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Prem Rawat 'Speaker' Events: The Process, Expenses, Revenues!
Let's start with the so-called 'invitation' to Prem Rawat [hereinafter referred to as PR] to speak in a city, anywhere. First, PR meets with his staff, he expresses his wishes, and they discuss potential tours and events. Prerequisites include jet airstrip facilities, luxury accommodations for "The Speaker" and his entourage, regular local Knowledge events and some evidence of propagation (aspirants), and in the West, a host community's (and an event's) ability to pay for all the expenses - and generate substantial additional revenue. North America and Western Europe have always provided almost all the funding for PR and his alleged 'mission.'
Then, word is leaked out by PR's associates to the targeted communities/cities or to certain individuals, or via visiting instructors or other cult officials. Sometimes, PR will even arrange various meetings of his regular, more generous financial donors (ranging from a meager, minimum qualification of about $3,0000-5,000+/yr., to cult members who contribute significantly every month ($12,000-100,000+/yr.), and all the way up to $1,000,000+ gifts), at which times he expresses a possible interest in visiting their locales. The attending donors are always sworn to secrecy beforehand about these meetings, not to divulge the location to other uninvited, common "premies" [a Hindu term, translated as "lovers," and denoting his devotees, or "students" nowadays]. These gatherings generally take place at large hotel conference rooms and at his residence[s] (only the more exclusive functions).
Afterwards, PR's cult subordinates are instructed to advise the targeted communities to 'prepare' for him and submit an invitation written to PR to visit their city. This way, on the surface, it always appears as though the event is the result of PR "accepting an invitation," rather than the invitation being a top-down directive. In some cases, the invitation actually does come from a community first. Nevertheless, a community's "invitation" is always carefully orchestrated from the top, too. Meanwhile, the cult members think that PR is coming to town for them, or to do propagation (recruitment/conversion of new devotees). The indoctrinated possibility of "darshan" (a Hindu religious expression, meaning to be in the Master's physical presence) re-energizes their programmed devotion to him and focusses them in this endeavor. However, there are other factors at play involved.
The Event Preparation, Requirements, and Expenses:
In the preliminaries of the process, the community has to put together an event team, beginning with an event manager and an event finance manager, and present on paper how and where it can hold the event and accommodate PR in royal style. Sometimes this process takes several years, involving many people locally and literally thousands of hours of their unpaid professional time, since the requirements are quite rigid and detailed. PR has extremely loyal, longtime cult subordinates - very demanding national and international tour event coordinators and a directory of event personnel who consult with the communities to assure compliance, every step of the way: tour operations, budgets/accounting, security/ushering, productions, AV, fundraising, liaisons, public relations, legal, contributions, seating, translation, communications, medical/special needs, sales, etc.
The community event organizers are instructed to communicate via internal email on the FirstClass software system, for security and confidentiality. They are also instructed not to discuss the preparations or any details with unauthorized cult members or outsiders.
Within the communities, cult members are further instructed how to "prepare" for PR. Signed financial pledges are solicited from individuals to help underwrite the anticipated event. The community must cover thousands of dollars of the event expenses. Detailed monthly aspirant reports are also compiled and sent to PR's Los Angeles-area cult offices.
The community's event team has to contact all the leading venues (auditoriums, halls, ballrooms) in the area, the best hotels, and all the nearby airports with airfields and facilities capable of handling the Gulfstream V (a large luxury private jet). The event team has to compile piles of extensive information at each and every place contacted, in this process, including specified dates of availability (as instructed by PR's tour event people), maps, photographs, and numerous line-itemed sheets of data. Much of the data pertains to providing for the "Speaker's" requirements of supreme comfort and security. The national tour event director sends a national security person to check each potential hotel and venue, r.e. access, security, privacy, etc. In all dealings with the various facilities and their managers, the event teams are instructed never to reveal PR's name; he is always referred to as the "Speaker." This naturally tends to arouse some suspicions and concerns with the hotel and hall managers. "Why can't you even tell us his name? Why all the secrecy? Do people want to kill him? Will our hotel/hall be in danger?" The community's event team is also ordered not to mention the name of PR's organization until a contract is actually ready to be signed. This tends to unnerve most hotel and venue managers, since this approach is not customary behavior for reputable entities.
