Losing It All In India
In April 1975, one week after his mother had publicly dismissed, deposed, disowned, disrespected, disgraced and disinherited him, Prem Rawat flew to India. His mission: to assume control of the Divine Light Mission (Divya Sandesh Parishad) in India and put the management in the hands of trusted followers. He was not man enough, or Perfect Masterly enough, to acheive this objective. In fact, he hid away for part of the trip afraid for his life or at least his ass/arse.
There was considerable media publicity in this debacle, the disgrace of a religious leader will always attract interest, but Prem Rawat did his best to keep his devotees hearing only his "truth." Joe Anctil, the DLM Press Secretary was one of the main spinmeisters and he wasn't averse to lying. When interviewed in Divine Times, he claimed not to know what Mata Ji's press release said but in the Los Angeles Times he "denied the mother's charges that the guru had also begun to eat meat and drink alcoholic beverages." Of course he might not have known that Rawat did eat meat and drink alcohol though at that time many other DLM administrators did know. He also claimed that only "a few hundred Indian devotees - if that many" were "confused." In fact virtually all of the administrators, mahatmas and the majority of the premies abandoned the young guru. He gave false figures of the money going to the guru and the number of active premies, said premies should not speak to the press and then put the most outrageous gloss on the terrible publicity: "I see the press putting Guru Maharaj Ji in people's consciousness so that we can propagate Knowledge more easily." Events did not bear out this nonsense.
Rawat's party skulked around hampered by officials wanting to avoid trouble and their own fears while Rawat blustered on the few occasions he could hold public meetings:
"I have that very Knowledge which Lord Krishna called "Raj Vidya," the King of all Knowledges. That's the Knowledge I have. And I have the Wealth of all wealths, so I'm rich. I'm not poor, I'm very, very rich. And I'm not a fool, I'm the greatest intellect" … Mata Ji and Bal Bhagwan Ji are doing bad things to me now. … I told Mata Ji a long time ago, "Mata Ji, if you have any doubts, any confusions or desire, please don't bring it among the premies."
Articles in the May 31 Issue of Divine Times were about the Rawat boys' double Indian wedding in which their car broke down and Rawat's baby daughter to whom he vowed: "the power of Guru Maharaj Ji's love is so great that when you grow up the world is going to be completely different." Actually the world has changed a lot since then but not because of the Power of Prem Rawat. The final article in the July 31 issue of Divine Times gave a revised history of Divine Light Mission with Rawat's mother and elder brothers cast as liars and cheats sabotaging Rawat's mission to bring World Peace. The real results of Rawat's crusade to India were not mentioned because he failed miserably in recovering his father's property or organisation or followers and he was scolded in court by the judge for dishonouring the dignity and ideals of his deceased father. Bal Bhagwan Ji, who later renamed himself Shri Satpal Maharaj, built on his father's legacy and is a successful Godman and a successful Congress Party politician being a member of the Lok Sabha at different times and even a Minister. His wife is a Minister in the state parliament of Uttarkharand and they are quite the power couple of Dehradun.
On her return to the USA Ellen Saxl, who accompanied Durga Ji Rawat, was interviewed by Sophia Collier, then the Assistant Editor of Divine Times. Saxl was quoted as saying "There you are with your Lord, how can you be afraid of anything?" But off the record she admitted:
" Sophia, the trip was awful. Premies were beaten. Maharaj Ji was in hiding for a week in this crummy hotel. And the lawsuit which Mata brought, I don't know if we won. Raja Ji may have to go to jail if he ever goes back …" Ellen continued unfolding a tale of horror.
Most of the Indian premies and virtually all of the mahatmas obeyed Mata Ji and Bal Bhagwan Ji who, after a protracted court case, retained ownership of the name and all the property of Divine Light Mission in India. Decades later a few mentions were made by Rawat's followers about the events. In 2005 Mrs Rawat hadn't forgotten the fear and paranoia of the visit and she inadvertently corroborated Saxl's admissions and admitted that "It was boiling hot in Bihar in the Jhumri Talaiya ashram, so hot you couldn't go outside in the daytime, and I had a one-month-old baby. We were on the run, since we heard that Bal Bhagwan Ji was threatening Maharaji's life, and we often left in the night to get to the next place." (PIP p208) One of Rawat's closest disciples, John Hampton, who accompanied him to India in 1975 reported that only one mahatma "held an ashram for Maharaji" (Voice of Peace website, downloaded on 10th December, 2006 archived on the Wayback Machine). The young Western premies mostly accepted they were witnessing a Lila or accepted the story offered by Rawat and his DLM henchmen.
