Michael Dettmers, Former Personal Assistant to Prem Rawat Internet Revelations

Message:
Date: Sun, Oct 22, 2000 at 01:33:43 (GMT)
From: La-ex
Email: None
To: Michael Dettmers
Subject: A few questions for Michael Dettmers
Message:

Michael-I have a number of questions for you…here's a few…

A few years ago a premie named Danny Blood came through a community on the east coast and ended up staying for almost a year. Supposedly he was at the residence for a long time in the 70's and early 80's and was told by m that he wanted him to 'friends' with m, rather than a 'devotee'.

He told us many stories about smoking dope and drinking heavily with m late into the night, and actually carrying m up to his bedroom a number of times because he was so wasted.

He also told stories about some of m's 'tests'. He claimed that one time he was in the garage with m, and m told him to drink some gasoline from a gas container. He drank some, but didn't swallow it,until m slapped him on the back and he had to swallow. He claimed that the gas turned into nectar, at which point m asked him why he didn't have more faith.

I asked him 'do you think m had put a sweet liquid in the container instead of gas, or was it really some sort of miracle, as he believed?'. He thought it was a miracle.

I heard of bal bhagwan ji doing similar things at the Long Island residence in the early 70's, but those were practiacl jokes aimed at playing head games with premies. They were fairly mild, and bbj commented on how gullible premies were.

Do you believe that maharaji has, or ever had a serious drinking or drug problem at any time? Did you ever witness any tests, or miracles such as the above story?

Finally, this is just asking for an opinion, but why do you think that maharaji is posting such obvious revisions of the past? He has to know that so many people know for a fact that he is lying, covering up and deceiving so many. The only thing I can believe is that he and the people around him must be making a calculated decision to lie about the past, and figure that it will piss some people off (who they will lose), but that the 'true believers' will still hang in there with him. With a newly revised past, he is free to 'trawl' for new converts as a 'master' with a 'gift', but not the messianic figure he told tens of thousands he was. I think this must be his strategy, and I also think that he is vastly under-estimating the power of the internet. The whole world is a couple of mouse clicks away from seeing how deceptive he is…how can he pursue such a stupid stategy?

Just wondering what you think the reasoning is behind his bizarre moves…

Thank you for your posts, and having the guts to do so…

La-ex

Date: Mon, Oct 23, 2000 at 03:30:03 (GMT)
From: Michael Dettmers
Email: dettmers@gylanix.com
To: La-ex
Subject: A few questions for Michael Dettmers
Message:

La-ex,

Here are my answers to your questions:

Do you believe that maharaji has, or ever had a serious drinking or drug problem at any time?

Yes, I believe he had (has?) a serious drinking problem and I told him so, not out of judgment but out of love and concern.

Did you ever witness any tests, or miracles such as the above story? No.

Finally, this is just asking for an opinion, but why do you think that maharaji is posting such obvious revisions of the past?

To answer this question, I think we have to look at the whole Maharaji phenomenon in context. As I said in an earlier post, he was indoctrinated into an absolute belief system since birth and witnessed first-hand how that system worked at the feet of his father who groomed him to take his place. Thus, when he was eight years old, he already had an embodied identity and a mission in life. How many other eight year olds do you know who were in a similar situation? I certainly don't. And, he got off to a great start. By the age of 12 he had left India and in just a few short years established a global organization with thousands of people all over the world who dropped everything to dedicate their lives to him. Like it or not, that is real power. He must have felt invincible.

That much power and influence over others, however, brought with it a tremendous responsibility because the people he attracted entrusted their hearts and souls to his care. It's one thing to play with the spoils of power and, as a young person, he had no trouble with that side of the equation. To deal with the other side, however, takes character and maturity which he lacked. I can only assume (since he never discussed it with me) that in time it must have dawned on him that he was not up to the task, that he was not the person he was led to believe he was and that he had led others to believe he was. This inner conflict may account for his drinking problem. Whether or not that is the case is beside the point. The fact is that he failed to assume the responsibility that came with his invitation and our acceptance to surrender our lives to him, and that irresponsibility has been amply demonstrated by the way he handled the ashram situation and the Jagdeo situation, to point out just two examples.

