Prem Rawat and The Godmen of India
Balyogeshwar's Divine Light Mission is only one of the innumerable religious organizations that proliferate in the country. There are many other self-styled bhagwans (gods), swamis (lords), rishis (sages), maharishis (great sages), acharyas (teachers) and sants (saints) and gurus who have larger followings. It is not possible to make an estimate of the number of their followers because wildly exaggerated claims are made by each holy man. But it can be assumed that most religious Hindus and Sikhs (together making 85 per cent of the population of India) and some Moslems, Christians and Parsis as well, pay homage to one live saint or the other whom they regard as God incarnate. - NY Times article 1973
Where does Prem Rawat, Godman, fit into the list of the most rich and successful Indian Godmen? Actually he doesn't but because this web-site is about him we'll fit him in at the bottom though it's difficult to know how many of the thousands of other gurus should fit in ahead of him. We could include his more successful and respected eldest brother, Shri Satpal Maharaj, who inherited their father's business, land and wealth and is a "Big Man" in Uttar Pradesh or even his other elder brother, Shri Bhole Ji Maharaj of Hanslok Ashram and the Hans Foundation though it is uncertain how much of Manoj Bhargava's 5-Hour Energy drink billions he can access. Shri Ashutosh Maharaj, the former "Mahatma" Vedapravaktanand certainly deserves a mention. He has shown how easily it is for a disgraced spiritual minion to become a respected and rich Godman in India despite or because of being enmeshed in controversy even in an icy death.
Many of these godmen indulge in outrageous displays of spending to display their wealth and power and surely Prem Rawat's brother, Satpal Maharaj, deserves a mention. On October 23, 2012, Shri Vibhuji, son of Satgurudev Satpalji Maharaj (Defense Minister of India and spiritual leader) and Mata Shri Amritaji, married Aradhya, daughter of Thakur Shri Virender Singh (politician and M.P.. The wedding was conducted according to ancient Vedic rites, sweetened with the folk culture and traditions of the Himalayan Garhwal region. It was attended by nearly 150,000 people, from all religions and walks of life - from farm laborers to Indian political leaders and foreign diplomats.
Satpal is currently (2020) a Minister of State in Uttarakhand and is a family friend Prime Minister Modi of India. Since 1974 Satpal (formerly Bal Bhagwan Ji) has enjoyed a successful career as a politician, a family man with two sons, the Godman head of a large spiritual organisation with millions of devotees. He has publicly listed assets worth $US20 million. In 2019 his younger son had his own celebrity wedding and the family Satpal celebrated Holi with a few close friends. The family business is expanding and in safe hands.
Estimated net worth: $273,257,000
Occupation: "Not-for-profit spiritual racketeering.
Philosophy: Vulgar Pantheism.
Life Mission: To cure human suffering with irrational lies, head stroking, and empty promises of immortality and enlightenment.
Landownership: Numerous Mata Amritanandamayi Centers located in wealthy districts with high property values throughout North America, South America, Europe, India, and the rest of the world. Her Holistic Health Villages are also beneficiary to land grants by government institutions in India.
Interesting Fact: Mata Amritanandamayi, whose favorite god as a young girl was Krishna, is best known for touching other people, despite strong disapproval from her parents, who decided that her formal education was concluded by age 9.
Estimated net worth: $202,503,000
Occupation: Television lifestyle guru, large-scale landowner, and self-styled crusader against corruption.
Philosophy: That homosexuality can be "cured by yoga because Indian values are better than Western values.
Life Mission: To pimp and exploit yoga by means of TV shows and large-scale landownership advertised as "peace havens. As his close associate Acharya Balkrishna described the television guru's plans for global healing: "There are many ways for people to go astray in the West and there is need for a facility right here in the West to get them back on track.
Landownership: Recently purchased conch-shaped Scottish island with 13th century castle for £2 million, claiming that "the island base is not about property as much as it is about spreading Indian values. Also spent USD 4.5 million on construction of a Patanjali Yogpeeth branch built on 60-acre plot in Rosenberg, Texas. Future plans for similar centers in China.
