Guru Maharaj Ji aka Prem Rawat (1966 - ) arrived in West: 1971
Prem Rawat attained brief public notoriety and ridicule as the "Guru Maharaj Ji" (Param Hans Satgurudev Shri Sant Ji Maharaj), the teenage fat boy guru whose apparent skyrocketing following in the early 1970's had journalists in the "West", especially the USA and Great Britain, astonished and eager to write about his Divine Light Mission. This success was partially caused by the media publicity as a 14-year-old Indian guru was ridiculous enough to make the major news media, something that only the Maharishi and his brief love affair with the Beatles had done before.
The so-called Guru Maharaj Ji was not one of the Indian gurus "club." He claimed He was the Divine Incarnation of the Age and all other gurus were worthless weeds. Strangely enough this did not endear him to his peers. The fat young guru did not endorse Yoga, Tantra or Vedanta. He claimed to heve 4 secret meditation techniques that only he could empower though these were well known in India. The period of apparent sky-rocketing growth in number of "premies" ended with the failure of the "most Holy and significant event in human history", Millenium '73. The debts left by this failure and his personal extravagance nearly bankrupted the organisation. For another few years stories about Rawat became more derisory as knowledge of his bleeding ulcer, his materialistic and extravagant life style, his claims to Divinity and the worship of his followers became common. His marriage to a much older and taller devotee in 1974 was followed by his own mother disowning and disinheriting him in 1975 for his meat-eating, drug abuse and general "playboy" lifestyle. Since the early 1980's, he has continued to minister to his core of devotees in self-imposed obscurity until this century when he has attempted to become known as an internationally respected teacher of peace and renowned philanthropist through the use of phony public relations publicity.
Prem Pal Singh Rawat was born on December 10, 1957. His father's self-proclaimed title was Param Hans Satgurudev Shri Hans Ji Maharaj. Prem Rawat claims he was a descendant of Indian Royalty, and Hans also claimed to be the living incarnation of God of his time from whom Prem inherited his position. The process of Prem's incarnation, as he described it often, began on July 19th, 1966 when his father left his body in samadhi (died) and ended on August 1st to the ecstatic recognition of him as the new Perfect Master by thousands of his father's followers in the party of the century.
In the early 1980s the guru renamed himself. Prem Rawat or Maharaji (his translation: "Ultimate Ruler" formerly known as "Guru Maharaj Ji") dropped off all public Indian trappings from his cult's activities and now claimed to be nothing more a mild-mannered inspirational speaker and wealthy private investor living in well-deserved luxury in Malibu. He claims to work tirelessly to bring people the possibility of inner peace and bliss, a possibility that is completely unique and absolutely "the best thing happening" and that only he can reveal and inspire so not really all that much has changed. His face and body show the effects of a hard drinking and smoking lifestyle and reveal the emptiness of his claims to provide the supreme Knowledge to his "students" who seem to have forgotten the hopes they had for enlightenment and perfect bliss that the young guru promised them. Still the wealthier ones get together most years at his compound at Amaroo in Australia to kiss his feet and renew the ties of devotion to their Master, for whatever that's worth.
As of 2017 Rawatism is continuing it's slide from obscurity to history.
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