This interview is a figment of imagination. It never actually took place. But since Maharaji has refused any press interviews for the last 15 years, this imaginary transcript includes some of the questions we really would like to ask him. Maharaji's answers are based on our knowledge of how he would probably react.
Until Maharaji finds the courage to actually subject himself to questions such as these, one can only be left to wonder if he has anything to hide from the scrutiny of the press. If he were to agree to an interview, would be able to provide any better answers for himself than the ones we have been forced to provide for him above?
Today Show host: Maharaji, how are you?
Maharaji: Fine. Feeling great!
TS: Good, hey listen, it's good to see you. But then you've been on the show before, haven't you? I was going through our archives and see that you were with us back before that big event of yours at the Houston Astrodome, some 23 years ago! God, that's some time back.
M: Yes, well..
TS: Hey what was that about anyway? Is it true that your brother was telling people that the comet Kahoutek was in the air at that time to glorify the golden age you were going to inaugurate then? In fact, wasn't he going around telling people that even the aliens were going to come to "Your Holy Lotus Feet" there? I mean, I'm reading this stuff and, well, it's pretty fantastic..
M: Yes, well, you know, that was a funny thing. You know, it's kind of unfortunate, maybe he was saying those kinds of things, you know, I don't know, you know, I mean, I haven't spoken to him for many, many years now.
TS: Well, didn't he in fact break away from you and claim that HE was the Perfect Master? Didn't you guys have to go to court in India to fight over your church and all its assets?
M: No, no, we..I mean I, I never had a church.
TS: Well, wasn't there a court case.
M: Oh yes, there was, but you see that was a long time ago. What I'd like to talk about today is this beautiful life that we have.
TS: Yes well what is a Perfect Master anyway? I mean that is what you call yourself isn't it, a "Perfect Master"? What is that?
M: Well, yes, you know I don't like to dwell on the words so much. My whole point is that there is something and I can show it to you and it's real. There really is this experience.
TS: Maharaji I'm looking at this book that your group put out back in 1973. The book is called "Who is Guru Maharaj Ji?". It says some pretty startling things on the cover. For one thing it says that you are the greatest incarnation of God to ever exist.
M: Let me see that. What are you talking about?
TS: Right here. See?
M: Well, it says that some PEOPLE say that. It doesn't say that I say that.
TS: No, I understand that, but then the book claims to be the 'authorized' -- no here it is, the 'authentic authorized story of the 15-year old guru whose message of peace has changed millions of lives!"
M: Well, that's my point. There IS a peace and it has changed the lives of so many who have experienced it.
TS: No, but that's not what I'm asking you about. I'm asking you about this God stuff. Maharaji, I'm going to ask you right here, yes or no, are you God?
M: Well, you see, [Here the guru thinks fast. What's he gonna say? Does he distance himself from all those 'stupid' followers who once called him God? Or does he go with the 'maybe I'm God but I ain't necessarily saying anything about it trip'?] You know, people see in me a lot of different things. The point is to experience the peace inside. If you want to know God, you can't just talk about him.
TS: No, but Maharaji that's exactly what you were doing in some of your old speeches. Like here, for example, on page 214 of this book, quoting from a public address you gave in South Africa, April 29, 1972. You say "They expect God Himself to come, they pray for it, they ask for it, they announce about it, but when He comes they fail to recognize Him." This goes on and on Maharaji. I mean you're the one who keeps talking about God here and, more than that, it sure sounds like you're talking about yourself here!
M: Why do you say that?
TS: Well, let me ask you. Aren't you talking about yourself?
M: You see, you're going back a very long time. Do you know how old I was when that book came out?
TS: It says right here you were 15.
M: Yes, exactly. That was a long time ago.
TS: No, but what I'm asking you is...listen, a lot of people thought you were God. It says right here - 6 million claimed you were the greatest incarnation of God to ever walk the planet. Are you saying that they were wrong?
M: I'm saying I never wanted to start a religion..
TS: No, but you're warning people not to fail to see God in a human body when he comes. I mean, if you weren't talking about yourself, who were you talking about?
