This video allows premies to reminisce about the "early days" in the 1970's when the 14 year old Prem Rawat first came to the West by watching small clips and still photos from the Divine Light Mission archives. It is part of a series that includes Birthday Gift - 1988", "Windows In Time - 1989", "Evolution - 1989", "Remembrance - 1996", Storyteller - 1997" and "Passages - 2001" that attempt to show an extremely upbeat version of Rawat's early career in the West and a coherent evolution of his career and teachings. The soundtrack is an upbeat, very subjective, edited "satsang" of Prem Rawat's talking about his early life in the West, some "interviews" with members of his inner circle and pointed comments about "Indian cultural" artifacts mistakenly taken up by young Westerners of the time that Prem Rawat has "removed" from Elan Vital doctrines along with the usual snippets of songs from the "Divine Light Mission Greatest Hits" catalogue. Only those parts of the songs that do not have to be "censored" are included ie it excludes the parts that specifically allude to Rawat's divinity. The young Guru Maharaj Ji talks of revealing the practical method of experiencing God, the source of life and how his soul is pure. He rhapsodises about the holiness and perfection of his Knowledge and how only one spark is enough to perfectify anything it touches. The bold text is Maharaji's 1996 voiceover comments.
Back Cover blurb: Reflections about Maharaji's earliest days in the West, in his own words and in the words of others, produced for the 25th Anniversary events. Highlights include excerpts from Maharaji's first appearance at Conway Hall in London, June 79, 1977, and from many formal and informal gatherings in England and the United States. With the popular early songs of the Anand Band, this video conveys the joy and spontaneity with which Maharaji and his message were first received in the West. A Visions International Release, Duration: 13 minutes
Guru Maharaj Ji
You are my only light
You gave me direction
The way is clear and bright
And I love you
I love you
I love you, my Lord
"How did this happen? Me coming to the West it was like, I couldn't even imagine where the West was, I couldn't even imagine leaving India. To me going from Dehra Dun to Delhi was far enough and there I was literally just transplanted, picked up from India, the next thing you know I am in England."
"It's the first time I saw him and I mean I had so many concepts of what this person should look like and act like and be like and Maharaji didn't fit any of those concepts." -
Probably Linda Pascotto, President, Prem Rawat Foundation or Anne Johnson, initiator/instructor and mud on Maharaji's boots
"And he treated us with incredible respect, and it was so much love and respect." - Sandy Collier
The pictures show some of the early inner circle of British premies: Mike Finch, Ron Geaves, Glen Whitaker and Mahatama Saphlanand (Brian Kitt). Mike and Brian now publicly state that Prem Rawat is a bogus guru whose Knowledge is worthless at best and mentally and emotionally damaging. Ron and Glen continue to accept anything Prem Rawat says and does and consider him their Master.
"It was like something was gonna be really big, like there was gonna be this big audience or something like that and I came downstairs and there was like 4 people. This was the audience and and and they had a great, high chair, you know, a chair placed way above in a little living room with a big rise up, all this, four people and I tell you for the longest time I looked at them and they looked at me like (laughter) and it was like we didn't even say anything to each other."
And, and they had a great high chair
"We were just a bunch of hippies trying to do a big setup for a big program you know with no mike, no proper mike stand, big chair, the ubiquitous white cloth draped over, we had we thought everything had to be white in those days."
The big chairs got bigger, higher, larger and more ridiculous for the next 10 years and Prem Rawat seemed to luxuriate in them without complaint. He only had to say something … Actually he designed some of the more outrageous stages himself.
"The Knowledge is everywhere, the God is everywhere. We have to only discover the God. I won't make a God for you and show you the God. Everybody wants perfect peace. A man who wants to realise that Holy Name, he will have to need a teacher for it, otherwise he can't hear it. To see your personal face, your personal face is with but can you see it? The God is within you but until you have the mirror of practical knowledge you can't see it, you won't be able to see it. When God is within you, how can you find it outside? It is within you and you have to get your mind, your ideas that are going outside, if we just control them and put them inside that is all. So the importance of the Knowledge is for everyone and I've come to bestow the knowledge in London and if you want it I can give you because it is within yourself. I will only show the mirror and you can see the … thing. I am going to America and all thase places and I'll just to bestow this Knowledge"
Peace and bliss is Satguru
Somewhere beyond all reason
Far from all time and space
Is a valley deep with wisdom
And a mountain high with grace
Stop before you try to imagine
You can never comprehend
The peace and glory deep inside
With no beginning and no end
We love Guru Maharaj Ji
Know His Name, it's strong and true
Ask Him for His Perfect Knowledge
A Maharaji montage of still photos
And on and on and on it went. I mean completely incredible times too. Incredible things happening and slowly the Thirst was there. There were no barriers and there was the Gift.
