Some Notable (or not) "Premies" (ie devotees, followers, students) of Prem Rawat

Premie definition: Literally, a lover of God. A disciple, a devotee. Prem Rawat has replaced this word with the neutral term "student". There is one result of becoming a "premie" or "student" of Prem Rawat that has overridden all others. The great majority of people who practise the meditation Rawat "reveals" cease meditating and being "premies" or "students" after a longer or shorter time. The majority of these quietly go on with their lives and their feelings are open to conjecture. However a significant minority realize that this is not just a case of "it just wasn't right for me" or something similar but that they were deceived by the false claims of Rawat and his organisations and attempt to atone for their involvement by alerting others by public criticism of Prem Rawat and by presenting a realistic picture of his life and "teachings". A remarkable number of close personal followers of Prem Rawat's have publicly condemned and criticised him for hypocrisy, deceit and even unethical, immoral and illegal activities.

No modern guru can be considered a real success without at least a modicum of famous followers. The Maharishi would never have made his first billion dollars if he hadn't, even ever so briefly, caught the eye of John Lennon and Paul McCartney. Prem Rawat hasn't done so well in the celebrity stakes, the only somewhat famous people who have been or are followers would be Michael Bolton the singer, Olivia Harrison the widow, Michael Nouri the actor, Jimmy Dale Gilmore if you're into West Texas Country & Western and Jonathan Cainer if you read the astrology columns in British tabloids. The rest of the people herein are only notable for their position within the hierachy of Rawat's followers.

Joe Anctil

Joe Anctil had the dubious distinction of being a professional liar for Prem Rawat ie he was Divine Light Mission's Public Relations' Oficer back in the 1970s. Its no wonder he ended up in hospital from the stress.

Joe Anctil and the other professional public apologists for Guru Maharaj Ji (now calling himself Prem Rawat) lied, even when they were telling the truth. Deceit was the default position of followers of Prem Rawat. The fish rots from the head down.

Joan Apter, 2001

Joan Apter was one of Rawat's first Western devotees and was an extremely disturbed young woman. She has recounted the story "This Girl Will Die" of her time becoming a devotee of Prem Rawat (Maharaji) many times and it has changed significantly over the years.

She recounted it in the premiespeak of the time at the 50th birthday celebrations of Prem Rawat (Maharaji). She was also a star of the Élan Vital Passages video where she gave the most emotionally intense testimony.

Olivia Arias

Olivia Arias was a premie of Guru Maharaj Ji and working as a secretary at A&M music when she met George Harrison. They married in September, 1978.

She introduced the premie rock band, Jiva, to Harrison who signed them to his Dark Horse records where they released an album. She attended Rawat's festivals (according to premie gossip) in the late 1970's and was featured in the first "professional" Introductory Pamphlet created by Élan Vital in 1982. There has been no mention of her as a follower of Rawat's since then and Harrison, himself, had no connection to Rawat nor has she ever spoken of Rawat in public interviews recorded on the internet.

the Betzners

Gary Betzner the Premie Cocaine Pilot.

Betzner is the paradigmatic example demonstrating the power of practising Knowledge over illegal drugs and the excitement and wealth of drug-running cocaine in the 1980s. Without Knowledge and the power of Maharaji's Grace Gary Betzner might have ended up in prison for 15 years. He truly understands surrender and gratitude.

Michael Bolton

Possibly the most famous person who was a premie is Michael Bolton then known as Michael Bolotin who became involved as a struggling musician in Connecticut in the 1970s. It's unlikely that he remained a premie because otherwise there would have been extreme pressure for him to sing at Divine Light Mission or Élan Vital festivals and meetings (or 'events' as Rawat insists on them being called) once he became famous and no-one recalls that he did so. He discusses his involvement in a a short section of his autobiography, long on niceness and short on actual details of Rawat's life and teachings at the time or the real life of a premie and leaving out all the sordid details.

Jonathon Cainer Jonathan Cainer

I'm no expert on astrologers but it seems Jonathan Cainer is as famous an astrologer as one can be in Great Britain. He's featured in one of the tabloids, Hello magazine and has written a book called: Cosmic Ordering: How to Make Your Dreams Come True. Mr Cainer is a widower so it seems one must be very careful using this book. He does not include any links to Prem Rawat's site nor any quotes of his speeches on his own site Mr Cainer was outed as a devotee of Rawat's in a series of attacks by Francis Wheen in the Guardian. He died of a heart attack during a cocaine binge - so much for the positive effects of Prem Rawat's Knowledge

Charles Cameron Charles Cameron

Charles Cameron, an early English premie and graduate of Oxford, created a significant amount of publicity for the young Lord of the Universe, Prem Rawat (Maharaji) or Guru Maharaj Ji as he called himself in the 1970's. He was the person who first "gave satsang" to Rennie Davis in a plane on a flight to Paris. He also wrote execrable poetry and edited the book, Who Is Guru Maharaj Ji? He had left Rawat by the late 1970's and went on to make a career on the fringes of the New Age. His later biographical information make no mention of his time as a devotee of Rawat's either through embarrassment or because Rawat has no respect in New Age circles and admitting to following him would destroy Cameron's credibility.

