Prem Rawat Was Disowned, Disinherited and Deposed
On April 1 1975, Prem Rawat's mother, Mata Ji, announced in a press conference that she had deposed her youngest son as the Guru Maharaj Ji. It is uncertain whether she knew this was traditionally known as April Fools' Day in the West. He retorted that no-one can depose the Lord of the Universe, mother or not. Prem Rawat, formerly known as to his Indian devotees as Balyogeshwar Param Hans Satgurudev Shri Sant Ji Maharaj was disparaged, disowned, disinherited and deposed by the Indian Divine Light Mission. Prem Rawat has tried to explain this away as his hidebound Hindu mother's anger at his non-traditional marriage.
However, she made it clear in newspaper interviews that it was caused by her youngest son's "playboy" behaviour which included drunkeness, marijuana smoking, overly luxurious living, eating meat and excessive (for a Satguru) lust for sex. These accusations were later confirmed by close followers though they were kept secret from his followers at the time. Rawat attempted to gain control of the Indian organisation through the courts but his father's senior mahatmas and DLM administrators led by the redoubtable Prof. C. L. Tandon won the important court cases to retain control of his father's property and the hearts of the followers. Rawat's children never met their grandmother, he did not attend her funeral. The brothers' web sites, Satpal's Manav Dharam and any of Prem Rawat's many sites do not mention each other. Rawat had already announced the downgrading of his Holy Family's divinity to the Divine Light Mission Western premies, sort of, nearly a year before on May 9, 1974 when this letter was published. He was busy creating a new less holy Holy Family.
On the surface this is a sordid story that would convince most people that Prem Rawat was a charlatan whose techniques of meditation were worthless in realising love and peace in a family or individual. But his followers believed it shows that the Knowledge of the Perfect Master is not a set of beliefs that one can learn but a living experience without which even the closest family members or the most devoted mother cannot understand the life of a Perfect Master. Prem Rawat claimed he is permanently in God-consciousness but that his mother had religious beliefs. It was more than a family dispute though, the Head of the Indian "Divine Light Mission", Professor C.L. Tandon, who had been Prem Rawat's father's secretary and devoted follower also travelled to the U.S.A. twice to see the young Maharaji but was appalled to see that "night clubs," "illicit relations," and liquor were routine for the young Prem Rawat and Professor Tandon was instrumental in removing him as the Satguru despite earlier writing "Balyogeshwar Shri Sant Ji Maharaj has incarnated himself to reveal the truth, and to complete the destiny of man."
His followers claimed that it was the love between Prem Rawat and his soon-to-be wife, Marolyn Johnson, that infuriated his mother. Mata Ji said that it was caused by his drunkeness, marijuana smoking, overly luxurious living, meat eating and excessive (for a Satguru) lust for sex. This was not just a "family split" as Rawat's followers have tried to present it. His father's senior mahatma, Mahatma Satyanand, and over 99% of the mahatmas rejected the 18 year old Prem Rawat who refused to publicly rebut his mother's charges that he had started drinking alcoholic beverages, had begun eating meat instead of remaining a vegetarian, and had shown too much interest in sex so at least he didn't perjure himself that time.
Prem Rawat's father, who also claimed to be the Perfect Master of his time married for the second time, late in his life to the young Raj Rajeshwari who became known as Mata Ji (Holy Mother) or Jagat Janani Mata Shri Raj Rajeshwari Devi and they had four sons. Until her husband and Satguru died, she tended to keep a low profile, but was nonetheless always busy, looking after her family, mahatmas, ashram residents and a steady stream of visitors. At the funeral, she exhorted her sons, mahatmas and devotees:
"Come and join me in taking an oath to follow the path laid down by our beloved Master! Let us do our best, to dedicate our all to spread the spiritual knowledge in India and abroad. Our every breath will be spent for the sake of humanity and we will follow in Maharaj Ji's footsteps with faith and humility."
For nearly a decade from 1966 Mata Ji had control of Divine Light Mission while her youngest son, Prem Rawat was still at school at St Joseph's Academy. At the first opportunity and in defiance of his mother, he concentrated all his energies in the West and was able to escape her control. When Rawat first came to the West, as Guru Maharaj Ji, his family was advertised as also having divine characteristics. They were called the Holy Family and all of them were proclaimed to be incarnations of aspects of the Divinity.
Prem Rawat has since claimed that his family had never accepted him as the true Perfect Master despite their years of public satsang and worship. Glen Whittaker, one of his closest British followers, claimed that Rawat taught that they were only interested in the money. However, Rawat made no such public admissions while his family were publicly supporting him and this is another example of the culture of deceit and phony public relations of his organisations. As shown in DLM's official letters of 1974 written by Mike Donner his family actually thought he was under the "control" of some his close Western followers and tried to "rescue" him with the help of the LA police force during the night of 23rd November, 1974. One of Rawat's closest followers, John Hampton, claims Rawat wrote a letter of apology to his mother but she rejected his explanation that he was just a puppet in his Guru Maharaj Ji's power.
A circular was sent to ashrams in the USA and an article published in Divine Times, July 1975 giving Prem Rawat's version of the events. These were flatly contradicted by one of the members of the travelling party Ellen Saxl, who off the record told the real truth about the failure of the trip and that the young Rawat had ordered her to lie about it. She was an assistant at the birth of Rawat's first child and escorted him on the trip to India and in August, 1976 was an assistant to the Divine Light Mission director of International Operations.
