Prem Rawat's 25th Anniversary Celebration - 1996
25 Years Recruiting People in the West To His Meditation Techniques
1996 was the 25th anniversary year of Prem Rawat's arrival in the "West". There had been failures: publicly disinherited by his mother and losing his father's assets and devotees in India. Losing half his Western followers in the early 1980s when he closed the Divine Light Mission ashrams and changed his name, his title and his public persona. His followers had been through a lot, media ridicule, family disapproval, attempting celibacy in a hot house of hormonal nightly meetings and loss of good careers. But the ones he'd kept seemed to be the ones who were in through good or bad and, most importantly, they donated money and by 1996 he had a Challenger personal jet, a cult compound in Australia (albeit both came with large debts owing) and his British old-timers celebrated with the first "Divine Times newsletter" in 15 years that revelled in reliving the blissful early days of 1971. The Elan Vital video "Like the Rain" was produced, part celebration, part rewriting of their history.
Elan Vital, through related organsation, produced a series of videos to highlight this event. They contained historical footage showing the young Rawat on a triumphal parade through the USA and Western Europe respected by all and attracting thousands to his ashrams and his feet. The failures and fiascos did not rate a mention. By 1996 Rawat had also had some success back in India which the videos highlighted though ii was very small compared to the success of his eldest brother, Satpal Maharaj, who had continued on from Prem's disinheritance of 1975 with 20 years of success in the Indian spiritual, social, political and business spheres. In 1996 Satpal was elected to the National Parliament of India and became the Minister for Railways. This was not mentioned
Like The Rain, a Visions International (a division of Elan Vital Inc) release, was released in 1996.
It contains the 'Blessing of the Master' sermon, Maharaji dancing briefly, a Holi festival where some people are collecting the charanamrit and a
quick glimpse of a darshan line.
"So what is the blessing for a human being. Of course we've talked about life, we've talked about that breath, we've talked about this existence and yes they're all blessings. But there is another wonderful blessing and that blessing is the Master. Master, to me, is that manifestation of the yearning of the heart. If there was no yearning of the heart, believe me, there would be no Master."
In the period 1995 to 1997 Visions International produced a series of 10 short films which were later sold on Video CDs at speeches of Prem Rawat's. While they fit onto one Video CD they were sold as a set of two, presumably to maximise the financial returns. They were not merely recordings of Rawat's speeches, though they included many quotes and his daughter Daya's singing, some historical footage of his career and shots that followers could recognise as darshan lines (ie people lining up and passing before Rawat sitting on a throne and kissing his feet) though this would not be obvious to people who were not Rawat's long time students. They include "Boundless", "He's Here" and "Total embrace"
I Have This Knowledge, a Visions International, 1996 11 minute long video, allows premies to reminisce watching small clips and still photos from the early 70's Divine Light Mission archives. The soundtrack is an upbeat, edited "satsang" of Prem Rawat's talking about his early life in the West, some "interviews" with members of his inner circle and pointed comments about "Indian cultural" artifacts mistakenly taken up by young Westerners of the time that Prem Rawat has "removed" from Elan Vital doctrines.
The World Of Knowledge, a Visions International 1997 17 minute long video is a montage of scenes showing the apparently annus mirabilis of Prem Rawat's success in his 1996 25th Anniversay of coming to the West. The soundtrack is mainly an upbeat, South American song, a torch song by his daughter Daya, the terribly catchy and irritating "You're My Pilot" plus a surprise ending - a reprise of Dance, Dance, Dance the hideous song written by initiator Rich Neel at the height of the super-devotional period in Divine Light Mission in the late 1970's when Prem Rawat then known as Guru Maharaj Ji used to dance half naked dressed as Krishna.
This video was not meant for pubic distribution and included video of a holi celebration, a darshan line and a long section of a speech ("satsang") of Prem Rawat's set to music extolling the importance, the source of and the Blessing of the Master and, after all, he is the Master so he'd know. This 'Blessing of the Master' multi-media work of art is the most important part of the video. Here Maharaji aka Prem Rawat aka Guru Maharaj Ji gives one of "his deepest and most poetic" depictions of the importance of the Master, he, himself, why he manifests, and the incredible awakening and magic that he produces in the yearning hearts of his students. So deep! So Poetic!
So what is the blessing for a human being. Of course we've talked about life, we've talked about that breath, we've talked about this existence and yes they're all blessings.
But there is another wonderful blessing and that blessing is the Master.
Master, to me, is that manifestation of the yearning of the heart. If there was no yearning of the heart, believe me, there would be no Master.
The fact that something within seeks, something within has created the need and the necessity of the Master. So the student is there and the Master is there and it is that the Master begins to show, to introduce that process.
Awaken the person to even the possibility that becomes a blessing, that, that. It is the blessing that you can accept in your life and if you accept that one more drop on the way to be the mighty river, one more drop, then the magic.
The magic unfolds, that which is difficult is made simple, that which would take a lifetime to underestand a person begins to understand in a very short period of time. Time begins to dance, understanding begins to come, darkness is replaced with light, doubt replaced with clarity, confusion replaced with understanding, sadness replaced with joy.
The Élan Vital administration designated their videos according to the desired target audience. Some were considered suitable for "People With Knowledge" (PWK), some for "People Aspiring for Knowldge" (Aspirants) and some for the general public. This system was akin to the guidelines for movies, the more devotional or where Rawat was speaking with megalomanical grandiosity were only for dedicated devotees, less intense ones for people who had shown keen interst and others were introductory in purpose. But this video could only be shown to "People With Knowledge" as they were once known or "People Who Have Been Shown the Techniques of Maharaji's Gift of Knowledge" as they later known and so it would not be complete without a Maharaji dancing section. He ends his "25th Anniversy of Coming to the West" celebrations dancing in a hand tailored suit. The 'premies' are now 'mature age students' but they can still get down and boogie or actually get up and boogie.