Talk:Criticism of Prem Rawat

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Archive 14Archive 13Archive 12Archive 11Archive 10Archive 9Archive 8Archive 7Archive 6Archive 5Archive 4Archive 3Archive 2Archive 1


This article was merged into Prem Rawat#Criticism, but the Prem Rawat page no longer has a section with that title. 86.15.16.171 (talk) 21:23, 20 August 2008 (UTC)

See the archives for past discussions. Avb 19:49, 12 February 2008 (UTC)

unredirected[edit]

Unredirected because the place that it redirected to had been deleted, i.e. the Criticism section of the Prem Rawat article. Unable to replace the deleted section in that article because that article is currently locked. 147.114.226.174 (talk) 15:15, 28 March 2008 (UTC)

Entirely agree. The criticism has been scrubbed from the main article for reasons currently being arbitrated about. This article seems quite encyclopedic. If people want to blank it, they can take it through AfD. In fact, I submit we should consider further blanking to be vandalism. - Merzbow (talk) 07:47, 30 March 2008 (UTC)
And yes... if you squint real hard, you can find 4 sentences in the main article that could be classified as criticism. All followed by sentences presented as rebuttals (several "original research" rebuttals at that - i.e. material not presented by the source as a rebuttal, but presented by the editor as such). 4 sentences out of an 11-page article, and condensed down from this article, which is is 3 and a half, and well-referenced with quotes from major newspapers? - Merzbow (talk) 08:02, 30 March 2008 (UTC)
The arbCom case is about editor's behavior at these articles and not about a content dispute. You are welcome to discuss the redirection or merge at the main article's talk page: As it stands now this is a POV fork. If there are sources here that are not been used in the main article and that are suitable for inclusion, please discuss. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 14:16, 30 March 2008 (UTC)
This article is not necessarily a POV fork. So long as the contents are summarized in the main article is may be considered a subsidiary article. Regardless of that it is unhelpful to have anonymous accounts reverting to recreate and remerge this article without discussion. If it continues I'll ask for some form of page protection. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 22:22, 31 March 2008 (UTC)
The un-redirected article is a POV fork. If you look at WP:SUMMARY, you can see that it speaks of a sub-topic (a section) that grows to a point in which it is needed to spin-off into its own article. The main article Prem Rawat uses most of the sources in the unredirected article throughout the article and not in its own section. Also read Wikipedia:SUMMARY#Avoidance_of_POV_forks and Wikipedia:Neutral_point_of_view#POV_forks ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 01:45, 1 April 2008 (UTC)
As for the back and forth reversion, it does not matter if these are anons or not. What is not acceptable is that there is no discussion and no attempt to find consensus about the redirect. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 01:49, 1 April 2008 (UTC)
So long as a neutral summary of the material is in the main article, it shouldn't be a problem.
  • Even if the subject of the new article is controversial, this does not automatically make the new article a POV fork. However, the moved material must be replaced with an NPOV summary of that material. If it is not, then the "spinning out" is really a clear act of POV forking: a new article has been created so that the main article can favor some viewpoints over others. Summary style articles, with sub-articles giving greater detail, are not content forking, provided that all the sub-articles, and the summary conform to Neutral Point of View. However, it is possible for article spinouts to become POV forks. If a statement is inadmissible for content policy reasons at an article XYZ, then it is also inadmissible at a spinout Criticism of XYZ. Spinouts are intended to improve readability and navigation, not to evade Wikipedia's content policies.
  • Wikipedia:Content forking, Article spinouts - "Summary style" articles
If I understand correctly, Momento has repeatedly said that more critical material cannot be included in Prem Rawat because doing so would make the article too long. The answer is not to prohibit critical material but to spin it out into a separate article. The main article can be restructured to better summarize the spun-out material. So long as all of the material is presented neutrally, and isn't intended to give different viewpoints in different articles then it should be compliant. I hope that editors will use discussion pages to find a resolution that everyone can live with rather than making dogmatic statements or reverting without discussion. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 05:24, 1 April 2008 (UTC)
What you are talking about is exactly what a POV fork is: creating an article in which only criticism is displayed about a subject, without the opportunity for readers to see other related material. The sources in the now redirected article, that have not been used in the main article (most has been used, btw), can be incorporated in the proper context and after discussion about suitability. This is not a dogmatic approach, Will. POV forks are easy to spot. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 13:51, 1 April 2008 (UTC)

Let's examine jossi's claim that most sources have been used in the main article. Here are the critical references in this (the criticism) article, by cite number:

10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33

The vast majority appear to be from solidly reliable sources. In the main article, I can only find 11, 15, 19, 31, 32, 33 used to source criticism. 12, 14, 30 are used to source just facts or neutral analysis only (check out 14; if you only read the main article, you'd never know that Lans thought that "example of a guru who has become a charlatan leading a double life"). And several other sources are listed in the "References" section, but not actually used in the text as a source. I've already pointed out how the criticism in the main article is shoehorned into 4 or 5 short sentences, followed by problematic "rebuttals", out of 11 pages. Clearly a great deal more of this can and should be used in the main article. - Merzbow (talk) 18:11, 1 April 2008 (UTC)

It is not a matter of just listing the sources. You need to check them:
  • Wim Haan - Not used in the main article, but used in the Teachings of Prem Rawat article
  • Hunt - Used in the main article
  • Kent - Used in the main article
  • Kranenborg - Some of it is not "criticism" per se, and the text about the lifestyle not being compatible with Christian values, could be added.
  • van der Lans - if his opinion about being a charlatan is considered useful, it can be added to the main article, alongside other comments about life-style
  • Schnabel - Used in the main article
  • Melton (Mishler) - Used in the main article
  • Larkin, Foss - Used in the main article
  • Singer - some of it is not "criticism" (i.e. Physcology today article "intense relationships between followers and a powerful idea or leader" can be incorporated in the main article in the teachings section alongside other sourced opinions). The text about Divine Light Mission can be added to that article, alongside other comments on the subject
  • As for the text of these opinions being placed alongside other opinions, these are not "rebuttals", but NPOV writing 101. Per Wikipedia:NPOV#The_neutral_point_of_view: The neutral point of view is a means of dealing with conflicting verifiable perspectives on a topic as evidenced by reliable sources. The policy requires that where multiple or conflicting perspectives exist within a topic each should be presented fairly.
I would argue that such material can be easily incorporated into the main article, for an accurate and fair representation of all significant opinions on the subject. POV forks are not useful, not encyclopedic, and subvert NPOV. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 20:19, 1 April 2008 (UTC)
When a sentence that begins with "Although.." immediately follows a sentence of criticism, it had better be intended as a rebuttal by the source, or the "although" is original research. The phrase "standard anti cult charges" is quite dismissive of said charges, as well. Anyways, it appears you're not opposed on principle to adding more of this material to the main. If others like Momento are, then we have a problem. - Merzbow (talk) 22:04, 1 April 2008 (UTC)
Perhaps the article can be expanded to cover the full reception of the subject, positive and negative. That's the heading of the section in the main article. That would leave the main article to deal strictly with biographical info. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 19:19, 1 April 2008 (UTC)
That would not work either, Will. There is no reason that I see for working backwards. If there is a section that expands beyond a certain size it can then be considered for splitting. Let's work in adding material that is missing. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 20:23, 1 April 2008 (UTC)
Momento has been vociferous in his opposition to expanding the size of the Prem Rawat article. Do you support expanding that article so the material from this article can be included? If we can get a consensus to include it all there then the existence of this article is unnecessary. On the other hand, if editors say that that article is too long then the only alternative is to spin out some of the material, such as here. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 21:03, 1 April 2008 (UTC)
Wikipedia:Consensus can change. What is needed is to start incorporating useful material in the appropriate places in the main article. Once the arbCom case is closed, hopefully we will have a disruption-free framework in which these debates can take place. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 21:21, 1 April 2008 (UTC)
So does that mean you support expanding the Prem Rawat article to include the material from this article? ·:· Will Beback ·:· 21:40, 1 April 2008 (UTC)
I support any efforts to make the article better, by building consensus on how best to incorporate new material and in what context. As I said above, Will, what is needed is to start incorporating useful material in the appropriate places in the main article. The decision about what is useful material is for the consensus of editors to decide, as it would be in any other article in Wikipedia. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 01:18, 2 April 2008 (UTC)
To be specific, you don't agree with Momento (if I understand his position correctly) that the Prem Rawat article must be kept to its present length? And you agree that the material in this article is neutral and properly sourced? In other words, your only objection to this material is having it in a separate article, and that it can all be moved to the Prem Rawat article? ·:· Will Beback ·:· 01:28, 2 April 2008 (UTC)
To be specific again, I'm not asking about the consensus of all editors- I'm asking about what you personally will agree or disagree to. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 01:31, 2 April 2008 (UTC)
You have attempted that line of questioning before, Will, and I will not oblige by providing a blanket statement. Bring these sources one at the time to talk page, and lets debate with others about what sources are useful, how to best incorporate these sources into the article, and in which context. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 01:52, 2 April 2008 (UTC)
As for the length issue, the GA review advised to reduce the article substantially, which editors did. Of course, that is not set in stone and could be re-evaluated. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 01:54, 2 April 2008 (UTC)
I'm trying to avoid a situation where one editor (you) says that the material should be in "Prem Rawat", and another editor (Momento) instists that it doesn't belong there either. In that situation there's no consensus and the material doens't have a home. Obviously if any substantial amount of text is going to be moved from this article to the main article the main article will have to be expanded. Do you support an expansion of the article, or do you support Momento's position (apparently derived from the GA process) that the article must not be made longer? I'm asking you what your position is going to be. If you and Momento do not support a longer Prem Rawat article then I think it's best to deal with this material as a separate article here. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 05:14, 2 April 2008 (UTC)

Let me make it clearer - unless Jossi supports lengthening the Prem Rawat article in order to include material from this article then I think that this article should be resurrected on account of the fact that it contains a significant amount of sourced, neutral material about the subject. I'm sure it would need improvements, but if the main article can't be expanded then a spin-off is our only alternative. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 05:53, 2 April 2008 (UTC)

Indeed. I think it's time to create a section on the main's talk page, with an entry for every specific source that's in the Criticism article and not there, and gather opinions on why it should/should not be added. - Merzbow (talk) 06:53, 2 April 2008 (UTC)
Yes. Let us bring one source at the time and discuss in talk. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 12:19, 2 April 2008 (UTC)
When you say "Yes", do you mean that you are willing to support expanding the main article to include the sources in this article? ·:· Will Beback ·:· 18:17, 2 April 2008 (UTC)
I won't be able to help, I'm working on the "Criticism of Jimbo Wales" article.Momento (talk) 09:06, 2 April 2008 (UTC)

Improving article[edit]

The proposed merger is on hold due to the target article being locked and also due to objections. Among the objects are that this article contains material that is "not properly sourced" and "not criticism per se". While were waiting to see if the merge will occur we can clean up this article. Another editor says:

  • Singer's comments belong in the DLM article. The Paul Schnabel section is very badly summarized. Wim Haan was a student and his comment from a student paper from a Catholic University is largely cover by "The Sants of this tradition dismiss ritual and dogma and focus on direct inner experience.[86][87] In accordance with Sant precepts Rawat has never developed a systematic doctrine, and the core of his teaching has remained the process of self-discovery, summed up by his statement, "Receive this Knowledge and know God within yourself. That pure energy, God, is within your own heart".[88] Rawat rejects theoretical knowledge" - in the teachings section. Van der Lans comments are extreme and represent his opinion only. The media criticism is selectively sourced as per a "Criticism of.." article.

