Maharaji Essay, Research Paper
“”Know thyself” has echoed through the ages. This simple statement has been revised and updated, but has never lost its charm or intrigue. We all, in our own ways, want to better ourselves, be it in our career, our family, our friends, our skills whatever our chosen endeavor may be. So we should, and to this end many avenues are available to us. However, one cannot forget one s self. Knowledge of the self is important to some, indeed, paramount. Knowledge of the self begins with the self. Your universe resides within you, waiting to be discovered. What does it take? It takes a sincere desire, an earnest thirst. Understanding is a wonderful surprise. That which didn’t make sense all of a sudden does. My efforts have always been to help people understand and feel the feeling within. People through the years have tried to place me in a mold, and from the very early years I have not been able to oblige them. When I was very young, people were looking for the “old silver-haired Guru with flowing white robes.” I was only eight. When people were flocking to India for their search, I was in the West. When people were looking for sophisticated discourses, I spoke of simple things. When people wanted nirvana, I said, “You need peace.” When people said, “Tell us of the scriptures,” I said, “Look within you.” When people asked, “What is your qualification?” I said, “Judge me by what I offer.” To this day, some people see me the way they want to. After all, I guess it is rather inconvenient to see things as they really are. I have evolved, but my message stays the same. Externally, I have changed but within me, something stays the same.”
Maharaji was born sometime in 1958, Although back then he was known as Prem Pal Rawat. He along with his father, mother, stepmother, three brothers, and half sister lived together in the neighborhood of Dehra Dun, India. Maharaji s father was a master and when he died he surprisingly requested that his successor be not his wife, not even his eldest son, but his youngest son Maharaji. Although he was only eight years old at the time Maharaji gladly accepted “the challenge and the grace of continuing to disseminate knowledge.”
When he was young Maharaji loved to awaken the staff of this household by reminding them to practice the techniques of knowledge taught by his father. Because he learned the techniques so early in his life it was not hard for him to begin teaching them himself, at first only in India, then in the west, and now all over the world. It was in 1971 that Maharaji first left India to come to the west. He was only 13 years old- “enthusiastic, exhausted, fascinated- I was a young boy with an old message” It was probably because of his age that he did not gain popularity right away. In fact when he spoke many people claimed that it was a tape recorder. This did not slow maharaji down though. He continued to speak and soon he had millions of followers s worldwide. People claimed he was the greatest incarnation of god that ever walked the face of the earth. Although the number of followers are now only a few hundred thousand Maharaji s objective and message have stayed the same.
Maharaji s objective is to spread The Knowledge to all, and The Knowledge is a four step meditation that he believes allows people to look inside themselves discovering, understanding, and feeling the universe that resides within. Maharaji reveals the Knowledge during special knowledge sessions. At times it can be very difficult to be one of those accepted to attend- it can take up eight months. Once you are at a session “you will be ushered into a nice hall, its size depending on the attendance. People needing translation will receive headsets. There is a stage for Maharaji, not too high, so that everybody can see him. You will find a very comfortable armchair waiting for you, with plenty of space around it. The only people there will be Charnanand(one of Maharaji s disciples), Maharaji and some other guys you don’t know yet (instructors), maybe a technician.
It’s a very quiet environment, no external noise, some very nice new-age style music playing. You will sit in your armchair and Maharaji will come and speak. He will welcome you with a few words, make you fill good. Then he will ask you if you can keep these three vows: don’t reveal the techniques, give Knowledge a fair chance, and keep in touch. He will say briefly what is going to happen. You will be explained the techniques, one by one, and then practice them.
The four techniques that will be explained are ways to focus and go inside, to experience what is already going on inside. (What Maharaji calls the ‘experience of life’). That means that he will show the first technique and you will practice it, then the second and you’ll practice it, etc. Each one of these four techniques are meant to be practiced one after the other, in the same order as they are shown.
First Meditation Technique:
He will use a camera and video screen to show it so that everybody can see it well (unless you are in a session with just a few people). You will first watch what he shows on himself, then you will practice yourself.
