Prem Rawat's Teaching about Charity - In His Own Words
Prem Rawat has always openly denigrated "charity" the helping of people with material goods. He often quoted his father who dismissed charity as useless and that only revealing the "Knowledge of God" could help anyone in the world. He repeated this when replying to questions about his luxurious lifestyle, especially his Rolls-Royces and Mercedes as was reported in the New York Times:
Q. Why don't you sell your Rolls-Royce and buy food for the people?
A. What good would it do? I could sell it and people would still be hungry. I only have one Rolls-Royce.
However in 1973, drunk with wild imaginings and possibly just drunk, he admitted that his Knowledge was not going to help hungry people so he decided to create an organisation, Divine United Organisation, to feed the world. Like most of his ideas, that one did not work out and so he went back to denigrating charity until 2001 when the Prem Rawat Foundation was founded. Prem Rawat has not really changed his mind, the Foundation is actually a ploy to gain some publicity and for his PR people to flood the internet with press releases lauding his philanthropy while actually only a small percentage of the money donated to the Prem Rawat Foundation (Rawat himself does not provide the funds for the Foundation) is used for charitable purposes. The majority is spent on his travels in his personal jet and luxury accomodation when he is making speeches promoting his "Knowledge" and thereby actually doing some real good for him by inspiring his followers to donate money. Funds for Prem Rawat are now being collected through Words of Peace Global as well as TPRF, Human Development through Self Knowledge and too many other fund raising initiatives to list. Judging by the number of times he repeated it, his favourite comment on charity was the joke about the rich man at the pearly gates.
Central Hall Westminster, London England, November 2 1971
Today, suppose, this Mahatma Ji comes to me and begs me for food and I give him this food and he goes away. Then tomorrow again he will feel hungry, he comes to me and begs for food and I again give him and he goes back again, he's-because he has a full stomach but the next day again he will feel hungry and after I give him the food again he will again feel hungry, but-and I will go on and even he will start feeling hungry you know. But if I teach him a technique he won't come back again to me. Today people think, well, take out a pence from your pocket and give it to this beggar and then … NO! It is not done, he will still beg and if today he is satisfied, tomorrow he will beg and if three days he is satisfied, the fourth day he will beg. And if you really want to help him, teach him a technique. Teach him a technique so that he is throughout his life he is completely satisfied, he no more requires to beg. That is real helping him. Your mind starts thinking and you say, "Oh well that is better than that and that is better than that," and your mind says yes, and your mind is satisfied. After a few seconds again it starts functioning because, you know, it is, it is so subtle. It is so, you know, flickery; flickers, flickers, flickers. And you say "Well this is God and God is very holy and very high and the mind says, "Yes, why not?" And it is satisfied for two seconds and then again starts flickering; flickers, flickers, flickers and then for s-other second you say, "Well God is, you know, God is very high, very holy." And you k-and he can kill the mind also and mind says, "Why not?" and he is satisfied for two seconds again it starts flickers. So it is like that man you are giving him two pence to daily, but he is being helped? No, not at all. How to help him then? Completely satisfy your mind that no more your mind rises because mind is the creation of man not of God.
Perfect Master Tape #004 and Reflections on an Indian Sunrise, 1972
London England, September 15 1972
In the same way we must do something useful. Well, actually I can't say it's social. But it has to be Guru Maharaj Ji's service. Because we have to understand that's how important it is. … You must do some good for the people. And the best thing you can do for people is something like John did, something like doing satsang. And that's one of the best things you can socially do. Because I can take a horse to the water. But it's impossible to make it drink until and unless it's thirsty. So we can't do many social activities, because these social activity things were very common one time. Many people come to me and talk about these social activities and all these things. And then finally we used to reach to this conclusion that if there is a man who is hungry today and I give him some food, he is going to be hungry again tomorrow. Why shouldn't I find a solution for him so that he doesn't feel hungry ever again in his life? What is that thing? And that's what we must do.
Élan Vital, Volume III, Issue 1, Spring 1979
Divine United Organization Proclamation, April 1 1973
Now, many people come up to me when l talk about Knowledge, and they say, "Guru Maharaj Ji, we think that those people who are suffering, they need food, shelter, and clothing first, rather than your Knowledge." And, probably it is true to some extent, because they need that. If someone is hungry and we tell him to sit and do meditation, and try to concentrate on God, he will say, "O God, don't give me peace, but give me food first." So if we just give them Knowledge it's no good, because again people are not being helped. Why not? I have just explained to you. But if we open this organization, and socially help people, see, it will be beautiful, because today, if we just give a house to someone, he will need a car in the house tomorrow, and then the second day he will need air conditioning in the car, then next he will need headrests in the car, and then he will just need everything. But before the point can be reached where his desires become endless, before that point will be able to be reached, there will be a stop to it, by the Knowledge, because Knowledge will also be revealed to them, and their desires will be under their control. I think this is the only solution to the problems that all the governments of the world are facing today. It might not sound logical to some people, but it is, because I have been meeting so many people, so many mayors, so many political leaders, and I think that's the only solution.
