Prem Rawat's (Maharaji) Promise of Bliss
Prem Rawat (Maharaji) claims he was directed by his father to bring the Knowledge to the world. However, despite the constant positive propaganda by his followers, he has not been a great success. He has only a small fraction of the number of his followers that he inherited from his father. There was extraordinary success in gaining new followers in the West in the years 1970 to 1973 while Indian Sant Mat concepts were central to Rawat and his followers' preaching. Numbers rose from 1 to as many as 20,000 committed followers in North America and Europe until growth halted in 1974. What was the cause of this incredible success? The strident claims that receiving Maharaji's Knowledge produced incredible bliss was made even more enticing because it promised instant gratification on initiation.
The early 1970s premies claimed that they were always "blissed out" - well almost always.
Anybody who was involved for any length of time would realise this wasn't true but anyone who was involved that long would probably already have been convinced it would be true - soon and if it didn't happen it was their own fault. Click here for a look at what he said about bliss - in his own words.
Young Rawat boasted the bliss was plain to see on the faces of his premies:
You will be able to see peace in this world on people's faces. This is one thing a London newspaper wrote, that if you see a well-dressed man who has got a glow on his face, if he's really shining, it means he's from Divine Light Mission. They have realized peace, and peace can't hide itself. It just comes out. And when everybody is going to realize it - Interview
Foss and Larkin explained Prem Rawat's Divine Catch 22 succinctly:
Guru Maharaj Ji, the Perfect Master, according to Mission theology, has come to reveal the Knowledge of meditation to suffering humanity; he was not obliged to do this, but as Perfect Master he has altruistically chosen freely to dispense his revelation and thereby shed his Grace upon all who ask for Truth with a guileless heart. The experience of bliss in practicing the meditation is a further manifestation of Grace. However, when bliss fails to manifest it is blamed on the premie, and the problem can be attributed to numerous possible causes: he is insufficiently dedicated, he is in his mind, he has not let go of his ego, he has "expectations" of "realizing the Knowledge" too quickly failing to "let go" and thereby make real progress on the spiritual path, and so forth. In short: if bliss is manifested, this is with Guru Maharaj Ji's Grace; if it is not, this is human failure.
The Guru Maharaj Ji Persona and Shtick Brings More Ridicule Than Rawat Can Handle
Despite terrible publicity over the failure of the Millenium festival, Rawat's greed and materialism, his marriage, his family and Indian followers rejecting him, problems within Divine Light Mission itself and general social concern over the proliferation of new cults there was continued though erratic growth through the 1970's. Rawat, himself, no longer received any publicity but his followers held nightly 'satsang' meetings and these attracted enough interest that numbers peaked around 25,000 by the early 1980's. It was claimed that over 20,000 people attended the Hans Jayanti festivals in 1978 & 1979 and it certainly was quite a crowd when I attended in 1978. Rawat made radical changes in 1982/83. He summarily closed the ashrams which had been his major financial source for more than a decade leaving the residents obliged to pay off any debts the ashram they were currently living in had acquired and ordered ("gave agya") that the nightly satsang meetings were to end and that his followers should no longer answer any questions about Himself or the Knowledge but to direct people to initiators and later to watch available videos of Rawat's speeches once these became commonly available. He also cancelled the publication of any magazines.
A New Push With A Lot Less Baggage
In 1985 he renamed his organisation, Elan Vital, and began to rebuild his following and reach out to recruit new followers with a bland teacher-of-meditation persona devoid of overt Hindu rituals. This was made possible by those of his long-term followers worshipping covertly and displaying their adoration financially rather then in wild cheering and kissing his feet. Donations and clapping was the new style that kept him in jets and international jaunts. One thing didn't change. Rawat still preached the possibility of bliss though over the decades his language grew more highfalutin and vague at the same time. He gave more stress in his speeches to the Catch 22 - well he had to really. The excited and enthusiastic youthful premies of 1970 were approaching middle age and the intense nightly confessional satsang meetings became boring occasional meetings listening to Rawat's speeches. There will always be the dissatisfied and "worried well" amongst us but there were now far more gurus, spiritual groups, 12 step programs, yoga and meditation teachers, inspirational speakers and counsellors eager to help. Many of them were slim, tall and beautiful and radiating health and vitality with glowing faces unlike Prem Rawat aka Maharaji and his PWiKs (People With Knowledge).