Let's address these problems. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 05:47, 6 April 2008 (UTC)

I've moved the Singer criticims and other devoted to DLM and EV to their respective articles. Here is the Schnabel paragraph:

  • The sociologist Dr. Paul Schnabel wrote in a 1982 Ph.D. thesis about new religious movements and mental health that the message of the Divine Light Mission could be summarized in the person of Guru Maharaj Ji, in which divine love and truth are manifested, and that by completely surrendering oneself to the guru or perfect master (the revealer of that truth and love), one can be a part of it. He further wrote that Prem Rawat was at that moment one of the purest examples of charismatic leadership. He characterized Rawat as materialistic, spoilt, and intellectually unremarkable. He asserted that Rawat stimulated an uncritical attitude of the students' view of the guru and their projections on him.
    • Schnabel, Paul Dr. (Dutch language) Between stigma and charisma: new religious movements and mental health Erasmus university Rotterdam, Faculty of Medicine, Ph.D. thesis, ISBN 90-6001-746-3 (Deventer, Van Loghum Slaterus, 1982), Chapter II, page 33, Chapter IV page 99, page 101-102, Chapter V, page 142 [4]

The publicaiton is in dutch, but I see that it is partially translated, with discussion, here: Talk:Prem Rawat/scholars#Schnabel 1982 Two excerpts have been translated:

  • The purest examples of charismatic leadership are at this moment, still, Bhagwan and Maharaj Ji. This shows immediately that personal qualities alone are insufficient for the recognition of the charismatic leadership. The intelligent, ever-changing Bhagwan who gives daily performances is not more a charismatic leader than the pampered materialistic and intellectually quite unremarkable Maharaj Ji. As charismatic leaders, they, by the way, both have their own audience and their own function. page 99
  • At the same time, this means however that charismatic leadership, as such, can be staged to a certain degree. Maharaj Ji is an example of this. Certainly, Maharaj Ji's leadership can be seen as routinized charisma (hereditary succession), but for the followers in America and Europe this is hardly significant: they were prepared to have faith specifically in him and Maharaj Ji was embedded in a whole organisation that fed and reinforced that faith. pages 101-102

We don't have a ready translation of the material at page 33 or page 142. Now then, what is wrong with this summary? How can we improve it? ·:· Will Beback ·:· 06:38, 6 April 2008 (UTC)

  • PS: Google translates page 32.[5]and page 99.[6] It won't translate page 142 (the text is too long). ·:· Will Beback ·:· 07:22, 6 April 2008 (UTC)
Well, let's start by removing the editorial paraphrase of Schnabel in the article that omits the Bhagwan comparison and inserting what he actually said.Momento (talk) 07:06, 6 April 2008 (UTC)
It's the job of encyclopedia editors to summarize secondary sources, not to quote them. How would you summarize his commentary on the subject? ·:· Will Beback ·:· 07:16, 6 April 2008 (UTC)
That Schnabel believes that " Personal qualities alone are not sufficient for the recognition of the charismatic leadership. The intelligent, ever changing and daily acting Bhagwan is no more a charismatic leader than the spoiled, materialistic and intellectually little remarkable Maharaj Ji. As a charismatic leader, however, each have both a public and a private individual functions". and "A problem that is closely linked to the staging of the charismatic leadership. Each charismatic leader who succeeds is in the situation that his charismatic qualities should perform, and that in both senses of the word. An increasingly larger audience with ever higher expectations in his charismatic leadership must continue to believe, even outside of a personal contact in order. That requires a staging of the charisma, to show special qualities and presentation of adherence to the great leader. At the same time, however, this also means that charismatic leadership, as such, to a large extent ensceneerbaar? . Maharaj Ji is a case in point. In a sense, this is geroutiniseerd charisma (succession), but for the followers in the United States and Europe that it hardly applies: they were prepared correctly Inclined to believe him and there was around Maharaj Ji a whole organization that belief, and reinforced. That the personal qualities is not decisive for the charisma, it is clear to no better than guru Maharaj Ji. Bhagwan is in this respect the other extreme: no guru has really done his best his followers every day reappear 'surprised' by new thoughts, unexpected comparisons and disarming jokes. Bhagwan is the Johnnie Carson among the gurus: a daily talk show, daily else and yet again the same" Or to summarize - "Rawat, like Bhagwan, is a charismatic leader and required to show special qualities as opposed to personal qualities. This belief was readily accepted by his followers and reinforced by a whole organization".Momento (talk) 07:44, 6 April 2008 (UTC)
That's a good start. We should add that he says the subject is "materialistic, spoilt, and intellectually unremarkable". The original summary said "He asserted that Rawat stimulated an uncritical attitude of the students' view of the guru and their projections on him." Probably that's on page 142. So putting that all together we'd get:
  • The sociologist Dr. Paul Schnabel wrote in a 1982 Ph.D. thesis that Rawat, like Bhagwan, is a charismatic leader and required to show special qualities as opposed to personal qualities. This belief was readily accepted by his followers and reinforced by a whole organization. He asserted that Rawat stimulated an uncritical attitude of the students' view of the guru and their projections on him. Schnabel called Rawat materialistic, spoilt, and intellectually unremarkable.
Is that correct? ·:· Will Beback ·:· 15:31, 6 April 2008 (UTC)

<<<Re. "It won't translate page 142 (the text is too long)" - I had no trouble to retrieve google's "Dunglish" version of p. 126-146 [7]

Re. the proposed Schnabel text:

  • "Special qualities"? No, Schnabel implies nothing of the sort. "Staging" (enscenering) is the key word of what he contrasts to "personal qualities". Schnabel does not see Rawat as having any special (personal) qualities in this sense, while the special qualities are dispensable. He sees special qualities in Osho, but not in Rawat. Neither does Schnabel imply that personal qualities are altogether dispensable in charismatic leaders: the charismatic leaders he mentions have their individual specifics (their function, their public), but the specifics of their personality need not be of an extraordinary sort (for Osho they happen to be extraordinary, for Rawat they aren't: it doesn't affect their status as charismatic leader which is not "greater" for the one than for the other). In general Schnabel sees Rawat as an example of a charismatic leader whose status of charismatic leader is quite independent of his personal characteristics, and primarily based on staging supported by a whole organisation. And, still according to Schnabel, it is this staging that attracts the belief, not the personal characteristics.
  • The first sentence does not speak about "belief" or anything near it. Why does the second sentence start with "This belief...": the proposed text wasn't talking "belief" yet!
  • How about this:

    In 1982 the Dutch sociologist Paul Schnabel attributed Rawat's success as a religious charismatic leader rather to staging supported by a whole organisation than to any extraordinary personal characteristics or routinized charisma. He described Rawat as materialistic, pampered, and intellectually quite unremarkable. [...]

    ? --Francis Schonken (talk) 17:17, 6 April 2008 (UTC)
That works for me. I have no opinion about whether "spoiled/spoilt" or "pampered" is more accurate. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 17:27, 6 April 2008 (UTC)
"pampered" is the better translation IMO. Jayen466 18:21, 6 April 2008 (UTC)
We don't need to say "When Dr. Paul Schnabel, who had a Ph.D. in sociology since 1973, wrote his Ph.D. thesis to become a doctor in medicine in 1982 (published as a book the same year)", as we are not giving the same treatment to any other scholar. It could say

Paul Schnabel wrote in his PhD. dissertation in 1982 that Rawat's leadership can be seen as routinized charisma, and that in comparison with Osho, Rawat was no less of a charismatic leader despite being intellectually unremarkable."

