Speaking With A Forked Tongue
Prem Rawat in his career has used extemperaneous speeches, nearly all of which are recorded for posterity, as his main tool of teaching and communication. With such an ocean of verbiage to choose from there can be differences of opinion about exactly what he is teaching and what he has taught. Context is very important in elucidating his true meaning as is the audience to whom he is talking. I think most people would accept that teachings and instructions given to committed disciples would be closer to the truth than things said to a diverse audience in a public forum whom he was trying to interest in his "Knowledge". He often makes contradictory statements and it appears that even from his first trip to the West as a yong teenager he already had the nous to say different things to different audiences. Later in his career he even blatantly said he had never taught some of the controversial things for which had had been infamous.
That's why always a Messiah has to come into this world—to bring peace. I don't say I am a Messiah, mind you. I just say I am a servant of God trying to preach this Knowledge to you. - And It Is Divine, Volume I, Issue 11, October 1973
Some people had a concept that I was some kind of a messiah or prophet, and that wasn't really acceptable to a lot of people. But I was saying right from the beginning, "I'm not a messiah; I'm not a prophet; I'm not any of those things." Those are just concepts. - Divine Times, Special 25th Anniversary Year Edition
Because what created the problem when Jesus came? Okay, it was people and their craziness. Of course, it's always that. But what kind of blanket did they hide themselves under? What kind of a blanket did they pull up? "Look. Here it says this can't be it." And it very clearly said, "Look, there is going to be a Messiah coming, a teacher coming, a Perfect Master, a Saviour, coming." And people, out of the blue, went, "This can't be it. This can't be him. This can't be the Messiah." - Golden Age magazine
"I'll tell you this story that happened with Shri Maharaj Ji. There were a few premies, and they said, 'Maharaj Ji, you cannot function without us,' you know, 'we helped you a lot.' And he said, 'Oh yeah? That's what you think? I'll tell you,' he says, 'all of you stay here, and let me go out.' - And It Is Divine, Volume 2, Issue 5
Is Knowledge the only Path?
"Whatever you want to follow, follow. - The Journey Is The Destination video 1994
Because until now, how many premies are there in India who have understood what Knowledge is, who have understood the true value of Knowledge, and have realized it is the only way? - 1975: It's Time to Decide, And It Is Divine Magazine, Volume III, Issue 4, Winter 1976
I don't tell people. You know people used to always come to me: 'Should we be vegetarians?' 'If you wanna be.' 'Should we be non-vegetarians?' 'If you wanna be.'" -
We can see this clearly in the first 2 quotes from his speeches. On November 2, 1971 in front of a mixed audience he tells them if his Knowledge does not give them peace to leave it. On November 27, 1971 in front of an audience of his Western followers committed enough to fly to India to spend months following him and practising his Knowledge and attending the Hans Jayanti Festival with over a million Indians he quotes a revered Indian saint who says that if he stops meditating on the Word, he will die. The message to the young guru's followers is pretty straightforward. Later in December 1971 he reiterates this message to his devotees that they will die if they stop meditating. Understandably, it was the first message that was generally told to people being proselytised as this quote from an interview with Michael Dettmers published in the Divine Times of January 1976 makes clear: "Okay, but what about the people who have Knowledge already? When they received Knowledge, maybe that commitment wasn't clear at all: a lot of us were hit with: "Just take Knowledge and if it doesn't bring you instant realization of God, leave it."
Central Hall, Westminster, London, England, November 2, 1971
Now, where to find the master? Where to find the master? You know, you can't find him in theatres. Where will you find him then? Where is he, this hidden man? Where is he? You have to find him out. And how to find him out? There is a very easy test. You have to test before you find him out, and the test is very simple. You have to take his Knowledge and test it. If this Knowledge gives you peace, well and good, go ahead. If not, immediately leave it and go out, don't follow it any more. If this Knowledge that he gives, if the Knowledge that he imparts is perfect, and it gives you perfect peace, well and good, go ahead. If not, leave it and try to find another way.
Who Is Guru Maharaj Ji?
Prem Nagar Ashram, Hardwar, November 27, 1971
Prahlada was asked by his mother, "Prahlada, why don't you leave this meditation of God, this Holy Word? Why don't you leave it?" So Prahlada clearly says, and all you who have taken this knowledge can understand it, Prahlada says to her, "Mother, I am ready to leave this Word at this moment, but this Word is not yet ready to leave me. What should I do?" Prahlada says, "I am ready to leave this Word, but this Word is not ready to leave me. And if this Word leaves me I will surely be dead."
Reflections on an Indian Sunrise, 1972
December 21 1971
do meditation. Because meditation is important. You are surviving, you are alive here at this moment because of meditation. No other thing is making you alive now; only that meditation, only that Name, only that Holy Word, only that vibration which is true is making you alive. Then why ignore it? Why leave it? Always do meditation; that is the damn important thing for your life. If you leave it, you cannot survive. You cannot survive physically, and on none of the planets can you survive, because it is important. It is a communication between you and your Lord that you form. And this communication is very important for a devotee to organize, and this can only be going very smoothly if you are regularly doing meditation.
