Films and Videos of Divine Light Mission, Élan Vital & TPRF, WOPG, etc
Prem Pal Singh Rawat, who claims to be a descendant of Indian Royalty, arrived in West as the 13 year old, "Guru Maharaj Ji", the Lord of the Universe, Perfect Master and Satguru whose titles included Balyogeshwar Param Sant Ji Maharaj. From the beginning his organisations have used visual media as a major tool of proselytisation for new followers and for the teaching of his devotees. His teachings have never been regularised in print. His main, almost sole, teaching method is the thousands of extemperaneous speeches he has made since being enthroned as the Perfect Master in 1966. Many of these are available on CD and DVD though printed materials have been very few since the early 1980's. While copies are kept of all his speeches, only later ones are available for purchase. In 1982 in one of the most audacious and naive attempts at controlling his image ever attempted by a NRM leader he ordered his followers to destroy all copies of the printed, audio, video, and film publications about him in the West available up until that time.
He closed the ashrams in which many of his followers lived, terminated the nightly public meetings ("satsangs") they held and then disappeared from public view for many years years while his followers maintained a low-key organisation. No public advertising of public meetings was allowed for nearly two decades. He reinvigorated his organisations in the late 1980's with an increased number of worldwide meetings for his followers calling himself Prem Rawat or 'Maharaji' having dropped the 'Guru' from his self-created title. His close followers gave a revisionist explanation for his earlier persona and actions blaming all controversial aspects of his "Knowledge" on his followers and exonerating him. Since then he has been trying, in a very low key way, to change his public image from boy guru to respected, philanthropist, international teacher of Inner Peace living off his investments. Fortunately some videos of his earlier incarnation remains. Videos about Rawat produced from the 1980's on are available here.
Lord of the Universe, a Shri Hans Production was produced in 1971 when a young Swiss, Reto Andrea Savoldelli, arranged to make a film called "Stella Da Falla" with himself as producer, writer, director and actor starring as the eponymous hero with funding from a Swiss televison station. He hired Jacques Sandoz as the cameraman and collaborator and they wrote a quest film about a wondrous and strange trip around the world. As Savoldelli and Sandoz had "received Knowledge" they filmed footage in Dehra Dun, in Rawat's family home with Mata Ji and at festivals while in India. Rawat, Gurucharanand and Ashokanand stayed at Savoldelli's home before going to the USA. Naturally Rawat went on a shopping trip to Zürich where he bought sunglasses and opened a Swiss Bank Account. Sandoz then took the freshly developed 16mm film from the Laboratory Cinegram in Zürich to make this film "The Lord of the Universe" for Shri Hans Productions.
Glastonbury Fayre, a Nik Roeg Production was produced in 1971. It was made at and about the rock festival/hippie Be-in at Glastonbury in the south-west of England in 1971. Unfortunately it suffers from a lack of good music and an over-reliance on boring scenes of young English people wandering round doing very little and sometimes wearing very little. The are long scenes of talentless non-professional musicians and dancers being fey and boring. The organisers seemed to be under the misapprehension that the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi was coming to give a talk. In fact this was the 16 year old Guru Maharaj Ji now know as Prem Rawat. The young guru's followers were full of zeal and worship and made short work of the group on stage and he then made a speech which could hardly have been more at odds with the festival's participants.
Satguru Has Come was produced in late 1972, at a time when the young Prem Rawat, known as Guru Maharaj Ji the Perfect Master, was riding a wave of success, as DLM was swiftly growing in the West though not as fast as was thought or publicised. It encapsulates the proudly proclaimed central dogmas of the Rawatism religion: Prem Rawat was the incarnation of God, come back to Earth with more power than ever before and about to usher in the Millenium. It also contains numerous scenes where His face fades into a circular light object, centered between his eyes. This is because the Light meditation technique that was part of the "Knowledge" required you to squeeze your eyes with your longest finger and thumb producing this sort of effect if you squeeze hard enough.
In early 1974 the Divine Light Mission (Shri Hans Productions) produced this film, titled 'Who Is Guru Maharaj Ji?', at a time when the young Prem Rawat, the Perfect Master, known as Guru Maharaj Ji had come down to earth with a Millenial thump of bad publicity, humiliation and debt, none of which is shown in the film which ends a few months before the Millenium '73 festival. Another movie which was scripted to end in the Millenium "triumph" was never produced due to financial problems and loss of belief. A transcript is available here, the complete movie in 5 parts is on Youtube and the darshan sequences are available here.
