A Pictorial History of Prem Rawat: Goodbye Guru Maharaj Ji
In 1982/3 Prem Rawat did a sudden about face. He ordered all DLM media to be destroyed and in 1983 * he ordered the ashrams closed, the nightly satsang meetings to cease. He changed his name, his titles, his organisation, his public persona, his public teachings and even his hairstyle. He ordered his followers destroy all records of his career so far. He was pretty well forgotten by then anyway so he apparently thought he would start again with a clean slate. Divine Light Mission was now Élan Vital.
One day in 1982 or 83 my partner came home from a "satsang weekend" in Brisbane and told me we had to destroy all the Divine Light Mission publications and tapes and pictures of Guru Maharaj Ji we had. She well knew that while I meditated and occasionally attended satsang meetings it had been a few years since I had any belief in the guru. "No way. These will be historical documents in 20 years" I said. So I packed everything I could find into a tea chest and put it into a storage cupboard and went for a surf.
When I got back the tea chest was in the backyard broken and burnt and some roast potatoes in the coals were cooling down nicely. The total amount of DLM publications destroyed all over the world must have been enormous. Since 1990 I have gathered a fair collection (see details) of the left overs only partly because of my anger that afternoon.
All DLM English language publications were mostly by and about Prem Rawat but from 1977 this became total. When Divine Light Mission became Élan Vital and Guru Maharaj Ji became Prem Rawat or Maharaji this didn't change. He remained the 100% focus and content provider. Only the clothes and the words and the media altered.
Prem Rawat Deletes His History, Removes His Raison d'Être
When the young Prem Rawat arrived in the West he brought a story with him, a story with a history across cultures, a story similar to many others used by other people claiming spiritual authority. His was individually tailored for his circumstances and background and included the important and controversial part that all others claiming this authority in the world at that time were false. Rawat was the only true guru. He gave reasons why he was unique and even more powerful than all the true bona fide Perfect Masters who had come before him and why he alone could teach the only Knowledge that provided real Truth, Peace and Worship.
He jettisoned this story and then continued on as if he just happened to have that power and Knowledge and used the fact of his devoted following as his validating authority.
There Were Times He Denied His Past But Mostly He Ignored It. Without It He Would Be At Best a Mechanic Back in Hardwar
You Can't Do Anything But Worship Your Guru, Worship Your Perfect Master … Or Not
"If you have a guru. 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 our life!" - Guru Puja festival, Lingfield, England, 21st June 1979
… call it worship or you don't call it you see see that's irrelevant it's not a matter of they worship me or I seek their worship, I just seek their love, that's all I want. I want them to love me and I want to love them (applause) and if not, it's not an accident because it's love you see maybe you see it it in terms of worship and if they're doing it because they think they have to worship me then obviously I don't have any necessity for that but what ever they do and they do it out of the pure and sincere love then I love them and they love me and that's where it is - Washington DC, 26 Novemeber 1981
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. - Hollywood in Florida, 10th April 1980
In his memoire, "Without the Guru" Mike Finch a long-time inner-circle premie writes "As it turned out, the ashrams as an institution were in their death throes, and were formally abandoned by Maharaji a year later in 1983. In those final two years, the ashrams went through a roller coaster ride, with every now and then a purge where the initiators came through and screened out those who weere not dedicated to that lifestyle. But many people could see the writing on the wall, and the ashrams were inhabited by a strange mixture of diehards who clung to the letter of the Ashram Manual, freewheelers who saw through it as a corrupt charade and acted accordingly, and those like myself, who still thought, however chaotic everything was, that Maharaji was still in charge, and that all would come out right if we just surrendered to him. … Finally, in late 1983 the ashrams closed. For those still in the ashram at the time, there were two predominant feelings - release and betrayal.