... maybe adding other characterizations about his opinion of Rawat being materialistically pampered. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk)
Well, Rawat's "routinised charisma" is quite irrelevant in the West, still according to Schnabel ("...for the followers in America and Europe this is hardly significant...").
Re. "We don't need to say [...], as we are not giving the same treatment to any other scholar." - probably the whole "Ph.D thesis" bit is dispensable information: Schnabel was a sociologist for nearly 10 years when he wrote the book. We don't write either "Schnabel, 25 years later one of the most influential people in the Netherlands,..."
I updated my proposal above. --Francis Schonken (talk) 18:07, 6 April 2008 (UTC)
agree we don't need the mention of the PhD thesis if this was his second PhD thesis and he had been a sociologist for ten years prior. Jayen466 18:21, 6 April 2008 (UTC)
Neither we need "Schnabel, 25 years later one of the most influential people in the Netherlands,.." If people are interested to find out who that person is they can read about him at his bio article. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 19:31, 6 April 2008 (UTC)
Francis proposed text still misses important context, as per my proposed wording. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 19:33, 6 April 2008 (UTC)
We should not leave out the effect of routinized or inherited charisma, since this was (and perhaps is) a factor in how Rawat is received in India. Let's not forget that the English Wikipedia is the Indian Wikipedia as well. So we'll have to differentiate. (As to Rawat's reception in India, here is a recent India Times article, another is here.) Jayen466 20:12, 6 April 2008 (UTC)
FYI, the first of those is a signed op-ed piee by Rawat, and the second is the reprint of a press release.[8] Those links may show more about the state of Indian journalism than about Indian views of Rawat. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 21:38, 6 April 2008 (UTC)
I was aware that the first piece is by Rawat, it says so. Yet I would submit that the paper must have been sufficiently well-disposed towards Rawat to carry his piece. The other article is not a reprint of the press release, though it clearly draws heavily on it. But unless the story is a hoax, I don't see the problem. Jayen466 22:00, 6 April 2008 (UTC)
It's not a problem, but I think it doesn't mean much that one newspaper is willing to print an op-ed piece or a slightly-rewritten press release. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 22:12, 6 April 2008 (UTC)
It's not "one newspaper", it's the world's biggest selling English-language broadsheet and one of the most reputable newspapers in India. ;-) Jayen466 22:38, 6 April 2008 (UTC)
Jossi's proposed wording regarding the 1982 text is simply missing the point: Schnabel at the time didn't attribute much relevant "routinized charisma" in the Weberian terminology (see charismatic leadership#Routinizing charisma) to Rawat. Schnabel's focus is on staging, which he does not equal to routinizing.
At the time, the "routinized charisma", particularily in India, would have been, for example, the charisma of Rawat's elder brother, not Rawat's. Rawat's mother and/or his brother had been in control of the Indian DLM (founded 1960 by Rawat's father) since the family schism, and that organisation was more an instrument for routinized charisma, than Divine United Organization founded in India by the pro-Prem Rawat premies, only five years before Schnabel wrote his book.
In the early 20th 21st century of course the analysis could be completely different. My guesses: by then Rawat's leadership has less charismatic characteristics, and is probably more routinized. None of my analysis beyond the 1982 book by Schnabel is relevant though: I'm not the professor with two PhD's, and didn't publish any third party reliable source on the subject.
Anyway, using early 20th 21st century Indian newspaper articles, not saying anything about Schnabel, is no useful material when rendering what this author wrote in a 1982 book. At least it is no indispensable "context" for a text attributed to Schnabel. Only a reliable source making an analysis of Prem Rawat in terms of leadership typologies (according to Weber or any other established typology in this sense) is something that could be joined to Schnabel's analysis in that respect. Is there any? I'd be interested! If not, we'll have to do with Schnabel's analysis and not distort it. --Francis Schonken (talk) 21:11, 6 April 2008 (UTC)
(side note) - do you mean early 21st century Idian newspaper articles? - I'm not sure I see any 100 year-old references here. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 21:30, 6 April 2008 (UTC)
Oops - corrected. --Francis Schonken (talk) 21:32, 6 April 2008 (UTC)
The newspaper articles are not directly relevant to how we summarise Schnabel. But I thought that Schnabel was first addressing the situation in India, when he says "In zekere zin gaat het hier om geroutiniseerd charisma (erfopvolging), maar voor de volgelingen in Amerika en Europa geldt dat toch nauwelijks ..." – so to that extent it is relevant to Rawat's notability in India. I just don't think we should pretend that Rawat never had followers in India, as though only the Western followers mattered. That would be cultural chauvinism. Jayen466 22:29, 6 April 2008 (UTC)
  • Schnabel wrote for a Dutch public, and a case in point, he certainly saw the the Dutch governement (at the time devising its policy w.r.t. NRMs) as part of his target public, see http://www.dbnl.org/tekst/schn016tuss01_01/colofon.htm (the 17 points under the TOC). That is a limitation of the source if you want (because, for instance, in the book Schnabel shows no interest for developments in India), but that's the way it is. You can't make the source say things it doesn't say.
  • I don't think Schnabel intended the timeline you propose. He didn't write it that way, so it's OR, and there are reasons to believe he wouldn't write it that way:
    • In the Weberian approach routinization *follows* the revolutionary stage of a charismatic leader: Schnabel does not indicate he disagrees with Weber on this point;
    • It would be a bit strong to call the charisma of a child, for instance speaking to a million people (the 'peace bomb' satsang), routinized. Schnabel didn't imply that. He implied some sort of routinization was going on, but whatever or however: of lesser importance (without implying that in an earlier stage it had been of more importance). --Francis Schonken (talk) 06:02, 7 April 2008 (UTC)
The way I read Schnabel's account, the revolutionary stage would have occurred under Rawat's father, whose charisma had become routinized in the movement by the time Rawat inherited its leadership. Rawat's personal charisma was in part due to the fact that he described himself, and was held to be, the spiritual successor of Shri Hans ("Interessant is nog, dat veel goeroes hun eigen charisma ook als afgeleid of overgenomen zien ... Maharaj Ji is de opvolger van zijn vader (in India een minder vreemde constructie dan hier)", p. 99), and thus his charisma did not have to go through that stage. Jayen466 08:42, 7 April 2008 (UTC)
Just to make it clear: I otherwise agree with your argument that Schnabel does not describe what happened in the West as a form of routinised charisma. Jayen466 22:47, 6 April 2008 (UTC)

Versions suggested so far:[edit]

  1. The sociologist Dr. Paul Schnabel wrote in a 1982 Ph.D. thesis about new religious movements and mental health that the message of the Divine Light Mission could be summarized in the person of Guru Maharaj Ji, in which divine love and truth are manifested, and that by completely surrendering oneself to the guru or perfect master (the revealer of that truth and love), one can be a part of it. He further wrote that Prem Rawat was at that moment one of the purest examples of charismatic leadership. He characterized Rawat as materialistic, spoilt, and intellectually unremarkable. He asserted that Rawat stimulated an uncritical attitude of the students' view of the guru and their projections on him.[1] (present version)
  2. The sociologist Dr. Paul Schnabel wrote in a 1982 Ph.D. thesis that Rawat, like Bhagwan, is a charismatic leader and required to show special qualities as opposed to personal qualities. This belief was readily accepted by his followers and reinforced by a whole organization. He asserted that Rawat stimulated an uncritical attitude of the students' view of the guru and their projections on him. Schnabel called Rawat materialistic, spoilt, and intellectually unremarkable. (Will)
  3. In 1982 the Dutch sociologist Paul Schnabel attributed Rawat's success as a religious charismatic leader rather to staging supported by a whole organisation than to any extraordinary personal characteristics or routinized charisma. He described Rawat as materialistic, pampered, and intellectually quite unremarkable. (Francis)
  4. Paul Schnabel wrote in his PhD. dissertation in 1982 that Rawat's leadership can be seen as routinized charisma, and that in comparison with Osho, Rawat was no less of a charismatic leader despite being intellectually unremarkable." (Jossi)

Here is an effort at summarizing the info on the indicated pages of Schnabel (still would need polishing):

  1. In 1982, the Dutch sociologist Dr. Paul Schnabel described Rawat as a pure example of a charismatic leader. Comparing Rawat to Osho, he argued that personal qualities alone are not enough to explain charismatic authority – while he characterised Rawat as materialistic, pampered and intellectually unremarkable compared to Osho, he found Rawat no less of a charismatic leader than Osho. In Schnabel's view, Rawat's charisma was initially a form of routinized (inherited) charisma, while after his move to the West, it was the result of careful staging supported by a whole organization. He observed that among his Western students, Rawat appeared to stimulate an uncritical attitude, giving them an opportunity to project their fantasies of divinity onto his person. The divine nature of the guru is a standard element of Eastern religion, but removed from its cultural context, and confounded with the Western understanding of God as a father, what is lost is the difference between the guru's person and that which the guru symbolises. The result is limitless personality worship. Schnabel observed that this kind of understanding of the master-disciple relationship, alien to the original Eastern guru-disciple context, often ends in disillusionment for the disciple, who finds that the teacher in the end fails to live up to his or her expectations.[2] (Jayen's version) Jayen466 23:58, 6 April 2008 (UTC)
I don't speak Dutch so I don't know how accurate your summary is but you make Schnabel seem intelligent.Momento (talk) 00:18, 7 April 2008 (UTC)
Yes, I was quite surprised at how relevant it seemed. What's more, the stuff about the Eastern/Western context is sourced to van der Lans in Schnabel's text. Jayen466 00:30, 7 April 2008 (UTC)
Good summary, well written prose, good context, and for once interesting. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 02:41, 7 April 2008 (UTC)
OK, just the "initially" detail (which can't be sourced to Schnabel) isn't really correct, see my comments above. All the rest: I agree, great job Jayen! --Francis Schonken (talk) 06:02, 7 April 2008 (UTC)

(Outdent)
Okay, here is a version that stays closer to Schnabel, without the "initially" I read into it:

  1. In 1982, the Dutch sociologist Dr. Paul Schnabel described Rawat as a pure example of a charismatic leader. Comparing Rawat to Osho, he argued that personal qualities alone are not enough to explain charismatic authority – while he characterized Rawat as materialistic, pampered and intellectually unremarkable compared to Osho, he found Rawat no less of a charismatic leader than Osho. Schnabel stated that Rawat's charisma was in a certain sense routinized (inherited) charisma, but that this was hardly a factor for how he was perceived by his Western following. Here, his charisma was primarily the result of careful staging supported by a whole organization. Schnabel observed that among his Western students, Rawat appeared to stimulate an uncritical attitude, giving them an opportunity to project their fantasies of divinity onto his person. The divine nature of the guru is a standard element of Eastern religion, but removed from its cultural context, and confounded with the Western understanding of God as a father, what is lost is the difference between the guru's person and that which the guru symbolizes. The result is limitless personality worship. Schnabel observed that this kind of understanding of the master-disciple relationship, alien to the original Eastern guru-disciple context, often ends in disillusionment for the disciple, who finds that the teacher in the end fails to live up to his or her expectations.[3] (Jayen's version no. 2) Jayen466 07:46, 7 April 2008 (UTC)
I'm still tweaking version 2 a little, but if the inference I made in version 1 were found to be reasonable, I think I might still prefer version 1. Jayen466 11:41, 7 April 2008 (UTC)
It is pretty good, but I a bit too long. Consider reducing the word count to something more suitable. After all, I do not see the reason to give so much weight to a dissertation that was hardly cited. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 14:43, 7 April 2008 (UTC)
I've stuck it in for now (without the "initially"); we can see how to shorten it if and when this article is re-merged. But it is difficult to pare it down without losing the context and the thrust of Schnabel's argument. Jayen466 17:38, 8 April 2008 (UTC)
Francis, "here" didn't really mean "here" in the geographical sense, it just refers to the aforementioned topic (i.e. his "Western following", the meaning is roughly the same as "in that context"). But I can live with it as it is now. Jayen466 18:23, 8 April 2008 (UTC)

Thanks everybody, for working together to re-write this material. I'm sure we all agree that it's an improvement. There are still some other parts of this article that have had complaints so I'll start t fresh thread to address another of them. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 18:38, 8 April 2008 (UTC)

I see an edit war going on about "The Divine Light Mission with Prem Rawat as its guru was also criticized as a sect or cult." There are no sources for this in this article, so I am wondering experienced editors keep re-adding this. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 01:20, 11 April 2008 (UTC)

