Prem Rawat's "Evolution video" - 1989
This video, titled 'Evolution', © ILC (International Learning Center) production, was released in 1989. It is part of a series that includes Birthday Gift - 1988", "Windows In Time - 1989", "I Have This Knowledge - 1996", "Remembrance - 1996", Storyteller - 1997" and "Passages - 2001" that attempt to show an extremely upbeat version of Rawat's early career in the West and a coherent evolution of his career and teachings while allowing his devotees watching it to briefly relive their youth during the exciting, overtly divine and devotional, optimistic and successful public phase of his career. It is certainly not an accurate picture of the history of Rawat's life and career but it is an accurate picture of how he wanted that presented in 1989 within the constraints of available archival film.
It contains a significant amount of film of the Indian Divine Light Mission before or at the time the first Westerners became involved which demonstrates the extent of the organisation and followers that Hans Rawat had created during his 35 years of recruitment. The young Prem Pal Singh Rawat was able to use the "spiritual legitimacy" and resources of his father's legacy to kickstart his initial Western success before the growth spluttered out in a welter of bad publicity and Rawat's incompetence.
It begins with a street scene, Hans Rawat (Shri Hans Ji Maharaj) the self-proclaimed Perfect Master (Satguru) leads a crowd of thousands with his three eldest sons, two of whom have condemned their youngest brother, Prem Rawat, as a playboy, a drunkard and completely unworthy to be a Master. They and his mother have been edited out of as much of the old Indian Divine Light Mission footage as is possible. Prem Rawat does not mention his father on his web sites or in his public speeches but the father created the following that gave his son the resources for the initial Western success of Divine Light Mission. Prem Rawat claims his father passed on the mantle of self-proclaimed Perfect Master to him through physical appearances to him after Hans' death and through a voice in the 6 year old Prems' head that only he heard. In 1975 when his mother, elder brothers and the President of DLM, India disowned, disinherited and deposed him, he stated that it was not possible to fire a self-proclaimed Perfect Master for any reason.
It continues with scenes of Hans Rawat the former self-proclaimed Perfect Master (Satguru) and Prem, his youngest son and inheritor of his titles and supposed powers, in the period before Hans' death.
By the 1990's Prem Rawat had begun to reminisce about his childhood. He remembered 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 the Perfect Master of the time without the young Rawat as a shill. At other times, he said that his father could raise a crowd without any help but at other times that it always needed the followers as well. This is a typical example of the contradictions in Rawat's "teachings".
Teenage Prem Rawat then calling himself Guru Maharaj Ji:
"Well actually it is not a responsibility so it was not a … I couldn't say it was a burden on me because this is a thing that we all know within inside of us. Learning 'a','b','c','d' is not a hard job, you know it, you know, once you get it, someone teaches it to you, you know it. Same way, when I was revealed this Knowledge, I understood it within my heart and now it very easy for me to go to everyone and preach this Knowledge to them, tell this Knowledge to them which is within our hearts.
And then when he left this job for me I started going to places and preaching this Knowledge to them and after that I came on my vacations, I came to England just for a visit, just to see what, what goes on in these countries, you know."
On his first visits to the UK and the USA the young Prem Rawat still spoke with a heavy Indian accent, appeared to use some sort of oil in his hair and was seriously "uncool". Over the following years he made strenuous efforts to update his image by dropping the hair oil, the Indian clothes on most occasions, growing his hair longer and continuing to try to grow a moustache. The moustache was a long time coming and the early chubbiness metamorphosed into serious, mature obesity.
Scenes of the young Master Prem, who has inherited his father's role and to a growing extent his power and authority begins to enjoy being pampered and worshipped as the Child God of the Satguru Maharaji, the Perfect Spiritual Master, the Light of the World and Perfect Lord of Love, the Prince of Peace and Lord of the Universe and the Perfect Master who is Greater Than God.
The image to the right is a capture of a very short scene which includes Prem Rawat's mother when she first believed he had inherited her husband's role as Perfect Master before his drunkeness, drug taking and materialism forced her and C. L. Tandon the President of Divine Light Mission, India to replace him as the Satguru of her dead husband's Indian followers and organisation. This decision was upheld by the Indian courts after Prem Rawat failed in his legal action to retrieve his position. Mahatmas Gurucharanand and Sampuranand and Rawat's bodyguard, Bihari Singh of the waxed moustache, were nearly always in the picture in his childhood.
The home movies continue, Rawat is led around on a horse, but is already demonstrating his love for technology. He drives a car around despite barely seeing out the windscreen.
It was reported by early western devotees that he used blocks of wood attached to the the foot pedals so he could reach them. There is a short scene of
his mother, Mata Ji, happy in a crowd.
He attends a Catholic boys's school, St Joseph's Academy but it is obvious from his later speeches that he did not enjoy his schooling. He paddles in a stream but while he was not academically inclined he was also not a physically active child, did not play sports or even romp around at school breaks. This is pretty obvious by his increasing pudginess in these home movies.
Scenes from a large Indian festival with what appears to be Western devotees riding on an elephant and sitting at the front of the crowd. Western devotees are very important for successful Indian Godmen. They provide prestige and significant financial support despite their much smaller numbers though it's unlikely Rawat's first hippie followers who found Divine Light Mission in India provided much money.