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Spread this Knowledge (by hook or by crook, if necessary).

"I declare that I will establish peace in this world. Just give me the reins and let me rule and I will rule in such a way that even Rama, Hariscandra, Krishna and other kings could not have ruled like that! That day is fast approaching. So arise, awake, open the ears of each man and tell him the time has come! Do not tell him that there was a festival. No! Make them understand He has come to reveal the Knowledge, that He has come to show us the True Path,…"  (The 12 year old Guru Maharaj Ji, Hans Jayanti Festival, India, 1970)

Thus effectively began the career of the now “successful independent businessman”, Prem Rawat, who at the time was recognised by devotees in India as the spiritually anointed inheritor of his father’s Divine Light Mission, the Lord of the Universe in human form. From India he took his message to London, England and from there to the rest of the Western World. From the outset it was considered of fundamental importance to propagate the Divine message and let the whole world know that God, in human form, was on the planet. The guru and his closest followers earnestly implored each and every person recruited as a follower to "spread this Knowledge".

The song Spread this Knowledge (click here for actual music) was, without doubt, one of the main anthems of the Divine Light Mission group when, from around 1970 and beyond, followers of Guru Maharaj Ji, inspired by the teachings and sayings of the guru himself, were prepared to face a sceptical world and unashamedly echo his basic, core message: The Lord is here now, in human form, and is offering the ultimate Divine Knowledge to anyone with a guileless heart and open mind. Period.

In terms of resonance generated within the Western world’s branch of the cult, the song probably ranks alongside that other Mission anthem of the time, The Lord of the Universe, as being the musical epitome of the Mission’s simple, stark, challenging message.

With the benefit of a good dollop of nostalgia it’s probably not difficult for some of those people who were around at that time, and actively involved in the Mission as devotees, to view such times and such songs as emblematic of some innocent, halcyon days when absolute faith and absolute devotion reigned supreme. Of course that is the nature of nostalgia.

The truth, for many, was something different and something far more complex. For sure there was indeed an abundance of simplicity and, let’s not forget, an abundance of enthusiasm. However, all of that was underpinned by an overwhelming propaganda onslaught on the psyche of each committed individual. Each person was indoctrinated to such an extent that any genuine, reasonable doubt was discouraged. Even one of Prem Rawat's (then known as Guru Maharaj Ji) special commandments explicitly enjoined his followers “To leave no room for doubt in your mind”.

Guru Maharaj Ji also encouraged every devotee to be consumed in what he called “the practice of Knowledge” by attending satsang, doing service, meditating and, the big bonus itself, receiving darshan whenever the opportunity arose. You didn’t think you received the ultimate Divine knowledge? Don’t worry about it. In fact, don’t even think about it. Keep on trucking and one day you’ll realise it. You’re confused, disoriented and the ultimate bliss isn’t exactly the “reality” you’re experiencing? Again, that’s just “your mind” and never forget, “your mind” is your worst and closest enemy. The solution must be to surrender “your mind” to the guru, right?  Right!

So much for the indoctrinated individual. One thing, though, was instilled in every cult member (known as a premie) of that time to be of paramount importance and that one thing was propagation. Spread this Knowledge. You might not always be brimming with bliss and drinking from the fountain of the ultimate Divine Knowledge but you don’t want to spread “your mind” to some other thirsty soul, right? You know the Lord, with his ultimate, Divine Knowledge, is here and you know he wants you to spread Knowledge, right? So, keep on message and be a true devotee of the Lord and tell it how he’d like it to be told and not as you actually experience it. Little did anyone then know to what extent the guru himself would use this inherent dishonesty to further his career in self-aggrandisement, greed and hypocrisy in the years and decades to come. Surely, everyone at the time, except the guru, saw it as a necessary “white lie“.