One way to deal with this dilemma is to pretend that it never happened, hence his extensive revisionism of the past. Will it work? Time will tell but I doubt it. Too many people got hurt because he failed to honor his part of the bargain. If he wants to change the deal and move on, in my opinion, he must first undo what he did. He owes those who still care whether through anger, grief, sadness, or whatever, an apology and an explanation. It must be sincere and he should be prepared to make amends for the consequences of his actions.

Michael


Date: Mon, Oct 23, 2000 at 19:28:38 (GMT)
From: Joe
Email: None
To: Everyone
Subject: Another Question for Michael Dettmers…..
Message:

Hi Michael,

It's so great to get your comments and the information you are providing. I think it's all very liberating for both premies and ex-premies.

I have another question if you don't mind.

When I was a premie, during the 10 years 1973 - 1983, darshan, the ritualized event when we used to line up and kiss Maharaji's feet, was a very big deal. Maharaji probably gave darshan in North America about 4-5 times a year during the latter part of the 70s and early part of the 80s. After I left the cult in 1983, I wasn't sure if he was still engaging in the practice, but if you read the Elan Vital website, he implies that he isn't doing it anymore, because he got rid of all those 'Hindu rituals.' Note, however that 'darshan' isn't even mentioned, nor is it claimed the practice has been discontinued.

Anyhow, people have reported here that Maharaji has continued to give darshan in India, and that he gave darshan at two big programs in Australia, one in 1996 and one in 1997, so the practice continues, even for Western premies.

Anyhow, I have two questions about darshan. Did Maharaji really believe that darshan removed karma? Did he talk about the benefits a devotee would receive from having darshan? Did he ever talk about the number of people who fainted in darshan, and whether that was real or not? Did he talk about his experience while GIVING darshan? He always appeared to me to be incredibly bored with the whole process, frowning usually, at least when I went through.

Also, I got the impression that Maharaji sometimes engaged in darshan (and really also some festivals) because he was feeling doubts about himself and these were ways to reinforce in himself that he was, indeed, who he said he was -- a being worthy of worship from thousands of people.

Also, during the Boeing 707 plane project, I had a discussion with Dennis Marciniack, the president of Elan Vital, when I was Community Coordinator in Miami, and so much emphasis was on raising money for the plane. Anyhow, Dennis said that Maharaji sometimes netted $250,000 in cash donations when he gave darshan and that this money went directly to Maharaji personally, and not to, or through, Elan Vital. (This has been supported by comments from KK, a finance person for Maharaji.) Marciniak said that in the context of the fact that Maharaji had openly discussed with him the possibility of Maharaji making a one-time donation of the money he got in the next darshan line to the plane project, because he was so keen on it getting finished, and money was always running short.

I remember at the time thinking it was strange to talk about something as supposedly holy and important as darshan as a source of money. I guess my other question is, did Maharaji see darshan as a source of MONEY, and did he engage in the practice partly out of the need to raise money? Also, I remember when the directive came through the initiators that people should refrain from giving token 'gifts' to Maharaji in darshan and to instead give money, and this would be in line with that. Also, we all recall the gauntlet of people handing out envelopes as we went into the 'darshan tunnel' and the big barrels that collected the donations.

Also, did Maharaji ever discuss festivals as also being a source of income? I recall that for awhile entrance feels became quite high, up to around $100, and that was back in the 70s, and he was giving lots of programs, especially in Miami.

Thanks,

Joe

Date: Mon, Oct 23, 2000 at 22:31:55 (GMT)
From: Michael Dettmers
Email: dettmers@gylanix.com
To: Joe
Subject: Another Question for Michael Dettmers…..
Message:

Joe,

I think I captured all of your questions.

Did Maharaji really believe that darshan removed karma?

Maharaji tended to dismiss accepted spiritual concepts like "karma" and "reincarnation" to name but two. His claim was that knowledge took you beyond all such concepts. I never heard him say that darshan removed karma.

Did he talk about the benefits a devotee would receive from having darshan?

He did say, always in the third person, that Maharaji's darshan was the greatest gift that can be bestowed upon a devotee.

Did he ever talk about the number of people who fainted in darshan, and whether that was real or not?

His concern in this regard was that they be taken care of (i.e. don't let them fall and hurt themselves). The darshan recovery room was created for this purpose.

Did he talk about his experience while GIVING darshan?

Not that I am aware of.

Did Maharaji see darshan as a source of MONEY, and did he engage in the practice partly out of the need to raise money?

