Like It Or Leave It … Or Else
Prem Rawat in his career has used extemperaneous speeches, nearly all of which are recorded for posterity, as his main tool of teaching and communication. He does not appear overly attached to logic or facts as he boasts that in his Knowledge "experience rules supreme here not facts." With such an ocean of verbiage to choose from there can be differences of opinion about exactly what he is teaching and what he has taught. Context is very important in elucidating his true meaning as is the audience to whom he is talking. I think most people would accept that teachings and instructions given to committed disciples would be closer to the truth than things said to a diverse audience in a public forum whom he was trying to interest in his "Knowledge". This is apparent when considering what he teaches about the results of disillusionment with and non-practice of his Knowledge once it has been "revealed" to you and he has accepted you as a "student." Prem Rawat's policy in this was consistent with statements he made on other topics. There was one message for the media and the public and another message for those who were committed to him and his teachings. This certainly could look like deceit to an impartial observer.
We can see this clearly in the first 2 quotes from his speeches. On November 2, 1971 in front of a mixed audience he tells them if his Knowledge does not give them peace to leave it. On November 27, 1971 in front of an audience of his Western followers committed enough to fly to India to spend months following him and practising his Knowledge and attending the Hans Jayanti Festival with over a million Indians he quotes a revered Indian saint who says that if he stops meditating on the Word, he will die. The message to the young guru's followers is pretty straightforward. Later in December 1971 he reiterates this message to his devotees that they will die if they stop meditating. Understandably, it was the first message that was generally told to people being proselytised as this quote from an interview with Michael Dettmers published in the Divine Times of January 1976 makes clear: "Okay, but what about the people who have Knowledge already? When they received Knowledge, maybe that commitment wasn't clear at all: a lot of us were hit with: "Just take Knowledge and if it doesn't bring you instant realization of God, leave it."
Because if you do not meditate on this Knowledge, it's like it is there, it's gonna do you no no good. Like, I was giving that example the other day that, you know, you can have one truckload of vegetables, and you can have one pocketful of vegetables, and you can have one okra. And if that one okra rots in your house, it doesn't matter so much because you can just put it right down the drain.
But if you have three truckloads of that okra in your house, and they start rotting, you might as well forget it, because you won't be able to blow them down the sink. The sink will clog, and then there'll be more rotting going on.
And it's like, if it was a small small mantra, and of course it'll do you no good either - if there was a small small mantra which was of no good, was not able to give this mind peace, and it would rot if you would not meditate on it, that's okay.
Central Hall, Westminster, London, England, November 2, 1971
Now, where to find the master? Where to find the master? You know, you can't find him in theatres. Where will you find him then? Where is he, this hidden man? Where is he? You have to find him out. And how to find him out? There is a very easy test. You have to test before you find him out, and the test is very simple. You have to take his Knowledge and test it. If this Knowledge gives you peace, well and good, go ahead. If not, immediately leave it and go out, don't follow it any more. If this Knowledge that he gives, if the Knowledge that he imparts is perfect, and it gives you perfect peace, well and good, go ahead. If not, leave it and try to find another way.
Who Is Guru Maharaj Ji?
Prem Nagar Ashram, Hardwar, November 27, 1971
Prahlada was asked by his mother, "Prahlada, why don't you leave this meditation of God, this Holy Word? Why don't you leave it?" So Prahlada clearly says, and all you who have taken this knowledge can understand it, Prahlada says to her, "Mother, I am ready to leave this Word at this moment, but this Word is not yet ready to leave me. What should I do?" Prahlada says, "I am ready to leave this Word, but this Word is not ready to leave me. And if this Word leaves me I will surely be dead."
Reflections on an Indian Sunrise, 1972
December 21 1971
do meditation. Because meditation is important. You are surviving, you are alive here at this moment because of meditation. No other thing is making you alive now; only that meditation, only that Name, only that Holy Word, only that vibration which is true is making you alive. Then why ignore it? Why leave it? Always do meditation; that is the damn important thing for your life. If you leave it, you cannot survive. You cannot survive physically, and on none of the planets can you survive, because it is important. It is a communication between you and your Lord that you form. And this communication is very important for a devotee to organize, and this can only be going very smoothly if you are regularly doing meditation.
Élan Vital, Summer 1978, Volume II, Issue 2
No doubt, the young Rawat used this sort of catch-phrase many more times in his three "World Peace Tours" while attempting to gain more followers up to the disastrous Millenium '73festival though these next two are the only records I could find. From 1974 on his focus was on retaining existing followers rather than gaining new ones and I can find no more mentions of "love it or leave it." Instead he continued to focus on the dire effects of "receiving Knowledge" and then not practising it until the 1980s after which he seemed to have a strict policy of accentuating the positive in public and pretending that everyone who "received Knowledge" practised it and achieved the remarkable results he claimed they could.
Question and Answer Session, Portland, Oregon, June 29, 1972
People think I am going to do the same thing with you: give you Knowledge and stamp on your forehead, so that wherever you go you are members of Divine Light Mission! No. You can always take this Knowledge, and whenever you don't like it you can just leave it. Then the question is first to receive it, first understand it.
Élan Vital, Volume II, Issue 2, Summer 1978
Swiss Alps Festival, August 26, 1972
"I, I'm doing this prachar. I, I'm giving this Knowledge to people and people are responding to it fantastic. I don't know what's happened to people but they are just responding to it fantastic because one thing I tell them first of all that "Listen, I don't give you anything from my pocket, understand, it's within inside you, if you like it, go ahead, do it, if you don't like it, just leave it. And try it and try it you'll like it" and people try it and they like it and they just adore it, it, it's fantastic, we like it. So because we have something truth to give to people show people will realise and there will be time when the whole world has to realise and those people who are crazy will be dying because of they are crazy."