Prem Rawat and the Possibility of Peace
Prem Rawat seems like pretty confident guy, at least when he's in his Maharaji persona. Of course he only appears in public in front of his long-term and loyal devotees and even then there's always "security" and he travels in a personal jet and is whisked away in limousines to luxury hotels or private Residences. So I was a little puzzled back in 2000 when he began talking about the "Possibility of Peace" through his (Self) Knowledge. In the 30 years prior to that he had spoken about his 'Knowledge' or "Self Knowledge" as if these required no caveats but were guaranteed to provide the certainty of peace. Of course he must have known that instructing people to accept his teaching and guidance and initiating them into his techniques of meditation was a vary chancy thing. The majority of people sooner or later became disenchanted with it and him. The early 1970s recruitment process had a very high drop-out rate but a large intake. Despite this Rawat, or Guru Maharaj Ji as he then called himself, always spoke as if he had complete confidence in the power and success of his Knowledge in changing lives and allowing access to personal development and transcendent joy, bliss and peace.
It took only 2½ years from his arrival in the West to recruit the majority of his followers by blithely offering them instant gratification and realisation through His Knowledge. He didn't know that this was just His luck of being in the right place at the right time and that the pool of young LSD-deranged counter-cultural crazies just running out of their faith in changing the world and finding meaning and bliss through "turning on, tuning in and dropping out" (ie drugs) and sticking it up their parents was about to run dry. He quickly became aware there was trouble when his Divine Light Mission ran into huge debt and ran out of young trust fund donatees. This began to effect his luxurious life-style and then he was scandalously disinherited by his mother and the Indian mahatmas and was replaced by his eldest brother. Since that time he has continually made it more difficult to be initiated/instructed into the techniques of meditation via some sort of authorised process. As there were very few aspirants seeking Rawat's Knowledge he tried to ensure those coming forward were well and truly convinced beforehand. This meant that over the past 40 years the number of his followers in the West has been static. Despite this Rawat has always pretended everything was going according to His plan.
For whatever reason after 20 years of quiet living as a niche guru/inspirational speaker with a very luxurious lifestyle but not enough funding to fly the jet of his dreams he made a change. He initiated "the Trainings" and buoyed by his now sharp and inspired team of mature age followers (hopefully/possibly) he began selling the "Possibility of Peace" more publicly than he had for 20 years though still hedged with all sorts of secrecy and rules. He also allowed the creation of the Prem Rawat Foundation, financed it with the sale of his art to his wealthiest followers and began a blizzard of phony publicity re his charitable contributions and began developing his very own personal super-villain's lair, his cult compound: Amaroo. Begin Phase 3! or was it just a mid-life crisis?
No matter how polished the presentation, no matter how long the development of "the Thirst," no matter how professional the web-shites Maharaji still has the major flaw countering all he tries. In 1971 he was the only guru offering instant gratification through his special meditation and inspiration. Now there are literally countless people trying to make a good living by convincing you that you need their help to be better. He'll have to find a better way than His 4 techniques of meditation and listening to his interminable speeches to gain true renown and respect. How many people want to spend their lives:
- squeezing their middle finger and thumb on their eyelids with index finger between the eyebrows,
- poke their thumbs into their ears
- think about their breathing
- curl their tongue backwards round their uvula for 15 minutes each
- see him and listen to him as often as you can and believe everything he says
- give him as much time and money as you can afford
- be eternally grateful to him no matter what
- kiss his feet whenever the opportunity is given to you.