The Indian Background

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Kissemee, Florida - November, 1979:
Prem Rawat dressed up in stripped-down Krishna garb, premies pulling him around on a cart.

Divine Light Mission
Elan Vital,
The Prem Rawat Foundation,
a.k.a. Self-Knowledge, Knowledge.

The more facts you learn, the better off you are.

The Indian Roots
Maharaji's Satguru
Satgurus Today
EV's Archives

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Elan Vital Today

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"The Holy Name should be received from one who himself received it from his Perfect Master, and who is presently Perfect Master in a correct spiritual succession. From ancient times the Perfect Master has channelised His spiritual power to His disciples. Since the Name comes from the same spiritual tradition, it has become very powerful. He who teaches this Name is called the Guru, and he who receives it is called the disciple." (Shri Hans Ji Maharaj - Hans Yog Prakash)

"Sublime devotion, however, comes from implicit faith and confidence in the Satguru of the time, and it must be clearly understood that only He who can bestow God-vision instantaneously within oneself is the Satguru of the time, and no one else. In reality, He is God incarnate." (Shri Hans Ji Maharaj June, 1961, Prem Nagar, India)

A major part of the myth upon which Maharaji's cult has been built is based in the following claims:
  • Maharaji (Prempal Rawat) is the one and only "Master" or "Satguru" on the planet today.
  • The legitimacy of Maharaji's claim to be the only "Master" is unquestionable.
  • "Knowledge" is the ultimate Truth, and its techniques can be revealed by Maharaji only.

When Maharaji first began giving Knowledge in the West, the above claims were proclaimed loudly by both Maharaji and his followers. Now these claims are not made, except subtly, in the introductory videos that Maharaji distributes. Instead, they are gradually made clear to aspirants as they complete the process of learning about Knowledge.

The purpose of the pages on this site, which focuses on the traditional Indian background of Maharaji's status and teachings, is to show that none of these claims are true. In fact:

  • There are several other gurus and cult leaders today who also claim to be the one and only "Master", or Satguru. One of these is Maharaji's brother, Satpal. The disciples of these "masters" report having the same kind of experiences that Maharaji's followers have (See Satgurus Today part).
  • Maharaji's teachings have been inherited from a well known and well documented modern 'progressive' group of Punjabi 'sects' (See Roots part).
  • The Knowledge techniques are common knowledge shared by many teachers (See Links and Similarities with the Radhasoami Tradition pages), and these teachers have other practices that are very similar to Maharaji's: darshan, satsang, and service, for example. What one can experience through the bond with 'The Master' can simply be experienced through meditation for those who enjoy it. (See Resources part).
    "This message is always the same..." (Maharaji, Barcelona, Spain, July 17, 1999).

In spite of the new revisionism and video editing, in Western countries, the presentation of these teachings and of Maharaji himself has changed considerably. While in India the presentation of "knowledge" is still the same (read some of his recent satsang in India). This site also contains much information about how Knowledge was presented during the 1970's and early 1980's.

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Origins: the Indian Roots


The 'Hindu' wrappings of Maharaji's teachings dazzled many people from the West into believing that it was somehow Eastern based and derived from the justifiably famous traditions of that part of the world.

Far from it! The messianic tradition of One God and One Way to God is thoroughly Western and not at all Hindu. Hindu thinking is rather more polytheistic and inclusive.

It may be more accurate to regard Prem Rawat's teachings as a perversion of the Christ tradition rather than as owing much to Hinduism.

The actual place of Maharaji's movement among Indian religious groups.

Introduction to Sikhism & related groups

Kabir, Nanak, Sikhism, Sant Mat, Radhasoami & EV

The 'Paramhansa Advait Mat' Book

Lineage, lives and teachings of the Satgurus including Sarupanand (M's father's guru) and Shiv Dayal Ji

Similarities with the Radhasoami tradition

Radhasoami ideas presented under DLM - EVs' banner

Prof. David Lane' comments

Connection of DLM with Radhasoami groups and the Advait Mat group

Radhasoami Faith

An extensive historical study, by Prof. A.P. Mathur

The Radhasoami Tradition

A critical history of Guru Successorship, by Prof. David Christopher Lane, Ph.D.

The Myth of the Perfect Masters Lineage

Summary of the main historical facts

Shri Nangli Sahib

The Indian group claiming Swarupanand & Shiv Dayal's successorship

More relevant info

and details on M's lineage

A sociological approach to Maharaji's movement.

An Indian Perspective

Maharaji - EV/DLM's status in respect to Hinduism

Shabdism in North-America

Relationship to the Radhasoami tradition - Reasons to deny their living religious heritage

Hinduism Today (1983) article

on M's quasi-Vaishnava background

How People Recognize Charisma

The experience of knowledge: ecstatic merging of a separate sense of self with the Absolute

Maharaji's Satguru

Satgurudev Shri Hans Ji Maharaj

The 'official' version of Shri Hans' life, Indian DLM history, Knowledge as it was given in the 60s

Divine Light Vol 2, Issue 1

Some of Shri Maharaji's Satsang

Hans Yog Prakash

The 'Magnum Opus' of Shri Hans Ji Maharaj

Antidote To Nuclear Bombs

First published in June 1962. Oldest DLM document presently available.

