Chambers Dictionary Of Beliefs And Religions
Edited By Mark Vernon
Chambers Harrap Publishers Ltd
Divine Light Mission
A new religious movement centred upon the work of Guru Maharaj Ji who was born in India in 1958. He moved to London in 1971 at the age of 13, and in the 1970s the Divine Light Mission grew quite quickly in the West. Guru Maharaj Ji was typical of the gurus of some Indian new religious movements who, like Swami Prabhupada of Hare Krishna and Maharishi Mahesh Yogi of transcendental meditation, visited and consciously targeted the West, as opposed to others like Satya Sai Baba, who has never visited the West. He was considered to be an embodiment of God, and his movement was centred upon four 'divine' methods of meditation which enable one to enter one's inner world and have an experience of Divine Harmony, Divine Light, Divine Nectar and the Divine Word. In its heyday the Divine Light Mission had thousands of members in the West as well as in India, living monastic or community lives in ashrams where they witnessed to their faith, meditated, and gave service to the community and the world. Another feature of the movement was the holding of large fairs in different parts of the world, where crowds would attend to have audience with Guru Maharaj Ji. Subsequently, disagreements among members of his family weakened the movement, leading to splits. Now known more by his birth name, Prem Rawat, he promotes teachings aimed at self-realization through The Prem Rawat Foundation, which he set up in 2001.
- Hare Krishna movement; new religious movements in the West; Satya Sai Baba; transcendental meditation