Festival Of Knowledge '89

Marie Carson, the "famous old lady premie."

Her age, commitment and her personality are so unusual in followers of Prem Rawat that she was featured in videos, a Divine Times article and her personal story was printed in both the US and the UK newsletters/magazines in 1988.

Jay Cohen DeprogrammeeTed Patrick

Dr. Jay Cohen M.D., Indianapolis Community Co-ordinator who was kidnapped and deprogrammed by Ted Patrick and lived to tell the tale and experience Gratitude, Bliss and Peace - all the things that Prem Rawat promises but doesn't deliver - thanks to his rescue from the misery of Ashram.

An interview with Cohen was used as part of an investigation into deprogramming in Indiana-Purdue University in 1980 and was reported in the Indianpolis press.

Julie Collett

Julie Collett, formerly an Initiator of Prem Rawat's "Knowledge", was the second devotee of Prem Rawat or Maharaji (then calling himself Guru Maharaj Ji) to return to Australia from overseas. She did not know of David Lovejoy in Sydney and she commenced proselytising in Melbourne. Her role can probably best be described as the "heart" of Divine Light Mission in Australia. Her satsangs were inspirational, devotional and often contained references to the "family" of followers and the love for each other engendered by practising the Knowledge.

Formerly a social worker, she is now a New Age counsellour and healer using crystals and something call Polarity Therapy. She writes on her website that she "has birthed an understanding of the way of energy, an intricate mapping of the human energy field and the relationship of the body, mind and emotions to the soul." Despite this very impressive self-recommendation she apparently cannot see that Prem Rawat is an obese, alcohol abusing sick old man before his time and claims he is "one of the world's great teachers from the East."

Sophia Collier

Sophia Collier was a young premie who wrote a book, Soul Rush, about her childhood and experiences in Divine Light Mission. She was still inexperienced and without discrimination when she wrote it and the book is probably only of interest to people who were in DLM or those interested in cult life. She was intelligent, immature, foolish, pretentious and the book is as deeply flawed as the organisation was. An introduction to her precocious childhood was published in the Divine Times Special Millenium Issue.

"As I discovered later, we were not the only ones for whom some alcohol was the festival's high point. Bob Mishler told me Maharaj Ji got "sloshed." … "If Maharaj Ji wanted to run a little religion based on his father's teachings and he was able to find people to join, so what? That was his business, not mine."

Richard Cooper, premie of Prem Rawat (Maharaji)

Richard Cooper was kidnapped on Feb. 2, 1979 by Ted Patrick and men working for him after Patrick was paid $6,000 by Cooper's mother when she learnt her son drank water in which Prem Rawat's feet had been washed (charanamrit). Cooper was held for 19 days before he escaped from the Harry G. Fabe home in Cincinnati by climbing out a third story window. He suffered a fractured hip in the fall, he said. He sued for $8 million for violation of his constitutional rights. he was awarded $50,000 but Patrick had already been bankrupted by litigation and was unable to pay. Cooper testified he was no longer a celibate monastic in the Divine Light Mission ashram but did not explain that this was a unilateral decision by Rawat to close the ashrams and not Cooper's personal choice.

Cooper remained a devotee until his death in October, 2006 and shilled for Rawat in vanity publishing ("Leaders magazine") and he headed the so-called "Legitimacy Project" in which Rawat's followers attempted to rewrite his career and present him as a renowned international teacher of peace and philanthropist through the use of maximum publicity for the Prem Rawat Foundation's relatively meager donations to charity and the hiring of halls in prestigious institutions to connect Rawat's speeches to them eg Oxford University, Harvard, the United Nations.

Laura Davis - Writer

Laura Davis - Writer

When I was 15, I skipped 10th grade and snuck out to receive the divine Knowledge of my brother's guru. Three years later, I moved into an ashram in downtown San Antonio called the City of Love and Light with a couple of hundred other lost, searching young people. I stayed in this safe container until I was 21 when I burst out to re-enter the "real world."

