The so-called "His Royal Highness Yogiraj Param Hans Sadgurudev Shri Hans ji Maharaj" (1900 - July 16, 1966) was a guru in India within the Sant Mat tradition. Click here for his Wikipedia biography. He claimed to be the Satguru or Perfect Master of his time though he was not accepted by the majority of his Master's other followers. He married twice, the second time to Jagat Janani Mata Shri Rajeshwari Devi, also known as "Mata Ji" and they had four sons and he had a daughter with his first wife.
Guru Maharaj Ji, what do you owe to your father?
I won't tell you what I owe. If I took all the birds, the sun, moon and everything that exists in trying to repay my father, I wouldn't even be able to repay a single pennyworth. You know He has given me such a lot. Such a lot that He has made me king of the whole universe. So how can I repay Him? As a Guru. I regard Him as my father because He is my real father, and He is my Real Father. Real father and Real Father, real to Real. He is my real father because He has given me birth, and He is my Real Father because He has shown me the path. How can I repay Him for this real thing He has given me? I can't even imagine repaying Him for it, but He says that if I can just do meditation it will be much more than He has given me. I don't think so. I don't think it is true.
In 2009, Words of Peace Global released a video detailing Rawat's Perfect Master lineage in which he discussed his father's career and told a story about his father's orders to the young Bal Bhagwan Ji. A story which supposedly confirmed his own claim to have inherited his father's spiritual authority and divinity.
Shri Hans was early in his life an egalitarian iconoclast, and an opponent of the Hindu caste system. He was originally a member of the Arya Samaj, but left that movement after he met a guru of the Sant Mat tradition, Sri Swarupanand Ji Maharaj. Swarupanand initiated him into the four techniques of Knowledge or kriyas, which are the centrepiece of his religion. In the 1930s following the death of his guru, he began to travel in Sind and Lahore and later to Delhi.
The death of a guru is nearly always followed by dissension as to whom should be the new Satguru (see Radhasoami Reality by Professor Mark Jurgensmeyer). Rawat's father was not accepted by Swarupanand's followers as the new Satguru because he was a "householder" ie a family man. Their concerns were shown to have some basis when Prem Rawat was disowned, disinherited and deposed by his mother and elder brother due to his "unspiritual lifestyle" and the subsequent public scandal which both brothers have attempted to hush up. It is not unusual for successful gurus with families to pass their property and "spiritual capital" on to their children. Hans' following grew informally for many years, spreading across northern India. Apparently he could not foretell the future as the Punjab where he had done most of his preachings became part of Pakistan in the partition cutting him off from the bulk of his followers. He demonstates a good head for busness by setting up shop in a strategic location on the outskirts of Haridwar knowing pilgrims on the way to the Vaisakhi festival will pass by. He founded the Divya Sandesh Parishad or Divine Light Mission in 1960 though he had resisted setting up a formal organisation.
The best internet resource for information, albeit hagiographical, on Hans Rawat, the father of Prem Rawat is the web site of his 'apostate' eldest brother, Bal Bhagwan, or Shri Satpal Ji as he now calls himself. While Maharaji and his organisations have sometimes mentioned his father they no longer have any information about him available on the internet. Most of the publications containing information about him available in the West were destroyed in the early 1980's on Prem Rawat's direction. In the past, Rawat often acknowledged that everything he had came from his his Shri Maharaji but his reservations about the efficacy of the meditation techniques to change people directly contradict many of the claims made by his father and his father's direct claims about his own divinity are probably now embarassing.
Shri Hans wanted his "Knowledge" to be proselytised in the West. He was naive enough to have letters sent to President John F. Kennedy and Bertrand Russell. He was assertive to the point of megalomania in his claims to divinity in his teaching. He proclaimed that using his methods of meditation and under his guidance world peace could be achieved but "it is absolutely necessary that the politicians of the world be counselled and if necessary obliged to realise Divine Light by personal contacts with living Realised Soul and then the humanity will be saved from ruination without much efforts." The major source of teachings, doctrines, etc of Prem Rawat's father are his speeches that have been translated into English and were published in official Divine Light Mission magazines in the 1970's and on the web site of his eldest son. These are mainly extemperaneous, contain many quotes from the Sant Mat religious tradition, attacks on other Hindu sects and beliefs and are very repetitious to an English reader. On July 19th, 1966 Shri Hans Ji Maharaj died at the age of 66.
Some of his speeches (or "satsangs") are published on this site, including:
A series of his satsangs are published on the Manav Dharam website from 2007. They are reasonably short and presumably edited to nearly identical lengths.
Hans Rawat was certainly not a shy person nor a dull dresser. He dressed as Krishna (as his son did out of the public eye) and in his later years was up and dancing and singing on stage at the drop of a mala.
Further Information - External Resources
These clips are from Elan Vital videos and come with commentary promoting the youngest son, Prem Rawat. No doubt, the eldest son, Satpal Rawat, has similar commentary in his videos, as he stresses his inheritance through his father and mother, though they would be in Hindi.
"... his own father. Shri Hans Ji Maharaj, who was of Royal Indian descent, formerly conveyed this message throughout India."
"Maharaji does not teach a religion, dogma or doctrine nor is he the first person to impart this message. Many people have done so before him including his own father. Shri Hans Ji Maharaj, who was of Royal Indian descent, formerly conveyed this message throughout India."
"Maharaji does not teach a religion, dogma or doctrine nor is he the first person to impart this message. Many people have done so before him including his own father. Shri Hans Ji Maharaj, who was of Royal Indian descent, formerly conveyed this message throughout India. Taking the initiative of travelling to his audiences Shri Hans Ji Maharaj was able to reach people who could not come to him."
By the 1990's Prem Rawat had begun to reminisce about his childhood in a new way where his father needed his help to draw crowds. He claimed that he was the one who attracted the crowds for his father, His Royal Highness Param Hans Ji Maharaj, whose organisation apparently couldn't raise a crowd advertising their "Perfect Master". The days when he spoke of his father not needing anyone to attract followers were gone. - link to the satsang
"I've been doing it since I was very young. My father, Shri Maharaji, he would have events, they would advertise them and they would do the whole thing and the time for the event would be coming and I would look out the window and see how many people were there and many times there was nobody there so I'd go out there and I'd start speaking and when I would start speaking they'd see this little bitty thing there speaking and they'd all start coming and when the hall was full my father would come and he would talk. It's not something I went to school for, it's a gift too, it's a gift that I can show you how to catch that magic when it happens."
"Maharaji was born in Hardwar, India, in 1957. By the age of 6 he'd already begun speaking to the large crowds that would gather to hear his father. When his father passed away Maharaji became the sole person to make this message available though he was only 8 years old. He continued to speak to large audiences thoughout India throughout his childhood. When he was just 13, Maharaji was invited to speak in London and Los Angeles."
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