I had many conversations with Maharaji about money, but I never heard him even suggest that he give darshan to raise money.

Did Maharaji ever discuss festivals as also being a source of income?

Maharaji pretty much left the organization of festivals to the organizers. I remember one incident in the late 70's, when he got involved in reviewing the proposed budget for one of the large festivals. He got angry because the organizers (me included) simply added up all of the projected costs including his accommodation and transportation, and divided that number by the number of anticipated attendees in order to arrive at a registration fee. That fee turned out to be pretty high (I can't remember how much it was) and he demanded that we find a way to lower it.

Michael

Date: Tues, Oct 24, 2000 at 13:13:02 (GMT)
From: Michael Dettmers
Email: dettmers@gylanix.com
To: Eddy The Turtle and janet
Subject: Bob Mischler, Sophia Collier, et al
Message:

To Janet and Eddy The Turtle:

Eddy I don't know if you knew me and/or Bob Mischler but, in my opinion, you are way off base in your assessments. I worked closely with Bob throughout 1975 and 1976. He was the one who recommended to Maharaji that I be transferred from Canada, where I was the National Organizer, and brought to DLM's International Headquarters to help him (Bob) bring some order to the organizational chaos that ensued following the Astrodome fiasco in November 1973.

In early 1975, DLM was still carrying huge debts from that event and there were precious little systems in place deal with the problem. In addition, the IRS was in the early stages of an investigation of DLM's unrelated businesses. Although DLM was not engaged in any illegal activity, they lacked the proper books and records necessary for the IRS to conduct an audit. So yes, I did take a strong hand to get control of the situation and I did seek the help of some outside lawyers and accountants. I know it changed the laisse faire atmosphere that prevailed at the time, and I am aware that it pissed off a lot of people. But, contrary to what you suggest, Bob was delighted that finally someone was minding the shop because he spent most of his time traveling with Maharaji, and couldn't be in Denver to do the job himself. Your assessment about the circumstances surrounding Bob's departure are also way off base. But that's another story that will have to wait.

Janet, I have read Sophia Collier's account of that period and I can sympathize with her point of view. I have learned a lot in the past 25 years, and my approach to organizational design and development is vastly different today than my lack of experience allowed back then. Interestingly, I spoke with Sophia, for whom I have tremendous respect, late last year after she had been featured on CNN's 'Pinnacle'. She is a very successful entrepreneur and is currently the founder and CEO of an investment firm that invests in socially responsible businesses. It seem that she has learned that being a corporate type and raising consciousness are not necessarily mutually exclusive.

Michael

Date: Tues, Oct 24, 2000 at 14:46:40 (GMT)
From: Michael Dettmers
Email: dettmers@gylanix.com
To: EddyTheTurtle
Subject: Bob Mishler, Sophia Collier, et al
Message:

Eddy,

You are right, Bob Mishler, (sorry for mis-spelling his name earlier) was an honest guy.

The DLM/Élan Vital I remember was never a cash cow. We could barely keep up with the expenses and pay the bills on time.

You ask if M dealt directly with/took advice from his outside lawyers and accountants and suggest that he was a prisoner of this inner circle of outsiders. Maharaji dealt mainly with me on a regular basis concerning legal and financial matters. I, it turn, dealt with the outside advisors. Once or twice a year, however, Maharaji met with all of his legal and financial advisors, but I can assure you that he was nobody's prisoner. If he didn't like the advice he got, he spoke up. Here is one example of what I am talking about, paraphrased from an earlier post I made in April:

When I first came to Denver, I dug into the rules and regulations governing a church (which DLM was) with the help of professional advisors. I discovered that Maharaji, as head of this church, was considered to be its chief minister and expected to live and function within the confines of that particular status. Maharaji, who was now a US permanent resident, was upset to discover that he unwittingly had been relegated to the status of a chief minister of a Denver-based US church as the current outside lawyers engaged by DLM explained to him. He understood that they were simply explaining his situation to him, but he thought it was foolish that he should modify his role to conform to that very narrow legal construct. When Maharaji asked me what I thought, I told him that I thought it was absurd that he should find himself in this position and that the time had come to re-think his whole organizational structure. With that, he asked my to take on a new role as his personal manager where I would oversee a complete restructuring of his organization.

Michael