Joe Anctil Satsang, Denver IHQ 1976

At the beginning of 1976 spurred on by some real discussion apparently brought about by Divine Light Mission administrators and Guru Maharaj Ji calling for 'understanding' but actually in response to the underlying dissatisfaction of premies with the outcome of "practising Knowledge" for up to 5 years a series of workshops were held in Divine Light Mission communities throughout Northern America. This quickly resulted in the majority of ashram premies reevaluating their lives and leaving the ashram. This outcome was the very opposite of what Guru Maharaj Ji (Prem Rawat) wanted and expected as events later showed. During this process Joe Anctil the Divine Light Mission Public Relations officer was contacted by the guru and spoke over the phone with him the day before Anctil was to be interviewed by a journalist who had discovered what was going on.


Joe Anctil

I've really have tried not to speak to anyone since I got the phone call so I wouldn't dilute what Maharaji had to say with what I was thinking or experiencing. People would say "Well what happened?" And I'd say "Well, later." What happened is Barbara Kolodny came over and she said to call Bob Mishler right away and I said "Oh well okay." She said, "No. Right away." And I said "Okay well I'll go to the phone booth" and I went to the phone booth and dialed the number I was given and Maharaji answered and I said "Oh wow Maharaji I didn't expect to get you on the other end of the phone. I was calling Bob." He says "Well actually you were calling me cause the Bob placed the call for me" and uh there's so much that he shared with me, that's why I want to have a questions and answers because maybe you ask a question that may trigger something that he said that I probably don't remember right off but um I asked him if I could come and share this with everyone here and he said most definitely and not only that but he would be following through with a, with a tape himself very soon.

I said "Well you know I'm going to go see the press tomorrow and he said "Yes how are you?" And I says "Well okay Maharaji but." He said "Well how are you? You haven't answered my." And I didn't really want to get into the fact that my kidneys are hurting, you know, but he insisted on it until I got, I told him about my kidneys and he said" (laughs) and more than the last time that I talked to him which is the only other time that I talked to him I really felt like I was just embracing with a human being and throughout our whole conversation he only said one thing to me that was a little mystical. I let that out right off. About everything that's happening he said "Well I hope everybody knows that I’m behind all this and that I’m letting all this happen." So (laughs) I told him again about my meeting with the press tomorrow morning and he said "Well, what does she know?" I said "Well, she has a copy of the Martian Chronicle." "How’d she get that?" And I said "Well I don't know Maharaji, I wish I knew that's one neck I could strangle." And pardon? (much laughter) He said "What else?" And I said "Well she's asking me if the ashram is really closing and is it true people are leaving the ashrams and they're like running from the ashrams and went down to around 300 people in the ashrams."

And he said "Well you know when a dove flies, he goes from one place to another and from changing locations he goes through a lot of things, a lot of different weather, he maybe has to change his eating habits, a lot of things he has to change. When he lands, he makes sure he lands on a solid place." And he said "This is what Divine Light Mission is going through." Um he said "It would be great, it would be ideal at this point of time if all the energy that's being put into thinking that mission is falling apart would be put into building it up" but he said "That's not the time for that." He says "That will come." He says "Do you have any specific questions?" And I said "Well Maharaji I wish I had written them down." I said "I know I've had a few people ask me how I felt about their leaving the ashram" and I said "I know one person in particular said uh I wish, no, how was it the person told me? I hope Maharaji knows I'm not leaving him, that I'm just the ashram, that I'm just changing lifestyles." And he said "The question comes long before that. The question comes have they even left me before and left the ashram." He said "That's where the question comes in." He says "It comes way before they actually walk out the door." He said "A person can be living in the ashram for a long, long, long time and have already left me." He said "Being in the ashram does not mean you’re with me or living any lifestyle doesn't matter."

