Channel 9 Report on Prem Rawat: 1982
Prem Rawat or Maharaji (the "Ultimate Ruler") as he prefers to be called has proudly boasted many times to his followers that he will spread this Knowledge and bring peace to the world. However since he was humiliated and derided by the media during and following the fiasco of Millenium '73 he has been too cowardly to allow reputable journalists any access to him except in Australia in 1982/3 when he was interviewed by the Melbourne Age and some Australian television stations.
It wasn't that he had gained confidence and courage but that he had an Australian devotee who was a powerful and popular media figure who ensured that no hard questioning or indepth investigations would occur. This was Johnny Young, a former popstar and producer and compere of a long running popular "family" television program. Unfortunately for Rawat, and especially Young, he later lost his show, his business, his home, parents and wife and as he could no longer help Rawat financially and with the media lost his access to his Perfect Master. Young was far more charming, personable and a much better speaker than Rawat. God really made a bad call incarnating as Prem Rawat but no doubt he had his reasons that we cannot understand. This is some footage from a report aired on a downmarket news magazine type program called something like "This Day Tonight" or "Australian Current Affair." It appears the person who taped the program was caught unawares and the introduction is missing. In this transcript, Rawat's speech is indented and quoted and the voice-over isn't and my comments are in italics. This video is available on YouTube
I was living in Brisbane when this report was produced and aired. I was horrified that Rawat would point blank lie to the reporter about the ownership of "the Residence" in upmarket Fig Tree Pocket (yes, there were legal shenanigans hiding his ownership but …) and made my feelings clear to all and sundry. So the honchos sent my future wife around to chat with me about it and to cool me down.
"All what I have to offer is really quite simple, uh, it's something to do with love, and the truth and the peace."
The Maharaji met privately with hundreds of his followers including television compere, Johnny Young, earlier today. Many had flown in from all over Australia and had driven straight from the airport for the chance to meet the 24 year old Indian millionaire who at the age of 8 when his father died became the leader of the Divine Light Mission.
"Certainly we do not brain wash anybody nor do we try to separate any families, nor we try to rip off people. This is quite a different thing, it is not that I am being supported by an organisation, this is my own experience that I am giving to people, offering to people and it's completely free of charge."
But not everyone agrees with Maharaji's teachings.
'I think that he is an impostor.'
Rupert Hallwood, an anti-cult campaigner and former President of the Citizens' Freedom Association wants the guru out of the country.
'It could be that he could have uh followers who become quite fanatical and actually believe that he is God despite any claims that happened today that he is not. Each and every one of the other cults uh be it the Hare Krishnas, the Scientologists, they are producing precisely the same results and they all use very sophisticated methods to capture their recruits and hold them (sound track lost)'
Some short and carefully chosen, relatively innocuous and exotic Indian scenes from the Divine Light Mission film "Satguru Has Come" The preceding words from that film were: "Dear children of God, why are you weeping, haven't you learnt the lesson that your Master taught you? The Perfect Master never dies, Maharaj Ji is here amongst you now. Recognise Him, obey Him and adore Him. Immediately the Holy Family along with all the mahatmas prostrated before the Lotus Feet of the Perfect Master and received his blessing." Click here for details of this event.
"I have not come to establish a new religion, I have come to reveal the Truth knowing which you will be free. If you come to me with a guileless heart and sincere desire I will give you eternal peace."
Remarkable words from a very young Indian guru but he was and still is the Perfect Master so-called because he teaches perfection, perfection he says which is available to everyone because it already exists in each and everyone of us. Maharaji has millions of believers in India and more than one and a half million throughout the Western world. Our first meeting with his followers in May of last year was hardly one which displayed love and peace. In fact, there was distinct hostility. "What would you do to us if we were to walk on the property now knowing full well that we have legal permission to be there. "Yeah, we'd stop ya, I think." "And how would you stop us?" "Ain't that right, boys?" "You would physically stop us?" "Yeah, have to."
This footage was shot at a Holi festival spray-in held in a cow paddock on 17 Mile Rocks Road at an outer Brisbane suburb quite close to "The Residence" in Fig Tree Pocket. My young children enjoyed it immensely.
But that was last year when Maharaji had not spoken to the media since the mid-70's. Now, however, it's very different. This week he's in Brisbane with his wife, Marolyn, a former American airline stewardess and his 4 children. Brisbane is just one stop on his world wide tour. Everywhere Maharaji goes, he has the same message, a message, he says, is simply about the truth.
"In my experience, people in this world need truth, need that very thing that that experience that keeps them alive and I think I can offer that to people despite their religion or whatever their beliefs might be, offer them the truth, that's basically what I'm all about, that's basically what I do."
And how do you do it? How do you offer them the truth?