Élan Vital, Summer 1978, Volume II, Issue 2
No doubt, the young Rawat used this sort of catch-phrase many more times in his three "World Peace Tours" while attempting to gain more followers up to the disastrous Millenium '73festival though these next two are the only records I could find. From 1974 on his focus was on retaining existing followers rather than gaining new ones and I can find no more mentions of "love it or leave it." Instead he continued to focus on the dire effects of "receiving Knowledge" and then not practising it until the 1980s after which he seemed to have a strict policy of accentuating the positive in public and pretending that everyone who "received Knowledge" practised it and achieved the remarkable results he claimed they could.
Question and Answer Session, Portland, Oregon, June 29, 1972
People think I am going to do the same thing with you: give you Knowledge and stamp on your forehead, so that wherever you go you are members of Divine Light Mission! No. You can always take this Knowledge, and whenever you don't like it you can just leave it. Then the question is first to receive it, first understand it.
Élan Vital, Volume II, Issue 2, Summer 1978
Swiss Alps Festival, August 26, 1972
"I, I'm doing this prachar. I, I'm giving this Knowledge to people and people are responding to it fantastic. I don't know what's happened to people but they are just responding to it fantastic because one thing I tell them first of all that "Listen, I don't give you anything from my pocket, understand, it's within inside you, if you like it, go ahead, do it, if you don't like it, just leave it. And try it and try it you'll like it" and people try it and they like it and they just adore it, it, it's fantastic, we like it. So because we have something truth to give to people show people will realise and there will be time when the whole world has to realise and those people who are crazy will be dying because of they are crazy."
"The great leaders think that I have come to rule and yes, they are right! I will rule the world! And just watch how I will do it." ~ Prem Rawat, 1970
"In the Bhagavad Gita, the Lord says that whenever religion becomes corrupted and evil increases, He takes a human body and manifests in this world to destroy evil and to protect His devotees. All of you must know very well what is happening to religion and Knowledge in the materialistic age... But when the Lord saw that the troubles His devotees were having to endure had reached the final point, He said, "My devotees can bear it no longer", and then manifested Himself in a human body. So He has now come to reveal the lost Knowledge and to restore true peace. The Lord, the True Saint, the True Guru Maharaj Ji has incarnated in this world." ~ Prem Rawat 1970
"The greatest problem all around the world today, whether in America, Japan, China, Russia, India or anywhere else in the world, is that people are not in peace. People want peace. Today, if two people fight, the government is supposed to settle them down. But when governments fight, who is going to settle them down? The only one who can settle the governments down is the Perfect Master, the incarnation of God Himself, who comes to Earth to save mankind." ~ Prem Rawat, 1972
"Perfect Master, and it is no less full of love. Judas was shocked when Mary Magdalen poured her precious ointment onto the feet of Christ. He told her that it could have been sold, and the money distributed to the poor. But Christ said that she had done well, that the poor were always around, but that he would not be with his disciples much longer. In a similar way, people question the disciples of Guru Maharaj Ji because we give him tiny presents, cars, aeroplanes, flowers. Yet somehow the message manages to get across to those who need to hear it. The Perfect Master gives his disciples greater riches than the bank at Monte Carlo. He gives us poor selfish human beings the ability to love." ~ Prem Rawat, 1978
"To be here as individuals and yet to be able to be next to the person who is everything; in which everything is, and he is in everything. Guru Maharaj Ji. The Lord. All-powerful." ~ Prem Rawat 1978
"Where does Guru Maharaj Ji fit in? Guru Maharaj Ji doesnt fit in anywhere. Guru Maharaj Ji is Knowledge. It is Guru Maharaj Jis Knowledge. Who are you going to do service to, for? Guru Maharaj Ji. What are going to meditate on? The Holy Name, which is Guru Maharaj Ji." ~ Prem Rawat 1979
"You can't see me, though I'm the light that allows you to see me. You can't hear me though I talk through your voice. You can't feel me, though I'm the power that works in your hands. I'm working within you though you ignore my paths. I'm working though you don't recognise my work. I'm not a strange vision. I'm not a mystery - only in absolute silence beyond the personality that you seem to be; and then only like a feeling and like faith. Still I'm with you, still I hear you, still I can answer you." ~ Prem Rawat, 1982
"To disseminate Knowledge to those who were seeking the inner experience of the self, who were thirsty for it-that was the objective and still is. Quite a few people wanted to see me as a figurehead. I didn't want to be one and I am not one. A few others saw me as a leader, and I didn't want to be one and I am not one." Prem Rawat 1999
"People used to call me Guru. I speak from my heart, and what happens is from one heart to another. I'm not trying to place myself above people. I am a human being. Many things have been said about me. Many of these things have come from people's own emotions, good or bad. I am proud to be a human being. I am very happy that I have this life. I am also happy that I can feel joy and pain like everyone else. Some people would love to put labels on me, but I am just me." ~ Prem Rawat 2000
"You want to be fulfilled? Without the Master, you cannot be fulfilled. Why am I saying 'Master' instead of 'Knowledge'? Because without the Master, you can't have Knowledge. Without the Master, Knowledge makes no sense whatsoever." ~ Prem Rawat, 2000
"Quite a few people wanted to see me as a figurehead. I didn't want to be one and I am not one. A few others saw me as a leader, and I didn't want to be one and I am not one." ~ Prem Rawat, 2003
