Promotion of Prem Rawat in Australia
Australia's significance to the promotion of Prem Rawat dates from the early 1990s when the 'Amaroo' development was begun. The huge commitment of funds and human resources involved has seen Amaroo become the greatest controversy for Prem Rawat since the exploitational DECA project, and it is certainly the longest running and most damaging controversy that Rawat has had to face. The Australian Elan Vital Incorporated and it's commercial subsidiary Ivory's Rock Conference Centre Pty Ltd have become notable as an aggressive agency of 'defensive promotion' of Prem Rawat in the face of sustained criticism.
Australia was not initially a focus for Prem Rawat and the creation of Divine Light Mission Incorporated in January 1974 was a largely ad hoc initiative by Australian followers. DLM Inc[Aus.] was created as a 'members association' and as such was granted tax exempt status by the Victoria State Government. This status is common amongst voluntary organisations such as sports clubs, it does not denote charitable status or any acknowledgement by the Australian state of the organisation having cultural, educational or religious importance. Registration was moved to South Australia in 1977.
The original stated Objects of DLM Inc. [Aus.] were:
To advance religion in accordance with the principles of Shri Hans Guru Maharaj and Shri Sant Ji Guru Maharaj by promoting the knowledge that God is the supreme creator of the Universe.
The realisation of God without denominational bias.
The relief and prevention of suffering both mental and physical occasioned by poverty, ill-health and the abuse of drugs.
To establish, train and maintain workers to dedicate their lives to carrying out the objects of the Mission.
To establish and maintain schools, colleges, reading rooms, hostels, scholarships and to provide books and pamphlets, films and tapes to further the aims and objects of the Mission.
DLM Inc.[Aus] did not have the significance to the global promotion of Prem Rawat that DLM Inc.[US] , DLM [UK] and DUO [India] had in the 1970s and 1980s. In 1993 along with the majority of other DLM designated organisations outside of India, DLM Inc.[Aus.] adopted the Elan Vital designation. At the same time the Constitution was changed, replacing the original Objects and including a set of Aims:
The Fundamental Object of Elan Vital shall be to promote the principles and teachings of Prem Pal Singh Rawat and to advance public education in the understanding and realization of human potential through self-knowledge based upon the teachings of Prem Pal Singh Rawat.
Further to Elan Vital's Fundamental Object, it shall, at the direction of the Board of Directors:
i. Provide the facilities and an environment conducive to learning and personal development;
ii. Promote and encourage activities and projects that will benefit the community;
iii. Provide facilities for and organize meetings, conferences and conventions;
iv. Support benevolent and charitable activities and organisations;
v. Sponsor tours by speakers or lecturers;
vi. Publish and distribute literature and audio-visual materials;
In 1991, apparently at the behest of Prem Rawat, land was purchased in south east Queensland, the source of funds for this purchase is unclear, however the title is now with a company called Myrine Investments Limited. Incorporated in Jersey (Channel Islands) in 1981 and registered as a foreign company in Queensland in 1986, its Australian registration has been moved to New South Wales. Following the initial land acquisition, followers of Prem Rawat in Australia and elsewhere were approached for funds with which adjacent holdings could be acquired. This fund raising was facilitated by DLM (subsequently Elan Vital) Inc.[Aus.], it would seem though that with only limited exception all of the land purchased by donation is now held in the title of Myrine Investments Ltd. A local government statement of valuation gives a figure of $Au550,000 unimproved value for approximately half of the total holding.
The purpose of the Australian land acquisition was to accommodate a global centre to which followers of Prem Rawat would be attracted from around the world. As funds came in the project location came to be known as Amaroo and its basic concept was that of a conference centre. In March 1995 a company was registered as Ivory's Rock Conference Centre Pty Ltd, this company leases the Amaroo site from Myrine Investments and has been the main conduit for the development of the site. IRCC is owned at arms length via Jeeps Nominees Pty Ltd, by Elan Vital Inc.[Aus.] Substantial development has taken place with expenditure in the order of $20 million; the building development includes private luxury apartments for Prem Rawat.
In mid 2005, Elan Vital Inc. [Australia] published a series of statements on its web site addressing the role of Myrine Investments. The chronology presented in these statements is somewhat opaque but the central claim seems to be that at some point after 2002 the share holding of Myrine Investments was vested with The Prem Rawat Foundation. The nature of the share holding prior to the vestment with TPRF is not specified nor does Elan Vital state whether any mortgage or other claim to beneficial ownership existed nor how these may have been settled. TPRF makes no public acknowledgement that it is the owner of Myrine Investments.
Facilities at Amaroo, Australiaprint