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Wikipedia Distortion
Rawat's followers exposed

Hans Rawat: Beliefs and teachings of an Advait Mat Guru.


Hans Ram Singh Rawat propounded a syncretic belief system which incorporated elements of classical Hinduism moderated by the influence of the early Arya Samaj, aspects of Hatha Yoga that accord with the formulation presented in  17thC and 18thC works such as the Gheranda Samhita, Sikhism, and most significantly the Radhasoami [1], Sant Mat and Advait Mat[2],[3] traditions.

Published posthumously, although claimed to date from 1936, Hans Rawat’s philosophy is expounded in the book Hans Yog Prakash[4], in which Hans Rawat gives pre-eminence to four principles: the essential nature of the relationship between devotee and Satguru; the notion of ‘benevolence’, the highest form which is the “bestowing of this [Spiritual] Knowledge”[5];  the need to carry out good actions to avoid evil thinking and evil acts; and achievement of a state of detachment.[6]  Hans Yog Prakash ends with a text taken from the Bhagavad-Gita[7]

Also published after Hans Rawat’s death, the hagiographic book ‘Satgurudev Shri Hans Ji Maharaj’[8] which although it does not address in detail the belief system promoted by Hans Rawat, does describe a philosophical position equivalent to Universalism and makes prominent reference to the ‘Divine Name’ and ‘Divine Light’.  The teaching of Hans Rawat is described as ‘Raj[a[ Yoga’[9] and reference is made to ‘mana’ (mind), ‘prana’ (life-breath)[10], the four techniques of meditation are described as ‘Kriyas’ of which the object is said to be the “control of the mind”.[11] The yogic credentials of Hans Rawat are claimed in references to Japa, Ajapa Gayatri, to Ajapa Jap, and to Mahamantra[12]

No academic study was made of Hans Rawat’s teachings while he was alive and scholarly comment has been restricted to analysis of  the ‘received teaching’ as expressed by Prem Rawat, and to limited historical research.  Only a few academics have substantively addressed the origins and cognate beliefs of the philosophy promulgated by Hans Rawat:

Professor Ron Geaves has written about the guru succession in which Hans Rawat featured.[13]

Professor Mark Juergensmeyer wrote in 'Radhasoami Reality’[14] "The teachings of the Divine Light Mission, led by the boy guru Maharaj-Ji, are essentially those of Radhasoami as well, and other spiritual leaders of the time were also influenced by Radhasoami teachings."  

Juergensmeyer  is also quoted by David Rife “The most striking parallel between the Divine Light Mission and the Radhasoami Tradition concerns their teachings on the "Divine Word," the inner-spiritual melody. Both groups employ meditational techniques for initiates to concentrate their attention on this current of "light and sound" which is believed to free the soul from its attachment with the physical body. Though both groups have similar theological teachings concerning the nature of this "Divine Word," each differ in their own way on how exactly to approach the Supreme Abode.” [15]

 Dr David Lane has observed that “Advait Mat is different than Radhasoami in terms of lineage (except that the founder may have been at one-time connected to the early leaders of Radhasoami). Hansji [Hans Rawat] was clearly a follower of Sarupanand of Advait Mat. Hansji is also reported to have received initiation from Sawan Singh of Radhasoami Beas, as reported by Kirpal's personal secretary at Sawan Ashram, Gyanji (who I personally interviewed in July of 1978 on this issue). Hansji's doctrines are clearly reflective of Advait Mat (especially the pressing of the eyeballs, and the shortish hair--versus Beas's Sikh lineage gurus)”[16],[17]

J. Gordon Melton in ‘Encyclopedic Handbook of Cults in America’ writesThe Divine Light Mission is derived from Sant Mat (literally, the way of the saints), a variation of the Sikh religion which draws significant elements from Hinduism. It is based upon a succession of spiritual masters generally believed to begin with Tulsi Sahib, an early nineteenth century guru who lived at Hathrash, Uttar Pradesh. It is believed that the person mentioned as Sarupanand Ji in Mission literature is in fact Sawan Singh, a prominent Sant Mat guru. In any case Hans Maharaj Ji claimed a Sant Mat succession which he passed to Maharaj Ji. Maharaj Ji, as do many of the other Sant Mat leaders, claims to be a Perfect Master, an embodiment of God on earth, a fitting object of worship and veneration.”[18]


Whatever the precise combination of influences and teachings adopted by Hans Rawat he eventually settled on a career as a Guru promoting a system that required ‘bhakti’ (spiritual devotion) that was exceptionally focused in a personal and exclusive relationship on the part of a devotee toward the Guru (Hans Rawat). Within this ‘bhakti’ relationship three disciplines were commended, Service (to the Guru and the wider community), Satsang and Meditation.