Why do involved editors keep making anonymous edits to delete it? Are you disputing the fact or just pointing out the lack of a source? As for myself, I think that since it's more a critism of the DLM it belongs in that article (where there are sources). Prem Rawat was described ias a "cult leader", but that's a differnt matter that we haven't gone into. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 01:50, 11 April 2008 (UTC)
It's unsourced, it's about DLM, it's SYN OR and shouldn't be in. I'm taking it out.Momento (talk) 02:08, 11 April 2008 (UTC)
We shouldn't be adding to this article, we should be summarizing the existing material.Momento (talk) 02:08, 11 April 2008 (UTC)
I agree that the work here is getting material ready for merger to Prem Rawat. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 03:14, 11 April 2008 (UTC)
Mukadderat has inserted his unsourced material twice in 5 hours. I've already used my one revert, could you will remove it again please Will..Momento (talk) 07:14, 11 April 2008 (UTC)
I onlt get one revert per day too. I see someone else has noew removed it. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 21:10, 11 April 2008 (UTC)
Please explain what exactly word you need to be referenced. The sentence is trivial: "The Divine Light Mission where Prem Rawat was guru was also criticized as a sect or cult, see "Divine Light Mission — Reception" and "Elan Vital" for more." (1) Prem Rawat was guru of Divine light. Do you want reference? (b) Divine light was criticized. - there is more than enough references in Divine Light Mission#Reception. Do you want me copy them from there to here? Mukadderat (talk) 22:11, 11 April 2008 (UTC)
P.S. User:Jossi IMO is wikilawyering here. He did not say whether my text true or false. He says "it is unregerenced" It is 100% wikilawyering, rather than discussing article content. Unless I don't understand something the references are one mouse click away. So it even didn't occur to me that someone will demand them on such trivial occasion. Mukadderat (talk) 22:18, 11 April 2008 (UTC)
P.P.S. "Revert shopping": ("I've already used my one revert," someone says above) is extremely inappropriate behavior. Instead of talking to me (as you may notice I am rather new in this discussion), someone just wants to kill my opinion by institutialized meatpuppetry without any discussion of merits of my addition. I would like to request an apology for demonstrated disrespect to an innocent colleague. Mukadderat (talk) 22:18, 11 April 2008 (UTC)
Mukadderat, please note that the title of this article is "criticism of Prem Rawat". Criticisms of the Divine Light Mission should go into that article. What might be appropriate for this article would be something like, "Prem Rawat was called a 'cult leader' due to his leadership of the DLM." That too would need a source. As for your last point, I agree that reverting without discussion is not helpful. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 22:36, 11 April 2008 (UTC)
My sentence does not describe criticism of Divine light. It simply refers to another, directly and immediately related article, about organization where prem rawat was spiritual leader. I have seen your edits when you moved criticisms between articles, and I completely agree with them. But Wikipedia is not a collection of pieces of disdjoint information brickwalled from each other. It is a collection of interlinked interrelated information: things which are directly related are referred form each other, so that we see the whole elephant, not just its trunk or tail, if you know this old say. Mukadderat (talk) 23:14, 11 April 2008 (UTC)
It does not matter, really. You are welcome to contribute, but note that there is a 1RR probation on this article. You can self-revert, and save all of us a trip to WP:AN/I, were it will be reported if you don't. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 23:24, 11 April 2008 (UTC)
Jossi, your threat is utterly disgusting and not appropriate for admin. If anybody, it is you who will be reported to AN/I for unnecessary intimidating people. Go ahead, let us start a report war. Mukadderat (talk) 23:38, 11 April 2008 (UTC)
I am sorry if you find a community-enforced probation to be "disgusting". I have placed the report at WP:AN/I and left a message in your talk-page as well. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 23:43, 11 April 2008 (UTC)
Mukadderat, could you re-draft it so that the subject is Prem Rawat (the subject of this article) rather than the DLM? ·:· Will Beback ·:· 23:26, 11 April 2008 (UTC)
I understand now that the topic is a matter of heated controversy and I strongly suspect that jossi is a partisan of prem rawat so that he raises red flags and threatens people around. If I see one more threat from him, I will raise an issue for him to be banned from these discussions. Still, I am ready to change the presentation. Please see also my explanation in your talk page: User talk:Will Beback#Prem Rawat for reasons of my edit. Mukadderat (talk) 23:38, 11 April 2008 (UTC)
Please do not get into a "report war". Note that Jossi is a self-admitted follower of Prem Rawat and has also disclosed that he has an unidentifed conflict of interest, which is why he's not editing the articles any more. If you wish to lodge a complaint against him ANI is a possible venue, but the current ArbCom case regarding editors of this topic would be the better place to do so. See Wikipedia:Requests for arbitration/Prem Rawat. Regarding your own editing, whether you are right or not is not at issue. You have violated the "one revert per day" restriction on this article. Please self-revert. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 23:43, 11 April 2008 (UTC)

Merged material[edit]

Material that was already merged onto Divine Light Mission and Elan Vital (organization), should be removed from here, and the other material brought to the Prem Rawat article for discussion about suitability and context for inclusion. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 19:35, 6 April 2008 (UTC)

It has been removed.[9][10] Material more suitable for Prem Rawat can be moved there as soon as the page is unprotected. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 19:38, 6 April 2008 (UTC)
I've already discussed this on PR talk but we need to consider the amount of material we are going to use. For instance, we are not going to put all of Wim Haan in. Has anyone got any thoughts on how to do it? It would be a waste of time if we spent hours refining this material only to have it suffer from "undue weight".Momento (talk) 00:41, 7 April 2008 (UTC)
We're working through it above. So far we've been re-writing the Schnabel material because you complained about it. I'm sure we'll get to Haan. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 01:23, 7 April 2008 (UTC)

Galanter: Marc Galanter writes extensively about the Divine Light Mission in 1989 book, Cults: Faith, Healing and Coercion. What does he write? As it stands it seems like a plug for the book. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 02:45, 7 April 2008 (UTC)

I've got the book on order so I can summarize his comments soon. The whole paragraph is a log of scholars who've written about the subject so it seems reasonable to add his name as well. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 04:31, 7 April 2008 (UTC)


Van der Lans[edit]

An editor has complained about the Van der Lans material, saying:

  • Van der Lans comments are extreme and represent his opinion only.

Many of the scholars we cite give their own opinions, so I'm not sure that we can fix with Van der Lans anymore than ww could with any other author. It may also be that his views are extreme, but without a source saying so we can't characterize them as "extreme". Here's the curent text on Van der Lans:

  • Jan van der Lans, a professor of psychology of religion at the Radboud University Nijmegen, wrote about followers of gurus in a book published in 1981 commissioned by the KSGV, a Christian-inspired Dutch association that organizes conferences and publishes articles and books related to faith, religion and mental health[4]. Van der Lans wrote that Maharaji is an example of a guru who has become a charlatan leading a double life. On the one hand, he tried to remain loyal to the role in which he was forced and to the expectations of his students, yet on the other hand, his private life was one of idleness and pleasure, which was only known to small circle of insiders. According to van der Lans, one could consider him either a fraud or a victim of his surroundings. Van der Lans treated several gurus but was only critical about Rawat, but does not provided citations for his very critical assessment.[5]

Is that correctly summarized? Since his writing is in Dutch it's not easy for non-speakers to tell. Is there a reason we say, "Van der Lans treated several gurus but was only critical about Rawat, but does not provided citations for his very critical assessment."? That appears to be a bit OR-ish. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 18:45, 8 April 2008 (UTC)

It appears that Van der Lans ahs also written at least two articles about the subject in English:

  • Derks, Frans, and Jan M. van der Lans. 1983. Subgroups in Divine Light Mission Membership: A Comment on Downton in the book Of Gods and Men: New Religious Movements in the West. Macon edited by Eileen Barker, GA: Mercer University Press, (1984) [11]
  • Lans, Jan van der and Frans Derks Premies Versus Sannyasins originally published in Update: A Quarterly Journal on New Religious Movements, X/2 (June 1986) New Religious Movements in Western Europe: An Annotated Bibliography. Contributors: Elisabeth Arweck - author, Peter B. Clarke - author. Publisher: Greenwood Press. Place of Publication: Westport, CT. Publication Year: 1997. Page Number: 296.

We should endeavor to incorporate those as well. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 19:11, 8 April 2008 (UTC)

I am having a look as to what commentary is available on this source; the only one I have found so far is this:
The study, based on 33 interviews with members of Divine Light Mission (now Elan Vital) and Ananda Marga, suggests that the cultural and religious background of the Western countries in the post-war period sets a context conducive for people to join new religious movements. Explanations of the origin of new religions are given and membership is justified by the argument that it answers spiritual questions which the churches cannot provide, and that the groups give security and direction to their members. New Religious Movements in Western Europe: An Annotated Bibliography. Contributors: Elisabeth Arweck - author, Peter B. Clarke - author. Publisher: Greenwood Press. Place of Publication: Westport, CT. Publication Year: 1997. Page Number: 296.
Basically, we should be having a look at citation indexes to establish how influential the various works are and what prominence to accord each of them. Do you have access to a proper multilingual citation indexing site that provides such indexing, Will? Jossi? An overview of all the available sources and their relative frequency of citation would be an invaluable guide here. Jayen466 19:39, 8 April 2008 (UTC)
Premies Versus Sannyasins compares membership traits in Rajneeshism and the DLM, not so much a "criticism of Prem Rawat", I would argue. It is a bit dense, but maybe Jaen would be able to summarize it. It is available online.[12]. The Of Gods and Men: New Religious Movements in the West, is a response to Downton's paper of 1980 in the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, related to Downton's "evolutionary theory of spiritual conversion and commitment". Again, not a "criticism of Prem Rawat". I have placed the contents of that piece at Talk:Divine_Light_Mission/Scholars, for editors to see if it is useful material. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 19:47, 8 April 2008 (UTC)
@Jaen: You can try scholar.google.com ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 19:48, 8 April 2008 (UTC)
I do use google scholar [13][14], and it does give some sort of indication, but I believe there are academic indexes that are somewhat more comprehensive (for one, not limited to what is on the net, in one form or another). Jayen466 20:02, 8 April 2008 (UTC)
Citation Indexes can throw up unrepresentive 'high density' results where members of a specific academic school (discipline) engage in extensive logrolling. Identifying this is useful because it can show where errors are repeated unchecked from author to author.--Nik Wright2 (talk) 11:28, 11 April 2008 (UTC)
Van der Lans apparently focuses primarly on DLM rather than Prem Rawat directly, so we may want to develop two separate sets of material, one for Prem Rawat (most of the existing material is about him) and one for Divine Light Mission. There's also useful stuff on the "teaching" in "Premies Versus Sannyasins". Material doesn't have to be "criticism" to be of value in one or another article on this general topic. Descriptions and details of membership, etc, are also useful. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 20:01, 8 April 2008 (UTC)
The approach of piecemealing and segregation the source has inherent problems of (a) lack of context; and (b) may violates NPOV. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 21:01, 8 April 2008 (UTC)
I'm not sure what you mean by "piecemealing and segregation". If we have articles on three topics, and if a source has written about all three topics, it's logical to use that source in the three article. In this case, Van der Lans has written about Prem Rawat, so that material belongs in "Prem Rawat". He has also written about the Divine Light Mission, so he can be used as a source for "Divine Light Mission". Adn third, he's written about the teaching of Prem Rawat, so he is a suitable source for "Teachings of Prem Rawat". We don't restrict the use of Geaves as as source to just one article. I can't imagine how using a scholar as a source for several articles could violate NPOV. Please explain. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 21:29, 8 April 2008 (UTC)
It is obvious, is it not? Look at the example of Shnabel, where Jaen was able to incorporate a good summary of that source, with the necessary context for an NPOV presentation of that source. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 21:35, 8 April 2008 (UTC)
I think I'm misunderstanding you. Are you saying that Van der Lans should only be used as a source in one article because his writing needs context, but that it's OK to use Geaves as a source in several articles, presumably because his scholarship does not need any context? That doesn't sound right. How are Geaves and van der Lans different? ·:· Will Beback ·:· 21:41, 8 April 2008 (UTC)
I am not arguing that. I am arguing that removing context is antithetical to NPOV. That's all. It will all depend what do you want to use from Lans in each article, so I will wait and see what is that you want to do. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 21:44, 8 April 2008 (UTC)
A good example is your edit to the DLM article related to the Maryland panel, in which you omit necessary context and viewpoints. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 21:46, 8 April 2008 (UTC)
Honestly, I can't figure out what you're arguing, or what you mean by "piecemealing and segregation". There's no question that van der Lans was a respected scholar and that his material is published in reliable sources. Certainly every time we cite him, or any source, we need to make sure that the necessary context is given and that the material is properly summarized. I don't see what's special about this source that makes "piecemealing and segregation" a problem. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 21:51, 8 April 2008 (UTC)

