The opinions of the web master and others are expressed in this web site. The 'ex-premie' group has often been termed a hate group due the hate speech of it's members and their record of harassment. The web master does not endorse or support the opinions of anyone associated with the group. Readers are encouraged to fully examine all available evidence, and to come to their own judgments accordingly. The web master of this site is not associated with any organization which assists Prem Rawat's work.
Ambient music track 1: Still Breathing Click here to play
- Statement by a former member.
- Why do they do it?
2. Record of harassment and death threats.
A statement by a former member of the group
A former member of the group, journalist John Macgregor, states in an affidavit:
"These people (ex-premie group members) maintain a series of internet web pages and chat rooms a goal of which is to create an atmosphere of ill will and malice towards Rawat and his students. [...] The goals of the Ex-Premie group are often obsessive, malicious and destructive in nature. The Ex-Premie group, through the use of the internet interferes with the rights of people to experience their own spiritual discovery and harasses individuals who are students of Rawat. The Ex-Premie group's actions have included the contacting of employers of students of Prem Rawat, letters to regulatory agencies and the media with usupported allegations and rabid personal attacks on the character of individuals. Further instances include... The publication of entirely false stories of a defamatory nature on the internet and encouraging media to report these fabrications as fact."
— John Macgregor, April 27 2005
Why do they do it?
Historically, most voices for peace have been targets of violent reactions. Gandhi and Martin Luther King were assassinated, and Mother Teresa was attacked by a British journalist as a "self-serving egotist engaged in money laundering." But when critics employ unethical and unlawful activities to achieve hateful ends they are going far beyond acceptable boundaries.
Members of this small group have posted thousands of pages of criticism
of Prem Rawat on the Internet. They exhibit behavior that psychologists
diagnose as "obsessive/compulsive disorder."
See Time To Log Off: New Diagnostic Criteria For Problematic Internet Use, Dawn Heron, MD, University of Florida, Gainesville, published in Current Psychology, April 2003, (which identifies incessant posting in chat rooms as an emotional disorder).
Record of harassment and death threats
1. Death Threats
Prem Rawat has received death threats at least once over the phone and once in person. There have been two attempts to assault him physically. On advice from a security consultant, metal detectors have been introduced at events where he has been invited to speak.
"Hell yeah I hate him! ... Is there a way to join a web site where the sole purpose is to find a way to kill rawat? What would I be labeled then? Apparently there are plenty of folks that want to take him out ..."
bill burke 13.05.2004
Burke has often contributed to the 'ex-premie' group's on-line forums.
2. Workplace harassment & spam email harassment
Members of the expremie group have organized email campaigns, contacting the employers of people who actively oppose them. Several of Prem Rawat's students have lost their jobs or have had to close their business. The web master of this site interviewed one of the victims, who confirmed that his employer had been deluged with defamatory emails claiming that he was a member of a cult. The following forum post from a prominent member of the group, Jim Heller, alludes to the incident:
Posted by: Jim Heller
Email Address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Do your employers know about you?
Hi (Name deleted), I wonder, have you told your colleagues at work that you follow the former Lord of the Universe?
See, now that your name's out there it's really only a matter of time before one of your 'highly successful' people stumbles upon you via some search engine or something. Hey, maybe it'll be a client, huh?
In a forum post below, group member Gerry Lyng threatens someone else:
Posted: Mon, May 03, 2004 at 05:16:16 (EST)
Original: Mon, May 03, 2004 at 02:38:14 (EST)
Posted by: gerry Recipient: King
Email Address: Not Provided
Browser Type: Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 5.5; Windows 98)
Message Count: 37 visits (37 today, 37 this week, 37 this month, 37 this year)
Subject: Hi (name deleted)
How's things at (employer's name deleted)? Did you tell them about the cult you are in? Bet they'd be interested.
3. Cyber attack: Lawyer Damian Scattini targeted
In late April 2004, the group launched a cyber-attack against Brisbane attorney Damian Scattini, who successfully prosecuted Elan Vital's case against journalist John Macgregor.
The group forged email from Scattini, and sent embarrassing and defamatory emails to hundreds of Australian lawyers, politicians and media to pressure Scattini into abandoning the legal case against Macgregor. One of the voices cheering loudly for the hate mail was Jim Heller, who defended the email as "mere parody." Others in the group also said that because Scattini chose to represent Elan Vital, he "deserves what he gets." Scattini filed a now-pending criminal complaint with authorities in Australia.
4. Ex-premies attack Dr Ron Geaves
British academic, Dr Ron Geaves, has been the subject of continuing harassment in web sites which infringe copyright laws and contain statements designed to intimidate him. They accuse him of fraudulent research because he wrote a positive paper about the history of Elan Vital, and they encourage readers to write letters of complaint to his employer. Dr Geaves writes, "The latter is an empty threat as my employer is fully supportive of me."
The "Geaves must go" web site (2004) was removed after complaints to the hosting service. Observers say the site appeared to be the work of J M Kahn, posting on the group's forum as Emile (Sep 7, 2004). His associate, Jim Heller, admitted "contacting the editor of Novo Religio" about Dr Geaves (Sep10, 2005).
