Did Prem Rawat Say "I Am God"?
There is little doubt that when Prem Rawat first came to the West he was publicised by his followers as a God-like, divine figure. They acclaimed the tubby teenager as the "Lord of the Universe" and countless times they sang to Him: "Your glory fills the world," "Heavenly hosts sing your praises" and that nectar from His Lotus Feet cleans us of our sins and he sat there listening and smiling. However over the past decades Rawat and his current followers and organisations have been stating that he did not claim to be God and his exalted status in the eyes of his followers was a mistake caused by the influence of "Indian ideas" mainly promulgated by his family and the Indian "mahatmas." If so, why didn't he explain the truth to them then?
A devotee of Maharaji made the following argument claiming that this proved that Prem Rawat stated categorically that he wasn't God. He provided the following quotes from some of Rawat's speeches claiming that they were unequivocal, unambiguous, crystal clear statements that Prem Rawat wasn't/isn't God:
- "What is God? You don't know what God is. God cannot be a human being. God is Light; God is power. God cannot talk." - Living Master September 1971, Toronto.
- 1971 - "People think God is a man. People think God has got ears, nose, teeth and he rises daily in the morning, brushes his teeth and washes his mouth. And he is an old man and he has a beard. All these things people think. But no, God is energy. God is perfect and pure energy". - Satguru has Come and Indian Sunrise
- 1972 - People ask, "Do you say that you are God?" I say, "No, I am not God. … I don't want to be God." But what I do want to be is a humble servant of God so that I can teach people this Knowledge, so that I can give people this gospel of peace, love and Truth. That's all I want to do. - Johannesburg, South Africa, 2 May 1972
- 1972 - "people have been claiming me as God or as Jesus or so on, and many television people have been asking this question, and this is an interesting question of course. I thought maybe you will interested in the answer. I am not Jesus and I am not God or so on, but I am just a humble servant of God, and I am preaching this Knowledge, and it's ideal of humanity. I don't claim myself to be God. I don't claim myself to be something like that, but I can claim I can show you God". - Montrose, Colorado, 25 July 1972
- 1973 - "When I was born, God existed. But I never knew Him. I just never knew Him until Guru Maharaj Ji came into my life, till Guru Maharaj Ji came in my way, and showed me and revealed me that secret. And the day he did that, there it was, I knew God". Hans Jayanti, New Delhi, 1972
- That is why that power manifests itself into a body, into the Perfect Master. The Perfect Master comes and removes all the darkness, and brings the supreme Light into the world. Living Master September 1971, Toronto.
- We have to find this Word by a teacher, by a guide--a guide who is perfect and who can teach this perfect knowledge to us, a perfect guide who can guide us. - 1971 Indian Sunrise
- Now in the same way, an age of darkness is again here and the Perfect One has come on Earth again to plant the seed of Truth. … So how are we going to recognize God if He comes on the Earth? Johannesburg, 1972
- But no, God has manifested Himself, because if He manifested Himself after one year, it would be too late. Montrose, Colorado, 25 July 1972
It's not a difficult concept to understand. Reporters with minimal interest in Prem Rawat grasped the idea easily. You can even use logic. Prem Rawat says "my Knowledge is God". Prem Rawat says he is He is Knowledge. ergo Prem Rawat is God.
He explained it in a very simple way as well so anyone could understand:
When that Perfect Master comes in this world and you give an excuse and you have a reason – I don't care what that reason is, it's wrong. How can you justify, in that sense, that every time the Perfect Master has come, people have been believing in God? And because they have made all excuse of believing in God so much, they have failed to recognize, to see, the Master. That's wrong. Even though it is what it is, it's wrong, because that God is not up there anymore. And when that God comes down and you look up, well, obviously you're making a mistake.
Prem Rawat has never written a book or clearly and concisely defined his concepts. Virtually all his teachings have been imparted in speeches that are mainly extemperanus though there is considerable repetition. Quotes taken out of context can be bandied about and prove nothing without an overview of his teachings. In Prem Rawat's teachings "God is energy," it cannot be created and cannot be destroyed and God is the power that creates the universe, sustains it and destroys it when appropriate and this has been going on since time immemorial. A spark of that energy exists within inside each human being and is the source of life, the energy keeping you alive and the Élan Vital though it cannot be found by mere scientists. The purpose of each human life is to return to that energy and as humans are controlled by their Minds and are sunk in illusion, the lineage (parampara) of Perfect Masters or Masters or Guru Maharaj Jis or Satgurus incarnate, manifest, come into this world or are embodied whenever necessary (which is all the time) to teach humans the Knowledge and to save them. Those verbs are self-explanatory and Rawat also talks about God which is formless and God with a form ie with a human body. Prem Rawat has never exactly defined how this identity of God, the infinite eternal power and the incarnation as a human being occurs and is maintained but then it is a very difficult thing to explain and understand and as far as I know he hasn't tried. Countless thousands of human beings have already been killed trying to agree on this very topic. Among the past Masters are Ram, Krishna, Jesus, Mohammed and Prem Rawat's father, Hans Rawat. Rawat said that Guru Maharaj Ji (The Revealer of Light and Ultimate Ruler) could just appear as a giant disembodied head in the clouds and appear to all human beings at once and order them to receive and practise Knowledge or go to hell but he has never done that and never will because that's just the way it is. Below are lots of excerpts from his speeches carefully sorted according to topic but I also like this quirky little list.