Rennie Davis as devotee of Prem RawatRennie Davis as devotee of Prem Rawat

The person who brought the most publicity to Guru Maharaj Ji (Prem Rawat) is Rennie Davis, the once famous anti-Vietnam war campaigner, one of the Chicago Seven conspiracy trial defendants. He stars in the 'Lord of The Universe' and 'Mysterious Miracles, Aliens from Spaceship Earth'. He tirelessly and endlessly explained how the political and counter-cultural movements of the 60's were just the fore-runners for Prem Rawat's mission to bring Peace to the World. His very personal, public testimony of the incredible effects of Prem Rawat's Knowledge and his certainty in and devotion to Maharaji's divinity are unequalled and will never be equalled. In 1973 he told the New York Times that he now loved him. "I would cross the planet on my hands and knees to touch his toe." He did not specify which toe.

Don Delaski

Don Delaski, Businessman, Financial Contributor, Seeker

Donald deLaski was a CPA, businessman, philanthropist, seeker and premie of Maharaji's who built up an extremely successful business, Deltek, providing accounting software to government contractors. When it went public in 2005 it was valued at $1 billion. He donated shares to Rawat that were worth 10 to $20 million but kept on searching for gurus who could keep him interested.

Michael Dettmers (on left) with Bob Mishler in Australia 1975

Michael Dettmers, ex Personal Assistant, Prem Rawat from 1975 to 1991

In early 2000 Jim Heller (real Name) a lawyer from Vancouver, and a person prominent in on-line criticism of Prem Rawat and his so-called "Knowledge" contacted Michael Dettmers former personal assistant to Prem Rawat and thereby began a process of debate that eventually had Dettmers publicly revealing much about Prem Rawat's life that was unknown to people who weren't part of Rawat's inner circle of devotees.

Mitchell Ditkoff Mitchell Ditkoff, Writer, CEO.
Blurb: Mitch Ditkoff is the co-founder and President of Idea Champions, a highly acclaimed management consulting and training company, headquartered in Woodstock, NY. He specializes in helping forward thinking organizations go beyond business as usual, originate breakthrough products and services, and establish dynamic, sustainable cultures of innovation.
I think this means Ditkoff is either a management consultant genius or a premie who, for years, spent every night at satsang honing his skills at talking on topics about which he was supposed to be an expert but which were either fictional, fantasy, delusional, narcissism or non-existent: his "experience" of "Knowledge" and "the glories of Guru Maharaj Ji." This was probably perfect training for his current role.
Mike Donner

Michael Donner, ex vice-President, Divine Light Mission; ex-President, Divine Light Mission; ex-US National Executive Director, Divine Light Mission; ex-co-ordinator, Prem Rawat's personal staff; ex-instructor for the "techniques of Knowledge"; ex-brother and former anti-War activist.

my personal experience is that m has been drinking since i began in denver in 1973…told then by bob mishler that he was drinking daily…that is daily … since he arrived in america.

Lucy Dupertuis

Lucy Dupertuis was an ashram premie and writer for Divine Light Mission in the 1970s. In the late 1970s she wrote a Sociology Thesis, Company of Truth: Meditation and Sacralized Interaction Among Western Followers Of An Indian Guru, based on her time in the cult which contains some historical information and much convoluted academic jargon.


the Fabulous Fabe Sisters

Linda and Barbara Fabe, Deprogrammees & Deprogrammers, were sisters in the Cincinnati community in the late 1970s whose parents had them kidnapped (in the parents' home and deprogammed by Ted Patrick and crew. They had been pretty dedicated and Linda was the Cincinnati Community Co-ordinator when deprogrammed.

After deprogramming they were open about their recruitment and life within DLM without the usual attempts to make their involvement seem more excusable and more impressive:
"I don't even know Guru Maharaj Ji. The closest I ever got to him was kissing his feet - And that's the highest thing in the cult. … She was taught how to roll her tongue back to taste God's nectar, to press her closed eyes to see the divine light with her "third eye," to hold her ears to hear the divine music, and to concentrate on her breathing in order to hear the word of God. But I didn't experience anything in my knowledge session. Which is what you'd call disappointing … I have been very close with a lot of initiators who are the closest ones to Guru Maharaj Ji. And they don't have it and I don't have it and I don't know anyone who has it - 'it' being a realization of God.

Premie of Maharaji

Mike Finch was one of the early British premies and a long term follower and sometime close associate of Prem Rawat's. He was both a chauffeur for Rawat and a spokesman for the Divine Light Mission in England. His site may be tad philosophical for most though the introduction to Prem Rawat aka Maharaji and his articles about Prem Rawat are of more general interest. For many years he was a moderator on The Prem Rawat Talk Forum, an informal internet chat group he originally contacted to support Rawat. His long-term partner, Gail Benton, was a loyal devotee of Maharaji for over 25 years and was also an instructor before seeing the light. In October, 2009 he published a book Without the Guru: How I took my life back after thirty years. The first chapter is available here. and his account of "receiving Knowledge" is here.

