Once upon a time there was teenage boy who said, “I am Lord of the Universe.” And the little “Lord” came to America and set up shop–with ashrams, devotees and work crews.
The little “Lord’s” disciples worked and worked for their guru, hoping to please him and attain “enlightenment.”
The guru boy became fat, rich and retired.
But that’s not the end of this story.
The self-proclaimed “Lord of the Universe,” decided that the guru business was just too good to quit, so he came back for another round, with a new name.
Now a fat middle aged man, the ex-”Lord of the Universe” once known as “Guru Maharaji” of the “Divine Light Mission,” is now just Prem Rawat. And he runs something called “Elan Vital.”
However, Prem Rawat hasn’t really changed that much, since the old days when he was often called a “cult leader.” The ex-guru is still marketing “enlightenment.”
But one former disciple says, “He is nothing more than a fraud and fat cat who is living in the lap of luxury at the expense of his followers,” reported the Courier Mail.
There are quite few “ex-premies” who apparently would agree with this observation and they have websites and discussion groups on the Internet (see links page listing).
The former “Lord of the Universe” denies all their allegations of abuse and exploitation.
Rawat is now in the midst of a tour throughout the United States, which has proven to be fertile ground for the guru in the past. And historically he has harvested quite a few followers from college campuses.
His first stop was at UC Berkeley sponsored by Elan Vital.
“He’s coming to Berkeley doing an introductory program, which means he’s trying to recruit more people,” a former member said. And added, “What they are not telling the public is that he used to claim he was the living incarnation of God,” reported the Daily Californian.
But the message of the ex-”Lord of the Universe” has been modified somewhat and the “God-man” now talks largely in generalities that are puffy and peaceful. It’s not easy to pin him down.
Rawat eventually admitted in an interview that he’s promoting a type of meditation.
“You could say this is meditation, but it’s not meditation because it’s so far beyond that…So, it is like meditation and it is very unlike meditation,” he said.
Rawat goes on, “You have to feel for yourself. It’s a feeling…But that doesn’t mean anything because, unless you have felt it, you don’t know what I’m talking about.”
The old guru appears to be promoting a type of trance induction achieved through various techniques.
“You just need to be free from distractions so that when the techniques are being taught, you can learn them. And…practice…every day when you can sit down quietly to do that,” he says.
One ex-premie put it more bluntly, “It’s all about surrender. Unfortunately that includes surrendering your money.”
The ex-”Lord of the Universe” tour is scheduled to make stops in Pittsburgh, New York and Miami.
Many of his devotees, like “dead heads,” follow their old guru from venue to venue. One diehard fan some might say is in denial insisted, “I don’t see any connection between Mr. Rawat and a cult,” reports the Daily Californian.
“Prem Rawat’s inspiration and guidance is what gets me through school,” extolled an exuberant new Berkeley recruit and avid practitioner of his techniques.
Well, it appears that the “incarnation of God” is back in business and judging from the naive attitude of some college kids, he might just have a new cash crop.