TVTV Lord of The Universe Video
This video, titled 'Lord of the Universe', (not to be confused with a movie made by Divine Light Mission with the same name) was shot as a television documentary at a time when Prem Rawat's followers had full confidence that any examination of the guru, his 'Knowledge' and his followers would be positive. This false confidence, (confidence that a worried young Prem Rawat did not share and allayed by secret drinking of alcoholic beverages) was rudely destroyed by extremely negative reporting of the "most holy and significant event in human history" and it's attendees and organisers. The documentary makers were allowed full access to the event held at the Houston Astrodome and to the followers, especially to Rennie Davis who was then the major spokesman for the movement. It contains footage of Guru Maharaj Ji but only in public, events from the Millenium festival, premies involved in 'Soul Rush' a pre-festival publicity campaign, interviews with premies and Prem Rawat's oldest brother, Bal Bhagwan Ji and his mother, Mata Ji.
Lord of the Universe' was first broadcast on PBS on February 2, 1974, and released in a VHS format on November 1, 1991. The documentary chronicles Maharaj Ji, his followers and anti-Vietnam War activist Rennie Davis who was a spokesperson of the Divine Light Mission at the time. A counterpoint is presented by Abbie Hoffman who appears as a commentator. It includes interviews with several protagonists, including followers, ex-followers, a mahatma, a born-again Christian, and a Hare Krishna.
The production team of Top Value Television produced the fifty-eight minute documentary, using Portapak video cameras. The TVTV team followed members of Divine Light Mission across the United States over a period of six weeks, but were unable to have direct access to the self-proclaimed Guru Maharaj ji, the Perfect Master, the Lord of the Universe. It is the first independent video documentary shown on national public television.
It contains footage of the last real interview that Prem Rawat ever gave.
The documentary was generally well-received, and garnered its TVTV production team the 1974 Alfred I. du Pont/Columbia University Award in Broadcast Journalism. The documentary was reviewed in all the major US newspapers including The New York Times and the Oakland Tribune . There is an extensive section on Lord Of The Universe in Wikipedia.
The documentary producers were extremely negative about virtually all aspects of the young guru, his "Holy Family", his organisation, his "Knowledge" and his followers except for Diana Stone, a "blue-blood" ambassador's daughter. According to the producer Michael Shamberg, premies "seem like zombies", Blue Aquarius was "the world's worst rock and roll band" and "99% of the Premies were genetic defects in their other life, your traditional lost souls" and as to the organisers "with the exception of Diana, they're all on power trips". These judgements should be taken with a grain of salt as Mr Shamberg was a person who believed sitting around and sucking on a nitrous oxide tank was the perfect way to spend your evenings.
They have released some of the documentary documentation:
- Divine Light Mission Press Invitation
- TVTV Lord of the Universe Pre-Briefing
- TVTV Lord of the Universe Production Plan Proposal