Darshan of Prem Rawat
Darshan - being in the physical presence of the living Perfect Master and doing pranam ie kissing his feet, is the peak, emotional experience for students of Prem Rawat. However it is one universally frowned upon in Western societies and so Prem Rawat with his desire for respectability has had to balance off the odium and mockery of publicly having his feet kissed and the fall in donations that comes from having uninspired followers. In the West, organised darshan lines are secret but do occur regularly at Amaroo since the early 1990's. After proving they are bona fide "People who Have Been Revealed the Techniques of Maharaji's Knowledge" by showing their Smart Cards they are allowed to file past and either place their foreheads on his feet or kiss them but only gentle kisses are allowed, nothing passionate. Since around 2010 this is done in a purpose-built room for privacy and is called "The Greeting Line".
An extravaganza of colourful and exotic pictures and video clips of Prem Rawat (then calling Himself Guru Maharaj Ji) having his feet kissed and fondled in the 1970's are available on this website. They come from official Divine Light Mission films and videos that were saved by premies despite the guru's order to have them destroyed circa 1983. In the West, organised darshan lines are secret but do occur regularly at Amaroo since the early 1990's. After proving they are bona fide "People who Have Been Revealed the Techniques of Maharaji's Knowledge" by showing their Smart Cards they are allowed to file past and either place their foreheads on his feet or kiss them but only gentle kisses are allowed, nothing passionate. Since around 2010 this is done in a purpose-built room for privacy and is called "The Greeting Line". Some short scenes of post 1970's darshan lines have been shown in Élan Vital videos but they would only be recognised by people "in the know".
Here is a quick teaser from an Amaroo video showing those who have been revealed the "secret techniques" the darshan line at Amaroo. It seems that despite all that de-Indianisation that Élan Vital claims occurred Guru Maharaj Ji (Prem Rawat) is still giving 'Holy Breath'. Look at the woman second in line cupping her hand over her right ear. This was the instruction for new initiates to indicate to Rawat that he should blow on them ("Holy Breath"). That section is repeated 3 times in slow motion at the end so you don't miss it while blinking.
Here is a recorded darshan and pranam of Prem Rawat's wife and devotee, the former Marolyn Johnson. Prem Rawat gave her the title of Durga Ji after their 1974 marriage. In 1979 to the ecstatic chants of "Bhole Shri Satguru Dev Maharaj Ki Jai" from the thousands of premies watching she symbolises their devotion by crowning Prem Rawat with the crown of Krishna and then doing full pranam before him and lovingly kissing his "Lotus Feet" as his students then referred to them.
In India such huge crowds gather for religious festivals that darshan is sometimes seeing the Master (he still calls himself Guru Maharaj Ji in Hindi) drive past but in the West darshan lines of over 20,000 were known in the late 1970's and early 1980's. Darshan in the West is now only held at Amaroo in Australia where lines of a few thousand have been known in the 1990's.
Scenes of Holi and some privileged Indian premies receiving intimate darshan in the mid 1990's with the camera looking over Maharaji's shoulder.
Here is a video clip of a darshan line in Montrose, Colorado in July, 1972. Bihari Singh collects the donations as the premies come to pranam to Maharaji.
When the number of premies was growing rapidly in the 70's Prem Rawat devised a system where two people could do pranam at the same time. This was considered a failure. Note premie in right lane receiving Holy Breath by holding his cupped hand behind his right ear.
Scenes of darshan at Millenium 73. Prem Rawat wrote to his followers that Millenium '73 was going to be " the most Holy and significant event in human history". Rawat is giving Holy Breath.
People queue past to do pranam in Copenhagen in a mid-70's darshan line. Note image on left where Maharaji has given Holy Breath.
Here, in the 1998 Élan Vital video "The Connection", there is film of a darshan line that is obvious to anyone with any knowledge of Rawat's career but would not be recognised by innocent bystanders. The camera is above and to Rawat's right or left, looking down. We see the followers approaching, single file through the darkened tunnel, begin to bow and go out of the picture or are shown raising themselves and moving on after they've kissed his feet. The portrayal of this ceremony, considered the peak experience, in a student's life is shown to inspire Rawat's followers but in such a way as to prevent understanding and criticism of Rawat's role since his followers have claimed he renounced his divinity in the early 1980's.
The students' devotion sometimes doesn't even require the physical presence.
Prem Rawat being drawn through the crowd at the Hans Jayanti Festival in Kissimmee, Florida in 1978 or 1979.
Here Prem Rawat is carried through the crowd at an early Western festival.