The luxury hotels must literally have Presidential or Royal Suites for the "Speaker." Typically, a Presidential suite for PR ranges from a bargain basement price these days of about $1000 US per night or higher ($2,000+), depending upon the location and whether the suite is packaged together with an on-site ballroom rental for the event. PR's suite needs to have at least two bedrooms, and he travels with his own personal valet (Patrick), who attends to his clothes, toilette, and other personal needs. Typically, PR's expansive luxury suite will have 2 king bedrooms, 2 spa bathrooms, an elegant living room, a full kitchen, big-screen televisions, stereo systems, sweeping views, etc.. PR's suite must also be supplied with specified food and the requisite expensive liquors (cognac, etc.). Although in the past PR has publicly characterized dogs as being "stupid," he nevertheless reportedly often brings a dog (Juju) on the tours, in which case a balcony is also required for the royal suite, along with other provisions.
Additionally, PR's personal secretary (Kathy) needs an adjacent suite. The tour event director will also demand a nice suite for herself/himself. And then there are the suites and deluxe rooms for PR's retinue, including PR's mistress (Monica), his wife (Marolyn) and family members and a valet to serve them, the instructors, rooms for the other tour event personnel, security personnel, several drivers, a team of personal attendants who obey his every wish/command and clean his room (not the hotel housekeeping maids), Visions/Dunrite production staff, and so forth. PR also requires the cult members to foot the bill for a hefty per diem expense account for his individual ample haute cuisine meals and requests from room service, probably a minimum of $200+/day nowadays. Go-fers are also delegated to obtain take-out meals from the area's most expensive restaurants, including meat dishes (since PR is a carnivore).
The amount of secrecy, detail and nitpicky requirements in these arrangements is absolutely unbelievable. The only thing close to this that we are aware of is when the President of the United States or Queen Elizabeth travels. Not even the world's richest private citizen, Bill Gates, or the Rolling Stones travel in such grandiose style or with such detailed, elaborate arrangements.
Continuing, the community must provide a leased luxury vehicle for PR: no less than the top-of-the-line Lexus, Mercedes, or Infinity are preferred, and in some countries a Rolls Royce, Bentley, or Jaguar (the best BMW may be acceptable). A Lincoln Continental or Cadillac generally will not suffice, and a limousine may draw too much attention and is harder to park/maneuver in some situations. All the vehicle routes (airport-hotel, hotel-event venue, etc.) must be mapped out in advance and driven during various hours of the day for accurate timing. Chauffeurs/drivers are provided for PR, on call 24 hours/day. A number of other nice cars must be leased for PR's family and his security caravan of vehicles (including a backup car for PR), and more cars leased or otherwise made available for his retinue (with cult member drivers).
The airport has port charges and for servicing, fueling, and storing the ultra-luxurious Gulfstream V (formerly owned by the King of Jordan), and there are expenses for PR's personal pilot and mechanic, including lodging and meals.
At the airport, hotel, event venue, and when traveling by car, security personnel and related telecommunications must be personally provided for PR and his family; he has 24 hrs/day security personnel on-hand. Additional telecommunications systems must also be made available for him.
For a multi-day event, personal expenses/bills for PR and his retinue alone have been reported by cult insiders and ex-cult members to exceed $50,000+ (over 4 days), and are paid for by the cult members. This figure is approximately more than 50 times what the average family in the world lives on annually (< $1,000), and it is also more than the gross income (before taxes) that an average American family earns in an entire year, too.
At the event venue, he must have his own private VIP room and bathroom backstage, and a private guarded backstage entrance/exit and elevator. A staff of cult members serves his every wish backstage. The parking on any street must also be blocked off, and plainclothes security personnel (with headsets) are placed strategically at all entrances and exits and others patrol the sidewalks/streets surrounding the venue. Lists of "bongo premies," ex-premie activists, et al are circulated, and computerized files are maintained on laptop computers for immediate access. Event attendees must submit 'smart cards,' and anyone looking 'suspicious' is noted and put under surveillance, or evicted from the premises.
The basic costs of event venues varies, depending upon size, contractual requirements, and number of days. The rental cost for a single 1-day program at a hall with 1,000 seating capacity might run only $2000, 2-3,000 seat hall $3500-5000+, and some ballrooms or halls with larger seating capacities charge upwards of $10,000. Sometimes this base fee does not include any required hall personnel, stagehands, food concessions, etc. There is also the exorbitant cost of the audio-video equipment rental; this varies dependent upon whether the system is all in-house or contracted out, which is even more expensive ($2000-3000). The stage set, if simple, might run $500-1000 just for materials, usually the fabric. Carpeting adds more to the costs, and a more elaborate set costs thousands of dollars, even when constructed by devotee volunteer labor. The Speaker must have his specially-designed chair, microphones, and/or an approved lecturn, among other requirements.
