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The Guru In Houston

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Tve been on the trail of the Goo ever since Reunie Davis announced his conversión to the Divine Light Mission in Berkeley last April. That sawdust highway has run past 300 or 400 "premies" (from the Hindu verb, prem to love), covered 8,000 miles and ended in Mouston two weeks ago - when Marsha and I finally "receiyed knowledge" from a gang of Mahatmas four days after Millennium '73 in the Astrodome. And now, as 1 sit down to compress those 8 months into words, I find there are a heil of a lot more important things to talk about at this point in time than a 15-year-old fat boy from India who wants to start his own tlieocracy in our spiritual back yards. It's been more of a snipe hunt or a wrestling match with a divine marshmallow than a straight investigative reportinggig. And it's been made a lot harder beca use I used to like Rennie Davis - and a lot of other movement drop-outs to divinity. For a while I tried to focus on the bullshit structural facts; like what was the Divine Light Mission in relation to the World Peace Corps or the Divine United Organization? However, since one in the DLM is a spokesperson tor the Guo and his Knowledge, you are likely to hear anything you ever wanted to hear - and a lot more besides. Like, flying saucers are space saints coming back for the millennium. Like, everyone who is not in the Astrodome when Groomraji manifests his godhead is going to be zapped - just like Noah's Ark. Like, cornet Kohoutek is the new star ot" Bethlehem and will appear for the first time to the naked eye right over the Astrodome when the Goo drops lus divine drawers and reveáis the Perfect Tool, or some such shit. It's hard to take fanatics seriously - a mistake we regretted with Hitler. If all this is true, then why would I put so much time and energy into checking it out, as Rennie had asked me to do in April. I mean I went to 75 satsang sessions. I was trying to be fair, so I kept on checking. But more important, I am, and have been for some time, interested in the search for inner peace that gives every revolutionary his or her stable center for selfdirect ed, responsible action to serve the people. That's what led me thxough the '60's. Heil, that's how I met Rennie in the first place. All - or almost all - of usare interested in finding this quiet center of peace. That's why we dig Ginsberg and Snyder and a whole lot more. Through poetry, through music, through dope, through love, through moving in the streets - heil, we've tried, collectively, about a million paths to the source of energy and peace. And most of us have found that this peace is something you can only gain for yourself - it can't be gift wrapped and given to you like a Christmas toy. Anyway, this isn't getting us to Houston - and the big one for the Goo. Coming out of Canada, Marsha and I put in some long days of driving to make it to the Astrodome in time for the big show. We missed most of the first day and were so beat that we just crashed in our van about 10 blocks away. Trying to get into the Astrodome the next morning was a real trip. It seems you had to prove that you are an official person to the Guru's pig force - the World Peace Corps (a beautiful bit of newspeak ala Goo). I had to have a press pass to go in and get a press pass. It was a drag having to explain to this vacant minded gaggle of angelic gurunoids that the underground press doesn't have regular press cards and that I work free lance anyway. I wonder if Norman Mailer has the same hassle? We finally get in. Marsha'sgot her camera, I've got my notepad - we're going to play it straight. The theme for this second day is "Love Is Taking Over". It's a '70s version of a revival tent show - all spit and polish, preofessional and business like. The lead-off speakers are premie publicist Joan Apter and premie poet Charles Cameron. "The Lord lias come to act as the lawyer for the meek and gentle people of the earth so that their contract is fulfilled - so they do inherit the earth. The meek can't get it together by themselves; they can't organize things alone. And, oh, please don't burn incensé on the carpet." Guy next to me says maybe 20,000 showed up yesterday, but there's only 3,000 or so now in sight . Next up is Mahatma Rajeshwaranand Ji. He chants the obligatory opening prayer. Word is that he is a former magistrate from India. Way Iheardit on the Guru grapevine, it was Parlokanand and he was a justice on the Supreme Court of India who renounced all to follow the kid. Rajeshwaranand: "God does not need confession; he knows what you are doing 24 hours a day. If you are sick, you go to a living doctor; you do not go to the idol or picture of a dead doctor. If you are suffering, you go to a living master." Sandy Meadows, formerly of the Denver Weatherman collective and currently managing editor of the Guru's And It Is Divine magazine, says that there are eight million followers (premies) world wide and 30 to 35,000 on the computer list of American premies back in Denver. Other sources claim a 65,000 following in the US and Canada, with about 1 ,500 superpremies who live in ashrams. Mata Ji, the Divine Mother and incarnation of the Earth Mother, is up, speaking in Hindi. Poor translation, can't keep focused, attent ion wanders; then I piek it up. The WPCers, complete with red arm bands, are hovering about reading reporters' notes over their shoulders, monitoring their conversations. I move around to several locations and each time it's the same. If you cali them on it, they smile blandly and mumble something about only "trying to be of service," but it's creepy. Two cups of coffee didn't help. Rennie broke up the flow of events on the Astroturf by holding a press conference in the press eating area. He laid down a lot of outrageous shit about space saints and flying saucers and the glories of the divine city - the fat Goo's next project. Out of brotherly love and the hope he may someday get his mind back from the cleaners, I won't quote Rennie at length. Watching him there, trying to hold his ear-to-ear smile, I could see the tenseness in his jaw, the quiver of his hands. You don't kick a brother when he's down. After Rennie's conference, the press is herded off to the Astroworld Hotel where we get to see acid jet set filmmaker Jacques Sandoz' newest film about the Goo.