The Rawat Family Business
Prem Rawat appeared in the West with a burst of publicity - most of it sarcastic. The LA Times understood his situation:
… perhaps one can best understand the Divine Light Mission if it is regarded as a successful family business. Now like all good family businesses, DLM was founded, in 1960, by an independent old patriarch, the Rawat boys' father, Hans Ji Maharaj. Hans Ji was an Indian "holy man." Born of a tougher fiber than his sons, he supposedly forswore materialism to discover the secrets of Indian mysticism by foot on dusty roads in northern India and did very well for himself.
After he was disinherited by his mother, Prem Rawat even had the temerity to claim that his mother and brothers thought of it as just a family business, they thought it was just a con, while only He understood its true nature. With the benefit of hindsight we can see that it is a family business, fraudulent or otherwise.
It's a family business that should have been bankrupted in 1975 when the family split into two sections both publicly claiming they alone had the rights to the saleable product. As this product was "the true Knowledge of God", a form of meditation that would produce love and peace and infinite bliss the family businesses should have collapsed at that point. The two sides tried different strategies. Prem Rawat Inc. claimed his family never understood the product, never used it and never benefited from it. He then continued making it's claims and practices more and more vague. A significant number of the consumers continued to purchase the product regularly though market share never recovered. The family, which had allowed Prem Inc. the major distribution rights out of India, were left without a Western infrastructure and retreated to India.
They continued on as if nothing had happened and never mentioned Prem again. Both groups have reaped reasonable rewards and after 50 years are fat and wealthy though Prem Rawat has never seemed satisfied with his insignificant public role or the size and speed of his personal jet.
The Indian corporation seems well suited to continue into the future having ties in the Indian business and political networks. The Western business might collapse as it is basically a one man show that has used it's cash-flow to provide excessive dividends to its major shareholder and failed to reinvest adequate funds. It has a narrow and rather boring product line and sales may collapse as the present customer base passes it's use by date. (see photo below)
Who Is the Winner of the Brothers' Satguru Competition?
- One brother has had a successful career as a guru, politician, businessman and even minor statesman using his inherited wealth and position and is part of the Indian elite with sons working in the family business.
- One brother has attempted to create an undeserved public image through phony PR spin. He has never worked and has relied totally upon donations from a relatively small group of true believers he recruited 50 years ago when using his father's script.
Glen(ville) Whittaker has been a devotee and henchman of Prem Rawat (aka Maharaji) for 40 odd years.
"It was quite challenging that this whole dust-up should happen and the harmony that had existed in the family just broke up so easily, and it's as if his own family couldn't accept him. Now we know now in retrospect that this had been simmering for a long time, that the famiy had always been a potential bomb, time-bomb really ticking away, ready to explode the family situation. Maharaji himself has taught about it, that he was never properly accepted as the Master by his own family and I knew the family, I could see what was happening, that they saw it as the family business."
It is hard to believe that the young Rawat could have believed that he was a divine Satguru and his family were con-artists running a scam. It seems far more probable that he was lying when he taught this version. It is not an unusual situation as Kushwant Singh explained in "Gurus, Godmen and Good People":
When he feels his end is near, the Guru nominates a successor. In Indian religious terminology this is "as one lamp lights another". The man chosen is usually the closest disciple. But when money or property (ashrams, temples, land and houses) are involved, it is not unusual for the father to name his son (as in the case of Shri Guru Maharaj Ji) or relatives and thus keep the guruship and the property in the family. Disputes about succession result in schisms and often come up before Courts of Law.
There are thousands of gurus and godmen in India. Many of them are family businesses. The recent bizarre case of Shri Ashutosh Maharaj Ji, a former associate of Prem, is an example
During the early days in the West the family and Prem reinforced each others' positions. He was the Guru Maharaj Ji and they were the other members of the Holy Family. As Prem created his own independent power base and entourage in the USA his behaviour crossed the boundaries of traditional Indian morality and family. Understanding what was to come Prem began to undermine his family's position in the West through his speeches. There were secret arguments and confrontations about which the normal premies knew nothing. But there were hints and finally the family split played out in the Western press. It is certainly a concern that none of the DLM administrators and premies close to Maharaji publicly alerted anyone else to the secret, bitter family disputes that were common knowledge amongst them at the time according to evidence given in the Passages video. From the beginning it seems Maharaji's organisations had a culture of secrecy, deceit and phony public relations.
Under the Smiling Faces There Was Growing Tension As Prem Rawat's Behaviour Became Unacceptable To His Mother
The family put on smiling faces for the cameras but Prem Rawat later claimed that they considered him nothing but a figurehead for the family business and not the "true living Perfect Master". Of course, Prem Rawat was and is really a figurehead for the family business and is not a Perfect Master even if such a being exists or if it is possible for one to exist. Rawat created a New Holy Family with his brother Raja, their wives and children. When Raja's family was split up by divorce and no longer fitted into the new, improved style of Rawat's teachings from the mid-1980's he let the concept lapse. After all, as he had supposedly downgraded his divinity so he couldn't have a divine family.
"This rare footage traces the development of a highly publicized and controversial career. Of all the well known gurus, the youngest, Guru Maharaj Ji Ji is easily the hardest for the skeptical Westerner to believe in, particularly in the light of publicity concerning his family's struggles for control of the organisation which he nominally heads. What few people realize was that he was proclaimed Perfect Master and named head of the Divine Light Mission after his father's death. His father founded the worldwide organisation in 1961 and died five years later when the boy was just eight years old. He now claims millions of devotees around the world. Many of them, Rennie Davis, included, have braved the ridicule of family to follow this path to an experience of consciousness."
Joe Anctil of the Public Affairs Department of Divine Light Mission speaks on control of the organisation. Unfortunately, the social service programs he mentions were more pipe dreams than reality and all attempts to do this were stopped once Prem Rawat fired Bob Mishler and took control of the mission's direction.
"The question has come up several times as to whether Guru Maharaj Ji is still in control of this Divine Light Mission. Honestly, he has always been in control and always will be as far as his followers are concerned. Because many things that were reported in the media were not reported corrctly. Actually under his direction what's really happening is that people who are practicing this meditation are coming together in communities all over the world and they're opening food co-ops and they're uh starting medical clinics and there are social service programs, for instance here in America there are 250 ongoing social service programs in prisons, in old folks' homes, in childrens' hospitals because whenever you are experiencing love then it is something you want to share."
How Could This Family - Devoid of Looks & Charisma - Do So Well For Themselves? It Was LSD *
It's not that the Rawats took LSD. It was the initial and really only wave of premies who were coming down from a long bad LSD trip that made even the Rawats appear worth trying.