Words Of Peace Global (WOPG)
Élan Vital had never become a famous brand giving instant name recognition to either Prem Rawat or Maharaji and it was a bit klunky to explain its relationship to "Knowledge ©" or "Self Knowledge ©" so after 30 years of outreach failure it was time to decapitate and disembowel it. In 2013 Rawat switched his major organisation and public outreach to the cloud under the title Words Of Peace Global, a foundation set up in Holland. The majority of his Western followers are in the USA but as the activity of local groups of followers has little relevance to Rawat and his Knowledge anymore the country of registration is irrelevant. Holland has regulations that allow organisations like WOPG to avoid close public scrutiny but it does provide annual financial reports.
The publicly stated aims of Words of Peace Global are to collect donations to ensure that Prem Rawat can attend:
- Public internation events organised by WOPG;
- Third-party special events, where he is invited to speak at any place an audience can be provided and
- Media interviews for print, radio, and TV.
Note the word 'invited' - it is a legal fiction that Rawat is invited to these events.
Of course Rawat and WOPG provide no real public benefit though keeping 10,000 ageing Westerners not going to their graves screaming but nicely sedated without the harm drugs might do can be considered a public good. But is it worth that many millions of dollars?
The table below summarises WOPG's publicly disclosed finances and is based on published WOPG figures and is in euros
Donations in the first 2 years were about 4 million euros pa. This level quickly fell to half that in 2016 and has stabilised around 1 million euros since. I presume requests for donations for the creation of Words of Peace Global painted a picture of a quantum leap in presenting Prem Rawat to the world and a resultant influx of inspiraion, excitement and new younger aspirants - devotees-to-be. This was not the first time Rawat and his minions attempted to try a new path to success, a success Rawat was sure would eventuate if he wasn't being held back by his followers lackluster efforts.
Revenues which are 100% donations (either direct or through the sale of Prem Rawat related materials) had a significant 40% fall from 2015 to 2016 and a 50% fall to 2017 and a further 20% fall to 2018 though they picked up again in 2019. One has to assume that this is probably caused by a fall in their intensity of belief that WOPG would have any real effect. While the median age of the "students" is between 65 to 75 years old death should not yet be a significant reason for this fall especially as Rawat has circulated calls for "students" to remember him in their wills. It may be that Rawat sees no need or possibility of success in publicly pushing WOPG and has requested private personal donations instead. Personal donations to a private bank account have always been a significant part of Rawat's financing.
From 2014 to 2016 over 4 million euros was ploughed into transferring Prem Rawat Maharaji Inc. into a wholly internet business which now requires relatively small annual inputs. What started in the late 1960s and early 1970s as a mass movement Childrens' Crusade of LSD survivors growing from frenzied face-to-face interactions and nightly intense, confessional, "satsang" meetings and revival-style public gatherings of young hippies and Hindu-ish "spiritual" festivals has developed (you couldn't call it an evolution) into a pallid streaming pseudo-spiritual wellness nebulosity of ageing, fattening, balding baby boomers hanging on to their memories of youthful excitement and transcendental promise. Their Perfect Master/Guru/God in a Bod tells them not to proselytise personally which suits them fine as it saves embarrassment when anyone queries their own meditative experience on Rawat's 50 year hyped path of the Possibilty of Peace, a possibilty that always just seems out of reach.
Its ironic that WOPGlobal spends app €100,000pa on Local Initiatives. This could be subsidising the PEP programs.
Event Expenses are the major transfer of funds to Rawat directly, something that legally should not occur. The payment of Rawat and his entourage's travel and accomodation expenses are included in this and are the major reason Rawat's lifestyle has been tailored this way. Rawat prefers flying to any other activity and dislikes having to jostle with the hoi polloi. He flies an enormously expensive personal jet, the largest and fastest and gas guzzlingest his students can afford to lease and fuel. Its possible that the US government has inadvertently funded Rawat's travels through tax laws that allow his wealthy followers to lease a jet for his use and get tax write-offs.
While it can be difficult to find on the WOPG website and is not obvious to people first clicking into the site Prem Rawat's raison d'être on earth is as the one and only empowered (Perfect) Master who can reveal and inspire the meditation method he calls Knowledge that is the only way to access True Peace in this life. It requires some brainwashing before you can understand Maharaji's magnificence and Knowledge's importance and this is done through a process known since 2005 as "The Keys."