Rawat's followers claim she was first angered when her second youngest son, Shri Raja Ji, married a beautiful Western devotee. This marriage ended in divorce but has provided Hollywood with a successful, exotic young actress. It is wonderfully ironic she is already more famous than her uncle whose self-bestowed titles include "Maharaji", "Guru Maharaj Ji", "Balyogeshwar Param Sant Shri Satgurudev Ji Maharaj", "Lord of the Universe", "Greater Than God" and "Giver Of The Gift of the Possibility of Peace" . It's pretty obvious from which parent Navi Rawat got her looks. Raja Ji also had alcohol abuse problems and his wife divorced him after only a few years of marriage. He occasionally does trips around premie communities shilling for money for various of his younger brothers' needs usually accompanied by a "student", Yoram Weiss, who is Rawat's chief fund-raiser.
In May 1974, 16 year old Prem Rawat married 25 year old Marolyn Johnson, an American airline stewardess and premie. While this was hailed as something wonderful in the Divine Light Mission publications 25 years later honcho Glen Whittaker was able to tell the truth about everbody's dismay.
A year later the bitter family dispute was in the open with Mata Ji and Rawat's elder brothers rejecting him. Newspaper stories were headlined: 'Playboy, not holy man', Guru's mother rejects him as religion chief and Guru denounced by mother as a playboy. Rawat refused to answer reporters' questions about his mother's accusations that he was drinking alcohol, eating meat and taking too much interest in sex. There has been plenty of eye-witness testimony since that time that these claims were, in fact, true and not that he was just drinking but getting drunk and stoned on marijuana. Seven years later he claimed "I think she was upset that I married a foreigner" but he certainly knew her real reasons.
In India, Mata Ji crowned Bal Bhagwan Ji (now named Satpal Maharaj) as the new 'Guru Maharaj Ji', causing terrible publicity which helped end DLM's expansion and caused distress and disruption amongst the premies. Decades later in the Elan Vital video 'Passages', Elan Vital honcho, Glen Whittaker claimed she rejected counselling.
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 property of Divine Light Mission in India). John Hampton, one of Rawat's closest disciples 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). In a report published in the Golden Age magazine in 1975 it was reported that there were in fact, 2 in Bihar, the poorest and what had been the most premie populous state in India where the premies were "simple people who have received little or no education". The young Maharaji had said the Indian premies "are lost in illusion" in his famous "Peace Bomb" Satsang also published on the net here and certainly either he was or they were. The young Western premies either rejected both sides or accepted they were witnessing a Lila - literally 'game of God'.
(DEL-1) LUCKNOW, India, April 14 --DISOWNED GURU MEETS PRESS--Guru Maharaj Ji, left, talks with members of the press Sunday in Lucknow during his first public appearance since his dismissal as leader of the Divine Light Mission a couple of weeks ago. Shri Mataji, Holy Mother of the church and natural mother of the young guru, disowned her youngest son, accusing him of becoming a playboy and unfit to head the church since his move to the United States. She named another son to become new guru of the movement. (AP WIREPHOTO) (ms21420stUrrr) 1975
Mata ji empowered her eldest
son, Bal Bhagwan Ji,
as the new Guru Maharaj Ji or "Perfect Master" Satpal Ji.
Rawat never forgave his mother and elder brother and would make sneering remarks about them when in India without however mentioning their names.
The golden opportunity that has been given to you has to be understood fully well. Just see, when we remember the old happenings today, so many things come to our mind. Those old memories are being revived before you in reality. They are living experiences now. There are people who turned manmats (devotee of mind) and went away, though I haven seen myself, but people say that they have now become very thin and feeble, as if they have come directly out of their graves. And that is natural.
I have seen a lot of such "distinguished" persons, the so-called 'devotees' who were regarded as the crest jewel, the ideal ones, 'a model of devotion', 'a living personification of a devotee in this kaliyuga.' And I have seen such devotees disappearing in the manner you will hardly believe: "Oh, has he gone!" It was not merely a disappearance but an amazing phenomenon. Just now they are here before you and in another moment they are nowhere. I mean, sort of a miracle they performed. They were such persons who preached to other people that they should never be confused but they themselves got confused. They pressed people to remain firm and constant devotees of Guru Maharaji, that their devotion should be unceasing and unimpaired, but they themselves vanished altogether. Such so-called epitome of devotion who exhorted loudly by microphones on big loudspeakers that the devotion to Guru Maharaji must be unbreakable, ceaseless, but their own devotion proved to be such a mirage that they themselves became untraceable after sometime. Nobody knows whether they are even alive or not, and if alive where they are at present. Such devotees I have seen myself.
Resources & References:
- Guru Maharaj Ji is just a "spiritually imperfect" playboy The New York Times, April 2, 1975
- Guru's mother rejects him as religion chief Long Beach, Calif., Wed., April. 2, 1975 INDEPENDENT (AM)
- In The BEE Today THE MODESTO BEE AND NEWS-HERALD Wednesday, April 2, 1975
- Guru denounced by mother as a playboy THE TIMES Wednesday April 2 1975
- 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
- DLM official letters to ashrams "explaining" the family break-up.