Meditator and Accessory To Murder

Richard Fletcher was an unusual premie. To a small group of the inner circle of Divine Light Mission premies Richard Fletcher was considered to be one half of the reincarnation of St Peter. Apparently premies had come up with a new twist on reincarnation. Twins could be the reincarnation of one single historical personage. He was also considered to be the World Champion Meditator by none other that Rennie Davis. He is known to have been an accessory to the attempted murder of a person (who had perpetrated the heinous crime of throwing a shaving cream pie into the face of Prem Rawat, the Incarnation of God on Earth) by repeated blows to the head with a heavy metal object. That's quite a resumé

Actor/Prostitute/Premie of Maharaji

David Kyle Foster is a Christian author and producer and propagandist. He claims an to have been an "ashram devotee and 'premie' supreme and on one occasion, to actually attain nirvana, or god-consciousness - becoming "light" and one with God and the universe. Up until that time he was a male homosexual prostitute having sex with 3 or 4 men every night in cars and alleys. What his house-mother thought about this he doesn't say so I'm presuming he couldn't fit these activities into the tight ashram schedule. He soon realized that Rawat knew very little about Jesus (as described in the Bible) and some of what Rawat thought he knew was wrong. That was the beginning of the end of Foster's life as a premie.

New Age Philosopher

Tim Freke seems to be a decent well-meaning person who believes he had a "spontaneous awakening" when he was 12 years old and has been "exploring spirituality" since then and has made a career out of it. If you're living in the New Age, then Tim is "a pioneering philosopher whose best-tselling books, inspirational talks, and life-changing events have touched the hearts and minds of hundreds of thousands of people worldwide," otherwise not so much. Born in 1959 he was a little young to join the Guru Maharaj Ji World-Peace-For-All bandwagon in the early 1970s. He became "involved with him (ie Guru Maharaj Ji) as a young person" in the "late 70s - then a pause - and mid 80's."

In 2021 he had the opportunity to have a filmed discussion with Prem Rawat who did not know Freke had been involved with Divine Light Mission and Rawat's Guru Maharaj Ji, Lord of the Universe onstage role and his promises for the Millenium, World Peace for all.

Premie of Maharaji

W. Timothy Gallwey was a small-time tennis coach and early follower of Prem Rawat whose book "The Inner Game of Tennis", published in 1974 at the height of the US "tennis boom" was a success and this led on to a career in writing and business seminars. The New York Review of Books:

"I ask Galloway how he had come to believe Maharaj Ji was God.
When I first heard him my only approach was to say to myself, He's either the real thing or a con artist. Well the first times I saw him he just did too bad a job as a con artist. A good con artist wouldn't wear a gold wrist watch or give such stupid answers. When I was staying with him in India I once asked him how much time I should spend on work and how much on meditation and he just said get up an hour earlier and go to bed an hour later, hardly a profound answer. I decided that if he was doing such a bad job of being a holy man he simply had to be genuine.
Did it ever occur to you that he might be a bad con man? "

Will GanzWill Ganz

Will Ganz aka Sitaram who now calls himself Rampuri is a legend in his own chillum. The author of 'Baba,' and a star of the Ethnobotanical (drugs) "spiritual scene" he has spent decades in India sucking at the sadhu's source of spurious stoned saintliness. He left his early spiritual career in Divine Light Mission with a bhang and doesn't mention those days in his biography. Exactly why he was involved is lost in a hazy mist of marijuana and paranoia but there is no doubt he had a strong initial impact in helping the young Rawat go to the USA and to provide him with an audience once he got there though he did his best to sabotage the movement once he realized Rawat's vision did not include him and any intellectual grooviness in the 'inner circle'. There are copies of two emails he sent in 2002 in which he claims full credit for Divine Light Mission off the ground in the USA, calls everyone else involved stupid, ignorant and low-caste - yes 'low-caste'. He discussses early Divine Light mission and his role within it here and makes intelligent criticisms of Indian Rawatism here.

Professor Ron Geaves devotee of Prem Rawat

Professor Ron Geaves of Liverpool Hope University is the only academic of religion who has bothered to do any "research" or write any papers dealing with Prem Rawat for the past 20 years. This is because he is a fervent believer in Prem Rawat and his Knowledge and has been since 1969 as he testified in the Élan Vital video "Passages".

