The so-called "His Royal Highness Yogiraj Param Hans Sadgurudev Shri Hans ji Maharaj" (1900 - July 16, 1966) was a guru in India within the Sant Mat tradition. There is a Wikipedia biography. He claimed to be the Satguru or Perfect Master of his time though he was not accepted by the majority of his Master's other followers. He married twice, the second time to Jagat Janani Mata Shri Rajeshwari Devi Jagat Janani Mata Shri Rajeshwari Devi, also known as "Mata Ji" and they had four sons and he had a daughter with his first wife. He was certainly not reticent in describing himself as God incarnate in human form and attacked his competitors unmercifully. In 1953 he called the gurus of the Hare Krishna movement the biggest frauds in what was meant to be a Parliament of Religions.
Shri Maharaj Ji declared, "Lord Ram was an incarnation of God, but he came with only fourteen powers. Lord Krishna was an incarnation of God, having sixteen types of divine powers. But this time I have come with all divine powers."
In New York City on September 11 1971, the young Prem Rawat was interviewed:
"Guru Maharaj Ji, what do you owe to your father?"
"I won't tell you what I owe. If I took all the birds, the sun, moon and everything that exists in trying to repay my father, I wouldn't even be able to repay a single pennyworth. You know He has given me such a lot. Such a lot that He has made me king of the whole universe."
Prem Rawat Reveals Details of His Parampara (Lineage Of Prior Gurus)
In 2009, Words of Peace Global released a video detailing Rawat's Perfect Master lineage in which he discussed his father's career and told a story about his father's orders to the young Bal Bhagwan Ji. A story which supposedly confirmed his own claim to have inherited his father's spiritual authority and divinity.
According to his followers, Shri Hans was early in his life an egalitarian iconoclast, and an opponent of the Hindu caste system. He was originally a member of the Arya Samaj, but left that movement after he met a guru of the Sant Mat tradition, Sri Swarupanand Ji Maharaj. Swarupanand initiated him into the four techniques of Knowledge or kriyas, which are the centrepiece of his religion. In the 1930s following the death of his guru, he began to travel in Sind and Lahore and later to Delhi.
The death of a guru is nearly always followed by dissension as to whom should be the new Satguru (see Radhasoami Reality by Professor Mark Jurgensmeyer). Rawat's father was not accepted by Swarupanand's followers as the new Satguru because he was a "householder" ie a family man. Their concerns were shown to have some basis when Prem Rawat was disowned, disinherited and deposed by his mother and elder brother due to his "unspiritual lifestyle" and the subsequent public scandal which both brothers have attempted to hush up. It is not unusual for successful gurus with families to pass their property and "spiritual capital" on to their children. Hans' following grew informally for many years, spreading across northern India. Apparently he could not foretell the future as the Punjab where he had done most of his preaching and where the majority of his followers lived became part of Pakistan in the Partition cutting him off from them. He showed little sympathy for their suffering:
The refugees remembered God while escaping from Pakistan; had they continued to remember Him with the same enthusiasm they could have been relieved of all sorts of miseries. But being engrossed in worldly comforts, they have again forgotten God. So they will have to suffer miseries again.
Hans Rawat's Successful Marketng Strategy
He demonstrated a good head for business by setting up shop in a strategic location on the outskirts of Haridwar knowing pilgrims on the way to the Vaisakhi festival will pass by. He founded the Divya Sandesh Parishad or Divine Light Mission in 1960 though he had resisted setting up a formal organisation.
The best internet resource for information, albeit hagiographical, on Hans Rawat, the father of Prem Rawat was the Manav Dharam website of his 'apostate' eldest brother, Bal Bhagwan, or Shri Satpal Ji as he now calls himself. Satpal no longer has this information on that site but I copied the pertinent information and it now seems that this site has the largest repository of information about and by Hans Rawat. Shri Bhole Ji Maharaj continues to promote his parents on his Hans Lok website. While Maharaji and his organisations have sometimes mentioned his father they no longer have any information about him available on the internet. Most of the publications containing information about him available in the West were destroyed in the early 1980's on Prem Rawat's direction. In the past, Rawat often acknowledged that everything he had came from his his Shri Maharaji but his reservations about the efficacy of the meditation techniques to change people directly contradict many of the claims made by his father and his father's direct claims about his own divinity are probably now embarrassing.
