There is little doubt that when Prem Rawat first came to the West he was publicised by his followers as a God-like, divine figure who was Greater Than God. They acclaimed the tubby teenager as the "Lord of the Universe" and he starred in an eponymous movie. Countless times they sang to Him in the devotional song Arti: "Your glory fills the world," "Heavenly hosts sing your praises" and that nectar from His Lotus Feet cleans us of our sins and he sat there listening and smiling and in 1980 he ordered them to sing Arti and mean it. However over the past decades Rawat and his current followers and organisations have been stating that he did not claim to be Greater God and his exalted status in the eyes of his followers was a mistake caused by the influence of "Indian ideas" oe even poor translation from Hindi and was mainly promulgated by his family and the Indian "mahatmas." If so, why didn't he explain the truth to them then?
Devotees of Maharaji have made the following statement on the One-Reality website:
Prem Rawat has never referred to himself as "greater than God" or "the lord of the universe." Claims to the contrary are perpetuated by a few misinformation web sites which are unable to produce a single supporting quote.
These people may well be sincerely forgetful but it's unlikely. A few minutes googling would have shown them they were wrong. The young Rawat was interviewed in Hollywood and quoted by Newsweek in a feature article which was published in many newspapers and Newsweek magazine:
When he is specifically asked whether or not he considers himself a human, however, he pauses, as though figuring out the answer. "Yes, I am a human," he says, finally. "Hands bone, lungs. But guru is greater than God because if you go to guru, guru will show you God." - Newsweek Feature Service
As he sat amid papers marked "Top Sacred" at the crowded Divine Light Mission house last week, some of the faithful who came daily to sit at his feet sought to define his relation with God. "You give your devotion to God through me," the Maharaj explained. "I multiply it many times and then send it to Him." Did that mean, asked one disciple, that they should call him God? "I am human - hands, bones, lungs," the boy responded. "But guru is greater than God because if you go to guru, guru will show you God." - Newsweek magazine, 2nd August 1971
He discussed people saying he is the Perfect Master or he is the Lord of the Universe and did not say he shouldn't be called the Lord of the Universe.
You see, Guru Maharaj Ji really plays an important part in every individual's life. Of course there are a lot of people who go out and say, "Well, Guru Maharaj Ji is just another ordinary person." Or, "Guru Maharaj Ji is the Perfect Master." Or, "Guru Maharaj Ji is the Lord of the Universe." Well, let us not speak for everybody, because we're not everybody, anyway. As I said, we're all individuals.
He also quoted a poem by Kabir who He claims was a Satguru before him in the lineage of true Perfect Masters:
To make that living power alive for you, there is great necessity for Guru Maharaj Ji. Saint Kabir says in his poems that Guru Maharaj Ji and God both are standing and he has to think to whom he should prostrate, God or Guru Maharaj Ji. And he decides that he has to prostrate before Guru Maharaj Ji, not before God, because he was crying so much for God, but God could not save him from worldly miseries. But Guru Maharaj Ji saved him immediately from all the troubles, and liberated him. And now God Himself is also visible by the meditation on the Knowledge of Guru Maharaj Ji. If I had made this poem, then you might object, but I have not made this poem. This poem repeatedly says that Guru is greater than God. Think and decide in your heart. By remembering God, you cannot be liberated. But if you remember Guru Maharaj Ji, you will immediately cross the vast ocean and be liberated.
Prem Rawat's father who was the Perfect Master before him and to whom he owes everything was quite straightforward and down to earth in stating the the Master is greater than God in his book "Hans Yog Prakash":
He who thinks Guru Maharaj Ji is a human being is blind. He will remain very unhappy in this world, and death will not relieve him of his sufferings. … It's common sense that Master is greater than God. People who merely think about God stay stuck in the world, but those who have realized what the Master really is, pass beyond suffering, and attain perfect freedom. If you want to understand the mystery of what I am saying, surrender yourself to the Master. Many people went down the drain because of pride and arrogance. There is no giver like the Master, and there is no beggar like his disciple. The Master gives his disciple the wealth of heaven and earth. The root of meditation is the form of the master, and the root of worship is his holy feet. His word is the True Name of God. The beginning of Truth is to have pure and sincere love for the Master. By coming and going according to the Master's orders, a disciple is freed from cares.
Even such unlikely magazines as Penthouse thought such a claim worthy to be published and discussed:
… many of them pray daily to effigies of the kid, as to any crucifix or golden cow: it's not that he's God, no, this he modestly denies, but the reasoning is that he's greater than God, for he intercedes between the human and the divine. Yea verily, the bottle is greater than the beer. Thus all pronouns pertaining to him in the various Divine Mission periodicals—The Divine Times and the Denver-based slick magazine, And It Is Divine—are capitalized: "Him," "He," "His," "Who," "Whose," etc. … "I am human," he admitted to the multitude in 1971, "hands, bones, lungs. But Guru is greater than God, because if you go to Guru, Guru will show you God."
Prem Rawat's teachings about himself and God are particularly complex because Prem Rawat is Greater than God because he reveals God to human beings immersed in ignorance but he is also the Incarnation of God in a human body for the present age and Prem Rawat says "my Knowledge is God" and he also says He is Knowledge. He says he has come to earth with more powers than ever before and so quite possibly he is the only person able to completely understand this multi-dimensionsal paradox. You have to be there.
Prem Rawat has never written a book or clearly and concisely defined his concepts. Virtually all his teachings have been imparted in speeches that are mainly extemperanous though there is considerable repetition. Quotes taken out of context can be bandied about and prove nothing without an overview of his teachings. In Prem Rawat's teachings "God is energy," it cannot be created and cannot be destroyed and Guru is Greater than God because he can reveal that power that creates the universe, sustains it and destroys it when appropriate and this has been going on since time immemorial. A spark of that energy exists within inside each human being and is the source of life, the energy keeping you alive and the Élan Vital though it cannot be found by mere scientists. The purpose of each human life is to return to that energy and as humans are controlled by their Minds and are sunk in illusion, the lineage (parampara) of Perfect Masters or Masters or Guru Maharaj Jis or Satgurus incarnate, manifest, come into this world or are embodied whenever necessary (which is all the time) to teach humans the Knowledge and to save them. Those verbs are self-explanatory and Rawat also talks about God which is formless and God with a form ie with a human body. Prem Rawat has never exactly defined how this identity of God, the infinite eternal power and the incarnation as a human being occurs and is maintained but then it is a very difficult thing to explain and understand and as far as I know he hasn't tried. Countless thousands of human beings have already been killed trying to agree on this very topic. Among the past Masters are Ram, Krishna, Jesus, Mohammed and Prem Rawat's father, Hans Rawat. Rawat said that Guru Maharaj Ji (The Revealer of Light and Ultimate Ruler) could just appear as a giant disembodied head in the clouds and appear to all human beings at once and order them to receive and practise Knowledge or go to hell but he has never done that and never will because that's just the way it is.
The following links are to collections of his teachings about his divinity (ergh His Divinity) - in His own words:
Prem Rawat has also given extensive teachings about being the one and only living guru:
This claim did not receive as much attention in newspaper and magazine stories though some mentioned Prem Rawat claimed he was Greater Than God: