The question I was getting at is whether we CHOSE to believe in Rawat.
I was young and naive, and the solution M seemed to be offering seemed to fit the questions I was asking, so I went with it. I eventually swallowed it all, hook (liberation?), line (satsang and service - to keep us connected?) and sinker (the Lard).
However, the questions I was asking then were very much part of the zeitgeist - having unconsciously absorbed some of the 60's rebellion against the hard work and conformity of the 50's, having read such stuff as Herman Hesse, George Orwell. I was looking for an individualistic solution to my identity crisis - preferably something that would boost my apparent unimportance (and what could be more of a boost to self-esteem than being one of the few to recognise the living Lord??!). I was asking the kinds of questions that many others in my time were asking, and I wasn't smart enough to look beyond the first answer that looked like it fitted.
Did I choose to believe? I don't think so. I followed a path that I thought was my own, but with the benefit of hindsight, I see that the questions weren't really my own - they were just part of the culture at the time. I have since spent time in quite other cultures (Africa, SE Asia), and have been struck how few people in those cultures asked the same kind of questions (big generalisation I know, a continent and a half, but I am talking of the people I met at least). For the most part, they just grew up with a strong sense of belonging, and questions like 'why am I here' made no sense to them.
I don't ask those questions any more either. I am no longer a 'seeker of truth'. I don't think those questions count for much any more - you know, why are we here, what is the purpose in life - there is so much presumption behind such questions, I gladly chucked them out with the bath-water.
Maya - I still have some sympathy for that notion though! And those questions, the search for 'truth', and M all seem to be part of it now. I'm drowning in it, or swimming perhaps?