Visions International/Dunrite charges a minimum of $3,000-5,000+ to replicate what the venue staff is already capable of doing. Sometimes union stagehands and venue personnel are visibly just standing around, with nothing to do but watch the event or grab some coffee. The Visions/Dunrite production fee, and revenues and licensing fees for all materials endorsed by or featuring the Speaker go right back through the networked organization[s] (and who knows how much "licensing" fees are assessed - and accrue to the prime beneficiary?).
For the sake of brevity here, these are just a few of the thousands of details and expenses/costs involved and incurred in each tour event. There are also expenses for additional hired police, radios/cell phones, translation headsets and transmitters, ushering expenses, telephone/fax, gratuities, forms and printing for the information and contribution tables, instructors' airfare, a hired cook for PR, etc., ad nauseum.
Furthermore, in planning these tour events, the national tour event director and personnel instruct the community's event manager, finance manager, and their team to get multiple bids on everything, and to play the hotels and event venues against each other, in order to get the best deals, as well as putting 'holds' for various dates at all these facilities. This is a tedious process, when there are 3-4 hotels and 3-4 additional event venues involved, and trying to mesh PR's tour event directors' constant (and often changing) demands and dates with hotel and venue availability. Then, the community event team managers have to submit separate line-item budgets for each viable venue and luxury hotel for the proposed tour event, and prepare separate budgets and summary pages of the grand total expenses projected for each of the potential scenarios and combinations. This is absolutely nuts, really, as any legit independent professional in the event/convention, hotel, or tourist industry, will tell you. It is hierarchical control freakdom to the nth degree. All this preparation is just preliminary, mind you, until PR himself decides where, when, and if the event will happen - and then tells somebody. Meanwhile, dozens of people are getting strung along, in the process - the devotees and the outside businesses/staffs alike. And that's just in one community. But wait - there's more!
The Tour Event Manipulation Game:
Here's the kicker: What Prem Rawat's tour event directors don't tell the community event team, until literally the last moment, is that they are also competing against 3-4 (or more) other communities for that tour event for the same exact dates. That means that literally hundreds of people and these businesses in multiple cities are all getting jerked around for each tour event, due to the capricious whims of Rawat and his appointed, salaried, often verbally abusive, organizational cult stooges. (If there are 4-5 cities on a tour, then that's anywhere from 12 to 20 communities of cult members and business venues/hotels being manipulated like objects.) And at the last minute, sometimes PR changes his mind and itinerary, or scraps some events - or even the entire tour. You can imagine how this demoralizes the hard-working, slave-labor devotee professionals who have been busting their butts for several years to make a tour event with the "Master" happen in their city! Some of these people have been volunteering 20 hours/week or more for up to 2 years ahead of the event, and increasing to even more hours as the potential tour event date approaches. If their city isn't the one selected for that tour event, their only consolation is a brief phone call from the national tour event director, or a fax saying crap like, "Well, we prepared for Maharaji 18 times before he finally showed up. If he doesn't come on the 18th invitation, it might be the 19th!" Seriously. Unbelievable, but True! Only in an abusive mind-control cult would people masochistically subject themselves to something so obviously insane.
Tour Event and Related Revenue[s]:
Now, as to the revenue[s] from these events: even after all the exorbitant expenses for the "Speaker" and his entourage and security, there's a tidy profit to be made. For example, a "winning" community's single-day medium-size tour event grand total budget for all the aforementioned expenses might be $20,000-25,000 [which includes a 10% contingency added], including renting a hall with capacity for 2,500-3,000 people. Even if only 1,500 cult members/aspirants show up, that's still a range of only $13.33 to $16.66 on the estimated cost per attendee. If each attendee pays a $50 "donation" or "reservation fee," that's $75,000 gross revenue. $75,000 - $25,000 still leaves a $50,000 net profit from the event. If the attendees pay more expensive staggered fees for better seat reservations, the net revenue goes still higher. (And PR's cult devotees paid considerably more if they camped out at the Ivory Rock Conference Centre at Amaroo, Australia and bought their meals there on-site at the cult concessions and the cult's rip-off restaurant.) If a 3,000 seat hall fills to capacity, then even at the base $50 reservation fee (let alone $100 and $150 preferred seating fees!), that's a minimum gross of $150,000 for the 1-2 hour event. After deducting the related tour event expenses/bills, the net profit is $125,000!
