Prasad: Eating Prem Rawat's Food
Amongst all the Indian cultural oddities that Prem Rawat introduced into Divine Light Mission in the West through his early followers and mahatmas was the concept of prasad or prashad. Prasad was any food that Prem Rawat hadn't finished eating (pretty slim picking as he was such a little porker) and the consumption or even having such food was believed to give many spiritual benefits. As he was considered to be God Incarnate and lovingly known as the Lord of the Universe, this wasn't so hard to understand. As the greedy-guts left little leftovers to share amongst his thousands of devotees this spiritual benefit was considered to also reside in any food that had been "offered" to Him, either directly (especially powerful) or even offered to a picture or an altar halfway around the world. In 1970's Australia the food usually offered was fruit or other "health food" ie the very foods that the Lard of the Universe didn't actually want to eat himself.
Even flowers from garlands briefly hung around his neck carried this magic potency as these scenes for the TV documentary Lord of the Universe demonstrate.
"You know who touched this flower, the Lord of the Universe.
Touch it. A flower."
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)
This excerpt from the Divine News of September 15, 1972 recounts a picnic with the newly arrived Mahatma Padarthanand in Sydney, Australia on 11th September, 1973
The Day - 11th September, 1973. MahatmaJi arrives from New Zealand on Qantas DC 8 at Mascot International Terminal. About 40 or so premies and non premies gathered at the exit gates singing loudly the praises of Our Lord and Saviour, Guru Maharaj Ji, and waiting patiently to see our beloved MahatmaJi once again. This time it was only to be for a short two hours before he left for Brisbane. It took quite some time for David and Mahatma Ji to get through Customs - "Who's this Guru Maharaj Ji then?" After several minutes of satsang our Customs friend was joined by yet another Customs man, and then they said - "What's this film then?" It was of course our beautiful Darshan movie "Satguru Has Come", and after more explanations and smiles Mahatma Ji and David were finally cleared, only to be refused exit through the gateway where the beaming devotees were singing their hearts out. Mahatma Ji said - "They try to hide Divine Light, but how can they hide Divine Light?" When Mahatma Ji appeared in the adjoining gateway he was greeted with bunches of flowers and beautiful garlands and shining faces, and before we knew it he was whisked away to the Ansett Terminal. A question and answer satsang ensued in the nearby park in beautiful sunny conditions, and everyone shared in a wonderful two hours of bliss and prasad, until it was time for Mahatma Ji to fly away. Mahatma Ji was so beautiful playing with baby Miles and
This excerpt from the Divine Times of October 15, 1974 tells of prasad at Guru Puja 1974.
Guru Puja '74 featured the first "curb service" darshan ever. Instead of having the premies line up and file past Maharaj Ji, he had a throne attached to the side of a small truck and passed by the line of premies. Leading the procession was a troop of WPC with bullhorns who shouted out instructions and procedures to take when Maharaj Ji got close. Then came Maharaj Ji's vehicle and the Lord Himself. After Maharaj Ji, came a truck full of mahatmas accepting dedications followed in turn by another truck with premies handing out prasad.
This excerpt from the Divine Times of July 31 1975 tells of prasad in Hong Kong on June 1, 1975.
For a finale, the resident premie clown danced while an ice cream chocolate-almond cake was brought in and presented to Maharaj Ji. A sword was given to Maharaj Ji to cut it and six premies had to hold the cake as he speared it with a powerful blow. Durga Ji then cut the cake in slices and gave him a piece to eat. So many smiles, so much love. He got up and said "Realize this Knowledge, and I hope we can meet again soon." Tired and happy, we all queued for ice-cream prasad, danced and sang Arti.
This excerpt from the Initiator Candidate Interviews tells of prasad in Frankfurt on November, 28 & 29, 1976.
So when everyone had finished I went up and saw Mike Dettmers. He asked me how I was feeling and I said, so good. Arthur was there. I think Arthur was just completely wiped out. Everybody was wiped out. Mike Dettmers was saying, 'What happened? ' No one knew. Arthur was saying that his mind was completely blown; Maharaj Ji just completely blew everyone. It's amazing. I went back to the room and had some prasad from Guru Maharaj Ji. I was just thanking everybody and put my arms round Arthur and hugged him, shook his hand and said, 'Thank you very much.' I felt really close, it felt like we'd all been though so much together, and it brought us all really, really close.
This excerpt from the Light Reading of March 1977 tells of prasad in an early 1977 meeting during the early stages of Maharaji's "Back to Devotion" campaign.
Inching forward slowly, slowly. Then the moment when each one turns a corner to walk those final eternities, looking up and ahead into a pair of eyes which see everything, everywhere. Swallowed up in the depths of those beautiful eyes. Close now, bowing down, gently kissing Maharaj Ji's foot. Floating away in a bubble of silent bliss. Nobody can hear anything but smiles for a light year in any direction. Prasad is sweet as one tiptoes back to one's seat to sit in awed, wordless silence. There is nothing happening, anywhere in the universe, but the absolute completeness of this moment.