Schnabel lists as recommended reading regarding Rawat/DLM:

Derks, F. en J. van der Lans. Subgroups in Divine Light Mission-membership: Some Results of the New Religious Movements Project at Nijmegen University - Paper, presented at the Easter Meeting of the British Sociological Association, Lincoln, 1981.

This has the advantage of being in English. This appears to be basically the same as what is mentioned in the Wikipedia article on Van der Lans:

Derks, Frans and Lans, Jan M. van der. 1983. Subgroups in Divine Light Mission Membership: A Comment on Downton.

Published in: Barker, Eileen (ed). Of Gods and Men: New Religious Movements in the West : proceedings of the 1981 Annual Conference of the British Sociological Association, Sociology of Religion Study Group. Macon, GA : Mercer University Press, 1984, ISBN 0-86554-095-0 pp 303-308. A web copy is available: [15]
There's of course still another Derks & Van der Lans paper in English (& available on-line), as already mentioned:

Lans, Jan van der and Derks, Frans Premies Versus Sannyasins originally published in Update: A Quarterly Journal on New Religious Movements, X/2 (June 1986)

This paper is used a few times as reference in the Prem Rawat article.
Questions:

  1. Can we treat Derks and Van der Lans in the same block? (BTW, I never very much favored the "by author" approach - better to organise by theme, and see what different authors have to say on a theme)
  2. Is there any relevance in the English-language papers by Van der Lans (& Derks)? Where this covers the same ground as the Dutch-language reference, the English-language one is of course preferred, and maybe also there are some things in the English-language sources on Rawat, not covered by the Dutch book?

--Francis Schonken (talk) 19:55, 8 April 2008 (UTC)

Regarding organization - I agree that it's better to organize material by theme or topic rather than by author. Otherwise the same material has to be covered over and over in different places instead of altogether in one place. However it would take quite a bit of re-writing to get there and it may not be worth the trouble. Given that reality, I'd say that Derks could be lumped in with Van der Lans. But if the material is mostly about DLM it should probably go straight to that article rather than here this article, which is just about Prem Rawat. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 22:00, 8 April 2008 (UTC)

Just a question: Do any of the editors here have this book by van der Lans? Any excerpts of it available online? It seems to be a bit hard to get hold of. Jayen466 22:36, 8 April 2008 (UTC)

Which book? ·:· Will Beback ·:· 22:42, 8 April 2008 (UTC)
Volgelingen van de goeroe: Hedendaagse religieuze bewegingen in Nederland Jayen466 00:03, 9 April 2008 (UTC)
User:Andries/Prem Rawat/Non-English#Lans 1981 - so I suppose Andries has a copy (or can have access to one) --Francis Schonken (talk) 15:52, 9 April 2008 (UTC)
My problem with VdL is that he contradicted by every single other Rawat scholar. He claims Rawat "tried to remain loyal to the role in which he was forced". Every other scholar makes clear that Rawat no only took the role of guru of his own free will but contrary to the common practice of primogeniture. VdL then was adds that Rawat was also bound "to the expectations of his students" when all scholars note that not only was Rawat not bound by tradition, he did what he liked including taking legal action to marry at 16. Can anyone think of greater example of going against the "expectations of his students" or of demonstrating his ability to "control his surroundings". So if both those hypotheses are flawed, how can Rawat be considered "a victim of his surroundings or leading a double life and therefore, how a charlatan? No wonder VdL didn't cite any sources. It is an unfounded and provably incorrect characterization by a Roman Catholic scholar whose faith pre-determines that Rawat must be a "charlatan" either by fraud or as a victim. Nothing could be further from the truth.Momento (talk) 04:24, 9 April 2008 (UTC)
It's not for us to decide whether a well-respected and cited scholar is correct or incorrect. Our job, as Wikipedia editors, is to verifiably summarize reliable sources using the neutral point of view. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 04:36, 9 April 2008 (UTC)
... it is for us to make our best editorial judgment, Will, and use the best sources available to us. I take exception with the misunderstanding of policy that if it is cited we must use it. Well no, we should only use the best sources available, and only if there is a contradicting source, to other sources, to maybe cited in that context and with the application of other policies such asn WP:UNDUE. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 04:47, 9 April 2008 (UTC)
VdL's claim that Rawat was "forced into his role" represents that of an insignificant minority of one, VdL. And his conclusion, based on that opinion, so extreme and unique that we need to consider whether including his opinion is undue weight.Momento (talk) 05:00, 9 April 2008 (UTC)
Jossi, if the source has been impeached by more reliable sources then that's a good reason to reconsider its use. If the source disagrees with what Momento thinks/believes then that's not a good reason to avoid using it. "I don't like it" is not a policy. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 05:12, 9 April 2008 (UTC)
Will is correct. These are some very sophisticated and convoluted arguments being thrown against a clearly reliable source, and none of them are supported by policy. "Undue weight"? We're not talking about 2000 scholars against 1, we're talking about a handful of reliable scholars who've ever studied this guy in depth, and there is clearly enough room to mention all their opinions. Momento's attempt to disprove VdL's content and to attack his character is just original research, and irrelevant. - Merzbow (talk) 06:34, 9 April 2008 (UTC)
Handful of sources? More like 40, if you care to check. The issue here is the provenance of that specific source: a book published by a Protestant evangelical organization catering to pastors and churches, with the obvious intent to apologize for their religion. We cannot, and should not, place that source alongside other scholarly sources as if that is not an important characterization of the source for our readers, if we use it at all. Interestingly, Lans uses a very different tone an manner when writing in non-partisan journals. Why do you think is this? ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 15:36, 9 April 2008 (UTC)
I would argue that WP:REDFLAG applies here. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 16:01, 9 April 2008 (UTC)

Jossi, could you please clarify your objection? Is it just to this one book, or is it to all writings by Van der Lans? Which aspect of WP:REDFLAG do you believe is relevant here? Is your viewpoint supported by more reliable sources or is it just an opinion? ·:· Will Beback ·:· 00:05, 10 April 2008 (UTC)'

All I am asking if for proper framing of Lans comments in the KSGV source, as to not to dismiss the obvious facts about it. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 01:15, 10 April 2008 (UTC)
So, if I understand you correctly, you are not suggesting we remove this source, only that we provide context (which we currently do). If that's correct then we don't need to do anything differently. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 02:18, 10 April 2008 (UTC)
VdL's opinion that Rawat was "forced" into the role etc, is such a insignificant viewpoint it should it should either be omitted entirely or all other authors' opinions of Rawat becoming a guru stated in full.Momento (talk) 03:18, 10 April 2008 (UTC)
What other sources do we have about Prem Rawat's state of mind or attidude towards the succession? ·:· Will Beback ·:· 04:03, 10 April 2008 (UTC)
There are several. I will dig them up. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 04:06, 10 April 2008 (UTC)
Jossi, did I correctly sum up your opinion on this matter above? ·:· Will Beback ·:· 04:18, 10 April 2008 (UTC)
? ·:· Will Beback ·:· 21:11, 11 April 2008 (UTC)
I'm sure if we looked hard enough we could find some Christian writer calling the Dalai Lama a charlatan but is a significant view? And I'm not attacking VdL, I'm pointing out that his view is unique and extreme. No scholar, or media has, to my knowledge ever suggested that Rawat wasn't genuine in his belief.Momento (talk) 06:53, 9 April 2008 (UTC)
I do not see a contradiction. Andries (talk) 07:52, 9 April 2008 (UTC)

So, where do we stand on Van der Lans. Shall we leave the existing text as it is or shall we come up with a fresh draft? ·:· Will Beback ·:· 21:11, 11 April 2008 (UTC)

