Service - Selfless Service to the Perfect Master
In his early speeches in the West, the young guru stressed the bliss that came from meditation after being initiated and practising his Knowledge. This was understandable, all teachers of meditation claim it has positive effects otherwise why would anyone do it? Rawat's claims were just more outrageous and simplistic than most:
"And this Knowledge is so Holy, so Perfect that one spark that comes out of this Knowledge is so perfect, so, so perfect, wherever it goes it hits, it makes it perfect and wherever it goes, again hits, it makes it perfect. … This Knowledge, because it is a very sweet fruit, whoever takes a bite feels the sweet and wants to take it more and more. … this Knowledge. When people got it, they really got blissed out. If they just went into it, they really got blissed out … Knowledge just takes you, and takes you into an environment never thought of; never thought of, beautiful. When one can really get into the Music, get into the Word, get into the Light, it's so beautiful; so blissful. Just grand, you know! … What I have is a constant LSD. It's not LSD, it's a built-in LSD which God provided you with when you were born. You get into it and you're always blissed out.
However, if people are initiated, enjoy meditation and just go off and have no connection to Rawat or his organisations' activities then this is of little or no value to Rawat whose luxurious living depends upon people committing to him, his teachings and his organisation and supporting both. In fact, most people did not experience anything approximating the wildly exaggerated claims the young guru and his early core group of followers were making but he explained there was a reason, meditation by itself would not produce the bliss, a person also needed to hear and give satsang and do voluntary labour and make financial contributions to both Rawat personally and Divine Light Mission. He called these activities service (Hindi: seva).
Divine Light Mission Glossary. Service: Selfless actions performed out of love for the Perfect Master and compassion for the sufferings of humanity. The first service any disciple of Guru Maharaj Ji has is to inform people that the Perfect Master is here, offering them the gift of eternal life. In practice - although service often involves setting up for programs and video events, ushering, security, and the like - it can also entail working for one of several companies owned by Elan Vital, or donating money towards Maharaji's personal expenses.
Human Beings Need to Obey the Orders of Prem Rawat
Unfortunately, according to Prem Rawat, human beings cannot understand whether their actions serve God or their stomach and so they must obey the agya (order, commands) of the Perfect Master himself, who just so happens to be Prem Rawat:
And I'll tell you what the purpose is: to actually do service. See, before Knowledge, whatever we do is also service, but it's a service to our stomach; it's a service to our mind. But what service we do after Knowledge, to Guru Maharaj Ji, to spread this peace into this world, to bring that Love, to bring that joy that we all have been waiting for, to work in that direction, is called service and then the second thing comes, agya. Because the mind is so strong, a human being from the beginning is unable to determine that whatever next thing will I be doing, will it be a real service to the spiritual path or not.
Even on the night before he became the Perfect Master he preached that service was required so that people could understand how beautiful the Knowledge was. During the growth and excitement phase of DLM it was taught that young unattached premies should enter the ashram to do full-time service but after the disaster of Millenium '73 when millenial success no longer appeared imminent and the true position of DLM began to be apparent Guru Maharaj Ji began to stress the need for service more and more as he no longer tried to attact new followers but shore up those he already had.
it's much better, you know, for a man to be completely, like, in a whole circumstance where he can get satsang all the time and be able to do service all the time. (Phoenix, January 21 1974) … the point is to do service, to realize this Knowledge more (Los Angeles January 27) … Don't, don't really try to think. You've got your service, you got what to do, do your service, be blissed out … And to understand Knowledge, you have to do meditation, you have to do satsang, you have to do service. (Denver, May 2) And premies, it's like this Holy Word that we all want to see, that we all want to get into, it can be only achieved by doing meditation, by doing satsang, and listening to satsang, and doing service. (Denver, May 6)
Prem Rawat's Disciples Doing Service
The Maximum Service That Could Be Done Was By Living In An Ashram
The maximum service that could be done was by living in an ashram. This required that everything you have be donated to DLM and then all your wages would go to Maharaji personally and to Divine Light Mission while you would be supported - but only just. You would live according to a strict schedule and have no outside interests or involvement with your family. Naturally Rawat promoted this lifestyle as the best one for spiritual development. He also began to stress the formation of organised communities of premies so that non-ashram premies would have ways of doing service and the need for tithing by all premies not in the ashram in the Active Membership Program (AMP). Unfortunately for Rawat's hopes, this program gained acceptance by less than 30% of active premies, even though they were continually reminded they should be involved.
Maharaji has taught that a premie can seriously devote himself to "satsang, service, and meditation" for years or decades, and then "all of a sudden the mind can come in, penetrate, and that's it. It's all gone. It's all lost." The truth of these warnings is confirmed by the numbers of premies who continually drift away from the Mission. Having a person fully involved in activities dedicated to the Master is one way in which this disaffection can be minimised and attmepts to get people who have been revealed the techniques of Knowledge to do service continue to this day (currently 2015). These attempts have a far more professional appearance on the Volunteer System Role Searching pages on the Words of Peace Global website (accessed 1st April 2013) and apparently require an awful lot of managers but are basically still in the same old fields: Ushering, Ticketing, Seating, Lobby, Special Needs, Catering, Mic Ushers, Sales & Information. Proselytisation in now known as Global Peace Initiatives though all material to aid recruitment needs to be purchased.
Maharaji has a vision of an ever growing number of followers dedicated to him and to World Peace:
And today I know that this prachar is just going to go on. This propagation is just going to go on. And so many more brothers and sisters in this world are going to receive Knowledge. Rome, Italy, 9th November, 1977
Yesterday in the darshan line, there were just so many new premies. And I know there are so many aspirants here. And those aspirants are going to receive Knowledge by Guru Maharaj Ji's Grace, and become premies. And there's so many aspirants all around the world. This propagation has really, really grown. And there is no limit, there is no end, to how incredible it is. Just look at it! Miami Beach, Florida, April 8, 1978
In fact numbers appear to be around half of what they were circa 1980 but I am sure the amount of voluntary labour and finances they have generated over the past 45 years would be astounding if it could be accurately estimated.