M: You see, people have all these concepts..
TS: Will you please answer my question? I'm trying to understand, did you claim that you were God? Yes or no?
TS: Well then why do you warn people to not overlook God when he comes in a human form? Who ARE you talking about there if not yourself?
M: Look, I don't mean to be impolite but the thing is I have a very simple message. Today, not 26 years ago, but today. And today, I have something to offer people.
TS: So you're not going to answer my question. Okay, well let's move on. But not far. You also promised, it says right here on the back of the book that you 'promise' to 'establish peace in the world'. Now, what was that all about?
M: Now that's very easy. I have a thing, something inside, something to show people that, when they experience it, they really have peace.
TS: Okay, but you're saying here that you're going to bring peace to the world. To me that means, well I guess it sounds a bit like heaven on earth. No war, everyone happy, really I don't even know what it would be like. But here you are promising it.
M: You see, everyone has their concepts of this and that, of what peace would be like, but to have peace you have to have peace inside.
TS: But when you say that you promise to bring peace to the world, you have to admit that sounds like you're going to stop war and suffering, all of that,doesn't it?
M: Well yes that would be beautiful. Do you think the creator wants us to suffer and fight, everyone walking around with bullet guns...
TS: Here in the questions section of the book someone asks you "Can we save everyone in this world?"
M: Yes, I remember that.
TS: And you reply, "yes, we can."
M: Yes, you see, that's my point. If everyone experienced this peace inside, where it really lies..
TS: But then they ask you, and this is the important part for me, the part that really concerns me, please listen closely, they ask: "Will it be in this lifetime Guru Maharaj Ji, in the next twenty years maybe, or will it be in a thousand years?" Do you recall that question?
M: Yes, why?
TS: Well, you say, check this out: "No, no, no, no, no, very soon, very soon. All that is needed is for some idea of peace to get into the leaders of the world, and there will be peace. Nothing more."Do you remember all that?
M: Yes, but..
TS: So, really Maharaji, really, let's be frank. You haven't exactly delivered on your promise now have you?
M: Well, it depends on how you look at things.
TS: What do you mean by that? Look, you said certain things, and a lot of people believed that you were essentially the saviour for the world. Do you still claim to be, how did the book put it "the brightest event in the history of the planet"?
M: Look, for one thing, I never said that. Someone else did. And you keep talking about the past. That's not what I want to talk about. I'm here with a very simple message and it's a message of truth. And that's all I want to talk about.
TS: But Maharaji the problem is that there are a lot of people who think that you're just another Eastern guru who came to the West, exploited a lot of people with some very outrageous claims, none of which you could or did deliver on, and ...well, what do you say to those people? What do you say to the people who say, 'okay Maharaji, 25 years later, what progress have you made in saving the world?'. What do you say to them?
M: I say, the mind is a very tricky place. If you want to experience an orange you're going to have to taste it directly. You know, you can talk, 'orange, orange, orange' all you want, but that's not going to give you the taste, the sensation, of eating that special fruit. You see?
TS: Frankly, Maharaji, what I see is that you seem to be avoiding my questions. Don't you think you owe SOME sort of progress report on this promise you once made?
M: Well, like I say, peace is a very individual thing. I don't know what else to tell you.
TS: No, I'm asking you one very simple question: don't you think you owe some kind of accounting to the people who listened to you back 25 years ago?
M: For what?
TS: "For what?"? For telling them that you were going to bring peace to the world in short order, for telling them you were God, for all the things we've been talking about?
M: Well, I was very young then.
TS: So, what's your point?
M: Well, anyone can make mistakes. We all do.
TS: Okay, but that's what I'm interested in. Are you the kind of person who can be so extremely wrong about such a big thing as whether or not you are the saviour?
M: Well, again I come back to the uselessness of trying to understand all this with your mind.
TS: And again, I have to be honest. It looks like you're just not answering my questions. And we've run out of time. So, Maharaji, thank you, I guess, and I take it if people are more interest in your message of peace they can find you somewhere?
M: Yes, well, yes they can.