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. Once Divine Light Mission was operating successfully the young Rawat took over half the cash flow for his personal use. In the beginning fund raising was as unsophisticated as requesting his followers to give cash rather than their most valued and "spiritually meaningful" possessions in darshan lines. Below are scenes from a DLM film showing Rawat's bodyguard collecting valuables as they are presented to the young Maharaji. By 1973 Rawat was receiving $60,000 per month. In the early days in England wealthy followers were encouraged to accompany Rawat to Harrods to purchase whatever took his fancy. By the 1990's Elan Vital was sending regular reqests for donations to everyone on their mailing list.
As times change so do the form of the fund-raising methods. All fund raising for Prem Rawat relies on spiritual blackmail. He is the living Lord (whether that is openly proclaimed as in the 1970's and early 80s) or whether it is unspoken or even publicly denied. A nod is as good as a wink to a blind horse and only a cretin would have even a minimal involvement with Rawat and his students/devotees without realising the position he occupies in their minds and hearts. Funds need to be raised to allow him to live in the opulent luxury and security he "deserves" and funds need to be raised to bankroll the efforts to recruit new members. The obvious failure of recriutment just reinforces the need for more funding.
A regular part of fund-raising which also provides images for adoration is the sale of calendars featuring posed photos of Prem Rawat. Prem Rawat is physically a particularly ugly person and the years of dissolute lifestyle shows on his face and fat guts but he is also one of the most photographed people on the planet and not only because his personal photographer for many years was also his mistress.
Example of fund-raising in 1973:
Example of fund raising post 2000
Prem Rawat has also inspired Aspirare, direct sales of a uniqely selected range of articles of a certain style and taste that says "Maharaji!"
By 2010 Rawat's fund-raising 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 …
The main reason 'students' of Maharaji donate is because of the current reality of their actual lives and unrealised promise of unparalleled joy.