Divine Times Volume 2, Number 6
Millenium '73 Houston Texas, November 1973
Q: "It's hard for some people to understand how you personally can live so luxuriously in your several homes and your Rolls Royce and stuff and why don't you spend that money on feeding people?"
A: "And that's a really good question. Let me tell you this that life you call luxurious ain't luxurious at all because any other person gets the same life I get, he is going to blow apart in a million pieces in a split of a second."
TVTV Lord of the Universe video, 1974
Los Angeles, November 24, 1974
Man goes, "What can we do for this world? What is the solution for this world?" All these big questions, and the answer is: Knowledge, Knowledge; Knowledge. Every question. Maybe people say, "Come on. You are saying, 'Knowledge, Knowledge, Knowledge, Knowledge, Knowledge.' How do you expect us to feed the stomachs of these people? Knowledge is not gonna fill their stomachs up." Well, believe me, Knowledge is not going to fill their stomachs up. But Shri Maharaj Ji used to say that you can give a hungry person food today - what will he do tomorrow? I mean, if you give him food for one day, will he have food for all his lifetime? One chapati and one subji? And that's it? You give him food today, he is happy: "Oh boy, I'm fine; I'm glad." And the next day: "Aaah, I need food." You can give a person a cloth and say, "Okay. Wear this." He will wear it for a little while. But when that goes out, when that's all done with: "Oh, I need clothes." If we really think about it, why did that situation occur? Because of a few crazy people. Because of the people who could not understand the importance of this human life. They couldn't understand it for themselves, so how could they ever be able to understand it for other people, how important this life is? And that is why. They are just not realizing it.
Divine Times Volume 4, Issue 3, April 30 1975
Guru Puja Festival, Caracas, Venezuela, July 25, 1975
Many people think by charity we can be liberated. They think, "We give things, and that's a very good thing." Well, it is. I don't say that that's a bad thing. I sometimes give things away. But not because I think I am going to get liberated by it. I'll tell you a story about exactly what happens to people who think, "Oh, if we give away things, then that's the answer; that's the solution." Maybe there are some people here who believe that, and some who don't. But let me tell you, there are a lot, a lot of people who do, who really believe that. I can tell you about three billion in one country who do. Not million, billion, in one country who believe that. That's their solution. This story I used to tell a long time ago. There was this rich man, and he was very, very mean. He thought, "I have earned this money out of my own sweat, and I shouldn't give it away." But one time he came to the point where he gave two cents to a little kid. Another time he gave five cents to this old man. Then it came the time for him, and he had to leave his body. He said, "Well, I am supposed to go to heaven, because I have done everything good." He goes to heaven, and he knocks on the door. God's secretary comes, opens the door up, and says, "Yeah. What do you want?" He says, "I want to enter heaven." The secretary thinks, "This guy must be a kook, because he just comes and knocks on the door and says, "I want to enter heaven." What does he think this is, some kinda joke?" But he says, "Why don't you wait. I'll ask God." So he goes back, and he says, "God, there is somebody at the door. He knocked, and I opened it up, and the guy said he wants to enter heaven." God himself was very amazed, because this was very unusual. This didn't happen every day. So he said, "Well, let's see what happens. Let him in." The guy came in, and God said, "Well, have you done anything good that you should deserve to be in heaven?" The guy scratched his head, and scratched his head, and scratched his head. Finally, he says, "Yeah. One time I gave two cents to a little kid." So God said, "Well … Anything else?" The guy scratched his head again, again, and again, and he said, "Oh yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. I gave five cents to this old man." God said, "Well, anything else?" And the man said, "No." God was sort of in a funny position, because the man had given some money in charity, which was good. But it wasn't good enough for him to enter heaven. So he didn't know what to do. He sat down and thought and thought and thought, and he couldn't figure it out. Then he turned around to his secretary, and said, "Well, what do you suggest we should do with this person?" The secretary said, "God, why don't you give him seven cents and tell him to go to hell?" And this is what he did. He gave him seven cents and said, "Go back."
The Golden Age Number 23, September, 1975
Hans Jayanti Festival, Orlando, Florida, 7 November 1975
People used to come to me and ask, "How are you going to solve the problem of poverty?" I used to sit back and say, "I'll give them Knowledge." They would turn around and laugh. They'd say, "This guy has got to be crazy. They need food, and he is going give them Knowledge." … As I was saying before, how would I solve the problem by giving Knowledge? A lot of people used to come to Shri Maharaj Ji, my father, and ask him the same question. "What are you going to do about inflation?" "What are you going to do about all these poor, hungry beggars … and thirsty people, and hungry people?" He used to say, "Listen. I can give a pair of clothes, a nice big lunch, a gallon of water, and provide a shelter for one person for one day. Now, tomorrow he is going to be hungry again. Doesn't matter how much you can eat the first day, that doesn't mean that you are not going to get hungry after a week. You can't just turn around to yourself and say, 'Listen. I just ate a whole big meal. I ate about five things, so I don't need food for five days.' No. It doesn't work that way. And you can't turn around to yourself and say, 'I drank a gallon of water. I don't need to go around and drink water for a long time.' Maybe not at that time you don't, but later on, yes you will." And he said, "I can provide water, and I can provide food for that person, but he is going to be hungry and thirsty again tomorrow. He will need that requirement again tomorrow. And I can provide him with his clothes, the best available. But one day they are going to be no good, and he'll need them again. That is one person. Multiply that case by a quarter of the population, or half of the population of the world. How much does it come out to? Does that even seem logical? Is that the problem of this world? No. That's not where it starts." That is like taking the camera and throwing it on the hardest surface, as hard as possible so that it cracks open, in order to find out what the problem is. But that is no good. No. You have to find out where the problem starts. Every problem that man faces today is because of his mind, because of his concepts.
Golden Age, Number 27
Guru Puja Festival, Miami Beach, Florida July 29, 1977
There are so many people in this world and they are suffering. And they keep on suffering. Why? Why are people suffering? And this was the great question Shri Maharaj Ji used to discuss or talk about. There are so many people suffering. What is the real solution to these people suffering? Food? If they are suffering from food, naturally you would think, "Take them some food. Give them some food. They will be happy." But he said, "No. You give them food today; they will need food tomorrow. Their happiness will only last that long, as long as they are satisfied from that food. And it's not really food that they are suffering from." Then, is it clothing? Maybe because they don't have clothes they are suffering. No, it's not clothes. Because you can give them clothes now. Maybe six months or a year from now, their clothes will tear up; their agony, their suffering will start up again. What is man really suffering from? We look at the symptoms of suffering. What suffering brings us is a lack of tranquility. Lack of knowing. Lack of understanding. Lack of food. Lack of clothing. Lack of this. Lack of that. Those are symptoms! That is not the reason. That is not the cause. And by trying to just cure the symptom -- if you know that this is what you are trying to do, cure the symptom and not the disease -- you're terminal. Because you can keep on curing the symptom, and the disease will persist and persist and persist till naturally one day you can't control the symptoms anymore.
Élan Vital, Volume IV, Issue 2, Summer 1980
Guru Puja, Geneva, Switzerland, September 10, 1978
One time a lot of so-called intellectual people came up to Shri Maharaj Ji and they said, "What are you trying to do? What are you talking about? " I mean these people who said, "Ha, ha, ha, we are the heroes because we are trying to feed people. We're trying to get clothing for people. We're trying to give education." Ha, ha, ha to them too. Because Shri Maharaj Ji, the answer he gave was perfect. These people say, "Why are you talking about peace? How do you think people can have peace if they're hungry in their stomach? Guru Maharaj Ji said, "Listen, I can give them food today, but they'll be hungry tomorrow. If I give them food tomorrow, then they'll be hungry the other day. And if I give them food the other day, then they'll be hungry the other day." He said that, "If I give them clothing then after a little while they will wear off. What kind of clothing do I give them? For summer, winter or rain? If I give them clothing in the summer, they'll freeze to death in winter. If I give them clothing for winter they'll bake and that's it." Then he said, "Education," he said you can give somebody an education and he might forget it tomorrow. "But the kind of food that I give, once anybody has eaten it, never gets hungry again." You can imagine these guys who are thinking that they're heroes, people of the people, yet they didn't know they were talking to the Lord of Lords. I mean this is stupidity.
Geneva '78 booklet
Albert Hall, London, 28th May 1979
Maybe there are people in this world who go. 'Well, why are you doing all this? Why don't you give food to the poor? Why don't you give food to the hungry?' Yes, it is possible. I could feed a few mouths. But what's going to happen tomorrow? You think that if I feed them once, that they will never ever feel hungry again? And then, what's going to happen day after tomorrow, and the day after that, and the day after that. and day after that?
Light Reading, 1980 and The Golden Age, Special Introductory Issue Number 1, February 1980
Hans Jayanti Festival, Kissimmee, Florida / November 5, 1979
And Guru Maharaj Ji says very simply that you cannot look towards any of these things. That is the message of Perfect Master. You cannot look towards these things and call them a reality - any problem of this world. A lot of people used to come to Shri Maharaj Ji and say, "Well, there are people who are diseased. There are people who are sick. There are people who need food. People who need clothes. What about them? Here you are, trying to preach a Knowledge. But what about the immediate necessities of these people?" And Shri Maharaj Ji used to say, "Look. Perhaps I can give food to one person today. But what about tomorrow? They'll still be hungry. I can give clothes to one person today, but what about after a week, what about after a month? They'll again need clothes." The problems of this world are never-ending, because this world is never-ending. And yet in fact are those problems really problems, or a mishap - another nightmare in a nightmare, another nightmare in a dream, another illusion in a delusion? And that's the point.
Élan Vital, Fall 1980, Volume IV, Issue 3