Early in the 70s a phenomenon called THE DIVINE LIGHT MISSION was being propagated largely by word of mouth, as the 2nd Coming. It was all based upon the idea that humans are by nature “curious.” And so only enough to whet their appetites was made public, so that they’d be compelled to spend time trying to find out what it was all about.
In 1972 I was at Adelaide university, part of a Social experiment the Labour Party had created when they won the general election. For the first time in the history of Australia, universities were open to anyone who’s grades were good enough, regardless of their socio-economic background. Until then only the well off members of society went to a university, and almost always did courses designed to give them rewarding employment which didn’t require much physical effort on their part. I, however, was one of the people who obtained a placement because of my exam results, and as such was provided with a completely free university education. As a result, I spent most of my time studying “politics” and “American literature.”
One day Professor Mares suggested I visit him at home and so when I followed this up I was introduced to his two daughters, Helen and Sarah. This encounter produced hardly any impression upon me, though.
While I studied “monopoly capital” and poets like Edgar Allen Poe, I found myself hearing stories about Sarah that I always kept in the back of my mind; she was holding meetings, it was said, in a small hall in town for something called The Divine Light Mission while also studying Psychiatry. Just that much information about her seemed to make her seem “odd.”
I found out, or was informed, in 1976 that Sarah was in fact the “leader” of the Divine Light Mission of Adelaide and held a post not unlike recruitment supervisor. She had also graduated in the field of Psychiatry, and to my mind revealed a conflict between her so-called professional life of Psychiatry and her so-called private life as the Leader of the Divine Light Mission. Meanwhile, the D.L.M. as it came to be called was being attacked in virtually all the popular print media, so much so that a “rebuttal” book got published outlining what benefits the central aspect of their “teaching” provided. The whole thrust was about gaining “Knowledge” which could only be “transmitted” by the guru in his physical presence, and was presented in the book as if it were simply, or merely, another form of “meditation” of the Maharishi variety. Knowledge was “good” for you because it quietened down your thoughts and gave you insights into yourself, and provided a link between “you” and the “master” who at that time was going under the “title” Guru Maharaji. International “festivals” were held, with Millenium ‘73 in Texas being the largest with over 300,000 people attending.
If you stop to examine the figures that must have been involved, you see that it’s multimillion dollars, and that’s not even how much it costs to gain “knowledge” or to put yourself in the “correct” mental framework to accept the transmission from the Guru should he believe you’re ready, and some people spent 2 or 3 years just in preparation!
So Sarah was almost running a small corporation and quite large amounts of money were passing through her hands; of course that didn’t mean she was corrupt. No! She was a fanatic certainly, but quite literally obtained no benefit from all her years as “leader.” But I would often in the 80s and more recently ponder upon how many people’s lives did she help ruin by getting them curious about this “bogus” knowledge, which when all was said and done became nothing more than accepting your “place” as a “premie” in direct relationship with the Guru who was to always remain as your superior. Later on in the 90s the Guru used several different “titles” and set-up corporations to handle large sums of “donations.” All the “followers” were simply discarded! And society became much worse off now that “the Guru Disciple” relationship had become a part of its fabric. Slavery, you might say, had been re-introduced again!