Always Trying To Give It Away
Since the beginning of Prem Rawat's career one of his most important commandments to his followers has been to "do propagation" ('prachar' in Hindi) i.e. proselytise and spread this Knowledge and to attract new people to Rawat's cult. Actually he has said that it is the most important activity his followers should do and that:
"it becomes our one and foremost duty to try to give that Knowledge to all the people in this world."
Over the decades the actual methods of recruitment varied though it was only in the first years that there was any major success. Even then, Rawat was a like a hamster on a wheel - too fat to be a rat - always having to run to stay in the same place. Divine Light Mission membership figures included all those who had been initiated. However there was a huge dropout rate and this has only been lessened by making people through hoops and over hurdles to demonstrate their thirst and have their brains washed before thay are allowed to "receive Knowledge." Rawat and his brains trust/minions have been unable to find a balance between the carrot of preposterous promises and the stick of a brainwashing process able to convert without proving too demanding.
1974 was something of a hiatus in Divine Light Mission as it recovered from the hangover left over from Millenium 73. The United States Divine Light Mission administrators actually began administering rather than blathering the post-hippie pre-millenial semi-occult nonsense that passed for rational thought in the first 3 years of Prem Rawat's career in the West. They began to understand that their pool of possible premies was evaporating and they should take steps to whip their current membership into line and regularise their methods of recruitment and training. They had no funds to publish magazines for 6 months but in June they informed the premies of DLM's status/worldview viaan "interview" between Bob Mishler and Mike Donner, President & Vice-President of DLM. It was time to "concentrate on "developing new systems within our community, not only to serve ourselves but to come together as a community." Premies had to learn "not to blow things out of proportion" and to stop hyping thir meditation and "experience." The message was straightforward, there had to be a "deeper awakening of practicality in terms of realizing this Knowledge and understanding what human life is all about."
Prem Rawat, who was mostly concentrated on his affair with Marolyn Johnson, was telling premies "to shape up or ship out" and ordering premies not to obey the members of his Holy Family. On May 20th 1974 Rawat was married to Ms Johnson. A 16 year old Indian Perfect Master marrying a 24 year old woman from California was so outlandish and ludicrous that it made front page news around the world and probably made recruitment even more difficult. On April Fools' Day1 1975, Prem Rawat's mother, Mata Ji, announced in a press conference that she had deposed her youngest son as the Guru Maharaj Ji. This was even more outlandish and ludicrous and scandalous to boot as he was deposed because of drunkenness, drug taking, insufficient respect, oversufficient interest in sex and a general "playboy" lifestyle ccording to his mother, a woman who he had recently assured the world was divine.
September 1975 some Mahatmas that had not left with Mata Ji were sent packing and Rawat designated 4 Western "empowered" mahatmas, the first since Param Saphlanand. On the 24th December 1975 Rawat issued a proclamation giving his new directive that "mahatmas" were to be called initiators, should grow their hair, should dress in Western clothes and could no longer sit on chairs on stage at satsang. Rawat claimed that 1975 has been a very succesful year for propagation (premie numbers had fallen by about 7 million) but that Knowledge has been presented falsely to the current premies who "didn't have the proper understanding." They "thought that Knowledge was a trippy thing or a mystical thing, but when it came right down to integrating Knowledge into their life in the daily practice of satsang, service and meditation" they didn't. Propagation never recovered from this decision despite the efforts of many of the intelligent, charismatic, dedicated devotees who were appointed because the claims Rawat and his true believers made for "the Knowledge" were, after all, false. During the late 1970's Rawat appointed at least 80 non-Indian initiators from 20 countries (PIP p.209) and with intense nightly satsang meetings going on throughout the West the number of committed/partly committed premies and hangers-on grew to around 20,000 by 1980.
Élan Vital Methods of Recruitment
Prem Rawat is at the heart of the failure to recruit new followers in the West despite the incredible financial resources and talent those people who were initiated in the early 1970's have given him. The 1980s was a period of little or no recruitment as the orgaisation recovered from the drastic changes to Rawat's message, his public persona and the disillusionment of at least half of the committed premies of 1982.
From the early 1990's there was multimedia, huge HD screens, high quality sound systems and even custom built chairs and still the numbers of premies in the West slowly fell as recruitment did not cover backsliding and now (2010) the long-timers are starting to die of old age events that accelerate as time passes. No matter how long you've taken to convince people beforehand, learning these techniques from watching a movie of an absurd little fat guy who resembles a toad will not have the same emotional impact as learning them in a dimly lit room from a shaven-headed Indian "saint" sitting cross-legged in front of you, dressed in saffron robes and bringing the mystic East directly into your young life in the early 1970's when this possibility was still pretty "far out." Of course, even then, the drop-outs far outnumbered the people who stayed for the long haul.
WOPG Methods Of Recruitment
Words of Peace Global has redirected Rawat's followers from the face-to-face personal involvement of local communities into an organisation where everthing is aranged on the internet and actual human beings only congregate to see and hear Rawat give a speech in their locality. There are annual 3 or 5 days get-togethers at Rawat's cult compound in Australia where 3,000 or more aging premies get together for "3 Days of Peace and Music" - whoa my mind wandered back to the 60s - 3 days of peace and understanding and satsang and darshan.