The Knowledge meditation,  as prescribed by Hans Rawat was taught in secret initiations, originally by Hans Rawat himself, and then later by his appointed Mahatmas. Public reference to the meditation was limited to symbolic terminology with the name of each technique or Kriya being rhetorically interchangeable with the notional experience that was claimed to be delivered by the practice of each technique, these being: Divine Light, Divine Music, Nectar and the Word [of God], also termed satnam and Mahamantra.

The Mahatmas continued to be tasked with the teaching of the Knowledge techniques after Hans Rawat’s death and it was from the Mahatmas that many westerners received instruction in the Knowledge meditation in the early 1970s. The initiation process and the techniques have been described in detail by a number of authors and these descriptions and even a demonstration are available on the Internet.[19],[20],[21],[22]

Hans Rawat’s ‘teaching’ ascribed an absolute value to the practice of the Knowledge meditation, that is: for the diligent and devoted practitioner it provided no less than the direct experience of God in four sensory modes – sight, sound, feeling and taste.

Sight: The ‘sight’ technique involved using the thumb and middle finger of the right hand to hold the closed eyes still, while the index finger presses at a point between the eyes. Practice of the technique was claimed to reveal the ‘Divine Light’.

Sound: The ‘sound’ technique involved closing the ears with the thumbs, practice of the technique was claimed to reveal the ‘Divine Music’.

Feeling: The ‘feeling’ technique involved concentration on the breath, this was assisted by the use of a mentally repeated mantra “so-hung”,  “so” on the in breath and “hung” on the out breath. Practice was claimed to reveal the deepest vibration of the Universe – the “Word of God”.

Taste: The ‘taste’ technique involved curling the tongue back on itself with the aim of inserting the tip into the to the soft palate at the top of the throat where the Eustachian tubes from the ears reach the back of the nose. Practice was claimed to reveal ‘Divine Nectar’.

Taken together these four techniques do not equate to any well known yoga practice, however individually each technique can be traced to the broad canon of Hatha Yoga. Most obviously the ‘taste’ technique is Kechari Mudra a widely known practice appearing in many yoga treatises. The ‘feeling’ technique is also unexceptional; as is made explicit in the ‘Satgurudev Shri Hans Ji Maharaj’,[23] focus on prana or ‘life breath’ was a key part of Hans Rawat’s formulation and this is a common yoga practice. The ‘sight’ and ‘sound’ techniques are of less obvious origin though as David Lane points out the “the pressing of the eyeballs” is a practice found in Advait Mat movements.[24]


Hans Rawat may have collected the elements of his meditation formula from a variety of sources, or may have been handed them wholesale from a single source, perhaps by one of the Gurus from who he sought ‘initiation’. One possible ultimate source for the Rawat techniques is the 18thC work the Gheranda Samhita elements of which have a strong correspondence with the Rawat meditation.

 Hans Rawat’s teaching is notable for having no preparatory exercises, rather the initiate was thrown straight into what in most systems of Yoga would be treated as ‘higher’ practices, before engaging in which, it would be considered essential to pursue purification and concentration exercises. The Gheranda Samhita in common with  most Yoga treatises presents a graduated system of purifications and exercises and these clearly did not inform the Rawat formula which contains no aspects of  graduated practice, however something very close to the four techniques of Hans Rawat can be found within the chapter of the Gheranda Samhita which deals with Samadhi.

A translation by Mallinson [25] gives the following "By means of Shambhavi, Bhramari, Kechari and Yoni Mudra, four types of samadhi arise: dhyana, nada, rasananda, and lay siddhi.”   dyhana translates as concentration/visualisation, nada translates as sound, rasananda translates as (bliss in) taste, and laya siddhi translates as (success in) absorption.  While the respective practices Shambhavi, Bhramari, Kechari and Yoni Mudra do not equate precisely to the Rawat formula, the samadhic experiences related to them mirror the Rawat techniques exactly.