The guru in question was, of course, the present day humanitarian speaker (but no longer Lord of the Universe) Prem Rawat. Then he was Balyogeshwar Paramhans Shri Satgurudev Maharaj or Sant Ji Maharaj or Satgurudev Maharaj or Guru Maharaj Ji or plain and simple Maharaji. When enthroned on high wearing bejewelled, glittering costumes and crowns he used to encourage his followers to sing to him. They’d sing songs such as Spread this Knowledge to every land, to tell them Our Lord is here, then they’ll all come to His Lotus Feet for their true selves to appear... Jai Sat Chit Anand, Truth is the consciousness of bliss”. 

Or they’d sing another song like

The Lord of the Universe
Has come to us this day
The Lord of the Universe
Has come to us this day
And He's come to show us Light
And He's come to show us Love
And He ' s come to show us the Way
Back to our Father.

Open up your heart to the Universe of Love
And He will fill you up.
Open up your heart to the Universe of Love
And He will fill you up.

Years later Prem Rawat would deny any complicity in these seemingly undeniable god fests. He would even accuse people of lying when they detailed his history in the public domain. Prem Rawat also continually uses his remaining relatively small group of core devotees, and the organisations under his direct control, to unfairly and dishonestly vilify some of those original followers who actually did “see the light” and ceased following him completely.

Paradoxically, though, in spite of his re-writing of history and his “airbrushing” away of so much that now embarrasses him in relation to his early attempts to propagate his message he’s never ceased acting on his basic impulse to "spread this Knowledge" . He no longer indulges in spectacles such as the Houston Astrodome event where the whole world was suddenly going to become aware of God incarnate. Probably because it failed miserably. Within the confines of his own cult, though, there probably hasn’t been a single year when he hasn’t come up with some other approach in enlisting the gullible. It never has taken off as he promised it would do. Then again, he’s possibly not the first person to declare he’ll bring peace to the entire world only to discover it’s not quite as easy as just declaring it.

The key to understanding his real reason for continuing to propagate, though, is found by looking at the use he’s put to all the cult's fund-raising efforts over the last three decades and more. To put it bluntly, he’s made a considerable personal fortune from it. Although he claims in public that he’s “a successful independent businessman”, the vast majority of his fortune derives from the personal donations of his followers. It’s his fundamental cash cow. Yes, maybe he’s invested the money he’s procured from his devotees but his devotees first gave him wealth to begin with and have sustained his wealth throughout the rest of his life. And the “Spread this Knowledge” ruse has been the linchpin of his material endeavours. So when he wants a fleet of cars, a Malibu residence, a multi-million pound jet plane, a yacht, an income for life - whatever it may be - he only has to mention it and the wheels are set in motion throughout his cult to satisfy his every demand. After all, according to those still fanatically infatuated with his personality, he really just wants to “Spread this Knowledge”. It might not be exactly clear why so much money always seems to end up in his pockets and the Knowledge is still no nearer to being “ spread” but, heck, how rude and negative those are who make a fuss about it! In fact, it’s official, his detractors are “a hate group".  End of discussion.

It’s now a long time ago since those supposedly halcyon days of folksy, innocent devotional songs praising the living Perfect Master, the Lord of the Universe, no less. That approach has been ditched as far as the general public at large is concerned. No longer is it simply a matter of the Lord in person and anyone and everyone with a guileless heart and open mind. After all, in the real world nothing is perfect, right? So an open wallet is fine as far as Prem Rawat is concerned. Invest some donations in paying for puff piece journalists and biographers to sing his praises instead. Try to spread his name around at the Oscar ceremony a short way from his Malibu mansion. Pretend the UN and top Universities are clamouring for Prem Rawat to have him speak in their august halls. Turn charity work into a huge PR exercise.

In short, spread his assets to every land to tell them Prem Pal Rawat is here. Then they’ll all come to his little cult ….. and he’ll fleece them…. mentally and financially.  In Prem Rawat's world, after all is said and done, "Truth", it seems, is the consciousness of cash, not bliss.

Article created March 2007

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