And he says "How about all this that's happening, you know, so many people leaving." And I'm going to give you his answer but I really see in that answer that if you're not really taking responsibility for your life you could start feeling guilty all over again and I hope you don't. He said something about dust, it always leaves. He said we have a lot of closets to clean out and he says "The beautiful thing about all this is that a lot of the young people in Divine Light Mission are finally taking the responsibility for their lives. You know they are getting their lives together so I can really use them." He said it had nothing to do with whether they leave the ashram or don't leave the ashram. He said "The ashram will always be there. Always." And I said "Well that's another question I have, a lot of people (laughs) think maybe they'd like to live in the ashram but don't go along with the rules." He says "There'll always be an ashram. The rules will change and those who have patience know why they're there, will be there to understand the changes when they happen and they'll know that they’re right when they happen. Some of those changes will come very soon, very, very soon. Some changes will never come because the ashram lifestyle" he says "as a matter of fact we’re going to do away with that word 'ashram’ because that's very Eastern." He said "But there will be a lifestyle in which permits people to come for six months, a year, two years, three years or to dedicate their whole lives in that particular kind of lifestyle." But he says "There are many lifestyles that people can dedicate their whole lives" but he says "It so happens that some people prefer this lifestyle." 7:07 he says "That the other lifestyles already exist, what I have to protect now is the ashram." And he said "It doesn't really matter what a person chooses to do with their lives as far as whether they're going to get married or not or live in the ashram or not. It's just this Knowledge" he said "is the most important thing and a lot of people in this world want this Knowledge" and he says "the people who are here today are the people who are gonna have spread this Knowledge that they first have to understand this Knowledge so they first have to use this Knowledge practically in their lives otherwise it's just a trip." And he said "For some people it's been a trip for a long time because they were told they had to do this in order to get this." And he said "Although I never said that, I never said otherwise because it was right for the time." He said "The mission is going to go through many, many more changes and it's not gonna fall." He said "I know exactly what I'm doing and it's time for a lot of people to be tested. It's a lot of time-it's a time for people to take decision for their own lives." And he says "As many people as are wanna leave the ashram this year that many more people will choose ashram lifestyle for a time for their lives in the future." He said "It's just so important that we get so practical that we can communicate the experience of Knowledge in such a way that everyone will want it because it will be irresistible."

Um I'm trying to think of a few of the other things that I asked him. There again there was so much satsang I wish I had a tape recorder but I just couldn't retain it all but if any you know we can start with the questions now if any of you have any specific things that you think he might have covered with me because I asked him a lot, a lot of questions and yet I can't remember what they all are at this moment. (Pause) Yes.

No um only that he had met with them this afternoon. He said "I've covered a lot of ground with them today and uh I'm going to cover a lot more." In my particular instance, he asked me he says I'm, well he didn't ask me, he told me, he said "I know you've been wanting a lot more communication with me" and I says "Well yeah, I think it would help a lot." He says "Well, you're gonna have it and it's gonna work out and you gonna come out here and we gonna spend some time together in" and he says "A lot of things are gonna change now that the premies want a lot more communication with me and if they're just a little patient they'll see that it's gonna happen." I'm sorry I didn't repeat your question. She wanted to know in case you didn't hear the question did he say anything about Mike, Mike and Lou and the answer was that yes he's been working with them. I asked him about the financial thing and he said "Don't worry about it." He said "That’s his concern." Yes.

He wants to know what questions do I expect to be covered tomorrow and did I go over those questions with Maharaji. Yes I did. I went over as I said earlier about the management situation of Divine Light Mission which she knows about because she read it in the Martian Chronicle and uh she wanted to know about my situation because she has heard that I am leaving the ashram. She wants to know is the ashram going to close down, um she wanted to know how are we financially and is it true that a lot of people are deserting the ashram was her terminology and I think I pretty much covered those in the beginning. Yes. Anything else?

Anything about our legal situation. I didn't ask him about our legal situation but I did ask Maharaji, I said Maharaji a lot of people feel that maybe you're not aware of circumstances as they exist and he said "Oh I think I'm pretty aware" uh which he says I've talked to a lot of premies which confirms a telephone conversation I had with Los Angeles this morning with a premie there. She said she knew of three premies who used to be in the ashram and were not anymore that Maharaji had called this week to find out how they were doing and what they're feeling, they're experiencing. Ah it's like he's conducting his own little survey, but he, we didn't get into the legal situation or the specifics of Lou and Mike and Mike's visit um he just said that, you know, we're going to go through a lot more changes and the mission is gonna change a lot more because it has to oh and I did ask him uh about initiators because uh I'm getting a lot of questions about that especially in my travels. Are we, I asked him, you know, cause a lot of people want to know are we going to have more initiators and what is their role going to be and he says "Just as soon as things are right" he says "We'll probably have an initiator in every single community who can follow a person's progress from the first time they come until they decide this person is going to be initiated" and uh he says "You know we’ll have a lot of initiators because that's a very uh important service as all services are this one really has to be, a person has to concentrate on these people coming and not on another service at the same time. Yeah I think that's all he said about that. Yes.

This question is why he is to me now, why he wanted me to convey this message to you and not someone else. The only thing I can figure out is that Mike and Mike and Lou told that I had an interview with Virginia this morning which I postponed to tomorrow morning because I needed some answers and he just decided to try to answer those things himself. The fact that I'm sitting here sharing this with you it's just because I asked him if I could. Yes.

??? is repeating something I said earlier that Maharaji had stated that there would always be an ashram and that it was his concern to look after the ashram and that people can come for a period of time for six months, a year, two years, 10 years or their whole lifetime. It depends on one particular individual’s choice for their lifestyle.

