1980s Fund Raising by Prem Rawat (Maharaji)
Fund Raising is a necessary part of any cult or New Religious Movement and it has been especially important in Prem Rawat's organisations because of the opulent lifestyle he has demanded since arriving in the West. Sales of memorabilia and paraphernalia related to the guru has continued with sales of photos, audio tapes, magazines, CDs, DVDs and even films. The sales organisations operated under different names but these goods were available through catalogues and were regularly advertised in DLM newsapers and magazines, web-sites and sales at local and international meetings, festivals, "programs" and "events".
Rawat's financial returns in the 1970's were considerable but in the 1980's after the collapse of support following the closing of the ashrams in 1982/83 there was a need to obtain a regular cash flow to support Rawat's personal jets and lavish lifestyle, let alone his more than 50 cars, helicopters, $7 million yacht, etc. After a shaky start professional fund-raising techniques became an integral part of Élan Vital operations.
Photos of Rawat, often posed as if he were a male model or Hollywood star, have been regularly given as Thank You gifts to people donating to his causes.
Visions International is/was a non-profit organization dealing with the production of materials that promote Rawat ( Maharaji). It has/had a symbiotic relationship with Dunrite Productions of Thousand Oaks, California (http://www.dunritegroup.com) a for profit company that does the actual production work. Visions International Introductory Catalogue A major source of income has been the sale of audio and video tapes, CDs and DVDs of Rawat's speeches which are the source of Rawat's "teachings." Local communities of Rawat's followers also had to pay to screen these videos/DVDs publicly though the audiences were mainly committed followers with a few people who were interested in "learning more."
By 2010 Rawat's fund-raising and jet-financing methods were working so well that he can continue to fly his leased personal jet around the world giving talks to the people who donate money so that he can then continue to fly his leased personal jet around the world giving talks to the people who donate money so that he can then continue to fly his leased personal jet around the world giving talks to the people who then donate money so that he can … right up his big fat arse
- The North American Sponsorship Program In View - Autumn / Winter 1987
- Sponsorship Program Update In View - Summer / Fall 1989