DLM's Super Devotional Period '77-82
During 1976 Divine Light Mission nearly fell apart. This was brought on by his top administrators losing confidence in him and beginning a wave of questioning amongst the premies which resulted in the ashrams emptying, the cash flow crashing and a major fall in support for Rawat. Rawat took sometime to react but when he was told his income would halve and many of his expensive toys would have to be sold he acted. He fired Bob Mishler, the long time president of Divine Light Mission and fell back on his father's favourite method of impressing the yokels: dressing up in fancy costumes and shouting, berating and haranguing his followers for their imperfections and blaming their lack of bliss and joy, not on his Knowledge, but on them. The turnaround in his fortunes began on December 18, 1976 in Atlantic City and he continued this style for another 5 years - the Super Devotional period of his career.
During this period Prem Rawat openly espoused his divinity and berated his followers continually for lack of devotion and surrender (whatever that was supposed to mean). As he had already been publicised as a failed Messiah and was considered passé by the media, there was very little reporting of him and his followers during this time apart from a brief period circa 1979 following the Jonestown massacre when he was quite correctly lumped in with other cult leaders. Around 1983 Rawat tried to have all evidence of that time removed by ordering the destruction of all DLM published materials by his followers. Below are filmed excerpts from speeches Prem Rawat made in 1978 - 1980 at "Guru Puja, Holi or Hans Jayanti festivals". 'Puja' means worship and this festival was the annual highlight of Divine Light Mission activities. It was in the period 1977 to 1983 that Prem Rawat openly and continually propagated the myth of his divinity to his followers. He taught the concepts of himself as a unique Divine Being incarnated in the lineage of avatars that included his father and his guru. He claimed His Knowledge revealed God (the energy that is the source of the universe and life) and the only purpose of life was surrender to and worship of Guru Maharaj Ji (a word used for both the infinite God, the Creator and Rawat himself the God incarnated in human form.
During these years various Indian rituals and practices were promoted and practised:
- arti a song of praise to Rawat as the Divine Incarnation of God in a human body was sung twice daily by his followers
- charanamrit which involved devotees drinking the diluted water in which Prem Rawat's feet had been washed
- darshan involving being in his presence and each of his followers bowing down and touching or kissing his
- "Lotus Feet" as often as possible and
- pranaming which is lying on the ground before Rawat or a photograph of him and hopefully touching or kissing his feet;
- holy breath where Rawat would blow into each new devotee's right ear with his holy breath
- holi where his followers gathered annually to revel in ecstasy while being sprayed with coloured water from a giant high-powerd water pistol
- dancing where Rawat dressed as the god Krishna and half-naked would "dance" (shuffle around waving his arms) on stage in front of his adoring followers
- singing of bhajans which are Indian songs of extreme worship sung by his followers to him
- ashrams where devotees lived communally obeying rigid rules and timetables with all their finances except the minimum required to keep them alive going to Rawat personally or Divine Light Mission
- the continued use of altars to him in premie homes and
- photographs of Rawat or his feet were sold to his followers for use on these altars
- the writing and singing of songs in various genres dedicated to Rawat by various bands made up of devotees that presented idealised forms of devotion to Rawat
These rituals and practices were done regularly in communities throughout the "West" and were highlighted at 'festivals' where his followers were encouraged to gather in their thousands to hear his speeches and worship him (eg Guru Puja festivals held every July, 'puja' means 'worship'). Rawat preached that atendance at these festivals (later called 'events') was more important than maintaining regular employment which meant that the most dedicated followers invariably worked in low paid, low-skilled jobs despite nearly all of them coming from middle class backgrounds.
Because you are already in London. And if your boss is going to get mad at you or not mad at you, you're going to find that out on Monday. So as long as you've got Saturday and Sunday, you might as well enjoy yourself and get into satsang, service and meditation. And you can find out on Monday if he's really mad at you or not. But you'll have plenty of time for that. I see a couple of premies going like this (gesture) because their bosses are going to get mad at them for coming. It's all okay, so far the greatest Boss doesn't get mad at us, little bosses can always get mad at us! - London, England on Saturday, March 4, 1978
During this period his wife, Marolyn Rawat, nee Johnson newly christened as Durga Ji, and his Western "initiators" (the most dedicated of his followers) took an active role in the declaration of his divinity, the proselytisation of his religion and the inspiring of his followers. Publicly, this stopped in 1982-83.
