Prem Rawat's Premies Worshipping Idols of Prem Rawat
Idol Worship is the worship of an idol or idols - objects or images, such as photos, that are worshipped as the representations of deities or gods. Prem Rawat's followers continually bowed down to the ground on their hands and knees in front of altars holding photos or photos alone and prayed to them and these photos were of Prem Rawat at different ages.
Many articles written about Prem Rawat in the 1970s mentioned the ubiquity of these altars in all Divine Light Mission offices and meeting rooms and the private homes of Rawat's followers. These altars invariably had photos of Rawat on them and these photos were sold by DLM specifically for this purpose. When DLM became more organised a Knowledgekit was given to each person being initiated containing, among other Knowledge related articles were an Arti lyric sheet and a photo for an altar.
The altar always has a picture of GMJ on it, and is often decorated with flowers and raised a foot or two. Depending on waxing and waning trends of premie devotionalism, an empty chair may or may not wait by the altar for GMJ. Arguments for the presence of the chair cite instances where GMJ showed up unexpectedly to give satsang in communities hundereds of miles from where he was thought to be. "If he should come," the argument goes, "where would he sit?" Arguments against the chair say simply that it looks silly to outsiders to be bowing down all the time to an empty chair. Prostrating to the altar upon entering and before giving satsang also varies over time.
The only people at that stage entrusted with revealing Knowledge were Indian mahatmas: exotic, shaven-pated, saffron-robed individuals who could hardly disguise their Hindu origin. Each ashram in Denver, and elsewhere, had an altar with Maharaji's picture on it, to which morning and evening the Indian devotional prayer of arti was sung.
Prem Rawat got to sit in the chair, all others stood or sat on the floor.
No Satsang Room Should Be Without An Altar to Prem Rawat
In the foreground, on a linen-draped altar, a huge blowup of Guru Maharaj-Ji, the divine child prodigy that Rennie believes is God the Father here to lead us all to salvation … Wafted now into that eternal milli-second at his feet, touching him now, glancing up. lifted along. Floating again, away but not really away, just floating. Silently. Only Breath inside of us, exploding silently, eternally, floating us into a room with spotless altar and giant picture … And tears come forth as we pranam before that altar for a long, long time. Somewhere inside of us there is music.And tears come forth as we pranam before that altar for a long, long time. Somewhere inside of us there is music. (Divine Times, 9-10/78, p. 5-6)
No Premie Home Should Be Without An Altar to Prem Rawat
During the mid-1970s photos of premies and altars disappeared as DLM newspapers and magazines only had photos of Rawat and his family in them.
No Office Should Be Without An Altar to Prem Rawat
No Shop Should Be Without An Altar to Prem Rawat
By that time, those who had stayed on the bus had built a series of planks for walking over the still muddy parking lot, and made a beautiful altar out of some scrap metal, complete with flowers and a picture of our Lord. It was a perfect reflection of the beauty of our experience.