Over the past 20 or so years, a number of families have brought up children in an atmosphere where Maharaji and Knowledge are a part of everyday life. As these children now become young adults, some have chosen to remain in touch with Maharaji. We asked four who have recently received Knowledge to describe their experiences. Their parents told us their side of the story, too.
One thing stood out, the kids are all glad that their parents have Knowledge. Many of them remember traveling to see Maharaji at international events from a very young age. The parents say they rarely spoke to their children about Knowledge, but found they became gradually more curious as they grew up.
David McBride, 22, was brought up in East Kilbride, Scotland, by parents who had both received Knowledge. His father is a gardener and his mother works for the charity Women's Aid. David now lives in London where he has worked for some time as a craftsman, making mirrors.
"Growing up around my parents and others like them was good fun. There was an endless supply of loving, cuddly-type people who would play with me and take care of me. I remember every now and then we would go on holiday to see a man called Maharaji.
"Once I started school my life was the same as anyone else except I had experienced something in my little life which I would always remember. I have lots of different memories of Maharaji - as a small child, when I would just look and wonder; then when I was a little older, noticing the sound of his voice; then again as a teenager, still looking and wondering, but trying to listen."
A similar experience was recounted by Silas Hansen, 21. He lives in Copenhagen, Denmark, and works as a cartoonist for Artefact, a small company which supplies artwork for Walt Disney. "Since my early childhood I have been inspired by Maharaji and what takes place around him. My parents didn't talk to me that much about it. I had many ideas about what 'this Knowledge thing' was. They have always said that I should form my own impressions."
Mitesh Desai, 20, was brought up in an Indian community in Birmingham, England. His parents, Ramesh and Urmilaben, own a newsagent shop. "I went with my parents to meetings where people would share their experiences of Knowledge. I usually would play with the other children in a separate room and often got into fights. I still have friends of my parents come up to me and tell me what a horror I was as a little boy. They are quite shocked to discover that I have received Knowledge."
Artist Bhakti Baxter, 18, was brought up in Miami, Florida, at a time when Maharaji spent a lot of time nearby. Maria Baxter, his Argentinian mother, says: "Bhakti just saw, felt and listened to what we were experiencing especially at the time when living in Miami and we used to see him every so often, even in the street. It was something normal - a part of our life."
All the parents we spoke to were surprised and even cautious when their teenage children began to express an interest in watching videos of Maharaji and subsequently in receiving Knowledge.
"When he was 18, one morning he asked me if he could come to a video event," recalls Elaine Dunn, David McBride's mother. "My first reaction was to ask him why. I wondered what new scheme he had up his sleeve. He told me that when I went to bed at night he had been watching the videos of Maharaji and he was interested in hearing more. As I watched him take an interest in Knowledge, I recognised how individual this gift is and that his thirst is his thirst and nothing to do with me."
In 1993, Mitesh Desai asked Maharaji for Knowledge and was told he should wait. He realises it was the right thing to do. He went on to win an award for outstanding academic achievement, and now studies medicine and European languages at Manchester School of Medicine.
After receiving Knowledge, the young people tended to have similar reactions. David McBride says: "I am grateful my mum has stayed in touch with Knowledge ."
The so-called generation gap has a different twist in this context. Says parent Claus Poulsen: "Now that Silas has Knowledge, I do not see in him the dramatic changes that happened for me. I was in the pits, sick of the world. My son was obviously in another place. Maharaji gave me back hope and the joy I thought I had lost forever. And in some way that is now reflected in my son."
24 Connect 1998