Prem Rawat: Passages - A Master's Journey
This video produced in 2001 seems to have been created to refute some of the criticisms of Prem Rawat or Maharaji that were being aired on the internet. It is part of a series that includes Birthday Gift - 1988", "Evolution - 1989", "Windows In Time - 1989", "I Have This Knowledge - 1996", "Remembrance - 1996" and Storyteller - 1997". It contains scenes of some of his most loyal, long term followers providing a revisionist history of the Divine Light Mission years. They mainly argue the incredible position that it was the Western followers themselves who mistakenly associated Hindu religious and cultural traditions with Maharaji's Knowledge and were taught false ideas by Maharaji's family members (except for Raji Ji the second youngest brother) who were conspiring to use the movement as a money making tool for their family business. They claimed that it was the young Prem Rawat himself who realised in the 1970's that his premies were using these practises like 'darshan' where they filed past and kissed his feet and the use of 'charanamrit' or 'Holy Water' in which they were given small, specially bottled containers of water in which Prem Rawat had washed his feet and 'Arti' where they sang an extremely devotional song to him with some lyrics that he had written himself. Worst of all, they took his other titles like Satguru, "Lord of The Universe" and "Perfect Master" at face value rather than as Hindu phrases that shouldn't be taken too seriously. A full transcript is available here.
The video has sections dealing with:
- the history of the Perfect Masters
- a large section devoted to Maharaji's most loyal, longterm students talking of their love and devotion to him
- a large section devoted to Maharaji's most loyal, longterm students talking of the mistaken and false ideas they and other premies had in the 1970's
- There is a list available here containing links to various clips and transcipts and captured images extracted from the Passages Video that are selected by topic.
"I didn't, I wasn't fascinated with the whole Indian culture, that's why when I first went to hear him speak and I saw these women in saris, I thought, Oh I
don't want to have to wear a sari! I mean do I have to do that to listen to him and to be in this company and to receive Knowledge because I didn't want to have to do that."
Linda Pascotto, first President of the Prem Rawat Foundation
At no time was wearing a sari a normal or accepted part of the Divine Light Mission culture. There is not a single photograph in any available DLM publication showing "Western" followers - male or female - of Prem Rawat, then calling himself Guru Maharaj Ji, wearing saris.
"And I remember conversations with his mother on the other end of the phone and although I didn't understand Hindi, I mean it was easy to get the gist of it, that she wasn't too happy that he wasn't coming back and he was, I got the feeling you know, that he realised this was something that he wanted to do."
Why wouldn't a 14 year old teenage boy want to stay in the West surrounded by hippies who encouraged him to do anything he might like rather than go back to a strict Indian mother? He was soon driving Rolls-Royces and fast sports cars, eating meat, getting drunk and stoned and within a year or so had a blonde mistress. These were definitely things he wanted to do.
"Well I was quite shocked with everybody, ergh, I think, the feeling was, we still had that residual feeling that the Master didn't need worldly things, you know, didn't need to get married, would always be the Master."
Glen Whitaker, one of Rawat's managers in the UK and some other devotees, talk about Rawat's marriage and his disinheritance and disowning by his mother. At the time of the wedding every DLM publication wrote about how blissfully happy and grateful they were that Rawat had married.
Well maybe Master didn't really need worldly things but Glen knew very well that Master wanted worldly things. All the Western administrators and inner circle knew of Rawat's insatiable greed for material goods and his laziness and liking for "good times." This was so obvious that it was even written about it in the press.
"It was quite challenging that this whole dust-up should happen and the harmony that had existed in the family just broke up so easily, and it's as if his own family couldn't accept him. Now we know now in retrospect that this had been simmering for a long time, that the famiy had always been a potential bomb, time-bomb really ticking away, ready to explode the family situation. Maharaji himself has taught about it, that he was never properly accepted as the Master by his own family and I knew the family, I could see what was happening, that they saw it as the family business."