Lord of the Universe, is a TVTV television documentary filmed at a time when Prem Rawat and his followers had full confidence that any examination of the guru, his 'Knowledge' and his followers would be positive. In November, 1973 the Divine Light Mission held a festival, Millenium 73, "the most significant event in human history" according to Guru Maharaj Ji as Prem Rawat was then known to the world. The documentary makers were allowed full access to the event held at the Houston Astrodome and to the followers, especially to Rennie Davis who was then the major spokesman for the movement. It contains footage of Guru Maharaj Ji, events from the Millenium festival, premies involved in 'Soul Rush' a pre-festival publicity campaign, interviews with premies and Prem Rawat's oldest brother, Bal Bhagwan Ji and his mother, Mata Ji. It is still available at Amazon and is a must for anyone with an interest in 1970's Divine Light Mission.
During this early period of confidence in Divine Light Mission before the Millenium '73 fiasco, before Prem Rawat's marriage to a devotee of his who was nearly 10 years older and 4 inches taller than him and before his disinheritance and disowning by his mother, footage from Divine Light Mission movies and interviews with Rennie Davis were given to film-maker Don Como for a documentary on gurus and 'New Religious Movements' that were proselytising in the USA.
Power Of Love was produced by Divine Light Mission Australia in late 1974. It contains excerpts from Prem Rawat's speeches during the 1974 Guru Puja Festival in Sydney and Melbourne, Australia, on October 26 and 29, 1974 and scenes of him enjoying himself in Australia. It's highlights are 2 songs on the soundtrack by Geoff Bridgeford and especially the guitar solo by Ross Hannaford on Power Of Love. A transcript of 'Power Of Love' is available here, the complete movie in 3 parts is on Youtube and the darshan sequences are available here. They are notable for the number of times Rawat has to give "Holy Breath".
In 1975 some premies in the Australian Divine Light Mission produced this film, titled "Family Of Love". There is a short section missing near the beginning of the film. This contained particularly ridiculous scenes of the short, pudgy, puffing Rawat and his tall blonde new trophy wife doing Busby Berkeley type dance routines on the beach filmed from above. I presume they were cut out back in the 1970's to prevent even more mockery at the Lord of the Universe's expense.
In 1976 some premies in the Australian Divine Light Mission produced this film, titled "Keep On Truckin'". There are excerpts from speeches Prem Rawat made in 1975 at Guru Puja Festivals in Sydney and Melbourne, Australia, Caracas, Venezuela and Essen, Germany. At this time Divine Light Mission was recovering from a series of setbacks: the failure of the Millenium '73 festival, the marriage of the 16 year old Prem Rawat to a 24 year old Californian woman and the disowning of Rawat by his mother and elder brothers for drunkenness and a playboy lifestyle.
This 57 minute long film, 'Birthday Film 1976' © Divine Light Mission Inc, 1978 contains some brief extracts of Prem Rawat's speeches on 10th December, 1976 (his 19th birthday) at his Malibu mansion, the 18th December, 1976 in Atlantic City in front of 3,000 of his premies (devotees) and a long excerpt of his speech there on the 19th December. This is the beginning of the "super-devotional" period of Divine Light Mission at the end of a year in which Divine Light Mission went through enormous changes caused by management questioning of the "Knowledge" and Rawat's role in it. The ashrams had dissolved, the financial returns evaporated and at this festival Rawat asserted his divine role, the necessity for faith in and obedience to him and averted the failure that the media and academics consigned him to from there on.
This video is a straightforward filming of a speech by Rawat at the Shrine Auditorium on September 18th, 1977 © Divine Light Mission Inc, 1977. The "super-devotional" period of Divine Light Mission had begun. Rawat pooh poohs "liberation" and makes repeated demands for surrender to Guru Maharaj Ji (Himself) which is the purpose of human life and can be attained by his Grace. His "Knowledge" is the Raj Vidya, the King of all knowledges, the Knowledge of all the knowledges. His followers are told to pray: "The destiny, Oh, Guru Maharaj Ji, that You have chosen for me. May that be fulfilled by my effort and Your Grace that You have showered upon me through Knowledge, through Yourself, through Your mercy. And guide me."