Click here to view the full text of Dr Geaves response.
Dr Geaves' paper "From Divine Light Mission to Elan Vital and Beyond: An Exploration of Change and Adaptation" is available (fee applies) at:
5. Bogus reports to Government regulatory bodies
In June 2003, journalist Charlie Morton from the Bristol Evening Post wrote an article which he claimed exposed dark secrets about Prem Rawat's organizational finances. According to a source in the process of exiting the group, the allegations were the work of Nick Wright (aka Nik Wright), a resident of South Bristol, UK, and long-term member of the 'ex-premie' group. "Calling himself Andrew Carpenter, Wright stated in his interview with Morton that he had filed a complaint with the UK Charity commission, and implied that Maharaji should be jailed," the source said. The Charity Commission conducted an enquiry and quickly dismissed the complaint.
Former member of the group, journalist John Macgregor, has admitted writing such reports, which he hoped would involve Elan Vital in expensive and time consuming investigations. He has since apologized to Prem Rawat for that and other activities.
Nya Murray, who lives on the Gold Coast in Australia also wrote a bogus report about Ivory's Rock Conference Centre and Elan Vital, and distributed it to various Government departments. Murray has no first hand knowledge of the topics on which she reports. Fortunately, no government agency has taken her report seriously.
6. Disinformation web sites
One of the most vicious and defamatory anti-Rawat web sites to appear on the net was "Maharaji's Unofficial Home Page." When challenged about the contents of the site, the author stated, "The only garbage I wrote is Maharaji's (Unofficial) Homepage. As I said elsewhere, the rest of the site you're referring to was written by other people." Dave Simpkiss (aka Sir Dave) Oct 02, 2003. Simpkiss runs a pornographic production business in the UK. At that time he posted under the alias "Sir Bernard Fuck" on a forum run by Jeffrey Leason.
The group's largest web site is a repository of excessively negative material, early transcripts presented out of context, at least one document that has been deliberately altered to give a negative impression, stolen documents which demonstrate nothing ( see John Macgregor's affidavit ), and a stolen floor plan of Prem Rawat's house showing the location of children's bedrooms. The latter appears to be an attempt at intimidation. The web master, John Brauns, continues to display the writings of journalist John Macgregor in spite of Macgregor's request (2005) to delete the offensive, defamatory material.
At least three such web sites are registered to John Brauns. One of those sites has been extensively rewritten and the contents 'toned down' in an effort to give it a veneer of objectivity. Apparently acknowledging their reputation for vitriolic attacks, the authors claim, "It is not our intention to attack him (Prem Rawat) or his followers, or in any way restrict their right of religious freedom. Rather these pages provide a point of reference for both journalists and those who are interested in the activities and philosophy of Mr. Rawat and the organizations that support and promote him."
Originally calling themselves the Maharaji Information Group, the current site appears under the heading Prem Rawat aka Maharaji Information Resource. The original site gave the following contact info:
Maharaji Information Group
Limbazi Rajons LV-4011
Members of the group now insists that the group is not a group.
7. Attempts to prevent freedom of assembly
Freedom of assembly, or "freedom of association", means the individual's right to come together with other individuals to collectively express, promote, pursue and defend common interests. The right to freedom of association is recognised as a human right, a political freedom and a civil liberty. (pp18-20 McBride, 2005)
Members of the group have posted numerous forum messages encouraging each other to contact venues booked by Elan Vital in an effort to have events canceled or to sour relations with venue management. Some messages also advocate harassment at events or feeding propaganda to newspapers. Some examples are listed below:
"I sent an email to the Daily Californian, the student newspaper at University of California at Berkeley at (email address). See the paper here at (web site URL)." Roger eDrek (real name: Jeff Leason) 04/26/2003 This message also included a list of 5 government email addresses and web sites that Leason claims to have contacted.
"I have time and I intend to write and call. If not us, who will? The only difference this time is that I am not telling on line what I say or write to these individuals at colleges or YMCAs ...I'm not tipping their hand, especially M's." Cynthia Gracie to Francesca 4-10-2003
"Red: PR in New York City -- Grapevine: Performing arts centre staff: Click on their names." (web site URL provided so that hate group members can contact individual employees at a venue booked by Elan Vital) Francesca 4-10-2003
"A premie was just bragging and taunting me again about the great events they are organizing in this town. I told him to expect protests and emailed this to the owner of the venue..." Pat W 4-11-2003 (The sample propaganda letter that follows includes this gem, "If you share concern about the malevolent influence that this cult represents in this town, you may want to consider the ethics of permitting them to hold meetings in your venue.") Pat W thinks that an inspiring message about inner peace is a "malevolent influence."
"I've also complained to some hosts that were fascilitating (sic) Maharaji events." Fluster to Cynthia Gracie 7-3- 2003
8. Media Disinformation Campaigns; quotes from propaganda letters
The following quotes are examples of the malicious diatribe devised for the purpose of misleading editors and journalists.
