April Fool: Prem Rawat Disowned, Disinherited and Deposed
On April 1 1975, Prem Rawat's mother, Mata Ji, announced in a press conference that she had deposed her youngest son as the Guru Maharaj Ji. It is uncertain whether she knew this was traditionally known as April Fools' Day in the West. He retorted that no-one can depose the Lord of the Universe, mother or not. Prem Rawat, aka Guru Maharaj Ji was also disparaged, disowned, disinherited and deposed by the Indian Divine Light Mission. Prem Rawat has tried to explain this away as his hidebound Hindu mother's anger at his non-traditional marriage.
However, she made it clear in newspaper interviews that it was caused by her youngest son's "playboy" behaviour which included drunkeness, marijuana smoking, overly luxurious living, eating meat and excessive (for a Satguru) lust for sex. These accusations were later confirmed by close followers though they were kept secret from his followers at the time.
So Who's Stupid Now?
Rawat attempted to gain control of the Indian organisation through the courts but his father's senior mahatmas and DLM administrators led by the redoubtable Prof. C. L. Tandon won the important court cases to retain control of his father's property and the hearts of the followers.
Rawat had already seen the future blowing in the wind and had announced the downgrading of his Holy Family's divinity to the Divine Light Mission Western premies, sort of, nearly a year before on May 9, 1974 when this letter was published.
He was busy creating a new less holy Holy Family.
The family business went on with two opposing branches. Guru Maharaj Ji continued in the West playing a heavily Indian style role until the early 1980s when he renamed himself just Maharaji or Prem Rawat. His attempts to go his own way based on his personality, wisdoma nd charisma have not been successful though he has continued to hold the loyalty of a rump of his 1970s recruitment. In India it is still a traditional Godman family business with wealth, political and social power using modern techology. Hans Rawat's eldest son, Satpal Maharaj, has continued in the way pioneered by his father,
This was more than a family dispute. The Head of the Indian "Divine Light Mission," Professor C.L. Tandon, who had been Prem Rawat's father's secretary and devoted follower also travelled to the U.S.A. twice to see the young Maharaji but was appalled to see that "night clubs, illicit relations and liquor" were routine for the young Prem Rawat and Professor Tandon was instrumental in removing him as the Satguru and won the legal judgements. Astonishingly, Tandon was still alive in 2017.
Mata Ji said that his dismissal was caused by his drunkeness, marijuana smoking, overly luxurious living, meat eating and excessive (for a Satguru) lust for sex. Since getting out from his mother's thumb that is exactly what Prem had been doing. If he had bothered to sort out his legal position beforehand none of these problems would have arisen. His father's senior mahatma, Mahatma Satyanand, and over 99% of the mahatmas rejected the 18 year old Prem Rawat who refused to publicly rebut his mother's charges so at least he didn't perjure himself that time.
In India, Mata Ji crowned Bal Bhagwan Ji (now named Satpal Maharaj) as the new Satguru. The family business was hardly effected. Prem Rawat's brief and childish role as Lord of the Universe was never mentioned again. Prem Rawat really only wants to live in indolent luxury and fly expensive jet aeroplanes so it didn't work out too badly for him.
In the West the family split caused terrible publicity which helped end DLM's expansion and caused distress and disruption amongst the premies. Decades later in the Élan Vital video 'Passages', this distress and was finally admitted.
Most of the Indian premies and virtually all of the mahatmas obeyed Mata Ji and Bal Bhagwan Ji (who, after a protracted court case, retained ownership of the name and property of Divine Light Mission in India). John Hampton, one of Rawat's closest disciples who accompanied him to India in 1975 reported that only one mahatma "held an ashram for Maharaji" (Voice of Peace website, downloaded on 10th December, 2006 archived on the Wayback Machine). In a report published in the Golden Age magazine in 1975 it was reported that there were in fact, 2 in Bihar, the poorest and what had been the most premie populous state in India where the premies were "simple people who have received little or no education". The young Maharaji had said the Indian premies "are lost in illusion" in his famous "Peace Bomb" Satsang also published on the net here and certainly either he was or they were. The young Western premies either rejected both sides or accepted they were witnessing a Lila - literally 'game of God'.