Shambhavi, Kechari and Yoni Mudra, all feature in Chapter 3 of the Gheranda Samhita which deals with twenty five different mudras. Classically a mudra is understood as a ‘gesture’ however the term is also applied to a range of yoga actions that involve a closing of one or more parts of the body[26]. Kechari Mudra appears in verses 21 to 28 of Chapter 3 of the Gheranda Samhita which gives explicit instruction how the tongue is to be elongated and ‘inserted between the eyes’, a description is given of the experience that successful practice of Kechari Mudra should bring.[27]  Yoni Mudra is named but not described in the Gheranda Samhita, other yoga texts identify Yoni Mudra as an exercise in which the ears are closed with the thumbs, the index fingers then cover the closed eye lids, and the middle fingers press the nostrils closed while the ring fingers are used to symbolically ‘close’ the lips. Shambhavi Mudra is sometimes taken as being equivalent to Yoni Mudra however the Gheranda Samhita gives no specific physical instructions other than at verse 53 of Chapter 3, “Look between the eyes and observe the delights of the self. This is Shambhavi Mudra, which is concealed within the Tantras.”

Bhramari appears in the Gheranda Samhita in Chapter 5 where it is described as one of eight kumbhakas, which are breath suspension exercises.[28] Breath suspension did not form part of the Hans Rawat prescribed meditation, however within the Gheranda Samhita Bhramari includes a concentration element as well as breath suspension, verses 73 to 77 of Chapter 5 read: “At midnight in a place free from animals and noise, block the ears with the hands, inhale and perform kumbhaka.  The wise yogi should hear the internal sound in his right ear. At first it is the sound of a cricket, then that of a bamboo flute.    Then it is a thunder, a jharjhara drum, a bee, a bell, and a gong followed by the sounds of a trumpet, a kettledrum, a tabor, and so forth, and several dunduubhi drums.   Various sounds like these arise through regular practice of the unstruck sound. That sound has resonance.   In the resonance is a light, and in the light is the mind. In the mind is absorption. That is the ultimate seat of Vishnu. Thus there is success in Bhramari and the yogi may achieve success in Samadhi.

Taken as a group the ‘Samadhi’ practices of  Shambhavi, Kechari, Yoni Mudra and Bhramari provide all but one of the physical poses and concentration practices found in the Hans Rawat meditation.  Shambhavi provides the concentration element of the Sight technique while part of Yoni Mudra provides for the closing of the eyes, albeit using only one hand, not two.  Bhramari  provides the concentration element of the Sound technique while a further part of Yoni Mudra provides for closing the ears.  As noted previously the Rawat ‘Taste’ technique was unequivocally the Kechari Mudra of the Gheranda Samhita.

While the laya siddhi [absorption] of the Gheranda Samhita equates well with the experience claimed for the Rawat  ‘Feeling’ technique, there is no equivalent breath meditation described in the ‘samadhi’ practices of the Gheranda Samhita. However the two verses that follow discussion of Bhramari in Chapter 5 talk first of ‘placing the mind between the eyebrows’ and then “In a day and a night the breath goes out with the sound of ham and in with the sound of sa 21,600 times. The jiva constantly repeats the Gayatri called Ajapa.  Gayatri Ajapa may be understood as the ‘breath of creation’ and the ham sa  mantra  is close to the so hung version given by Hans Rawat as part of his breath meditation;  the  Gayatri Ajapa  is prominently referred to in the book Satgurudev Shri Hans Ji Maharaj[29] suggesting a conscious link to the Gheranda Samhita. Whatever the source of the Rawat breathing technique its purpose was certainly the attainment of Samadhic ‘absorption’.


Although the meditation prescribed by Hans Rawat did not provide any systematic form of preparation to be undertaken by the individual meditator after the meditation techniques had been taught, “preparation” was explicitly part of the ‘aspirant’ aspect of the Hans Rawat formula. An aspirant was the formal term used to describe someone aspiring to be taught the Knowledge techniques and a notion of ‘readiness’ was employed as judgement for who should actually be taught the techniques at any given time. The mediating process for achieving a state of readiness was listening to Satsang as provided by Hans Rawat and his Mahatmas. There was no formal testing involved, rather an emotional desire was to be developed by the aspirant and the level of  expressed ‘desire’ then judged by one of the Mahatmas as the basis of whether an aspirant did or did not deserve to be taught the techniques.


