What is Knowledge?

Knowledge, The Knowledge and Self Knowledge are interchangeable terms in the language of Prem Rawat and his followers. Understanding what is meant by these terms is unfortunately not a simple matter of definition, rather Knowledge, (or The Knowledge or Self Knowledge) has a spectrum of meaning which provides a level of ambiguity that is actively resistant to definition. In the most reductive sense 'Knowledge' refers to the meditation that Prem Rawat prescribes.

The term Knowledge or The Knowledge as used by Prem Rawat - signified by the upper case K - has its origin in the teachings of Rawat's father Hans Ram Sing Rawat; Prem Rawat sometimes employs the alternative term "Self Knowledge" and his English organisation of "students" is known as Human Development through Self Knowledge. In the context of Prem Rawat's usage the term 'Knowledge' is ambiguous, it can specifically mean the techniques of meditation prescribed by Prem Rawat, it can also mean the experience gained through practice of the techniques. In a more expansive usage by Prem Rawat and his followers, 'Knowledge' refers to the whole experience of meditating and being a follower of Prem Rawat.

And it's like this: Guru Maharaj Ji, or that Master, is 3,000 miles away, and he says, "Take one step towards me, and I'll take 1,000 steps towards you." … One more step has to be taken, and that is to really realize him, to really accept that Knowledge. Because Guru Maharaj Ji is Knowledge. From him flows Knowledge. From him flows that source that we are looking for. He is the source. When we accept that, when we realize that in our life, that's the second step. And then the Lord is only 1,000 miles away. Then Guru Maharaj Ji is only 1,000 miles away. One more step for us to go. And that's complete surrender. When we surrender completely, then our cycle of three steps is completed, and he has travelled 3,000 miles to be right there with us.

With a degree of semantic dislocation, the Rawat 'Knowledge' does not actually involve the gaining of understanding, nor the obtaining of principles, nor familiarisation with facts or abilities, apart from the very limited exception of having been taught the 'secret' techniques of meditation. Although never specified as such, usage of the term Knowledge by Prem Rawat is frequently a reference to an undefined revelation about the nature of reality or, in particular, the true nature of Prem Rawat, as comprehended by his initiated followers. In this sense the premies are a true 'cognoscenti'.

In the early years of Prem Rawat's western 'mission', 'Knowledge' was taught to be equivalent to Gnosis (not that Prem Rawat had the word in his vocabulary) - the mystical Knowledge of God - that which had been revealed by Jesus, Buddha, Ram and the endless line of living masters, indeed it was this form of usage that appears to have been intended by Hans Rawat. Prem Rawat has never said that this 'mystical' usage was wrong, nor has he ever said that the 'Knowledge' that he teaches is a different Knowledge from that which his father taught. Rawat is rarely explicit about anything but planes and cars.

To the extent that Prem Rawat acknowledges that there is an ambiguity around what is meant by 'Knowledge' he has gone no further than suggest that concern with the meaning of words is irrelevant and that it is the experience that he delivers by which he wishes to be judged. Followers of Prem Rawat strongly affirm this experiential response even though a circular argument arises which allows no resolution outside of Prem Rawat's own peculiar definition of what the 'Knowledge experience might be.

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