The Prem Rawat Foundation
Until around 2001 Prem Rawat aka Maharaji espoused negative ideas about charity as did his Father. He stridently asserted that only his Knowledge could make humans happy and bring peace to the world and charitable activities were time and effort wasted that could be best spent on propagating the Knowledge and money spent on feeding the poor could best be spent on him. For a short period in 1973/74, while it appeared his following was growing, he promoted the grandiose and absurd ideas of Rennie Davis that they could feed the world and help the sick and needy through DUO, the Divine United Organisation and Project Love. These ideas and plans were quickly forgotten when a more realistic picture of Divine Light Mission prevailed amongst the DLM administrators.
Rawat appears to have three major objectives:
- to increase his following thereby receiving more money and personal adoration and maintaining his opulent lifestyle
- to avoid publicity and media attention which would bring his history to the attention of the public and make him the butt of ridicule and contempt.
- to gain respectability and respect as an International Ambassador of Peace or at least the appearance therof
These objectives are difficult to balance together as there are inherent conflicts between them. Judging by the resources and subterfuges that have been used to try to gain him public respect and respectability over the years since that time he must feel the desire for public respect very strongly. It must hurt knowing that his eldest brother stole his birthright and has gone on to publicly succeed in politics and as a guru/Godman and having their father's legacy and wordly goods.
The Prem Rawat Foundation's donations to worthy causes are relatively small but Rawat glories in being mock humble while not stating that the amounts are really piffling. MJ: thank you very much and I didn't do anything for the tsunami. What could I do for the tsunami? Tsunami's over. I did do something for the victims of the tsunami. (Applause)
TPRF is making an effort to make sure that these people have at least food. Clean water and food are very very important. "Thank you very much. Thank you very very much." It is happening and I hope that uh it continues to happen. TPRF is doing some good stuff and trying to take care of people who need the help even though you know the greatest gift you can give anyone is a gift of joy. That is the tops, that is the greatest greatest gift. The gift of peace is the greatest gift you can give anybody. Hungry or not hungry, believe me. Peace rules. (Applause)
In 2001, The Prem Rawat Foundation was registered in California as a charitable Trust. It mainly consisted of an Internet website and sold downloadable excerpts of Prem Rawat's speeches, musical compositions and other 'art' works. Linda Pascotto, (née Haldan, a "trust-fund baby") is a premie with inherited wealth who was close to Rawat and became the President of the Prem Rawat Foundation once the advantages of having a foundation were explained to him. While the majority of the money donated to the Foundation would be spent on Rawat's travels and luxury accomodations while he was "spreading the Knowledge" a blizzard of publicity could be created depicting him as a philanthropist making meaningful charitable and humanitarian efforts. In the 10 years since TPRF was founded only an average of 25% of the funds donated have been used for charitable humanitarian purposes. The $4.5 million used for this purpose have been mainly doled out in approximately $20,000 portions, each of which has been publicised in press releases (see PRNewswire) and stories in the Inspire electronic newsletter produced by TPRF from 2004 to 2010 and WOPG newsletters since. All of these donations, while of great value to the recipients at the time, solves no long term problems, and are short term fixes. Should the money be used for one long term solution of a problem then there would only be one press releae and one upbeat story avialble to put on the internet. All publications of Rawat's organisations display a totally upbeat, positive message of growth and success and their writers are very creative in this regard.
The foundation began when Maharaji donated more than $700,000 to TPRF in the form of proceeds from a benefit auction where all the auctioned items were gifted by him and purchased by devotees.
The Inspire Electronic Magazine that was published by TPRF in nearly 200 issues over the years 2004 - 2010 and the TPRF Annual Reports and the press releases distributed through PRNewswire provide a complete picture of Prem Rawat, his activities and Knowledge that he wanted to show to the public (though mainly to his followers) during that time.
Examination of the Prem Rawat Foundation annual reports shows that less than 30% of the funds contributed to the foundation (by Rawat's devotees, not by Rawat personally) were spent on humanitarian or charitable activities. The majority has been spent on Prem Rawat himself and helps fund his travels in his private multi million dollar jets, staying in luxury hotel suites and giving speeches that inspire his followers to donate money that is spent on his travels in his private multi million dollar jets …
Year of Statements of Activities
Contributions and Grants
Fundraising and Events
Only $6,215,151 of the $21,220,968 raised was spent on humanitarian and charitable activities ie 29%. All but a fraction of the rest, $15,005,817 was spent on activities directly or indirectly benefiting Prem Rawat himself. This is only a small part of the money donated by his followers and spent on and by Prem Rawat. All of the many web-sites dedicated to Prem Rawat have facilities for contributions and Rawat has moved his main public organisation, Words of Peace Global, to The Netherlands so that no public financial accounting is required.
The directors of TPRF have all been long-term dedicated and in many cases close and wealthy followers of Prem Rawat since the time he was the 14 year old child God and Lord of the Universe, Guru Maharaj Ji. They include Linda Haldan Pascotto who has been moved to Chair after years as the President, Stephen Sordoni, Scott Mazo, Karen Pearse, Brad Griffin, Kenneth Delaski, Dr Edward Hanzelik and God's daughter Premlata Rawat Hudson is the President and God's son, Amar Rawat, was appointed to Vice President in 2012. They are nearly all part of the inner circle of Rawat's followers along with the Major Donors' Group and such Rawatism luminaries as Timothy Gallwey, Alvaro and Valerio Pascotto, Dr John Horton, Jean-Marie Bonthous and his long-term paramour, Monica.
The Inspire electronic newsletter was TPRF's major vehicle for the promotion of Rawat up to 2010. It usually contained a brief story about an Élan Vital Inc. (EVI ceased operations in 2010) event or TPRF charitable or humanitarian activity and a short edited section of one of Rawat's recent speeches which was also available on subscription (after the first 10 issues) as a .pdf file. The stories were reused and published on the web at other sites including Young Peoples' Initiative (This site went off-line in 2015. It was supposedly created by and for young people rather than the majority of Rawat's students who had been initiated in the 1970's and were then in their 50's); Maharaji Blog (http://maharajiblog.net/) which shut down at the end of 2009, The Voice of Maharaji which closed down mid 2009. Only the Young Peoples' Initiative was updated after 2009. Articles about Rawat's public activities were distributed as press releases through PR Newswire though I have never seen one actually used by a newspaper.