The Rawat meditation bears comparison with Surat Shabd Yoga  which is equated with Sehaj Yoga and which translates to English as ‘easy yoga’, a term used because it requires little physical exertion and no intense preparation.  The mystical cosmology of  Surat Shabd Yoga was not openly expressed in Hans Rawat’s philosophy although concepts such as jivan, karma, moksha and  samsara which appear in Surat Shabd Yoga were widely used in the  Satsangs of Hans Rawat’s mahatmas. There are also common themes between Hans Rawat’s teachings and a number of contemporary Shabd movements, most notably in the role and position of the Satguru and the mystical nature of  the ‘Word’ or Sound Current. [30]  

[1] EPO: Article fully reproduced - Shabdism in North America . Rife, quoting Juergensmeyer:  It is reported that the "Divine Light Mission" of the boy guru, Shri Sant Ji Maharaji , is derived from Radhasoami teachings and the Radhasoami community. According to some accounts, the father of the present boy guru had been a follower of one of the Radhasoami branches, but split off from them to start his own following.

[2] EPO: Commentary and Text File -  'Paramhansa Advait Mat’  Shri Anandpur Trust, Distt: Guna (M. P.) (1975)

[3]EPO: Comments by Dr David Lane

[4] Prem Rawat Bio: Hans Yog Prakash

[5] Prem Rawat Bio: Hans Yog Prakash “Spiritual Knowledge alone has the power to kill the death-pain at the end of our life. For this reason the bestowing of this Knowledge is the highest form of benevolence.”

[6] Prem Rawat Bio:  Hans Yog Prakash  “In the same way, we have to perform good actions in order to rid our mind of evil habits. But once the mind turns away from evil deeds, we have no further use for the good deeds either. At this point we have to check our mind from dwelling on our good deeds, just as earlier we had to check it from concentrating on our bad deeds. We should cultivate non-attachment, which means not feeling obliged to perform any particular actions. We should work. But we should not let it disturb the calmness of our mind.”

[7] Bhagavad-Gita "He who knows neither hate nor desire, Know him to be a perpetual renunciate. Far from the pairs of opposites, O Mighty Armed, he is easily set free from bondage. Children, the Wise do not speak of Knowledge and the Yoga of Action as though they were separate. He who is firmly rooted in one of them obtains the fruits of them both."

"Renunciation, O Mighty Armed, is hard to obtain without performing actions. He who has achieved balance by performing his actions in steady recollection goes quickly to the Supreme. He who devotes himself to the Path of Action, whose mind is pure, who has conquered the Self, who has subdued his senses, who realises his self to be the self in all beings, even though he lives and works in this world, he is not tainted by it."

[8] EPO: Satgurudev Shri Hans Ji Maharaj Published by Divine Light Mission, India,  1970    

[9] EPO: Satgurudev Shri Hans Ji Maharaj Published by Divine Light Mission, India,  1970 “Lakhs of people, who were initiated into the mysteries of the "Raj Yoga" testify how an extrovert mind can be changed to an introvert mind, bringing into view the wonderful panorama of the inner working of nature, to the aspirant. Shri Hansji Maharaj claimed, and rightly too, that the knowledge, he was thus imparting was the same, which some five thousand years back Lord Krishna imparted to Arjuna, which enabled him to comprehend the universe as an integral whole. The Vishwa-Rup (Universal consciousness) which Arjuna was shown with the help of the "Third Eye" can be seen and comprehended by any other person, provided he is told where the "Third Eye" (Gyan Chakhshu) is located and how to open it.”

[10] EPO: Satgurudev Shri Hans Ji Maharaj Published by Divine Light Mission, India,  1970  “Thus Shri Hansji Maharaj indisputably reiterated the universal truth, embodied in all religious scriptures of the world, that the ingredients of the two principal components, which the so called raw materials of our universe, are the "Prana" (Life-breath) and the "Mana" (Mind).”  ……

[11] EPO: Satgurudev Shri Hans Ji Maharaj Published by Divine Light Mission, India, 1970  “Control of the mind

The four Kriyas or the four-fold technique taught by Shri Hansji Maharaj furnishes the easiest method of mind control. Ordinarily, the control of the mind is a stupendous task. Many have given it up as well nigh impossible.

