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Prem Rawat / Elan Vital, Inc.
Formerly: Guru Maharaj Ji, Divine Light Mission,
An Apologetics Index research resource

Prem Rawat, Guru Maharaj Ji, Divine Light Mission, Elan Vital, Inc.

Prem Rawat, Guru Maharaj Ji, Divine Light Mission, Elan Vital, Inc.

Non-Christian Prem Rawat / Elan Vital, Inc.

Formerly: Guru Maharaj Ji, of the Divine Light Mission,

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In the past, Mr Rawat was known as the Guru Maharaj Ji, head of the Divine Light Mission. His followers referred to him as "Lord of the Universe," and "Perfect Master." Nowadays, however, Mr. Rawat (or "Maharaji") is simply billed as a "motivational speaker." He heads up the Prem Rawat Foundation, and operates Maharaji.net.

Rawat's teachings are promoted by Elan Vital, Inc., the organization formerly known as Divine Light Mission. An Elan Vital representative told a magazine that the company is not a religious movement, and that "Prem Rawat teaches no code, creed or dogma."

Rawat—formerly known as Guru Maharaj Ji, "Lord of the Universe" and "Perfect Master"—began Divine Light Mission in the 1970s when he was 13 years old.

Rawat drew thousands of devotees in Europe, the Americas and Australia, many from universities in the West. During that time Rawat came to speak at UC Berkeley.

Members of the religious group lived together in secluded religious communities, former members said.

Since 1990, Rawat has reworked his image. Divine Light Mission has been replaced by the charitable organization Elan Vital, which professes to spread peace and knowledge.

Many of Rawat's followers left after he changed his message to "just teach people how to find contentment," former members said.

Former devotees said Rawat fails to inform people introduced to his ideas about this history.

"What they are not telling the public is that he used to claim he was the living incarnation of God," Whalen said. "He became fabulously wealthy off the backs of his followers."

Rawat's former followers allege he abused his power as a leader to devotees and their children.
Source: Campus Speaker Criticized by Ex-Devotees, The Daily Californian, Apr. 30, 2003

Rawat's basic message is that he 'provides' Knowledge (yes, with a capitcal 'K'), and that this Knowledge can be obtained by turning within...

What I am proposing is that within each individual is the domain where peace can be found. This is the premise of Knowledge, and this is the message that I feel is sorely needed in this world. How important it is for that one message to be accessible to everyone.

More than just words, I offer people Knowledge, a practical way to feel the contentment that is already inside them. My message is neither new nor old. It is timeless: the peace, the contentment, that people seek is within. It was, is, and always will be. Now is the time to turn within.
Source: Letter From Prem Rawat, The Prem Rawat Foundation web site


A follower of Maharaji is referred to as a "premie" - from a hindi word meaning love, which can be loosely translated as lover.

Many of Rawat's former followers are calling themselves "ex-premies." The Ex-Premie.org site explains: "Meaning more than 'a non-practitioner', ex-premie is used to describe someone who now views Maharaji as a fraud."


» Press & Media Collections of newspaper- and magazine articles at the Ex-Premie.org site

Secular Blinded by the Light (contra) By John Macgregor. Published in Good Weekend - the magazine shared by Australian newspapers, The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald, August 31, 2002 (Page 38-42) and in The West Australian, September 21, 2002.". PDF versionPDF file "Back in 1972, John Macgregor fell under the spell of Guru Maharaji, a plump 14-year-old who promised - and for a while delivered - divine peace of mind. The former follower recalls, on the eve of Maharaji's latest Australian visit, his 28-year journey to disillusionment."
Secular Ten Things You Should Know About Prem Rawat (Contra) This leaflet, also available for download as a PDF filePDF file, "has been produced by a group of former followers of Prem Rawat, a.k.a. Maharaji, as a summary of the facts about Prem Rawat that are intentionally hidden from his followers, potential followers, the media and the general public, by both Prem Rawat and the organisations that promote his work."


Secular Forum Eight "This forum exists to provide a place where former premies (former followers of Prem Rawat, a.k.a. Maharaji) and others can discuss Rawat, his organisations, and the effects of his teachings."


Secular FAQ Prepared by Ex-Premie.org

• Glossary
Secular Glossary Prepared by Ex-Premie.org


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Non-Christian Elan Vital, Inc. (Pro) "Elan Vital, incorporated in 1971 in the US, is a charitable organization that promotes the message of Maharaji."
Secular Ex-Premie.org (Contra) "Presented by ex-followers of Prem Rawat, a.k.a. Maharaji, The ex-"Lord of the Universe"". Elan Vital, Inc. tried - and failed - to censor this site. Such attempts are always a good reason to investigate the information provided.
Non-Christian Maharaji.net (Official Site) Prem Rawat's (Maharaji's) official web site
Non-Christian The Prem Rawat Foundation (Official Site)
Non-Christian A Reply to Ex-Premies (Pro) A Prem Rawat supporter counters the Ex-Premie.org web site
Non-Christian Visions International (Pro) "Visions International, a trade name of Elan Vital, Inc., provides support for the production of global materials containing Maharaji's message."

About this page:
Prem Rawat, Guru Maharaj Ji, Divine Light Mission, Elan Vital, Inc.
First posted: July 10, 2003
Last Updated: May 15, 2004
Editor: Anton Hein
Copyright: Apologetics Index
Link to: http://www.apologeticsindex.org/r23.html
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