Why even discuss Prem Rawat deceiving his followers when he is someone who claimed to be the "Lord of the Universe" and incarnation of God who had come with more power than ever before and was bringing Peace to the World? Well, he might have believed he was …
- 7 April: Guru Maharaj Ji's party (Prem Rawat, John Miller, Bob Mishler, Brent Neely and John Hampton) flies to India
- 11 or 12 April: Durga Ji's party flies to India.
- 12 April: Guru Maharaj Ji arrived Lucknow, from Bombay. He was met at airport by small group of devotees.
- 13 April: Large public program cancelled by local officials. Guru Maharaj Ji held a press conference at the Carlton Hotel in the afternoon. That evening he gave darshan to approximately 1,000 premies at a local religious hostel. That evening he held a very short satsang at a hall where the premies were staying (approximately 8-10,000 heard him), and said, 'that there had been a lot of confusion and false reports but not to worry now that he had come to India to make everything clear and to do meditation' and then he gave his blessings and left. 30,000 premies had come to Lucknow but less than half saw him.
- 14 April: Left Lucknow for Jhumri Talanja, Bihar (large, rural ashram), via Patna.
- 15 April: The first time he spoke to the Indians. About 3,000 had arrived in Bihar by that time.
- 16 April: Guru Maharaj Ji and Durga Ji were remarried in a Hindu ceremony, along with Raja Ji and Claudia.
- 17 April: The ceremony lasted from the evening of the 16th well into the morning of the 17th. Approximately 6,000 devotees were there.
- 18 April: Guru Maharaj Ji gave darshan to several thousand more premies who had arrived during the night.
- 19 April: Guru Maharaj Ji gave darshan and a satsang program was held that evening. Guru Maharaj Ji didn't speak. Durga Ji gave satsang for the first time in India. Her words were translated by Raja Ji.
- 20 April: Both Guru Maharaj Ji and Durga Ji gave satsang.
- 23 April: To Calcutta for visas.
- 27 April: Program in Calcutta.
- 28-30 April: To Bombay for programs.
- 2 May: To Katmandu, Nepal for programs 2, 3 May
- 7-14 May: Jaipur
- 16-21 May: To Delhi for more programs and business.
- May 31: resting in a Hong Kong hotel
- June 1: satsang Hong Kong
- June 3, 8:15pm: Arrives Tokyo Haneda airport
- June 5: Satsang Hotel Okura
- June 7: Saturday Los Angeles
- June 14: Saturday evening Malibu residence decides to hold Father's Day party on Sunday, informs premies at 9pm
- June 15: Sunday 6pm Father's Day party at Malibu residence
- Earliest Hints of Trouble
- Divine Times March 24 1975
- Divine Times April 30 1975
- Divine Times May 31 1975
- Divine Times June 30
- Soul Rush by Sophia Collier Excerpt: Real interview with Ellan Saxl
- Divine Times July 31
- The Golden Age Number 19, April 1975
- Golden Age magazine Number 20, May 1975
- Golden Age magazine Number 21, June 1975
- Take An Oath To Propogate - Brotherly Love newsletter, August 1975: Calcutta, India, April 23, 1975 (includes parts excised from version published in 1979 referring to Mata Ji)
- Wake Up - Élan Vital magazine, Winter 1979: Calcutta, India, April 23, 1975 (printed 4 years later, excised comments about Mata Ji)
- For Your Information An international newsletter sent out which is mainly articles from the July issue of Divine Times
- Guru Tries to Take Control of Mission The Ruston Daily Leader - Wednesday, April 9, 1975
- Guru won't confront mother Mon., April 14, 1975 GREELEY (Colo.) TRIBUNE
- Gurus are born and not made The New York Times, April 15, 1975
- Once a Guru, Always … He Thinks The Washington Post, April 15, 1975
- Disowned guru meets press GREELEY (Colo.) TRIBUNE, Tues., April 15, 1975
- Gurus Told to Settle Dispute Out of Court PRESS-TELEGRAM (PM) Long Beach, Calif., Fri., May 23, 1975
- Scolding the 17-year-old Guru Maharaj Ji The New York Times, May 24, 1975
- Rival Gurus Drop Suits, But Continue Feud Sat., May 24, 1975 The CHARLESTON GAZETTE
- Rival gurus scolded by judge THE TIMES Saturday May 24 1975
- Guru won't return to India, aide says Wed., June 18, 1975 GREELEY (Colo.) TRIBUNE
- the Guru Maharaj Ji gave himself a Father's Day party The New York Times, May 22, 1975
- Guru disowned by mother because he liked to live it up UPI: THE VALLEY INDEPENDENT, Saturday Feb 7, 1976
- One Lord Too Many Time magazine, Monday, Apr. 28, 1975