VdL's claim that Rawat was "forced" into his role and therefore "an example of a guru who has become a charlatan leading a double life" is an exceptional claim that needs exceptional sources [16].
"It is a surprising or apparently important claim not covered by mainstream sources". No other scholar or even tabloid suggests Rawat was forced to become a guru.
And "it is a claim that is contradicted by the prevailing view within the relevant community, or which would significantly alter mainstream assumptions, especially in science, medicine, history, politics, and BLPs". Numerous scholars report in Rawat's own words that he voluntarily and actively took the position of guru and even went to court at age 16 preserve his claim.
It is without doubt an "exceptional claim" and "exceptional claims in Wikipedia require high-quality reliable sources; if such sources are not available, the material should not be included. Also be sure to adhere to other policies, such as the policy for biographies of living persons and the undue weight provision of WP:NPOV.Momento (talk) 00:08, 12 April 2008 (UTC)
Momento, we can your answer your objection by striking a single clause:
  • Jan van der Lans, a professor of psychology of religion at the Radboud University Nijmegen, wrote about followers of gurus in a book published in 1981 commissioned by the KSGV, a Christian-inspired Dutch association that organizes conferences and publishes articles and books related to faith, religion and mental health[6]. Van der Lans wrote that Maharaji is an example of a guru who has become a charlatan leading a double life. On the one hand, he tried to remain loyal to the role in which he was forced and to the expectations of his students, yet on the other hand, his private life was one of idleness and pleasure, which was only known to small circle of insiders. According to van der Lans, one could consider him either a fraud or a victim of his surroundings. Van der Lans treated several gurus but was only critical about Rawat, but does not provided citations for his very critical assessment.[7]
I've also objected to the last sentence. That leaves us with:
    • Jan van der Lans, a professor of psychology of religion at the Radboud University Nijmegen, wrote about followers of gurus in a book published in 1981 commissioned by the KSGV, a Christian-inspired Dutch association that organizes conferences and publishes articles and books related to faith, religion and mental health[8]. Van der Lans wrote that Maharaji is an example of a guru who has become a charlatan leading a double life. On the one hand, he tried to remain loyal to the role and to the expectations of his students, yet on the other hand, his private life was one of idleness and pleasure, which was only known to small circle of insiders. According to van der Lans, one could consider him either a fraud or a victim of his surroundings.[9]
Any objections to that material on Prem Rawat? ·:· Will Beback ·:· 00:23, 12 April 2008 (UTC)
Do you have access to that source, Will? ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 00:30, 12 April 2008 (UTC)
No, I don't. Even if I did I don't read Dutch. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 01:03, 12 April 2008 (UTC)
We can always ask a Dutch-speaking wikipedian to assist with translation. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 01:06, 12 April 2008 (UTC)
I just picked out the most obvious "exceptional claim". "That he's a charlatan leading a double life" is another, as is " his private life was one of idleness and pleasure, which was only known to small circle of insiders". The only thing that isn't an exceptional claim is VdL's personal opinion that "one could consider him either a fraud or a victim of his surroundings". I have no objection to VdL being quoted on that.Momento (talk) 03:15, 12 April 2008 (UTC)
From what I've seen, the charge that the subject leads a life of "idleness and pleasure" isn't exceptional, nor is the claim that the subject's lifestyle wasn't well-known ro followers. Mshler made just such assertions, if I recall correctly. If that is the only objection then I propose we search sources for material on this matter. Jossi, can you help? ·:· Will Beback ·:· 04:05, 12 April 2008 (UTC)
I do not think the source speaks of "idleness and pleasure", Will. If I remember correctly, Lans spoke of visiting night clubs and other nonsense. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 04:51, 12 April 2008 (UTC)
"[...] the Perfect Master [...] 'had tremendous problems of anxiety which he combatted with alcohol,' Mishler said in a Denver radio interview in February 1979." [17] --Francis Schonken (talk) 10:08, 13 April 2008 (UTC)
I don't think we need to find the exact words to have enough corroborating surces for the claim to no longer be exceptional. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 05:22, 12 April 2008 (UTC)
Well you'll have no trouble finding "high-quality reliable sources to corroborate VdL's claims because if such sources are not available, the material should not be included.Momento (talk) 04:12, 12 April 2008 (UTC)
Is that your only objection to the remaining material? ·:· Will Beback ·:· 04:44, 12 April 2008 (UTC)
Maybe you or Jaen can look into this, find the source, and make a summary that is useful. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 04:52, 12 April 2008 (UTC)
There are other less partisan sources from Lans that are in English and can be used. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 04:53, 12 April 2008 (UTC)
Jossi, you're not aware of any other sources that have talked about luxurious living by the subject? It's not in any of the scholars from whom you've posted excerpts? I'm surprised you haven't come across these charges, because I've come across them even after having done far less researcho on the topic. So, is the lack of a coroborating source the only other objection to the van der Lans material? ·:· Will Beback ·:· 05:22, 12 April 2008 (UTC)
We already have sources about his lifestyle, which are in the main article's lead. Leading a sumptuous lifestyle, or being wealthy, does not imply a life of "idleness and pleasure". ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 05:29, 12 April 2008 (UTC)
I disagree - leading a life of luxury does indeed imply that a person is leading a life of pleasure. Being described as an alcoholic by one source means it's unsurprising that a second, scholarly sources says the subject would attend a night club. I just don't see how these are exceptional claims. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 05:40, 12 April 2008 (UTC)
Another WP:REDFLAG, Will? (my highlight) reports of a statement by someone that seems out of character, embarrassing, controversial, or against an interest they had previously defended; ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 05:48, 12 April 2008 (UTC)
What "interest...previously defended" is at issue? Did Prem Rawat ever claim to lead a life of poverty, chastity, and sobriety? I thought we'd seen sources saying that it was common in Eastern guru followings for students to support their guru in luxury. I don't see what's exceptional here. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 06:17, 12 April 2008 (UTC)
Numerous sources say that Prem Rawat lived a luxurious life and no one disputes it. And it is already covered in the PR article with"He has also been criticized for leading a sumptuous lifestyle" and "made it possible for him to follow the lifestyle of an American millionaire.". Where VdL is out on a limb is his claim that Rawat " leads a life of "idleness and pleasure" and "a guru who has become a charlatan leading a double life". They're the "exceptional claims" and they need "exceptional sources".Momento (talk) 09:14, 12 April 2008 (UTC)
<- According to news reports, Rawat's mother accused him of living like a "playboy" and "adopting a despicable, nonspiritual way of life". Susan Butcher, speaking on behalf of Shri Mataji, said, "He has not ben practicing what he has been preaching....He has always preached and recommend to his devotees to live a life of vegetarianism, celibacy, and abstention from alcohol, and all excessive forms of materialism. Now he himself is indulging and encouraging his devotees to eat meat, to get married and have sexual relations, and to drink. He's not living a spiritual life. He's being a playboy." [10]
Mishler is also quoted on the "double life" and on personal use of funds: "Mishler, the organization's former president, said tight security surrounding the house is part of 'elaborate precautions' Maharaj Ji has taken to hide his private life from followers...Mishler said Maharaj Ji's ban on alcohol and marijuana for his followeres was ignored at the estate."[11] "Mishler said he left the group because 'there was no way of accomplishing the ideals expounded by the mission.' In addition, he said more and more of the church money began to go for personal use and he was concerned that the Divine Light Mission was becoming a 'tax evasion for the guru.'"[12]
Back in India, his colleagues were also sceptical: "The fact is that some Indian leaders - religous and lay- consider Maharaj Ji a fraud and his mission a gigantic ripoff. A group of religious leaders met in New Delhi to demand that the boy guru be examined by a panel of doctors to determine his true age, which they claimed is at least 22." [13]
His own doctor describes him as sedentary: "But his personal physician and disciple, Dr. John Horton, attributes the boy's weight to a sedentary life of making decisions". [14]
So we have the subject's mother and the founding president of the DLM both saying things to the effect that the subject led a double life, not practicing what he preached, and condoned the use of alcohol among his closest followers, while prohibiting it from his wider following. We have his people in India calling him a "fraud", and we have his own doctor saying he leads a sedentary lifestyle. I think that the "red flags" can come down - van der Lans is not making exceptional claims about the subject, but instead appears to be simply summarzing what the subject's closest associates and family members said. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 21:04, 12 April 2008 (UTC)
Oh boy, you found some great stuff there. Criticized for eating meat, getting married and having sex by his mum after he took legal action to get away from her. The fired ex-employee Mishler accusing Rawat of hiding his private teenage life from followers, isn't that what a "private life is, how dare he. Not really 15 but at least 22! But seriously, numerous scholars point out that Rawat didn't set lifestyle rules for his followers except those that wanted to live in the ashram. And how can someone who married and fathered children at 16 and was given numerous expensive gifts by his followers including cars be hiding his lifestyle of marriage, sex and luxury from anyone. Unless you believe he should have cameras in his bedroom. And a simple bit of mathematics will prove that Rawat was 15 in 1972 not at "least 22" and it is the group of Indian religious leaders who are disreputable. And what sort of criticism is leading "Sedentary life", Rawat's 5'4" tall and inherited his mother's body shape. This is all you can find from 40+ years as a guru speaking publicly in dozens of countries to millions of people with 100s of 1000s of followers. Momento (talk) 21:53, 12 April 2008 (UTC)
You may make fun of them if you wish, and we both may wonder at their accuracy, but those are direct quotes. You say that being called a "charlatan" is an exception calim, but he's been called a "fraud" by Indian religous leaders. You say that being described as haivng a lifestyle of "idleness and pleasure" is an exceptional claim, but his own mother and doctor said that he was a "playboy" and that he leads a sedentary lifestyle. You say that leading a "double life" is an exceptional claim but the president of his own movement said that he had a special security force mostly to keep his followers from finding out about his lifestyle. And you don't even claim that saying he leads a luxurious or opulent lifestyle is an exceptional claim. Since van der Lans's statement appear to be confirmed by the statements of others, they do not appear exceptional. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 23:20, 12 April 2008 (UTC)
This latest claim by WillBeBack is a lie, " his doctor said that he was a "playboy". Please revert ASAP.Momento (talk) 09:47, 13 April 2008 (UTC)
WP:REDFLAG, indeed. 1973, Mother's claims: "A devotee of Satguru, of God, he liquidates himself, or dissolved himself, or effaces himself on the Lotus Feet of the Lord".', compare with the statement made after the rift about "leading a despicable life". Clearly a reports of a statement by someone that seems out of character, embarrassing, controversial, or against an interest they had previously defended. As for the Hindu orthodox making claims that he was 22 and not 13, that is maybe quotable as it shows the bias of these "leaders". ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 00:24, 13 April 2008 (UTC)
I'm not posting these quotations with the intent of adding them to the article. I'm just presenting them to refute the assertion that van der Lans is making exceptional claims. If he's saying what the subject's mother, associate, doctor, and rivals (?) are saying then they aren't exceptional claims. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 00:35, 13 April 2008 (UTC)
Thanks for the clarification, Will. But as Lans in that book does not provide any footnotes and references, so I guess we will not know. Compare the tone and wording of that work, with other articles he published in non-partisan venues. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 00:46, 13 April 2008 (UTC)
Since a couple of editors appear adamant about this issue, I've posted a query on Wikipedia:Fringe theories/Noticeboard#Prem Rawat. That's the noticebaord that deals with WP:REDFLAG issues. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 00:59, 13 April 2008 (UTC)
Sophie Collier apparently writes
  • As I discovered later, we were not the only ones for whom some alcohol was the festival's high point. Bob Mishler told me Maharaj Ji got "sloshed."
While it's Mishler, it's yet another source indicating that, while preaching abstention, the subject was partaking heavily. There's no indication that this information was imparted after Mishler resigned/was fired. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 21:15, 13 April 2008 (UTC)
Once again, the only restrictions on sex, alcohol and meat eating were for people living in the ashram.Momento (talk) 03:45, 14 April 2008 (UTC)
Found this for your interest in a DLM publication. Denver 1976 Q: Guru Maharaj Ji, what about the lifestyle you lead? A: Don't feel anything about it. What I am, I am. What I have to offer is something else. Accept what I have to offer, not what I am or who I am. However I live, whatever I do, it's up to me. I would like to teach you something. Not my lifestyle, but something more important. So learn that, accept that. And that's that.Momento (talk) 04:14, 14 April 2008 (UTC)
Are you saying that there were never any statements by Guru Maharaj Ji or the DLM that advocated sobriety in any context besides the ashram? ·:· Will Beback ·:· 04:52, 14 April 2008 (UTC)
Correct. There might be an offhand comment but one of Rawat's main teachings was that practicing Knowledge did not require a lifestyle change. Many people took up the Indian aspect i.e. being vegetarian, modest dressing for women, taking shoes of in the house etc. but these were never requirements.Momento (talk) 05:10, 14 April 2008 (UTC)
I'm reading a book that cites Downton as saying that "...many of the practices were drawn from Hinduism. These include celibacy, a vegetarian diet, and abstention from tobacco, alcohol, and drugs." What's the source for your assertion that alcohol, drugs, and sex were allowed? ·:· Will Beback ·:· 09:25, 17 April 2008 (UTC)
Carrol Stoner & Jo Anne Park say in All God's Children - 1977 "Celibacy, abstention from the use of tobacco, alcohol, and drugs, and the mission's highly touted vegetarian diet are stepping stones on the divinely lit path to enlightenment. And in true Hindu fashion, the Mission acts, not as a lawgiver but as a dispenser of advice. The disciplines are recommended, not commanded". Ron Geaves in Christopher Partridge (Eds.), New Religions: A Guide: New Religious Movements, Sects and Alternative Spiritualities pp.201-202, Oxford University Press, USA (2004) ISBN 978-0195220421 " Consequently, Maharaji asserts that he is not teaching a religion and there are no particular rituals, sacred days, pilgrimages, sacred places, doctrines, scriptures or specific dress codes, dietary requirements or any other dimension associated with a religious lifestyle."I'm sure Jossi can find lots more.Momento (talk) 14:19, 17 April 2008 (UTC)
There is Stonner and Parke, there is Lippy, there is the Handbook for Chaplains from the US Army, and others. Basically there is a consensus of sources that ashram members had to abide by celibacy and vegetarianism, but that did not apply to non-ashram members. 16:47, 17 April 2008 (UTC)

