Some of these business concerns go on to become independent of the
gurus or groups from which they originated.
Feel free to eat where you wish.
However, if you feel concerned about which businesses you patronize, you have the right to do background research.
Another search strategy is to use search terms such as "harassment" and "labor violation"
Loving Hut Restaurants -- Master Ching Mai
Detailed discussion of Ching Mai on Cult Education here
"Guru Maharaji" Prem Rawat, Divine Life Mission
The Birth of the Natural Foods Movement
Forty years ago this week, the Guru Maharaj Ji gave healthy eating an inadvertent kick-start.
By November 5, 2013
Over the years, the Houston Astrodome has hosted some of the stranger events on the planet: Evel Knievel motorcycle jumps, WrestleMania spectaculars, Elvis concerts, and the infamous 1973 "Battle of the Sexes" tennis exhibition between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs, for which she was conveyed to the court in a chair carried by four shirtless men, and he, in a rickshaw pulled by fashion models. Most of these spectacles have been condemned to history's dustbin, with few reminders other than a Wikipedia entry and an occasional cable TV retrospective.
But 40 years ago this week, the Astrodome played host to a bizarre gathering called Millennium '73, which, although largely forgotten itself, set in motion a series of events that helped lead to the creation of the modern natural foods industry. It's well worth a look back.
To understand what happened at the Astrodome between November 8th and 10th, 1973, and what didn't, it's helpful to go back even further, to the '60s, that decade of black-and-white TV and Day-Glo tie-dye, space shots and acid trips, love and Haight, the two-finger peace sign and the one-finger salute. During that confusing, belligerent, and provocative era, the search for meaning often turned eastward. Many Americans became fascinated with yoga, vegetarianism, transcendental meditation, mysticism, and other eastern exports. Ravi Shankar's sitar music became popular, and the Hare Krishna movement began in New York. Life magazine even declared 1967 "the year of the guru" after Maharishi Mahesh Yogi came to the United Kingdom and led a weekend of "spiritual regeneration." (You may recall his students included the Beatles.)
And in the midst of it all came a pudgy teenager from India, the Guru Maharaj Ji, whose meditative teachings and banal messages of peace found resonance with millions of people around the world. Throughout the late '60s and early '70s, the young guru rode an incredible wave of popularity, building up to a three-day gathering he promised would be "the most holy and significant event in human history"—Millennium '73, in the Astrodome.
Prem Pal Singh Rawat was born in India in 1958, son of a revered spiritual leader. When his father died in 1966, the young boy immediately assumed the title of Satguru, "the true revealer of light and spiritual master of the divine light mission," and became known as the Guru Maharaj Ji. He told the mourners, "Dear children of God, why are you weeping? The perfect master is among you. Recognize him. Obey him and adore him."
One of the people drawn to the Guru Maharaj Ji was Mark Retzloff, a brilliant and incisive young graduate of the University of Michigan. While in Ann Arbor, Retzloff had cofounded one of the first serious natural foods companies in the country, Eden Foods, and through his work there had become a passionate advocate for clean farming techniques. "We didn't really know what organic was," said Retzloff, "but we knew it was without pesticides and chemicals." Part retail store, part distributor and manufacturer, Eden began to develop into a real business. But, searching for more meaning in his life, Retzloff learned about the Guru and the DLM, gave up his worldly possessions—including his ownership stake in Eden—and moved into the ashram in Denver, where he soon put his food sourcing and operational skills to work in building up the Rainbow Groceries.
It wasn't easy. Though the Guru himself showed no particular inclination toward natural and organic foods, expressing instead a preference for Hawaiian Punch and Baskin-Robbins ice cream, his acolytes, known as "Premies," did. But back in those days, long before the founding of Mrs. Gooch's, Bread & Circus, and Whole Foods, when the cheery consumerism of ads for Hamburger Helper and Fruity Pebbles obscured the artificiality of their ingredients, and still years before the passage of the Organic Foods Production Act, natural products were hard to find. Retzloff and his team stocked the Rainbow Groceries with brown rice and beans purchased from the Seventh Day Adventists. They drove to New Mexico to buy barrels of honey, and traveled to the Western Slope of the Rockies where a few old hippie farmers were growing organic apples. A little bit here, a little bit there.
Mark Retzloff remained with the DLM for a little while longer, building Rainbow Grocery into a network of seven or eight stores. Then, as tax laws forced the movement to divest itself of what were perhaps its only profitable assets, he and Hassan purchased the store at York & Colfax in Denver. But they eventually took their passion for natural foods, and the expertise in sourcing and retailing they had gained at Rainbow, to new heights. They would go on to create Pearl Street Market in Boulder, and then Alfalfa's, which became one of the leading natural foods chains of the 1980s and 1990s, bringing in $120 million annually. Retzloff would later start Horizon Organic, Aurora Organic Dairy, and a second iteration of Alfalfa's; Hassan would create a London-based retailer called Fresh & Wild, and become a longtime board member of Whole Foods. Both are revered as pioneers of the natural foods industry.
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/06/2015 12:51AM by corboy.