Prem Rawat: Fulfillment video transcript, 1998
Fulfillment is a short (15 minutes) introductory video made in 1998. It combines professional sounding voice-over explanations of Prem Rawat's claims about his life, philosophy and teachings with snippets of Rawat's "satsangs". Though intended to be shown as an introduction to "Maharaji" (the Ultimate Ruler) as he calls himself, it still contains those central dogmas of his religion that have remained constant throughout the decades:
His uniqueness as the only source of true happiness in the world today and his position in the lineage of Perfect Masters that includes his father, Jesus Christ, Krishna and Buddha. They are referred to in pretentious, ambiguous language: "became the sole person to make this message available" and "Nor is he the first person to impart this message".
It is possible to experience unparalleled joy in this life - Maharaji
What is left unspoken is that Prem Rawat or Maharaji claims that only through following his teachings and practising the techniques of meditation he teaches is this possible. He is the sole source of this "gift" of unparalleled joy which, he claims, is dependant solely on one's breath. The "secret" techniques he teaches are placing one's middle finger and thumb on the eyeballs (eyes are closed) with the index finger between the eyebrows, pushing one's thumbs into your ears while your hands are held on top of your head, concentrating on your breath and poking your tongue backwards for 15 minutes each, in that order, once a day.
"One singular aspect of humanity transcends every cultural and physical barrier. One trait shared by all people from the beginning of history. What is it then that we all have in common? We all have
needs, we have physical needs such as hunger and thirst as do all living things but people are not satisfied with mere survival. To be truly content we require more. What we seem to require more of, varies from culture
to culture, and continually changes with the times. There is however a consistency. In one way or another, the things we desire all promise gratification. Though we all search for it in our own individual ways the
pursuit of happiness is universal. People have an innate need to be content, to be satisfied in life but how do we achieve this? Do we really achieve contentment or do we only feel happy when our circumstances unfold
favourably." (Rawat appears on stage to applause)
Trite but true but hardly something that hasn't been understood by most of the people who have ever lived.
"Maharaji speaks about happiness that is not the result of the circumstances in one's life but is available because one has life. For over 30 years Maharaji has been sharing this simple but profound
message with those who wish to hear it. Without advertising or charging fees to attend his speaking events Maharaji has genuinely touched the lives of hundreds of thousands of people world-wide. What he offers enables
those individuals who are interested to enjoy their lives in a truly unique way. "
What he claims to offer is not truly unique though it is simple. To be profound though it must be a true claim else it is simplistic, self-serving propaganda. There is little doubt that some followers of Prem Rawat attain some happiness through following his directions. Probably about the same as those in any cult following a charismatic leader whose claims have consistently failed to eventuate. The story of Prem Rawat and his followers, while unique in the details, is commonplace in the history of minor religions. A brief optimistic period of growth in which it appears that the sky is the limit is followed by a long, slow decline in numbers and enthusiasm as the "Master" and original "true believers" age and then die - by 2008 the median age is late 50's. Fees to attend his speeches are charged but only to the true believers.
What he offers enables
those individuals who are interested to enjoy their lives in a truly unique way. Maharaji does not teach a religion, dogma or doctrine. Nor is he the first person to impart this
message. Many people have done so before him including his own father. Shri Hans Ji Maharaj, who was of royal Indian descent, formerly conveyed this message throughout India. Taking
the initiative of travelling to his audiences, Shri Hans Ji Maharaj was able to reach people who could not come to him. Today Maharaji also travels to his audiences but he travels throughout the world. "
Rawat's teachings are quite basic. One of the major doctrines is that he is not the first person he claims gave Knowledge of God, the Possibility of Peace or any of the other synonyms for this "best of all possible human experiences". He claims to be the Perfect Master or Satguru, the only Incarnation of God in a human body alive now. He is the last in a long line that includes his father, Jesus Christ, Krishna and Buddha and others. While he now only publicly speaks of himself as the "Master", his extravagant claims for his unique "gift" requires that he has divine powers. How else could such a simple, even ridiculous, method of "going within" produce the results he promises.
"Maharaji was born in Har(i)dwar, India in 1957. By the age of 6 he had already begun speaking to the large crowds that would gather to hear his father. When his father passed away,
Maharaji became the sole person to make this message available though he was only 8 years old. He continued speaking to large audiences in India throughout his
childhood. When he was just 13, Maharaji was invited to speak in London and Los Angeles. "
Many claim to be the sole person able to teach or produce peace in their followers. Indeed, after his mother became disllusioned with Rawat's teenage drunkenness and playboy lifestyle he was replaced as the Master by his eldest brother, who is an extremely successful "Godman" in India, a former Minister of the Indian government and a powerful politician in the Congress Party. Satpal Maharaj's message is the same message their father taught, the techniques of meditation he teaches are the same his father taught and most of his father's followers believe it is the eldest brother who has his father's blessings. There are numerous other teachers within the Sant tradition who were taught by Rawat's father's Master and who convey the complete, original teachings, not just what the child Rawat picked up in the few years before his father died.