Satgurus Today

Shri Satpalji Maharaj

Prempal's older brother is also a Satguru


Satgurus (& related) websites: Radhasoami, Sant Mat, Rawat family, etc.

Elan Vital's Archives

Maharaji Himself

Prempal Rawat's Childhood

One of the first chapters of the legend

Divine Light Vol 2, Issue 2

Maharaji's Early Days' Satsangs

Maharaji's Most Famous Quotes

What he said, and dares not say anymore!

Selected Indian Tales & Stories

Maharaji's most famous parables to attain wisdom

The Living Master

The Digest of M's Teaching, published by DLM in 1978

Sing Arti at the Lotus Feet

THE Official Prayer and devotional song to Maharaji

Devotional Songs

Premies express their devotion to Maharaji

Maharaji's Letters

To the premies

Recent Satsang in India

M has not changed the presentation of "knowledge" in India

Maharaji Giving Darshan

Very private ceremony, no pictures usually available

The Krishna Crown Transport Box

The Crown (and Flute) in their safe box

"Who Is Guru Maharaj Ji?"

When the Lord was walking the Earth (1973-74)

Maharaji's Family

The Holy Family online Magazine

Shri Maharaji, Mata Ji, Bal Bhagwan Ji, Raja Ji & Bhole Ji's most typical satsangs

Maharaji's Organization

Elan Vital actually is Divine Light Mission

Here is the official documents

Soul Rush

The Odyssey of a Young Woman in the 70s'. Excerpts

The DLM as a Social Organization

M's policy leads to confusion and lack of desire to recruit new members

World Rejection-World Affirmation

and Goal Displacement. Another light on changes in DLM/EV

Nuts & Bolts

Divine Light Vol 2, Issue 3

Maharaji's Mahatmas' Satsang

Attend a Knowledge Session

The Initiation, as it used to be in the 70's & early 80's

The DLM Ashram

The Renunciate Order of DLM & its Code


The Meditation Techniques

According to Hinduism & Indian Scriptures

Bibliography & Suggested Reading

DLM, EV, Satgurus, Meditation, Psychology, etc

Photo Gallery

Pictures of present and past Satgurus

Report of the World Peace Tour

of Balyogeshwar Shri Sant Ji Maharaj (1971)

Maharaji's Ex-Followers' Websites

Support for people leaving the faith. What they think


Find information on this Website (over 100 pages)

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Last Update: May 5, 2003

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And have it on your computer's hard disk (PC or Mac)
Last Update:May 5, 2003

Discuss Maharaji's Teaching

Ex-Followers & Premies' Comments

On the Maharaji Lineage issue

That Beautiful Place

On the Meditation Techniques - Part 1

The Secret & Sacred Techniques

On the Meditation Techniques - Part 2

The Last Degree of Separation

What is the true cost of M's teachings?

Maharaji & Psychological Manipulation

Some controlling techniques used by M


The Dark Side of Enlightenment

Sadomasochistic Aspects of the Quest for Perfection, by Daniel Shaw C.S.W.

Traumatic Abuse in Cults

An Exploration of an Unfamiliar Social Problem, by Daniel Shaw, C.S.W.

On Mysticism and Religion

Erich Fromm's humanistic view - The danger of the anthropomorphisation and idolization of the concept of God.

The Kirpal Statistic

You don't need to go to an Indian guru to see, hear and feel something inside, by Prof. D. Lane.


Meditation, Mysticism, Religion, Psychology of Spiritual Movements.

Religious Ecstasy

from a Physiological Point of View.

This Website

Letters to the Site

What's New on this Website?

This Website's Creator

Elan Vital Today

Have an Idea of what premies are involved in nowadays

Learn more about Prempal Rawat and DLM / Elan Vital

Go to ...

the Ex-followers of Prempal Rawat's website: Testimonies, online forums, recent history, links, etc.

And it came to pass when he saw that the multitude thronged him the more day on day,
tighter and closer and fiercer than ever they had,
when he saw that they pressed him to heal them without rest,
and feed them always with his miracles,
to learn for them and to live their lives,
he went alone that day onto a hilltop apart, and their he prayed.

And he said in his heart, Infinite radiant Is, if it be thy will,
let this cup pass from me, let me lay aside this impossible task.
I cannot live the life of one other soul, yet ten thousand cry to me for life.
I'm sorry I allowed it all to happen. If it be thy will,
let me go back to my engines and my tools and let me live as other men.

And a voice spoke to him on the hilltop, a voice neither male nor female,
loud nor soft, a voice infinitely kind.

And the voice said unto him,
"Not my will but thine be done
For what is thy will is mine for thee.
Go thy way as other men,
And be thou happy on the earth."

And hearing, the master was glad and gave thanks
and came down from the hilltop humming a little mechanic's song.

And when the throng pressed him with its woes,
beseeching him to heal for it and learn for it and feed it non stop
from his understanding and to entertain it with his wonders,
he smiled at the multitude and said pleasantly unto them,

And he went his way through the crowds and left them,
and he returned to the everyday world of men and machines.
Excerpt from 'Illusions. The Adventures of a reluctant Messiah', by Richard Bach