As a "premie" for over 35 years Ron has presumably sat in formal meditation over 10,000 times, bowed down before and kissed Rawat's feet ("Lotus Feet") scores or hundreds of times and listened to hundreds of his speeches. He has testified that, thanks to Prem Rawat, his own life "couldn't have been better" despite its problems. One would expect that this belief would affect any "research" Geaves has published on Rawat (Maharaji).

Jimmie Dale Gilmore ex-follower of Prem Rawat

Jimmie Dale Gilmore is a country and western singer from Lubbock, Texas whose early career with the Flatlanders (more a legend than a band) was partly derailed by becoming a premie in the early 1970's. He returned to singing in the 1980's and after the usual travails of drugs and despondency has gone on to a succesful career and "cult following" and was nominated for a grammy in 2005.

While meditation is supposedly the cornerstone of Maharaji's teachings, Gilmore - like all Prem Rawat's followers - received no personal guidance. "The way I perceive it now, I didn't have any real teaching; I wasn't actually studying with a master, because I had no personal contact with Maharaji. … I had always thought I was doing something wrong; not wrong in the sense of evil, but just incorrectly. I spent many, many, many years with a sort of low-level guilt about not meditating right. I thought that I wasn't achieving the objective, but I didn't realize I had barely gotten started." In 1981, Gilmore left Denver and Maharaji and moved to Austin, Texas. Gilmore and the Flatlanders' "family" (including Butch Hancock another long term follower of Rawat) now (2010) study Buddhism under Tulku Thubten Rinpoche, a young Tibetan lama from the Nyingma lineage who lives in Hawaii. (Interview: Summer 2006 edition of Tricycle : The Buddhist Review) Like most people who have been involved with Prem Rawat (Maharaji) they have learnt to move on - better late than never!

John Grefe - Chess Master

Pineal Gland

Dr Robert A. Hallowitz was an early devotee of Prem Rawat (Maharaji) and received considerable positive press around the time of the Millenium '73 festival which according to Prem Rawat was the "most Holy and significant event in human history". At that time he was a 29-year-old neurophysiologist and researcher who believed that Rawat's "meditation techniques provide a way for man to control an imperfectly designed brain away from fear and stress and toward pure thought and inner peace."

In 1988 Gaithersburg MD physician, Robert A. Hallowitz lost his medical license following allegations that he had sex and used illegal drugs with several patients and portrayed himself as the "embodiment of God" on a mission to bring "light and love into the world" by fathering children.

Barbara Hearne

Ms Hearne is obviously a premie of long standing and was probably an ashram premie. In 1979 she became involved in the DECA project in which Rawat collected app. 1,000 of his most committed premies in Miami to refurbish an old Boeing 707 jet for his personal use. The labour was unpaid and Occupational Health and Safety was not a priority.

By 2006 after 28 years of daily meditation using Maharaji's techniques and direction she was still "painfully shy and insecure in social situations." She was impatient and had no sense of direction (physically) and had the usual "digestive problems" of an unhappy person.

Derek Harper DLM Honcho

Derek Harper was an Australian young man, an arrogant, selfish, lazy, dishonest, drunken, drugged-out, paranoid crazy (on his own admission) who believed he was saved from madness by becoming a devotee of Guru Maharaj Ji (aka Prem Rawat aka Maharaji). He governed the Australian Divine Light Mission during the mid 1970's as if he was the guru. He was possibly unique in facing down Bal Bhagwan Ji (the supposedly divine number 1 devotee of his younger brother), publicly calling out the failure of Rawat's meditation and ashram lifestyle, disagreeing with the Perfect Master face-to-face, disobeying His wishes and yet continuing to be a loyal and major force amongst Rawat's Australian followers in his individual way for decades.

Dr John Horton

Dr John Horton was another early devotee of Prem Rawat (Maharaji) and received considerable positive press around the time of the Millenium '73 festival which according to Prem Rawat was the "most Holy and significant event in human history". He became Rawat's personal physician and worked with Hallowitz propagating the myth that Rawat's meditation techniques had some amazing physiological effects.

He has continued as a loyal devotee of Rawat's to the present day (2010) and has a Malibu medical practice which ensures Rawat will get all the free medical treatment he needs because of his over-eating and alcohol abuse.

Nancy Lynn Jason

"Nancy Lynn Jason" lived in a premie house for sick premies and was under the care of premie doctors Bob Hallowitz and John Horton supposedly for treatment of chronic fatigue and immune dysfunction syndrome. As she was a premie she was probably suffering from exhaustion, depression, malnutrition and the emotional turmoil of extreme cognitive dissonance. She had a real medical history of epilepsy. She was last seen on 20th July 1977 in Bethesda, Maryland and supposedly disappeared travelling to Florida for the Guru Puja festival in Miami though this was a 16 hour trip and the festival was not due to start until the 29th. Her baggage was left in Bethesda and she was hardly wanted for pre-festival "service." Hallowitz must be considered a suspect in light of the crimes for which he was later convicted.


