Independent Media Center
(originally posted "http://india.indymedia.org/print.php3?article_id=8160")
The Three Faces of Prem Pal Singh Rawat
Sunday 26 Oct 2003
Author: Andrew Carpenter (email@example.com)
7th, 8th, and 9th of November at Raj Vidya Kender, Shahurpur, Chattarpur, New Delhi, Prem Pal Singh Rawat will reprise a role that he has been playing for nearly forty years - that of a Guru of Divinity. Amongst the devotees will be a select band of non Indians attending to fete Prem Rawat as their divinely appointed Guru.
A critical view of an inspirational speaker
The Three Faces of Prem Pal Singh Rawat
On the 7th, 8th, and 9th of November at Raj Vidya Kender, Shahurpur, Chattarpur, New Delhi, Prem Pal Singh Rawat will reprise a role that he has been playing for nearly forty years - that of a Guru of Divinity. Settled amongst the thousands of devotees who will struggle into the nation's capital from all parts of India will be a select band of Americans, Europeans and Australians; these few will be especially expectant because in India they still have the opportunity to fete Prem Rawat as their divinely appointed Guru, something forbidden at Prem Rawat's speaking events held elsewhere in the world.
Prem Pal Singh Rawat stepped into the role of Perfect Master when he was just eight years old, taking over leadership of the Divine Light Mission on the death of his father. Prem Rawat and his Mission enjoyed a degree of popularity in India prior to Prem Rawat's journeying to Britain and the US in 1971.
Seduced by the west and following his marriage at the age of 16 to an American air hostess eight years his senior, Prem Rawat lost control of Divine Light Mission in India to his older brother Sat Pal although Prem Rawat continued to be treated as the Guru of the numerous Divine Light Missions that had sprung up in Europe, America and Australia.
The intervening years provide an interesting contrast for the fortunes of the two brothers, while Sat Pal has combined his spiritual position with a contribution to Indian politics, Prem Rawat has courted controversy and opprobrium first as Guru, then as self styled motivational speaker and now in his latest western incarnation 'inspirational' speaker.
From the time of his marriage in 1974 until 1983 Prem Rawat continued in the role of Guru, urging asceticism upon his followers, even setting up ashrams in many western countries, as well as creating the Divine United Organisation in India. In 1983 all the western ashrams were abruptly closed and a progressive embrace of materialism was encouraged amongst Prem Rawat's followers outside of India.
By the early 1990's the Divine Light name had been changed to Elan Vital and Prem Rawat was by then known as Maharaji rather than Guru Maharaj Ji. All spiritual references had been expunged from the Divine Light/Elan Vital ethos although Prem Rawat continued to prescribe to his followers the same four meditation techniques, as had been taught by his father. Increasingly though the teaching such as it was, came via audio recording and latterly DVD and satellite broadcast; Prem Rawat moved from Guru to motivational speaker and on to inspirational speaker. His message or his meditation techniques or the effect of the techniques or his teaching, became "Self Knowledge" instead of "the Knowledge", and then back to "the Knowledge" again. Along with recordings of his orations, samples of his music were sold to his followers and even prints of his art work, none of which to date have been critically acclaimed.
Sometime after 1983, Prem Rawat acquired a profession, at least in his own description, he became a 'successful private investor'. This description certainly helped explain his affluent lifestyle although it is the belief of many of his now ex followers that it was they and not his business acumen that achieved the mansion in Malibu California, the several aircraft, including a $45 million private jet and a $7 million luxury yacht, and private the residences in South Africa, England, Australia and South America.
The numbers following Prem Rawat in countries other than India have haemorrhaged in recent years as information about the more unspiritual aspects of Prem Rawat's life have become more widely known, and what has only depressed his US and European followers will in all likelihood horrify his Indian followers should this 'third' face of Prem Rawat be exposed.
Prem Rawat has not only embraced the wealth made available to him through the contribution of his followers to the Elan Vital organisations - it is these contributions that meet the $4.5 million annual cost of his Gulf Stream V jet - he has also embraced a diet that includes meat and he regularly consumes alcohol. He is reported to have enjoyed shooting hares in Australia and the rumours of marital infidelity have persisted for many years as have the accusations of an abuse of power in respect of his inappropriately close relationships with certain young female followers. Many of his western followers have been distressed by such revelations and have withdrawn their support.
The numerous concerted attempts by those employed to promote Prem Rawat, to raise his profile as a moral and philanthropic leader have consistently floundered on their own cynical manipulations. A claim that appeared to suggest that Prem Rawat had addressed the UN was shown merely to be a speech that he gave at a hall hired from a UN organisation. A claim that the Prem Rawat Foundation had funded the purchase 45 tonnes of rice (in itself a paltry volume) was based on a Press Release from the Foundation stating that a mere 4.5 tonnes had been purchased, the cost of which is less than one hours fuel for Prem Rawat's private jet.
One time followers of Prem Rawat are increasingly speaking out against his lack of personal morality and his failure to provide any philosophical or moral dimension to the teaching that he claims to give.
In the UK there is much resentment that one of Prem Rawat's closest former Mahatmas, who is still wanted for questioning by Police over allegations of child abuse, was accommodated within the DUO complex for some years after the allegations were known to Prem Rawat. There was also a cynical attempt to pretend that Elan Vital had nothing to do with Divine Light Mission and so distance Elan Vital and Prem Rawat from association with the abuse allegations. Even in the UK where a separate organisation had been created it has been shown that Elan Vital paid a Divine Light Mission tax bill thus demonstrating an unequivocal connection.
In the UK, the inappropriate use of funds given for philanthropic purposes has prompted the submission of a 20,000 word dossier of complaint to the Charity Commission for England and Wales in respect of the Elan Vital organisation. Two similar dossiers have been produced in respect of the Australian Elan Vital.
Prem Rawat is involved in a land and conference centre development controversy in Australia where the local Elan Vital organisation has instructed lawyers to suppress leaked documents which show the cavalier use of funds, including some £300,000 of Charitable funds from the UK. The leaked documents have been forwarded to interested authorities in more than one country.
There is increasing concern that meditation practised without cultural or religious context may lead to significant psychological harm and that Prem Rawat's DVD package and the absence of any support, (western followers are forbidden to discuss their experiences), may be placing monetary gain above any care for his followers' well being.
That Prem Rawat chooses to present a different face in India to that which he presents elsewhere may be of little concern to either his western or eastern followers. His private face however should cause concern to all who value the health and well being of others.
Copies of documents of complaint lodged with taxation authorities and other regulators in the UK, US and Australia can be made available.
Individuals who have experience of Prem Rawat and his organisations can be made available for e mail or telephone interview, or for personal interview in the UK.
A wide range of information and documentary evidence about Prem Rawat and Elan Vital is available on line at http://www.ex-premie.org/
The Elan Vital organisations may be contacted via http://www.elanvital.org/
Divine United Organisation is a Society registered with the Indian Government.
The promoter of the New Delhi event and the soul travel agent to Prem Rawat's non Indian devotees is
M/S AFIMAC ASSOCIATES PRIVATE LIMITED, 6816785
A-10, OKHLA INDUSTRIAL AREA,