The Heart of the Matter
April 18, 2020
My Sister, Prem Rawat, and Me


I first heard about Prem Rawat when I was 23 and he was 13. At that time, he was known as "Maharaji" and I was known as "Ditty." Though he was barely a teen, I found him to be extraordinarily wise, well beyond his years. Actually, I found him to be way more than wise, because he wasn't just talking about the eternal verities of life, he was sparking a palpable experience of peace, love, and joy.

And so, at 24, I decided to follow up on his offer and "receive Knowledge" -- his phrase for a kind of inner awakening. It was, for me, the most extraordinary day of my life.

Newly supercharged and supremely confident I had just discovered the secret of life, I soon called my sister and explained why it would be a good idea for her to do the same. It went over like a lead balloon. Make that two lead balloons. Though both of us had grown up in the same house, our bedrooms next to each other, we were now, it seemed, living on different planets -- her perception of me alternating between well-meaning flake, unemployed hippie, and baby boomer going through yet another phase.

Fifteen years passed.

She had three children. I had none. She lived in the suburbs. I lived in the woods. She watched TV. I watched the moon. Finding it painful for my grand declarations about the path I was on to fall on deaf ears, I stopped talking about Prem Rawat in my sister's company. But then, in 1988, upon hearing that he was going to be speaking at Lincoln Center, just 20 miles from her home -- I couldn't resist and invited her to come.

"What the hell?" I thought to myself. "The worst thing that can happen is she says NO." But she didn't. She said YES and agreed to meet me in the lobby of Avery Fisher Hall on the appointed day.

I was thrilled.

Settling into our seats as the hall filled up, my sister and I held hands, agreeing, once again, just how crazy our parents were. And then... the lights dimmed... Prem walked out on stage... sat down... adjusted his mic... and began.

Though I'd heard him speak at least 100 times before, he seemed to be in rare form that night, starting with a joke or two, a light-hearted story, and some funny remarks about New York. The audience loved it. And so did my sister. So much so, in fact, that two minutes into his talk she turned to me and spoke eight words I will never forget, "You never told me how funny he was."

This was my sister's first real introduction to Prem Rawat, everything I had mentioned before that moment merely a weird preamble. THIS was her initiation, laughing her tushie off in the third row of Avery Fisher Hall. Somehow, the man she once assumed she couldn't relate to was getting her to laugh. And laugh she did -- out and out belly laughs, tears coming to her eyes. I just sat there, stunned, amazed at how, in just a few minutes, the man she once was certain was only for her wacky, younger brother had sparked such a delightful opening in her.

Over the next 20 years, Phyllis accompanied me to another five Prem Rawat events. After the fifth, she asked me if there were any videos of him that she could watch. I sent her the links. She googled and followed suit, telling me, now and again, how much she was enjoying what he had to say. A year later, she asked if there was any way that she could receive Knowledge. I sent her the info and six months later she did. In her own home.

When she passed away a few years later, I had a chance to sit by her bedside just before the end, for eight long days, a small picture of Prem Rawat on her bedside table. I rubbed her feet. We talked. We cried. We laughed. She was ready when it was time to go.
Prem's new series of Lockdown talks

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at April 18, 2020 05:50 PM



Posted by: janice [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 24, 2017 06:22 PM

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