Rawat's "Comeback" from the "Great Space-out" of 1976 began on the 10th December at his Malibu mansion birthday party and took flight on the 19th December, 1976 when Rawat took to the stage at a festival honouring his birthday and let the 3,000 premies there go wild in unrestrained scenes of ecstatic devotion for the first time that year with darshan and arti being sung as if they meant it. In fact, devotion to Rawat as the peak possible human experience has remained the central tenet of Rawatism since these years but in this period it was openly expressed both by Rawat and his followers after a year or two in which his administrators (fired or demoted for their mistakes) attempted to present themselves and him publicly in a restrained and non-divine manner.
"And I'd just like to talk a little bit about what this love really is. This love that we all have (see Boundless), that we all experience, that we all share, of course there is a distinction, there is one love is true love but maybe it's projected through the wrong lens, maybe the projector is right but the film is dirty and so you really cannot blame it on the projector. Maybe you are sincere but there are some loves that are just extension of mind but then there is the true love which is unselfish, which is pure, which is constant and that is the love that we wanna talk about that we wanna, we wanna share cause all other loves fail. They're there and then they go away, they're there and then they go away but this one love is not like that, it isn't like it is there and then it goes away, it is always there, it is always constant because it is true love. Because it is that thing, it is that perfection, it is that truth that we all seek."
Downton, Stoner and Parke expressed their surprise at the results of this festival. "During the Atlantic City program, a spontaneous feeling of devotion and surrender to the guru occurred, reviving the millennial atmosphere reminiscent of 1971-72, and including the beliefs surrounding his widely acclaimed divinity." - page 187, Sacred Journeys. Downton was too credulous and accepted premies' statements at face value without wondering at the source of their uniformity. Stoner and Parke who were also there wrote:
Most of the premies seemed sincere and rational. They appeared to be in control of their own lives and seemed to be achieving some measure of peace as a by-product of a lifestyle they feel is constructive and healthy. Yet one week later the Guru Maharaj Ji came to Atlantic City, New Jersey, and the same young people were there too. In their guru's presence they lost control, sobbed, swayed, and knelt to kiss his feet. They say he is their guru, not their God. The assembled devotees welcomed their master with frenzied screams, sobs, and outstretched arms. The young Indian's followers came one by one to bow before him and to kiss his feet. They heard the little guru tell them, "You cannot battle the mind. It is too complex, too sophisticated. You'll lose. To beat the mind you must ignore it." Our newfound friends were ecstatic, entranced - as though they were not the same people we'd visited a week earlier.
They found it hard to believe that the evidence of their eyes far outweighed the reasoned, circumspect accounts of maturity they'd been given beforehand.
And so the greatest Magician of all is here. So premies, the point is that if you want to watch the show and that's what we are here for, to watch the show why don't we open our eyes? Why don't we sort of wake up? Why don't we look at the stage, and watch the Greatest Magician perform his miracles: (applause cheers) every day, every second of the life that he does? Why are we so involved in our glass of water and crunching ice that we completely lose the perspective: Why did we come to the hall? Why are we sitting here: to watch this incredible performance of this incredible Magician.
Knowing that there were no reporters interested in what he said he released his wildest claims.
"If you have a Perfect Master you can't do anything but worship him every day of your life. You tell me, if you really have that Perfect Master in your life, what can you do except to worship him every day? Get up and worship him, pray, know, surrender. Every day of your life!" - Guru Puja Festival, London, England / June 21, 1979
"Because Guru Maharaj Ji can show that to us now in this lifetime while we are still alive. Guru Maharaj Ji can give us that love, Guru Maharaj Ji can give us that realisation now. We have to just let go to Guru Maharaj Ji, give ourselves to Guru Maharaj Ji, not in a theory, not in a song, not in an Arti that we sing every night. I give you my heart, for in you it will mellow, Maharaji my Lord, my life is your play. I mean those are pretty heavy duty statements, you know. You are my mother, you are my father. What, what, what are we saying? And yet do we even have an essence of meaning to it? What we sing is right, it's true, it is an expression of a devotee. This is what a devotee would understand of his Guru Maharaj Ji. That you are my all, he doesn't have to go into specifics about your brother, sister, mother, father, cousin, uncle, aunt. And yet in a very humble and beautiful way we are trying to express that you are my all, every relations, you are my all, you are above and beyond. You know, and really the whole essence of prayer is let me really give myself to you, (the song "Always There" joins in the soundtrack) let me surrender to you, you have come singing the glories of Guru Maharaj Ji is what Arti is all about. Oh Guru Maharaj Ji you are my father, you are my mother, you are friend. I see you in those respect, you need to teach me a lesson, you need to give me the fathering, you need to give me that mothering, you need to give me that support and yet you are my all, my Lord to me."