This film, 'The Greatest Magician' © Divine Light Mission, 1978 consists of excerpts from Rawat's Speeches and associated events that occurred during the 1978 Holi Festival in Malaga, Spain, March 24 & 26 and in Miami, Florida, April 9 & 10 1978. It includes film of Rawat's distinctive celebrations of the Indian Holi festival and scenes of the Darshan ritual where his followers walk past him in single file as he sits on a throne, offer presents (they have been informed he prefers money) and bow and kiss his feet. The film was shot when Rawat's administrators were arranging "festivals" constantly, and he was strongly extolling his Divine Master Role and exhorting his followers to do nothing but attend these meetings (and/or enter an ashram) with no concern for career, family or financial stability. Rawat clearly enjoyed playing with the crowd with his discussion of God's role as the Greatest Magician who creates life and then asking "And have we ever clapped at this Magician?" and receiving the applause he was looking for.
Ashram Satsangs: In the 1970's and early 1980's Rawat often held special meetings for his ashram premies - who were, after all, usually his most dedicated followers and certainly they dedicated more of their lives to Rawat's mission than did his followers who lived more normal lives. In these meetings he told them that the ashrams were the backbone of this mission and ashram life gave his followers the greatest possible opportunity to "surrender to Him" and "realise His Knowledge". We currently have transcripts and clips from three of these special ashram satsangs: Malibu, January 1979, Lingfield, June 1979 and Rome, June 1980
This Malibu Ashram Satsang of 7th January, 1979 video records a speech made by Prem Rawat, or Guru Maharaj Ji as he then called himself, in Malibu to ashram premies and premies wishing to move into an ashram. Much of it is ephemeral but some of the central dogmas of his teachings are restated. In it he "gives satsang" for about an hour and then answers questions from the audience - these are his most devoted followers who have no idea that within a few years all the ashrams will be closed and they will have to find careers after as much as a decade or more in full-time, unpaid work called "service" for Rawat's organisations. At least twenty percent of all ashram income was sent directly to Rawat.
This Lingfield Guru Puja Satsang of 21st June, 1979 video records a speech made by Prem Rawat, or Guru Maharaj Ji as he then called himself, in Lingfield, England. It was at this rain-soaked raceourse that he explained that worshipping him should be done in ever waking moment of your life: "if you have a guru, if you have a Perfect Master, you can't do anything but worship him every day of your life. You tell me, if you really have that Perfect Master in your life, what can you do except to worship him every day? Get up and worship him, pray, know, surrender. Every day of our lives!" A complete transcript of the speech is available here.
This Lingfield Ashram Satsang of June, 1979 video records a speech made by Prem Rawat, or Guru Maharaj Ji as he then called himself, in Lingfield, England to ashram premies and premies wishing to move into an ashram. Much of it is ephemeral but some of the central dogmas of his teachings are restated. In it he "gives satsang" for about an hour and then answers questions from the audience - these are his most devoted followers who have no idea that within a few years all the ashrams will be closed and they will have to find careers after as much as a decade or more in full-time, unpaid work called "service" for Rawat's organisations. At least twenty percent of all ashram income was sent directly to Rawat. A complete transcript of the speech is available here.
This video titled "Guru Puja '79" was filmed, no surprise, at the 1979 Guru Puja festival at Miami, Florida on July 19, 21 & 22, 1979. It contains some different scenes of Prem Rawat dancing, encoring his dancing and "sharing satsang" ie giving extemperaneous speeches in his inimitable style and surprisingly unpleasant shouting. Unfortunately, age has diminished the quality of the picture and sound though everything is completely legible.
Despite later Elan Vital propaganda stating that Prem Rawat at no time believed or encouraged beliefs in his own divinity or identity to the God Krishna, this video taken at nearly the zenith of the "super-devotional" period of Divine Light Mission 2 years before it was renamed Elan Vital shows him openly making such claims.
Some clips mainly from the 'Guru Puja 1979' video.
These are miscellaneous clips taken from the internet of different scenes of Prem Rawat or Guru Maharaj Ji as he was then known. They are from the period 1978 - 1980 and show some of his more bombastic claims about his own divinity and that he should be worshipped constantly. There are some long scenes taken from his speeches and of him dancing dressed as Krishna.
