Is There A Future For The Rawat Holy Family Business?
In 2020 Satpal Maharaj and entourage were infected by the Covid19 virus. He is still alive but both Satpal and Prem are approaching their time to die. At least in the case of Prem no expense will be spared in prolonging his life. He may even be cryogenically frozen. There is a history of it in his family and others associated with him. Prem Rawat may be the first religious cult leader who was younger than the majority of his devotees so it is even conceivable that they may nearly all be dead before him. The Scientologists have spent enormous sums ensuring L. Ron Hubbard's teachings outlast the the human race. Prem's minions don't have that much funding but no doubt have they have ensured Prem's immortal speeches are preserved for a long time. At any rate his streaming videos will go on if they generate enough money to cover the costs.
Prem Rawat has always displayed the self-belief that only he can do things correctly. He quite wrongly believed that he was the sole cause of the initial surge of recruitment in the early 1970s and blamed everyone else for the failure of this success to continue. As late as 2000 he was whining about "the mahatmas" and the immeasurable amount of wild concepts they brought that he had to answer. He has belitttled the idea that any of his students might have some personal spiritual authority or understanding. He has concentrated all the authority and power to himself. Publicly, he is a one man show. He has created a system where there are no longer local groups of his followers meeting, discussing, meditating and working together. He has turned what was initially a series vibrant local communities into people watching him on television or other forms of electronic media. Prem Rawat is the only source of understanding and teaching. As of 2020 only Daya Rawat has had much onstage presence in front of the consumer base but singing songs about the dead Master may not be enough to prevent the death of Rawat's legacy when the current consumer base dies.
Rawat-Hudson Real Estate
Satpal's legacy is in much safer hands. There is at least one son who has been working the international Spiritual Master shtick for some years. There is a large Indian infrastructure in a culture in which long term religious/spiritual family businesses are common. There are large numbers of ascetic "spiritually authorised mahatmas" who have person to person relationships with their local communities. There is volunteer work, marches, festivals and the poorer classes can still get close to the upper hierarchy. Lisa McKean in Divine Enterprise commented on the "festive and informal ambiance of the Manav Utthan Seva Samiti" where crowds of hundreds of thousands gather for religious festivals and satsang. The Rawats have married into the Indian political and religious establishment and it would probably take an apocalypse to destroy it or another rogue Master like Prem. Is it in the genes or maybe it was just the times?