Prem Rawat Always Reiterates His Attractiveness And The Appeal of his Message To The "People of the World"
However these changes did not make Rawat or his Knowledge attractive to people through the 1980's and 1990's and, despite millions of dollars spent on Rawat, luxury hotels, residences and his executive jets for propagation, by the year 2000 he had fewer followers in the West than he had 20 years' earlier, numbers had probably halved despite 20 years of effort. His strategy to divert his students from thinking about this too closely seemed to be five pronged:
- Constantly, loudly & confidently proclaim to his devoted followers, the wonder & glory & bliss & uniqueness of His Knowledge and his incredible success in propagation, no matter what.
- Reiterate his own attractiveness and the attractiveness of his message to the "people of the world".
- Reiterate the pointlessness, lovelessness and joylessness of the lives of the "people of the world".
Prem Rawat Blames His Followers For The Failure Of His Mission To The "People of the World"
- Blame his followers for the failure of their practise of Knowledge to inspire them with the "clarity and joy" that would make for successful propagation.
- Blame all those people who reject him (the overwhelming majority) for their lack of "thirst". It's not his fault, human beings are just not good enough to recognise him.
"Knowledge works, look you mean, let's face it, Knowledge works. The Master when given that right environment does his thing and it's great. It all works."
The main, that is the main thing and if I can show people in their lives, that path, so that their lives too can be filled with bliss then that becomes my second duty, my second responsibility. Because I can, I can show them this path. I have no problems with this, I have no doubt about this, I can show people, I can bring bliss, joy in peoples' lives. There is this Knowledge and this is the true Knowledge, the true Knowledge. … This river of bliss doesn't come from another river on the outside. This bliss, this bliss is from the ocean of Knowledge and the ocean of Knowledge is the most incredible ocean, the most important and precious ocean." - 1999
"So what do you know? You know about being happy how you need that in this life. You know that. You know how you need the joy in this life. You know that. You know how contentment is important to you, you know that. You know that you dislike sadness, you know that. These are the simple rules that are yours, not somebody else's. To be content, to be in that joy, to be in that happiness. What kind of happiness? Not the kind that is created but the kind that dwells in the heart of every human being on the face of this earth. The joy that already is that that doesn't need to be brought from somewhere else. The process of awakening is not a process of creation. You don't have to create it. Awakening is awakening to that which already is. Then with this heart awakened to the possibility of being fulfilled. Then in this life know that you can be fulfilled. Know in this life know that you can be content and that is the simplest of request that has always been." - 1998
"And this one thing called Knowledge, this one thing called the Master, this one thing called the student, this beautiful flower, this beautiful process of growth, this beautiful process of flowering. This Knowledge, this connection, that's what this is all about. When the Master gives, be ready to take. That's what a good student is, the Master gives, the student takes. The Master has to trust the student and the student has to trust the master. This is, this is their relationship. That's all they have. it is so important that each one of you you have to have the connection with the Master. The trust is the most beautiful, the most delicate, indeed very delicate, the trust is the most beautiful connection between a Master and a student. Indeed trust is the most beautiful connection between anybody. But between a Master and a student it can be glorious. And what does the Master tell you? What, what does the Master tell you? What does Maharaji tell you? Be fullfilled, be happy, be in that joy. Then I accept, I understand, because that's what I want too. Cause the student doesn't have any other wish than to be content, than to be in that joy. Then the student and the master both agree there is a union." - 1998
And that is the only place where the real love resides.
The only place.
And that is the place where the Master comes to take you to.
And the magic happens again and again and again on the face of this earth.
There is one that brings the promise alive.
There is one that brings out the cry of the heart.
This clip shows a flower unfolding and colorizing and Rawat (with moustache) walking while his speech is voiced over.
"And those who accepted the challenge of being a part of that drama
Of being a part, not just in the audience but being a part of that beautiful play
Have rejoiced, again and again and again
That's the opportunity that is being presented
How beautiful to be a part of it." - 2000
This picture shows a "darshan line" at Ivory's Rock Conference Centre, Rawat's cult compound in Australia in the mid 1990's. Bowing before and kissing the Feet of the Master is something that has remained a constant amongst Rawat's followers though, since 1983, only where the public and the media cannot see it.
