Derek Harper DLM HonchoDerek Harper

Derek Harper was an important, though controversial, figure in Divine Light Mission in Australia in the 1970s. He had an individual style of recruitment as can be seen from quotes from a letter of his to the Australian newspaper "the Digger":

… anyone that has received this incredible and priceless Knowledge and is using it (there's no use holding a cap of acid in your hand), is experiencing what can only be described as euphoric bliss. … Personally, I've smoked a lot of dope and DMT, eaten a lot of acid and mushrooms and smoked tobacco and drunk alcohol AND would like to say that this Knowledge is undoubtedly the big one that we've all been looking for but haven't found. In short, you've tried alcohol, dope, acid and meditation, and now it is time to try Guru Maharaj Ji's Sacred Knowledge.

This was not just a one-off letter that might appeal to the newspaper's readers. As I was and am a bourgeois straight guy I was bored shitless by Harper's satsangs ie his continual boasting about his drug induced craziness and how this propelled his success in the advertising business too often to forget. Rather than an air of blissful euphoria he emitted an air of cynical superiority which mimicked the usual premie pose of "condescending goodwill to the skeptics" without the goodwill.

His egomania allowed him to do things more circumspect or less self-confident premies couldn't. When he became the chief honcho of DLM in Australia

What I'm saying here isn't new. Especially over the last few weeks, the cry had been sounded throughout Australia: Derek to the south and Julie to the north have informed us of the dangers of "pseudo-Knowledge". For those who haven't heard, pseudo-Knowledge is a term for doing all the external activities associated with the practice of real Knowledge - going to satsang, working for Divine Light Mission, sitting down for an hour morning and night, speaking softly (or loudly, depending on your concept), eating vegetarian - without really meditating. The thesis on which this alarm has been sounded runs thus: Guru Maharaj Ji says, and certain premies experience, that through the practice of (real) Knowledge, one's life becomes balanced, fulfilled, exciting and full of love. In other words, mind doesn't effect you, and the Knowledge does. However, many young Australians who have supposedly been practising Knowledge for two or three or four years, still find their lives going violently up and down, still experience paranoia, still have trouble giving satsang, still find it hard to get on with this person or that person. So something, it has been surmised, is wrong: either Maharaj Ji's got his wires crossed and Knowledge isn't what he says it is, or else we're not practising it properly.

- Golden Age

Ashram?: Golden Age No. 33 (October 1976)

David Lovejoy Excerpts from a tape recorded by English national director David Lovejoy, summarising a meeting held in Leicester during Guru Maharaj Ji's visit there, with members of DLM in Britain, Bob Mishler and Jos Lammers.

Well, I guess the largest part of the time was taken up with the question of the ashram. We've had a generation of ashram premies, some of whom have been in the ashram for five years now, and in many cases their development seems to have gone contrary to what we would like to see in the development of ashram premies-counter to what Maharaj Ji has expressed that he would like to see in the development of responsibility and maturity as we practise Knowledge for a long period of time. It just seems that the very controlled environment of the ashram, by reducing choice and reducing initiative, has in fact had the opposite effect on many premies - that they've not increased in maturity and they've not increased in responsibility.