Interesting Fact: In June 2008 Swami Ramdev Baba held a novel yoga camp aboard luxury cruise liner Super Star Virgo with 950 people from over 15 countries.
Estimated net worth: $184,094,000
Occupation: Self-fashioned spiritual leader, or guru, who shamelessly sells millions of devotees the empty promise of "liberation (who knows from what?) by means of long and expensive training under his trademarked guidance called the Art of Living.
Philosophy: Advaita Vedanta (also known as existential nihilism).
Life Mission: To exploit and pimp John Lennon's vision of a violence and stress free world through existential nihilism, while secretly plotting to steer the government of India in a more fascist direction by instigating red scares.
Landownership: Art of Living organizations are currently located in 152 countries.
Interesting Fact: Honored with the key to the city of Asunción, Paraguay in 2012 when Mayor Arnaldo Samaniego and Counsellor Martin Arevalo declared Sri Sri an illustrious guest of Nuestra Señora Santa María de la Asunción.
Estimated net worth: $64,433,100
Occupation: Self-proclaimed "Godman
Philosophy: One Supreme Conscious™
Life Mission: To delude the masses, accumulate wealth, and punish his enemies.
Landownership: After being allocated 10 acres of land to build an ashram in the Bhairavi village of the Navsari district in south Gujarat, the Godman's ashram proceeded to encroach upon another six acres of adjoining land, building a hall and a cowshed, which were later demolished by police authorities and returned to the peasantry.
Interesting Fact: In response to the horrific Delhi gang-rape heard all around the world, the self-proclaimed Godman Asaram Bapu issued a shocking public statement blaming the victim for being fatally raped because she had failed to call her rapists "brother while she was being violently abused by four different men. The Godman specifically said that the victim "should have taken God's name and held their hands and feet … then the misconduct wouldn't have happened, adding that "mistake is never from one side alone. Perhaps the Godman was attempting to enlighten the world with another yogic lesson on karma.
Estimated net worth: Although Saint Gurmeet's income has not been officially revealed to the general public, he is still considered to be one of the world's richest gurus, with assets including over 700 acres of agricultural land in Sirsa, a 175-bed hospital in Ganganagar, Rajasthan, and numerous gas stations, market complexes, and over 250 ashrams scattered all across the globe.
Occupation: Self-proclaimed spiritual leader, social reformer, preacher, and head of the spiritual organization known as Dera Sacha Sauda.
Philosophy: A disguised adaptation of Ayn Rand's philosophy of Objectivism.
Life Mission: To achieve self-enrichment and wield unofficial political clout under the humanitarian guises of social programs such as blood drives, tree planting, and disaster relief, as well as support for people who can't pick a gender, tribal communities, orphans, and rehabilitation of sex workers.
Landownership: Over 700 acres of agricultural land in Sirsa, India.
Interesting Fact: Scores of Saint Gurmeet's followers voluntarily rose to the call of faith from their enlightened master to marry former prostitutes with no dowries in order "to help them escape their dreary existence.
Estimated net worth: Unknown, assets include multi-million dollar mansion in Malibu, various expensive homes around the world, luxury car collection, cult compounds in Delhi, Peak Crossing Australia and Chile. Perks include free travel in executive jet, staying in 5 star hotels, obsequious servants and unwarranted applause for vacuous speeches
Occupation: Formerly: self-proclaimed God, Perfect Master and Satguru, only living revealer of source of true happiness. Currently: inspirational speaker and head of various organizations such as Raj Vidya Kender, Words Of Peace Global, Prem Rawat Foundation and formerly Élan Vital, Divine Light Mission.
Philosophy: Empty. Do what I say, not what I do.
Life Mission: Formerly: Peace on Earth through the practice of Satsang, Service and Meditation and Total Obedience to the Ultimate Ruler and World Domination by the Lord of the Universe. Currently: some respect … please.
Interesting Fact: Claimed to have resigned from Godhood in early 1980's.
Much of the information on this page was stolen from the Selecting Stones website which no longer exists. Thanks.