The Most Holy and Significant Event in Human History
Inside the Largest Indoor Space on the Planet
The Millenium '73 festival was billed by Prem Rawat (Guru Maharaj Ji) Himself as "the most holy and significant event in human history" and it's preceding publicity campaign was called 'Soul Rush'. He predicted it was going to be a big shot of TLC (tender loving care) but the festival showed that the young Rawat and his inner circle of administrators and family members had a completely unrealistic picture of their powers, the number of their followers and the public response to Rawat's proclamations that he could bring World Peace. It provided Divine Light Mission with a reality check and an exceedingly large debt. It's only to be expected that any person who claims to be an incarnation of God and actively promotes himself as about to bring in 1,000 years of peace on earth, hires the largest indoor space on the planet, even releases an astrological press release and invites tens of thousands of followers and some alien space travellers to join him in unveiling the details there will be a certain degree of media attention. This attention turned out to be critical, very critical and dismissive and Prem Rawat, himself, the Guru Maharaji Ji received the worst of it.
"This is just about the time that everybody comes together and understands who is God because I guess there have been too many of these phony things going around these world. Ah, messes like Watergate and things like that but it's just not America, it's right around the world, you can't just blame just one country for it. And I guess this is just about time that everybody gets together and understands who is God because it's important that people know God by now, at least."" - Prem Rawat (knowing laughter in crowd)
A full reproduction of the And It Is Divine Millenium Edition magazine is available on-line as is a reproduction of the Divine Times Millenium edition and the Divine Times pre-Millenium edition on this site. A video documentary The Lord of the Universe is still available at Amazon and available for free viewing or download at the Mediaburn archive and is a must for anyone with an interest in 1970's New Religious Movements. There is a transcript of the video here and a scene descriptor here. Some music from Millenium including the darshan line is available here.
Rawat sat atop a tall throne, crowned by an immense golden "crown of Krishna," as the Astrodome scoreboard flashed the word "G-O-D." Young American "premies" wept for joy, others danced on the stage, the band played "The Lord of the Universe". In the universally bad press that Prem Rawat and his "Knowledge" got during and after Millenium 73 there was one person who got some good press, the only Western mahatma, Mahatma Saphlanand.
"There is this man who comes into Houston and he is looking for a Superman comic. And he goes searching right around Houston and he searches all Astrodome and he searches all stationery book and every just bookstores and every place. He can't get a Superman comic. And then he's sitting with his eyes closed and suddenly a little guy, 4 years old, 5 years old comes up to him with something under his shirt and he shakes him up and says "Excuse me" and you go like that "What's up? What do you want?" "Oh. I'm sorry but I thought you wanted a Superman comic, I can give it to you." It's just like he's really cool boy, he's just smiling, he's cool and you're all screwed up and just ready to burst open. You just don't like guys fooling around you, you want them hot so they can really boost up that thing inside you. And then he opens the first button of his shirt and you look "Hey man I don't believe it. What's going on?" And then he takes out this superman comic up and he gives it to you and your mouth is open and then just like that." - Prem Rawat
Premies were devastated by the Fiasco/Festival
There was crazy gossip going through the premie community: during the Millennium festival a New Age would dawn in Houston. Speculations and prophesies abounded. The Astrodome would fly into space to join astral travellers on the Kohoutek Comet. Premies expected 144,000 people to descend on the festival
Even premies who were normally quite realistic in their views were taken in by these collective fantasies. The festival was a bore. Premies waited for something miraculous to happen. Nada. Zilch. Although premies tried hard to find good things to say about the festival, there wasn't a lot happening and it seemed to James V. Downton that ruined dreams were hidden under their fake exuberance.
The most exciting part of the Fiasco were the Christian and Hare Krishna protesters. Prem kept going around hinting if not downright claiming to be God in a human body. Somebody is bound to be insulted but to unite fundamentalist Christians and wannabe Hindus is impressive.
Before the festival, the Mission's goals and activities had been quite extravagant, reflecting the community's confidence that the movement would succeed. Afterwards, the organization was left with a $600,000 debt, and worse, the loss of a continuing flow of new members with inheritances.
Prem Rawat was devastated by the Fiasco/Festival
The Gulfstream G2 he had his heart set on was not going to materialise. In fact it would be another 14 years and a few more bumps (including the DECA project that deliverd as unuseable Boeing 707)in the road before his long-suffering premies could afford to get him a jet. In 1986/7 4,000 premies donated $l,100,000 towards a down payment on a Learjet 55. A $2½ million bank loan and the $1½ million annual running costs still needed to be repaid. Of course Prem decided that that jet was unsatisfactory and so the stairway to heaven has been a long and expensive road and that Gulfstream G650 is still a pie in his sky.
Some Video Clips to Savour the Fiasco Flavour
Rennie Davis gave an introductory public speech at the event.
"It is not possible to understand the Middle East, or Watergate, or UFOs, or the super comet in the sky unless you understand the central event on this planet around which all other events now spin. Guru Maharaj Ji says: 'Life is like a chess game and very soon now the whole world will be checkmated' and if America wants to know what is happening it must first understand the main thing that is happening, the Lord is on the planet, he's in a human body and he's about to usher in the greatest change in the history of human civilisation."
One of the Rawatism religion concepts that has remained unchanged is the belief that premies have an "experience" on which they base their worship and adoration of Prem Rawat. They do not base their life on ideas, concepts or philosophy but on an "experience of life" only available to those who practise Maharaji's Gift of Knowledge." These premies certainly cast doubt on that dogma.
"I'd crawl across three continents on my hands and knees to eat the dust off Guru Maharaj Ji's feet if necessary."
"I don't do anything. You know, I as a human being don't do anything, you know Guru Maharaj Ji does everything. I don't do anything, what do I do? You know. Guru Maharaj Ji, really from my own experience, this is not a philosophy, from my own experience, Guru Maharaj Ji is doing everything. He is the Doer of everything in this world."
Maharaji gave this satsang on his arrival at the Houston airport. When he left, the garlands that had been laid around his neck were ripped apart and distributed to the adoring premies as prasad.
"This is just about the time that everybody comes together and understands who is God because I guess there have been too many of these phony things going around these world. Ah, messes like Watergate and things like that but it's just not America, it's right around the world, you can't just blame just one country for it. And I guess this is just about time that everybody gets together and understands who is God because it's important that people know God by now, at least." (knowing laughter in crowd)
Everything was dark at first
Things had gone from bad to worse
The Lord of all the universe
Came down to show the way
So rock me Maharaji and roll me tonight
Rock me Maharaji and say it's all right
It's all right
Guru Maharaj Ji, or Prem Rawat as he now calls himself, looks over His shoulder at one of the giant Astrodome images declaring Himself to be the Incarnation of God, here and now. As Rennie Davis, his most high profile devotee, kept repeating:
" … the Lord is on the planet, he's in a human body and he's about to usher in the greatest change in the history of human civilisation"
and "I would cross the planet on my hands and knees to touch his toe."
and "The thing we've got here is not only a movement that is incredibly efficient and incredibly together and built really on an incredible self-understanding but you see it's led by the Lord, heh heh heh."
Click here to see a selection of video clips of Millenium '73
Click here to see a selection of newspaper reports of Millenium '73