Prem Rawat's 'message' as 'an 'inspirational speaker' seems intractably linked to his earlier 'message' as 'spiritual teacher'. The problem arises because while Rawat has comfortably made a presentational transition, he has been unable to find a linguistic alternative with which to deliver the new 'inspirational' message. Although subject to a degree of revisionism Rawat's core references are still to the 'falsity of the human mind, to a fear of 'inner decay' and to the inadequacy of the physical world and human relationships.
The three quotes on the right of this page all underline frequent themes of Prem Rawat's speeches: that one's mind is an enemy which has to be tamed or transcended; that one would experience great suffering, and even disintegration, if one ceased practising the 'Knowledge'; and that the world is an illusion.
The majority of those who have been taught meditation by Prem Rawat, no longer follow him or practise his 'Knowledge'. Those who have rejected Rawat's teaching report that using their minds, has been rewarding, not bothersome, and that giving up the Rawat ethos has been a release from a constricting mindset.
They also note that they have not 'rotted' or disintegrated, as Prem Rawat promised they would. Retrospectively, many now believe this to be a cult technique of 'phobia conditioning'.
Finally, very few former followers regard the world as illusory or non-existent, and tend to look back on the days when they thought this way as being both escapist and dysfunctional.
The Rawat meditation techniques of 'light', 'music', 'holy name' and 'nectar' (these days known to premies as techniques one, two, three and four) are taught by thousands of gurus in India and by several Western teachers. Thus any claim of exclusivity must either be false or, lie in some realm other than the physical. Yet this is a vague element of Rawat's claim to mastership. If pressed, premies will sometimes claim he has a unique 'grace' which facilitates his ability to transmit 'Knowledge' to others.
Is 'Knowledge' one thing?
Rawat has long claimed that 'Knowledge' is 'one thing'. Notions of its 'wholeness' and 'unity' have been put forward many times.
Yet neuroscientists have determined that 'spiritual' experiences such as 'Knowledge' (and many other meditation-derived states) are wholly neurological in nature. That is, we need look no further than the brain to explain them, as clear, understandable causes can be found there.
Specialists in what is loosely known as 'neuro-theology' have further found that the elements of peace, 'unity with the world', security, bliss or joy, 'the sense of a superior power', and so on, each derives from a separate part of the brain. Those areas, too, have all been identified.
Thus it would appear that 'Knowledge', and the many experiences like it claimed by adherents of other groups, are neurologically and experientially, comprised of many elements.
Should premies meditate all the time?
Rawat is often criticised for failing to help premies get established in meditation, which for some can be arduous or confusing. It is sometimes claimed that the 'follow-up' provided to those who receive 'Knowledge' is inadequate. In the 1970s, Rawat's instructors were usually on hand to provide advice and guidance. These days there are no instructors, thus there is no-one to guide premies through difficult times with the techniques, or the broader difficulties which sometimes arise.
In evidence of this, it has been said that Rawat has never clarified 'the third technique' of meditation - once known as 'Holy Name' or 'the Word'. This is essentially a breath meditation. (Premies were once told to imagine the sound of the phrase so hung as their breath went in and out, but this aspect has now been dropped.)
Hans Rawat, and then Prem Rawat until the mid-1970s, insisted on their followers meditating on the breath at all times - working, eating, resting, or doing anything else. Rawat later implied that he had abolished that requirement, though this has never been formally stated. Rather, oblique hints have been given that meditating constantly on the breath is 'impossible' or 'impractical' - but the exact requirement has never been laid down.