Re. "Jan van der Lans, a professor of psychology of religion at the Radboud University Nijmegen, wrote about followers of gurus in a book published in 1981 commissioned by the KSGV, a Christian-inspired Dutch association that organizes conferences and publishes articles and books related to faith, religion and mental health<ref>KSGV: Objectives<br>"Het KSGV onderneemt zijn activiteiten vanuit een christelijke inspiratie."</ref>. Van der Lans wrote that..." - isn't that a horrible lot of words for

Jan van der Lans, a professor of psychology of religion with a pretty mainstream background for 1981 Holland wrote...

? - Which should actually read: "Jan van der Lans, a Dutch professor of psychology of religion wrote in 1981..."--Francis Schonken (talk) 14:51, 12 April 2008 (UTC)


Does anyone have access to

Lammers, Jos. "Het concern van Guru Maharaj ji: Vijf jaar zakenman in dienst van de verlichting" in: Haagse Post 68 (1981) 7, pp 48-53.

? - It is listed in Schnabel's bibliography [18], and Kranenborg mentions its similarity to Van der Lans (Criticism of Prem Rawat#Observations from scholars).

Lammers has a 2007 publication in English, which we can't use as a RS on Rawat while self-published, no scholarly intent, etc. [19] - His 1981 Haagse Post article might qualify though. At least it might illustrate what an average (...mainstream) Dutch person might have heard about Rawat in the early 1980s. --Francis Schonken (talk) 07:47, 12 April 2008 (UTC)

I do not have it, but information can probably be obtained from Jos Lammers himself by sending him an e-mail. Andries (talk) 21:24, 12 April 2008 (UTC)

Regradless of any other issues, I am not comfortable about including the van der Lans quote while none of us appears to have the text to hand, and what exactly van der Lans said seems disputed. I had a look for the book on the net, but the one bookseller's website that had a copy apparently objected to my location, because I never got past the page where I was supposed to enter my postal address. Perhaps Andries or Francis could help? It would be useful to have the Dutch original text to hand. Jayen466 15:59, 12 April 2008 (UTC)

I replied to that question above, did you miss it?... "User:Andries/Prem Rawat/Non-English#Lans 1981 - so I suppose Andries has a copy (or can have access to one)" (the hyperlink included in my answer leads to a webquote from the book too...) --Francis Schonken (talk) 16:04, 12 April 2008 (UTC)
Yes, I did. Thanks, Francis. (Lots of demands on my time at the moment, have trouble keeping up.) Do you know if there is more on Rawat in the book, or is that it? It might help to put the paragraph into perspective. And FWIW, I just mailed KSGV to ask if they still have a copy. The website says both "Sold out" and "available from KSGV." Jayen466 16:26, 12 April 2008 (UTC)
Sorry, would like to help but no, I don't know anything more about the book than what is available web-wise.
Maybe notify Andries at his talk page about these questions. --Francis Schonken (talk) 16:37, 12 April 2008 (UTC)
I do not understand what is disputed. I repeat that the book was not pro-Catholic in tone and content, nor anti-cult or countercult. Andries (talk) 21:21, 12 April 2008 (UTC)
Oh, just a few practical questions:
Do you (still) have a copy of the Volgelingen van de goeroe book, or could easily have access to one? Or suggestions where to find it?
If you have a copy at hand, could you check the Dutch text of the quotes at User:Andries/Prem Rawat/Non-English#Lans 1981 (I mean, there appear to be some minor typos in the text provided)?
Does the book have more on Rawat than what is quoted at User:Andries/Prem Rawat/Non-English#Lans 1981? Or context useful to understand those quotes?
Tx! --Francis Schonken (talk) 21:53, 12 April 2008 (UTC)
I could go back to the library but it will take some time. See also Talk:Jan_van_der_Lans/as_a_source_for_Wikipedia. Andries (talk) 22:07, 12 April 2008 (UTC)
Please be aware that the subject of the book is followers of gurus. Also take note that Derks and Van der Lans spoke to many members of the Dutch branch of the DLM. Van der Lans did not mention sources, but I think he could not breach confidentiality. Andries (talk) 22:34, 12 April 2008 (UTC)
The book has been sold out but you can still get a copy for euro 8.50 Dutch:""Uitverkocht, kopie ad € 8,50 (inclusief verzendkosten) te verkrijgen bij het KSG" Andries (talk) 00:51, 13 April 2008 (UTC)
Like I said, I was a bit confused that it said both "sold out" and "you can get a copy for €8.50"; at any rate, I have written to them. Jayen466 23:03, 13 April 2008 (UTC)
KSGV have confirmed that the book is sold out, but have kindly offered to send me an antiquarian copy free of charge. I hope it will arrive some time next week. Jayen466 00:09, 18 April 2008 (UTC)

van der Lans: context[edit]

I have received the copy of the book. The text on Andries' page was essentially correct (I've added a missing word and fixed a couple of spellers) and the translation is accurate as well. The text occurs in an endnote, which begins with the words, "Het zou de moeite waard zijn om eens een psychologische studie te maken van bepaalde goeroes." ("It would be worthwhile to undertake a psychological study of certain gurus.") followed by the words on Andries' page (the quote from page 117). The endnote text then concludes by contrasting Maharaj Ji with Krishnamurti who, while also celebrated as a Master since childhood, broke with the organisation formed around him to assert himself and express his belief that enlightenment cannot be found by reliance on a master, but only by one's own efforts.

The reference pointing to this endnote occurs after a paragraph on page 105, whose content can be roughly rendered as follow:

Within the Indian guru tradition, the dangers inherent in the guru/disciple relationship have long been recognised. Gurus take close care to ensure that they don't make their disciples dependent on themselves, but bring them to a state of self-reliance. The Western guru movements hold dangers in that respect. Firstly, since gurus don't have any competition here, there is a lack of a quality control function. In the East, the fact that there are numerous gurus forces each one to watch over his quality. People in the East compare gurus with each other and know how to tell the chaff from the wheat. "This guru comes from his belly," they say, "but this one comes from God". In the West, this control function is missing. Here, a guru who has long been exposed in India can present himself as the only perfect master. It's not for nothing that people in India say: "A good guru doesn't go to the West." (endnote reference here).

The second point in his narrative then concerns the fact that most followers of gurus are young people in an unstable developmental phase, searching for authority, leaning towards radicalism, ethical absolutes, and possessed of a naive belief that a new kind of society can be created within a short time. They easily give their allegiance to a guru who promises them all that.

His third point is that personal contact is essential to the guru/disciple relationship, something that is not usually the case in Western guru movements. This lack of contact leads to idealisation and absolutism. He says there are clear dangers inherent in this lack of personal contact and knowledgeable guidance in meditation. If meditation is practiced frequently and for a long time, peak experiences can awaken uncontrollable emotions that can lead to anxiety, depersonalisation and a loss of reality. He says that within the history of spirituality, this risk of psychological damage has always been borne in mind, and is the reason why it has always been stressed that meditation should be performed under the guidance of a spiritual mentor. (He then goes on to deal with other matters.)