Q. A person in your position will be described or defined by many people. How would you describe yourself?
A. I'm me. I am a human being. Many things have been said about me. Many of these things have come from people's own emotions, good or bad. I'm proud to be a human being. I am very happy that I have this life. I'm happy being me. Some people would love to put labels on me, but I am just me. ~ Prem Rawat, 2003 or 4
A handout given to Premies in the late 1990s
Background Questions and Answers
Q1. What is Elan Vital?
A1. Elan Vital is a nonprofit organization which sponsors programs, conferences and events in the United States to promote the teachings of Maharaji. More than fifty similar but independent organizations with the same purpose exist in other countries.
Q2. What is Divine Light Mission?
A2. Elan Vital, Inc. was incorporated in Colorado in 1971 under the name Divine Light Mission. The name was changed in the early 1980s to Elan Vital, meaning "life force," to better exemplify the purpose of the organization. While changing the name, the organization made a variety of other changes, including the elimination of communal living arrangements known as "ashrams," the use of Hindi phrases such as "premies," and recommendations about lifestyle such as vegetarianism.
Q3. What is Visions International?
A3. Elan Vital records Maharaji's speeches at events and produces video and audio cassettes of these. These are distributed to audiences throughout the world. Elan Vital also produces publications as well as recordings of inspirational songs. These audiovisual and written materials are all distributed under its trading name, Visions International.
Q4. Who attend the events sponsored by Elan Vital?
A4. People from different countries, from different social and economic backgrounds, and with different belief systems all attend. The one trait they do share is an interest in learning from Maharaji's teachings on human potential, understanding and fulfillment. The events are by invitation only. Some are introductory, designed for those who are just beginning to investigate Maharaji's teachings. Others are intended especially for those who are already participating in Maharaji's learning process.
Q5. How is Elan Vital funded?
A5. Elan Vital is funded by contributions from its supporters and by proceeds from sales of supporting materials, including video and audio cassettes of Maharaji's speeches. There is generally no charge for admission to hear Maharaji speak. Those attending events may pre-register for a reserved seat by paying a nominal processing fee.
Because of Elan Vital's nonprofit status with the Internal Revenue Service, contributions may be tax deductible.
Q6. What is the money used for?
A6. Elan Vital pays the production costs of various programs and events, supports some persons who travel to speak at local events, produces videos and other materials, and covers organizational administrative costs. It also helps support events sponsored by other similar organizations in other countries.
Resource Questions and Answers (2/18/98) Page 1 of 2.
Q7. Is Maharaji funded through Elan Vital?
A7. Maharaji receives no fees, honoraria or compensation of any kind from Elan Vital. The organization pays only for his travel and lodging expenses when he is attending an event sponsored by Elan Vital.
Elan Vital has been given a royalty-free license by Maharaji to use the speeches he delivers at Elan Vital sponsored events in order to produce and distribute audio and video cassettes. Maharaji receives no economic benefit from the use of his speeches or from other materials distributed by Elan Vital.
Q8. Where does Maharaji get his money?
A8. His personal finances are private and not connected with the:organization.
Q9. Is the Guru Maharaj Ji still part of the organization?
A9. His professional name is now simply Maharaji (pronounced muh-rah-gee).
However, he is not now, nor has he ever been, an officer, director or owner of Elan Vital:
Elan Vital is a nonprofit organization that promotes his teachings.
Q10. Is Maharaji still working under Hindu traditions?
A10. Hindu traditions are not and have never been what Maharaji's teachings are about. He does speak Hindi, particularly when addressing audiences in India and Nepal. His message about fulfillment is universal. It is independent of culture, beliefs or lifestyle.
Q11. What is that "ex-premie" Internet site? Why doesn't Elan Vital have one?
A11. Maharaji's learning process is open to all who choose to pursue it. Likewise, anyone may also decide not to follow it. He has asked his students to be his advertisement, to tell others about this opportunity. He does not consider the Internet to be the appropriate place for informing people about Knowledge.
Q12. What is Maharaji's teaching?
Al2. Maharaji encourages all individuals to recognize their innate quest for fulfillment and speaks about how to satisfy that desire within themselves. The key lies in an experience that already exists within each human being. Maharaji shows an individual certain techniques designed to access that inner experience. These techniques he refers to as Knowledge. Through Knowledge, ones capacity to recognize, enjoy and appreciate the preciousness of life itself increases.
Q13. What does Maharaji try to accomplish when he gives an address?
A13. His primary purposes are these:
- Help persons gain an appreciation for their inherent aspiration to fulfillment.
- Introduce people to Knowledge.
- Provide instruction in the techniques of Knowledge.
- Encourage those who have received Knowledge to continue their pursuit of fulfillment.
Resource Questions and Answers (2/18/98) Page 2 of 2.