With a smaller event venue (say, 750-1000 seat capacity), the hall rental and personnel and production costs are substantially lower, but the lower seating capacity also translates into less cult member revenue. Naturally, these costs vary by venue, city, country, etc. But after looking at some of the figures from various small-medium-to larger events in the USA beginning about 1995, the organization's and various communities' tour event teams' estimated costs per attendee have been anywhere from about $12-16, and sometimes approaching $20+. (These figures are calculated by dividing the projected grand total expenses by the expected attendance number.) Note: Please bear in mind that these costs and PR's personal and entourage expenses are always subject to change and fluctuations.
Event attendees are encouraged to deposit cash and personal checks in various donation boxes. (Incidentally, community members are also encouraged to send personal checks and cash regularly directly to "Prem Rawat" at a Malibu, California post office box - which some of us used to do, too). If there is an opportunity for 'students' to express their 'gratitude' to PR, envelopes and boxes are also provided for similar cash and check donations. Additionally, tables are set aside for these same purposes, and for monthly pledges.
There are also staffed tables for sales: cult media publications and souvenirs. The revenues from PR's self-promoting personality cult videos, audio tapes, CDs, magazines, books, photos, and other cult propaganda materials, etc. depicting or "licensed" by PR are all run through Visions International. Similarly, this applies to any music CDs sold by the cult featuring other PR cult members, and audio CDs featuring his daughter (Daya), who occasionally sings at these tour events dressed in provocative, body-clinging attire while looking adoringly at PR.
We also have to add in the miscellaneous cult souvenir sales (expensive titanium watches, large framed photos, PR's designs, jewelry, monogrammed mugs/glasses, scarves, shirts and other apparel, aprons, seals, stationary, etc.); this generates even more substantial revenue.
Then, add in the signed pledges from individuals in each community planning a tour event, and finally the solicited cash and checks in the event's donation boxes, and that's a pretty sizable cash haul for one hour of public speaking by PR. Even at half capacity, the total net revenue could easily be $75,000 to $100,000 (and possibly $150,000-200,000 or more, for a medium-sized hall at full capacity of 3,000 attendees + sales + contributions), and that's not even for a major tour event (like the 7,000-8,000 attending those multi-day Long Beach programs in the 1990s). Moreover, it keeps the faithful sheep in the flock, and afterwards the 'gratitude' checks and pledges will flow like rivers into the cult coffers, too.
PR and co. have also charged a $50 per home television subscriber fee for a single viewing of a digital satellite up-link for each one of many of the same events. More importantly, these events provide mega-profitable, bountiful media fodder in circulation to the cult communities and cult members and aspirants everywhere. Visions edits and releases versions of event videos in required costly monthly community subscriptions (for local video events) and for sales to the individual cult members at marked up retail prices. These subsequent videos are also circulated internationally among the cult communities and charged accordingly. At any given time, there may be up to 100+ PR videos on the market or in subscription circulation worldwide to 100-200+ community locations and as sold to thousands of cult members, in English, Hindi, or in overdubbed translated versions. Even without any accounting of these sales, that revenue could easily be millions of US dollars per annum.
Visions also reconstructs spliced segments of these events in theme videos, too, as well as producing sequenced videos which cult "aspirants" are required to watch in order to become a full-fledged cult member (PWK: Person with Knowledge). The programmed aspirant videos start out innocuously enough, warm and fuzzy, but then gradually insidiously introduce and reinforce the concepts of the necessity of the Master, and participation (serving the Master), etc.. Aspirants are encouraged to watch these videos with their inherent subliminal messages repetitively, gradually programming and making the aspirant susceptible to the mental manipulations of Rawat and his cult.
Also, if anyone associated with PR's "non-profit organization" (registered as a "church" that doesn't report its federal tax returns) finds out you are rich or have an inheritance, look out! You can bet they'll be in touch.