I hope this presents enough context to enable informed discussion. Jayen466 12:56, 21 April 2008 (UTC)

Thanks Jaen, very informative indeed. Lans in this respect is not much different than Preece when speaking about this issue from a Buddhist perspective. See Guru-shishya_tradition#Psychological_aspects_in_a_Western_context ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 17:34, 21 April 2008 (UTC)

Interesting,

  • "People in the East compare gurus with each other and know how to tell the chaff from the wheat." (Paraphrased from Van der Lans, p. 105)
  • [in Hindu theology] "the mindset of comparison is held to be incompatible with disciplehood; I think that applies to most, if not all master/disciple-based systems." (Jayen 19 April 2008)

--Francis Schonken (talk) 18:12, 21 April 2008 (UTC)

There are literally hundreds of sources about this subject. It would be very useful to expand and improve Guru-shishya_tradition, so I invite interested editors to join me there. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 18:20, 21 April 2008 (UTC)
I believe this is not really a contradiction, Francis. As long as the seeker is "guru-shopping", they will of course compare and assess what is on the "market" – a fairly big market in India. But once a choice is made – if and when such a choice is made – and someone decides that they will accept this or that person as their inspiration and "mentor", as van der Lans describes, they will put their faith in the mentor, stop second-guessing and allow themselves to be guided by them on the most intimate aspects of their supposed development. If that faith wanes, the relationship is effectively over: the disciple is no longer a disciple and is left to their own devices. If the faith was never there in the first place, the follower was a follower in name only, paying lip service to the teacher but not really applying the teachings to himself. I guess that may be fairly frequent too, a bit like some people in the West go to church because they feel socially obligated to, enjoy being part of a crowd, or the wife wants to go, or whatever.
In my view, van der Lans is taking a somewhat rosy view of religion in India to enhance the contrast he is trying to establish. There are numerous religious mass movements in India, e.g. Sai Baba's, where the guru is quite as remote from the disciple as in any Western guru movement. In Prem Rawat's case, Rawat inherited a fairly large following – 6 million if memory serves – that far outstripped, in sheer numbers, any movement he ever led in the West, at the time he went there. Jayen466 19:34, 21 April 2008 (UTC)


"Extremist websites"[edit]

Some text was deleted with the edit summary, " REmoved extremists websites"[20]:

  • A group of former followers that have become vocal critics, call themselves "ex-premies".[15][16] There is also a website that utilizes this term, Ex-Premie.Org.[17][18]

The sources for the text include the Courier Mail of Australia, the Sydney Morning Herald, and the Rocky Mountain News of Denver. Why was that material removed? We certainly have valid sources which show that there are former members who are vocal critics and that the website exists. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 21:49, 17 May 2008 (UTC)

Removed because they violate WP:LINKSTOAVOID - Any site that misleads the reader by use of factually inaccurate material or unverifiable research. See Reliable sources for explanations of the terms "factually inaccurate material" or "unverifiable research".Momento (talk) 21:53, 17 May 2008 (UTC)
A) You deleted material unrelated to the website. B) There's no link. The second sentence uses reliable sources to establish the existence of the website, but there's no link to the website. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 21:55, 17 May 2008 (UTC)
Will seems correct here. --Francis Schonken (talk) 05:11, 18 May 2008 (UTC)
Will seems incorrect to me. Pure sophistry to say that putting in the name of a hostile, unmoderated website without making it into a link is not violating links to avoid. Rumiton (talk) 14:04, 20 May 2008 (UTC)

Momento is now adding completely irrelevant information about one critic's drug record. If he can find a reliable source that specifically says his drug record is relevant to his criticism, he is welcome to re-add it. - Merzbow (talk) 05:35, 20 May 2008 (UTC)

You're right Merzbow. Ackland's personal business and affairs -- or anyone else's for that matter -- isn't fodder for a Wikipedia article even if it something published in a newspaper. Ackland isn't a public person, but Prem Rawat is a public person. That's a huge difference when one makes assessments about writing about living people anywhere, including on Wikipedia. But, it's a common thing for members of controversial NRMs to try to discredit critics of their living leaders by digging up dirt about people. Some followers of Prem Rawat have been notorious for libelling and defaming those of private individuals who have been critical of Prem Rawat. Just because someone gets their name in a newspaper doesn't make them a public person. This is what happens wannabe writers are set loose on a place like this one and they write articles that are never vetted by a legal team and fact checkers. And when you look for redress on issues, all one gets is another bunch of amateurs pretending to know something, like the ARBcom or mediation "cabal." LOL! Sylviecyn (talk) 16:56, 20 May 2008 (UTC)
Ex-premie.org isn't an "extremist" website and it's a personal attack to characterize it as such, especially since its owner, John Brauns, is a wiki editor. It's not a website by "bitter" former followers, either. Editors here should watch their mouths. EPO is a website that provides an history of involvement with Prem Rawat as told by former followers of Prem Rawat. I told you guys to be careful about believing in the CESNUR meme that "all apostates are liars," because that's a belief-system about apostates promoted only by certain CESNUR "scholars," -- it's not the truth. Btw, this article is just horrible. I would prefer it be deleted than have it stand as is. And no, I'm not going to help with it given the recent arbcom decision, which I think is absolutely incompetent and/or corrupt. That's an informed assessment, by the way, not a personal attack on the arbcom. They're idiots -- that's a personal attack on them. Sylviecyn (talk) 10:09, 20 May 2008 (UTC)
Gee, don't beat around the bush, Sylvie. Just say it like you see it. :-) Rumiton (talk) 13:58, 20 May 2008 (UTC)
I never do. :-) Sylviecyn (talk) 16:56, 20 May 2008 (UTC)

Visualisation of footnotes[edit]

(please keep this section lower on the page than any footnotes that are to be visualised)

References
The following discussion has been closed. Please do not modify it.
  1. ^ Schnabel, Paul Dr. (Dutch language) Between stigma and charisma: new religious movements and mental health Erasmus university Rotterdam, Faculty of Medicine, Ph.D. thesis, ISBN 90-6001-746-3 (Deventer, Van Loghum Slaterus, 1982), Chapter II, page 33, Chapter IV page 99, page 101-102, Chapter V, page 142 [1]
  2. ^ Schnabel, Paul Dr. (Dutch language) Between stigma and charisma: new religious movements and mental health Erasmus university Rotterdam, Faculty of Medicine, Ph.D. thesis, ISBN 90-6001-746-3 (Deventer, Van Loghum Slaterus, 1982), Chapter II, page 33, Chapter IV page 99, page 101-102, Chapter V, page 142 [2]
  3. ^ Schnabel, Paul Dr. (Dutch language) Between stigma and charisma: new religious movements and mental health Erasmus university Rotterdam, Faculty of Medicine, Ph.D. thesis, ISBN 90-6001-746-3 (Deventer, Van Loghum Slaterus, 1982), Chapter II, page 33, Chapter IV page 99, page 101-102, Chapter V, page 142 [3]
  4. ^ KSGV: Objectives
    "Het KSGV onderneemt zijn activiteiten vanuit een christelijke inspiratie."
  5. ^ Lans, Jan van der (Dutch language) Volgelingen van de goeroe: Hedendaagse religieuze bewegingen in Nederland page 117, written upon request for the KSGV published by Ambo, Baarn, 1981 ISBN 90-263-0521-4
  6. ^ KSGV: Objectives
    "Het KSGV onderneemt zijn activiteiten vanuit een christelijke inspiratie."
  7. ^ Lans, Jan van der (Dutch language) Volgelingen van de goeroe: Hedendaagse religieuze bewegingen in Nederland page 117, written upon request for the KSGV published by Ambo, Baarn, 1981 ISBN 90-263-0521-4
  8. ^ KSGV: Objectives
    "Het KSGV onderneemt zijn activiteiten vanuit een christelijke inspiratie."
  9. ^ Lans, Jan van der (Dutch language) Volgelingen van de goeroe: Hedendaagse religieuze bewegingen in Nederland page 117, written upon request for the KSGV published by Ambo, Baarn, 1981 ISBN 90-263-0521-4
  10. ^ "MOTHER OUSTS 'PLAYBOY' GURU" Los Angeles Times (1886-Current File); Apr 2, 1975; pg. 6A
  11. ^ "Malibu Guru Maintains Following Despite Rising Mistrust of Cults" MARK FORSTER Los Angeles Times (1886-Current File); Jan 12, 1979; pg. 3
  12. ^ "FIRM LOYALTY" MARK FORSTER Los Angeles Times (1886-Current File); Jan 12, 1979; pg. A1
  13. ^ "Soe feel the youth is a fraud" Long Beach Press Telepgram, Dec 10, 1972, p. A27
  14. ^ "There are many evaluations of Guru Maharaj Ji" September 26, 1973, Greeley Tribune (Colorado) p. 5-A
  15. ^ Police block drive-in protest against guru, Courier Mail, Australia, September 4, 2002, Tony Keim
    Neville Ackland, a self-proclaimed "ex-premie" (follower) of "Mahariji" Prem Pal Rawat, was yesterday stopped by police from driving into the Ivory's Rock convention centre to confront the "false guru".
  16. ^ Blinded by the Light, Good Weekend (Sydney Morning Herald), August 31, 2002.
    In 1996, Canadian lawyer and ex-premie Jim Heller was cruising the early cult newsgroups on the Internet, looking for some mention of Maharaji. Nothing. Then, slowly, other ex-premies materialised, including one who happened to have web design skills: www.ex-premie.org was born. As bits of information – recollections, documents, photos – trickled in to the web site from all over the world, an entirely new picture of the Perfect Master began to emerge.
  17. ^ "Former Guru on a Different Mission", Rocky Mountain News, January 30, 1998.
  18. ^ Listing, International Cultic Studies Association
    The Elan Vital - Divine Light Mission Papers "The primary purpose of this website is to provide information to current and prospective followers of Divine Light Mission/Elan Vital, that is not made available on Prem Rawat's official sites."

Re-redirected[edit]

Per previous and recent discussions here and at talk:Prem Rawat, I have merged some of this remaining material to Prem Rawat. The remaining section, "Observations of scholars", I've copied to Talk:Prem Rawat/Observations of scholars. I don't believe that that material was in a suitable form to merge directly. Rather than a paragraph about the criticism of each scholar, it would be much better to use those scholars to comment on topics that are covered in the bio or related articles. That way the critical (and complimentary) material is not segregated but is interwoven into the articles in the logical places.

Some of the debate over this article concerns the fact that Prem Rawat is a living person. Wikipedia has numerous articles that cover criticisms of religious movements. See category: Criticism of religion. If editors feel an article is needed to hold criticism I suggest that it be focussed on an institution or belief system rather than on a person. For example, "Criticism of Divine Light Mission" or "Criticism of the teachings of Prem Rawat". ·:· Will Beback ·:· 19:28, 20 May 2008 (UTC)

As soon as you give the name of a living person in an article heading it becomes part of that person's Wikipedia biography, and the choice of sources becomes limited. Rumiton (talk) 16:31, 1 June 2008 (UTC)
That's just your opinion. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 20:44, 1 June 2008 (UTC)