Prem Rawat Hospitalised with Gastric Ulcer

Maharaji, Denver Colorado, June 26 1973 Prem Rawat, then known as Guru Maharaj Ji, the 15-year-old "Perfect Master" from India, was admitted to hospital on the 30th August, 1973 suffering from fatigue, a liver disorder and a bleeding "mild post bulbar" ulcer - just below the duodenum in the digestive tract. Dr John Horton, his personal doctor and devotee, said the teenage guru's body was showing the stresses of a middle-aged executive. He entered Saint Luke's Hospital for tests, occupying a $70 a-day private room on the fourth floor of the Episcopal institution. His room was filled with flowers and a mission security guard sat down the hall. He said the guru weighed 73 kilograms (160 pounds) on a 5-foot, 4 inch frame because of a lack of exercise, though this seemed to be exaggerating his height and minimising his obesity.

The Daily Mail, Thursday, July 12, 1973 - Page 21 reported his real height and weight:

Maharaj Ji, 5ft. tall and a waddling 13st. (180 pounds), grows fat on his good life. He eats elegantly prepared vegetarian food, followed by liberal portions of ice cream. Exercise is rare, and his chauffeur-driven limousines turn out for even the shortest journeys.

His only boyish traits seem to be passions for water pistols, horror movies - and those fattening mounds of ice cream.

The guru's glossy publicity brochure refers to Him and His Holy Family, always with a capital initial. Followers call his possessions 'divine' - he lives in divine residences, has his food cooked in the divine kitchens and rides in a divine Rolls-Royce.

Dr John Horton: Prem Rawat's Ulcer Was A "Revelation Of Universal Suffering"

Horton said the guru may been delirious at times since he entered the hospital, but added that by Friday the pain subsided. The guru was discharged from a hospital on Sunday the 2nd September. At least one commentator suggested there was something incompatible between being a god incarnate - as the claimed 6,000,000 Divine Light followers regard him - and an ulcer. The Guru's personal physician, Dr. John Horton, explained that the Perfect Master's duodenal ulcer must be understood on three different levels:

  • 1) the habitual physical level - constant jet lag, changes of diet, fatigue, stress;
  • 2) the spiritual level: it is a sign of his compassion for mankind, like the stigmata on Christ's feet;
  • 3) the cosmic level, as a revelation of universal suffering.

Glen Whittaker, general secretary of the Divine Light Mission in England said, "His body is mortal. He can get colds and everything else you can get. But being perfect he is detached from the world. Physical illness would not make him suffer." Whittaker denied reports that the Guru ate a lot of ice cream. "His diet is very frugal and healthy", he said, which contradicted the reports of Rawat's physician.

The News That the 15 Year Old Indian Guru Had An Ulcer Was The Source Of Much Sarcastic Humour

The news that a 15 year old Indian Guru had an ulcer was the source of much sarcastic humour. Rawat's ulcer provided evidence that the guru's teachings and secret "Knowledge" were valueless if they were unable to reduce even his stress levels as the correlation between ulcers and stress was well-known. It also provides corroboration of the reports of the young Rawat's alcohol and drug abuse.

A 15 Year Old Indian Guru Had An Ulcer

Nurse Lynette Aden said it made her a little nervous to administer a hypodermic needle under so many watchful eyes but otherwise treating the guru has been just like treating any other patient. "I'll look back on it and I'll tell my grandkids and giggle about it," she said. However, Rawat is now forgotten by the world's press and probably by Ms Alden also.

The Times, 4th September 1973 mentioned the incompatibility of God having an ulcer with British reserve and irony:

I was sorry, and even surprised, to hear that the Guru Maharaj Ji, leader of the Divine Light Mission, has developed an intestinal ulcer. After all, ulcers are not things you associate with 15 year olds - especially not with 15-year-old Perfect Masters. Wasn't there, I wondered, something incompatible between a god incarnate - as the 6,000,000 Divine Light followers regard the Guru - and an ulcer?

The News That the 15 Year Old Indian Guru Had An Ulcer Was The Source Of Much Criticism

In the piece that ran in the Texas Monthly titled "God Goes to the Astrodome," writer Thorne Dryer was less than complimentary right off the bat.

"Well the fat kid came and went. The 15-year-old, ulcer-ridden pretender to the throne of the AI-mighty - a paunchy pre-adolescent mystical magnate believed by millions of devoted followers to be, well … God - chose Judge Roy Hofheinz' domed stadium to usher in 1000 years of peace for mankind," Dryer wrote.

David Snell in the Saturday Review wrote:

His Serene Holiness, Pratap Singh Rawat-Balyogeshwar, Satguru Shri Maharaj Ji, Perfect Master of the Universe, at the almost intolerable earthly age of sixteen, has a bit of a weight problem and a bleeding duodenal ulcer.

Richard Levine in Rolling Stone took the high road:

But what really piqued my curiosity was a report that Maharaj Ji himself was confined to a hospital bed with a bleeding duodenal ulcer, a Perfect Master with an ulcer, it seemed to me, was either an imposter of considerable genius or the finest Zen koan since the sound of one hand clapping.

Prem Rawat aka Maharaji aka Guru Maharaj Ji Third World Peace Tour New York 1973