"Jasper" is a former devoted devotee of Prem Rawat's with a decades long service to Rawat. This service was mainly as a chauffeur and providing free labour and expertise at Rawat's Malibu mansion. He had a long personal contact with Rawat and his wife and helped her set up the garden at her Malibu Beach "cottage." He reports that Marolyn Rawat now also has an alcohol abuse problem. His disillusionment really began to grow one night when Rawat got off his plane completely drunk.

Don Johnson

Don Johnson was a dedicated 1970s ashramee of Prem Rawat's who worked hard and rose to the position of President, Élan Vital in 1984. This did not last long as Rawat closed the ashrams, fired the staff of Élan Vital and went underground for some time. In 2020 he began to write about those years and it didn't take too much soul-searching for him to realize that the young Guru Maharaj Ji and the older Prem Rawat had been and still was a lying, cheating fraud.

Roger Koch

Roger Koch's story would probably be hard to believe if it wasn't true. Actually it's still hard to believe. A premie and engineer he began a rise to fortune by joining the ranks of volunteer labour pandering to Maharaji's mad desire to have a Boeing 707 with a gold-plated toilet. He earned his bona fides with Rawat by getting Rawat's world's largest water pistol to work satisfactorily. Rawat's thanks for this paled in comparison with his gratitude for a $5.5 million donation Roger made to Words Of Peace International in 2010 which made him a true and eternal friend and golfing buddy of the former Mahatma Gurucharanand. Alas, this propinquity probably provoked the pondering that soon made Roger realize the truth. If a true leader must be willing to work harder and sacrifice more than any of the people who work for or with him why is Maharaji so lazy? The answer became obvious: Rawat was a fraud and his "Knowledge" was a scam.

Premie of Maharaji

Jos Lammers, ex-President Divine Light Mission, Holland and Director International Operations (Europe and Australia), International Headquarters, Divine Light Mission

Lammers has written a short memoire, in Dutch and English which can be downloaded from his website in which he recounts his life as a university drop-out in 1970 taking too many drugs (he may disagree it was too many :-) and looking for the "meaning of life" who becomes a "premie" of Guru Maharaj Ji. He moves into the ashram where he discovers a talent for business and organisation that makes the Dutch DLM financially successful. So successful that he is called to Denver to join the international executive staff of DLM as Director International Operations (Europe and Australia). This was a position that was all "pretty unreal", involved in such vapourware as "International Program Development" but he recounts the travails and some of the humorous hypocrisies that the executives of DLM indulged in, the warmth and kindness of the premies and the cloistered opulent lifestyle and relentless shopping of Prem Rawat entertainingly. However the flight of followers from the ashrams and the financial hole that developed decided the executive staff that the only way for the organisation to survive was to cut Rawat's daily allowance from 500 US 1974 dollars a day ($185,00 pa worth far more now) in half. Rawat fired them all and told them "You know, it is not up to you to interfere with the life of the Perfect Master." Lammers had realized by then that his years of dedication had certainly not given him the peace he had sought and was promised and that he preferred "being fired." He returned to Holland penniless and shunned by premies and found that his family and society were far kinder than DLM and life was more rewarding without practising the meditation techniques and listening to and serving Prem Rawat.

Premie of Maharaji

David Lovejoy, ex-President Divine Light Mission, Australia and Great Britain, was the first premie to arrive in Australia from India in 1971 and immediately rented a house, opened a Divine Light Mission centre and sank into the maya of aimless dope and LSD "spirituality." Fortunately for Rawat, some less disreputable premies arrived and driven onward and upward by Faith Healy more and more doped-up young freaks and heads were attracted to the Lotus Feet. In every real sense, Lovejoy ended his time as a premie in 1976 though he took another couple of decades to realize it. He maintains an ambivalent attitude to Prem Rawat. While no longer considering him worthy of worship or devotion he publicly promotes a near-magical view of Rawat's past and personal powers in his book, Between Dark and Dark (formerly available from the Byron Bay Echo). This book has now been taken off the market due to the Lovejoy childrens' anger at the scurrilous and malicious things he had written about their mother.