"...ashrams were set up by Prem Rawat and required us to give up all of our personal possessions, end contact with our families and live a life of total surrender. Every week we handed over our paychecks to support the community, DLM, and ultimately, to personally enrich Guru Maharaj Ji. ...the only way Pem Rawat has been successful financially has been by conning thousands of people out of their money for his personal gain."
—From Cynthia Gracie's, letter to the editor of US Business Review, Jan 30. 2003.
The ashrams (1970s -1983) were communal households. In my area in Australia, residents routinely visited their families if they wished, and family members sometimes visited the ashram. All Australian ashram residents enjoyed overseas trips to events. They pooled some items, e.g. cars, and retained others, e.g. musical instruments, for their personal use. Funds were not diverted to "personally enrich" Prem Rawat. This claim contradicts another of the group's claims which states that the ashrams were closed because they were a "financially liability." Prem Rawat has never "conned" anyone. He has always made 'Knowledge' available free of charge. The organizations which support his work are registered in many countries as charities or NPOs. Their financial records are subject to audit. Members of the 'ex-premie' group have never produced a shred of evidence to support claims of financial irregularities.
An investigation by UK tax authorities was dropped when investigators found that Prem Rawat and Elan Vital comply fully with the law. A former member of the group revealed that Nick (Nik) Wright, a current member of the ex-premie group, was behind bogus complaints which triggered the investigation. Wright is also reported to have been involved in the dissemination of bogus reports and stolen documents.
Gracie also claimed to have been involved in a "secret" US project known as DECA. The project was not secret. Its existence was common knowledge. I lived in Australia at the time and I knew of it. I suspect that her claims about the project are as distorted and libelous as the rest of her letter.
The following quotes are taken from an email which was sent to the US Business Review after it published an interview with Prem Rawat.
"While I have not seen the text (of the interview) I wonder if you did any background research on who, exactly, Mr Rawat is ...Do you feel your magazine has any responsibility to present a balanced viewpoint on individuals interviewed especially since your magazine might be used as a legitimizing advertisement to get people into what is ... a destructive cult which exists only for the purpose of the personal enrichment of Mr Rawat? ... Prem Rawat, who is also know as 'Maharaji' ... called himself for years, the Lord of the Universe."
—Joe Whalen, Jan 31, 2003
Again, Whalen writes the same old rubbish that he and his associates repeat like a mantra. Prem Rawat charges no appearances fees and grants free use of recorded material to organizations supporting his work. He teaches the techniques of Knowledge free of charge. It has brought personal enrichment to the lives of countless people worldwide. They are the people who are "personally enriched." He has NEVER called himself the "Lord of the Universe." The term was invented by one of his students in the early 1970s, and repeated by others.
Whalen's email is as distorted and dishonest as Cynthia Gracie's letter. Note that Whalen admits to not having read the interview.
From another email to the editors of US Business Review, Susan Haupt writes, "...please read the stories of the other people ... especially John Macgregor's article from Australia. That is real journalism."
In his April 2005 affidavit, John Macgregor exposed Prem Rawat's detractors for what they really are, and he explains how he fell under their influence at a time when he was emotionally vulnerable. He now refutes his former article and has apologized for writing it.
9. Attempts to have contracted business canceled
Group members have contacted entities with which Elan Vital does business, flooding them with "friendly warnings" about who Elan Vital "really" is. The group's goal is to get contracted business canceled. One group member, Vancouver-based criminal lawyer, Jim Heller, has repeatedly boasted of conducting similar harassment.
10. Miscellaneous examples:
- Publishing on the Internet details about the private lives and sexual
preferences of students of Maharaji and registering these documents with
Internet search engines so that people searching these people's names
would immediately read this private information.
- Posting copyrighted documents on their website, in violation of applicable
- Inciting people to drug and kidnap members of Maharaji's family.
- Inciting people to poison water at the Ivorys Rock Conference Centre
near Brisbane during a convention.
- Filing formal complaints to professional regulatory bodies to have the
legal and medical licenses of some of Maharaji's students revoked. No
regulatory body has ever found any or their allegations worthy of formal
- Phoning the editors of newspapers that have published fair articles
about Maharaji, intimidating them into recanting their articles (at times
up to 40 calls a day).
- Publishing on the Internet the floor plans of Prem Rawat's house (where
his wife and children reside), publishing his personal telephone number
and encouraging people to call him.
- Trying to break into the internal email system of Elan Vital.
- Using stolen access codes to enter into Elan Vital internal telephone conferences.
'"In 1973 during a Detroit city presentation ceremony a man described as a 'journalist' threw a cream pie at Prem Rawat. He was 15 years old at the time. In his usual gracious manner, he wiped his face and continued the ceremony. He was presented with the key to the city for his international peace efforts. The presenter concluded her speech with a profuse apology over the assault. Immediately accepting her apology he stated, "Love is the major thing between us all. I want to apologize to the person who threw that pie at me, because he might have been hurt by somebody, or maybe they tried to arrest him. I do not want him arrested, and I do not want him hurt, because if somebody doesn't understand something, you cannot blame him for that."'- Peace is Possible, by Andrea Cagan