Newspaper Articles About Prem Rawat

During the career of Prem Rawat (aka Maharaji or "Guru Maharaj Ji"), attempts have been made by his "premies" (lovers ie followers, now called "students") to portray him in roles from God-Boy to Social Worker to internationally renowned and respected inspirational speaker and teacher of Inner Peace to self made businessman and cutting edge philanthropist.

Unfortunately for his followers, Rawat's words, actions and appearance have derailed their PR attempts and the media has been far more interested in the bizarre aspects of his life and their worship and have concentrated on presenting him as a butt of their humour especially in the 1970's when he was actively seeking publicity for his "mission to bring peace to the world." Understandably, many of the press releases and wire service stories available to the press were published in newspaper columns devoted to the trivial and laughable. Prem Rawat has rarely been considered worthy of serious comment.

With the increasing availability of archival material on the internet we hope to create a complete resource of all information about Prem Rawat's inglorious career. As one commentator put it: "The 16 year-old guru Maharaj Ji has decided he is God, I understand. That is not a bad job for a 16 year-old kid, except that there's no chance for advancement …"

Nearly all the stories about Prem Rawat published in the regional press have come from the wire services: United Press (UP) or Associated Press (AP).

  • 1971 Newspaper Articles About Prem Rawat - Maharaji: Regional newspapers often altered wire service stories to suit themselves, compare the Mansfield News journal and the Sunday Gleaner Magazine approaches. It was also printed in the Winnipeg Free Press as 'I Was A Teenage Guru'.

  • 1972 Newspaper Articles About Prem Rawat - Maharaji: As a tiny new cult / spiritual group Divine Light Mission was struggling to get any newspaper publicity. News stories began once chartered jumbo jets of Western devotees began flying to India for festivals. Publicity increased once Prem Rawat's actions and life-style began to stoke controversy.

  • 1973 Newspaper Articles About Prem Rawat - Maharaji: In 1973 stories and advertisements began to increase rapidly. The New York Times published an indepth article and interview with the guru by a knowledgeable Indian journalist. Controversy raised a very ugly head over the near murder of Pat Halley who threw a shaving cream pie into God's face. Derision increased once it became known that the guru who offered perfect peace and bliss had an ulcer.

  • 1974 Newspaper Articles About Prem Rawat - Maharaji: In 1974 stories and advertisements increased even more. Even this early in his career, one article in the New York Times revealed the darkness at the heart of Divine Light Mission, the flaw that allowed its members' (the "sincere seekers" as they styled themselves) idealism to be perverted. The story of his wedding flashed around the world from the East to the West. Quite possibly a new benchmark in unlikely husbands and trophy brides.

  • 1975 Newspaper Articles About Prem Rawat - Maharaji: In 1975 controversy and debunking became the major media topics around Prem Rawat. The Darby McLean court case revealed Prem Rawat's finances when his financial adviser, Michael Garson, became conscience struck, the first of many of Rawat's close associates to become disgusted and tell the truth about the "Lord of the Universe". And then the "Holy Family" had a very public bust-up. He was disowned and disinherited by his mother and Prem Rawat's drunkeness and "un-spiritual life-style" was revealed.

  • 1976 Newspaper Articles About Prem Rawat - Maharaji: In 1976 stories about Prem Rawat's fall from grace began to dominate. Backgound stories on the "new cults" began to appear and Prem Rawat's DLM was always included in the list. And the newspapers began to report on the dwindling members and resources in Divine Light Mission.

  • 1977 Newspaper Articles About Prem Rawat - Maharaji: In 1977 DLM was trying to avoid any publicity for Prem Rawat while he regained control of DLM and the premies after Bob Mishler's unwanted changes of 1976. DLM tried to avoid publicity though they were mentioned in all the thoughtful background pieces on cults published that year. In Argentina, DLM was one of 3 cults banned. 87 premies were arrested on drug charges.

  • 1978 Newspaper Articles About Prem Rawat - Maharaji: The tragedy in Jonestown, Guyana dominated cult news in late 1978 and Bob Mishler, former President and John Hand, Jr. former Vice-President of DLM believed they needed to speak out. The growth of cults in Europe provoked some legislation in countries where community controls were greater than in the USA.

  • 1979 Newspaper Articles About Prem Rawat - Maharaji: In 1979 the public controversy about cults was already starting to fade, as were the cults, especially Prem Rawat's with Darshan the major focus of it's activities. Some ex-premies were already actively telling their stories and denouncing Prem Rawat publicly having found a more rewarding religion.

  • 1980s' Newspaper Articles About Prem Rawat - Maharaji: In the beginning of the 1980's probably the best description of the state of Divine Light Mission was hysterical. Prem Rawat had decreed that Darshan was the most important part of his "Knowledge" and his dancing was the most celebrated part of the numerous "festivals" that DLM were holding. While new premies were few, the effort to attract them was great and nightly services were still held wherever a premie quorum could gather. Only Prem Rawat might have had an inkling that the Iron Curtain was about to descend but until Sun Myung Moon was indicted and jailed even he probably hadn't given it a thought. But once Prem Rawat closed Divine Light Mission, ordered his followers to stop advertising or telling anyone about him and his "Knowledge", having nightly public meetings or any regular meetings and to destroy all copies of newspapers, magazines, films and videos relating to him and changed his title to Maharaji from Guru Maharaj Ji, the press stories soon dried up. It wasn't long before the question wasn't "Who Is Guru Maharaj Ji?" but "Whatever Happened To … ?"

  • 1990s' Newspaper Articles About Prem Rawat - Maharaji: In the 1990's Prem Rawat remained under the radar of the mainstream press except in some areas where his activities stirred notoriety again. At the Los Angeles Times, it was considered appropriate for reminiscences about Prem Rawat to be printed on April Fool's Day In Queensland, Australia where he founded a cult compound "Amaroo" in the guise of a convention centre there was some investigative journalism.

  • 2000s' Newspaper Articles About Prem Rawat - Maharaji: One time cult member and journalist, John MacGregor, wrote the most complete story about Prem Rawat in the mainstream press. However, Prem Rawat's early career as the divine "Guru Maharaj Ji" was not forgotten. Prem Rawat's gouging of his premie's finances continues to provide public interest and ridicule. His attempts to "buy respectability" have begun to attract some media attention.