Mohani Bai (Mohani Heitel): Mahatma of Prem Rawat (Maharaji)
One of the most important factors in the early success of DLM were the large number of Indian 'mahatmas', supposedly celibate men and women who lived in ashrams and dedicated their lives to practice and recruitment of the "Knowledge".
The idealistic and ignorant young Westerners believed these people to be "liberated", "realised souls", "yogis", "swamis", etc. They were thought to be above normal consciousness and to exist on a higher plane. And certainly the few mahatmas that came to Australia put on a pretty convincing show in this regard.
Prem Rawat preached that only mahatmas were able to "reveal Knowledge" ie Guru Maharaj Ji gave them the connection to His Divine Being that allowed the Grace to initiate people. On a more mundane level, it was a reasonably time-consuming process and many mahatmas were required to indoctrinate and initiate the tens of thousands of Westerners that DLM claimed as members and the millions more he was confident would soon be at His Lotus Feet.
They had to change their beliefs about mahatmas when all but a handful returned to India and remained loyal to Rawat's mother after she disinherited Him for his playboy lifestyle. After all, they couldn't have higher spiritual experience if they accepted Prem Rawat, the Perfect Master and Lord of the Universe as just the naughty little boy who'd got lost in maya of sex, drink, drugs and being a playboy.
Female Mahatmas were call Bais. There were far fewer of these in the West than males. Mohani Bai was an influential female 'mahatma' who served mainly in Germany. It was said, amongst followers of Prem Rawat at the time, that she was a widow, that she left Divine Light Mission at the time Prem Rawat's mother disowned him and removed him as the Perfect Master and that she married a German devotee who had been her chauffeur who also became an apostate. She known as Mohani Heitel and is an M.D. practising as a physican and psychotherapist and has a web site The Mantra Calls You. She remains a spiritual teacher who has released CDs of Indian mantras for meditation, performs concerts and has written a book. Her husband has responded in an email that she does not wish to speak publicly of her time in Divine Light Mission.
She has continued to practise as physician in Germany and record bhajans and mantras which are sold direct mail and on the internet and to perform concerts. The mantra recordings are deathly boring but some of the bhajans are quite enjoyable.
The Mantra Calls You
Mohani Bai gave Satsang which was published in Divine Light Vol 1 No 3, Magazine of Divine Light Mission, December 1971. At that time she believed mantras were useless without the "Knowledge" of Prem Rawat:
"By performing penances, austerities, fastings and other various techniques one can get a worldly and perishable reward, but not realization of Truth. The mystery of scriptures is only known by the practical Knowledge of the Sadguru of the time." She believed "My divine teacher Shri Balyogeshwar Sadguru Deva Shri Sant Ji Maharaj gave me the Knowledge of that life which is the Light of all living beings."
She's learnt a lot since then, at least about "Shri Balyogeshwar Sadguru Deva Shri Sant Ji Maharaj".
In September 1971 the Newsweek Feature Service issued an article which reported that the Guru claimed to have 2,000 Mahatmas. By 1975 he had a handful or two once he was stripped of his title for alcohol and drug abuse, meat-eating and a general "playboy lifestyle".
Article About the Initiator Development Program Golden Age Magazine No 34 November 1976