Excerpt from Soul Rush by Sophia Collier
An Interview with Ellen Saxl re Prem Rawat's April 195 Trip To India

Excerpted from Page 212, Soul Rush by Sophia Collier

One of my assignments for this issue was an interview with an old friend of mine, Ellen Saxl, who had escorted Maharaj Ji on his trip to India. Incidentally, Ellen was one of the first people from an Eastern-oriented spiritual group to be kidnapped by "de-programmer" Ted Patrick, whose usual quarry was Christian cults. However, Ellen was not "de-programmed," and later her court testimony helped to convict Patrick of kidnapping. While my interview with Ellen seemed, at first glance, to be a simple assignment, it brought up some disturbing questions.

Ellen and I had lunch together and then sat down with the Sony to talk. She described the trip in glowing terms: The scenery, the people she met, the beautiful premies, Maharaj Ji's one triumph after another over the Mata mafia. However, as she spoke, her looks and gestures and tone told another story. She fidgeted, seemed uncomfortable.

"Is there something wrong?" I asked her. "Don't you feel well?"

"Turn off the tape recorder," she said urgently, as if I was about to be let in on some of the state secrets. I obliged. "Sophia, the trip was awful. Premies were beaten. Maharaj Ji was in hiding for a week in this crummy hotel. And the lawsuit which Mata brought, I don't know if we won. Raja Ji may have to go to jail if he ever goes back …" Ellen continued unfolding a tale of horror.

"But why are you telling me this other story? Why were you giving me this baloney?"

"Because that's what Maharaj Ji wanted. I asked him, 'When I return, Maharaj Ji, what shall I tell people?' And he said, 'Just talk about the grace.' Sophia, there were good things that happened. The huge second wedding celebration Maharaj Ji held. About five thousand premies were there … good things and bad both."

"But why not give the whole story? Premies can handle it. It's no big deal."

"I'm honor-bound," Ellen said. "I promised Maharaj Ji.

Sometimes we don't always know the reasons for things he tells us to do, but from my experience, if I just do them, I get good results."

"All right then, I'll turn the tape recorder back on and you tell the story however you like. I can't compel you otherwise."

And so Ellen continued weaving a bright tale, rich with cultural references and local color. She remembered so many beautiful things-the filigree on a certain building, the oxcarts and peasants in a certain town-but this story did not move me, now that I knew the other side.

When Ellen left, I sat alone. I wondered why Maharaj Ji did not want the truth known. Already AP, the wire service, had carried parts of what he wished to suppress. Unlike Ellen, I did feel the need to understand the reasoning behind an action before I took it. I could not see any good reason for Maharaj Ji's request "only to talk about the grace."

Ellen Saxl was a midwife who Rawat requested attend the birth of his first child.