Prem Rawat's "Knowledge" aka Self Knowledge
In the Beginning … The two absolutely basic points that differentiate the Rawat Family business from their competitors is:
- The head of the family is the unique Perfect Master (Satguru) who is the only person/divine being who can teach and empower the Knowledge
- The system of meditation (the Knowledge) the Rawat's teach when practiced according to the Perfect Master's instructions is the only method of true happiness and/or God Realisation available to human beings on this planet
In the interests of survival, success and politeness these two basic points may be emphasised or not or spoken of in euphemisms. The Knowledge was absolutely useless to the family unless they could find people willing to try the product, like it and express their gratitude materially. So the most important activity possible was to Spread This Knowledge.
Knowledge is a Way of Life That Includes a System Of Meditation
From around 1990 Prem Rawat "de-emphasised" use of the term 'meditation' in respect to the "Techniques of Knowledge" that he 'reveals' in an attempt to distance himself further in public perception from other people teaching meditation. Prem Rawat claims to offer a way called 'Knowledge' of four practical techniques that enable a person to turn their attention inside to discover and experience the peace that resides within. Despite the vague language, there is no doubt that he does teach a form of meditation and that is how his "Knowledge" was presented for decades and how his father and predecessor also described it. Rawat never discusses just how these techniques can enable a person to turn their attention 'inside' or why using them could make you feel more peaceful than just relaxing. He says little or nothing specific about them and provides no rationale for them. Maharaji's Meditation Techniques were given new names and the techniques were altered slightly but the four are basically the same as his father taught though he does not mention his parents and the controversial aspects of his past life.
Prem Rawat has altered the terminology he uses to describe himself and his teachings that he wishes his followers to use many times in the last 45 years. However the basic, underlying tenets of his public teaching have remained unchanged.
- His Knowledge is a method to contact the source of life within each human being
- There are four physical methods of contacting this Élan Vital in this Knowledge
- He is the only person able to reveal and empower his Knowledge and as such he is unique
- There have been others who have had this unique power throughout human history and they include his father and Jesus Christ
- Despite their inherent capability, these techniques are useless without the student committing to Knowledge and maintaining a connection to him.
- The practice of this Knowledge results in Inner Peace and Joy independent of life's vicissitudes if a connection to him is maintained
- The appropriate mode of connection to him is worship and devotion
There are also some private teachings that are not given overtly but are learnt from other students indirectly or as events occur.
- Devotion to Prem Rawat is the most important and rewarding part of the practice of Knowledge
- Due to his position and the stress it causes Prem Rawat should have the greatest wealth and comfort and opulence possible
- Prem Rawat has the power to alter any of the preceding at any time
In 1987 in a series of meetings with his followers he even altered some of the physical techniques themselves and the description of the internal experiences during meditation even though this Knowledge is claimed to be the same knowledge and the same inner experience of the source of life within each person taught as far back as Jesus' time and further back to the time of Krishna and Ram.
The language used to discuss Knowledge has changed considerably during the tenure of Prem Rawat as Perfect Master. He is not even ordinarily referred to as a Perfect Master anymore. At times in the last 25 years his followers have called him: Guru Maharaj Ji, Maharaji, Balyogeshwar Param Sant Ji Maharaj as he has directed them. However while the words change the basis is the same. Maharaji's Meditation Techniques have new names and slightly different methods but there are still four of them.
In the 1970s and parts of the 80's, a Mahatma/Initiator/Instructor/Part Time Instructor explained how to do the four techniques of meditation and the rules for practising the Knowledge according to Prem Rawat. They would physically squeeze your eyeballs hard and painfully and you would then definitely see some light often in the form of the "Golden Donut". Now this teaching is done through the use of a DVD of Prem Rawat giving the instructions and there is no eyeball squeezing.
There were four activities involved in practising this Knowledge:
- Satsang: attending regular meetings of premies and proselytising for Maharaji
- Service: doing voluntary work for Divine Light Mission and donating money to Prem Rawat personally and the Mission
- Daily meditation using the techniques of Knowledge for two hours a day
- Darshan: seeing Prem Rawat in person whenever financially possible and lining up to kiss his feet and make a donation
A description of the current teachings of Prem Rawat are available here. Prem Rawat and his followers claim:
- anyone who listens to him to develop and sustain the right understanding
- who daily practices the techniques of Knowledge
- allows themselves to be transformed
- develops a relationship of trust with Prem Rawat
- and makes a commitment for a lifetime will undoubtedly experience the profound peace that resides within.
In the 1970's, before being shown the techniques, the people who were going to "receive Knowledge" would have to take vows to Guru Maharaj Ji:
- Never to reveal the meditation techniques
- To follow Maharaji's five commandments
- To practice satsang, service, and meditation
and repeat the following prayer:
'Oh my Guru Maharaj Ji, I dedicate myself to your lotus feet. I am weak and ignorant and am filled with the impurities of this world. Oh Guru Maharaj Ji, please take my mind and purge me of the impurities I possess. Reveal to me the Knowledge of all Knowledges. Strengthen me, uplift me and reveal the kingdom of heaven within inside of me. Bring me from hate to love, from darkness to light, death to immortality. I will OBEY you implicitly and will never reveal this knowledge to anyone for any reason. I will keep in contact with you through my DEVOTIONAL LOVE, satsang, meditation and service. Thank you my LORD for everything.'