"So what is the blessing for a human being. Of course we've talked about life, we've talked about that breath, we've talked about this existence and yes they're all blessings.
But there is another wonderful blessing and that blessing is the Master.
Time begins to dance, understanding begins to come, darkness is replaced with light, doubt replaced with clarity, confusion replaced with understanding, sadness replaced with joy." - 1996
Open your heart and begin to accept the gift your Creator gave you. Accept because unless you accept the gift, unless you accept the gift, there will be no gratitude and unless you have gratitude, there will be no bliss. Accept the gift that has already been given and let your heart be filled with gratitude and then the joy of the universe, the bliss of the universe will come pouring inside of you. That's the key, that's the key. Be and feel. Feel the magic, the magic of this Knowledge, the magic of this life. The magic of that thing that has allowed you to be here today. The magic, something so powerful so powerful that it has allowed you to be here wanting, wanting that precious gift. That's powerful, very powerful. (music) Be in this moment and let your heart soak it. I'm here to give, be there to receive." - 1994
"Knowledge is no more than a key, no more than a mirror that can open that desire and allow us to unfold our wings and truly fly. No more than a mirror that can allow us to see who we truly are, appreciate and fall in love with this life again and again and again. And allow our hearts to be filled with gratitude for what we have and then and only then do you feel really, really good. Just that one certain special way." - 1991
"My friends I must share this with you, I travel a lot, I go to a lot of places, I do a lot of things, but there is nothing like Knowledge, nothing, abso-lute-ly nothing. Anywhere from coast to coast, from any corner of the world to any corner of the world you wanna pick on. This Knowledge, human beings, accepting, understanding and knowing in their own hearts the beauty of the Knowledge is the only thing that's really radical." - 1989
So I just, you know, for me I just see a beautiful direction, beautiful direction. More people are, are receiving this experience
than they ever have, ever! And enjoying it and that's it, that's what I want. I want people to enjoy this and uh to bring that enjoyment in peoples' lives, to bring that beauty in peoples' lives so they can witness it,
that's why I do what I do. No other reasons and it's a beautiful reasons. Cause it makes me very happy, very happy. - 1989
It's difficult to know if Rawat was lying or if he really believed that in 1989 "more people are, are receiving this experience than they ever have". By 1989 his organisation in India, Raj Vidya Kender, may have been rebuilt to the point where many Indians were being initiated but numbers could not compare with the millions of followers he claimed in the early 1970's initiated by his father.
"And I think the magic of the whole thing is that I'm alive and they're alive, that we can learn from each other, we can grow, we can experience and that when there is a teacher who can teach, who can show, this is an incredible interaction, the most human interaction there can be and the most precious interaction because it is of love, it is of growth and because we are alive and because we are human beings this beautiful, magical thing has been made available to us that somebody can come and somebody can teach and somebody can make us grow and I think it's wonderful." - 1989
"Well I think devotion to me always has meant and always will mean, a love. But a very different kind of love most of the other kind of loves we are so boring (born?), it's physically love, family love, this, all
this kind of love but then there is another kind of love where I love you and you love me not because, there is no becauses in it, there is no qualification, it exists, it's a feeling, it's a tie, it's a bond without having
anything to bind the bond together, that's devotion and to me that's what it's always meant, and that kind of devotion, to have, to feel, to enjoy, it's a gift, it's the most precious gift and that we can feel it, it's incredible, that we can have it, what can I say?" - 1989
The tune playing on the soundtrack is "Teach Me Devotion".
"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 anything to give to anybody, anyway. Born beggar. To beg the Ultimate One in our hearts. To beg that Emperor for that solution in our hearts. 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 is real and when I become like that in my heart, I beg, then that Gift is given to me (shouting) a Gift which is a part of Him, a Gift that's His, Him, He doesn't just give a third thing, He gives Himself." - 1980
"Guru Maharaj Ji comes again and again and says 'Wait, there's nothing here! Let's go. Let's go my place. Let's go to my world. Where you can live, you can really live, where you can really experience, where you can be away from doubt.'"
"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." - 1979