Rusted On To Rawat
Prem Rawat aka Maharaji formerly calling himself Guru Maharaj Ji claims to be unique as a guru/teacher on this planet at this time. His career began in the West in 1971 with an explosion of outreach and media outrage over this so-called 14 years old Perfect Master and Lord of the Universe. Within a few years it reached its zenith and it has been slowly fizzling out over the following decades. Despite decades of effort very few new followers have been attracted and the majority of his followers are the remnants of the original 20-25000 white baby boomer "premies" the young Lord of the Universe attracted in the 1970s.
To an outsider it can seem extremely odd that Prem Rawat has been able to maintain a core of committed followers in a 50 year career with many twists and turns, failures and scandals. But it is precisely these very negatives that have strengthened their committment. This extremely unintuitive understanding of "true believers" was first formalised by Leon Festinger and collaborators in their study of an apocalyptic cult led by a suburban housewife that was published as When Prophecy Fails.
Prem Rawat's Aged Western Followers
This aging group of former hippie devotees go to great lengths and pay good money to try to make him an internationally respected world leader of peace and while they're waiting for that to happen are pretending it already has. He is basically an unknown, former teenage fatboy Lord of the Universe and butt of sarcasm. Of course websites lauding Rawat will not show this, they will have lots of images of young and attractive people though whether they are devotees of the guru is unlikely. While audiences in Asia or Africa may be different the majority of Rawat's Western "students" are baby boomers. By 2014 they were in their 60s, bald or grey haired men, women with dyed hair and no black skins. Without their financial input will Rawatism survive elsewhere? Its pretty obvious that their children - having seen their parents life practising Rawat's Knowledge and there effects thereof - are not believers.
An audience of Prem Rawat's devotees in 2014 - photo sourced from premrawat.com on 15/3/2018
An audience of Prem Rawat's devotees at the annual convention at IRCC, Peak Crossing in 2017 - photo sourced from amaroo.org on 18/9/2017
Rawat's following in India should mean he will be remembered as a satguru, Godman, whatever. He won't have the stature of a Ramakrishna or a Sathya Sai Baba but he should leave more artifacts littering Northern India than Swarupanand. Who knows, one of his children may have what it takes to keep the shebang on the road and the 4 techniques remembered. I certainly won't see the end of Rawatism as little old grey haired ladies will continue keeping his memory flickering for decades after I die but I may live to see Rawat die. That should provide a last spark of interest in his long and boring later years.