In the 1970s they were given a "Knowledge Kit" containing a letter, a photo of Rawat, a copy of "You Are Disciples Now" and an embossed copy of the oath to Maharaji shown above or other goodies.
The Knowledge was discussed in the TVTV documentary "Lord of the Universe":
After I posted these techniques on Youtube various premies posted comments about this (and me). Here are the first ones.
Ex-premie: The First of the four techniques is the Light and it involves using the middle finger and the thumb, closing your eyes and pressing in and somewhat up on your eyeballs and then putting your forefinger in the middle of your forehead where your "third eye" is supposed to be and focussing your concentration your inner vision on the light, the single point of light that appears at that uh point (mm-mm) that's the technique of the light.
Michael: As journalists I don't think you'll agree with it but complete freedom of information doesn't isn't always the best idea because it can do harm.
The Second Technique is the technique of the Music which involves putting your thumbs in your ears, closing your eyes and holding them closed with the little fingers of each of your hands, joining the rest of your fingers and forming a kind of cap or bonnet over your head and concentrating on the inner sound. That's the, that's the technique that's called the Music.
Ah the Third Technique is the is the Nectar and the Nectar involves rolling your tongue back in your mouth as far as you can past your soft palate and sometimes it's advised you use a couple of fingers because your tongue is not used to going in that direction. The mahatma said that he takes his tongue and he turns it all the way around and loosened up his muscles that for me were tight. Puts his tongue all the way back back of where your mouth turns down, the roof of your mouth then turns down and there's an opening and he goes past that opening with his tongue and the up into the canals that lead to the nose and I suppose the ears too and that is just bliss
The Fourth Technique is the Word, the Unspeakable Name of God and that is basically (inhales loudly, exhales loudly a few times) uh you know very deep even breathing while uh internally concentrating on the sound 'Soham' (sohung) ah which in the Hindu tradition is supposed to accompany the 'so' on the inhalation and the 'hungh on the exhalation and this is supposed to be the sound that is produced by this unspeakable Name of God.
Every morning before you got up, before you got out of bed you were supposed to cover yourself with your sheet and do at least a half an hour on the Word, at least a half an hour on the music and as much of the Light as you could and you were supposed to be doing the Nectar while you were doing all of the other three and you were supposed to do the same thing every evening just before you went to bed so you were doing at least two hours of formal meditation. Throughout the day you were supposed to be doing the informal meditation on the Word.
Right at the moment when the whole thing was over, we'd received Knowledge, then it's over then immediately he switched - the Mahatma - he switched from talking about this Knowledge to talking about Guru Maharaj Ji and didn't he some he made a jump and he said we should all come to India and um and I thought "Wait a minute. Wait a minute. You know he's just made a little jump in logic there. I'm with him all the way and then suddenly I don't understand the connections. I've got this Knowledge and it's terrific but now I should follow Maharaji for the rest of my life and I don't understand why. Why isn't? He said it's this free gift and I've just received this free gift and I say Thank you thank you you know. Do I have to say thank you for the rest of my life?"
When I really, completely freaked out on then is when I got this letter, it said well yes Maharaji is our Lord and Master but He's also a little kid and He's coming to America and He really likes to watch TV and stuff so if you have any appliances you don't need, send them in. Yeah. He He they're starting a centre in New York. Okay? And He was going to live there for when He came to America. They said He's well He's Lord and Master but he's also a little boy in this incarnation and He'd likes appliances you know so any spare ones you have send and I said "Jesus you know that's when I completely freaked out.
Since the 1990s, Maharaji asks for three promises prior to being initiated:
- to give the practice of Knowledge a fair chance;
- to keep in touch with him for inspiration and guidance;
- and not to reveal the techniques to anyone. (whoops)
The further you immerse yourself in the practise of Knowledge the more you will learn how these are basically identical. The earlier statements were simple and straightforward, the later ones vague and indefinite, the underlying reality, the same.
Prem Rawat continually states that his Knowledge is not a religion or spiritual path. His critics agree to a certain extent. They claim his Knowledge is a false religion and definitely not spiritual. Many of Rawat's followers believe they are on a spiritual path and are having the same experiences that the great saints and mystics had in prior times. They are not able to convince many others of this though.
It is very easy to take Knowledge and to take what I am doing and put it on the parallel tracks of religion but this is about as far from religion as it gets. Because religion is a discipline so that after you die you go to heaven. You do all, you do everything right, then you got the Indian heaven, you got a Chinese heaven, you got you know this heaven, you got that heaven, busy place."
"I'm not saying that those people who don't have Knowledge are gonna go to hell." "But can they be happy?" (voice from audience) "Huh?" "Can they be happy?" (voice from audience) "Can they be happy? Without going to hell? Ha ha. Ha ha. Ha ha ha ha. Um. Uh uh."