You first close your eyes. (They have to remain closed during the practice of all four techniques.) Your focus has to stay inside. Starting on the external edges of your eyes and using your thumb and your middle finger, following the rim of the eyelids, you gently and slowly bring your fingers to the median corner of your eyes, in contact with your eyelids. Then you rest them on that spot, these two fingers in touch with your eyelids and the bone of your nose.
You gently rest your index where it is, on a spot in the middle of your forehead, above the top of the nose. There’s no need to press. Just keep your fingers steady so that your eyeballs don’t move. You can rest your arm (elbow) on the arm of your armchair, on your chest or on a cushion. If you are right handed, use your right hand, if you are left handed, use your left hand. Don’t switch hands if you get tired. If you get tired, put down your hand, relax, and then start again. The best thing is to find a good position where you can relax, and use a cushion to support your arm so that you don’t have to make any effort creating tensions. Relax and focus inside. Maharaji might repeat that explanation, and let people try on them. Then practice this first technique for 15 minutes.
Second Meditation Technique:
You are going to use your right thumb to close your right ear, and your left thumb to close your left ear. Use the soft part (fleshy, where your fingerprints are) of the last phalanx of your thumbs (don’t stick them into the ears), just gently close the opening of your ears, without pushing. Keep the trigus (small cartilage at the entrance of the ear duct) out. Rest the other four fingers on your forehead and your head. Let your focus go inside. Keep your eyes closed. You can rest your arms on an armchair, or your chest, or on a cushion. If you get tired, put your hands down, relax, and start again.
Third Meditation Technique:
Keep your eyes closed. Be aware of your breath going in, and your breath going out. Breathe normally. Follow what you feel, and let your focus go inside.
Fourth Meditation Technique:
Keep your eyes closed. Roll back the tip of your tongue against the palate. Gently rest your tongue wherever it goes, without pushing. Follow what you feel, and let your focus go inside.
You might wonder what happens whilst you practice the techniques. As your eyes are closed, you won’t see any of it, but I can reveal it to you: During the first and the second techniques, some instructors and/or mahatmas will be going around quietly, checking if you’re practicing them exactly the way Maharaji just showed them. If you don’t, they will gently come and show you how to do them right.
During the third and fourth, they are supposed to stay in a corner and just watch in case something weird happens. (You keep practicing the second, or you stand up and want to go to the toilet, fall asleep, anything that’s not supposed to happen.) Maharaji might come and watch what happens for a while. He sometimes walks in the aisles. Most of the time he stays in a private room backstage, by himself or having a chat with an organizer, instructor or friend.
After you have finished practicing the four techniques, he will re-explain them again, and say a few words; not to be concerned by time, to find a conducive environment, not expect anything special, that the main thing is to go inside.
Then there will be a 20 minutes pause. Then Maharaji is going to explain again each technique. He will also give some general advice: you have to sit by yourself (nobody is going to disturb you) in a comfortable position. Don’t be tired, otherwise you may fall asleep. Find the best time of the day! You can use an armchair, cushions, sit on your bed, or even lie down, as long as you don’t intend to sleep. You have to be able to feel comfortable and to relax.”
Maharaji projects an image of a master in his speeches and on-stage behavior. However, the real man is very different from the master he tries to portray. I believe that Maharaji s medatation techniques are good techniques. I also believe that what he is teaching is true, and that everyone should have a chance to get in touch with and learn about their own life source. What I do not believe in is the way Maharaji is going about teaching. On more than one occasion Maharaji has declared that he is the reincarnation of god. He has also declared that his organization is non-profit and that he will establish peace in this world. The truth is that Maharaji has millions of dollars, which he acquired while on his mission. He lives in an estate that a local Realtor estimated was worth a minimum of $15,000,000. He also has a yacht valued at around $3,000,000 and a jet worth some $25,000,000. “Maharaji says he doesn t charge for showing people the meditation techniques, but there is a fairly obvious undercurrent that donations are needed to spread the message and save the planet. Many people who followed him with any conviction ended up giving him all their savings and possessions.”
Maharaji was once and excited little boy who only wanted to share his father s knowledge with the world. His message was one of love and well being. Unfortunately somewhere along the way he lost his way and became obsessed with having it all. Hopefully soon he too will look inside himself and realize that although his teachings are real he is not.