This video titled " 'Hans Jayanti '79' was filmed, no surprise, at the 1979 Hans Jayanti festival at Kissimmee, Florida on the afternoon of November 10th, 1979.
He reminisces about his awful school days especially having to run, says how unpleasant he finds the dumb human beings he created watching a dumb football game but then all people who don't have his Knowledge are dumb dumbs. He can't control his laughter as he tells a joke about a man putting a shit covered finger in his mouth and reminds his followers that any of them "standing on the threshold" owe it completely to his Grace and that they will always have to do "satsang, service and meditation."
These video clips are from film of the Holi festival of 1980 in Miami on 11th April, 1980. The clips were converted from Youtube streaming videos sourced from the Guru Maharaj Ji Information (aka Prem Rawat) website. Some of the Youtube videos have been removed for an Elan Vital Inc. claimed copyright violation. The soundtrack contains deeply religious westernised 'bhajans' with lines like "Always remember His every word is Holy" and "Resting at the Feet of my only Beloved" and are part of the message Prem Rawat was publicly teaching about His Divinity until the mid 1980's. To listen to some of these bhajans go to Holi 1980 Music Taped in The Crowd. In front of his followers he strongly criticises other religions and claims that all other "Perfect Masters" like himself, had to "fight religion", that Jesus 'revealed' the same Knowledge ie meditation, satsang, service and darshan as he does and that Christianity has nothing to do with Jesus and that religions never bring peace only fighting. He teaches that the Perfect Master, the Lord, the Master, the Creator, the Giver of everything and Guru Maharaj Ji are identical and obedience to Himself is required under all conditions: "wherever Guru Maharaj Ji goes, in whichever way he flows". He insists that everyone needs to be saved by him and that people must have faith in him and that "it's only the devotees that are right, that's the law."
These video clips are from film of the Holi festival of 1980 in Miami on 12th April, 1980. The 23 year old Prem Rawat then calling himself Guru Maharaj Ji was neither a good speaker, nor did he have a good command of English nor, on the evidence of these transcripts, did he have much to say but simplistic criticism of others and outrageous claims about himself. Comparing this transcript with the speech published in the Elan Vital magazine reveals the editing by his followers of his published speeches to make them more polished.
It was an open air speech, short and relaxed (by his normal standards of ranting) in which he talks about the Perfect Master or Master "coming into this world" ie incarnating in a human body with the aim of taking control of his followers' lives. He stresses the absolute importance of "surrender" ie accepting that devotion to Rawat and practice of his Knowledge is the absolute centre of a premie's life despite any doubts, confusions or unhappiness that may result. He teaches that any time a premie tries to do what they think they should it ends up in a "lotta dead ends, you know." He talks about the Ultimate Miracle though I couldn't grasp exactly what he meant, it seemed to be that hearing him at a festival like this was the ultimate miracle. The last paragraph of this transcript shows that while his 'satsang' speeches were boring, repetitive and incompetent his public speaking (in English at least) was even worse when trying to communicate instructions and advice ie where he couldn't just string together his standard stories, catch-phrases and clichés. Oh and he reminds us, once again, how much time he spends watching television.
This Rome Ashram Satsang of 25th June, 1980 video records a speech made by Prem Rawat, or Guru Maharaj Ji as he then called himself, in Rome to ashram premies and premies wishing to move into an ashram. Much of it is ephemeral but some of the central dogmas of his teachings are restated. In it he "gives satsang" for about an hour and then answers questions from the audience - these are his most devoted followers who have no idea that within a few years all the ashrams will be closed and they will have to find careers after as much as a decade or more in full-time, unpaid work called "service" for Rawat's organisations. At least twenty percent of all ashram income was sent directly to Rawat.
Despite later Elan Vital propaganda stating that Prem Rawat at no time believed or encouraged beliefs in his own divinity, this video taken at nearly the zenith of the "super-devotional" period of Divine Light Mission 2 years before it was renamed Elan Vital shows him openly claiming to be that power Himself, taking a human form and teaching that if just once, He doesn't reincarnate then "that'll be the devastation of this entire planet."