Premie of Maharaji

Vic Marsh Ph.D., colourful identity, Divine Light Mission and Élan Vital, Australia

Writer, intellectual, actor, poet, flamboyant, egotistical and brilliant (compared to his Master), Vic Marsh has remained a devotee of Rawat's for 40 years adhering to the party line and still publicly proclaiming the Knowledge and especially Rawat Himself. His writings have run the gamut from outrageous purple prose to boring non-controversial cliches.

Mata Ji mother of Prem Rawat

Jagat Janani Shri Rajeshwari Mata Devi (Mata Ji), mother of Prem Rawat and wife of the prior "Perfect Master"

In 1975 she was so disgusted with Prem Rawat's drug abuse and general "playboy lifestyle" she disowned, disinherited and deposed him. Since that time Prem Rawat's following around the world has declined significantly as he immediately lost the 5 or 6 or more million Indian devotees he had been claiming to have. Until her death in November, 1991 she remained the benevolent mother figure of Manav Dharam the organisation headed by her eldest son, Satpal Maharaj, who continued the work of her husband, Hans Rawat, and maintained a powerful Congress Party political presence in Uttakharand. He has twice been a member of the Indian National Parliament (as of 2009).

New Zealand composer Jenny McLeod

Bob Mishler, President Divine Light Mission

Bob Mishler, ex-President of Divine Light Mission for 5 ½ years. He was President of Divine Light Mission and Divine United Organisation International Director between 1972 and 1977. During those years, he acted in the capacity of Prem Rawat's number one right-hand man and later his confidante. He left DLM after complete disagreement with Rawat over his lifestyle and divinity. He was the first close associate to reveal Rawat's failure to use his own meditation to control his fears and habitual drunkeness. These disclosures about Rawat's discreditable, secret life were confirmed by John Hand Jr, former vice-President of Divine Light Mission and in later years by Michael Dettmers, Michael Donner, Mike Finch, David Lovejoy among others. Mishler's character was attacked by Rawat's cronies as has been done for all of Rawat's critics.

Unfortunately Mishler and his wife died after the rescue helicopter that had picked him up after an apparent heart attack crashed in 1979.

Divine Light Michael Nouri "student" of Prem Rawat

Michael Nouri is a successful actor whose career was probably helped by his dark good looks and whose most well-known role was in the movie, Flashdance. He has been a follower of Prem Rawat since the early 1970's and starred as Jesus Christ in an epic production at the Millenium '73 festival, "the most holy and significant event in human history." Post 2000 he has had numerous TV roles as a handsome older man and in an ironic quirk of casting played in the same series, The O.C., as his guru's niece, Navi Rawat. Known in the tabloids as a "notorious womaniser" he became even more notorious when arrested for domestic violence (beating his girlfriend) and charged with battery, false imprisonment and preventing her calling for help in 2012. From the photos it appears that Nouri hasn't quite got the hang of this Divine Light meditation yet which might explain his failure to find peace and infinite joy.

O;Leary ad RawatKim O'Leary was the Divine Diva of Rawati$m. For 30 years she wrote the soundtrack for Prem Rawat through his early years as Guru Maharaj Ji to His Super Devotional years in the late 1970s to his destruction of Divine Light Mission. She sang on to his change of name to Maharaji and public persona as a mild-mannered non-guru, who was just an ordinary multi-talented Renaissance man who was just able to provide the same meditation and the same inspiration as the Lord of the Universe formerly known as Guru Maharaj Ji. After 30 years as Rawat's super-star she was replaced by his daughter, Daya Rawat, and has since shown a strong desire to keep her past life in the cult secret.

Premie of Maharaji

Linda Haldan Pascotto is a "trust fund baby" and has been a premie since the early 1970's. She has been the President of The Prem Rawat Foundation since its inception. She has singlehandedly disproved the single major doctrine of Rawat's religion that his followers do not have a belief in him but a true experience through meditating with the techniques of Knowledge he reveals that is its own validation and allows them an inner peace and certainty available to no other human beings alive today. According to Peace Is Possible, the hagiography Andrea Cagan was paid $60,000 to write by the Prem Rawat Foundation, Rawat established This foundation (TPRF) in November 2001 when he came up with the idea during a conversation with her, an active philanthropist and one of his long-time students.