Whitaker explains how Maharaji and his family and the early premie administrators were all deceiving the public and the premies about the status of Rawat's family. So much for sat, chit, anand. I suspect that this later 'teaching' of Maharaji's is a lie. After the death of Shri Hans, everything the family said and did proclaimed young Prem Pal as the new Perfect Master. It must have been a terrible blow to their credibility to fire him after 8 years as Guru Maharaj Ji. If they were in it for the money they would have accomodated themselves to his marriage. On Shri Maharaji's death, Mata Ji ordered his body to be packed in ice as he might not be dead but rather in deep meditation. - page 80, Peace Is Possible. If she didn't have full trust in him as Satguru, why would she believe that?
"Then this whole thing happened and I was in between both of them, both of them, in my heart there was one prayer to see both of them happy. That was all I could
do. When I saw that was not going to happen then I had to make my decision so it was not that easy time for Maharaji and for, you know, many of us."
Abhay Charanand, formerly Mahatma Gurucharnanand, has been Prem Rawat's number 1 collaborator since his accession to the throne.
Prem Rawat's greatest collaborator, (Mahatma) Charananand, testifies that Rawat's father and predecessor as guru, Shri Hans said
"Only the living Master after me will impart this Knowledge. … Only a living doctor can help a patient, only a living leader can take care of the situations, problems in this country, and only a lamp that is lit can light other unlit lamps."
"I told her that, Mata Ji your husband was married and had two wives and if Maharaji got married which kind of rule he broken, broke, and why are you worried? Ultimately he would have to get married, sooner or later, instead of later he got married sooner, what is the difference, what is the problem? She was really upset, really upset".
Rawat's mother, elder brothers and the President of DLM India, C.L. Tandon did not disinherit and depose Prem Rawat because he got married. They explicitly and publicly stated it was because of his playboy lifestyle of drinking, drug taking and meat-eating. See New York Times and Los Angeles Times and Associated Press
The surprise "Cemetery Satsang" of 1977.
"Just to fight a fight that is never going to be won? You know? And it's just like, flying over here, you could see all these gravestones, you know. You, you could see all these graveyards and these headstones on the graveyards. And these, obviously these people - that's what they've done for such a long time: just fighting for sort-of an endless reason. And then there they are, six feet under the ground, with a little slab saying born in 18-something and uh died in 19-something and "He was a good guy." You know and that's about it! And that's the result of your whole fight. That's the end of your fight. That's the beginning of your fight. That's the, that's the motive of your fight. And yet there's so much of a greater purpose in our life that we can realize, that we can understand, that can manifest within inside of us. And that's where we have to concentrate; that's where we have to motivate ourselves for."
The full text of this speech is available at Divine Times - September/October 1977 Volume 7, Number 6 and The Golden Age Number 40
"When I first received Knowledge I was told that I needed to practise an hour in the morning and an hour in the evening and it seemed so unrealistic. I would sit down to practise and after 20 minutes I was just … that's about all I could do and I didn't try hard enough you know I just kinda let it slide …"
Even some of his closest devotees such as Ms Linda Pascotto, President of the Prem Rawat Foundation had been unable to practise meditation properly, if at all, no matter how much inspiration Prem Rawat gave her and all his premies, until 1987 when the required daily meditation time was cut from 2 hours a day to one hour giving her and doubtless many others a glimmer of hope that she would be able to begin to meditate properly at last.
"I had friends who lived in the ashram, um, who stopped practising when the ashrams closed. They felt betrayed, abandoned."
Many people had spent more than 10 years in these ashrams, donating all their time and wages, foregoing their educations and careers and families and being told that they were on the fast-track to devotion to their Master and then were suddenly sent packing with a bus ticket. Ms Pascotto suffered no such problems but as she had never meditated the mandated 2 hours a day, there is some doubt as to whether she had ever started "practising Knowledge".
"He, himself, has simplified the experience and to allow people that are coming receive it in a very direct manner direct manner from himself where he's eliminated a lot of middle-men so to speak and just simplified it in that sense and just created a beautiful platform to move forward on" - Janet Wallace
When she said this it was already 2001 and numbers of Rawat's followers have dropped even more during the next 15 years except in India where Hindu religious concepts are still used.
In 1998 Elan Vital organised a satellite global video hookup where followers of Rawat were able to see him and some could talk to him.
The Greeks were the smash hit of the event wth their uninhibited display of devotion. The inspirational effect was not great enough to warrant the expense and it was not repeated.
Produced by Kate McGowan and John McNelly