He wants to know did he say anything else about the ashram. The only other thing that he said about the ashram was in answer to my, my statement is not a, the ashram doesn't really exist much anymore Maharaji and he said "Yes, it does. Some people still know why they're there and some people are going through a transition period and the ashram is providing that opportunity for them to the transition. He didn't say one city or another would be centralized or anything like that. He spoke in very broad terms. Yes.

He, Steve wants to know to say anything about the ashram and the IHQ staff. No he did not. I did not ask him that specific question. Yes.

No. Actually her question is did Maharaji say anything about some of the community directors stepping down and the communities want to do the own management style or whatever. No he did not go into that with me but I got the feeling like he did with Mike and Mike and Lou as he said he really got into depth in conversation with them about management style. Yes

She wants to know if I asked him anything about the cutbacks here, people being transferred all over. Not specifically only that a lot of people were leaving and that things were going through changes and he, that's when he gave me that mystical answer that he really was behind everything and he, everything was just fine. Yes.

He doesn't quite understand what Maharaji said about dust. Yeah, what he said was, dust has a way of going away or what I got, what I understand from it is maybe a lot of people have been sitting in the ashram that really should be someplace else and totally undecided and this is giving them an opportunity to move on to something else. He didn't mean it to make anyone paranoid at least it didn't make me paranoid anyway. Yes.

She wanted to know if Maharaji knows about the contents of the last Martian Chronicle and did he have anything to say about it. Yes, he does know about it. He told me he'd read it. That was the end of that conversation (laughter) he moved on to something else. He did not express to me anything about how he felt about it.

She wants to know if he said anything to me about changes in the executive staff. No he did not talk to me about our management style or management at all. It was all ashram and what's happening. He really just shared satsang with me. (Indecipherable) It'll probably come out of me in the next two or three days. Anyone else. Yes Michael.

Michael wants to know if Maharaji said anything about coming to Denver in the very near future. He did not say that specifically to me but he did say that we would hear from him very soon, that he was going to get very involved and that he was open, and was gonna open up communication between him and premies in such a way that he will have closer contact with everyone. Yes.

He wants to know compared to all the times that I've spoken to him, how did he sound. The answer to that is probably because of my own head, to me he sounded like um see how really, it's a tough question to answer because I haven't really thought of an answer to that um like a human being who has a lot of love and compassion and he handled each and every one of my questions with great patience and even though in a couple of instances he repeated himself because I had asked the question in a different way um when we got through with the conversation he said "Are you sure that's all?" And I says "Well that's all I can think of now Maharaji however I do have this phone number now" (laughter) he says "Yeah, you better not give it to anybody but you can keep it." I said "Thank you" and he said "Call me and I said "Alright." 20:18

He wants to know if Maharaji gave any satsang on dedication. No, he did not. Most of it was really in letting me know and I suppose letting you all know exactly what he said in all of his satsang across the country "Everything is okay, everything is fine, it's happening like it should and he's very pleased with it." And he at no time during the conversation with him did he seem to me unhappy about something or over anxious about one point or another. He said "Everything is just fine." And after that he still answered my questions but almost on the end of every statement that he made or every little bit of satsang he gave me "It's, it's, it's going on beautifully, it's beautiful." Yes.

His question is, did Maharaji say anything about the cutbacks to the mission, does he want, I suppose you're talking about the ashram more than the communities as to whether or not he wants it larger or smaller or what have you and in particular IHQ. Again I have to refer to the answer that I gave a little while ago on that was that everything is fine, a lot of changes going on, a lot of people gonna leave, and there’s as many people want to leave as there are numbers who want to come and it's just beautiful to see that premies are taking on a responsibility for their own lives, they’re making a clear decision about their relationship with him before they make a decision about their lifestyle. He said the lifestyle doesn't matter as long as they stay plugged in and you know in another way he was just telling everybody just choose what you want to do and do it. It's okay. Yes.

Was the question how is Durga Ji? I asked him since I need to go out there when the baby’s born when the baby was going to be born and he said "That was the biggest mystery of all cause nobody knew." So that's all he said about that. Yes.

A guy who wants to know was I having a lot of doubt about what was going on before I talked to Maharaji. No I wasn't, I really wasn't. I should be glad when everything settles down. I'll be glad when we get into doing service again instead of talking about it but as for myself as I told somebody about two weeks ago when they asked me that very question is by the grace of Almighty God I'm experiencing my helicopter view and I like it. I don't know, I'm just not bothered by it. What I’ve enjoyed more than anything is people feeling maybe they should leave and not leave and just come and share that with me and I really enjoy that a lot. I've never given so much satsang against marriage in my life. Okay. The him and Thank you very much.