Rawat's offer is simple, every day you must:
- squeeze your middle finger and thumb on your eyelids with index finger between the eyebrows,
- poke your thumbs into your ears
- think about your breathing
- curl your tongue backwards round your uvula for 15 minutes each
- see him and listen to him as often as you can, believe everything he says and give him as much time and money as you can afford and you should be eternally grateful to him no matter what and kiss his feet whenever and wherever the opportunity is given to you.
"When somebody comes to me and first of all it's a, it's a matter of even understanding that that's what you're missing in your life many people, ??? they don't think that, they don't think in terms of truth that's what they're missing or uh the experience of life itself that that they're missing and uh first of all it's a to just sit down and and make them understand that perhaps what it is and through something that we call Knowledge, which is the, which is the inner experience of that source of life, through that you can have it."
A short scene from the Élan Vital video, Message of the Heart.
… you can be happy. This is what I'm saying to you now too, we can all be happy. There is that knowledge, there is that experience. That if we understand we can be happy and it's for everyone of us.
Well you say you're not a religion or a cult or a new philosophy or a new way of life then then what exactly are you?
"Well Divine Light Mission is mainly an organisation, it has uh nothing to do with any of the reality of the experience of people, uh, it's just an organisation and that's all it is. It's an organisation uh that has been brought forth for the sake of convenience, it has no other function, no other purpose. Neither do I want to teach or bring about in this world any kind of religion or any kind of a new philosophy or any kind of a cult."
So it's not a religion?
"No, it's not a religion, you see to me, my understanding is that uh a religion that's not yet a religion is a cult and uh we don't want to bring a religion into this world as we're not a cult, not a religion, not, not even a new philosophy. This is something that's been in this world for ages, for years and years and years."
That's the truth, that's what you're talking about
"That's the truth."
What do you think about the religions?
"Oh I um, I respect them, I uh don't want to ridicule them by any means. I think they have a place in this society. I think people enjoy very much following a religion but I think that what I have to offer, the religions don't have to offer."
A short scene from the Élan Vital video, Message of the Heart.
Peace is within you and me and nothing more that an experience of who I am and what I am and nothing more than the experience of that supreme thing itself is going to bring me peace and not until every human being is in peace with himself will he be within peace with anybody else either.
What about the allegations then of vast wealth you have personally or the Divine Light Mission has? The houses and the Boeing 707, for example.
"Well, there, there's a lot of misconceptions and again press has many times picked up these things and and and put them in a context where they really don't belong. For instance, uh, even this house that you see here uh I live in it, yes, and I only visit, I've only visited once this year and once once last year but um this actually doesn't belong to me, it belongs to one of these people who has had an experience, one of the followers. It's his house and he makes it available to when I come. In fact it's the same story with the 707 and it it comes off as a big big thing but really it's very very cheap to operate that airplane, to own that airplane. I don't personally own it, it's not mine uh but the thing is that some of these small jets are more exotic and cost a lot more for the amount of staff that travels with me and the places that I have to go it almost becomes a, it's more economical to use that airplane because it was picked up for just about dirt cheap. It was very, very cheap."
The "residence" (Rawat's houses are always called "the residence") at Fig Tree Pocket in Brisbane was purchased by money donated by Rawat's followers for his exclusive use. No-one else ever stayed there. There is a smaller house on the property for a housekeeper and back in the 1980's this was a premie whose name I forget (his sister was hot) who was infamous for always watching television at a time when premies were supposed to concentrate on satsang, service and meditation to the exclusion of normal pastimes. I recall helping clean out the dam and carrying the bricks and mixing the mortar to repair the front steps shortly after it was purchased. At first the location was supposed to be secret and premies going to work there were put in a shuttle bus and blind-folded for the trip. I am not making that up.
Are you a millionaire then, in your own right?
"No, I'm not a millionaire. I've never seen a million yet. Ha haha ha. It it seems, it all comes off like that that but it really is the love of those people who have had the experience who have some respect for me and this is the way they they don't want me to get stuck in some odd place or something like that and and this is, this is their love. I don't refuse it, I have to admit that. I can't shove it in their face and say "No , I don't want that." It's not my concept that to find peace you have to go live in the Himalayas and only wear one little leaf over here or something."
Maharaji seems to have all the answers and no matter what you think of him personally or his followers he also has some rather compelling definitions of happiness, peace and love, a love he says we should all feel, not only for each other, but for ourselves.
"When I can understand who I am, the thing that I am, the peace the harmony with myself then I can even begin to love myself, love my God who has created me and then that love can flow out of it. It doesn't mean I go around kissing everybody I see but I am in in peace with myself, I am in harmony with myself. I ah love myself, I exist here and I love that fact just I can love anything else that exists in this world. That's my version of love anyway."