Linda Haldan Pascotto is a "trust fund baby" and has been a premie since the early 1970's. She was the President of The Prem Rawat Foundation from its inception until she was succeeded by Rawat's daughter. She has singlehandedly disproved the single major doctrine of Rawat's religion that his followers do not have a belief in him but a true experience through meditating with the techniques of Knowledge he reveals that is its own validation and allows them an inner peace and certainty available to no other human beings alive today. From the early 1970's to at least the late 1980's she considered the possibility of actually meditating to be "an unrealistic dream" and so she "just let it slide." This personal testimony by one of Rawat's closest followers was filmed for a major inspirational video shown to all premies of Rawat. Why was this confession inspirational? Because only a minority of Rawat's students actually bother to meditate.
According to Peace Is Possible, the hagiography Andrea Cagan was paid $60,000 to write by the Prem Rawat Foundation, Rawat established his charitable foundation (TPRF) in November 2001 when he came up with the idea during a conversation with her, an active philanthropist and one of his long-time students.
"When I first received Knowledge I was told that I needed to practise an hour in the morning and an hour in the evening and it seemed so unrealistic. I would sit down to practise and after 20 minutes I was just … that's about all I could do and I didn't try hard enough you know I just kinda let it slide …"
Even some of his closest devotees such as Ms Linda Pascotto, President of the Prem Rawat Foundation were unable to practise meditation properly, if at all, no matter how "inspiring" Prem Rawat was, until 1987 when the required daily meditation time was cut from 2 hours a day to one hour giving her and doubtless many others a glimmer of hope that she would be able to begin to manage at least the minimum meditation.
"Maharaji has brought to me, personally, a sense of extreme peace and just, contentment."
The peace and contentment she claims Rawat gave her certainly didn't come from meditation as she has said that she didn't even meditate properly for nearly 20 years either because 2 hours a day "seemed so unrealistic". There is no reason to believe anything changed during the next 20 years either.
"I didn't, I wasn't fascinated with the whole Indian culture, that's why when I first went to hear him speak and I saw these women in saris, I thought, Oh I don't want to have to wear a sari! I mean do I have to do that to listen to him and to be in this company and to receive Knowledge because I didn't want to have to do that."
Linda Pascotto, first President of the Prem Rawat Foundation
At no time was wearing a sari a normal or accepted part of the Divine Light Mission culture. There is only 1 photograph in any DLM publication I have showing a (non-Indian) female follower of Prem Rawat wearing a sari and it was Joan Apter. I found 3 or 4 photos of Rawat's wife where she might be wearing a sari.
"And I remember conversations with his mother on the other end of the phone and although I didn't understand Hindi, I mean it was easy to get the gist of it, that she wasn't too happy that he wasn't coming back and he was, I got the feeling you know, that he realised this was something that he wanted to do."
Why wouldn't a 14 year old teenage boy want to stay in the West surrounded by hippies who encouraged him to do anything he might like rather than go back to a strict Indian mother? He was soon driving Rolls-Royces and fast sports cars, eating meat, getting drunk and stoned and within a year or so had a blonde mistress. These were definitely things he wanted to do. He was also infamous for not turning up at publicised speeches or gatherings of his followers and for his spending on cars, boats, houses and planes and for having an ulcer at 15.
"I had friends who lived in the ashram, um, who stopped practising when the ashrams closed. They felt betrayed, abandoned."
Many people had spent more than 10 years in these ashrams, donating all their time and wages, foregoing their educations and careers and families and being told that they were on the fast-track to devotion to their Master and then were suddenly sent packing with a bus ticket. Ms Pascotto suffered no such problems but as she had never meditated the mandated 2 hours a day, there is some doubt as to whether she had ever started "practising Knowledge".
References: The information on this page was sourced from the Passages video a Visions International (a division of Elan Vital Inc) video, published during 2001