Prem Rawat's "Rejoice" Events
Due to the fallout following the closure of the ashrams in 1982/3 there wasn't enough money to support full time initiators so in early 1986 Rawat reversed his previous stand and selected and 'trained' some of his most devoted followers, even married ones, to become part-time 'instructors' and by year's end he had appointed 320 of them. Raising funds to buy a Learjet 55 was a priority and this was bought in 1987 thereby incurring significant ongoing costs. On July 5 he gave instructions and lessons in "How To Talk About Knowledge" which were actually orders not to:
Basically, the instructors are trained to handle the situation. If you turn the ball over to them, it works a lot better. I know you want to talk about it. I don't blame you. But there is a right way to do it, an almost-right way to do it, and there's the wrong way to do it.
In July there was a North American Organizers Conference in Miami. While his speeches contained unrealistic hype about "unanimous synchronization" he admitted that committment was still lacking and that the early succcess of Divine Light Mission (during which his current followers had been recruited) was based on pretence:
In the 70's we weren't so sure. We were trying to be impressive and impressive we were. That came from not having confidence in Knowledge. When people don't have confidence in Knowledge, amazing things happen. They put up a front and try to look slick.
In August 1986 in Birmingham he explained how he was meeting challenges no other human being ever had to face. Incredibly his followers lapped this nonsene up:
One of the things you have to appreciate is that the challenges I have to meet nobody else has had to meet. I am in totally unexplored territory. The frontier. The final frontier …
In 1987 he made another extraordinary decision in his career as a guru and Master. He altered the techniques of meditation that his father had instigated in India despite his Western devotees having had innumerable "Knowledge Reviews" in the last 15 years to ensure they were doing the techniques 'correctly'. These reviews which continued for a few years were usually led by Rawat himself in a series of "Rejoice meetings" around the world with various part-time instructors scurrying around the halls ensuring premies had their fingers in the correct place on their eyelids, their thumbs correctly pushed into their ears though no-one could tell if they were thinking about their breathing correctly or curling their tongues backwards towards their uvula. He also halved the daily required meditation time to 15 minutes a technique, once a day and discouraged attempts to constantly meditate during the day which had been one of his major rules. The authorised meditation experience also changed. You were not supposed to have brilliant flashes of divine light and ecstatic highs of wondrous bliss hearing celestial music and tasting the divine nectar of the Gods anymore or if ever but only a quiet calmness.
In 1988, he began to conduct the Knowledge sessions personally and to oversee the entire process. This personal involvement meant he introduced the techniques and then went off to his luxurious waiting room smoking Marlboros while his instructors kept watch on the people attempting to meditate. This was a method that meant either very few people would ever be initiated or he would spend every day initiating people in gigantic "Knowledge Sessions" around the world should his supposed goal of bringing peace to the world through his Knowledge ever get off the ground. There was and is little chance of that happening as Rawat has too little to offer in the competitive and crowded religious and spiritual marketplace of the modern world of global communication. At the beginning of 1988 a national mailing from Elan Vital seeking regular donations was done followed by letters from three regional sponsorship representatives and Rawat's brother Raja Ji toured North American cities pushing the Sponsorship Program. By the end of 1988 there were around 2,500 pledges (3,600 people) of monthly donations covering 80 percent of the operating expenses for the Lear 55 and the basic costs of supporting "Maharaji's work" in North America even though only 2/3 of the pledges were actually paid.
From this time on Rawat's speeches became even more boring and content free as did his career.
The video, titled 'Contact', a Visions International (a division of Elan Vital Inc) production, was released in 1988. It was available for purchase from Visions International. It is based upon the Rejoice events that occurred the year earlier when Prem Rawat began to reinvigorate his moribund organisation after his years "underground". It is, as is usual in these videos, a combination of footage of his speeches or "satsangs", footage of him going to and from meetings and airports, personal testimony from some of his younger and/or more attractive devotees or "students", footage of him flying his personal jet and ends with pictures of he and his devotees laughing over a soundtrack of an inspirational, devotional ballad, in this case 'Need To Feel It'.
Prem Rawat travels to Adelaide, Australia for a Rejoice conference review. As always someone opens his car door and he is escorted to the stage while numerous premies doing 'security service' line the route ensuring he will not be bothered by the gawking or the gopis.
"Knowledge stays the same, the holy curiosity and curiosity is holy, stays the same, the desire to want to know stays the same and when that fulfillment happens in one's life the joy of that fulfillment stays the same but we change, our attitudes change, the way we look at things changes and what that Master does, amazingly enough that it takes that thing, that experience, that Knowledge and makes it real, tangible, comprehendible to the people of his time so that they may experience that as if the same thing was being experienced by any other generation and therefore Knowledge is kept alive and not thrown in the doctrine, not thrown in the dogma but is kept totally awakened, alive and separated by that teacher. When that teacher is not there it immediately firms and becomes a dogma and a doctrine. When the teacher comes back he takes it back out of dogma and doctrine and makes it a living experience for the living people and that's what it's all about." (Heartfelt, awed applause)
"Just love the guy. Just love him."
"To me, Maharaji is the Giver of the Gift."