The following links are to collections of his teachings about his divinity (ergh His Divinity)- in His own words:
Rawat also said different things depending on the audience to which he was talking. When speaking to the media or to audiences not composed of his followers he usually said he didn't claim to be a Messiah or prophet but only a humble servant of God. He explained to his followers that Perfect Masters had reasons for being born but that they didn't like to explicitly state they were the Perfect Master even though he said he was the Perfect Master many times:
But something that is perfect will never have to express itself, because it's perfect by itself. To whom - to whom will it express? To whom will it go and say, "Well, here I am, perfectness. Realize me; I am the perfectness." So, this is the reason that always why Perfect Master is born into this world. To actually make us - He doesn't come and say, "Well, I am the Perfect Master." He doesn't come and say, "I am this" or "I am that." Because when even Jesus Christ was asked - you know? - it's like, He said, "I am the humble servant." He is the humble servant. He was the one who was like "Son of God", and He came here - San Francisco California, February 9 1974
We can see from the following quotes that Rawat was not consistent in his claims and made contradictory statements:
"And we must go to this Perfect Master who comes to this Earth just to help us. I don't claim myself to be any Perfect Master or to be God or to be anything like that. I just claim to be a humble servant" - Miami Beach Florida, June 16 1972
interviewer: "How would you describe yourself? As a prophet, or a son of God, or what?" Guru Maharaj Ji: "As a Perfect Master." - Sydney Australia, October 1972
They come to me and say, "Why do you say you are God?" "Why do you say you are Perfect Master?" I just tell them, "Are you having daydreams these days?" I don't declare myself to be a Perfect Master. - Denver Colorado, June 26 1973
And as a matter of fact, I am the Perfect Master because I can reveal them this peace." - Guru Puja festival, Alexandra Palace London, July 13 1973
However to the right audience he often spoke of his divinity and unique power and of his incarnation:
So who is Guru? When God Himself incarnates in this body, He is called Guru - Swiss Alps Festival, 26 August 1972
When God takes human form He is Perfect Master. Perfect. Because, except for God, nobody's perfect. So when He is the Perfect Master, He is Himself. - Denver Ashram, Colorado, 18 September 1971
His father wrote in his book "Hans Yog Prakash" that "We should understand that Guru is the most powerful manifestation of the Lord."
There were times when Rawat got a bit carried away and said things that could be construed as an overt admission of his divinity. In these cases his followers always erupted with "Bolie Shris" and cheering. Some of these moments are recorded here.
The were occasions when Prem Rawat said he wasn't God and in those he was referring to 'God' as infinite formless energy. If you actually read even some of the hundreds of transcripts of his speeches you would see that these are red herrings. There were many times he actually claimed to be the incarnation of God in a human body or Perfect Master in exactly the same way as Jesus, Krishna, Ram etc were Perfect Masters. The list below links to hundreds of quotes from his speeches where his teachings on these subjects are specified though it is not always possible to separate them into discrete categories:
Renowned and respected academics of religion reported the closing of the ashrams and that his followers had been instructed to no longer worship him as God. They are unsure whether he simply encouraged the belief that he was no longer to be worshipped as God or that he insisted upon it. This does beg the question as to how you can resign from being God but it does confirm that he once was worshipped as God by his followers, worship he had not formerly discouraged.
Newspaper articles referring to Prem Rawat as God:
- A little earthy problem for the Divine Guru 1972
- Why a God kept me waiting 1972
- Guru Ji Superstar
- The Mini Guru THE STARS AND STRIPSE, Saturday, February 3, 1973
- The 'boy god' with a taste for ice cream Daily Mail, Thursday, July 12, 1973
- God is in his astrodome, all's right with the world Village Voice, Nov 22, 1973
- Child God Remains Humble in Face of a Pie The Detroit Free Press Published: August, 1973
- Guru's Followers Cheer 'Millenium' in Festivities at Astrodome The New York Times November 12, 1973
- SPECIAL EVENTS: LIVING GOD April 1, 1978 The Galveston Daily News
Even journalists with little interest in Prem Rawat quickly understood he taught he was God Incarnated in a human body.
- Guru Sect Told To Show Accounts:
The mission's spiritual head is the 15-year-old Guru Maharaj Ji, "the Perfect Master," whose disciples believe he is the living incarnation of God and whose followers claim he has, given them direct experience of God.
- The Harvard Crimson April 6 1973:
According to his followers, Maharaj Ji is the last of a line of Spiritual Masters which has seen such past greats as Moses, Buddha, Krishna, Jesus and Mohammed. He is the highest manifestation of God incarnate; yet each individual on earth has portions of Godhood within.
- The TIMES - September 4, 1973:
Wasn't there, I wondered, something incompatible between a god incarnate - as the 6,000,000 Divine Light followers regard the Guru - and an ulcer?
- The Sydney Morning Herald - Nov 16, 1973:
Some members accept that Jesus Christ was indeed the Son of God but that Guru Maharaj Ji is the literal second coming. Many followers believe categorically that the guru is God, but an earthly embodiment in a form open to permanent reincarnation. When (or if) he dies, his powers will be passed on, they believe, probably to someone nominated by the guru in advance.
- United Press International, October 19, 1979:
MIAMI Fla. (UPI) - His followers call him "God on earth" but they don't seem to know where on earth he is.
- Hinduism Today - 6th October, 1983:
The quasi-Vaishnava theme Maharaj Ji carries forward places much emphasis on seeing the Guru as God incarnate, the avatar of the age, as his father taught before him and carefully set down in his book, Hans Yog Prakash.