This video, titled "You Are My Saviour", a Divine Light Mission release, was produced in 1980. It was filmed at the 1980 Guru Puja Festival on July 25, 26 & 27 and contains scenes of Prem Rawat dancing, encoring his dancing and "sharing satsang" ie giving extemperaneous speeches in his inimitable style and surprisingly unpleasant screeching and shouting. Unfortunately, age has diminished the quality of the picture and sound though everything is completely legible. A complete transcript is available here.
Despite later Elan Vital propaganda stating that Prem Rawat at no time believed or encouraged beliefs in his own divinity or identity to the God Krishna, this video taken at nearly the zenith of the "super-devotional" period of Divine Light Mission 2 years before it was renamed Elan Vital shows him openly making such claims. It features 3 songs 'You Are My Saviour', 'I Just Want To Dance With You' and a South American style tune all of which feature the interpretative dance of Guru Maharaj Ji as he was then known or Marahaji or Prem Rawat as he now calls himself. There is part of the inspirational ballad 'I Surrender to my Satguru' played while Prem Rawat changes into his Krishna costume.
This video of Prem Rawat's "Guru Puja speech at Olympia, London", on 22nd August 1980, a Divine Light Mission release, was produced in 1980. Rawat looks markedly different from his earlier appearance. He has cut his hair, dieted and his moustache has begun to thicken up. This in an introductory speech which concentrates on human misery and the probability of a Doomsday apocalypse. He never uses the words "Guru Maharaj Ji" or 'Maharaji' and 'knowledge' (Knowledge?) only once.
This video of Prem Rawat's "Guru Puja speech at Olympia, London", on 23nd August 1980, a Divine Light Mission release, was produced in 1980. This in another introductory speech which he talks about the Creator rather than Guru Maharaj Ji but insists there is only one way to the ultimate, omnipresent experience within and that is through a Master and there is only one way, one Master. He reiterates that devotion to the Creator "has to be correct, it has to be true, it has to be real. It has to be in a state in which doesn't matter what happens."
This video of Prem Rawat's "speech in Rome on 17th October, 1980", shows Rawat at his most boring and repetitious and to be completely open about it, stupid and ignorant. His knowledge of life, history and culture appears to derive from the watching of cartoons on television and his obsession with cars and planes is obvious. In this speech he stresses his Knowledge as the "key ingredient" for peace, love, bliss, joy, etc. In this speech he specifies that the Greatest Sin is not knowing your Creator ie the Greatest Sin is not recognising Himself, Guru Maharaj Ji aka Prem Rawat as the Creator in person on earth.
This video, titled "Eyes Of Faith", an Elan Communications release, was produced in 1981. It was filmed in Miami and Kansas City in 1980/81 and contains some brief extracts of Rawat's speeches with some darshan scenes. Rawat looks markedly different from his 1970's appearance. He has cut his hair, dieted and his moustache has finally thickened up. He is still calling himself Guru Maharaj Ji and in the full transcript of his Eyes Of Faith speech repeats again and again that faith in him and devotion to him is the purpose of human life. There is a short excerpt of his wife who shows how out of synch she is with the rest of the human race. Prem Rawat doesn't thrill us, he disgusts us.
This video, titled "Message Of The Heart", an Elan Communications release, was produced in 1981. It was filmed during a 1981 tour of North and South America and contains some brief extracts of Rawat's speeches with some backstage and city scenes to provide background. Rawat looks markedly different from his 1970's appearance. He has cut his hair, dieted and his moustache has finally thickened up. He is in a transition phase giving what appear to be some "introductory satsangs" ie speeches to audiences in which there will be some people who are not already devotees. He makes grandiose claims for his own powers, disparages religions and scriptures and says he is full of bliss, joy, love, etc, etc.
This video was taken of Prem Rawat giving a speech on the 1st November, 1981 in Rome, presumably part of a Hans Jayanti festival. His speech is more confused than his norm for those years and his claims are wilder: There is no other hope for a human being but himself, like it or not! The video contains a long section of him sitting onstage while 'Arti' is sung. The singing is mainly inaudible though the song is easily recognisable.
The following video clips have been obtained from miscellaneous sources.
Click here to see an index of videos and DVDs created to praise Prem Rawat (Maharaji) from the mid to late 1980's on