Prem Rawat's Holi Festivals
The festival of Holi is celebrated on the day after the full moon in early March every year. Originally a festival to celebrate good harvests and fertility of the land, Holi is now a symbolic commemoration of a legend from Hindu Mythology. Today Holi is an excuse for Indians to shed inhibitions and caste differences for a day of spring fever and Big Fun. Teenagers spend the day flirting and misbehaving in the streets, adults extend the hand of peace, and everyone chases everyone else around, throwing brightly colored powder (gulal) and water over each other.
However, Divine Light Mission, Élan Vital, Words of Peace Global and whatever Prem Rawat names his organisations are cults based around one Divine Supreme Leader and so rather than interact with each other, his followers stand, shoulder to shoulder in anonymous crowds and await their Master spraying them from atop a huge throne-like stage. Their practice of Holi is a quintessential example of their practice of "Knowledge". And you know what they say about really short, really fat men who need to have really, really big guns …
LIFE Magazine Makes Maharaji A Minor Laughing Stock Around The World
Prem Rawat is also an inventor of sorts. He uses a powerful gigantic water pistol to delight his followers in his modern version of Holi. These (poor quality) video clips give an idea of what it was like. They were taken at the Orange Bowl in Miami in 1978.
Life magazine did an article on Prem Rawat in 1979. It was not complimentary. It was titled"
"Squirt-Gun Guru Sprays His Followers in Miami"
Excerpt from the song Downpour of the Holy Name
adapted from a poem attributed to Kabir
With the downpour of the Holy Name
The Divine Colors began to rain;
Began to rain, began to rain,
The problems of birth and death disappear
When the longing for Holy Name appears;
Probably the most over-the-top Holi production occurred in 1983 at night in Miami where Rawat wore a uniform that was a cross between Captain Kirk and a drag queen at Mardi Gras. The gouts of coloured spray from his artifical penis were accompanied by a light show and music so awful he probably composed it.
Images of the Holi festival in 2004
Prem Rawat, the would-be internationally-known teacher of Inner Peace trying to teach Inner Peace and Contentment. He and his followers also celebrate annual festivals. Hans Jayanti in honour of his father. Guru Puja in honour of himself. Holi …
Holi is celebrated as a democratic carnival in which Hindus shed inhibitions and caste differences for a day and throw buckets of water and coloured powder over each other. Prem Rawat and his students have a relationship in which he is the all-powerful divine guru, they are powerless supplicants.
This relationship is mimicked in their celebration of Holi where he stands atop an extremely elevated stage and fires enormous streams of water over them from an extremely powerful pump. It is a microcosm of their everyday relationship with him. They acknowledge him as the source of their life, love and devotion which he gives as a gift and for which they must feel gratitude.
They respond with their expected adoration, devotion and gratitude.
Images of the Holi festival in 1974 before he had the resources to do Holi his way.