a different city over a two to three week period. He did not travel with his family and his support staff was minimal. There was no way to do such tours economically or practically in a 707. For one thing it was too big and heavy for many of the airports that were most suitable for his tour schedule. For that reason, we rented a Lear 35 which was a much smaller and more economical jet. Maharaji's experience with the Lear 35 made him realize that the 707 was no longer useful and we sold it.
I have already expressed some of my views about why the ashrams should close in an earlier post. If anything drove that point home it was the experience of DECA. I did not run the day-to-day operations of DECA, a company formed to handle the refurbishing of the 707, but I played a major role in arranging the financing and purchase of the aircraft, ensuring that we had sufficient expertise to interface with the FAA so that the refurbished aircraft secured an airworthiness certificate, hiring an experienced flight crew and their training (Maharaji took a personal interest in this area), and setting up an operation that was capable of organizing flights around the world.
Having said that, the truth is, none of us, including me, really knew what it would take to pull off this project. In the past, hundreds of people had come together to organize huge festivals, but they had a very limited life span. The 707 project, on the other hand, lasted well over a year. People from all over the country and the world for that matter converged in Miami to do "service" on this project. For me it was often nothing more than blind faith and trust that Maharaji's grace would make it happen (that is what I believed at the time) and I'm sure that was how it was for many others as well. Yet, in retrospect, all this focus on Maharaji made us blind to the horrendous conditions that people endured and that have been well documented on this forum. For me, the 707 project confirmed my growing belief that we should disband the structure that allowed the kind of abuse that took place in the name of "service" to continue.
It's not as though these problems were impossible to rectify in and of themselves. But the culture of devotion in which we were all immersed made it virtually impossible to focus the energy and the resources necessary to create a structure that properly took care of people's dignity and physical needs. Instead, this culture fostered the belief that only Maharaji's needs were important because, even though he really doesn't have any needs, he creates them out of mercy and compassion so that his devotees will have something to do for him since this is the only way to surrender and thereby realize knowledge. I think that Maharaji really believed this to be the truth. Hence, I believe he viewed the closing of the ashrams as a kind of failure on the part of the ashram premies - a failure to recognize the opportunity he was offering or a failure to be grateful for the opportunity. So even though he agreed that they should be closed, I don't think he felt he owed anybody anything. After all, he was already giving us everything and we were just too blind and ungrateful to recognize and appreciate it.
Finally, you ask about the resume I posted on my website and whether my reference to the educational foundation was misleading. At the time, I thought that a person in his early fifties should reflect a career that has spanned some thirty years. If I eliminated the time I spent with Maharaji, I'm down to fifteen. How do I account for the other fifteen years without disclosing that I was the right-hand man for a guru? Simple, you reinterpret (you called it revisionism) what you did during those years by focusing on the skills, accomplishments, and/or activities that relate to, and are consistent with, your current offers in the marketplace. Is that misleading? Sure. Did I think it mattered No. Boy was I naive about the power of the internet. You ask if my revisionism is the same as Maharaji's revisionism as expressed in Élan Vital's FAQ's? Perhaps, but I'll leave it to each person to draw their own conclusions about that. Regardless, I do take full responsibility for the deluge of speculation that ensued.
Date: Thurs, Oct 12, 2000 at 18:45:50 (GMT)
From: Michael Dettmers
Subject: Thank you for all this satsang and your honesty
I can appreciate you confusion, especially since I assume your mother tongue is French, not English, but I can assure you as others have already done that I was being sarcastic.
Now for your questions: What do you feel regarding the role you've had in the past helping him propagate his bizarre ideology/belief? Regret and some sadness that I wasted some of the most productive years of my life. Do you feel sorry for the people who've been hurt in the process? Very much so. Do you think Mr Rawat is presently running a cult? Yes. Is he responsible for this? Absolutely. If no, who is? N/A Do you still practise knowledge? I still meditate, but that's it. Do you still consider yourself a disciple of Mr Prempal Rawat? No. As for me lacking heart. Give me a break. Now you want blood as well. Michael
Date: Thurs, Oct 12, 2000 at 18:30:22 (GMT)
From: Michael Dettmers
Subject: About responsibility
Good point about the cheap shot. Although it was certainly not my intention to slight the ex-premies who post on this forum, I can see how it may have appeared that way. Sorry.
You ask why I think Maharaji felt that the ashram premies "failed." Allow me to try and answer your question this way. It was my experience that Maharaji embodied his role as lord and perfect master (although I'm sure he didn't think of it as a "role" but rather who he really was). By "embodied" I mean that he lived his life in the full "expectation" that it was his birthright to receive the love, respect and devotion and all of the goodies (i.e. whatever he wants) that are due a perfect master. I use the word "expectation" advisedly. I have since come to learn how much power we unleash in ourselves when we fully "expect" our desires, visions, dreams, etc. to manifest. However, most of us may wish for this or that, but secretly we may not really "expect" it to manifest. Inner feelings of doubt, fear and unworthiness are what we are really emanating and, consequently, we attract to us the exact opposite or less than what we really desire. I realize that some of your may characterize this as New Age bullshit (Jim and Rob, are you reading this') but it is what I have come to realize in my own life and forms the basis for my opinions that follow.
Looking back at the time I spent with Maharaji, I can see that he never allowed whatever doubts he may have had about his identity, to control him or prevent him from expecting to receive whatever he wanted. And he perpetuated (through his own ignorance of any other explanation) the myth that it was by his "grace" that his wishes became our command. In other words, we bought into a particular "interpretation" of who he was and how his power worked. Unfortunately, that particular interpretation had the insidious consequence of keeping us enslaved in the belief that he was all worthy and powerful and we were nothing by dirt at his divine lotus feet. In that interpretation there is only one big winner and everyone else is a loser.
Now, I suggest that there is another "interpretation" about our ability to manifest what we desire that is far more empowering if we are willing to pay the price, and one that does not necessitate that we surrender to anyone. The price is that we are willing to take the time to examine and overcome the doubts and fears that keep us from realizing our full potential. In this regard, Maharaji had a distinct advantage in that, from the moment he was born, he was indoctrinated into an absolute belief system and an identity, reinforced by his father as a living role model. I personally don't know anyone else who falls into that category although I can think of some historical figures, such as Mozart, who may.
But, in my opinion, the time is coming when he is going to have to pay a serious price for the unexamined life he has been leading for the past 40 or so years. The big disadvantage to any absolute belief system is that it breeds arrogance and the mistaken assumption that there is nothing to learn because you already know everything worth knowing. When this attitude is embodied in a teacher, you have a formula for disaster. In my opinion, Maharaji's belief system and his identity in it is leading him blindly down a dead-end road along with everyone else who chooses to follow him. And I would be very surprised if, by now, he isn't strongly suspecting as much. His recent efforts to put a spin on the past through Élan Vital's FAQ's simply won't work because nothing fundamentally has changed in his belief system. I wouldn't surprise me if we started to hear rumors that he is retiring. Maybe he will, but that act would be nothing more than him saying once again "fuck you" to all of us ungrateful people.