(DEL-1) LUCKNOW, India, April 14 --DISOWNED GURU MEETS PRESS--Guru Maharaj Ji, left, talks with members of the press Sunday in Lucknow during his first public appearance since his dismissal as leader of the Divine Light Mission a couple of weeks ago. Shri Mataji, Holy Mother of the church and natural mother of the young guru, disowned her youngest son, accusing him of becoming a playboy and unfit to head the church since his move to the United States. She named another son to become new guru of the movement. (AP WIREPHOTO) (ms21420stUrrr) 1975
Prem Rawat never forgave his mother and elder brother and would make sneering remarks about them when in India without however mentioning their names.
The golden opportunity that has been given to you has to be understood fully well. Just see, when we remember the old happenings today, so many things come to our mind. Those old memories are being revived before you in reality. They are living experiences now. There are people who turned manmats (devotee of mind) and went away, though I haven't seen myself, but people say that they have now become very thin and feeble, as if they have come directly out of their graves. And that is natural.
I have seen a lot of such "distinguished" persons, the so-called 'devotees' who were regarded as the crest jewel, the ideal ones, 'a model of devotion', 'a living personification of a devotee in this kaliyuga.' And I have seen such devotees disappearing in the manner you will hardly believe: "Oh, has he gone!" It was not merely a disappearance but an amazing phenomenon. Just now they are here before you and in another moment they are nowhere. I mean, sort of a miracle they performed. They were such persons who preached to other people that they should never be confused but they themselves got confused. They pressed people to remain firm and constant devotees of Guru Maharaji, that their devotion should be unceasing and unimpaired, but they themselves vanished altogether. Such so-called epitome of devotion who exhorted loudly by microphones on big loudspeakers that the devotion to Guru Maharaji must be unbreakable, ceaseless, but their own devotion proved to be such a mirage that they themselves became untraceable after sometime. Nobody knows whether they are even alive or not, and if alive where they are at present. Such devotees I have seen myself.
Mata Ji in happier days with her pudgy young son, who she then claimed was the living Perfect Master, Prem Rawat.
Resources & References:
- Guru Maharaj Ji is just a "spiritually imperfect" playboy The New York Times, April 2, 1975
- Guru's mother rejects him as religion chief Long Beach, Calif., Wed., April. 2, 1975 INDEPENDENT (AM)
- In The BEE Today THE MODESTO BEE AND NEWS-HERALD Wednesday, April 2, 1975
- Guru denounced by mother as a playboy THE TIMES Wednesday April 2 1975
- Guru Tries to Take Control of Mission The Ruston Daily Leader - Wednesday, April 9, 1975
- Guru won't confront mother Mon., April 14, 1975 GREELEY (Colo.) TRIBUNE
- Gurus are born and not made The New York Times, April 15, 1975
- Once a Guru, Always … He Thinks The Washington Post, April 15, 1975
- Disowned guru meets press GREELEY (Colo.) TRIBUNE, Tues., April 15, 1975
- Gurus Told to Settle Dispute Out of Court PRESS-TELEGRAM (PM) Long Beach, Calif., Fri., May 23, 1975
- Scolding the 17-year-old Guru Maharaj Ji The New York Times, May 24, 1975
- Rival Gurus Drop Suits, But Continue Feud Sat., May 24, 1975 The CHARLESTON GAZETTE
- Rival gurus scolded by judge THE TIMES Saturday May 24 1975
- Guru won't return to India, aide says Wed., June 18, 1975 GREELEY (Colo.) TRIBUNE
- the Guru Maharaj Ji gave himself a Father's Day party The New York Times, May 22, 1975
- Guru disowned by mother because he liked to live it up UPI: THE VALLEY INDEPENDENT, Saturday Feb 7, 1976
- One Lord Too Many Time magazine, Monday, Apr. 28, 1975
- DLM official letters to ashrams "explaining" the family break-up.