Durga Ji, Marolyn Rawat nee Johnson, crowns Prem Rawat who called himself Guru Maharaj Ji with the crown of Krishna and does pranam, lying full length on the floor before him and kissing his feet, to the shouts of "Bhole Shri Satguru Dev Maharaj Ki Jai" of the blissed-out premie audience.
Warning: This clip includes scenes of Prem Rawat dancing and some off-key singing
background crowd chanting: "Bhole Shri Satguru Dev Maharaj Ki Jai"
All Night Long
The only thing that I can feel within my heart to play
As long as there is air that I may breathe
Is the praises of my Lord, my everything to me
And the joy of merging in his feet
All night long, Let us stay with you Lord, All night long, Let us play with you Lord
All night long, Let us worship you Lord, All night long, Let us gaze at your Form
All night long, Let us sing to you Lord, All night long, Let us dance with you Lord
All night long, Till we're totally gone
It is said the ???? will always be with us to keep
But precious are the moments you are here
What for is this universe if your devotees wish
And to be with you each precious hour
This hour we have the chance to gaze upon your golden form
And slip beneath your precious Lotus Feet
The time we fill from now until eternity my Lord
And let this night with you never end
"Really experience Guru Maharaj Ji's Grace!"
Meditating on Your Love
The world stops when I look into your eyes
Always takes me by surprise
Feels so familiar, like I've already been there
To another world, so still, no place I'd rather be
Feel your gaze just melting me
Bringing me from all my fantasies
Just disappear, leaving me here
Meditating on your love
Me in my place
Meditating on your love
Me in your Grace
I'm riding on the rhythm of I love you
This is no place on earth that you're taking me to
But the heaven in your heart
Keeps me right where you are
So now, I managed to walk away from you
I don't know what drove me to
In a moment I'm miles away
Lost in the wild blue yonder
Is it any wonder
That you try with all your might
Just to keep me in your sight
Cause you know what's right for me
All through the day, all through the night
Meditating on your love
Makes life complete
Meditating on your love
You make life so sweet
I'm riding on the rhythm of I love you
This is no place on earth
"The level of Prem Rawat's incoherence and megalomania cannot be appreciated by viewing the short clips that have been selected to elucidate the most controversial points of his doctrines. The constraints of the Internet and copyright prohibit us from displaying his awfullness in it's true glory. However we have a few longer clips here from the Guru Puja 1979 festival to give you an idea.
Prem Rawat discusses the purchasing of Rolls-Royces
Prem Rawat discusses his devotees as permanent "Ugly Ducklings"
Prem Rawat discusses the meaninglessness of a non-premie's life
"To experience an experience that Guru Maharaj Ji wants to give us. You know it's very easy to get spaced out in this world. It's very easy to get lost in this world and it's very easy to forget there is somebody called a Saviour. And yet that's our greatest mistake, we forget. We forget that yes we can be helped, yes that we can be saved, yes that we do need to be saved We all really, really, really, really need to be saved. And without being saved in this world where are we going to be?" - July 25-27 1980
"Because the precious gift we have been given is incredible. It is upon which the universe is existent. It is upon which this entire human life depends on. It is what sustains us. It is what is everywhere. It is life, it is energy in the purest form, it is the real you and me. It is the Creator, it is what the moon dances on. It is what makes the sun shine. It is the essence of this entire existence wherever that existence is." - July 25-27 1980
"To get on my hands and knees and to beg, it feels so good. (shouting) It feels so good to beg. You know why. Because when we do get on our hands and knees we realise we had never for anything to give to anybody anyway. Born beggar. To beg the Ultimate One in our heart. To beg that Emperor for that solution in our heart. The most majestical thing that happens to a human being or can ever happen to a human being. To open myself up, me, to beg Him, a moment between me and the Ultimate Being. A moment for me to have with that Ultimate Thing, a personal audience (shouting) and I know that when I beg the Emperor is listening to me. (shouting) In this whole world the Creator of billions and billions and billions of souls is listening to me. The Sustainer, the Generator the Destroyer of this entire (long pause) thing, not just the world, above and beyond by His Grace I have captured a moment between me and Him and nothing stands in our way. It is complete, it is the Ultimate, it ie real and when I become like that in my heart then that Gift is given to me (shouting) a Gift which ia a part of Him, a Gift that's His, Him, He doesn't just give a third thing, He gives Himself." - July 25-27 1980
- Atlantic City, December 20, 1976
- 1977: A 12 city tour of the US and Europe: 4,500 in Denver, 6,500 in Miami, 10,500 in London, Rome November 8, 14,500
- PIP, p218 wealth based upon gifts
- Jun 26, 1978 fire, painted the trees green
- Marbella, Spain