"As I remember there was a rock and roll band on the stage at the time that Maharaji was on his way. I actually went out on stage in the middle of this band's (laughs) performance and I told them they had to leave the stage cause Maharaji was coming and it was like a split second thing, there he was, the car arrived and then we like ran out with the chair and Maharaji made his appearance." - Premie fanatic and later an initiator whose name I forget
Glastonbury 1971: Because I have got that Word, I have got that Knowledge, I have got that thing and I can say you all that I can help mankind and everybody of you.
Nick Lowe of Brinsley Schwarz remembers it quite differently. They refused to leave the stage until "huge chunks of metal started being dropped on them from the pyramid by his more enthusiastic followers." And the video shows it wasn't a split-second thing though fortunately for Rawat his speech was short.
"He was 13 years old and he was blowing minds. I mean 13 years old and he was filling a hall like Central Hall, Westminster which must hold a couple of thousand people minimum." - Peter Lee, (Rawat's chauffeur)
"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. Wherever just one spark of this Knowledge shines up, absolutely perfect. So that Knowledge I'm, I've got it here."
Unfortunately these sparks were apparently perfect sparks of hyperbole. How many nights have Rawat's devotees sat in satsang? How many hours in meditation? How many donations did it take for Rawat to amass a fortune yet 40 years later, still no perfection …
Then I went to America. It was the same thing. It was incredible. Next thing I know I'm in Los Angeles.
Right from London, flew over North Atlantic ocean, right to New York, right to Los Angeles.
I flew from London to Los Angeles, got out of the airport, got in the car, drove to this house and did a program, did an event. I mean it was just like boom boom boom. I mean they had no concept of time or space in those days.
Joan Apter introduces His first U.S. satsang
"Tonight, Guru Maharaj Ji has come just because we have so many people here but we had forgotten how tired he would be and arranged for this program. Please keep in your mind that he will speak for just a short time tonight."
This Knowledge, because it is a very sweet fruit, whoever takes a bite feels the sweet and wants to take it more and more. It's not a thing that I'm a spiritual master, I can preach the Knowledge then I should not be tired. My soul is pure but not my body, it's a body same like you have got, I have got.
Not quite the same. Somewhat shorter, much more pudgy and corpulent and nowadays that face seems to be showing the signs of long years of dissipation.
And yet there was a fervor, night didn't matter, day didn't matter, time didn't matter, it really didn't matter. And they would give it, everything, everything and things would happen. Things started to happen. There was such a thirst, there was such a, such a feeling. There was patience and it grew. Things weren't easy, believe me, when I first came things weren't easy. They would schedule things for me and they wouldn't even tell me. Just all of a sudden at 4 o'clock in the morning you'd hear the knock on your door "Get ready, you're gonna be on this news show in half an hour." "What news show?"
An interview on morning television
Maharaji: And the same energy is making us alive, you see, and that energy, which is within inside of us, the realisation of that energy is called Knowledge.
Host: Bliss and the realisation of energy.
Maharaji: Yes, it's bliss, truth and consciousness.
Host: Bliss, truth and consciosuness. Right now what is the truth?
Maharaji: The truth is something again it's infinite, you see, and it's not discoverable, it's like if I want to tell you the experience of a pinch
Host: Of a
Maharaji: It's going to be quite hard for me to tell you that, you know.
Host: Without actually pinching me.
Maharaji: Right, because it's practical, see, so until we really understand what is truth and realise what is Knowledge it'll be quite for hard for us to understand and for me to speak what really it is because it's the experience of something that is infinite you see, trying to put it into something that is completely finite.
Host: Well, thank you very much for joining us this morning. I've enjoyed our conversation.
Host: Thank you and we'll be back after this message.
I mean they did goofy things, really goofy things. I mean you can imagine in 1971, right?
Linda Pascotto: I thought he was very tolerant of all of us. (sniggers) I think we were a little bit you know kind of out there a lot of us and he he never seemed to make any judgement about us at all. He just seemed really focussed on discussing this experience and he made it very clear that it was very easy all we had to do was to ask for it. (Soundtrack: Guru Maharaj Ji, Guru Maharaj Ji's the one) But when he had to say there's no disputing that he was having an experience that I wanted to have and I felt totally confident that he could take me to that place.
Peter Lee (Rawat's chauffeur): It was a very magical start to what's happening in the West. Very magical start. But at the same time there was an enthusiasm there to learn, there was a there was a very beautiful feeling there and I think that's what Maharaji grabs hold of is just the feeling and the enthusiasm from us
When I started travelling, going to different countries, you could see that somehow Knowledge had to reach people, not their concepts. Knowledge had to reach people, not their cultures. Knowledge had to reach people, not (pauses and tries to think of something) their way of doing thing and therefore Knowledge had to ride on a whole other level that it could be away from all these things. And a process was started to get it higher and higher and higher and higher and higher and higher and as it did that more and more people started understanding the message because it came to them in a very simple and in a correct way."
Then we'll all know satchitanand
And heaven will be here
Élan Vital videos nearly always end on an "inspiring and uplifting" note playing one of the favourite old ballads, in this case a small snippet of "Spread This Knowledge".