Have you ever seen how a river starts?
This video clip appears to be a Visions International (a division of Élan Vital Inc) video, though I am unsure of its provenance or title. It looks to have been compiled around 2000.
It is basically a slideshow set over a recording of Rawat comparing his organisation to a river that starts as raindrops and finally becomes a mighty thundering river. This is a wishful thinking, unrealistic metaphor for Rawat's followers whose numbers are only a fraction of their 1970's peak. While an "inspiring" classical instruments' sound-track plays, Rawat emotes in language and style that his followers probably consider deep and poetic and skeptics find laughable. Rawat impores his followers to tell other people about him and his "Knowledge" so that his unique power to transform lives can find new converts. His magic, he claims, "only happens where the students come together and the Master comes together", a magic "which has been played out on the face of this Earth many, many, many, many times".
He has spoken about this concept of the reincarnation of the Perfect Master (Satguru) and His devotees many, many, many, many, many times.
Have you ever seen how a river starts?
Drop by drop by drop by drop by drop
A drop here, a drop there
A drop from that cave
A drop from that mountain
Prem Rawat inherited his following from his father on August 1st, 1966 and it was already then claimed to be in the millions. His father may well have walked across northern India preaching and gathering followers but Prem has lived in relative luxury from his birth and absolute luxury once he amassed enough money from his Western devotees to do so. While Prem Rawat has been in charge the river has dried up.
Then it begins to join
Frail little stream maybe no bigger than this
Joining with another one
And another one
And another one
And pretty soon it becomes a mighty thundering river
The photo used here is a picture of the first and only Western Mahatma, Mahatma Saphlanand and the first Indian "Mahatma" to go to the West, Gurucharanand, and their early converts. Saphlanand has become one of Rawat's most dedicated critics. The "mighty thundering river" which peaked at around 20,000 "Western" followers was created by the drive and enthusiasm of the early devotees before they had meditated for any length of time on Prem Rawat's "Knowledge".
Just people talking to people, people coming, people listening
People being touched
And the process goes on
Like the mighty rivers and you look at their source
So kind, so sweet
Just gently and kindly the process
There was a remarkable increase in followers in the West between 1970 and 1973. However Prem Rawat, or Guru Maharaj Ji as he then then called himself, was only a figurehead then and once he actually began to control his organisations the numbers have remained static or fallen for the following 35 years. There has been a significant increase in India since 1975 when his mother disowned, disinherited and deposed him and his eldest brother took control. He still lags far behind his brother, Satpal Maharaj, who was installed as the Perfect Master there by their mother in 1975 and Prem is a minor Godman there.
And I want every person who has Knowledge to take that little responsibility
Little, to say maybe I can tell somebody about this Knowledge
Maybe I can help somebody else come to Maharaji to receive this Knowledge
Maybe I can make a little effort towards making it possible
So that the propagation continues in this country
Maybe I can do something to help out
That's how it is
Prem Rawat has often switched between claiming he can gather converts if his followers weren't holding him back to complaining that they aren't "surrendering" enough and being shy to tell people about him and his "Knowledge". Whichever theme he is reiterating is irrelevant, recruitment remains a failure though his devoted followers dedicate themselves in voluntary labour and "live in hope".
Everybody helps, it's the magic of people
Because they have understood something
And everywhere in the world that little dance happens
And everybody who is dancing is enjoying
And everybody who gets to watch that dance is also enjoying
And lives are being transformed
Lives are being transformed, no simple task
It is exactly the failure of this so-called transformation that has prevented any increase in the number of Prem Rawat's "students". Bright-eyed enthusiasm and faith was enough to attract people for a few years but nowadays people are more sophisticated and only transformation of Rawat's followers' lives would attract new followers. The majority of his followers are approaching 60 and have supposedly been meditating for nearly 40 years and they do not manifest any qualities that attract people to Rawat's teachings. It's too late.
Peoples' lives are changing, around the world
How beautiful to be a part of that
Because that reality does not exist anywhere else in this world
It only happens when the Master and the student they get together
The opportunity that is being presented is much broader than Knowledge itself
If you are willing to take it, if you are willing to take it
Prem Rawat has always claimed to be the one-and-only living Master that has the unique power to reveal "God" - when he was younger - or the Possibility of Peace - since he has toned down his public claims. At the age of 8 he claimed to have come with more power that any other incarnation of God and that the world's rulers would bow before him.
The opportunity that is being presented here is to be a part of what it means
To be there, to help the Master
To be there, to help to be a part of the magic, the magic that this Knowledge
The magic where the students come together and the Master comes together
Has been played out on the face of this Earth many, many, many, many times
Many, many, many, many times Rawat has made this claim of His position in a series of Perfect Masters which includes such well-known incarnations of God as Krishna, Buddha and Jesus Christ. While the explicitness of the language varies according to the audience and the times, the underlying reality remains identical as does his quest for funds for a newer, faster, more luxurious, more expensive personal jet. His Knowledge might be Perfect but his English eloquence and grammar remain poor.
And those who accepted the challenge of being a part of that drama
Of being a part, not just in the audience but being a part of that beautiful play
Have rejoiced, again and again and again
That's the opportunity that is being presented
How beautiful to be a part of it.
This picture shows a "darshan line" at Ivory's Rock Conference Centre, Rawat's cult compound in Australia in the mid 1990's. The third and fourth photos on this page show a darshan line at Montrose, Colorado in 1972 . Bowing before and kissing the Feet of the Master is something that has remained a constant amongst Rawat's followers though, these days, only where the public and the media cannot see it.