Professional Photos of Prem Rawat (Maharaji), The Divine Idol
Though the competition was very fierce, there is little doubt that Prem Rawat (Guru Maharaj Ji) is and was one of the ugliest, of the ugly, infamous gurus of the 1970's and beyond. However dedicated premies extolled his beauty in awed and frankly disgusting ways.
However, this did not stop his devoted followers filling magazines with photos of Prem Rawat on every other page and even selling pinup photos of him for use in worshipping them on altars in every Divine Light Missionashram and satsang room and personal home. These photos came in sizes ranging from wallet size (50 cents) to 16" x 20" ($30). Photos of Prem Rawat half naked were the most popular but Rawat was quite aware of his appearance to non-devotees. He is extremely short, extremely obese and with bad skin so he appeared on stage with malas and baggy dhotis to hide his thunder thighs and floppy man boobs. Many photos showed Prem Rawat dressed as the god Krishna or dancing on stage though these disappeared in the early 1980s. It's probable that he is the most photographed ugly person in the world. How his followers were able to perceive a person so distasteful in appearance as beautiful is a mystery, but this is commonplace in cults as can be seen by examining the lives of any other successful "Masters". Books of photos of Rawat were sold as well even up to hard cover coffee table book size.
Here are some examples of these photos, all professionally taken and lit, from the collection of a normal devotee of Prem Rawat who kept these photos in a special box and who saw the light after 34 years. Another collection of photos of Rawat's feet is available here. His feet, which his followers kissed when pranaming to him in the darshan ritual were called His Holy Lotus Feet to designate their purity in the Maya (illusion) of this world. It was the water in which his feet were washed that was given out to his followers as charanamrit for use during the daily worship and singing of 'Arti'. Click on any image to see large scan of photo.
While Rawat no longer dresses up as Krishna in public, more conservative pinups of him continue to be major fund raisers to the present day on calendars and similar publications despite his appearance ageing beyond his years with obesity, second and third chins and jowls and puffed up eyelids, receding hair and liver spots on his face.