The human mind, Shri Hansji Maharaj admitted, was indeed powerful and not easy to be brought under control, but when it is harnessed to the equally powerful "Prana", it becomes easier to subjugate it.”

[12] EPO: Satgurudev Shri Hans Ji Maharaj Published by Divine Light Mission, India, 1970  “As author of Hans Yog Prakash, Shri Hansji Maharaj demonstrated how the practice of Ajapa Jap could kindle the Divine Light within, which dispels the ignorance of man as to the reality of his own self. For a spiritual aspirant, anxious to know the nature of the spirit that animates matter, the practice of Ajapa Jap, or Ulta Jap, Mahamantra, which are all synonymous terms, is a "must". It is beneficial not only during this life, but also in the life-beyond.”


[13] Geaves: From Totapuri to Maharaji: Reflections on a Lineage (Parampara), paper delivered to the 27th Spalding Symposium on Indian Religions, Regents Park College, Oxford, 22–24 March 2002

[14]Radhasoami Reality: The Logic of a Modern Faith Published by Princeton University Press (December 11, 1995. ISBN-10: 0691010927

[15] EPO: Article – “Shabdism in North America”  American Academy of Religion's Western Region Conference, Stanford University, March 26, 1982

[16] EPO: Article - David Lane’s Comments

[17] David Lane: Book Extract – “Surat shabd yoga and the Sant tradition”  THE RADHASOAMI TRADITION: A CRITICAL HISTORY OF GURU SUCCESSORSHIP Published by Garland Publishing, Inc., New York, New York, 1992

[18] Gordon Melton: The encyclopedic handbook of cults in America New York : Garland Pub, 1986. ISBN 0824090365

[19] Finch: Article - The Knowledge Techniques, and Maharaji as a Meditation Teacher

[20] EPO: Article - The Meditation Techniques of Knowledge

[21] Prem Rawat Bio: Article - Can The "Knowledge" Only Be Revealed by Prem Rawat ?

[22] YouTube: Filmed Demonstration- Prem Rawat's Techniques of Knowledge

[23] EPO: Satgurudev Shri Hans Ji Maharaj Published by Divine Light Mission, India,  1970    

[24] EPO: Article - David Lane’s Comments

[25] Gheranda Samhita: Translation by James Mallinson . Copyright Mallinson 2004 ISBN 0-9716466-3-5

[26] Monier-Williams Sanskrit-English Dictionary -- m: shutting, closing (as of the eyes or lips, gen. or comp.) Kāv 

[27] Gheranda Samhita: Translation by James Mallinson . Copyright Mallinson 2004 ISBN 0-9716466-3-5  verse 27“The body becomes beautiful and Samadhi is sure to arise. When it comes into contact with the aperture of the skull, the tongue reaches a liquid.”   Verse 28 “Each day a blissful sensation arises from the various flavours. At first the fluid on the tongue is salty and brackish, then bitter and sharp, then like fresh butter, ghee, milk, curd, buttermilk, honey, grape juice and nectar.”

 [28] Monier-Williams Sanskrit-English Dictionary -- k  (as, am), m. n. stopping the breath by shutting the mouth and closing the nostrils with the fingers of the right hand (a religious exercise) BhP. Vedântas. Sarvad. &c”

[29] EPO: Satgurudev Shri Hans Ji Maharaj Published by Divine Light Mission, India,  1970    

[30] EPO: David Lanes' Comments – “There are now several popular religious movements in North America which owe their existence, either partially or wholly, to the Radhasoami tradition of India. The spectrum ranges from immediate connections, as in Eckankar and the Divine Light Mission whose founders have taken initiation from one of the Satgurus, to associative influences where sects have borrowed (and, in some cases, plagiarized) writings and spiritual lineages from Radhasoami. All of these new panths , though, have one thing in common: they give significant emphasis to the Shabd , the transcendent power which is believed to be the creative and sustaining force of the universe (it isalso known as the "Audible Life Stream" or the "Music of the Spheres").”

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