Perfectly normal "People With Knowledge" about whom there is nothing notable enough to get onto this web page. The reality is that premies are basically quite average in the sense that no matter how long they've been a student of Rawat's and no matter how diligently they've followed his instructions they'll be indistinguishable from the norm of their class and culture. Their only distinguishing feature is that they're nearly all in their late 50's or early 60's. Check them out. Below them is a photo of Rawat's audience, Los Angeles, 2009. The sweet bird of youth has flown …


Premie of Maharaji

Mahatma Saphlanand

Brian Kitt aka Mahatma Saphlanand, the only Western Mahatma

The first known and acknowledged Western devotee of Rawat's was Brian Kitt, a flamboyant figure in the London psychedelic scene who hobnobbed with such luminaries as Robin Williamson of the Incredible String Band and wished to become a sadhu (holy man). He went to India in 1968 and after the usual adventures and difficulties discovered a guru, in this case, Prem Rawat, and was soon converted. Brian was the "star" of the early Western devotees and became the only non-Indian "Mahatma" and he had an extremely important role in drawing others to Rawat and Divine Light Mission. He was the one who brought Rawat (Guru Maharaj Ji) to the notice of nearly all the early British devotees.

Jacques Sandoz

Jacques Sandoz DLM film-maker

Jacques Sandoz would probably be considered a colourful character in any place or time. He made the early Divine Light Mission films The Lord of The Universe, Satguru Has Come and Who Is Guru Maharaj Ji? They combine short, carefully selected parts of the young Rawat's speeches, much colourful footage of hundreds of thousands of Indian followers and hundreds of hippie followers, devotional music and some explanatory background voice-overs. Without these films the early success of Divine Light Mission may not have happened. Sandoz' contribution to early DLM can hardly be overstated, even by himself.

Satpal Ji

Satpal Maharaj (Bal Bhagwan Ji), eldest brother of Prem Rawat agreed with his mother and became the newly appointed Satguru. He "received Knowledge" from his father at the same time as Prem Rawat did. He and his mother were actively involved in organising and inspiring Divine Light Mission activities during it's phase of expansion in the West before public controversies over Prem Rawat's drug abuse and use of the cash-flow for personal luxury and poor managerial decisions stagnated the organisation. He has been the head of Divine Light Mission, India and Manav Dharam since 1975 and as Satpal Maharaj, he continued the work of his father, Hans Rawat, and maintained a powerful Congress Party political presence in Uttakharand. He has twice been a member of the Indian National Parliament (as of 2009).

Venetia Stanley-Smith

Venetia Stanley-SmithLifestyle Gardener

Venetia Stanely-Smith is a sort of less-literary Vita Sackville-West for the television age. She has become a respected international Ambassador for peace … whoops, I lost my track there. Prem Rawat is the one trying to become (and claiming to be) a respected international Ambassador for Peace and Venetia Stanley-Smith is a 70 year old devotee of that phony guru who is famous for her gardening and lifestyle. She is one of the thousands of competent and intelligent people who become devotees of charlatans as snake-oil sellers.

Diana Stone

Diana Stone Divine Light Mission princess

Diana Stone Ph.D, psychologist, counsellor, belly-dancer and New Age polymath was an early premie, the daughter of a diplomat, a Divine Light Mission initiator and an Élan Vital instructor who meditated using Prem Rawat's techniques for 32 years of depression, sickness, anorexia and unfulfillment where the Divine was "way off somewhere very far away." In 2003 she was introduced to a different method which transformed her life in a matter of hours, something that Prem Rawat's Knowledge hadn't done in 32 years of dedicated effort.

Glenville Whittaker, Henchman

Glen(ville) Whittaker, Henchman is retired in Brighton though he continues in his role as henchman and ego booster to Prem Rawat. His career has been in administrative roles for Prem Rawat. There aren't too many administrators who can proudly look back on a life where the zenith of success was reached in 1973 (20,000 devotees) and it's all been downhill from there to here where you couldn't persuade more than 5,000 people to get into an English hall to applaud Rawat despite the millions of pounds and dollars Glen has wheedled out of the faithful and spent on 'propagation.' Death is fast approaching for the premie class of '69 but when Glen gets to the Premly Gates he won't be hearing "Well done, good and faithful servant." Well, at least, he won't be hearing it from the former Lord of The Universe and Incarnation of God who has come with more powers than ever before but who retired to become a part-time jet pilot.

Johnny Young ex-follower of Prem Rawat

Johnny Young is a disk-jockey on a Perth, Australia radio station and has had a successful and varied career in the Australian entertainment industry. He was a teen pop idol in Australian in the late 1960's but was most famous for hosting "Young Talent Time", a sentimental, mawkish children's variety show. In 1977 he met premies in Melbourne who had begun a home birthing clinic and he and his wife and good friends Ronnie Burns (another former teen pop idol) and his wife became premies. With his fame, wealth and media profile Young was an enormous asset to Rawat (Maharaji) in Australia, especially as he is universally considered to be a very nice guy. He arranged the only real press interview for Rawat since the Millenium fiasco but has done no publicity for Rawat since he lost his fortune.

Neville Ackland
Arthur Chappell
Paul Bloomfield