DECA - A Premie's Story

I didn't "leave" Miami. I didn't "leave" DECA either. I was following orders. After about a year of continuous working, all too often 24/7 with only small breaks for sleep, I literally collapsed in physical exhaustion. I was unable to physically go on (and believe me I felt tremendous guilt about that). I was told by those in charge of the project to go stay at the Broadripple Ashram to rest indefinitely. What else could I do? I was by then a walking zombie struggling to stand.

I slept for two weeks straight at least. The premies at DECA with whom I had been working in the Design Room were very concerned about me -- they asked about me through my roommate who also worked in the Design Room, whose name I won't post. I would open my eyes when she came into our room and remember that everything around me was a blur. I was so sick from exhaustion and hypoglycemia I couldn't get out of bed. My meals were brought to my stinky, dank, insect-infested room at the Broadripple (former whorehouse) ashram, but I couldn't eat much. The only thing I remember being able to do was get myself to the bathroom but I was barely able to walk. I remember being able to take a shower once in a while but I was very weak and physically shakey.

When I wasn't fully asleep I meditated -- I was able to pull myself up to a sitting position in bed, propped up with pillows, in order to meditate and after about two or three weeks or so I was able to walk around a bit and then go downstairs to the the main hotel space to get my own meals. I had developed migraine headaches (something I'd never had before Miami) and the premie doctor gave me some pink-colored pills that he said were anti-depressants and that he had read in an article that they helped migraines. He wasn't treating me for depression because I had been a blissed out gopi -- I had no signs of depression while I was in Miami. I remember when my buddies from DECA saw me downstairs, they all expressed lots of love and concern. We loved each other because we had been a close-knit group in that Design Room -- we also had a lot of fun together -- lots of joking and a feeling of closeness had developed between us during that year..

Was I ever sent to a hospital or non-premie doctor? No. Did anyone ever check on me except to bring me meals? No. When I was told that they had to replace me at DECA I remember feeling so hurt. The honchos told me they couldn't wait for me to recover. I didn't allow myself to feel much emotional pain over it -- I swallowed the feeling of rejection and guilt, and did formal meditation. Being a fully indoctrinated ashram premie, it was easy to just swallow all my pain and put myself into the trance-states that M's meditation works so well in doing -- producing trance-states.

After I regained my strength enough to "do service" again, I was assigned to the DLM headquarters on Alton Road in Miami Beach where I worked for a few months on the premie divorces with an attorney for DLM. That was the divorce mill I've mentioned before. Fresh and healthy bodies were needed at the DECA project -- so married premies were being offered DECA jobs if they were willing to get divorced (some had kids) and DLM facilitated those divorces right out of the cult headquarters. It was much cheaper to have ashram premies at the "project" rather than married folks with children. But, I knew my time there was short and that I would be getting transferred to an ashram somewhere else where I would be back to "normal" premie community life. Yet the cult folks kept me at DLM Hdqtrs. for a while to process divorces.

In the interim, I was shuffled from hotel to hotel because the Broadripple was reserved for those premies who were either DLM honchos, DECA ashram premies, and Initiators. I can't remember how many hotels I lived in (I lost count) but I was moved around a lot in Miami Beach.

By and by, I was told by the premies in power at DLM and the Broadripple that I was being transferred to the Gainesville, Flordia ashram. I felt rejected, thrown away and unworthy -- but I never expressed those feelings verbally to anyone. The only things I said were expressions of missing Maharaji terribly. When the time came for me to go up to Gainesville, I packed my belongings and waited for the sisters from the Gainesville ashram to pick me up. I wasn't given more than a few day's notice. I was still very weak and I believed then that because I had made a lifetime ashram commitment to Maharaji by joing the ashram, that I had to surrender to whatever was asked of me and even though I was very, very sad, I willingly went to Gainesville.

When the Gainesville ashram sisters arrived to take me north they came in a small white compact car with three sisters -- like a small Toyota compact car. I could barely breathe through the six hour drive because the car was packed with all my belongings and four women. And the car they picked me up in had no air conditioning. It was very hot out.

I was very sad to say the least. I felt that I had failed Maharaji by getting sick. But, being the brainwashed premie that I was at the time I went willingly. It didn't cross my mind then that I had any choices in my life. They transferred me and I went. I was told I was being sent to rest in Gainesville, but because I had some income earning power/experience, after a couple of months I was ordered to get a job. I put up some resistence to the CC because I had been told I would be resting, but, I got a well-paid job the first day I tried. I was also made the Assistant Community Coordinator for the Gaineville Community which consisted of at least 200-250 premies in 1980. During that time I organized a regional weekend retreat for over 800 premies from the north-central Florida area and north of that. The CC at the time was having an affair with one of the ashram sisters so I did most of his work -- and all of the work organizing any retreats.

I'll say this much: Because I had been around M for so long I missed him terribly. I felt abandoned by him, but I still spent my time doing satsang, service, and a lot of meditation. But I spent a great deal of time blaming myself for being physically weak. I mediated a lot -- usually five hours per day minimum.

When I felt particularly lonely for Maharaji I would call DECA and talk one of my friends there and I'd ask her what was happening at the project. It was at that point that I realized how dispensible premies were to Maharaji -- it wasn't a conscious thought then -- but I now know that what I felt then was that I had been outright rejected by Maharaji personally. I also realized more how secret that DECA project was and that now I was an outsider. Why do I say this? Because once I was no longer a part of that project, I was also no longer trusted to keep confidences. When I asked my friend about M, she'd hedge and say something like "Well, Cindy, I can't say." So I just stopped calling. I cried a lot during the first few months in Gainesville -- mostly because I missed M so much and felt I had failed him. In other words, it was all my fault for getting sick and not being able to continue at the DECA project.

All I wanted was to hear stories about what Maharaji was doing and saying.

Therefore, as a committed ashram premie at the time, I wasn't making any choices about my life. I did what I was told to do.

Looking back at it all now, I see that because of my time at DECA, the secrecy, the illegality of the inner workings of that B707 project and associated companies and especially because I was an ashram premie, every aspect of my life had come into complete control of the most powerful inner circle cult premies of Prem Rawat.

That's how I came to leave Miami. And I'm not the only DECA premie who lost their physical health due to exhaustion during that all-important project to get Maharaji his first jet aircraft. Many others suffered worse than what I did. But that a whole different story.

Am I angry now? No. I'm simply telling the truth.

Cynthia J. Gracie