"Ever since he has journeyed to speak to those who want to listen no matter where in the word they may live. Touring around the world several times a year, Maharaji barely keeps pace with the
increasing number of people moved by his message. In over 75 countries people anticipate the chance to hear him speak. Whether addressing a crowd of over 50,000 in Delhi, India or an intimate audience of 13 in Osaka,
Japan, Maharaji speaks to people about something that is relevant to each individual regardless of country, culture or creed. But perhaps the best way to introduce Maharaji is to introduce you to his message. "
As far as it can be assessed, Rawat's following in Europe, North America and Australia is fewer than half what it was in 1975. In India, the numbers have increased significantly from a very small base in the same period after his eldest brother replaced him as Satguru but are much less than his eldest brother's following and extremely small compared to the most successful Indian Godmen such as Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Ramdev, Amma, Sathya Sai Baba and many others. Rawat's organisation, Elan Vital, does not count and publish the number of individuals who consider him as their Master but the number of attendees at his speeches. This total, by definition, can never decrease. They count the number of people newly initiated but have never released these figures in any meaningful way. Occasionally, actual numbers are seen on leaked internal documents, they are always very small except in India, a country with a billion citizens going through a huge religious revival in which Balyogeshwar, as he is known there, is only a very small player.
"In this life, know that you can be fulfilled."
Rawat's orations have a certain, quite unique style. Abrupt cresecendos rise to a shrill shriek, diminuendos to a stage whisper interspersed with long, long, very long pauses. He says he is the fount of all knowledge about his Knowledge and orders his followers to direct all questions to his speeches. An interested person must listen to 72 hours of his speeches (see The Keys) before initiation. His public speaking style, obesity, vacuousness and elementary, ineffective meditation system account for his failure to gain new adherents.
"What is it that in each human being shapes us to want the same? We seek, we still seek and we will always seek but what are we seeking. We will want and we will always want what, are we wanting? For as long as a human being has been on the face of this earth there has been this longing to be fulfilled. And there is no greater introduction to this heart than to remind you of what you already know. I have not come here to bring you some new piece of information that you can debate or rate, that you can argue or unargue, no. This is not about religion, this is not about spirituality, in fact, for what I am talking to you about there is no label in this whole world for it. So what do you know? You know about being happy how you need that in this life. You know that. You know how you need the joy in this life. You know that. You know how contentment is important to you, you know that. You know that you dislike sadness, you know that. These are the simple rules that are yours, not somebody else's. To be content, to be in that joy, to be in that happiness. What kind of happiness? Not the kind that is created but the kind that dwells in the heart of every human being on the face of this earth. The joy that already is that that doesn't need to be brought from somewhere else. The process of awakening is not a process of creation. You don't have to create it. Awakening is awakening to that which already is. Then with this heart awakened to the possibility of being fulfilled. Then in this life know that you can be fulfilled. Know in this life know that you can be content and that is the simplest of request that has always been."
"What do you, you, you as a human being who has been given this gift of life, what do you want? When you know that this is not the first time that this statement has ever been made that that which you are looking for is inside of you. It's the oldest statement and the magical thing about this statement is that whenever it is said it always appears to be new. The magical thing about this statement is that whenever it is said it appears to be like you have never heard it before even though you have again and again and again and again and again. That which you are looking for is inside of you. What does it mean? Then yes, it means that there is something here which I need to know that my fulfillment is not far away from me, that my contentment is not far from me, that my joy is not far from me, that my simplicity is not far from me, that my life is not far from me. That I carry within, the key that will unlock all my locks, that I carry within the answer that will answer all my questions, that my understanding is with me, that my clarity is with me, that the shelter that I seek from the rain of this world is within me and it's not far from me. That my home, my home, home is not far from me and there is no greater truth than that. I have seen it. I have travelled the world. I have gone from one country to another country where they don't speak the same language, the currency doesn't work, the driving is different, the way they conduct business is different, the way people look is different, the way people wear their clothes is different. Talk about differences, there is difference, difference, difference, difference, difference. And amongst all those differences I have seen a beautiful simple similarity. And what is similar? That we all yearn for that beautiful thing (swelling strings, rising in pitch and volume) within us." (fade to black)