One of Hans' methods of gaining publicity and possibly new followers was performing 'yatras' basically a combination march and procession.
Hans Rawat Contacts President John F. Kennedy & Bertrand Russell
Shri Hans wanted his "Knowledge" to be proselytised in the West. He was naive enough to have letters sent to President John F. Kennedy and Bertrand Russell. He was assertive to the point of megalomania in his claims to divinity in his teaching. He proclaimed that using his methods of meditation and under his guidance world peace could be achieved but "it is absolutely necessary that the politicians of the world be counselled and if necessary obliged to realise Divine Light by personal contacts with living Realised Soul and then the humanity will be saved from ruination without much efforts." The major source of teachings, doctrines, etc of Prem Rawat's father are his speeches that have been translated into English and were published in official Divine Light Mission magazines in the 1970's and on the web site of his eldest son. These are mainly impromptu, contain many quotes from the Sant Mat religious tradition, attacks on other Hindu sects and beliefs and are very repetitious to an English reader. On July 19th, 1966 Shri Hans Ji Maharaj died at the age of 66. See video
Video of Shri Hans Rawat
Hans Rawat was a canny businessman and successful Godman so he could afford to be filmed and some video is available of him. There are clips interspersed through many of the films, videos and DVDs published by Rawat's organisations.
- SatGuru Has Come - 1971, DLM film
- Who Is Guru Maharaj Ji? - 1973, DLM film
- Mysterious Miracles, Aliens from Spaceship Earth, A Spiritual Odyssey - this film used some footage from Who Is Guru Maharaj Ji?
- Evolution - 1989, International Learning Center
- Fulfillment - 1998, Visions International
Books By or About Shri Hans Rawat
Some books by or about him are published on this site, including:
- His "masterwork" "Hans Yog Prakash" published by the Divine Light Mission in India in the 1960s
- the booklet Antidote to Nuclear Bombs published by the Indian DLM in 1962
- and a book about him "Satgurudev Shri Hans Ji Maharaj" edited by C. L. Tandon, Secretary Divine Light Mission published on 8th November, 1970 by the Indian DLM. This includes Shri Hans' teachings on the Bhagavad Gita from 1956.
- The Light Of Wisdom: Shri Hans Ji Maharaj Life And Teachings
Further Information - External Resources
- au.geocities.com/shrihansa/ Shri Hans Ji Maharaj Web Site - This site that channelled Hans Rawat's post-death criticism of his sons is now also dead
- Prem Rawat aka Maharaji Information Resource
- Hans Lok Web Site
- The Manav Dharam Web Site no longer has a page on Satpal Maharaj's parents, Shri Hans and Mata Ji
- Ex-Premie Org
- The Prem Nagar Ashram web site
Video Clips of Shri Hans
These clips are from Elan Vital videos and come with commentary promoting the youngest son, Prem Rawat. No doubt, the eldest son, Satpal Rawat, has similar commentary in his videos, as he stresses his inheritance through his father and mother, though they would be in Hindi.
"Maharaji does not teach a religion, dogma or doctrine nor is he the first person to impart this message. Many people have done so before him including his own father. Shri Hans Ji Maharaj, who was of Royal Indian descent, formerly conveyed this message throughout India. Taking the initiative of travelling to his audiences Shri Hans Ji Maharaj was able to reach people who could not come to him."
By the 1990's Prem Rawat had begun to reminisce about his childhood in a new way where his father needed his help to draw crowds. He claimed that he was the one who attracted the crowds for his father, His Royal Highness Param Hans Ji Maharaj, whose organisation apparently couldn't raise a crowd advertising their "Perfect Master". The days when he spoke of his father not needing anyone to attract followers were gone but that is what he had claimed in the And It Is Divine, Volume 3, Issue 4
"I've been doing it since I was very young. My father, Shri Maharaji, he would have events, they would advertise them and they would do the whole thing and the time for the event would be coming and I would look out the window and see how many people were there and many times there was nobody there so I'd go out there and I'd start speaking and when I would start speaking they'd see this little bitty thing there speaking and they'd all start coming and when the hall was full my father would come and he would talk. It's not something I went to school for, it's a gift too, it's a gift that I can show you how to catch that magic when it happens."