Cult Financial Records - Unresolved Questions and Issues:
However, where are the PR cult's open financial records detailing how all the revenues and licensing fees are channeled? (Logically, why would anyone go to the trouble to actually "license" his own image, self-promotional materials, and merchandise to his set-up personal cult organization[s] managed by his own appointed officials, unless he expected some kind of lucrative financial return, and/or perhaps was paranoid of losing absolute control somehow?) It has been estimated that during the past 35 years, hundreds of millions of dollars have been contributed to PR and his cult organizations by cult members and aspirants. PR's former manager Dettmers mentioned a gross revenue of $75 million in one calendar year alone. Yet, in the past, the cult's American non-profit organization has reported zero tangible assets. So, where is all that money going?
Accordingly, anyone even contemplating contributing money to the Prem Rawat cult should be very wary and request to see the open books, first. To date, none of the former contributors (that we've ever known, anyway) have ever seen an accurate accounting, let alone an independently-audited annual report. This is more than suspicious, given that PR's alleged "non-profit" status organization internally requires detailed line item reporting from its tour event teams and communities, for example.
Again, there are lots of people who would like to see all those federal tax returns (1971-present) of PR's reincarnated organizations Divine Light Mission, Elan Vital, Prem Rawat Foundation, Shri Hans Productions, Visions International, North American Sponsorship Program, etc. made available to the public, and certainly to all his cult entities' financial contributors, past and present. In fact, that's the least that upstanding, reputable non-profit organizations do. They open their accounting books and records up for inspection - and to outside auditors, too, if necessary. Exactly what is PR and his tax-sheltered registered "church" - that he says is Not a church or religion - hiding? What about the huge amounts of cash donations, too, deposited at events, and money given to him personally, over the years? Have those contributions and gifts all been reported? And what expenses are actually legitimate, and which are NOT? These are very serious matters, worthy of further investigation by the tax authorities of every nation having jurisdiction in which PR and his cult organizations operate.
Indeed, in every respect (including no accountability), befitting his self-ordained Indian name "Maharaji," Prem Rawat really lives just like a "Great King," doesn't he? Amazing. What a racket, huh! Does this honestly sound like an authentic spiritual Master - to anybody?
Anyone within the cult in denial of the facts presented here - is either very ignorant or living a lie, as spoon-fed by PR's cult apparatus.
Advisory Warning - Before Joining the Prem Rawat Cult:
So, anyone out there naively contemplating joining the Prem Rawat cult, before you get lured and tricked by a Rawat devotee into attending any kind of an introductory event, then brainwashed by the mind-control videos of this self-proclaimed 'Master', and finally sucked into his self-serving personality cult, take note. Caveat Emptor: "A mind is a terrible thing to lose," after all. (By that [mind], I mean the ability to think for yourself, and to use your brain and innate intelligence.) Never surrender your mind, your money, your time, let alone the reins of your life, to any human incarnation of an 'Imperfect Master.'
Lastly, if there's anyone out there who would like to have some 'peace of mind' and maybe learn some meditation[s], fine - so long as it doesn't entail joining a cult, or following a guru of any kind or stripe. If the truth is within you, then you don't need to look outside to anyone else for it. And the so-called 'Knowledge' techniques (and now "keys') he supposedly 'reveals' are free on the internet, and in numerous books, without any false attachments to anybody or to some deceptively misrepresented cult/church. Just check out the four techniques as published on www.ex-premie.org, or go to any search engine on-line (e.g. Altavista, Google, or Hotbot) and type/search for any of these readily accessible meditation techniques: inner light, inner sound, breath meditation or "mindfulness," "Kechari mudra," or "Kriya Yoga" techniques, for instance). There's no need whatsoever to join a cult/church, follow any guru, or spend a penny!
In Hawaii, there is this Christian television network that has broadcast this sequenced show with a process called the "Wisdom Keys," and after you get bitten by the bug (as it were), then they hit you up for some money, of course. After watching it for a bit, it makes one wonder where PR copped his recent 'Keys' idea - just like he copped his Pasadena 'dung beetle' discourse (and other speeches) from watching the Discovery Channel, etc..
Having read the information reported here, is there anybody really foolish and gullible enough to actually pay money just to hear somebody regurgitate that kind of stuff, or to hear some jumbled, watered-down Hindu platitudes, and attend the indoctrinating cult videos for 6 months just to eventually learn some hijacked universal yoga teachings falsely misrepresented as somebody's [unholy cash-cow] monopoly - and then grovel like a dog in obeisant servitude the rest of one's life before a conspicuously fallible human being? Well, we hope NOT.